Social media vs blogging (Google+, 500px, Twitter, Facebook, etc)

I’ve been slacking on the blogging front, mostly due to my workload and recent travels to Indonesia and Puerto Galera, but also due to the fact that I’ve been posting in various other places (Google+, Twitter, Facebook, 500px, etc). I realize many bloggers have jumped ship for an easier, micro-blogging style of presenting a lifestream, but I have no desire to abandon this blog no matter how busy I get.

Here are some of the other ways to keep track of my photography and travels (the links are directed to my various profiles):

Google+

Screen Shot 2011 12 19 at 9.03.39 PM 540x165 Social media vs blogging (Google+, 500px, Twitter, Facebook, etc)

I find Google+ to be a great place to discover new photographers. I’ve been seeking a viable alternative to Flickr for quite sometime. I think Google needs to figure out where this is going, but it seems to have far more more traction than Buzz. It’s also grown much more quickly than I had expected. In only two months of being active, I’ve developed over 5,600 followers. I’ve been using Twitter for nearly 5 years and have only about 1,400 followers. Not that the number of followers necessary reflects any significance.

500px

Screen Shot 2011 12 19 at 9.03.56 PM 540x549 Social media vs blogging (Google+, 500px, Twitter, Facebook, etc)

500px is an interesting development. I receive far far less “views” on photos there and have almost no social contact or feedback – and that’s ok – cause the minimalistic design and clean portfolio options trump the cluttered feeling one gets when viewing Flickr. I’ll be uploading less work here but more of my culled photos.

Twitter

Even after nearly 5 years, Twitter still has a purpose. I’ve gone through many phases with its use, but it’s still unbeatable in terms of reaching certain groups, colleagues, resources and perspectives.

 

What are your preferred social media tools? Do you still see a place for blogs?

Pixelpost for a photoblog

I’ve decided to go forth with redesigning a photoblog from the ground up. I know there are easy solutions out there like Tumblr and Posterous, but I am a stubborn fool and prefer more of a challenge for some masochistic reason. Perhaps I enjoy teaching myself new skills, or maybe I’m a control freak?

Per John’s suggestion, I’ve taken a good look at Pixelpost instead of going the WordPress route. According to their description, Pixelpost is: “an open-source, standards-compliant, multi-lingual, fully extensible photoblog application for the web.” Sounds good to me. Let’s hope it works out well. If not, I’m very open to other suggestions.

I’ll be playing with the design and uploading content soon. In the meantime, my sandbox is located here if you’d like to view the mess in progress.

Photoblog (not this blog) down for a while

Unfortunately, my photoblog has been taken down for a while. As you may remember, I had a separate photoblog dedicated to just the images via thejavajive. It was receiving decent traffic, had a design which I thought was pleasing, and received helpful commentary regularly.

You also may remember that it became infected with code-injection – malicious code – in June 2009. (feel like I’m in The Matrix saying that). I tried my best to resolve the issue, even bringing in my web host, web developers and coders, and yet no one could fix it.

My only brutal method of clearing things up was to completely shut it down and remove it altogether from my web hosting package. I couldn’t leave it as is, and this is a sure-fire way of clearing things up.

However, now anyone who had linked to that site (including many of my flickr images), will arrive with a broken link. I’ll do my best to figure something out, but even if I rebuild it, I fear I’ll lose the permalinks.

What do you think? Should I strive to rebuild the same site after disinfecting it?

OR

Should I start from scratch and build something new altogether?

If I go that route, does anyone have suggestions for a great way to showcase images without Flash and preferably in an easy to update way?

Redesigned and sterilized

In order to completely rid myself of the malware plaguing this blog for over a week, I took dramatic action: reinstalling WordPress and installing a completely different theme, rather than try to fix the other. Dreamhost has been very little help and the problem is documented as having affected over 20,000 other WP blogs (some of which were hosted by Dreamhost). It’s disappointing that I have to struggle myself to fix such problems, when no one else can help.

