Adventures in blogging

This an odd blog post as this month will be the 14th anniversary of me owning the welshtroll.co.uk domain.
I have been using the name welshtroll since around 2008 and my website content was housed on various 3rd party site such as Tripod and could only be reached via Tripod URL, the static content was usually updated once a week/month. The original domain just redirectly to the hosted site rather than me purchasing hosting as it was very pricey at the time.

2000
Looking back it felt like a lot of work for not much content, but then it was more humbling knowing that you had hand-coded the HTML for each page, far more rewarding for me as a website owner but also from a programming stance too.
Of course the content suffered and truly wasn’t that good as idea of personal blogs we’re only really defined in the couple of years beforehand.

2001
The wayback machine indicates that I had a huge flash movie that acted as a button, of course no link means the rest of the site wasn’t captured.

2002
Fast forwarding, we find a different host and a dark looking website with 6 authors attempting to hold together a collection of news/reviews/jokes and more. The menu system in use maybe java but I’m not sure.

2003
The site is re-themed, the flash and java are no more and the website is full screen, which in the day would have been 800 or 1024 pixels, when viewed on a 1600px it looks rather pants.
This version of the website was where I coded my own Content Management System, it was quite an ordeal but rather educational.

2004
Another redesign and the website has a calendar and the content looks like a cross between a blog and twitter. The content was primarily by 2 authors at this point.

2005
The theme remains but the blogging looked to dry up around February.

2006
I gave up on writing my own CMS system, moved to a software platform and I removed many of the website components that were not in use any more.

2007
My Blog got hacked, embarrassingly I can’t even tell you well it happened, but I recovered pretty much all the articles. I put the website back together but using a different piece of software that I was more familiar with.

2008
I continue to blog migrate my blog over the WordPress blogging software rather than the community CMS software I was using. I designed some plugins and signed up to Microblogging Sites Jaiku and Twitter.

2009 onwards
At this juncture my blog was more established and I got into the swing of thing, well only occasionally re-theming. My blogs tended to lean toward my favourite pastime gaming and that is what I usually focus on nowadays. If course I’ve had large periods of not blogging and have attempted to pick it back up time and time again.

Retrospective

Writing it all down it looks like I’ve been at this blogging stuff for ages, but in the very early days coding was half the fun and the content was more about the laughs than the quality. The middle years there wasn’t much working going on at my site and I was mostly focused on my clan site that I maintained and a social website that was soaking up 90% of my free time and 80% of my bandwidth.

I may locate some of the old content and archive it here when possible, not sure it will be public facing though, but this has been fun digging back through the history of my site and remembering some of the crazy time trying to get a mailing list working or embedded a survey.

#Blog

As I mean to go on

I was catching up on gamer blogs over the last week when I read “No Year’s Resolution” by Bhagpuss, I have to say I got me wondering about how all my good intentions for my blog fizzle away by the summer months, could this year be different?

I have a terrible habit of re-reading and revising my posts for longer than needed, this is partially due to my dyslexia creeping into text I believe to be correctly written. This either results in me getting bored or the post being out of date by the time I’m hitting publish.

Here are my blog and gaming aims for 2014:

Baby New Year

  • Make time to post at least once a week (it doesn’t have to be war and peace)
  • Add more bloggers to my reader and website links
  • Complete any unfinished games on Steam, with a wrap up post maybe?
    • Complete the main Skyrim storyline before April.
  • Tidy alot of the legacy blog posts that have dead links or missing images.
  • Cover some more board game related stuff as I have a new group forming this year.
  • Use daily commuting time to
    • write up some blog posts or ideas.
    • Read other gaming blog posts

I know, not a massive list of goals but I may add to them as the months elapse, should the need arise.

Look and feel

I have failed to mention the fact that I have a new theme on my website. I’ve become annoyed with pure white and stark black themes that I have been seeking something that didn’t burn my eyes if viewed first thing in the morning.

It’s a tweaked version of a downloadable theme by James Barclay (http://everythingisgray.com/), and I find it rather smart and easy going at the same time.

What do you think?

Gaming Charts

Charts

As you may be aware I enjoy looking at the stats that GamerDNA captures for XFire usage, it is a simple yet effective  method of showing how much time was spent and what percentage was spent on each game. I’m truely suprised that XFire doesn’t capture such data already.

At the start of January I reviewed my XFire data for the month of December, I wanted to see how frequently I played certain games. I pumped the data into the handy Google Chart API which then displays an image based on the information provided.

When February came around I wanted to do a similar task but rather than having to trawl through the data and craft the url to generate the Chart I decided to automate the process. So in a frenzied weekend of wracking my brain into remembering PHP, I created a page that automatically reads the RSS feed of my gamerDNA experiences and uses the XFire data held within to generate the URL for the Google Chart.

64px-gnome-x-office-spreadsheetsvg

After a few hours cursing at stupid errors I finally created a fully working tool that achieved the result I was aimming for. Once this had been tested a few dozen times it suddenly occurred to me that It would be easy enough to allow other GamerDNA members with XFire experiences to generate their own charts.

http://charts.welshtroll.co.uk/

It’s not all that pretty but providing the username entered has XFire experiences on GamerDNA in the last 30 days it will “hopefully” generate a nice little chart. I’m hoping to enhance the functionality to include the ammount of time played as well, but that can wait for now, small steps to start.