Losing Steam

I had built a pretty good habit of writing and using the blog as my primary source of commentary, but a glitch (I think, which this post is partly to debug said issue) slowed me down using micropub, the holy grail of being able to post first here and syndicate to social media. Coupled with the easy trap of using Twitter, and here I am.

This is my personal reminder the work I put into this site is about owning my voice and words, and to find the time to reduce the friction to do so. Also, to share that experience so that others can do the same.

Focused Blogs

In my ever revolving attempt to reboot my blog, one thing that has always slowed me down was my concern with being too esoteric in my topics. I want to talk about food, technology and everything in between.

However, if I want to build any readership (isn’t that a part of blogging, sharing your thoughts with others?) I can’t be mixing in posts about forays into Python with posts about cooking vegetables sous-vide. Sure, there might be a readership that is interested in both topics as I am, but not enough to say “screw it.” So as I continue to work towards a true indieweb, I’m pivoting a bit in my approach and will use this as domain, now 11 years old, as my base identifier and central clearing house. I’ve acquired several domains, 2 of which will be good to split the topics. Those too will be static Jekyll built sites, with links from this site to new posts.

Certainly this is more me thinking out loud and putting it out there, as I intend for this domain to be, but my goal is to continue to do such here, rather than bottle up my thoughts in my head.

Breaking Out of the Silo

In my never ending quest to make this site all things “miklb”, one of the goals of the IndieWeb is to POSSE, that is, Publish on your own site, syndicate elsewhere. Breaking the habit of using Twitter without posting first on my site is going to be a hard one, but it’s a goal. While debates rage about extending character counts to 10,000 words, if we only were to use our blog for long form thoughts and link back to Twitter, this wouldn’t be an issue. Consider this an exercise in

Making the Move to Jekyll

I’ve officially made the change from Habari to Jekyll. I will certainly have more to share on the move, both a post-mortem on Habari, as well as the process I’m using currently for using Jekyll.

My basic workflow currently is serving the page from GitHub pages, however I’m using Travis CI to build the site and publish to master branch1 , there by bypassing the restrictions of gh-pages (specifically, their need for using –safe mode and not up-to-date version of Jekyll). Currently my use case would probably work within their parameters, however I had already started using 3.x and at the time of writing GitHub is using 2.x.

More importantly to me, I want to be able to blog from my phone. It something that I feel has limited me in sharing interesting items I come across as well as stopping me from making time to put thoughts down as they come. I had originally wrote up some thoughts on using iOS and Jekyll, but later came across a better workflow2.

Finally, there are still some wonkiness around, I’m sure my Atom feed is broken and am not sure how to redirect that yet using GitHub. I doubt I had many subscribers, so if you stumble on this and previously read my random posts, you may need to update while I investigate options. Certainly there are some styling issues that I want to address as well as some under the hood improvements.

  1. This tutorial was an invaluable starting point. A follow up tutorial from the comments has great information as well.
  2. Since I already own Drafts, Workflow and Working Copy integrating all 3 makes sense.

First Thoughts: Holy Grail of Blogging from iOS with Jekyll

I have been researching and thinking seriously about moving away from database driven blog engines to static file blogging for quite awhile. My extensive research has me convinced for my ideal workflow, Jekyll will be the answer—except for my goal to somewhat easily blog from my phone. All of the front matter could be handled by TextExpander snippets or custom keyboard shortcuts in Drafts or Editorial. The issue has been that with an iOS device, you are basically confined to using Dropbox or iCloud for the text/markdown files. Wanting to keep everything in a Git repo under version control, I hadn’t found a way to automagically push a Dropbox file to a Git repo without having an always on machine at home using some listening app like Hazel to do this. While that isn’t out of the question, I want something straight from the device.

Extensive Googling finally led me to Zappier. Similar to IFTTT, they have a Github/Dropbox workflow that allows you to send a pull request to Github when a new file is added to a directory in Dropbox. And while if I was simply using Github pages to host a Jekyll site, that would be the end to a simple solution.

However, I still want to host my own data on my own VPS (more on that later). Enter Jekyll Hook, which, while not seemingly for the faint of heart, allows one to run their own “Github Pages” on their own server.

