The 2009 site revision
I’ve started to consolidate various web presences into one Me Portal as Kimberly Alderman called it. It means moving from WordPress.com because in the end a hosted solution isn’t flexible enough. I’d still highly recommend WordPress.com, especially as a site for new bloggers. Still the little things, like spending an afternoon writing a script to import links, start to annoy. Now Postalicious will read what I’ve marked with a ‘share’ on Google Reader and you can read the latest shares on the home page.
Changes and Upgrades
The entries now fall into six categories: The Past, Science, Politics, Digital Academia and Life. The sixth category, for those who can count, is Featured. That’s the easy way of sticking stories into rotation on the front page.
The reason for doing that is that it should work better for various aggregators. Maia Atlantides doesn’t need to know about a photo of a cute kitten that I’ve seen, so I can provide a Past feed which only sends the relevant stuff. Likewise I’ve been thinking for a which of adding this site to an Atheism aggregator, but a lot of what I write wouldn’t really be relevant for that either. Now I have a Politics feed. I could have called it Philosophy, but I’m wary of people in the humanities who call themselves philosophers without any basic grounding in the subject. Even if it is philosophy, they also tend to be posts about the art of living with people so it’s also politics with a small p. I’ll probably change the Digital Academia name when I can work out what a combination of Lifehacking / Education / General internetness should be called.
Lots of image and video links are broken. I’ll try and fix them as and when I can. On the plus side I’m hoping that adding video and audio will have become a lot easier.
I’ve changed the comment system to be operated by Disqus. It should operate more or less as it did before. You can leave a comment by leaving a name and an email address. The email address won’t be made public. However, there’s certain extra things you can do, You can sign in with your Twitter account, your Facebook account or Open ID if you prefer. You can also sign up with a Disqus account and aggregate all your comments. If Disqus and Intense Debate could talk to each other and agree a common standard then you’d be able to effectively blog like Statler or Waldorf, gathering together all your comments on other posts. If it takes off then adding a system like this could add more value for the commentators on the blog. I say if as it hasn’t yet. I’d expected Automattic to make more of their acquisition of Intense Debate by rolling it out on WordPress.com.
I can now expand the site in some directions. I’m holding off adding a forum for now. I’m not sure there’d be a lot of point, though I’m sure it would add a lot of hassle moderating it. I used to play with Pligg, but I don’t think another Past-themed version of that is necessary. Maia Atlantides does a good enough job aggregating posts. On the other hand there’s plenty I can add.
There’ll be a photoblog sooner or later. Probably showing 700px or 800px wide images on a black background. Text looks better on white, but photos tend to work better with a darker background. WordPress simply isn’t a suitable engine for serious photoblogging at the moment.
I also want to get to grips with Wikindx. For me it’s a word processor with built in bibliographic tools. For everyone else it’ll be a way of following my bibliography. I’d like to work out what to do with CiteULike as well, but at the moment it simply doesn’t it in with how I work. I suspect if more people I knew were using CiteULike it would get more useful.
I’ll also be able to set up short urls for support for conference talks. For instance I could set up a site ca2010.alunsalt.com to support a talk given at the Classical Association conference next year. I’m not planning to go there, so it’s a bit of a waste for now, but the principle is sound. To an extent this is a bit of polish for my online presence before the next round of job hunting, but it’s more about making my life easier by gathering together various webby things into one toolbox.
Oh and the ‘follow me’ tag at the right of the page? Stolen from Civil War Memory. Basically if it’s not nailed down and I like it, I’ll take it. And I’m still on hiatus as far as I’m concerned. 😉