If the problem happens again (which is a possibility), and Dreamhost does not take action to help me, I will definitely switch hosts. There have been a few incidents with them that are almost proving enough to switch. (accidentally charging customers’ credit cards, etc).

At any rate, the new design is definitely not finalized – I realize it’s a bit fugly and messy. However, with my mediocre coding, it’s slow going. I sincerely apologize if you received any type of malware after having visited my site. It’s really unfortunate, and I hope not too many people will be scared to return. All should be clear now.

A few quick issues I want to fix:

  • the categories in the header are sorted alphabetically, I’d like control over their order.
  • the header itself is a mess, but I whipped that up to be temporary.
  • somehow in the import from the other installation, I lost all of my blog subscribers and all of my links. icon sad Redesigned and sterilized
  • the comment .gif is displaying twice because I’m using Disqus and it’s conflicting with the WP comments – no idea how to remedy that.
  • i have the blog set to display full posts, but when you click on a category, it displays only a preview, not the full post. especially annoying with pics not showing.
  • my footer is non-existent. I think I lost the correct code – supposed to be widget enabled, but no go.
  • If anyone has design suggestions, by all means, please drop me a comment or criticism. I need all the help I can get.

    Choosing WordPress themes – paid vs free

    Changing your blog design is a bit like redecorating your home; invigorating, frightening, and possibly expensive. After all is said and done, the redesign probably makes you wonder why you didn’t do it earlier.

    Despite being trained as an industrial designer, my web design skills are quite beginning level. I can work my way around code by trial and error, but never having been formally trained, things can get ugly quickly. Not to mention the fact that it takes me for.ev.er. to figure out these changes since I’m doing it mistake by mistake.

    The route I’ve taken with this blog since 2002, is “if it ain’t broke…. leave it alone!” and I’ve strived to focus on content, writing, and photos.

    As I mentioned, things lately have become broken, whether due to someone breaking into my FTP login, through third party software, or simply due to me being slow to update the WP software. It’s been giving many people ‘malware warnings’ and surely will begin turning some of you away.

    In the past week I upgraded WP twice, now to the latest – 2.8, and also upgraded K2 (the theme I use) to the latest nightly. However, with these upgrades, I also realized that K2 no longer seems to be as usable as previously. (unless it’s just me).

    I find it time for a redesign. Something fresh. Perhaps daring and bold. But the bottom line is that it still needs to be easy to navigate, and should focus on maintaining my 7 years of archives. This is where I begin to falter.

    If my images from years’ past are all 500px fixed width, how can I easily bring those into a new theme without things getting ugly? Not all themes will work nicely with photos, and dealing with the archives will be my weakness. If anyone has thoughts on integrating a new theme with my 7 years of blog posts, I’d be very appreciative.

    At the moment I’m trying to decide whether or not it’s worthwhile to pay for themes. In some ways it goes against the WP philosophy of open source sharing, but the reality is many paid themes will be more carefully designed and perhaps have better support in place, and updates on a regular basis.

    The themes that draw my attention first and foremost seem to be heavily based on the visual; incorporating large photos and visual based navigation. These may or may not be inviting to the typical user and I’m guessing they may not load as quickly as more text driven sites. However, looking at my current blog, I have no less than 8 larger images on the front page, so the other themes may actually be faster loading if I limit the size and number on the loading page.

    The other thing that I’m unsatisfied with, is the fact that I have always had thejavajive.com set up to bounce to /blog – and never used thejavajive.com as the splash page – seems more fitting. I also have a photoblog that is geared more towards just imagery. However, the code I use for that is not holding up well with newer versions of WP.
    If you were in my shoes, would you stick to a separate blog and photoblog, or go for a blended medium between the two, limiting things to one site?

