A graph of the HTML structure of indica. View the key and a funky animation at Websites as Graphs
This site hasn’t really been redesigned for two years, and I don’t think it much needs to. It’s simple enough to read (I hope) and I’ve settled into a comfortable missionary position photo/intro/post relationship. That said, I made a few upgrades, but almost entirely invisible. The database and blogging software (WordPress) has been upgraded to 2.0. This basically broke everything that I had to go thru and fix, but it’s all for the main benefit of using the new plugins. New features I added are 1) Photo Galleries are now all here instead of only on flickr. 2) Related Posts are added at the bottom while recent posts and categories can be browsed at the very very bottom 3) The blog will automagically post all the sites I find interesting once a week (via del.icio.us). It doesn’t make much difference, but is something. This post is technical and more for my future reference than anything.
Photo Galleries: I use Flickr to host photos cause it does a lot of work for me. I upload 3MB high rez files and it archives them and gives me web-ready images and thumbnails (which saves me that much Photoshop). It also lets me tag and label my photos so I can find my photos there faster than I can locate them on my desktop. I have almost 2,400 photos there and I’m happy with it. I also think it is wise to use a third party for photos because hosting 2,400 photos on your own server is a nightmare. Especially when you have to move. I learned that the hard way once and I try to use third parties as much as possible. Anyways, I don’t want to leave Flickr, but their API (Application Programmer Interface) means that the community has developed incredible additions to Flickr. One of these pulls in all my Flickr photos and galleries and makes them look like they’re part of indi.ca. I implemented this years ago for Sarvodaya, but I just got around to doing it here.
Related Posts: This simply means that every posts will have a computer generated list of (tenously) related posts below it. I have some stuff in the archives that doesn’t get seen much, and hopefully this will shuffle some of that old content.
Links: I don’t post as much recently, what with the working and going out, but I still read a lot. I’m using the third party delicious to archive my links, and I’ve got this plugin to do a weekly summary of what I’ve been reading. Let’s see if it works.
Purely for reference this how I’ve constructed this blog. This is different from WordPress or Blogger accounts, but also more of a pain in the ass. N Sharp has a better description of it than I could give, but these are the elements.
- 1. Domain Name – indi.ca is Canadian so it’s from this obscure RegisterYour company. For other stuff I use GoDaddy, which is the equivalent of Pettah. It’s cheap but by no means should you buy any of the extra crap they offer you. It’s like $8 for a dotcom. What’s weird is that a .lk is like $30, but that’s cause it’s still controlled by a bullshit cartel.
- 2. Server – Basically this entire site is sitting on a computer somewhere. This is on but they have a lot of downtime and I’m not that happy with them. is where I’m hosting Kottu and I think I’ll migrate there.
- 3. WordPress: This is the software that manages all my posts. I’ve had to tinker with stuff underneath, but that was for fun. This is different from wordpress.com in that I have to find my own server and deal with database crap, but I can also edit anything and truly design the site.
- 4. Plugins – What I love about WordPress is the community that builds and develops all these cool features. The plugins I’m using here are:
- Akismet – comment spam condom
- Extended Live Archives – at the bottom of this page you can see it, lets you browse my archives without going to a new page
- Brian’s Threaded Comments – Lets you form subthreads in comments rather than one vertical pile
- Customizable Post Listings – My whole frontpage is different from most in that it pulls in two columns of posts. CPL gives me more freedom to call and format posts, though I’m sure I could do it without
- del.icio.us cached++ – Haven’t tested yet, but this polls my del.icio.us links and makes a weekly post with the stuff I’ve been reading
- FAlbum – This is an awesome plugin that pulls all my photos from Flickr into this site
- intouch – this is a contact form
- Recent Comments List – This pulls in the recent commentors, below
- Related Posts – this searches the current post and guesses what old posts might be relevant. It’s not super accurate, but it may introduce ppl to some older stuff
- RunPHP – This lets me run more powerful code (than HTML) within posts, but I don’t use it much
One thing I’ve learned is that being part of a community can greatly increase your traffic. For the first year I had more traffic than Kottu, but now it is bigger than I. It also provides a steady stream of visitors to this site, only a small percentage of them crazy.
One lesson from Kottu is that the key to a blog is not structure or design, but simply updating. If you don’t update you don’t show up on Kottu and you don’t get hits.
I have also learned not to mess with too many fancy plugins and to try and stay as normal as possible. When you try weird hacks it may work for the moment, but upgrading or moving is a nightmare.
And that is all, I haven’t really changed that much. I just feel like the workplace is cleaner now.