New site, new site

So you may have noticed the big honking banner ad on top of the site. I moved from my old hosting to godaddy.com. The good news is that hosting is free. So I will be able to keep bringing you this site with even more reliable uptime and possibly better bandwidth. The bad news.. well there are two pieces of that actually. The first is that the gallery is down for a little while. I have done some digging and apparently godaddy’s free hosting doesn’t really allow the gallery to work. I have to pay to get it back up essentially. Not a ton of money, but at this point of starting up the business, every penny counts. The second piece of bad news is that you now see ads on the top of the site. For the meantime, this is what allows me to have the site without paying for it. Luckily it is a relatively inobtrusive banner ad, and not some big popup ad or even worse, one of the ones with sound or video.

So anyway, yeah. The gallery should be back up soon (and the ads gone along with it), but until then you will just have to read my words with little visual interaction. How will you survive?

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Upgrade Part 2

well, ok, now the upgrade is really done, and it has wactually ended up being a doozy.

The gallery will now be a part of the blog here. At first I was resistent to this but the more I looked around the more I appreciated how nice and cleanly some people were integrating the gallery software into the blog software. So that is how it is now. The old gallery link will work (always actually) but it will “look” kind of ugly and bare bones, pictures will be small, etc. It looks much better inside the blog in my honest opinion.

Speaking of the updated gallery software, I have made a few special modifications to the software itself. At the bottom of each picture you will now see one or more links to display larger versions of the pictures in a separate window. This is for people who want to use a picture as a desktop background or who just want to save the image to their local computer.

You can also now print the images through printing services Shutterfly and PhotoAccess. These links are only to check the sites out and get a feel for them. From within a picture’s page just select the printing option from the drop down menu on the left side. A new page will come up and give you sizes you can print that picture at (this depends on how large the original picture is) and the prices for each print.

I also got a few new pictures added and will be working on adding more soon.

So new things on the site all around. Will write again soon.

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Upgrade is done

Ok, upgrade should be finished now. The blog (what you are reading) is now upgraded to WordPress 1.5.2 and the gallery is now upgraded to Gallery 2.0.1. If you read this over the past day you would have likely seen all sorts of oddities. Well, they should be done now, we’ll have to see.

I actually had to create a plugin for WordPress that allowed me to easily show pictures in my blog entries from the gallery. The most interesting result from this you will notice is the Random Image in the sidebar. Clicking it will take you to the image page in the gallery. The gallery link below it will take you to the top-level of the gallery.

And to insert a picture into the blog is now as easy as

Sheba

trust me, that was pretty easy (the dog in case you were wondering belonged to Bill Keller, a good friend of the family who recently passed away).

So does this mean I will update the blog and/or gallery more? No, but hopefully I will anyway. It does mean though that some others have access to making posts on the photo galleries so hopefully that will get some more life.

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No updates.. sorry

Haven’t given many updates. A combination of busy and not much to say. Recent things I have been up to:

Getting prepared for Japan
This pretty much has involved hotel reservations, reading up on how to live there, making a few reservations for places that require them (such as the Ghibli Museum), and making sure I will have the money to support this trip. 😛 Guess I should have thought about that before making it. lol..

Working
hehe… not much to say about this one.

Reading (listening to) the Star Wars Episode III audiobook
It is available from walmart.com right now. I actually just finished it up last night. Man I can’t wait for this movie. It will rule all, trust me.

So yeah.. that is pretty much what I’ve been doing.. Busy when I would normally write, nothing to really write when I do have time. Hopefully something terribly exciting will occur to me over the next week or so for me to put up here. heh.. here’s to hoping (otherwise you always have my hopefully daily Japan updates coming in less than a month :P)

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Comments

**Updated**

Also wanted to remind everyone that commenting does work on the site. If you agree, disagree, or feel the need to add a few cents more to a post of mine, comment away. I know there is a way you can create an account to comment with, or post anonymously and I can approve them.

Added: I have now also fixed the problem with TypeKey. You can now create an account on TypeKey, login through there, and leave unmoderated comments on the site. Currently to post comments you must post them and wait for me to approve them. With a TypeKey account you can post them and they (should) show up immediately without me needing to approve them first.

