Blogging

The 2016 Glastonbury packing list

It’s that time of year again and this year I’m going to keep a list of the things I take to Glastonbury – so I can track what gets used/forgotten.
So to start the list…

Essentials

  • Good walking boots
  • Rucksack (65l)
  • Daysack
  • Tent – 3 man
  • Sleeping bag
  • Inflatable mattress – I’m getting old
  • Electric pump – I’m lazy as well
  • Head torch (x2) – nothing beats a good head torch
  • Waterproof blanket – good for sitting on after its been raining
  • Chair
  • Table

Cooking

  • Mini table – to cook on
  • Burner
  • Wind guard
  • Toast adapter
  • Flint and steel
  • Cooking set (anodized aluminium) – I’ve yet to find a good non-stick option
    • Frying pan
    • Small pot
    • Large pot
  • Bowls – collapsible to save space
  • Cup
  • Cutlery
  • Chopping board
  • Spatula
  • Tongs
  • Ladle
  • Sharp knife
  • Salt, pepper, chili and curry powder
  • Washing up liquid
  • Wash cloth
  • Collapsible washing-up bowl
  • Water carrier

Weather

  • Waterproof coat
  • Waterproof trousers – even if its forecast glorious sunshine!
  • Waterproof poncho – I pack 2; lightweight for emergencies; heavier duty for being on shift
  • Warm coat/fleece – it does get cold
  • Gators
  • Waterproof hat
  • Glasto hat 🙂

Other

  • Water bottle
  • Travel battery – to keep phones topped up
  • Leatherman tool set

Clothes

  • 1 x Jeans
  • 1 x trousers
  • 7 x socks
  • 7 x underwear
  • 3 x shorts
  • 5 x t-shirts
  • 3 x shirts
  • 1 x warm jumper/long top

 

 

The friendliness of crowds

To say work has been busy would be an understatement.
It seems every week brings an opportunity to go and visit a different element of the country to help with something.
This has meant I’ve got far more familiar with trains and public transport than ever before – almost intimately!

But travelling is a great place to observe crowd behaviour and how people tend to follow what everyone else is doing.

Two examples struck me…

Part of the journey involved the new train station at Birmingham New Street.
Now I’ always one for leaving things behind normally coats in pubs) – but on this occasion it was on the train.
Actually this whole trip had a colleague basically collecting things I’d forgotten like a mother following a three year old.
We’d arrived at New Street and had to change…it was around rush hour and we had about 7 minutes to make the connection.
Things were rushed and my coat was the lat thing on my mind – and really not on my mind until half way down the plat form.

So dilemma – run back onto the train and hope I can fight my way to my old seat? Or just give up and buy a new coat.

I chose to try – and if I got trapped on the train it would at least make an interesting story (plus my colleague would have to get my luggage back to south wales).

SO the train is now jammed packed with passengers getting on with no chance of me getting to my seat to rescue the coat.

The solution – just shout down the train and ask people to pass it back…and without hesitation that is what everyone did. No questions or no second thoughts.

I was relieved.

The other example involved the layout of the new station.
With everyone a little unsure there tended to be some herd mentality going on. As the crowd rushed into the new station from the arriving trains most people simply followed the people they were with – normally resulting in hitting various bottle necks and dead ends. There were clearly signs directing people but these weren’t glanced at in preference to the assumption that the people in front knew where to go.

Any way just some observations.

Peace

G

Back to reality…

So holiday blues have well and truly settled in…

  • Partly the lack of beautiful blue ocean from my bedroom window
  • Partly not enjoying firepits with good friends
  • Partly the ecstasy and agony of a go-live in work
  • Partly…or maybe mostly going through Emily’s laptop

It’s a tough job – tougher than I ever thought it would be and something that has made me realise that we all should be responsible for curating our digital lives.

Also there was a complete mixup with the renewal of remission possible – something that again would be helped by thinking about the digital foot print we leave behind. Not that I’d want or expect Emily to have done anything differently – more that I should sort out my crap.

