Posts Tagged “blog”

Into the Orchard

This site is now being served by Orchard, an open-source Content Management System (CMS). It runs under the .NET framework (version 4.5 as of this writing), and the main reason I switched is its ability to run multiple sites with one installation. (Yes, I know WordPress says they do it too, but I never could seem to get that working correctly.) None of the public URLs have changed, so all the links should still work. And, while the posts still have tags, the theme isn't showing them yet; that should be an easy tweak.

Speaking of the theme, it is called Raptor.Ericka. I've already done a little customization; mainly, shading in the sides beside the content to help guide the eyes down the page. I wasn't sure how much I liked the main page not showing full posts when I started, and that was one of the things I was going to change. Now, though, I think it's grown on me. I still have a sidebar on the front page, but the actual articles now do not. A lot of the stuff from the sidebar is still in the footer, though, and it's on every page. Another cool feature of this theme is the fact that it's mobile-responsive. Try resizing your browser, or looking at it on a phone or a tablet, and you'll see the difference.

If you find anything weird, just let me know. Otherwise, enjoy your irregularly-scheduled programming.

The 10th Blogaversary

Today marks the 1st day of the 11th year of the existence of this blog; my first post, the oh-so-cleverly-titled “The Blog Begins,” was posted August 4th, 2003. Over the past 10 years, I've shared a good bit, but there's also been a ton of thoughts that I haven't shared. That's OK; life gets busy, plus I end up sharing some other thoughts on social media where they used to go here. Those places are listed over on the “Other Places to Find Me” section; most of the stuff I share is publicly available.

It's been quite an experience. My first few posts dealt with issues that are still being discussed in different forms today. I do find it interesting that, reading some of those older posts, I may notice areas where I wish I'd phrased things differently, but the core point of each post is still the one I want to get across. From a technology standpoint, it's had 5 different ways of running it, 5 different themes, 3 different web URLs, and has birthed 2 other blogs for different topics. When I started, “blogging” wasn't even recognized as a word; now, there are companies whose sole business it is to offer blogging services, and the concept has enabled the citizen-journalist movement that has drawn attention to stories the legacy media would rather have gone unnoticed.

For those of you who read (or have me in your feeds, so you see when I update), thanks.

Post-Independence Day Thoughts

I've got a good bit on my mind this morning. I held back from posting anything negative about our nation yesterday (apart from a call to repentance - but that was me as a Christian, not as American; I would feel that way about whatever nation I called home). “Happy Birthday America - you suck!” just seemed inappropriate.

However, our nation does have many, many flaws. I'm not ready to discard her, by any means; but I see, at nearly every turn, her people and her government making the wrong decisions, and continuing her slide towards mediocrity and insecurity, under the guise of improving both. In nearly every issue, the underlying cause appears to me to be the same - an inability to dispassionately, rationally evaluate a situation, policy, etc. on its merits alone. This is displayed on both sides of the political divide, where talking points and comebacks are slung back and forth, and seems to be what passes for civil discourse. It isn't!

This originated as a Facebook post, but I thought it was more appropriate for the blog; heaven knows it's had some cobwebs for a while, and hits its tenth anniversary next month. Were I to blog each of these issues individually, though, I'd end up with thousands of words that no one would read, save to search it for keywords so they could post their comebacks in the comments (see above). Does it matter that I can't succinctly express what's on my mind? The problems I see aren't succinct problems with succinct solutions. An exclusively inward focus seems wrong; I should be trying to leave a better nation and world for my children, right?

But, as I look back at those nearly 10-year-old posts, the issues are the same. “Gay Bishops - A Big Deal?” Well, I (regrettably) have been vindicated in my view that this gave license for people to just ignore parts of the Bible with which they disagree; at this point, were a hair's breadth away from forcing people to behave in ways they feel are contrary to the Bible, because others disagree with parts of It. “The Ten Commandments - A Monumental Controversy” was about a man's personal decorations in his office, yet the intervening ten years have seen a continuing push to eliminate every vestige of our Christian heritage from the public square. “Abortion - A Bad Idea Whose Time Has Passed” has seen some progress as of late, but the Todd Akin/Wendy Davis dichotomy prove my point about civil discourse; neither side is immune. However, since that post, there is one political party that has decided they should be for it at any time, for any reason, at no cost. I'm no legal expert, but I don't think that was quite the point of Roe v. Wade, or even Griswold v. Connecticut. How does one rationally argue against such an irrational, yet quite passionately-held, position?

America is not beyond hope. We must change course, though, or we will find ourselves swimming in self-induced mediocrity, while we are crowing over how advanced we are. To get God's blessing, we must turn to Him; to elevate civil discourse, we must teach reasoning. (Morgan Freeberg had a great (and succinct!) summary of this where he dissects Dennis Prager's statement that he'd prefer clarity over agreement.)

p.s. The ambiguity in the title of this post is intentional; whichever meaning is appropriate will be up to us going forward.

It Was Time for a Change

So I made a big one!

After moving to BlogEngine.NET 11 months ago, things started off great. Then, around the first of the year, I started running into some problems. The details are probably more geeky than you really care about; if you do, you can check them out on the tech blog. The biggest problem here was that, after a major upgrade to the runtime environment, the categories weren't being saved.

