Category: blogan

  • I Got Winered

    I Got Winered

    A big thanks to Dave Winer for tweeting my last post. I got a spike in traffic, above the fold in the search results,1Don’t think of this as bragging. It’s “sharing experiences with family and close friends.” Besides, the credit goes to Dave. and a warm feeling.2Oh yeah, and my Klout score dropped. Ha! :-D :-)

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      Don’t think of this as bragging. It’s “sharing experiences with family and close friends.” Besides, the credit goes to Dave.
    • 2
      Oh yeah, and my Klout score dropped. Ha! :-D
  • 2011 Year in Review — My Favorite Posts

    These are some of my favorites posts from 2011, sorted by month. Which were your favorite posts?

    January

    2001 Honda Odyssey EGR Port Fix for P0401 Code. After fixing a check engine problem on our Honda Odyssey, I wrote about the fix. This has turned out to be one of my most popular posts ever.

    February

    Unfollow Friday. Why I quit following so many people on Twitter.

    March

    I Want a New Bike. Nope, I didn’t get one, but I started commuting by bike later in the year. (And I still want a new bike…)

    April

    I moved from Intel’s Jones Farm campus to its Hawthorn Farm campus and blogged the transition.

    May

    A couple of unrelated posts from May hit my favorites list.

    June

    Politics on Facebook? No Thanks!. ‘Nuff said.

    July


    Hillsboro Fourth of July Parade 2011. We love going to Hillsboro’s 4th of July parade. I love taking pictures of it.

    August

    August was dominated by our family vacation to Sunriver. It’s too hard for me to pick a favorite from this bunch. Good times! (And lots of pictures.)

    September

    As the summer wound down, we took more family trips and celebrated family events.

    October

    My Open Apology to a Nighttime Cyclist. In October, I posted a lot about bicycling, including this post to an unknown cyclist I pulled in front of.

    November

    Pacific and Atlantic States will Share the Same Time Tonight. How Florida and Oregon will have the same time for an hour.

    December

    Single Character Smiley. I love smileys.

    These are just a few of my 238 posts (239, counting this one) from 2011. Check out my archives to see them all.

  • Picture Reset

    Christmas is over. Time to go back to the old profile picture.

    I changed it nine1blogan.net, blogan.net favicon, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Quora, Disqus, Intense Debate, and Klout. places. I wonder if I forgot any. Let me know if you see my Santa hat profile picture anywhere.

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      blogan.net, blogan.net favicon, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Quora, Disqus, Intense Debate, and Klout.
  • My New Christmas Profile Picture

    My New Christmas Profile Picture

    With the Christmas holiday season upon us, it’s time to unveil my new Christmas profile picture. I’ll be using this online everywhere: here, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Quora, Gravatar, etc.

    Ho! I hope you like it. *<:-)

    Update: Oops! I almost forgot Disqus and IntenseDebate. Corrected. *<:-)

  • What If I Built a Blog and Nobody Came…

    What if I built a blog and nobody came? Would I care? Now I don’t. Notice, that is. Care, maybe…

    Let me back up. For years, I’ve tracked site visits. I could tell where you came from, what you’d searched for, how long you stuck around, which pages you’d viewed, etc.

    Last week I turned it off.

    Counters use third-party tracking cookies that let someone track you all over the web. I don’t want to be a part of that.1This was part of the reason I removed the Twitter and Facebook widgets from my sidebar. As a benefit, removing all this stuff speeds up my blog.

    You’re here and reading this and that’s good enough.

    I won’t know unless you tell me — and neither will anyone else.

  • A Zippy Blog

    You might have noticed blogan.net is a little zippier. A few things have changed recently:

    • My web hosting service moved my site to a new, faster, shared server. Thanks, WebHostingBuzz! This is what inspired me to make more changes.
    • I combined my print CSS into my regular CSS file. One less file to download.
    • I removed all the Facebook, Twitter, and +1 social media cruft. It’s amazing how much these slow down a page load. They also allow Facebook and Google to track when you visit blogan.net.
    • I installed W3 Total Cache. Very full-featured with caching, minifying and setting expires for browser caching.
    • I removed a bunch of plugins, with the hardest to remove being Easy Fancybox. It’s very pretty, but includes multiple JS, CSS, and image files.1I wonder how long I’ll be able to keep Easy Fancybox disabled. It would be nice to have a quick Lightbox alternative without a bunch of support files. I haven’t found one yet… Maybe the minification will make it a non-issue. Yeah, that’s it. ;-) Update: I wasn’t able to keep Easy Fancybox disabled. It just works too well on posts with large galleries of pictures. Adding it back dropped my scores to 95.
    • I started using Cloudflare.2This seems to be causing a “Network Error (tcp_error)” using the standard proxies at work. WHB doesn’t think it’s their issue.
    • A little while back, I started using WP Smush.it which losslessly compresses uploaded images automatically.