So, while all untested at this point, on paper it seems I can have a dedicated Dropbox folder synced with an iOS editor that when a markdown file is saved to it, Zapier will attempt to send a pull request and merge it to a Github hosted repo of my blog [footnote, possibly need to have iOS app to approve pull request but option is in the recipe for the workflow. I assume it will work save for any previous files by same name causing a merge conflict]. From that, the Jekyll Hook script/solution will fire and rebuild the the site, all without leaving the convenience of my iOS device.

Potential magic I tell you.

More About Using My Blog

My work life has prevented me from doing anything much related to online life, or writing much in general. That however doesn’t mean that during the hundreds of miles a day I’ve been driving that I don’t think about it. While catching up on my RSS feeds, this post from the Pastry Box, You don’t have time for perfection sums up a lot of why I didn’t use it more when I actually did web development.

I’ve had enough of maybe-later, of I’m too busy right now, of after I’m done with this. I’ll be publishing anything I think others will benefit from. Ten non-perfect pieces are better than zero wannabe-perfect ones.

Perhaps from where I’m sitting, it won’t always be what I think others might benefit from, rather a benefit to me. Be it saving a snippet of code for posterity (which could benefit others), reflecting on a moment or just sharing thoughts about a band. Anything to have it centralized and outside the walls of Facebook, Twitter and the like.

Stop Me If…

Stop Sign
…you’ve heard this before. I’m going to try to use this damn blog more. I’ve been tweaking it behind the scenes in my rare spare time the last couple of months, and I think I’ve gotten enough of what I want to be able to use this little corner of the web as it was intended–my digital hub. While i have found myself using Facebook more and more due to keeping tabs on IRL friends, I’ve used Twitter less and less due to a busy schedule and finding it difficult to follow conversations. I’d love to find an interface that made it easy to see all of the accounts I follow and put them into lists (does that exist on twitter.com?), in the mean time, I simply want to start collecting everything back here and sharing it to social media as I see fit.

Reboot 2014 Style

I’ll have a lot more to say in the coming days, but suffice to say once again things are wonky/broken around here. I am sporting a nice new look that I completely fell in love with, compliments of Mark Otto. I’m porting his theme to Habari and will write more about that soon too.

Here’s to kicking 2014 off on the right foot.

Posted in Uncategorized Tagged

Leave it to the Wayback Machine

I have been lamenting on whether or not I wanted to bring back my old content or start completely from scratch. I’d been leaning towards starting over, but today in Habari IRC channel, someone linked to their blog on the Wayback Machine, which led me to checking this blog. My earliest records are sans any theme. I’m not sure what determined what got cached visually, but the earliest version of this site that includes design got me feeling nostalgic about having had this site active off and on for almost 8 years. Between that old theme and this one I think I will work out bringing back the old content.

For reference, I’ve been running on Habari since September 2008, never looking back.

Blog, Blogs, Blogging – A Rant

I have had this draft sitting around for awhile, but in the last two days I’ve seen the word “blog” used incorrectly several times, and decided to dust this off and publish it.

You have a blog. When writing for this web log, you are blogging, “I think I’m going to blog about the movie we saw last night”, I blogged about how I built the best mouse trap. You can call yourself a blogger. A blog however is not each individual entry or post you write. Please do not tell me you wrote 3 blogs last night. You can tell me you blogged 3 articles, or you wrote 3 entries for your blog, but you did not write 3 blogs. Do not tweet “my new blog” and link to an entry. When I see “new blog” I’m expecting a completely new site from the one you already have.

Now, I don’t claim to be a grammar nazi or even have the best grammar. But this is less about grammar and more about semantics and something that simply gets my goat. Feel free to contradict or refute my position. I’m all ears. Also, I came across a great blog post sometime back, on the history of weblogs you may find interesting.

On Twitter Clients and Their Change in TOS

Update: The plot thickens. Sean Coates pointed out on Twitter this morning that the Twitter API announcement has been pulled, with no obvious response. Most of the mailing list message is still available in an article in the Guardian.

