31 Posts

There are some people for whom blogging appears easy and they embark on challenges like writing a post everyday for year. I’m not one of those.
I take my time writing, then rewriting my blog posts in order to get them to a state I’m happy with.

Rather than biting off more than I can chew by trying to write for a whole year, I’ve signed up for Belgast’s Blaugust event, the core focus is to blog everyday during August.

I’m hoping it will help me focus on the writing since taking a few weeks off while feeling unwell, I’ve got out of the habit to a certain extent.

Blogging with WordPress

Since migrating my blog to WordPress I haven’t regretted the decision. Mine of course is a hosted blog rather then using a free or hosted one over at http://wordpress.com.

The good thing is much of the process is now automated, updates automatically install, of if you rather it will prompt you to update. In the old days when you needed to download the update, migrate the files to the server using FTP and hope that nothing broke in the process.

Via the application

The editor in WordPress is very good, infact compared to many editors it’s leaps ahead. Editing a new post is usually a straight forward process and you can adjust the editing box size as needed.

Another option that has been introduced is the “Distraction free writing” mode that removes all the surrounding menus and options to help you focus on the writing. If you combine this with the feature that many Browser have now to enter full screen mode, you can make it truly distraction free. (For Windows machine F11, For Macs fn+ F11).

3rd Party blogging tools

There aren’t that many 3rd party clients that are maintained nowadays. Following advice from CopperBird during the original Newbie Blogger Initiative, I downloaded and installed Microsoft’s Live Writer software. If you want to give this a try you can get it here http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/confirmation.aspx?id=8621, you can just install the Live Writer element of the install by selecting custom install and unchecked the other elements.

The software is simple and handles most of the functionality I need,  you are able to upload drafts or publish straight to your blog if you’d rather. It’s quite a useful tool if you don’t want to to have to be online as drafts are saved locally, useful if you are on a laptop with no internet connection.

Android App

The WordPress App is rather helpful, I tend to use the one on my phone for jotting down ideas and on occasion hitting publish on a pre-written post. I also use the application on my Nexus where I tend to write up drafts of new posts. Of course most of the spelling and writing issues may stem from how well you and your auto-correct get on, or if you are on a bus.

Now I shall share with you a few words of warning on using the mobile application (At least Android) as there are a few bugbears that I feel I should tell you about:

  1. The default status for a new post is Published, so if you upload it to your Blog it will be published immediately, alter this in post settings (cog symbol)
  2. It’s not initially clear how the saving and updating posts works, if you exit a post and it prompts to save with a Yes, No & Discard box this will save locally to your device, you instead need to hit the send button to upload it to the server (Remember about the draft status if you do)
  3. On the setting for each post it stored the date and time, this can often get set to the last edit date and time, if you go into the settings and press immediately this will not set the fields until you publish
#NBI #Wordpress

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.


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.


A month without plastic

I've been following an interesting blog for the past few days over at the bbc website, written by Chris Jeavans.

Chris is attempting to go for one month without buying or accepting anything which contains plastic or is packaged in plastic. A very challenging task and she has the plastic from a month with plastic for comparision at the end.

An interesting read if you get the time.