    I have a two week window in which I can work on this stuff. After that, I’ll be flat out on the Manila transition for a while. So, it’s all or nothing at the moment. If all else fails I’d at least like to rid myself of the ugly blue header – the code for my rotating header images also isn’t working.

    Shouldn’t this all be a little easier?

    Code injection? Sphinktersayswhat?

    It appears this blog has been attacked by some sort of *&#$@# malicious spam injection. Many people have written to me with concern, screenshots, and ponderings on what is going on. I believe I may have cleared the issue up, by removing the code and upgrading to the latest version of WP, but at the expense of the design of the blog. I am putting function over form at this point until I have the time to fix the aesthetics.
    If you happen to notice a malware warning, etc, please email me or drop me a comment; if it’s still happening I may have to rope in some additional help.

    On netbooks, TouchBook, Mac tablet, Macbook Mini, and a Mac user switching to Windows (for the netbook only)

    Apple has a large gap in their hardware line-up. Between the iPhone and Macbook is a massive hole that they may or may not decide to fill with a tablet/netbook/ultra-portable. There are many reasons, theories, and opinions on whether they should or shouldn’t attempt to fill the void. More on this later.

    touchbook On netbooks, TouchBook, Mac tablet, Macbook Mini, and a Mac user switching to Windows (for the netbook only)

    With today’s economy, more and more people are turning toward the use of ‘netbooks’ – ultra-portable, generally slower, more economical laptops. Even without the economy in shambles, many people (myself included) are interested in using them simply for battery life and portability.

    And coincidentally, for work-related reasons, I’ve found myself needing to gain more experience in the Windows world once again. From 1994-2004 I primarily was a Windows user. However, as I’ve mentioned in many posts, I’ve grown much more fond of the Mac platform for a variety of reasons that I won’t ramble on about in this post. I realize BootCamp and Parallels are two excellent options for using Windows on a Mac, but that still doesn’t resolve the portability and battery life factor.

    I use MacBook Pro as my primary home computer, Novita has a MacBook, and I use an iMac at work. Obviously, it’s a tough transition to move back to Windows, even for only a portion of my work life. I’m seeking as many open-source, multi-platform apps as possible to make this less painful and to maintain productivity.

    After thorough research into netbooks/ultra-portable notebooks, I settled on the 10″ screen form factor. 7″-8.9″ seemed just too small, if not for the screen, then because of the keyboard. I have larger hands and the smaller netbooks that I tried were just too cramped. I found 10″ to be portable and with great battery life in general. The 12″ were still quite nice, but were already moving up into the realm of Macbook territory in regard to less portability. I did, however, settle on a few 10″ netbooks.

    My initial choices (in order of interest):

    Some of the other netbooks had only 3 cell batteries – 2 or 3 hour battery life isn’t acceptable for a netbook’s purpose in my opinion. I was shooting for 4 hours minimum under reasonable usage. These four all had decent reviews, all were acceptable in design, weight, and features. In fact, at this level, there’s not really many striking differences amongst them. Most have:

    • 10″ LCD
    • 6-9 cell battery
    • 1.6GHz Atom processor
    • 1GB RAM
    • 160GB hard drive
    • Windows XP

    There are some slight differences, including a claimed 9 hours battery life with the Asus!? I toyed with the idea of throwing OSX on one of these little guys, and tinkered with thoughts of the Dell Mini 9 for that purpose. However, at the end of the day, it’s not a priority at this time. I’m still waiting (hoping!) to see what Apple comes out with before the end of the year.

    Once I started playing with these models hands-on, I was drawn much more to a model not on my list – the ASUS N10J. It has similar specs to the others, and yet manages to trump them with a 256MB nVidia discrete graphics chip, an express card, and HDMI. A surprising feature is the onboard integrated graphics that allows you to switch between the GPU or integrated graphics for extra battery life. Gaming on a netbook? Impressive!

    asusn10j On netbooks, TouchBook, Mac tablet, Macbook Mini, and a Mac user switching to Windows (for the netbook only)

    While not as sleek as a MacBook Air, I found the design to be less toy-like compared to some of the others I checked out. It’s definitely not as slim or lightweight as some, but the overall design is still quite compact and lightweight. I immediately threw in another gig of RAM to bring the total to a more comfortable 2GB. With Xp already locked and loaded, it was ready to go after slapping down my credit card to the tune of $650.

