I figure I may as well mention, for anyone who may not have already noticed, that I’ve went ahead and added AdSense to the site. I haven’t had much time at all to dedicate to tweaking things to work with my current WordPress theme (K2), which means what you’re seeing now is liable to change at some undisclosed point in the future. K2 seems particularly persnickety when it comes to adding in AdSense, as the nature of the thing is to have a completely modular sidebar without needing to fiddle around in WordPress’ code (ie, “The Loop). AdSense, on the other hand, pretty much instructs you to copy and paste the code into the desired spot in WordPress’ “Loop” where you want the ad-block to appear. That the two agendas are in contradiction means I’ll have to sit down one of these days and really figure out what K2 is doing and how I can incorporate AdSense into that in the way that I want.
As for reasoning: Well, not that I expect to make any money off the ads in the first place, but I figure I may as well try to recoup some of my hosting costs for this site. They’re not substantial, and I’m not in any real danger of needing to update to a more expensive or robust hosting plan, but what the heck? I don’t really plan on being a Steve Pavlina, or any of those other AdSense/SEO /Self-Help hucksters out there, so it’s unlikely I’ll ever decide to do anything more with AdSense than have them sit unobtrusively in the bottom of my sidebar.
Well, the first year of this blog being up and active has gone by. This is day one of a new year.
In retrospect, this blog has kind of gone in a different direction than I expected. Slightly more emphasis on the whole gaming and geekery aspect than I originally intended. That’s not really a bad thing, just not exactly what I was anticipating — I suppose realistically that comes from general time constraints. When I write here it’s in the time I would normally spend on other hobbies, and so there’s a lot of overlap. Writing about D&D or videogames or (more recently) tabletop wargames is just another way to sit down and ponder the intricacies of their respective systems without necessarily playing them or
spending wasting time reading forums.
Seeing as how a year has passed, I’m pondering whether I should do something with the theme, or perhaps “re-branding” (so-to-speak) the site with a more game-centric title and tagline and all that? If I didn’t know that I’m already too busy to be doing that sort of thing I’d consider it…
So, following Shamus’ lead, I went ahead and installed Peter’s Anti-Spam Captcha, and disabled some other anti-spam measures. Lets see how this works out over the next couple of days.
For the time being the security word is set to be “human,” and I went ahead and edited the text to indicate this as well (in case the image bit stops working or you’re blind, etc.). I’m betting that even the most basic reading comprehension is a far harder task for spambots than read-and-regurgitate OCR, so I doubt this will impact the security of my captcha. If you’re a non-spamming, non-human visitor to the site — Welcome! And, I suppose, sorry for automatically assuming that my website would only be interesting to humans.
Update: So far things have been going well. The Captcha has dramatically reduced my amount of spam. Unfortunately it hasn’t cut it down to nothing. I’m getting probably 1/10th of the amount of spam as I was before, though. One good thing is that most of the spam that is getting through seems to be from the same spammer (at least from the format and what it’s promoting). The most annoying spam, the hundreds-of-lines-long messages with hundreds of links contained within them are being blocked — When I see those in my Akismet queue I usually just delete the whole queue without bothering to check the others. The ones that’ve been getting through right now are one-line spams that I can skim for legitimate comments and delete without any anxiety.
As some of you may have noticed, posting has dropped off a bit here recently. I suppose I should offer a bit of an explanation for anyone out there reading who I don’t know personally.
In January I went to the doctor’s office for a routine check up. It’s been a few years since my last one, so I figured I may as well go. Pretty standard stuff, except the doctor did notice I seemed to be picking up a little bit of weight around the waist, so he ordered an additional test for me — A pregnancy test. It came back positive.
In the infamous words of Internets: O.M.G.
You might expect that this news would come as a shock. Let me tell you, it did. When my doctor suggested a pregnancy test I told him it was impossible as I had my period only a few days earlier. But apparently it’s possible to have a partial period immediately following conception… that is what I seem to have had.
Ladies and gentlemen, start your hyperventilating.
As this has been a completely unexpected turn of events, I’ve had to do some long and hard thinking about my life and everything … And, honestly, as much as I enjoy my own little soapbox on this corner of the world wide web, I can’t see myself dedicating much time here anymore. Currently I haven’t even decided if I am going to continue my job full-time, so a little thing like a blog … It’s funny how a little crisis like this kind of clarifies what’s really important to you.
I’m hoping that this isn’t goodbye forever, but I don’t expect to be here much for the next six or so months … And after that, who knows?
So today I’m trying to update to WordPress 2.1. In the vein of Fark headlines, wackiness ensues. It seems like all of my posts are loading every time I go to my main page, even though I have the thing set to only display the ten most recent posts, and naturally my categories and such are all screwed up.
Worst of all I don’t really know why this is occurred. A Fubared installation, or is this all normal since I haven’t upgraded other elements of the site in awhile (e.g. plugins, themes)? Anyway, if you’re loading up the site bear please
hit the stop button so you don’t strain my bandwidth by loading up every image I’ve ever posted here bear with until I can get all of this resolved.
Managed to get the displaying-every-post issue resolved, however I’m still having trouble getting my links to display the way I want them to. Unfortunately I’m becoming increasingly convinced the the clumsy Link Category / Blogroll functionality is by design in WordPress 2.1, so I can no longer have invisible lists of links but will always have an empty and useless category (see: Additional Links) on my sidebar. Oh well.
I’ve also switched over to K2 for the time being. I really do like K2, mostly for the sidebar modules, but I’m not sure if I’ll stick with it. I’m going to give it some time and see if I can accustomed to it.
