Photoblog – still undecided, but here’s what I have thus far

I’m still in the midst of investigating photoblog options. As I previously mentioned, I’ve been playing with Pixelpost. The preliminary results of that effort can be viewed here: http://thejavajive.com/photoblog

Just for kicks I installed Flogr – which creates a photoblog from your flickr account – removing the need to upload images multiple times (via the blog, pixelpost, etc). It’s an interesting concept but won’t be my ultimate solution. Here’s what it looks like: http://thejavajive.com/flickr

And lastly, thanks to a suggestion, I’ve started giving ThemeForest a look. It seems like a fantastic way to seek out fresh designs from a plethora of talented designers rather than purchase from just one company. This may be a solution if I decide to build it based off of WordPress again.

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?

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?

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