It is that time of the year. After ignoring my blog for months, I come back and is instantly dissatisfied with the theme, the content, pictures.. pretty much everything . So after spending about 7-8 hours, most of it spent searching for a new theme, I present before you the same old wine inÂ a newÂ bottle.
This blog has always been and will always remain a work in progress. It looks prettier than its previous incarnations over last 9, 10 years. But the sloppy work I did then is showing up with each new theme I try. I would have to go through each post, all 190 published and 30+ unpublished checking for mistakes, setting a “Featured image” for each post and updating/removing links.
The picture ofÂ Jupiter (above)Â and Venus (brighter) was taken over a years back on my D5000 with standard kit lens.
- ISO 800
- 30 Sec Exposure
- Date: Aug 12, 2012
- Location: Kochi, India
When I started blogging a few years back, the easiest name to remember was www.blogger.com (AKA: blogspot). The article where I read about blogs did mention WordPress as well as some other name. But I chose to try my luck on www.blogger.com. Few years and a hundred odd posts later, I decided that blogger was not challenging enough and I decided to dip my toes in www.wordpress.com. But as soon as I tried it out, I realized that it was much more restrictive than blogspot. I continued posting on blogspot until my earlier attempt at webdesign paid off.
When I tried my hand at having my own website, the hottest name was Geocities (RIP). When they shut down their services and took off all the websites that were hosted offline, Dream Host offered me 2 years of free hosting along with a free domain name. And that is how I ended up with this domain name. www.suniljoseph.net
With a domain name, unlimited bandwidth & webspace, it took me just one day to take the plunge into wordpress, but this time it was not wordpress.com, but wordpress.org. I did spend a lot of time trying different themes, configuring the settings, adding additional codes to various parts of the default template to make this as it is today. The truth is the time I spend designing my blog was much more than the time I spend writing it. I don’t consider myself to be vain, but as the biker in me would say, the journey is much more fun than the destination and it truly was as far as playing with the wordpress installation was concerned.
I am not much of a social animal, my friends are few, but those I have are the best. Unlike the stereotype Geek who is the most popular guy online, I am pretty much the same in my real life as I appear to you now. So I went through most of my blogging period without anyone knowing that I had a blog. I am inclined to think that most of my visitors ended up on my blog because of some unknown bug in TCP/IP which dropped their packets on my blog. I didn’t mind that there were hardly any visitors since what I had written was mostly for myself. But that was until I came across postaday2011 and postaweek2011.
The reason I posted so few was not because I did not want to write, but mostly because I never could hold on to a thought. I would think of something all day long and when I finally sat in front of the computer, I would be thinking of something else and forget what I wanted to write about. Postaday2011 and postaday2011 was actually the kind of push I was looking for, some reminding me to write something, anything, every day. With that came the need to be read. Unlike my earlier posts, which were an outlet to my thoughts, these posts were suggested by someone else and I wanted others to read it. In the beginning it was fun to wait for the topic of the day and then publish as early as possible. It was a race, it was fun.
A self-hosted wordpress installation will always beat wordpress.com blog when it comes to features, but there is one area where wordpress.com beats a self-hosted wordpress with hardly effort, because that feature is not available for self-hosted wordpress, and that is Global Tags. All blogs have tags, but the tags on my blog will show other posts on my blog with the same tags. But in wordpress.com the tags are global. If you click on a tag in wordpress.com blog, it will show you all posts with the same tag across wordpress.com, no matter who wrote it. The likelihood of people with similar taste meeting each other are so high when they are searching for tags they are interested in. I did spend some time trying to figure out if there was anyway to get my tags included in Global Tags. After a few hours I had to face the truth; even with all its restrictions, wordpress.com had a trump card up its sleeve.
I don’t give up that easily when there is an opportunity to hack the system, and after trying a few things, I found something that allowed my posts to appear in the Global Tags. I am not going to claim that I invented this because I haven’t done anything on my own, I just used something that was already there. But I know there are quite a few people who are trying to find this hack.
Path of Enlightenment
I am pretty sure that most of the people who have self-hosted wordpress like some adventure and so I am not going to rob you of the chance of discovering this on your own. You could try to figure out how I did it without losing my traffic to wordpress.com blog by looking up my blog at the tag wordpress hack in Global Tags. Do let me know if you do figure it out, because you would be the kind of person I would like to know better.
Update: Automattic hasÂ introducedÂ Jetpack which bridges the gap between wp.com and self-hosted wordpress installations. Read more about it here. And read this post to know why JetPack is important for WordPress.
A few of you might have noticed that I was using Google Friend Connect as a commenting system. It meant I had to go to www.google.com/friendconnect each time to moderate a comment. I had some misgiving about it since it was splitting the posts from its comments. But I still stayed with it because I didn’t want to make any changes. However, I had to change it today as I noticed that any trackbacks I received was not being displayed as the commending system was different from WordPress and one which didn’t support trackbacks.
I have disabled Google Friend Connect from being used for comment; you can still use it to log in and leave a comment; you can also use your Gravatar ID, wordpress.com ID or you can just put in your name, email and website (if you have one) to leave a comment.
The downside is I will lose a few comments that were captured by Friend Connect. 🙁
It is quite funny that WordPress decided to choose this as a topic for today, because I had an Aha! moment a while back; when I realized that the posts I make with the tagsÂ postaday2011Â and postaweek2011Â will not appear in Global Tag Surfer of wordpress.com since it will take those tags only from blogs hosted on wordpress.com
When I came upon this campaign from WordPress I was pretty excited since there was a collective effort from thousands of people to postÂ at leastÂ 1 blog entry a day or a week. Anyone who looks at my posting history will be able to see that is one thing that I have failed to do.
All the while I had wordpressÂ installed I had thought that my tags were being trackedÂ by wordpress, and I was surprisedÂ to see that my recent tags were not being tracked. A quick search on wordpress.com revealed that I had no footprint at all on the site. At first I thought there must be a glitch on my installation since I was using WP APIÂ for various other plugins. But after some time I had to face the truth; only wordpress.com blogs were being tracked by Global Tag Surfer.
I have to say I am a bitÂ disappointed, first because a self hosted wordpressÂ installation is always considered better, and such a great feature missing from it was quiteÂ aÂ dampener. But the fact thatÂ this feature can be coded into wordpress.org (highly unlikely), or could have been given as an extra plugin but isn’t was reallyÂ disappointing.
Still, the basic idea behind dailypostÂ is not about sharing link or getting traffic, it is about posting regularly. And for that it is not required that you have to beÂ involved in the Global Tag Surfer. You could be having a blogspot account and still be involved in the initiative.
All is not lost though. A comment that I made was answered very quickly advising me to keep posting and WP might find a way to have self hosted WP blogs indexed as well.
My new phone is, wait for it…
GOOGLE NEXUS ONE!!!
I got my hands on this gorgeous gadget a couple of weeks back, and I am hooked to it.
I know I don’t write much, but after getting this phone, I figured I won’t be back got a long long time. But when I found WordPress for Android, I could not resist myself, I just had to write something.
Why don’t you enjoy the pictures that I took while I check some of the other features.
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