So today the blues…

…tomorrow the new design for life

Peace,

G

 

Software list

So I picked up a new laptop today Asus ZenBook UX305 – ok it looks like a MacBook air knock off but did everything I needed. Anyway I thought I’d track the Software I install/remove:-

  • Chrome – mainly as I hate IE and love Google
  • GDrive – because most of my stuff is on gdrive
  • KeePass (pro) – keeping my passwords safe
  • inkscape
  • Rainmeter – because desktops are so boring without it
  • Kitty – for all those ssh needs
  • 7zip
  • Skype
  • Libre Office
  • Google Photo – apparently they’ve discontinued Picassa!!
  • Notepad++ – normally I use Atom but needed something a little more lightweight
  • Kitty – these days I prefer it over Putty
  • FileZilla
  • SourceTree – to keep all the dev stuff in sync

…I’ll add more as get this up and running

Developing a new look for remission possible

I’ve taken over responsibility for the Remission Possible website which is currently hosted on WordPress.com

The plan is to develop a new look for the site then migrate the content over before relaunching the site along with a calendar of fundraising events.

Easy…

So here I will keep track of what I’ve done in case I ever need to retrace/work out what I did.

Step 1

Installing a fresh copy of wordpress on a subdomain of galiquis to start developing the new look…once it’s all ready switch it to the main domain address for remission possible.

  • Create new folder
  • Create new subdomain pointint to new folder
  • Create new Database
  • SSH into 1and1
  • cd to correct folder
  • wget https://wordpress.org/latest.tar.gz –no-check-certificate
    I needed to add the cert check
  • untar the file – tar xfvz latest.tar.gz
  • mv ./wordpress/* ./
  • Now go to the new domain which should then initiate the config of WP

All done!

Peace

G

 

 

 

Setting up Git with 1&1

Next in my quest to move my website design to a more professional workflow is using version control more thoroughly.

For me this means getting to grips with a little app that I’ve been avoiding for a few years – GIT!

So what’s my goal….
Basically I want a local development server that links to a remote ‘live’ server – giving me the ability to test content and develop apps, whilst being able to go back a few steps and branch my development.

This post will track my first attempt – so I’ll probably tidy up things in a guide later…

As a first attempt I’m going to follow this guy:-

http://blog.woodylabs.com/2012/01/1and1-web-hosting-git-installing-it-for-singular-dev/

…and as this is a little bit of an experiment I’ll be attempting it first on the dev.galiquis.com section.

  • Open SSH session
  • cd to dev.galiquis.com root folder
  • create two new directories:-
    • …/dev/live (live site)
    • …/dev/repo (git repository to store all the changes)
  • Next create the local folder to develop in (part of the WAMP Server folder structure)
  • right click in folder > select ‘git bash here’ > type ‘git init’
  • Back to SSH
  • Change directory to the repo directory > ‘cd ./dev/repo’
  • type ‘git init –bare’ > message “Initialized empty Git repository…”

The next step is slightly different from the guide I’m following….

  • ‘vim ./hooks/post-receive’ (opens vim with a blank new document ‘post-recieve’
  • ‘i’ to insert text into the new file, typing:-
    • #!/bin/sh
    • GIT_WORK_TREE=”../live” git checkout -f
  • ‘esc’ to exit insert mode > ‘:’ > wq (save and quit)

Next we need to make it executable…and back to the guide…

  • chmod +x ./hooks/post-receive

### so far so good – but the next stage (establishing a SSH link) is causing problems ###

The solution to my SSH headache was turning to GUI tool – SourceTree

It was a simple install and when pointed at the local dev folder it piked everything up.

