Spring, and Return of the Botweed

Spring has come to Changing Way, with new content blooming. But weeds, the form of spam comments, are also appearing, and Akismet isn’t a completely effective weedkiller. I’ll help it, by manually marking the comments in question as spam.

I hope that the change of seasons is going well for you.

Teahouse in Spring 3I took the photo about a year ago, at Brookside Gardens.


Frozen is the word because:

  • It describes this site, to which I made only two posts in 2013.
  • It describes the DC area, which has been below freezing point for a while.
  • I loved the movie of that name.

frozen-flowerHere’s Olaf the snowman enjoying a flower, and the prospect of warmer weather.

It’s due to get warmer round here too. I may well take the kids to Whitetail for skiiing on Sunday. I expect higher temperatures than we’ve had recently (>40 F, not many in C, but at least >0). I also expect lower numbers of people than usual on a weekend (I think that some sports event is taking place that day).

This site will come out of hibernation, or whatever it was. Unfrozen sounds like a good title for tomorrow’s post.

A New Year – for schools, and…

It’s Labor Day weekend here in the USA. That traditionally marks the end of summer, in a way that seemed strange and sharp to me when I moved over here from Europe.

Things are starting up again. Maddie is already back at school, having started at Bannockburn Elementary on Monday.

It’s time for me to start inflicting myself on the web again, after having taken the summer more of less off. There were lots of reasons for the shutdown. One was that I realized I had set up too many sites. An idea, a new and cool (to me at least) URL, a little WordPressing, and voila! a new site. So which sites to shut down? Which sites to keep active? Which sites belong somewhere in between those two extremes?

There is one site for which the answer is sadly obvious. That’s the site for the PTA of Highland Elementary School. Since Maddie no longer attends Highland, and we no longer live a short walk away, I can’t continue to provide content for that site, or to be actively involved. Its state is: leave on the web, hope that someone takes it over, be very willing to help them do so.

The answer is just as obvious for this site. Changing Way is my home, home on the web. I’ll start posting here again, covering such vital topics as moving house, staying on the internet when Verizon strike and Comcast cable is hit by lightning, and so on.

Thanks for reading!

Thinking of Self-Hosting

WordPress.com has hosted Changing Way for almost three years now. I’m thinking of moving it to a different host, although sticking with WordPress. It would then go back to being a WordPress.org blog, that is, a blog running the free software that can be downloaded from the .org site. That’s not because I have complaints about WordPress.com.

I agree with timethief that due to WordPress.com’s free and premium features, wordpress.com is not only a great place to start blogging, but may even be your last stop. I agree with the rest of her recent post on making the move to self-hosting: the official account of the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is very good; most people make the move to .org intending to make money from their blog.

My thought of moving is financial in a couple of ways. First, it’s almost time to pay for another year of my premium features (mapping the domain changingway.org to this blog, and CSS). Second, I’m paying for hosting and am running some WordPress blogs at WanderNote.com, so I could host this one there at no extra cost. But I don’t see Changing Way as a moneymaker.

But the two scissor-blades that might cut Changing Way loose from WordPress.com and send it to WordPress.org (and to WanderNote) are… WordPress.com and WordPress.org. There are some WordPress.com restrictions that I find irritating, even though I can understand why they are in place: no plugins, limited selection of themes, no MP3 files (yes, I could get another premium features, yes MP3s can live elsewhere and still be played, but…) and son on.

From the other side, WordPress.org became rather easier to administer with the release of version 2.7 just over a year ago. Upgrading to a new version since then requires just a single click from the WordPress admin interface, rather than leaving WordPress to move files around. Finding and installing plugins became similarly straightforward, and simpler management of themes followed in 2.8.

I have a few qualms about moving. For example, the WordPress.com shortcodes aren’t part of base WordPress.org. But I don’t see any of them as a showstopper.

More on this soon…

Quitting Quiet Quarter

It has been a quiet quarter at Lake ChangingWay. In other words, I didn’t post much in Jan/Feb/Mar. Time to get past that, and make Apr/May/Jun more lively – springlike even – round here. Coming soon is a post reviewing what I found interesting (e.g., starred in Google Reader, or started to draft a post on) the 2009 so far.

Georgia on My Blog

What does your blog’s font say about you? Drawn! suggests that you should consult Typocalypse.

Given that I’m using the Simpla theme here (modified, but the font stays the same) I am a Georgia (as in font) boy. So what does that say about me? Georgia is not one of the fonts in the photoset, but if you look at the comments on the set, you’ll see a question about Georgia, followed by this excellent answer.

you are always looking for the alternative whenever you can. Georgia instead of Verdana. So you are bluntly neglecting the idyllic state of sans serif conformism.

Yes I am.

Autumn Blog Cleaning

It’s autumn: my calendar tells me that the equinox fell on September 22. That’s as good a reason as any to do the blog cleaning I’ve been meaning to get around to for a while.

The screen capture shows the blog as it was before the autumn cleaning. The sidebar is now a lot shorter. Search is now at the top: I used to offer a Google custom search that searched not only this blog, but also some of my older and other blogs, but this has been my main blog for long enough that the simple blog search box will suffice. The tag cloud has gone. And so on.

There are a couple of things I wish I could have changed. There’s that annoying gap at the top right: I’d like to shuffle the sidebar up into it, and perhaps I could if I was willing to wrestle with CSS a little. And, for some reason, WordPress.com has changed the Simpla theme under me and given the post footer more space: I don’t think I could CSS my way out of that one.

This is the latest episode of Simpla Way, as I call my version of the Simpla theme. I considered switching to a different theme, but I’ll stick with Simpla, at least until it’s time to give this blog a spring 2009 clean.

Changing Blog

Blogging is changing, as it should. To use a ridiculously broad brush, blogging used to be at the center of Web 2.0. Now the term Web 2.0 has got rather worn round the edges, and we have social media.

Blogging is certainly a player in social media, but it’s not a young trendy player. The young trendy players are less about content, either because they emphasize connection (e.g., Facebook) or because they don’t allow room for much content (e.g., Twitter).

That said, the blogosphere is still rather crowded, especially in the Tech Town area. Looking at Tech Town, it seems to get particularly busy at two points in the week. Monday is usually a hectic day. Them at the end of the week, it’s tech review post time.

I think I’ll set up a stall between those two points. So, starting this week, Changing Way will feature a midweek review. But midweek I mean Wednesday, so don’t be surprised to see the review appear on Thursday, or even Tuesday.

I’m not sure what to call it. A combination of Hump Day and Panorama suggests Humporama, but I suspect that name is already in use at sites less family-friendly than this one.

Visions of TLDs Danced in Their Heads

Top level domains (TLDs) such as .com, .org, .uk, .tv, are currently governed by strict rules. Icann just voted to relax those rules. So, all over the world wide web, nerds, organizations, squatters, and others are making lists of the TLDs they’d like.

Forgetting for a moment that I can’t afford it, I would of course like the TLD .way, or at least the URI changing.way. And no.way. I’d give theresmorethanone.way to The Perl Foundation.

If I were a squatter, I’d be after .ono, and would attempt to extort money from Yoko and from B. But I will be a mere spectator as the TLD land grab gets under way. Under.way… now there’s another nicely-URI’d corner of my empire to be…

Two Remarkable Things

A platypus called Frankie just left a comment on this blog. I found this so remarkable that I broke my Twitter silence to tell my legions of followers about it.

As to the second remarkable thing, I’ll leave it to you to decide which of the following best qualifies.

  • The platy is called Frankie. That’s a very unusual name among duck-billed mammals.
  • An Australian (Frankie) complimented a pom (me).
  • Twitter was up.