    Now, I won’t lie – I love OSX and it’s not easy to pick up a netbook with XP and get to work like I can with my Mac. However, I’ve found that for basic tasks, email, web, and movies, it fits the bill quite well. The 5-7 hour battery life certainly doesn’t hurt either. It picks up wireless signals stronger than my MBP, and with the express card slot – can be mobile with 3G in no time. All in all, it’s proving to quite the little machine.

    —-

    Jumping back to the Mac side of the conversation. I love my iPhone 3G. It’s far and away the best phone I’ve owned. All the hype is real – I don’t care about any of the elitist, status, etc side of things one bit – it’s about the actual usage and productivity that the iPhone allows. If I could get by with just that as a netbook, I would. Unfortunately, as it stands, I can’t fully get by without a proper keyboard and the memory limitations for work purposes – need to output to a projector, etc. It’s perfect for 60% of what I need to do on the go, and yet, I’d gladly shell out $799 for something that bridges that gap and allows me to be completely mobile, productive, and get through the day without a charge.

    Hence the rant on Apple’s netbook gap. There exists a large hole for users (such as myself) that need the portability and lightweight practicality of the iPhone, and yet don’t wish to carry around a Macbook – or perhaps don’t need the power and cost of one for something on the go. I don’t enjoy carrying around a $2000+ Macbook Pro when all I need to do is some light work, emailing, and document creation. I want something I can toss in a bag and forget; something that will get 6+ hours of battery life, and yet will come in at under a grand. Taking the computer with you all the time dramatically increases the risk of damage and theft. I’d rather lose $800 than $2300.

    Coincidentally, as I was creating this post, news broke of “Apple orders 10-inch touchscreens for mystery product” Apple has notoriously denied the netbook form factor as being of interest.

    From AppleInsider:

    “Asked about the sub-$500 netbook market, Cook answered, “We’re watching that space, but right now from our point of view, the products in there are principally based on hardware that’s much less powerful than we think customers want, software technology that is not good, cramped keyboards, small displays.”

    Cook added, “We don’t think people will be pleased with those products. It’s a category we watch, we’ve got some ideas here, but right now we think the products are inferior and will not provide an experience to customers they’re happy with.”

    However, historically, they did the same thing with the iPhone and iPod Touch, and look where we are today. “Steve Jobs says it again: no video iPod”

    My guess?

    I think they’ll do some sort of tablet design that will completely turn the industry on its head.  Think of something blurring the lines between an iPhone and Macbook. Something that may not use the traditional dock like OSX, but rather a combination of the iPhone navigation and Leopard (or Snow Leopard).  A device that does not cannibalize sales of either the iPhone nor the Macbook. Something that will interact with the hugely popular App Store. Something that may give the Kindle a run for its money.

    One of the main problems with netbooks is the very small profit margin companies receive. Apple surely won’t try to compete with the $350-500 price range. They’ll offer something that is quite different from the rest, and the price will reflect that. I wouldn’t expect it to come in at under $600. I’d assume it would come in at around $799, give or take $100.

    While people may think, “Why would Apple attempt to charge such prices in a category that offers products for half that cost – especially in a recession!?” Have you seen Apple stores recently? Most that I’ve frequented are constantly brimming with customers.

    So, are we finally seeing the development of some sort of tablet, netbook, ‘Touchbook’, ‘Macbook Mini’…. or is it yet another round of speculation by Apple fanboys? Time will tell…

    Until then, I’ll be dancing on both sides of the line.

