From one platform, to another. I've moved my site from WordPress to Squarespace, with a new idea in mind. The blog will be shut down when I relaunch, but the archives will still be available for those with old links, etc. But until then....
My old web host is shutting down, so until I decide what to do with the northspace.com website, I've imported the old Wordpress blog into a Wordpress.com hosted site. Simplest solution for now to keep everything Wordpress based, even if a bunch of the image links are (even more) broken now. This will at least keep an archive of the site alive.
After trying out a few new Wordpress Themes over the past week, I've finally settled on Mystique. It's quite attractive and very easy to customize. I'll still be tweaking the stylesheet over the coming days. I've also implemented the WPtouch widget to facilitate mobile browsing. Be sure to check it out on your mobile device!
Well, more like, "Stuff American middle-class liberal hipster white people like", but the blog (and now book) Stuff White People Like is often scarily acccurate when it comes to pegging the narrow conformity of their (our?) tastes:Vegan/Vegetarianism, Apple Products, Microbreweries, Not having a TV, Bottles of Water, Outdoor Performance Clothes, Religions their parents don't belong to.
So many of these are attempts to take the high moral ground (to "do the right thing" while establishing your own superiority) without any of the real effort involved in taking real action. Though, as the entries come from multiple submitters, the quality (and humour) is a bit uneven with some pretty poor or bordering on offensive.
Reading it, I'm equal-parts affirmed and embarrassed in how dead-on many of these are. Affirmed, in recognizing common contempt for many of these traits I recognize in others, and embarassed at the sheer number that apply to me. The full list currently has 120 entries of 'stuff'. Do the test (my white friends): how many apply to you?
Yes, I'm still alive. Apparently so is the website. I've taken a look around and dusted off some cobwebs. Still a bit of tidying and remodelling to be done, but patience... patience. After six months without a post, I'd be hard pressed to call myself a blogger anymore, but we'll see what becomes of this site and my haphazard approach to maintaining it. The one thing that seems to have kept this site in the public eye over the past years was an innocent little post revealing Milestone's Bellini Recipe. Somehow its the #1 search results for Milestones Bellini recipe on Google and a Yahoo Answers Best Answer. I almost feel bad for the waitress who gave the secret away. :) So I just wanted to thank all of you who have linked me and commented. Enjoy those Bellinis!
I was recently contacted by a company called Schmap, who are pretty neat web-based and downloadable city guides. It seems they found a grainy, blurry photo I took with my cameraphone of the Depeche Mode concert last year at Hartwall Arena on my Flickr page. So now my photo is one of the pictures illustrating Hartwall Arena in their guide. I guess it looks pretty cool in thumbnail size. Good strategy on Schmap's part plugging in to online social networks in this way to drum up word-of-mouth among the digerati. I've already noticed others who received similar requests as I did are also blogging about Schmap, so it looks like the strategy is working for them.
Some fellow foreigners in Finland have started a blog called Höpöhöpö, a place for those of us learning Finnish to say hi and try out our emerging language skills. Could the genesis for this have been in a comment Phil left on my site during Language Week? Toiset ulkomaalaiset suomessa on aloittanut uuden blogin Höpöhöpö,missä me suomea oppivia voi piipahtaa ja yrittää meidÃ¤n tulevaa kielitaitoa. Tuliko sen ajatus Philin kommentista minun blogilla Kieliviikolla?
Taas on Kieliviikko, ja osallistun tänä vuonna ainakin yhdellÃ¤ viestillÃ¤. Viime vuonna aioin kirjoittaa joskus suomeksi. Sen vuoksi, asennoin Stephanie Boothin Basic Bilingual plugin WordPressilla. En kirjoitetaannut niin paljon suomeksi sen jälkeen, ja en käyttänyt pluginia uusilla teemoilla. Ehkä on riittävän vaikea kirjoittaa blogilla omana kielenä. Ehkä parempi vain kirjoittaa suora molemilla kielellä kun yritä käydä monimutkaista pluginia.It is Language Week again and I'm participating again this year, at least with one posting. Last year I intended to blog occasionally in Finnish, so I installed Stephanie Booth's Basic Bilingual plugin in WordPress. I haven't written so much in Finnish since then, and I haven't used the plugin in the newest versions of my design. Maybe it's hard enough to blog even in one's own language. Maybe it's better to just write straight in both languages than try to use some complicated plugin.
I was so consumed with the site redesign that I nearly forgot what I was doing when I stumbled upon the andreas04 template. In fact, I was looking for a way to get my journal entries on Last.fm appear as regular blog entries here, or vice versa, or automatically duplicate them, or something. If I write about a new musical discovery, I'd like to have it appear in my reglar blog rather than languishing over at Last.fm (which offers some cool markup for artists, albums, tracks, genres and the like in its journal tools). Making my Last.fm journal entries appear in the sidebar is quite trivial using RSS, but I want them to be fully integrated as regular blog entries. A quick search didn't get me very far (although it did lead me to Blaze, where I discovered my new design). But then I came across Simon Wheatley's site, where he's done exactly what I wanted using a plugin called FeedWordPress. Beyond just Last.fm integration, this amazing tool can take any RSS feed and integrate it as blog entries directly in your site. I'm sure I can think of a few other uses for it. So now you'll see that my only Last.fm journal entry is now part of NorthSpace. Coolness.
