You Are What You Blog

Reading this article only reaffirms why I’ve been cautious to disclose too much personal information on the ‘net. A number of people have made it clear that my site would be much more interesting if more personal info was divulged. Google is powerful weapon for those who seek to know more. Maybe I should start a separate blog posting anonymously. icon wink You Are What You Blog

…Googling people is also becoming a way for bosses and headhunters to do continuous and stealthy background checks on employees, no disclosure required. Google is an end run around discrimination laws, inasmuch as employers can find out all manner of information — some of it for a nominal fee — that is legally off limits in interviews: your age, your martial status, the value of your house (along with an aerial photograph of it), the average net worth of your neighbors, fraternity pranks, stuff you wrote in college, liens, bankruptcies, political affiliations, and the names and ages of your children.

I fear for the friendster, facebook, myspace generation posting their every thought and photo for the world to see…

WordPress and K2 – Not Playing Nicely With Internet Explorer

Well after spending the better part of two hours installing a script which rotates the header image and creating a bunch of new images to spruce up this blog, I’ve found that it looks like absolute hell in Internet Explorer. Great.

99% of my time on a computer is spent with either Safari or Firefox – never I.E. – yet I realize a vast percentage of the population still loves the archaic browser (why, oh why?). I’ll continue to use K2 with WordPress but need to investigate some ways to make it display more correctly across the board.

What exactly looks so bad in I.E.?

  • the title “javajive” is hitting the “register” button
  • the padding is all messed up – meaning my sidebar is hitting the edge instead of allowing some white space to ‘breath’
  • some icons aren’t supported (time of day, blockquotes, etc)

Oh well – I’m too busy currently to go back and alter all of the header images, so please excuse the mess I’m making of this blog and keep in mind that tonight at midnight – supposedly my domain will transfer to my new host. If all hell breaks loose, keep checking in; I have a long history of breaking things just to see if I can put them back together again. Must be my engineering roots crying out for attention.

Switching Web Hosting

As discussed last week, I’ve decided to switch my web hosting from a company located in Jakarta, to Dreamhost.com.

I’ve had a number of headaches, billing issues, downtime, horrible communication, etc, not to mention the price/benefit ratio is absurd. Here’s an example of what the Indonesian host offers:

4 GB space + 40 GB bandwidth = $45 / month
1 GB space + 15 GB bandwidth = $14 / month
100 MB space + 3 GB bandwidth = $5 / month

OR

Dreamhost offers:

20 GB space + 1 Terabyte of bandwidth = $9.95 / month (both space and bandwidth automatically increase for free every week).

Hmmm…. tough call huh?

Also, I used a referral code and knocked off half of that price and no setup fee. (I’ve made another referral code for $50 off – “javajive” – if anyone is interested).

I’ve already uploaded everything to their servers, but things won’t actually be switched for another day or so (I hope) as I’m waiting for the old host to release the DNS. I’ve tested the majority of my work without problems, but cannot feasibly check this blog out on the new host – I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Please be aware that when they do actually move www.thejavajive.com to the new host, my site may be down for a day or two. I can always be reached via thejavajive (at) gmail (dot) com or via my flickr account.

WordPress 2.01 and K2 Beta Two

You may notice a few slight changes around here. After fighting a horrible combination of random events all plotting to destroy my Sunday morning, this blog is back in working form. I have now upgraded both my blogging software (WordPress) and the style that it utilizes – K2 by Michael Heilemann Both offer significant improvements over previous releases.

The “dashboard” in WordPress 2.01 is much more user-friendly than v1.5. Options are much more intuitive and clearly laid out. K2 offers many new features over the previous version, although many will not be evident to the casual visitor. I also finally switched out the header image for an Ubud scene. Suka?

The WordPress upgrade was not nearly the “famous 5 minutes” that is claimed, but much of that is not due to their software, but rather the fact that I live in a country with Internet services stuck in 1995. In my middle of my upgrading process, Uninet decided to take a dump. Sure I could still upload the required files via FTP – at 30 bytes / sec. No that’s not a typo – 30 bytes, not 30 kilobytes or 30 megabytes – 30 bytes. Does anyone realize just how slow that actually is? Imagine waiting over an hour to upload 1 mb. Yeah, neither can I – which resulted in me saying screw it and going to bed.

Upon waking Sunday morning, refreshed and ready to try again, I struggled for a good two hours before finally finding the problem – my crappy web host changes permissions on random files whenever it feels up to it. What does that mean? That when you upload a file you have to ‘allow’ it to be utilized on different levels – by the owner (me), and the rest of the world.

If things aren’t set perfectly in the right combination you get this beautiful luminescence spreading across the screen where you used to have a blog. Hence my research into Dreamhosting services this evening. (anyone use them?)