But the SSH issue…

  • Tools > Options > General
  • I took the opportunity to ad in my name and email in the global settings…
  • set SSH Client to Putty/Pink – leaving the tick in Auto start SSH agent > ok
  • Tools > Create or Import SSH Keys
  • I decided to create a new key…
    • Click ‘Generate’, then move your mouse randomly while it generates a key for you
  • Once created I saved private and public versions in my user folder
  • Tools > Options > General
  • SSH Client Configuration > SSH Key > navigate to, and select the new private key > ok

Thats the key configured, now the connection

  • Still in SourveTree > ‘Settings’ > ‘Add’
  • ‘Remote name:’ > enter an identifier name
  • ‘URL / Path’ > ‘ssh://[username] @ [host] / [remote repo folder]
  • ‘Host Type’ > Unkown > ok > ok

Finally test the connection using ‘push’…password entered and it all works 🙂

 

Peace

G

 

WordPress migration to a new host – Part 2

Preparing the new platform

  1. Create a new directory
  2. Create a new SFTP account
  3. Create a new mySQL DB and user
  4. Update wp-config.php
  5. Update DNS to point to the new folder

Create a new directory

Just one minor rant before I get started – 1&1 your cPanel replacement is rubbish!!!

Anyway job number 1 is creating a folder on the server for everything to be dumped into.

  • Log into 1&1 admin page > left-hand menu ‘Web Hosting Overview’ > WebspaceExplorer

This brings up a new page with an embedded folder view.

  • ‘New folder’ icon or select ‘file’ > ‘New folder’
  • type the folder name > ok

Create a new SFTP account

  • Left-hand panel ‘Secure FTP account’
  • Select ‘New user’ button
  • Complete desired:-
    • User name – or more precisiely the second half of the desired username as it uses the main account name as the first half.
    • Password, also with a ‘Repeat password’
    • Description – one habbit I’ve made myself get into is always writing meaningful descriptions to my future self
    • Directory – point this at the newly created directory above
  • click the ‘save’ button

Rather than creating a global account and using this for all sites I’m compartmentalising everything – to keep it all segregated and in order.

Create a new mySQL DB and user

  • Left-hand panel ‘MySQL Database’
  • Select ‘New database’ button
  • Complete the desired info:-
    • Description of the new database
    • Version of the new database : MySQL 5.5
    • Password & Repeat password
  • Click ‘set up’
  • Note down the details of the database
  • Click ‘Go To Overview’

Update wp-config.php

Next the new database settings need to be added tot he wp-config file.

  • In the root directory of the downloaded site open wp-config.php with a text editor – Notepad++ for me.
  • Change the following, to the values from above:-
    • define(‘DB_NAME’, 1&1databasename’);
    • define(‘DB_USER’, 1&1username’);
    • define(‘DB_PASSWORD’, 1&1password);
    • define(‘DB_HOST’, 1&1hostname’);
  • Save this

Update DNS to point to the new folder

  • Left-hand panel > Domains
  • Click ‘Transfer domain from another provider’
  • ‘Domain check’ > type in the domain > select the right top level endind > click ‘check’
  • select/check ‘Point DNS to 1&1 name servers and keep your current registrar.’ > ‘next’
  • select ‘Use the 1&1 mail servers.’ > next
  • Note down the details > click ‘order’

Next the new domian needs to be pointed at the right folder

  • Left-hand panel > Domains > ‘Manage domains’
  • Select the relevant domain > ‘Edit Destination’
  • In the Webspace section select the desired folder > ‘save’

 

WordPress migration to a new host – Part 1

I intend to do the move in three stages:-

  1. Export and download the current site – files and DB
  2. Prepare the new platform
  3. Upload and Import the content and DB
  4. Alter domain details to point to the correct nameservers

Simple…I hope

First up Satiricalblog.com – which on first look at the admin section reminds me how infrequently I use this blog, kill the spam from the comments section (243 waiting approval) or update things (20 updates pending).

So pre-step 1  is getting it all updated so everything it going across clean.