The only glitch so far is that relative links from the original posting now point to 'northspace.com' instead of 'last.fm'. This is really all Last.fm's fault. Links in RSS feeds must be absolute, since they are supposed to be portable and platform-independent by definition.
After playing around with wishlist aggregators like MetaWishList, Wists and GiftTagging, I came across StyleHive which has some creativity, ambition and promise that the others lack. Beyond simply categorizing your shopping cravings, StyleHive does the whole social networking thang and promises "social bookmarking for the product and shopping obsessed." Prompted by a nice welcome message from StyleHive's extremely cute blogger Sabrina Yeung, I've decided to share my top five thoughts on how StyleHive can become truly stylish.
1. Differentiate links in postings.
Bookmarks are currently a mishmash of links to products from online stores, manufacturers, or other blogs writing about the product. There should be some guidance to differentiate these types of links. For a product, I'd ideally like to see all three kinds of links in a posting. For instance, if the product is a cool pair of shades reviewed by GQ, I'd also want to have the link to the online store that sells them, and the brand.
2. Non-product-specific links
While we're on the subject of the bookmark mishmash, there should be ways to encourage bookmarks that aren't about specific products, but might be related to 'style' or 'fashion' generally. The tagging system should enable networking links between such general articles (say on how to do a bathroom reno) and the products that relate to them. I suppose this is already possible in the current system, but I'm just missing a way to make it evident.
3. Where's the Social Networking?
Ok, I see people and I see stuff, but then what? Maybe I'm not getting it, but how am I supposed to make the social connections that makes this a social networking site? For example, I'm viewing Sabrina's 'hive' page and there's no button to add her as a friend. What if I want to keep track of what she is bookmarking and recommending? How do I build my hive of not just stuff but of people?
4. Where's the Social Networking (part deux)?
When I go to StyleHive, I expect to see stuff that I'd be interested in, based on the kinds of stuff that I've been tagging. Isn't this the point of a site like this? My main recommendation would be to follow the model of Last.fm. If 80% of what I'm
listening to tagging is the same as someone else, chances are I'll like the other 20%. I should be getting recommendations based on my current stuff from other users, not seeing an unfiltered stream of latest or popular tags.
5. Where is the Style?
For a site with style in its name, there's an awful lot of chintzy crap that I'd rather not be visually assaulted with. If the StyleHive's creators don't do something to focus their 'brand image,' they'll be overrun by whatever tastleless self-promoters spam the most. Ideas could include some strategic co-marketing with key brands and merchants, or tie-ins with style trendsetters like GQ or Vogue (and others in interior design, gadgets, etc). There needs to be some focus here.
6. Import Function
This one is pretty straightforward. I've already collected a bunch of tagged bookmarks to cool stuff on Del.icio.us and the aforementioned MetaWishList. Why should I have to re-enter them all again from scratch on StyleHive? I realize that a common standard for social bookmarks hasn't emerged yet, but many other sites at least support importing from del.icio.us, and if StyleHive wants to capture users from other 'wishlist' sites, they should probably develop tools to migrate data from those other systems.
Seeing how it's spring, I felt like a bit of a fresh look for my site and one more in keeping with the 'north' theme. At the same time, with so many high quality Wordpress themes available I didn't really feel like developing a new design from scratch. It didn't take me long to find Kai Ackermann's Northern-Web-Coders theme at AlexKing.org. Though it was probably the word 'northern' that first made me check it out, it has a nice clean design and the colours worked well with the image of an iceberg I took in Nuuk that I wanted to use as the header graphic. I'm still fixing some little things to get all the little tricks working like they did in the previous theme, but all in all a relatively painless experience. Let me know what you think, or if something isn't working as it should.
Almost everything I do at work involves taking information from disparate sources, and going through various thought processes to generate finished written pieces, whether they be reports, course outlines, research articles (or even blog entries). Recently, I've been looking for software that can help me with this process. The needs are essentially twofold: storing and collecting the raw material (notes, ideas, emails, information from articles and the web, etc), and developing a structure in which to fit this information. At first I thought that the Google Desktop Scratch Pad might be a good place to start. I've become used to always having a spot on the right side of my desktop to note down random bits of information. Unfortunately, the Scratch Pad is just too limited for what I need. I'm now testing out two products that aim to address these needs. OneNote is a Microsoft product (but I'm trying not to let that prejudice me) originally developed for Tablet PCs as a kind of virtual notepad. It works with both keyboard and pen input, and you can drop pretty much anything onto a page and rearrange and organize these notes any way you want. It has a broad range of uses, and I'm really starting to like it. To get an idea of what OneNote is all about, check out Chris Pratley's OneNote Blog and his entry on how he uses it.
For brainstorming and developing outlines, MindJet's MindManager is absolutely brilliant. It has a simple but powerful user interface that makes it a snap to create relationships between ideas. It uses the mind map approach, and I'm finding it really useful for creating the structure for my next research article. Like OneNote, you can attach various snippets of information or link whole documents to the structure that you develop.
