…and now the blog re-design in English

Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos Blogging, after Franciso de Goya y Lucientes by Mike Licht

Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos Blogging, after Franciso de Goya y Lucientes by Mike Licht

It’s simple. I looked at my blog and decided I didn’t like it.

The idea was good. I’m spend­ing more time on vari­ous social net­work sites, so aggreg­at­ing that activ­ity onto one site sounds clever. However, the blog was not the way to do it. Links are often fairly baldly pos­ted to FriendFeed or Twitter and only make brief appear­ance on this site. So the aggreg­a­tion wasn’t hap­pen­ing. In addi­tion the changes I’d made to make it a poor aggreg­ator also made it a poor blog. It was an exper­i­ment worth try­ing, but it hasn’t worked.

So this update is partly neces­sity and it’s also partly to test out some other ideas. I’ve been hired by the Annals of Botany to do stuff for them. That’ll be launched dur­ing the sum­mer but a blog will be part of it. Changing theme means I can test out some of the ideas on this blog with a live audi­ence. For example I’ve added a Links cat­egory. Link posts will look dif­fer­ent on the blog, and will show up in the feed with a twist. If all I’m doing is say­ing “Hey look at this!” you don’t need to visit my site just to click another link. If I get this right any links I blog will appear as dir­ect links in the feed.

This has poten­tial for build­ing an aggreg­ator some­time in the future.

I’ll also be exper­i­ment­ing with fonts. This is Fontin Sans (unless I’ve changed it). It’s a free font from the exljbris Font Foundry. I like it in print. I’m not sure about on-screen.

Blog-wise it’s tempt­ing to say that I’m going to try to return to what motiv­ated me and recap­ture the spirit of 2005. You can look back to the time when you star­ted as the golden era of blog­ging. Some blogs have gone that I like. Northstate Science occa­sion­ally flick­ers. Copernicus Sashimi was on TypePad, so not even a skel­eton remains. But I think that’s fool­ish. Blogging is like pop music, its golden age is now. Ruth Fillery-Travis is blog­ging at UCL. Constantina Katsari is blog­ging at Leicester. I’d be amazed if there weren’t more blog­gers who con­sist­ently have some­thing inter­est­ing to say before the year is out. The one con­stant is that I still hate writing.


I enjoy hav­ing writ­ten, but the actual writ­ing pro­cess is a pain. It’s also one of those things that needs prac­tice. It’s one of the reas­ons I took up blog­ging ini­tially and it’s a good reason to con­tinue blog­ging. I think writ­ing some­thing every day is a good idea — in my case. It doesn’t mean a post will appear here every day, but some­thing will be added to the drafts. I might exper­i­ment more with writ­ing too, like bad poetry. I still believe a proper per­sonal blog should have some bad poetry on it, and I reckon with a bit of work I could pro­duce some stun­ning doggerel. Stunning like a cosh to back of the head, rather than as a work of art.

In the medium term I also plan to put this on Facebook in some way or another. It’s where a lot of read­ers are. I could so this as my own page, but I’ve had a thought. RSS Graffiti allows mul­tiple RSS feed to be fed to a page. Would a shared Facebook page col­lect­ing posts from sev­eral blog­gers be a good idea? I accept I have a huge ego, I’m just not sure that it extends to hav­ing a ‘fan page’ on Facebook.

Image credit: It’s one of a series of art appro­pri­ations by Mike Licht who blogs at NotionsCapital.

This is a com­pan­ion piece to the earlier post Retcon.


When he's not tired, fixing his car or caught in train delays, Alun Salt works part-time for the Annals of Botany weblog. His PhD was in ancient science at the University of Leicester, but he doesn't know Richard III.

5 Responses

  1. I really enjoyed read­ing your art­icle, and it passed some time at the end of my shift :)

    Website Design Firm

  2. for­got to men­tion, I love the slide in effect on the menu, care to share how it was done, that is a really cool effect! love the slide effect on the rss and twit­ter icons also! great work. I can’t find a but­ton to be noti­fied of a reply thoe? if you could email me if you reply that would be great!

    • Alun says:

      The whole lay­out is more or less the stand­ard ‘Mystique’ theme for WordPress by Digital Nature. There should be a link in the footer.

      The JQuery script run­ning the effects is extremely com­plic­ated so I’ve lim­ited myself to chan­ging the CSS and adding some fil­ters and functions.

  3. BIll says:


    I like the redesign. One thing you might want to con­sider is mak­ing it pos­sible to com­ment on items brought in from your Twitter feed. For example, I would have loved to have noted that OU is dig­ging in Athens, Ohio, not Athens, Greece (that’s why the blog post you linked to talks so much about the weather in south­east­ern Ohio and almost noth­ing about the weather in the south­east­ern Balkans).


    • Alun says:

      Thanks for the cor­rec­tion. You can tell I skimmed and just look at the pho­tos. I was think­ing of Colleen Morgan’s Archaeology in Action set.

      The com­ment link is a good idea. I’ll see what I can do about that.