Restyling The Blog Continues

I have no training in this. It’s all self taught… incompletely self taught!

2010-blog-screencap.jpgIt was 5:30 AM by the time I got to bed this morning. Helaine’s extra unencumbered sleep was courtesy of my blog redesign. I hit a problem around 3:45 AM. If left alone my worry was I’d never be able to unravel it.

I have no training in this. It’s all self taught… incompletely self taught! Every time I code I find more I don’t know.

My goal is cleaner and bolder. Over time websites deteriorate and lose their tightness&#185. This one has.

There are many similarities between the new and old look. I suppose that’s unavoidable. At the same time there are lots of differences. Some are visible, but many lie in the invisible way the blog functions… how it’s feed if you will.

The new look runs on WordPress using a theme based on “Byty,” itself a child theme which runs under the Thematic framework. That last sentence was just to show how meticulously detailed and arcane the whole process is.

Nothing is straightforward. Nothing is where I expect it to be. Here’s a link to the home page with some bells and whistles revealed.

I threw up my hands and spent some quality time on the phone with Gary Choronzy. Gary often serves as my website guru since those things I lost sleep over Gary can do in his sleep!

Most (not all) of the styling is done. Even Gary was surprised how far I’d come already. Now I enter the phase where the loose ends get tidied up. Of course there will be loose ends that slip by regardless of my diligence.

When the switch gets thrown everything changes at once. The website moves from Chicago to the suburbs of Philadelphia. Some pieces will untestable until that moment. There is little chance to go back.

It’s all exciting and simultaneously daunting.

If you’d like to take a sneak peek it’s temporarily visible here. Comments welcome.

&#185 – Around a year ago I went to Karl Rove’s website while following a news story. Rove is not my cup of tea, but his website was really well done. No more. It is a perfect example of how tightness goes away with time. Pieces have been added that don’t fit.

It’s tough to look at the site and think I once used it as a model of what I wanted.

I’ve Been Working On The Website

On the Internet spelling counts. This, unfortunately, becomes my problem

Helaine and I continue tweaking the new website–coming soon to an Internet near you.

Last night Gary Choronzy of, who often comments here, spent an hour and a half on the phone with me. He gave me some tips and advice. We even spent some time remotely looking at the site together (by virtue of which allowed me to ‘drive’ his computer from my computer).

My conversation with Gary started on a ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ moment. When I said our website’s name, Gary entered it incorrectly into his browser! In fact the majority of those I’ve told haven’t been able to do it on the first try!

On the Internet spelling counts.

This, unfortunately, becomes my problem. My job is to make the site impervious to bad spellers. We registered a similar but easier name earlier today. The old one works too since it points to the same files. Later I’ll create a file which rewrites any requests for the old name to the new name.

That’s a Google accommodation. They don’t like seeing the same content in two places.

Much of the new site is built on free open source software components. The quality of FOSS varies greatly. The plugin which allows users to enter content is a prime example. It does the job but it’s totally obtuse in how it does it.

We are at the punch list stage now. Most of the site is operational, though still populated with bogus entries made of gibberish text. Hopefully it will be mostly done tomorrow and I’ll begin to lean on you to help me get it started.

The site will open in stages. First I need to get enough content onboard to make it look legit. Then I can begin promoting it to build traffic. Promoting it without this soft friends-and-family opening would be a mistake.

I apologize for being so cryptic about the name and scope of the site. Hopefully the URL and one sentence will explain it all.

This has become our obsession.