First, I’m not a developer of software. I make websites. I use Twitter. A lot sometimes. I have found the reaction to Twitter’s curious announcement in the change in their terms of service interesting. Granted, most reactions I have read are from developer types, so it may be biased. The sentiment could be summed up in a tweet I saw today, “Twitter: from #dickbar to #dickmove”. That basically Twitter added a new “feature” in their most recent mobile app that absolutely no one liked and users were abuzz with suggestions for other clients. Rather than listen to these users (granted, they did release a minor update that apparently mitigates to a degree the trending bar, coined by Gruber the dickbar) they simply decided to post to a mailing list telling developers to not plan on being able to create alternate clients. Poor timing? Possibly. They very well could have been planning this announcement for some time. Still seems odd.

But what if they had challenged themselves internally? “We are going to make such a kick ass experience for the desktop, mobile and web, users won’t bother with these imitators.” They could have looked at who was doing great things with the iPhone and the desktop and simply hired them to make their product better. Listened to their users to see what features these other clients were offering and make them better. Isn’t that what free-market competition should be all about? Not, “hey, thanks for helping build up our user base, now go screw yourselves.”

Ultimately, Twitter really reminded me that I don’t pay for it, so I can’t really bitch about it, and should remember my goal of Less Twitter, more me..

An Epiphany: How to Finally Resurrect My Cooking Blog

There are probably 6 of you who know me either in real life or online who read my tweets/blog that know that A)I was a chef in another life, B) I have a cooking blog.

Every 9 months or so, I get these grand ambitions to resurrect the blog, but my grandiose visions overwhelm the realities of my daily life, and they never transpire. That’s not to say that I don’t still love food, that I don’t every day in my current profession as a guy who makes and manages web sites (do they still call it webmaster?) use my experiences as a chef, both in the work place dealing with people and changing focus at the drop of a dime, as well as the art itself. It’s ephemeral, here today, gone in 20 minutes, a delicate balance between art and science.Still Life-ish

The epiphany is, keep it simple stupid. It may not surprise 4 of you 6 that I read weekly the Miami Herald, NY Times, Chicago Tribune, LA Times food sections as well as our local über cool food writer Jeff Houck. Not to mention the many tweets and links that come through my streams weekly. I often want to share these, with a short anecdote, or comment. That’s what a couple of my favorite bloggers – Gruber and Kottke – do already. It was really the basis of blogging 6-7 years ago. Then, just maybe then, I won’t feel the overwhelming (self imposed) pressure to write long form. Those can just occur naturally.

My question to the 3 of you still reading this? I should probably not push these to my regular Twitter account, right? I should just tell folks about the re-positioning once it’s done, and let them subscribe to the feed. Possibly create a new Twitter account to push those updates to those who prefer to use Twitter instead of Atom feeds for updates? Should I link directly to the source article, ala Gruber, or simply link in the post with my anecdote ala Kottke?

And full disclaimer, I do have advertising on that site, that despite it’s languishing in purgatory, pays for a significant amount of my hosting costs. That has nothing to do with my desire to kick start the site however, but just want to be clear, ads will continue on the site.

Less Twitter, More Me

The first blog post I read about moving away from Twitter & microblogging began my thinking of how I might do the same. I came into the “blogging culture” late in the game, so I didn’t have as much an identity as some.

However, lately I’ve been feeling more and more my microblogging platform of choice, Twitter, was becoming increasingly ephemeral. I was conditioning myself to minimize my thoughts due to some arbitrary constraint. Not to mention, I didn’t have my own reference point. Sure, I use
Instapaper
& Pinboard, but I did not have a chronological reference to what I was thinking and feeling. Not to mention a real reference point of meaningful information I felt important to file away for posterity.

So today launches a new direction for Michael B, one where I do not question if I can get my point across in a finite set of characters, if my use of UTF-8 character encoding will translate to other platforms. Where I can come back a year later and the data will be mine, easily reached, in a database of my own management. No worries if I post a picture if someone will sell it, if my words will be broadcast to ears to which I’ll never know.

I don’t mean to say I will not be verbose (which I am) or that I’ve mastered some modern day Strunk & White, rather I will not feel confined. And to which I will feel free.

