[Via Volker Weber]
[Via Volker Weber]
Let’s continue our trip through the history of Brain Tags at 1998, my second year of blogging.
I celebrated my birthday party in De Jeugdhof, and after cleaning the floor we forgot to close the fire hose. The next morning when we came back to finish cleaning we encountered a swimming pool instead of our cleaned floor. Oops…
I also went to Africa and visited the very interesting country of Lesotho. Of course, still being a rookie blogger I only slightly mentioned this instead of writing a post with high Google juice. Missed change indeed.
I also had the worst skin problems I remember and had to stay home for several days because my face was severely infected. I still don’t know what caused it (allergy?, stress?), but fortunately it didn’t return after 1998.
You might also be interested in Looking back at 1997.
[Via Volker Weber]
Email exists to stay on top of things,… I am much more interested in getting to the bottom of things Via Adventures in Home Working
It is good habit to add a personal note when inviting someone to connect through LinkedIn to explain how you know the other person and why you want to connect. However, lately I noticed a small inconvenience with this approach:
I invited a few people with a personalised note and instead of the acceptation of the invitation I received a reply to my note.
It is no big problem, as I simply reply back and ask them to accept my invitation. Maybe LinkedIn could think of a 'Reply & Accept' button?
As I have been blogging for 10 years now, I thought it would be a nice idea to look back at almost 1000 posts on my sites. Today an overview of the year it all started: 1997.
Though I already had a personal web page for some years, I didn’t spend a lot of time on it. My main interests these days were Jong Nederland and Fimcap. In November I had a great weekend with all JN volunteers on a national level, and in December I joined a Fimcap meeting in Rome. Though the meeting was only a weekend, I spend the entire week in Italy.
On November 9, 1997 I added a new section to my personal web site: a news page. The word weblog did not exist yet, but my news page (though updated manually in FrontPage) did have some aspects of modern day weblogs; it showed the entries in reverse chronological order, but did not allow for comments.
The first entries are written in Dutch, but as I got more foreign friends I changed my personal site to English. The old news however, always stayed in Dutch…
A lot have changed in those ten years. Not only in my life, but also the weblog. It went through several designs, three domains, two content management tools, and had both active periods and inactive periods.
As I had very few readers in the beginning (I still remember the day I had 10 visitors) I doubt there is anybody who have been following Brain Tags since those early days. It doesn't matter whether you read this blog recently or for a long time, I wouldn't have continued that long without my readers. So I would like to use the opportunity to thank you all!
The coming days I will look back in more detail on the pas ten years.
Two years ago, reflections were cool and something new. Reflections gave your web site or your application a crisp look.
Nowadays, even the big operating systems and television stations have reflections and thus reflections as a design element are outdated. I am surprised, even irritated, by the big number of startups still using reflections in their logo or their screendumps only to look ‘cool’.
Get over it. Reflections are soooo 2005.
I could simply write here that I am too busy to write on Brain Tags, but I guess it is more interesting for you to read what I am doing currently. So this is a short list of my most interesting current projects:
This is a project on which I have been working for a long time (not always as active as now) and which should have been finished a long time ago. I am now finishing off the new design, after which we can finally show the world the work we have been doing. Working on a graphical design is quite an adventure for a technical person like me. I can easily tell whether I like a design or not, but to make one yourself is a whole different thing.
Hopping along with the Fimcap redesign, I am also reworking the site where I station my side-business. Both sites are built on eZ Publish, so I use the experiences on ons site to advance on another. I am also working to leverage some of the karma I got with blogging to new profitable projects under the Brytenet umbrella. You will read more about that when these plans have crystallized a little bit more. Anyway, currently the Brytenet site is off-line while I restructure the content, but before next week I hope to be open for business again.
There is still one room in our house where we didn’t do anything since we moved in, the room where our visitors sleep. Those who have visited us can confirm that the beds in that room have had their time. So we are going to use our holiday in November to get rid of the current furniture and paint the room. In the mean time we are already looking for two new beds and a wardrobe to provide our guests with better rest and ourselves with more storage room.
And finally I started an on-line course about making on-line courses (?) called Teaching Sells, which will probably help me getting all that information I have been absorbing over the past years out of my head and into my wallet. I am sure some very interesting new projects will arise from that course.
The blogs are still there, and will stay, though I am considering stopping to write on the Wizard of POS.
Note: This post is my contribution to Blog Action Day, joining thousands of other bloggers to write about one topic for a single day. This year's topic is the environment.
Camping is my favourite holiday activity. In our tent I feel free and I feel at home as I use my own stuff and sleep in my own sack. Furthermore, it is very easy for a shy person like me to have contact with others on a camping. I feel a lot more comfortable on a camping than in hotel and apartments.