Export and download the current site

  1. Grab a WordPress export of the site
  2. Export the MySQL Database
  3. Download all WordPress files via SFTP

Grab a WordPress export of the site

Time to grab an export of the site which will contain the posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, and tags

  • Log into the admin section -> Tools -> Export
  • Select ‘All content’
  • Click ‘Download Export File

Doing this just highlights my frustration with my current hosting package as several times I ran into ‘502 bad gateway’ error messages. However I still ended up with a fairly hefty xml file.

The above phase isn’t 100% necessary as I’m going to take an extract of the database but I like the ‘belt and braces’ approach.

Export the MySQL Database

So onto the database extract and for this I need to log into cPanel.

  • From the home screen > Database section > phpMyAdmin

This step again highlighted an important lesson I need to bear in mind on the new platform – keeping database naming conventions in mind and relevant to the site/project. Fortunately I had named this sites DB something relevant – more by luck than judgement.

  • In phpMyAdmin select the database from the left-hand panel
  • Then in the right-hand panel click ‘export’
  • Select the option ‘Quick – display only the minimal options’
  • Select the ‘SQL format’
  • Click ‘OK’

This downloads an sql file with all the DB content.

Download all WordPress files via SFTP

Now it’s time to grab the files from my current host via good old ftp.

For this I chose to use WinSCP, having not used ftp clients in many years it seemed to have the best reviews and least malware.

One thing to note here, I grabbed everything rather than getting picky over which files I might need.

So while that transfers I’m going to get some sleep.

Peace

G

Moving time…

The time has arrived where the old EUK hosting package I’m on is no longer big enough for all the work/interest/plans ahead.
Their upgrade plans just didn’t give me what I needed going forward, namely:-

  • SSH acces
  • git
  • unlimited space and websites
  • ruby on rails

So having looked around 1&1 seemed on balance the best choice… and now just the headache of moving everything over.

Luckily there are plenty of support guides around and more than a few low priority blogs that aren’t critical if things go wrong…

Peace

G

Trade tracker page

I decided last week that I needed to do a better job of tracking the buys/sells that I was doing. Although my trading career is still in its infancy I was finding it difficult to remember where I bought shares and the thinking behind them. The solution – a simple tracking table linked to the articles where I research – easy!

So my first inclination was just to code this directly into a html table and update it each week – then I go into thinking about the overhead of doing this after 1-2 years.

I needed something slicker that was more spearsheet-esque…and after a very short search I came across a data table generator by Supsystic:-

https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/data-tables-generator-by-supsystic/

The key benefits for me being:-

  • No complicated td tr coding
  • Support for the typical excel-style formulas
  • Easy CSS integration – simple to vary colours and fonts
  • Searching, ordering and pagination functions

After an hour of playing around waiting for Steph & Isaac to get ready for Delyth’s party I had what I needed with all the data…check it out:-

http://www.galiquis.com/index.php/blog/trade-tracker/

Peace

G

Updates becoming sparse again so I need to up my output and get the discipline back…not that I’ve been idle.

I’ve been working on satiricalblog.com and coming up with a new layout that is just about ready – the next step looking at freshening up the content and then advertising it more widely.
The idea being that it’ll be a good test case for some of the social media work and ideas to increase traffic.

But there are a few things eating into my time and motivation:-

  • Emily
  • Preparing for Glastonbury
  • Applying for my job

Also, a point raised by David B, how much do I want to associate my public profile (twitter/Reddit/pintrest) with my cartoons?
Is there a risk of a twitter storm… does it matter?

Lots to consider…

Anyway ramble ramble…

fixing the WordPress white screen of death

One of my biggest frustrations with WordPress has been the amount of times that, at seemingly random times, I would get a completely blank screen.
Now a little research, and enabling debug messages, turned up that this was typically due to various plugins overloading the php memory limit.