Also, I will genuinely get back to the root of why I fell in love with publishing on the web, and hopefully make some, albeit small, mark on the face of web publishing.

This is just but the first iteration of the new site. I hope to integrate some of the third-party services that I previously shared on this domain, and still feel an important way of expressing fully who I am, but I needed to make the move now, and fill in the important pieces as I move forward once again.

I’m quite happy this is (not valid due to old content) HTML 5 with generous dashes of CSS 3. I hope to expand on both and as I learned my first go around with self-publishing on the web – learning is doing. (Update: I was going to switch the videos to the experimental Youtube HTML5 embed code, however unfortunately the videos had been taken down. I also found additional typos in the same post. The home page is now currently valid HTML5)

Note Taking Nirvana?

notebook collectionLike most, I’ve struggled with note taking and mind dumping solutions. I’m easily caught up in chasing the productivity pr0n, looking for the perfect system (hell, I gues by writing this post, I’m still doing that). At first glance however, with the discovery of my most recent set of tools, I believe I’ve found the most streamlined, cohesive solution yet.

My most recent excursion in a single note taking solution was EverNote. Certainly versatile, perhaps too so, and it never felt like the right fit. It was just too something. I wanted a no frills solution that I could easily access my notes from my desktop, laptop and on the go (currently using an iPhone). Certainly EverNote fits that bill, but again, too cumbersome and too busy.

A little while ago, I stumbled on a Habari plugin, SimplyNoted, which interfaced with an iPhone app SimpleNote. Quite an elegant little app/plugin, I could take notes on my phone and be able to pull them up in a Habari Silo, and turn them into a blog post, etc. Nice, but my iPhone isn’t the only place I take notes or want to do a brain dump. So it’s lingered on the second page of my phone, starring at me, taunting me to use it. Then the other day, the always with a great idea Merlin Mann, resurrecting his invaluable 43folders website, posted a screenshot and short post about his workflow.

Wait, did I just read about something syncing with SimpleNote? Sure enough, Merlin was espousing the virtues of an app he’d been using, and how it now syncs with SimpleNote. Notational Velocity is a no frills, desktop application (is there a mobile, I didn’t look) that snycs with SimpleNote, quietly saving behind the scenes,with plenty of keyboard shortcuts but no fluff. It gets out of the way and makes it easy to just jot notes, brain dump, or I’m sure in the hands of someone like Merlin, far, far more. But for this simple guy, it was the missing link to being able to have an app on my Macs that did all the things that SimpleNote could do.

So far in two days of using it, it’s been more usable than any other system I’ve tried. I was able to bang out some thoughts before bed on my laptop, both gather links for this post as well as some outlined thoughts (yeah, this was actually thought out), as well as some ideas for some work I had to do today. I was able to grab those notes when I hit the desktop this morning without doing anything, add to them, and then pick them back up on the laptop later in the day to finish up the writing I needed to do for my new job. After dinner, I was able to then login to the admin of the blog, start a new post, open the SimplyNoted silo, and bang, all of my links and notes were there to write a post. I can’t count how many events I’ve been to the past year that I took notes at either in EverNote or with TiddlyWiki, but never got around to copying them over to writing a post. I look forward to this being the missing link between thinking about blogging, and blogging. Time will tell.

Consolidating and Focusing

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed resurrecting this blog over the past 2 months, all the while trying to find the motivation to start food blogging again. However, the more I search for that motivation, the more I’m drawn to the idea of further consolidating my blogging efforts to this single domain. It’s not as if I get a huge amount of traffic on my cooking content anyway, and what little there is, should easily migrate over much like bloggingmeta’s traffic did with a permanent redirect.

One idea I had was to see if I’d do more food blogging by simply posting them to this site first, without migrating the old content, but if I were to succeed in my experiment, I’d find myself in a similar predicament in that I’d have no way to migrate back to the food blog, not to mention I’d potentially be penalizing myself in regards to search engine stuff.

The primary obstacle is how to migrate the content. I highly doubt my code-fu would allow me to write a Habari-to-Habari importer by myself, though I’ve not even looked at any of the importers. I’m not as worried about comments, so I’ve got some too-ashamed-to-disclose hacks I’m contemplating to overcome the importing dilemma. If anyone wants to help with this goal, I’ll contribute as much as I can to making a formal Habari migration plugin.