However, lately I noticed a trend of people camping more and more luxury: huge caravans with satellite television, microwave ovens, washing machine, skottelbraai, and even a motor to move around on the camping. While I like some comfort, one of the things I like about camping is its simpleness: less things around you means less cleaning and less worrying and thus more relaxing. And it still is possible:
When I still lived in the Netherlands, I was a member of the NTKC, a club of people who love camping in a simple and quiet way. The NTKC owns 22 campings in natural areas, and all the maintenance and administration is done by club members. On the NTKC terrains, people camp with tents up to 1.90 meters high and always in natural colours. When staying for a longer period, members move their tent to prevent dead grass.
Most of the time there is plenty of room on the campings; in spring and autumn it might happen that you won't see anybody else from your tent!
For me, being in the middle of nature is a very relaxing experience. If you live in the Netherlands and enjoy camping and nature, be sure to check out the NTKC. There are similar organisations elsewhere, such as the Camping and Caravanning Club in the U.K..
Op 6 oktober ontving ik een mailtje van een andere Nederlander in Lleida. Helaas ben ik door mijn gebrekkige IT kennis dat mailtje kwijt geraakt, en heb dus je e-mail address niet meer. Kun je me a.u.b. nogmaals een mailtje sturen of meeven bellen? Sorry voor het ongemak!
Lately I haven't written much personal things any more, so let's change that…
This weekend Berry, Manon & Bas visited us in Lleida, and we really enjoyed it.
The visit coincided with the autumn festivities in Lleida, so there was plenty to do. However, most of the weekend we spend chatting and playing at home.
Other highlights include the castellers on Sunday, who were building such an impressive human castles that they needed extra people to form the base. They picked Berry and me, resulting in the castle pictured below, a '3 de 9 amb folre'.
You should be able to see our heads in the mass below…
When I take my breakfast in the mornings, I usually sit in front of a window looking out to the entrance of a school. Some days ago I looked at some teenagers and noticed that all of them were listening to a MP3 player, but none of them had an iPod.
As the iPod is certainly the hippest and easiest to use MP3 player on the market, I assumed that at least some teenagers would have one, while others would settle for a cheaper model. The iPods is indeed more expensive than other players, but usually pricing is not that big problem for teenagers if the device is cool enough.
I decided to ask a teacher who also owns an iPod about his view on the subject, and he gave me a very simple explanation.
The iPod is anti-social.
For teenagers, gadgets only have one function: communicating and sharing with friends. The first thing they do after downloading a song from internet is share it with their friends. And well, the iPod simply won't let them do that.
Songs on the iPod are locked up and are only accessible from iTunes on the original PC. Furthermore, to connect an iPod to a PC you need a cable and there is no way a teenagers is going to walk around with an un-sexy USB cable.
A for teenagers successful MP3 player has an incorporated USB port (usually hidden under a cap) so they can connect it easily to any PC (at school, at their friend's home,...) and it should simply work like a memory stick with the MP3 files accessible from the operating system for easy copying of files.
As you know, I am not a very social person, and therefore I am perfectly happy without an iPod.
When I started using the default templates coming with Movable Type 4, I missed the Recent Comments widget. Below I explain how you can add create this widget and ass it to your sidebar in true MT4 style.
In the Movable Type administrative interface, go to Design > Templates > Template Modules and open either the ‘Sidebar - 2 Column Layout’ or the ‘Sidebar - 3 Column Layout’ template module, depending on which one you are using. Scroll down until you find a line with `` and paste the following code just above that line (you can of course also choose another position for the recent comments widget):
<div class=“widget-archives widget”>
<h3 class=“widget-header”>Recent Comments</h3>
<li class=“widget-list-item”><a href=“#comment-<br />“> on <a<br />href=“”></li>
Now in any template where you want to show the recent comments (e.g. the main index template or the individual archive template) you add the following line: `` Rebuild your weblog, and it should show you the five latest comments in the sidebar, just as you can see on this blog.
You can't do knowledge management until you accept that you can't manage knowledge. — Luke Naismith
Widgets are the fastest and easiest way to configure your sidebar. Just open up the widget administrator and drag and drop widgets on the sidebar. A great feature for novice bloggers, who don’t have the technical knowledge to tweak sidebar templates.
Unfortunately, the default Movable Type templates don’t use widgets, which means that to enable widgets on your site you will have to tweak the sidebar template… ouch!
I know, the default sidebar template offers a far more advanced features than the widget engine can offer, with variables and MTIf constructions. The default sidebar template is a lot cooler without widgets, but also very hard to tweak.
In my opinion, the default sidebar template should include a check on the number of widgets configured. If no widgets have been configured, it should show the fancy sidebar, but as soon as I configure widgets, it should hide the normal sidebar and show the widgets. This is also what many templates in WordPress do and gives you the both of two sides: a fancy sidebar for starters which is easily adaptable by weblog owners.
Spain is a country of bureaucracy and civil servants. Many people I speak to have only one dream: becoming a civil servant. Unlike most other modern countries, in Spain civil servants earn way more that people working in companies. Add to that some very good secondary labour conditions and a contract for life without performance objectives, and you can understand why most people working for companies envy those others.