The mighty google thre up a few solutions, none of which seemed to work:-

  • increase the limit in php.ini – as I’m on a shared hosting platform this wasn’t editable (is that even a word?)
  • override the limit per directory via .htaccess – which just resulted in the whole site throwing an internal server error (500)
  • override the limit at run time via by adding [define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘128M’);] to wp-config.php – which seemed to make no difference
  • override the limit per script by adding [ini_set(‘memory_limit’, ‘128M’);] to the relavent functions that are causing issues – again no dice

So I was almost at the point of raising a ticket with my hosting provider in the depressing anticipation of being told that increasing memory limits wasn’t an option on my bargin basement proce plan.

Then I had a though

Then I checked my research and spotted a tiny flaw….

All the articles I’d read were between 3 and 5 years – PHP had moved on quite a bit.

More research – some sleep – planting some sunflowers – and I found the answer

Since PHP 5.3 “.user.ini” can be used to override php.ini on a per directory basis – so in effect is the new .htaccess

Very simple – very straightforward and very workable….

http://kb.site5.com/php/how-to-make-custom-php-changes-using-a-user-ini-file/

 

Happy happy – now I can turn on all those lovely plugins that I had been skimping on

 

I think I’m getting old

For no other reason than I’m developing an appreciation for country music…or more specifically Bluegrass music.

Strange how your tastes change as you get older….

Sunday…

Sunday Sunday,

well as weeks go it’s been fairly good…
I’m back into blogging – back drawing – back working towards hitting a few goals.

However, the highlight has to be Isaac picking his first strawberry from the garden:-

So all good!

I think the aim for the coming week is to sort out the lights in the front room and the sink in the downstairs toilet. Both simple and straight forward jobs, but both needing some application and fitting it around everything else.

On the blogging front it seems I’m continually hitting memory issues which are causing the dreaded ‘White screen of WordPress death’.
Although there is a work around that invovles turning off certain pluggins to edit or post anything new I don’t think this is sustainable in the long term.

I need to be able to edit php.ini but this is only a read only file in the current hosting environment – so….it looks like I might have to raise a ticket.

Peace,

G

Finally found the song that’s been bugging me…

So Wednesday I had one of those moments when the perfect song came on at the perfect moment.
Complete serendipity…

But my memory for songs is nothing like Mr Bradshaw’s and I wasn’t quick enough with shazam which left me in a dilema.

So this song has been bugging me for days disco/funky/house….all about love…
Do you know how many songs go on about love, desire, hearts skipping a beat? Thousands!

But through a little persistence I found it…

A night of not much…

Well that isn’t strictly true.

I’ve finally hit on a perfect theme for satiricalblog.com and so have made the move to port it over to wordpress.
So hopefully soon I can get back to drawing – certainly there is enough going on in the world.

Oh and I started a few ‘1 second everyday’ films 🙂

Anyway DJSam has been hard at work with a new mix…

Get Dancing Presents Modern Northern Soul DJ Set by Dj Sam Bradshaw – Get-Dancing on Mixcloud

11.11

It seems today has been brought to me by the number 1.
From the events of 11.11 this morning to stumbling across 1second-everyday.

So 1SE got me thinking (again) about how I need to get back into blogging (again) and it might be a nice quick way to track things in this my 40th year.
But then I thought the realms of this blog probably give me a little more scope…or maybe both.

Anyway back to daily blogging – I will get my Mojo back.

And the song of the day…
Jackson Sisters – I Believe in Miracles – 1973 (which played at 11.11 today)

Underscores step by step – Step 3, HTML layout

Before getting into the nitty gritty of applying CSS it’s worth taking some time to understand the HTML structure of the page in _s.