    10 Things you may not know about me

    I very rarely agree to this type of post, which is exactly why I accepted the invitation from Chibi Alfa. They’re a bit long winded compared to most.

    1. I almost never existed. Let me clarify – my family is full of pilots and a love for aviation. My grandparents were both in the Navy; flight instructor. The day after their wedding, they were flying to their honeymoon, when the fuel tank malfunctioned. They almost died that day, and I never would have been here typing this.
    2. I am obsessive about my passions. When I get involved in something I enjoy, it’s absurd. I forget to eat, will ignore other responsibilities, and will spend as much time as I can learning / experiencing the subject. Past obsessions? Photography, design, reading, technology, web design, cars, planes, mountain biking, travel, music, fitness, Mac, books, etc. Photography has been the longest standing passion of this caliber.
    3. I can bench press over 360lbs. (163kgs) – Not bragging, but it’s something I work hard at, and since I’m not as toned as I used to be (the middle age effect is creeping up!), at least I can take pride in my strength. It’s not in vain, it’s not for athletics – it’s for me, and me alone.
    4. There’s a tremendous amount of my life that is never shared on this blog. Despite having written this blog for 6 years straight, I made a very careful decision long ago to keep much of my personal life off the eyes and memory of the public and Google – much of this stems from the fact that I use my full name on this site. Those of you who have known me for a while, feel free to ask for more info.
    5. I’m very close with my family, and yet none of us live near each other. My parents are in the States, my brother in Tokyo, and my sister is wandering around Australia / SE Asia. A few years ago, my mother lived in Cape Town, South Africa so we were even more separated. Makes holidays a bummer.
    6. I saw my father crash his airplane when I was 5 years old. The memory is still very strong. He lived.
    7. I was a frat boy. Not always proud of that fact, and those that know me well, know that it doesn’t necessarily reflect my personality. But yes, there was a time in my life when Animal House wasn’t far off.
    8. I lived with a drug dealer. It was a mistake – a friend pulled me into renting the place with his ‘friend’ who turned out to be a very busy dealer. Police raids, strung out girls having threesomes in my living room (not with me!), gangs of a dozen dudes crashing in my living room baked out of their minds for days on end. Luckily, I never got into that scene, and if anything it turned me off. Seeing an 18 year old girl whig out on shrooms and acid isn’t appealing. When I went to class, my clothes reeked of the stuff – surely earning me a reputation that wasn’t deserved.
    9. I’ve always loved ‘ethnic’ girls. Maybe it’s because I grew up with all blondes, who knows. Since I was young (had a French girlfriend who was 17, when I was only 10), I always chose brunettes over blondes. I was ‘that guy’ trying to date the Brazillian exchange students who barely spoke English. Obviously that attraction never changed, as I’ve been with Novita since 2002.
    10. My home burned down on Christmas Eve 1998. I lost everything, including all childhood videos of our family. In a strange way, it altered the course of my entire future, and had that never happened I’d probably be working as an engineer in the States, having never been offered the chance to come to Indonesia. It’s hard to be thankful for such a traumatic event, and yet I am. Every day.

    The purpose of this was post was to continue a viral blog posting idea. Like I said, I usually don’t entertain these ideas, but since I did, I think a few others should keep the ball rolling. If you’re not on my list below, but decide to do it, please let me view your link. Can’t be out in the cold all by myself.

    A few candidates:

    Ian – my good friend that spent many years in this crazy city. 10 bucks says he won’t do it.

    Treespotter – just to give him something new to rant about.

    Brett – he’s not busy enough lately.

    Lao Ocean Girl – we gotta get this tagging thing out of Indonesia! (plus I think she digs this type of thing)

    Nadia – she doesn’t update her blog enough – let’s get her posting.

    Adrianna – just cause she’s one cool girl.

    *Update* – Here is Lao Ocean’s || Nadia’s || Brett’s || Treespotter’s

    UA-176554-2