Just an example: most teachers earn about 25% more than I do (and my wage is higher than the average company worker). For that money, they work 18–22 hours a week at the school, plus some hours at home for preparation and revision of exams, while I work 8,5 hours a day, five days a week. Furthermore, while I have four weeks of holidays, they get two whole months in summer, two weeks at christmas and another week at eastern!
Other civil servants might not have such a long holidays as the teachers, but they do enjoy other benefits. Knowing all this, I am still surprised whenever I see the huge economical growth Spain is making with such a big and inefficient civil overhead.
As of today, Brain Tags is not a stand alone blog anymore, but uses my central Movable Type installation at Ai-No. Hopefully you haven’t noticed anything of the changes, as I have been able to limit the downtime to only two minutes (the time necessary to delete an account from the web server and configure an add-on domain.
As Ai-No has its own blog which I will use for meta-blogging, there will obviously be less meta-blogging going on over here. So this blog will concentrate more on technology, web development and my life in Spain. Thanks for your patience, and stay tuned for more…
The past days two posts have been published on other blogs, based on my experience and knowledge available on El Canasto.
Last Saturday, I wrote an entry on What’s The Next Action called On-line GTD with Nozbe and Google Calendar, in which I explain how two on-line services can be used together as a complete productivity tool.
And yesterday my second guest post (which I wrote some weeks ago) was published on GTD Experiences. The post is called Getting GTD Done, and gives nine tips that in my experience help when implementing the GTD method. This last post is also available in Spanish on El Canasto.
Now it is time again to write on my own blogs…
Behind the screens, various big changes are happening on my blogging environment. As you see in the sidebar, I currently
maintain have four weblogs.
The oldest of the four is Brain Tags, running since ages on Movable Type. Then I have a weblog called The Wizard of POS, until today running on the same MT installation as Brain Tags and available at ‘pos.braintags.com’. There is also an old blog about my web hosting adventures, which I haven't updated in ages, called Brytenet weblog and just as the rest of the Brytenet site managed with eZ Publish. And finally I have my successful Spanish productivity blog El Canasto maganed with WordPress.
Quite a mess, isn't it? Add to that the fact that I have been experimenting a lot with non-public weblogs, and you'll get an idea of what things look like.
So I decided to clean things up, and do it well. You'll notice from the links in the side bar that I have presented my blogs as The Brain Network, a name I never have been satisfied with. Anyway, I acquired a new short and flashy domain name (of course hosted by Brytenet) and made a fresh MT4 installation. This will be the home of Brain Tags, The Wizard of POS, El Canasto and a new network blog (I still have to decide whether I want to continue with the Brytenet Weblog).
Until now I have re-created The Wizard of POS, imported all existing entries, comments and trackbacks, and tweaked the default template. And by the way, I gave it its own domain name, pos-wizard.com.
There is still a lot of work to be done (and I have little time), but I already feel good about the new home for my weblogs and am looking forward to being able to manage all my blogs from a single screen.
For everyone who has spent more than a holiday in Spain and for whom some of the following are true…
Lately, especially since I use Twitter, I receive a lot of URLs in TinyURL format. That made me think: if TinyURL gives out a unique URL each time it is used, when will they run out of URLs?
On their site they state that they have more than 42 million of them, which doesn’t sound like an awful lot. All TinyURLs I receive have a six character identifier, such as 3bso2z. A little calculation (six positions with 36 options per position) gives me 2.238.976.116 unique identifiers. More than two billion, that sounds already better. And if they run out of Ids, they can simply use seven or eight characters, which I still consider tiny. Eight positions give 2.984.555.162.628 (2 trillion!) unique identifiers!
It is clear: TinyURL is here to stay.
Now that Movable Type 4 has been released and leaped ahead of WordPress, the old discussion of static publishing versus dynamic publishing shows up again. Movable Type by default uses static publishing (it generates static HTML files with are served to the visitor) while WordPress uses dynamic publishing (all content is served directly from the database). What method is better?
As usual, the answer is: it depends…
Static publishing requires less server resources per visit, but it takes longer before updates (entries, comments and template changes) are visible. With dynamical publishing, your changes are immediately visible to your visitors, but you’ll need more power to serve those pages.
For most bloggers it won’t make any difference, as they hardly tweak their templates and receive few comments and visitors. However, if you like tweaking your templates, you might want to go dynamic, and popular blogs are better off going static.
But wait, I can hear you think: there are some very popular blogs using WordPress… That’s right, and without exception they use some kind of caching method to lower the server stress. On the other side, Movable Type can also run in dynamic mode (which is what I use for this blog), and you can specify for each template whether it should be served statically or dynamically, allowing you to optimize your site’s performance.
Conclusion: for low-traffic sites, it doesn’t matter whether you publish static or dynamic. If you have many visitors you probable want to use static or hybrid publishing.