Conceptually I always think of an HTML page as a series of boxes each nested inside one another – each having a unique name with different types of boxes sharing characteristics.
In HTML terms there are three important ways of identifying and categorising these boxes:-

  • ID – a unique name used to identify a specific element on a page/document
  • Class – used to assign general properties to one or many elements on a page/document
  • Role –  ARIA “role” attribute helps make it easier for those using assisitive technology devices to navigate through the page

So for _s and most WP themes

  • Page container  <div id=”page” class=”hfeed site”>
    • Site header <header id=”masthead” class=”site-header” role=”banner”>
      • <hgroup>
      • navigation <nav class=”site-navigation main navigation” role=”navigation”>
    • Main content <div id=”main” class=”site-main”>
      • main area – primary <div id=”primary” class=”content-area”>
        • site content <div id=”content” class=”site-content” role=”main”>
      • widget area – secondary <div id=”secondary” class=”widget-area” role=”complimentary”>
      • widget are – tertiary <div id=”tertiary” class=”widget-area” role=”supplementary”>
    • Site footer <footer id=”colophon” class=”site-footer” role=”contentinfo”>
      • site info <div class=”site-info”>

Or to more easily visualise it https://themeshaper.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/html-visual1.png

Peace

G

Underscores step by step – Step 1, under the hood

So as discussed previously I’ve decided to build a new WordPress theme and instead of pulling the normal trick of simply creating a child theme I thought I’d take the plunge and develop my own from (almost) scratch using ‘_s’. To recap underscores (_s) is a popular starter theme maintained by Automattic (yeah the WordPress.com people) which keeps itself upto date with all the HTML5 standards and best practice.

This first article simply peers under the hood and looks at what you get with the zip file from underscores.me

Template structure

Unsurprisingly _s keeps itself in line with the WordPress template hierarchy and naming conventions and a quick run through the list of files that form _s will see a number of familiar names.

underscores_templates
All the standard template files are all present:-

  • index.php – the main template file
  • archive.php – like index.php but displays content based on a set of criteria, e.g. date range, specific author, category, tag etc
  • page.php – for content out of chronological order, or put simply for pages that do not need all that blog metadata
  • content-single.php – for where single posts will be displayed away from the normal index.php – allowing them to be carry a different design
  • header.php – modular component that includes the header information for the templates
  • footer.php – modular component that includes the footer information for the templates
  • sidebar.php – modular component that includes the sidebar information for the templates
  • 404.php – the ever useful 404 page for when things don’t go to plan.

There are other files included but the above form the core of the theme in terms of crafting the layout.
_s does make use of a modular approach with a corresponding hierarchy which defines which templates get included.

There are a few diagrams available to summarise this hierarchy and show what gets included, two of the better ones being:-

The other key file to note is functions.php which unsurprisingly contain functions for the theme. Broadly this file proivides:-

  • support for WordPress features e.g. custom backgrounds, headers, post formats, etc
  • theme defaults
  • “containers” for code to be reused throughout the theme

style.css

The style.css file contains all the key style info for the template. IT’s well organised and structured into 12 sections:-

  1. Normalize – formally reset
  2. Typography
  3. Elements
  4. Forms
  5. Navigation
    • Links
    • Menus
  6. Accessibility
  7. Alignments
  8. Clearings
  9. Widgets
  10. Content
    • Posts and pages
      • Asides
      • Comments
  11. Infinite scroll
  12. Media
    • Captions
    • Galleries

This both makes it easy to follow and make updates as well as helping if SASS is the end goal.
The other great thing about _s is that it’s fully and clearly commented through out the various files which makes understanding where things go and how they relate a lot more straightforward.

Anyway there we have the key bits of the theme..next article, some key plugins for development.

Peace

G

 

WordPress Theme creation

So part of rekindling of my blogging love is the firm commitment to learn how to create my own themes.
Partly this is due to the frustration at the current crop of themes not quite nailing it, and seemingly growing number that seem to charge for anything above the basics. This of course is a sweeping generalisation that has little basis in any fact other than my irritation that I can’t do out of the box the cool things I want. Also wedded to this frustration is a deep down belief that I probably could do better – the hubris flight leaves soon.