So, the short version - the blog you're reading is once again running WordPress. The only thing that's a little odd is that BlogEngine doesn't track the user agent from the browser; so, if you left a comment between October 1, 2010 and August 31, 2011, when you look at the comments here, it'll say you were using Google Chrome on Linux. (If that bothers any of the 4 of you, just let me know what OS/browser you used, and I can change it.)

I'd also had the current theme for more than two and a half years, and while I liked the minimalism, I wanted something a bit brighter (but not too much). The theme I'm running now is called “Green Hope” and I was happy to not have to change it around a whole lot; it pretty much worked the way I wanted out of the box. The category and year/month archives that used to be in dropdown menus are now located on the “Archives” page, linked in the green bar just below the heading. “Daily Reads” and “More Sites” are now in the sidebar, and there's a tag cloud just below the Verse of the Day in the upper part of the sidebar.

I have two pretty good-sized drafts in the wings, and ideas for several more. Let's do this!

A New Fitness Blog

I've been doing a big push to improve my fitness as of late. A friend pointed me to Active.com, where you can search for things to do in your area. One of the things that came with the membership on that site is a fitness blog. I've decided to use it to chronicle my fitness activities.

I'm hoping to have the posts appear here as well - kind of a self-aggregating thing, if you will. However, if they don't, the URL for my fitness blog is was https://community.active.com/blogs/daniel-j-summers.

Yet Another New Theme

It was about five months ago that I put the NightLight Idea theme out here, but I wasn't really crazy about it. I decided to look for a one-column theme, without a sidebar taking up space the whole way down the page. I found this one, a very minimalist theme, with nice background images, which I customized for use here. It is called “Mimetastic,” and it is now the default theme here for my blog. Since it's somewhat different, I thought I would take a minute to let you know where all the goodies are…

As I did with my previous theme switch, the NightLight Idea theme will remain in the theme switcher. So, if you prefer it (or the Pool theme before it), you can view the blog with those themes. They continue to be supported, so if anything looks funky with any of the themes, just let me know. (I don't do anything with the “WordPress” themes - they're shipped with the software, and I upgrade them whenever a new version comes out.)

Enjoy!

UPDATE - 14 Jan 08: If you've ever used the theme switcher, you may not be seeing the new theme. Just click “Mimetastic” from the theme viewer to see it.

Tag, You're It!

You may notice something new in the header of each post on this blog. Native tagging support is new to WordPress 2.3, but most themes didn't support it. I have added it to the “NightLight Idea” theme, and 2.3 added it to the “WordPress Default” theme. Clicking on a tag will show you all posts that have been tagged with the same tag. Of course, since it's new, most of my old posts aren't tagged. I've tagged the ones back about six months, and I'll get to the others as I have time. Enjoy!

If you don't care about the difference between tags and categories, you can stop reading now…

One reason it's taken me so long to add tags to this theme is that I had a hard time wrapping my head around the concept of a tag versus a category. It may not be scientific, and there was no one moment where a light bulb went on above my head and I said “wow - that's it!” But the way I understand it (and the way they'll be used in this blog) is this; categories are broad and should be few, while tags are narrow and may be many. Basically, a category is where you would file the post, were you to print it out and put it in a filing cabinet, or make a card for it in the card catalog of a library - for this post, the category is “Site Info”. A tag is more a collection of keywords or topics that may appear or be referenced in a post. Look at the tag list for this post, and you'll see what I mean.

And, by the way - I know I have some readers who are WordPress bloggers. Here's how I did it - it was a piece of cake!

A New Author

Today, I'm trying something new. One of my friends, Nick, will be joining the blog authoring team (well, I guess that would be creating a team, since it's been a solo effort up to this point). He'll be putting thought-provoking information from a viewpoint other than that of us in the VRWC.

I'm sure you lurkers will welcome him the same way you welcome me. And remember too - this is my house. G-rated language and civility on both sides will be unapologetically enforced. :)

A New Theme and a New Policy

If you've ever been here before, you'll notice that it looks quite a bit different. I like this new theme - the city is alive! :) (Watch the image for a while…) There are still a few tweaks left, but I think it's about 95% ready.

Also, seeing how potent Akismet is, I have changed the configuration to no longer require a registration to leave comments. If spam starts seeping through, I'll lock it back down, but for now, if that's what's been stopping you, have at it. In fact, you can practice by leaving your comments about this new theme on this post!

Update (28 Sep / 1936 MDT) - I know the sidebar looks weird in IE6. Upgrade or change is my advice. :)

Update (28 Sep / 1945 MDT) - On the sidebar, there is now a section called “Choose Your Theme.” This will allow you to view the new theme (NightLight Idea), the old theme (Pool), or the two default themes that come with WordPress. You can still tell me in the comments which one you prefer. I made sure the theme switcher appears on all the themes, so you can switch back and forth at will. (Pool and NightLight Idea have been customized, while the others have not - so some features may not appear on the default themes.)

“Verse of the Day” Is Now a Plug-In

If any of you are interested, I have converted the “Verse of the Day” on my sidebar from a theme hack to an actual WordPress plug-in. The details (and the download) are over on my tech blog. I plan to convert the category and archive drop-down lists to plug-ins as well - they will all be detailed in the “Programming » WordPress » Plug-Ins” category.