    I think the results speak for themselves: a YSlow rating of 100!

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      I wonder how long I’ll be able to keep Easy Fancybox disabled. It would be nice to have a quick Lightbox alternative without a bunch of support files. I haven’t found one yet… Maybe the minification will make it a non-issue. Yeah, that’s it. ;-) Update: I wasn’t able to keep Easy Fancybox disabled. It just works too well on posts with large galleries of pictures. Adding it back dropped my scores to 95.
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      This seems to be causing a “Network Error (tcp_error)” using the standard proxies at work. WHB doesn’t think it’s their issue.
  • I Learn Something Every Day

    I learn something every day. For example, a web hosting company that includes “web host” in its name doesn’t consider whether the sites it hosts are web-accessible in its uptime statistics. I found the following in my inbox today in response to my reporting yet another instance of blogan.net being “down”:

    Please take into account that web service is down is not equal server is down.

    I have rebuilt web service configuration files, started it and the summary web service outage time was about 5-10 minutes. All this time the server (Star) was online.

    If I wasn’t getting a screaming deal or actually depending on my blog being up, I’d look elsewhere. As it is, I think I’m getting what I’m paying for.1And an education, to boot! ;-)

    Is this common? Do all web hosting companies only consider whether the OS is running in their uptime statistics?

    Update: When I shared this post on Facebook, one commenter referenced the Wikipedia article High availability, which makes a distinction between “uptime” and “availability.” My host guarantees “three ninesuptime, which it easily meets. I would guess availability is closer to 99.8%.

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      And an education, to boot! ;-)
  • Embed Your Quora Activity on a WordPress Page

    Embed Your Quora Activity on a WordPress Page

    Quora seems to be the next big thing. It’s certainly a very useful site interesting.

    I display my Quora activity on a WordPress page. It’s not hard. Here’s how you can do it, too.

    • Download and activate the RSSImport plugin.
    • Create a page and use the RSSImport shortcode to show your Quora RSS feed. Your Quora RSS URL is the URL you see when you click on your name in Quora with “/rss” appended to the end. For example, my Quora RSS URL is: http://www.quora.com/Brent-Logan/rss

    The shortcode you use can be as simple as (make sure the feedurl matches your Quora RSS URL):

    [RSSImport feedurl="http://www.quora.com/Your-Name/rss"]

    To give me more control in the display, I use a more complex shortcode:

    [RSSImport display="10" feedurl="http://www.quora.com/Brent-Logan/rss" displaydescriptions="true" truncatedescchar='' html="true" start_items='<ul class="quora">' end_items='</ul>' before_desc='<div class="description">' after_desc='</div>' start_item='<li class="item">' end_item='</li>']
    
    • Optionally, create some CSS to style your embedded Quora activity. I am using:
    /* ----- Quora Page ----- */
    ul.quora {margin: 0; list-style-type: none; }
    .quora li { line-height: 1.2; margin-bottom: 1em; border-bottom: 1px dashed #ddd; }
    .quora li>a { font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.4; }
    .quora .description { margin-top: 0; padding: 0 0 0 20px; line-height: 1.2; font-style: normal; color: #222; }
    .quora .description>div:first-child { text-indent: -20px; }
    .quora .user { color: #222; }
    .quora .rep { color: #222; }
    

    This CSS may not be pretty, but it styles the embedded Quora activity to look much like Quora.

    There are other ways to embed your Quora activity. The easiest is to use WordPress’ RSS widget to display your Quora RSS feed in a sidebar.

    Good luck!

    Update: My final CSS before deactivating my Quora page was:

    ul.quora {margin: 0; list-style-type: none; }
    .quora li { line-height: 1.2; margin-bottom: 1em; border-bottom: 1px dashed #ddd; }
    .quora li>a { font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.4; }
    .quora .description { margin-top: 0; padding: 0 0 0 20px; line-height: 1.2; font-style: normal; color: #222; }
    .quora .description li { padding-left: 2em; }
    .quora .description>div:first-child { text-indent: -20px; }
    .quora .user { color: #222; }
    .quora .user:hover { color: #fff; }
    .quora .rep { color: #222; }
    
  • How I Know When North Korea Does Something Stupid

    Chart of Page Views

    When North Korea does something stupid, my post “Where in the World is North Korea?” gets a ton of hits. As you can see from my page view chart, yesterday North Korea was especially stupid. :-/

  • Web Badging Like It’s 2002

    Oh, for the good old days, when everyone plastered web badges all over their blogs. Thanks to 80×15.com, it’s easy to make your own. Here’s mine:

    To keep the nostalgia alive, I put it in my page footer.

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Brent Logan