Where to start…

Well a quick tour around google turned up a number of starter themes each based on a variety of different frameworks and approaches. The flexibility of WP as a platform leads to a bewildering number of options to achieve the desired end result. So based on three main factors I picked Underscores (_S), the three factors being:-

  • It came recommended from a number of the top hits in google
  • It was the basis of the WordPress 2015 theme – if they like it it must be good
  • Its designed to just be hacked and pulled around – as opposed to being the parent of a child theme
  • It comes with it’s own config utility on hhtp://underscores.me that allows it to be branded appropriately before download
  • Ok this is factor number 5 – It has one or two great tutorials to follow
    (just to note – I’m anything except a reliable narrator of my own blog)

Having picked a suitably unoriginal theme name I filled out the details on Underscores.me and downloaded my nice new theme.

Installing it was simple and straightforward (as you would expect from WP) and similarly enabling it was straight forward…
Then came the shock of realising just how bare a starter theme can be…
galiquis_naked

Yep it looked like it was designed in the 80’s – which if I had engaged my brain wouldn’t of been such a shock.

But this led to a little complication. Although I wanted to learn the zen of theme building I didn’t want my site to look like amateur hour while I crafted my skills.

Luckily there were, again, lots of options on the font of all modern wisdom (google)… the one I picked was  installing a nifty little plugin called ‘Theme Test Drive‘.
This enables you to run a separate theme as administrator while the general public see a different one. This gave me the flexibility to craft out a new them behind the scenes – learning my craft as I go, while keeping the external view of the site untouched. Also it had a very cool option of allowing a url option to point to the admin theme – allowing a sneak peak.

http://galiquis.com/?theme=galiquis

Anyway its a start and as develop the new theme I’ll be posting here to track what I’ve done, and how it’s worked out.

Peace

G

Somewhere along the way…

I got out of the blogging habit.

There was a time where I’d be posting daily on various subjects and it seems life (that real life away from the keyboard) just got in the way. I blame Isaac being born – if he wasn’t so entertaining I’d be far more productive.

So time to get things a little more on track…

Having now crafted a new blog for Steph – www.touchtreatment.co.uk and got back into a bit of drawing for www.satiricalblog.com I’m in the mood to both spruce things up on here and migrate satirical across to WP (its on blogger at the moment).

Wrapped up in these changes are a few side projects before the intensity of the Pysc degree stars back up, namely:-

  • Learn how to build themes from scratch – well almost from scatch
  • Learn how to code interactive graphics in HTML5 – mainly for a few ideas I have for SatBlog

This is onto of the work I need to do on Number38.org and a few things for Isaac.

Busy times!

Peace

G

Contact forms… which is best

What I’ve learnt from getting back into blogging has been how very different Word Press and Blogger are as platforms. Probably for all the right reasons – it just feels a lot more grown-up and serious.

Anyway I digress (marginally) from the point of this post – which is there are so so many options around design/widgets/forms/formats/categories/tags…almost too much!
It’s similar to the reason I sometimes avoid Subway – a bewildering range of choice.

‘You can have everything!’

…yeah but what if I don’t know what I want?

So I got to reading Jeff Bullas’ blog and a post about the 15 most common mistakes…and the section on contact forms caught my attention. This site is very much a work in progress but I hadn’t thought of really using a contact form – but actually after reading Jeff’s take on it I thought I’d look at putting a simple form together.

Which brings me to choice – there are hundreds of options for plugins that handle forms from a simple html form to cloud based filtered services that will integrate with your CRM. Where’s good old safe and easy blogger when you need it.

This led me into the ‘review minefield’ – multiply the number of plugin options by the number of reviews and suddenly a simple choice is somewhere in the middle of an ocean of information. Which at the speed I read devoured a good few hours.

After looking at all those reviews and ratings what did I decide to do?

Well I listened to Jeff’s advice and installed one of his recommendations.

Moral of the story?
Sometimes choice is good, flexibility and scale-ability is always nice – but sometimes a good recommendation is far better than hours lost in research on a new subject.

G