If anyone else out there has problems similar to mine, please don’t hesitate to write – I’ll guide you through the mess I made and hopefully can steer you away from making the same mistakes.

Five minutes my a$$.

Blogging Blues. How a 5 minute 'update' became a 5 hour fiasco.

So WordPress claims that the upgrade should take ’5 minutes’ – hmm. It took me over 3 hours last night – at which point I ‘broke’ my blog – if you happened to drop by between 12am (jkta time) and 9am – you would have seen a completely blank page instead of my blog. Great stuff. I gave up last night and left it. Today I found a variety of problems and am slowly bringing it back to life. Please ignore the temporary mess that I’m making (CSS, header image, links, tags, etc). I’ll do my best to get it all back in working form asap, but this is NOT how I planned to spend my Sunday. icon wink Blogging Blues. How a 5 minute 'update' became a 5 hour fiasco.

There’s great wisdom in the “if it ain’t broke…” mentality.

Blogging Bits: Flickr vs. WordPress vs. RSS?

I had no idea so many of you were viewing the blog via RSS, but it seems that the general consensus is that I have two separate groups of visitors – those that check out the blog and those that drop into Flickr. I’m guessing the Flickr community most likely doesn’t view the blog too often and now I see that many of you visit the blog and not Flickr – therefore, I will start posting more of ‘everything’ on both.

The majority of my photographs do revolve around Indonesia, but as I’m continually striving to improve different aspects of my photography, I venture into other subject areas. Two things I’d really like to experiment more with would be portraiture and night shooting. I picked up a book last night from Michel Comte (but resisted buying!) – and felt like a kid with a toy camera after viewing his work.

As you may have noticed (unless you read via RSS icon wink Blogging Bits: Flickr vs. WordPress vs. RSS? ), I’ve started organizing this entire site by the use of more effective archives, technorati tags (fun? annoying?), categories, and an AJAX live search tool (pretty cool if you haven’t tried it). I have yet to categorize about half of the blog’s archives, but it’s on my to-do list. I have also started delving into my ‘blogger’ archives – everything from 2002-2004. I’ll move many of those old posts over to WordPress soon (although I’m definitely seeing a different side of myself in hindsight!).

To answer a few of the comments left on the previous post:

Andy:
By the way, how is Smugmug working so far? Have you been able to verify the quality of the actual prints? Any impressions?

I honestly haven’t given enough time or effort into Smugmug at this point, considering I’ve already paid $100 for the “pro” account. I’ve also only uploaded a half dozen photos, so it’d be unfair for me to make any judgement at this point. I haven’t been able to view any actual prints, as I believe they only ship within the U.S. – I’ll have to have my brother order some for critique.

Elisson:
My usual pathway to javajive is via RSS, so if you post your photos on the blog, it’s easier for me to enjoy ‘em.

When I have the time, I go into the flickr site – but that is not something to do casually. Your work deserves attention, concentration.

javajive is quite possibly the best photoblog out there. Please keep up the excellent work. Baiklah!

I really appreciate your comment, Elisson, but in all honesty, the more I learn about photography, the more I’m feeling like a complete amateur. It’s almost overwhelming to see how much talent is oozing from the creative pores of the ‘net. When I view sites like Quarlo, Chromogenic, Chromasia, Top Left Pixel, Smudo, Big Empty, and File Magazine, I sometimes wonder if I should pack up and move on to another passion.

Carl:
Post here. I find Flickr way to slow to load photos and rarely go back there, even though I am the admin for over a dozen groups based on Asia travel. Also, how is your Flickr Social group doing? Great idea on that one.

Interesting to hear your thoughts on Flickr. As far as Flickr being a great place to display serious work – I’m not too fond of the layout, white background, and comments – but for the community aspect and (generally) useful feedback, I’m stickin with ‘em. I am admin to a few different groups, but the one to really take off has been FlickrSocial with over 2000 members. Unfortunately, I haven’t been active in the group in quite a while, and have appointed some other great people to help out as admins.

On another note, I’ve been slammed with this message every hour today:

The domain thejavajive.com (javajive) has reached 80% of its bandwidth limit.
Please contact the system admin as soon as possible.

Great.

So What Do You Think?

Do you like the re-design? Bland? Boring? Simple? Clean?

I’m not finished yet, but have made some definite progress today. I’ve implemented a variety of changes, some obvious, others not so much. It’s all in the details – like the menu above, the registration on the right side of the header (so you won’t have to always add your info if you want to comment), technorati tags, much more intuitive archives (check it out!). These changes should make the site much easier to navigate. Try the new “live search” – it starts finding information as soon as you type – cool huh? The commenting system is all new as well. The section on the sidebar called “asides” should be a place where I can drop new web links without the need to post about them or to add them permanently to the sidebar – kind of a dumping ground for new things.

The header image and color scheme may still be altered – but I’d like your opinions thus far.

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