I’ve also installed htakismet, a plugin that presumably identifies spammers via Akismet and then blocks them from visiting the site — I’m interested to see if this can cut down on the amount of spam I get, although I’m hoping it doesn’t block out any actual humans. If it does, well, email me at ~gmail.com — Assuming you can read this post, which you probably wouldn’t be able to.
So yesterday I was going to upload the high-resolution version of the Unreal Tournament 3 trailer when I checked in and noticed that I hadn’t uploaded anything at all to WordPress this year. I could’ve gone into the innards of WordPress and made all the requisite directories and whatnot to hold uploads, but I figured I’ve been putting off uploading these images for about a month now and I may as well clear them out of my queue.
Now that I’m thinking about it, I’ll probably try to update my WordPress install tomorrow. Lets hope it goes smoothly.
We’re well into 2007 already, so I figure I may as well make a resolution for myself. My resolution is to get all of my computer-related effects in order. This, of course, is a monumental task that I’ll be lucky to accomplish this year, but it’s worth it. I need to do this for my peace of mind, as it’s really difficult for me to move on to new things when I feel like what I already am invested in is in disarray.
Computer organization is a pretty broad category, so I guess I’ll define some subcategories
Blog — Getting the blog here in a state that I’ll be happy with for the foreseeable future.
Images — Getting all of my images organized in a sensible way, preferably with some sort of easy tagging system for quick searching across all images on my hard drive. I have many gigabytes of images accumulated over the years, so this is probably the most substantial task.
Music — Same as with Images, but with substantial amounts of work already done. Mostly this involves copying the music from the rest of my CD collection onto my computer and then backing it all up on DVDs.
Programs and File Structure — This one isn’t all that big, but most of the work here seems to be in planning. Windows programs tend to like to install shortcuts to themselves on the Desktop and in the Start Menu… And while I have my Desktop relatively clean of extraneous program shortcuts, my Start Menu is a mess. Ideally I need to think up some good categories (e.g. “Audio Programs”, “Photography/Video Programs”, etc) and organize that way. Unfortunately it’s not quite that easy, with some programs fitting in multiple categories, or related and synergistic programs being broken up into different categories…
First task in organization? Well, I’m going to clean out my blogroll a bit and possibly add some more structure to it (although I don’t know if I’ll bother with the latter — I tend to view the blogroll as my own personal reference for sites to read). I also added a new page with an extended blogroll to it so that I can keep my frontpage blogroll short and unintimidating, but provide more links and resources for people who find they have similar tastes.
I’m going to be attempting to roll out some changes here in the next couple of days. For awhile now I’ve been unhappy with PopURLs‘ selection of websites to syndicate and been hoping to create a similar sort of aggregator of aggregators for myself. Mostly this is for my own convenience in being able to browse things I want to read with complete control over the layout and other elements, but I suspect other people may be interested in it as well so I’m going to try and make it publicly available.
At this point in time I haven’t decided how that is going to impact the design of this page (if at all), although I have been wanting to do some of my own theme work here for awhile now. A new theme may be forthcoming for the site as well, to fix nagging issues I’ve had with this particular theme as well as to personalize the site some more. If you see anything weird or unusual here in the next few days you know why.
One thing that has always amazed me about WordPress is simply how many bad themes exist for it. If you’re interested, mosey on over to the Theme Browser and take a look for yourself. In a basic browsing themes I find about 1% of these themes visually interesting. That said, visually interesting themes usually mean somewhat overbearing themes. On further inspection I found a number of more generic themes that I thought could work well.
I downloaded a few and had at it. Strange how you won’t notice the immediate flaws of a design until it is already on your site.
- ChaoticSoul — This design looked nice until I loaded it up on my site and I realized that it was overriding the blog’s title with the theme name. How rude. After a few seconds I also noticed that it had no categories, no archives, truncated every post after the first… Definitely needs work.
- Anthurium — I don’t know why I downloaded this theme at all. I must have misclicked, I swear.
- Kurtina — A nice design that I downloaded despite knowing it didn’t fit this blog. I thought it might be nice to look at and possibly modify. On loading it up my eyes can barely stand to look at it, it is so bright. It also has the truncated posts after the first, a stylish but ultimately bad decision. I don’t want people to have to click any more than they must in order to navigate the site.
- SlatyStain — Theme broken by ir2ImageSnag.
- SG/Dark — I downloaded this design mainly because it is unique, putting most of the navigational elements in the footer of the page. Upon actually loading it up here I can see that its functionality is really very bad though. It displays a maximum of two posts and displays them side-by-side in two columns. It’s a pain to read and it’s obvious why, for usability’s sake, this sort of innovative layout doesn’t work. Good try though.
- Manji2 — The two main problems I have with this design are that the sidebar is on the left rather than the right and that the site name is not included in the header area. The only other issue is the way that it clutters up the blogroll with my descriptions of the URLs contained therein.
- Terracotta — A nice theme with some problems. Main issues that I want to resolve are potentially moving the sidebar to the right side of the layout and improving the distinctiveness of post headings. It also needs borders around image tags to blend images more fluidly into the layout.
Currently I’m going with Terracotta, although by tomorrow I may have either changed it to Manji2 or back to the default theme. I do like the play of Terracotta with the title, which is primarily why I chose it. At least it has full functionality, unlike most of the others. I’m not sure when I’ll have time to get around to working on my own theme, I suspect it’ll be one of those projects that stays on the backburner for awhile. I’m pleased though, got something substantial accomplished that I can check off my list.