I'll continue testing these programs as I write reports, take notes in meetings, and do my thesis research. Hopefully, I'll be able to give a more in-depth review of their strengths and weaknesses after using them more.
In case you didn't notice (since they're probably the worst positioned ads on the Internet), I'm trying out Google AdSense, more out of curiosity than a real expectation of actually making money. So I haven't really become a blood-sucking money-whore overnight. If I ever get more serious about this, there's some decent advice available on how to increase your ad revenue. Let the capitalist experiment begin!
Kun aiemmin kirjoitin, haluaisin joskus blogata suomeksi. Miksi? Siksi, ettÃ¤ osaan (vaikka huonosti). Ja lisÃ¤ksi koska asun suomessa, ja minun pitÃ¤Ã¤ liityy myÃ¶s suomeen kuin kanadaan ja muihin kansainvÃ¤lisiin asioihiin. Joten asentin uuden BasicBilingual plugin. En aio ettÃ¤ blogaan koko ajan kaksikielisesti, siis BasicBilignual sopii hyvin tarpeekseni. Kielen koodi nÃ¤yttÃ¤Ã¤ otsikon alla, esim. FI (suomi), ja myÃ¶s lyhyt ingressi toisella kielellÃ¤.
What the hell happened? Well, my patience with Movable Type or at least my own installation of Movable Type finally reached breaking point, and I've "upgraded" to WordPress. I really never thought I would, but after enough farting around trying to get my broken MT installation to work like I wanted it to, I gave up and opted for a solution that should just work. Don't get me wrong, I really like Movable Type, and wished we could have made our relationship work, but frankly it was getting way to bloated and confusing to manage. I won't go into all of the differences between WordPress and Movable Type, because others have already done that. Turns out it is fairly trivial to move from one to the other, and WordPress installation really is dead easy. So now all my blog entries are in WordPress, and all the old permalinks from MT should also be intact. However, you'll note that the old NorthSpace we all knew and loved is missing. This is clearly the biggest hurdle in the migration process, converting my old MT templates into WordPress. Hopefully this will get done gradually in the next week or so, so thanks for your patience. I'll update more as I go along.
Following up yet again on the subject of offline blogging tools, I now bring you my initial thoughts and suggestions for a very promising new tool called Qumana.
Bon dia! Em dic l'Scott i jo sóc del Canadà, però visc
en a FinlÃ ndia. Moltes grÃ cies a Stuart Mudie, un blogger escocès de la que viu a Paris (i de la que abans vivia a Barcelona abant). Stuart m'ha escrit ahir i per suggerir escriure que escrigui en català. Jo vull saludar a en> Marc i a tots els amics meus a la Barcelona. Visca els campions i visca Catalunya Lliure!
Translation (or "what I wanted to say"): Good day! My name is Scott and I'm from Canada, but I live in Finland. Thanks to Stuart Mudie, a Scottish blogger from Paris (and from Barcelona before that). Stuart wrote me yesterday and suggested that I write in Catalan. I'd like to say hello to Marc and to all my friends in Barcelona. Long live the champions and long live free Catalunya!
It was on Stuart's Blethers.com that I found out about both Qumana and Language Week. Good finds! Now his punishment is to be subjected to my beginner Catalan. Well, hopefully neither he nor Marc (nor any of you catalanes) mind helping me fix my mistakes. I promise to leave the amendments in the post as part of the learning process.
TÃ¤ssÃ¤ on minun ensimmÃ¤inen suomenkielinen veto blogissani. On kyllÃ¤ aika yritÃ¤ kirjoita jotain toisessa kielessÃ¤, ja mikÃ¤ parempi tilanne kun kieliviikko. Olen miettinyt mihin aiheeseen tÃ¤mÃ¤ blogi pitÃ¤Ã¤ keskittyÃ¤, ja varmasti hyvÃ¤t esimerkit olisivat suomi ja minun elÃ¤mÃ¤ suomessa asuvana ulkomaalaisena. Siksi, samaan tien, rekisterÃ¶ydin blogilista.fi:ssa. Toivottavasti, pari bloggeja (onko oikea termi suomeksi?) lÃ¶ydÃ¤ minua ja alkaa keskustella (vaikka englanniksi tai suomeksi). Jos tÃ¤mÃ¤ yritys onnistuu, ehkÃ¤ yritÃ¤n huomenna ranskaksi tai catalaksi. Translation: This is my first try at Finnish in my blog. It's about time that I tried to write something in another language, and what better time than Language Week. I've been thinking about what topics my blog should really focus on, and certainly good examples would be Finland and my life as a foreigner living here. So, at the same time, I registered at blogilista.fi (an index of Finnish blogs). Hopefully a few bloggers will find me and start to discuss (either in English or Finnish). If this attempt succeeds, maybe I'll try in French or Catalan tomorrow.
I'm really turning around from my initial blogging denial , and starting to really appreciate the value and power that the mode of communication offered through the Web and blogosphere can offer.