Once I were to overcome that obstacle, the goal then would be to design a magazine-ish style theme that would allow for sections based on tags. As I find myself blogging more and more about the iPhone, I’ve been concerned that it might turn off the few readers I have. Building on the tag based sections would also allow me to better offer tag based feeds—though I don’t know if it’s possible to create a feed by excluding a tag ;-). I’m sure I could easily redirect the feed from the cooking site to a /atom/tag/food (or what ever the structure is).

So I’m hoping that one of the 25 odd subscriber/readers might have an opinion on such a move in both how it might effect me search engine wise, and what your opinion would be on having such a diverse amount of content.

Posting With iPhone

screenshotSo I was looking at mobile blogging apps, assuming I couldn’t post directly from Safari on the iPhone, but alas, it seems I can!

Holy cow, I can even post from the Flickr silo!

This kinds blows my mind. Certainly not a primary mode of blogging, but to be able to take a photo with the camera, upload to Flickr, then write a blog post is kinda amazing.

Edit (not via iPhone) To be clear, my amazement isn’t in the iPhone, rather, in the quality of design and code of Habari that it just works, even in the mobile Safari browser.

Writing Style for Blogs

Interestingly enough, Owen writes about his blogging style; I was remarking the other night that no wonder no one reads my blog, the posts are too long.

I’ve been trying to blog more, but tend to write these long diatribes, which smack against the conventions of online writing that I’ve read. I used to tell myself that I blogged for my own benefit, and that I didn’t care if anyone read it, but I’m fooling myself. Every time I write something, I find myself checking stats and looking for comments, so obviously I do care. To that end I am also looking to tailor my blogging style to cater to easier digestion, regular readership and the potential for a discussion to ensue.

I have a few references (actually, Bleacher Report has quite a bit of good reference, be it sports related or not), but am looking for more. Do you have any quality references for online writing?

Update – I’ve found a few links that have some good information.

I’ll update this list as I find additional resources.

Why Twitter is Just…Cool

First, I’ve oft meant to write something about Twitter, specifically since I read Zeldman’s “Self Publishing is the New Blogging”.

And ch-ching was heard in the land. And the (not citizen) journalists heard it, and it got them pecking into their Blackberries and laptops.

And then the writers and designers, ashamed at rubbing shoulders with common humanity, discovered the 140-character Tweet and the Tumblr post. No stink of commerce, no business model, nothing that could even charitably be called content, and best of all, no effort. Peck, peck, send.

I discovered “blogging” and the culture surrounding it just before what I assume is the time when “…(not citizen) journalists heard it…”. It was an exciting discovery, which ultimately lead me to the career I (usually) enjoy now. And as much I probably contribute to the not citizen “pecking at their Blackberries and laptops”, and as much as Twitter has long lost the purity of “not having a stink of commerce”, I personally enjoy the freedom of 140 character rants, without any concern whether anyone is reading them or not. I use Twitter solely because there’s a certain cathartic release in firing off something like “trying to explain browser differences on form styling is like swimming in 3 day old mashed potatoes”.

Anyway, that wasn’t the original intent of this post. Rather, there really is another reason I enjoy Twitter. It’s a compelling way to get a glimpse into the lives of people that you’ve crossed paths with and whom you find interesting or share common interests with, but haven’t had the opportunity to really get to know.

Then something like today happens. I’d been away from technology the last twenty four hours, and wanted a light hearted way of catching up with what was going on in the world, and the web in particular. Plus, there’s always a few good laughs along the way (see @hotdogsladies).

twitterThen this tweet came across Twitterific. First, I’ve not really ever met either Chris or Sean. Chris I began following after he began following me at blogOrlando3. I wasn’t even sure who he was until the brief encounter we had at the after party. (Chris was the lucky guy handing out the drink tickets. Everyone’s best friend for at least 5 minutes.) Afterward I realized that he helped Josh Hallet with the the conference. I, like many people, truly enjoyed blogOrlando, the vibe surrounding it, and felt anyone who put that together or were involved I’d like to eventually get to know. So I follow several people that were at blogOrlando, including Chris, Josh, and Jeremy.