You can also then leave comments on any other MovableType based blog as long as they have it enabled.

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RSS and how you can use it with BorghBlog

So you may have seen me talking about RSS a few times already with this site and with gallery (though I still haven’t put those changes in yet). Some of you might be asking “What is RSS?” and others might just be skimming by the post without much care. What I will do here is explain a little bit about what RSS is and how you can use it to not only access my site more easily, but possibly even access other sites you read as well more easily and more conveniently.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It allows you to gather information from many sites without actually visiting the sites. This information is then compiled by a program in which it is then presented to you in an easy to read format of your choosing. I emphasize program because what that program is really depends on how you want to view your RSS news. It can be a email client plugin, a web browser plugin, or even another web page that has all of your news from various sites displayed on one front page.

So how exactly do you use it and what does it look like? Let me show you with some screenshots. I actually use RSS in two ways (partly because I have to), however there are a few more ways you can use it which I will also discuss.

First and foremost, the most obvious way to use RSS is within your web browser. This can be done either using a plugin for your web broswer or subscribing (most times for free) to a site that will create a page for you. Inside your web browser an RSS syndicator plugin might look like this. This is Sage and is the plugin I use with Firefox. The top left pane holds a list of your feeds, the bottom left list shows all of the articles from your currently selected feed, and the righthand pane shows you all of the articles formatted out within your browser. Here is what BorghBlog looks like inside of Sage. So you might be asking why this method is better than just using your bookmarks and going to your favorite sites? Simply put this is much faster and less cumbersome. The Sage page (in this case) loads up much faster than the site could ever load, many times has more mews items on the page than the site will hagve on their front page, and is missing all of the ads, navigation bars, popups, search bars, etc of the site’s page. And in some cases, like BorghBlog, all of this is is further enhanced by only showing the first few words (20 in my case) of an article to just give you the jist of it instead of mucking up your nice clean news page with a lot of extra texst. You just click through to the actual page and you can then read the whole item at your own time.

I also use Thunderbird’s built in RSS feature which can be configured as a new RSS account (Tools->Account Settings->Add Account->RSS News and Blog). The advantage of this is RSS feeds by their nature are more akin to an email listing than a web page. Each feed simply looks like an email folder and each item looks like an email inside of that folder. Thunderbird also keeps all entries meaning you can go back and reference them even if the entry expires from the sites feed page.

Of course these are just the two ways I use feeds. There are many more. Sites such as News Is Free, Meerkat, and NewsGator Online. NewsGator also offers a plugin for Outlook that is similar to Thunderbirds functionality. One of the more popular Windows standalone applications is SharpReader. Mac users seem to be happy with NetNewsWire, and if you are on Linux and want an application outside of Firefox/Mozilla or Thunderbird, Straw seems like it will fit the bill.

So how do you know if your favorite sites support RSS or not? The easiest way is if you see something similar to these on the site:

The majority of the time, the page these links lead to are RSS pages. Simply take the address of those pages and add it as a feed to your RSS reader. Otherwise simply look for the words RSS on the site and usually that will lead you to the correct page as well. Finally if you use mozilla or firefox, you will see the this graphic sometimes in your status bar. This means that the site syndicates an RSS feed and you can simply click on that button in your toolbar to add a Live Bookmark (an RSS feed) to Mozilla or Firefox. I didn’t cover that because frankly Live Bookmars are kind of confusing and slightly inadequate compared to other available programs.

Well, that’s it. Hopefully at least a few of you find this useful. Hopefully a few more will at least take a look at it. RSS really saves time on the web. It turns running to dozens of pages over a session to just opening a single program or looking at items inside of a browser plugin or your email application. No popups.no loud obnoxious ads, no clutter, just the news how and when you want it. Below I will show you what BorghBlog looks like in both Sage (Mozilla/Firefox) and Thunderbird (my mail program). I will also provide links to maybe help those who my explanation was WAAYYY too much for. Enjoy.

Links:
XML.com: What is RSS?
Introduction to RSS – WebReference.com
RSS Readers (RSS Info)
Syndic8.com – A HUGE selection of ready to link to RSS feed
RSS Feeds for all of Yahoo! News

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