In honor of WordPress 3.0, I’ve freshened things up a bit

You gotta love WordPress – everything is so easy to install and update now, it’s amazing how much has changed since I first started messing with it back in March of 2008.  That may not be much time, but the ease of use, compared to back then, is extraordinary.  Hell, back then didn’t even exist.

I’m also happy to say that, after experimenting with almost a dozen different themes, I came back to TwentyTen, which is the new default that is included with the updated 3.0 platform.  I needed a two column layout that would work with the ‘custom menus’ (I think that’s a new feature), and would let me use my own header image.  I’m not quite sure the current image is permanent, but that’s what I’ve got for now.

The widget areas at the bottom and sides are just what I’m used to, although some widgets and plugins have been updated since I last had a facelift.

I still gotta do a blogroll or links section, and that has needed serious updating for some time.

WordPress instability issue appears resolved, for now.

I have third-party hosting for this site, so I wasn’t effected by the recent WordPress outage, although my hosting provider had their own shut down for a few hours recently.  The real problem had been that I couldn’t upload anything using Google Chrome for Mac.  It’s extremely annoying to have to open a whole new application just to post anything.

Fortunately, everything appears resolved at the moment.  I upgraded to WordPress 2.9.2 and the whole thing is just honky dory.  Even using Chrome.  Time to try some new extensions?

Tumblr makes me want to be a better blogger

My recent update (I can’t call it a redesign, since I didn’t really design anything) to the WordPress site makes me happy.  It doesn’t have the clean look of the old, but it makes use of a lot of the new gadgets that can easily be implemented onto the WordPress platform.  So, yay!

But content is a different story.  All the beautiful widgets and plugins don’t add up to squat if the content sucks.  My personal blogging history has been up and down and up and down.  Usually, some new technical toy or fancy application tends to drive my desire to supply more content.  That’s where Tumblr comes in.  It has taken the interface and sociality of Twitter and packed it (tightly) into a lightweight blogging app.  You can post pretty much anything and the ‘pages’ can be modified quickly to give the user a personalized look.  Like WordPress, it’s kind of up to the user to determine who deeply this personalization can get.  Out-of-the box themes are available, but code can be accessed for infinite variety.  And all the posting on Tumblr goes through a really slick interface that is fast, intuitive and easy.  So the use can very easily post a picture, text, quote, music, whatever.

But the social aspect is, perhaps, what I like the best.  Just as with Twitter, you have a stream of other users that you ‘follow’ on your dashboard or home page.  This includes all of your posts and any posts created by those you ‘follow.’  Then, as with, there is a currency that promotes more use and more connections – ‘Tumbularity’.  You can use Tumblr just like Blogger or even WordPress and not give a rat’s ass about Tumbularity, but if you get sucked in, you will be rewarded for getting other users to follow you and reblog (like retweeting) your posts.  There is also a ‘like’ button, which is a nice borrow from Facebook.

Just as with Twitter, the feed can quickly get out of hand and I’ve had to get used to yet another flood of information.  The desired skill is filtering.  Tumblr doesn’t have a list feature, but if it continues to expand, that may be something that would be useful.  Currently, I follow 31 other users and it’s a very manageable flow of information.

Other stuff about Tumblr that has caught my interest: cross-posting is pretty easy to set up; Android and iPhone have nice apps, although the Android piece needs a little more work; the demographics I have discovered so far are a bit younger and more introspective.  I haven’t found any news or activist feeds yet.  I think it’s a bit more of a vanity project (even though it aggregates so easily) and it would be a bit unnecessary for a journalist to set up a Tumblr feed.

So, after using Tumblr for a few weeks, I’m inclined to bring some of the more impulsive habits to bear on my WordPress blogging.

OK – still plenty of work to do, but the new look is coming along nicely.

It’s amazing how fast I was able to change the entire look of this thing. That’s not a testament to any knowledge that I have, that’s just WordPress being WordPress. I can’t remember how long I was using Atahualpa (which may still be a more flexible them than this one – Mystique), but it wasn’t much more than a year. Since then, there have been numerous updates to WordPress and the look of the free themes is so much more modern.

See Emily Play – BOOKMARK THIS!

See Emily Play is looking pretty snazzy, if I do say so myself.  It is so liberating to have a blog and I think Em has caught the bug.  Also, I shouldn’t really take all the credit.  I thought she was going be mainly content and I would act as her contractor for all design and customization.  I’m very happy to say how wrong I was.  I established the basic platform, using the lovely and flexible Atahualpa theme from BytesForAll.  That’s a great platform to start with because it features a TON of shortcuts that let you (me) manipulate code to get the look and color you want.

But now, Em is acting as site owner and, not only making the decorating and environmental decisions about HER website, but also implementing those decisions.  That’s a testament to her enthusiasm and the intuitive nature of the WP platform.  I remember how excited I was back in the day, when I set this thing up for myself, and now I’m getting to relive all that enthusiasm with Em.  Priceless.

Get ready to ‘See Emily Play’

It may not be much just yet, but we are ready to launch the mpomy subdomain See Emily Play.  This will be Em’s personal blog with a focus on whatever the hell she wants to focus on.  I’m assisting with set-up and design implementation, as well as the obvious domain and hosting issues.  All content, as currently contemplated, will be courtesy the lovely Emily.

This is a special moment for me, because is really an exercise in vanity and catharsis.  Google Analytics has confirmed that there’s not a whole lot of traffic, and that’s fine.  The more important result has been that I’ve become somewhat comfortable with the best platform on the web and I’m running it locally on my host provider, so it’s my bandwidth, my rules, my domain.  If there was something extremely interesting going on out there, I would have a journal entry here that would help me remember for later.  Links can be preserved and pictures saved and it just goes on from there.  Any fine writing is purely coincidental.

Emily, on the other hand, presents a totally different approach.  She has had to be dragged into this kicking and screaming.  Well, not quite, but it has taken the encouragement of a professional, published author, who recognized Em’s talent and encouraged her to act as a guest blogger.  That’s a lot different than a partner or family member saying, “you’re such a great writer, you should just start writing a blog.”

So, today I spent the afternoon assigning a subdomain, setting up another mySQL database, installing a separate and discreet WordPress installation, and getting some very basic customization underway.  Even now, the earliest entries are beginning to take shape across the room as we engage in the age-old exercise known as “dueling laptops.”  Update your Google Reader accordingly.

Google Analytics – not working for Yet.


I realize the point of Google Analytics is to help generate ad revenue, but, as with most of my internet experience, I’m checking it out because I’m curious.  I don’t really need to know about hits and who’s checking in, I’m just curious.  Anyway, the functionality for Blogerantz is great, prbably because that’s also a Google product – Blogger.  The graphs are easy to read, and I can see how using the Twitter tie-in has allowed for a few more hits.

But, for some reason, it’s not working with this site.  Which is OK, because there’s a nifty widget that’s already tracking site usage by the outside world – Counterzeii.  But the appearance and attributes of the Google site is just nicer to look at.  There is, of course, a WordPress widget that plugs into Analytics, but the way I have set up my site is, I think, confusing the counter.  I don’t have everything sitting in an ‘mpomy’ directory, but rather in a WordPress subdirectory – that’s why the main URL is

I’ll fool with it some more and see if I can’t get the thing to work.