Sean I first encountered in the Habari IRC channel when he came along looking for help with getting some patches committed so he could fix the s9y importer and migrate his blog to Habari. Always excited for a new user/community member, I committed his patches, and soon noticed him hanging around the channel. Long story short, Sean is now part of the PMC of Habari, and can commit his own damn patches now ;-).

My point? I guess after writing this I don’t have something profound to say. I’d just never seen a correspondence between Chris or Sean on Twitter in the time I’ve been following both. Certainly I don’t know either well enough to know if they actually have met, which wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for two developers (who also share a love of great beer, another reason I enjoy their tweets) to have met.

But it gave me one of those smiles and six degrees of separation moments.

Oh, did I mention it gave me a smile after a couple of shit weeks?

Habari .4 released

It’s official, Habari 0.4 DR has been released. It’s hopefully , the last developer release, and with .5 will enter beta status.

I’ve previously discussed what it is about the community that gives me that warm fuzzy feeling, and that continues to be the case as the project grows. It’s especially enriching to see new community members contributing.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this release possible.

For a little more info about the new release, I’ll let one of the newer community members, Michael Harris, outline some of the big changes.

I’m very excited about where this project is going, and can only imagine where it will be a year from now.

Habari 0.3 released

After roughly 3 months, the new developer release of Habari is now available for download. I just saw the 0.2 release was downloaded nearly 11,000 times, which I personally think is great, I’d hope to see double that for the .3 release.

This release has many bug fixes and features added, for both the coder and user. Personally, I contributed a fair amount of work on documentation, including my continued work on the manual, as well as getting my coding hands dirty a bit working on the first steps to overhaul the admin interface.

Participating in this community has been one of the few bright spots in my otherwise gloomy year, and I’d like to personally thank all of those who participate. I’ve also expanded my “tech” knowledge, specifically in relation to using more of the CLI and subversion. I actually managed to move a repository the other night from my local machine to a new repository on my Media Temple server that they provide. I’ve now even ventured into using macports to set up my old laptop to be a better mobile development environment, as MAMP for Panther doesn’t support PHP 5.2 (but that’s for a future post).

Suffice to say, I’m looking forward to the Habari community growing, and great things to come. Even if you aren’t ready to switch blog platforms, I’d highly suggest downloading and checking it out, and by all means, keep abreast of development. It’s a fun and inviting community, with a lot of excitement for what it’s future holds.

Also stay tuned for a soon to be updated version of Mzingimy Habari theme framework, to leverage some of the new features available to themes.

ScribeFire

I’ve been quite lazy in posting to my blog(s), and am testing out ScribeFire. I spend so much time of my day in Firefox, it only seems logical to find a solution that would allow me to manage drafts and posts from within the browser.  Particularly for asides and tidbits.  We’ll see how this works out, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll actually blog, and not just work on them

Powered by ScribeFire.

Live Designing

In the true spirit of blog design, I’m doing it live on the site, vs working offline. Not that anyone really ventures to this domain yet anyway. If you have stumbled in, thanks, and hopefully things will be functioning normal by the end of the weekend.

For Real This Time

OK. I’m officially going to start blogging here at bloggingmeta, to what ever degree that means. It may just be a few things web related, and setting up a lifestream, but I will relegate my personal domain for just that, personal blogging, be it political or what not, but all things internet/blogging/web related will go here. I’m really excited about using Habari, and have wanted to start using this domain for some time. Now that the DB is somewhat stable, and not as many chances of having to dump the db, I think I’ll be fine. Here’s to the rest of my life while I’m at it.

Blogging the NBA Finals

Blog Maverick
Mark Cuban, blogger and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is blogging the NBA finals. I have to say, his blogging has made it infectious to be a Mav’s fan for the finals. I’m not really a basketball fan, but have a few friends who’ve been watching the playoffs, so I’ve followed along. I also came across Mark Cuban’s blog while checking out some feeds while investigating over at Share Your OPML as the playoffs started. So I’ve been following his blogs while keeping an eye to the playoffs. It’s fun to see things transpire as they have.

9rules Network Adds More Blogs

9rules Network has announced 111 new sites for the network. 111!? Before I go any further, let me say, that I’m not some bitter blogger that was part of the 589 bloggers that were rejected. I would never consider this blog something for a network. I don’t have a niche, I don’t post enough, I simply rant out loud, and a few people actually read it. Period.
But as someone who reads a lot of sites, I once took a site’s acceptance into 9rules as some sort of validation, that perhaps before reading a post, there was a strong chance that the author was going to know what they were talking about, or that the information would indeed be valid. But to water down the network, IMO, with that many blogs in one fell swoop, I can’t help but believe it was a publicity stunt for a group that had recently fallen off the radar, so to speak.
I mean, what better way to get the blogosphere to chatter about you than to “accept” 111 sites into the network. How much traffic directly from those sites is generated alone? Plus those, (I guess I’m buying into the hype by posting this) who comment on the recent events. I must say, I really have a hard time buying any of this, and will now take the 9rules logo on a site with a grain of salt, and that is an injustice to those who have been longer termed members of the network.
I’d like to say I haven’t looked at all 111 sites, and I’m sure they are all fine bloggers in their own right. I simply have a hard time understanding how that many are brought in at once.
I think I might create a snazzy little logo and start my own network. I’m sure at least 100 of those 589 that were not admitted are as good in their own right as the 111 picked. It could be called the Odd Man Out Network. Wonder how much ad revenue that would generate? Anyone interested in joining?

Blogging Identity Crisis

I’m sure I’ve touched on this topic before, but after the reboot, I’ve found myself wanting to simply “blog” more. I still have my cooking site, and mentally beat myself up for not using it more, and wonder if simply marrying it with this site is the best idea. I wouldn’t feel so compelled to produce content for two different sites, as well as keep up with WordPress Station. I could simply write about food, and food topics interspersed with my political rants, web finds, and occasional fishing stories. (Those have been few and far between for sure).
I read more and more blogs these days, and that’s exactly what I’m finding, that the sites are not just specific to one topic, that they truly are extensions of the author. So in a given week, a story about a loved one, web standards, a sporting event, and dinner out can all be intertwined into one site. As I type this, I feel that is where my direction will go, it just seems to make “sense”. Less focus on having to blog about a certain topic, and more on wanting to. Because, in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Trying Out CoComments

CoComments

is open to anyone, though they have a caveat that if server load gets too high, they’ll shut down registration again. I hadn’t really paid attention to it, though I’ve seen it mentioned, but the concept is sound. How often do you leave comments on a blog, and then forget where, and wonder if there was a follow up? Happens to me all the time. I keep tabs on several RSS feeds that a general in nature, and will drop a comment on a strangers blog often, only to fade from my memory. Not anymore, if CoComments works as advertised. You are given a simple bookmarklet to use before you formally submit a comment. You then can keep track of the comments via their site, or better yet, your RSS feed. In addition, you’ll see a box in my sidebar, so visitors can see where I’m visiting and commenting. Another way of building community, in my oh, so humble opinion. Though, I’ve yet to see it in action, I’ve seen it on another’s blog. And I doubt it will take long before I put it in action. So go register if interested, ‘cause it could be like Google Analytics, and close with no notice.

WordPress and Linkblox

So while doing a design for someone, I came across this site – Linkblox. Among some other flash type widgets, this one presents your links in a compact widget, especially if you have them categorized. What’s nifty about this free widget, is that is uses OPML. While not that familiar with it, a quick poke around the forums, I discovered that the links manager built into WordPress already outputs your links in an OPML file. It’s found in your root WP folder at wp-links-opml.php. The linkblox site simply asks for you to point to a OPML file, your URL, and then outputs a script for you to place in your header and sidebar. One for the header, one for the place you want your widget. So what’s nice, is you can continue to use your “link this” bookmarklet, and keep your blogroll/links in your DB, so if the “linkblox” site disappears, or you decide to stop using it, you still have all your blogroll safely at your site. The advanced customization for the widget gives you quite a bit of color customization, and the site promises this is a work in progress, which is why they are hosting the script, so that can make upgrades seamlessly behind the scenes.