aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, February 06, 2005
APRIL 2008 UPDATE: So much has happened since I wrote the post below I should really write an entirely new one. I will when I have the time! I invite you to email me and I will be happy to share my advice and experience. To review quickly, in 2006 I changed blog platforms from Movable Type to Expression Engine. If I had it to do over I WOULD NOT DO IT. I broke every single historical internal link (they remain broken to this day). I had built up traffic and have never recovered from that move.
I also switched web hosts because I was using so much bandwidth so I moved from ICDSoft to Network Solutions. Another HUGE MISTAKE!!! I would never do that again. I spent all of 2007 limping along. At the end of the year I hired E.Webscapes to help redesign the site and move back to ICDSoft. I think ICDSoft is the greatest and will never leave again. I have a half dozen sites there now. As for E.Webscapes, that disaster is chronicled here. Be forewarned. I genuinely think Lisa Sabin-Wilson acted negligently and in bad faith. After five months, a busted site with lost data, no new design and a designer missing in action she did refund my money with $50 extra.
I thoroughly enjoy blogging and have learned a great deal. It enriches my life and I have strategies for addressing my ongoing technical challenges, but they are many. I’ll try to update this post with more when I can.
ORIGINAL FEB 2005 POST: I’ve worked in and around technology for all of my professional career, but only recently have I been so hands on. Last spring I was asked to build a website for a friend in New York. Shortly thereafter I decided to build my own. I started with Front Page but moved quickly to Dreamweaver, and got some help from students and friends.
My web hosting service is icdSoft. Love them! They have great rates, great features and great customer service. Answers to service tickets within minutes, 24/7 (slower if you need an engineer, which has only happened to me once). I found them through a google search, checked out their ratings, and couldn’t be happier. I have four sites with them now.
When I started building my blog, I had no idea what I was getting into. I started with a Dreamweaver tutorial that was way too complicated and much more than I wanted. But I figured that I could adapt it once I built it. After a few days I learned quite a bit but threw in the towel and moved on. I found Movable Type through a Google search, vaguely recognizing the name from all the sites I read. If I were doing it now I might happen upon Blogger but I would recommend Typepad, just because of my fondness for parent company SixApart and all they do. But I wanted to build the site myself so Movable Type was the right sollution for me.
I’m now on my second Movable Type blog. I couldn’t be happier. I LOVE THEM! The Movable Type people. It’s free if you’re just doing a small blog. I like it’s features. The support forums are good. Be sure to join the Professional Network, it’s free (today) and a great resource. I find Learning Movable Type Tutorials and Tips for Beginners very helpful. I got my style from Blog Fashions free blog styles (I modified this one). My first blog used this one from MovableStyle.com.
I use Blogrolling for the blogroll on the left. I tried to upgrade but the form wouldn’t accept any of my credit cards, I wrote them several times and never heard back. I don’t know what’s going on with them but have read several high profile complainers. I used Sitewizard for the email page and am very pleased (even as I’ve yet to work out the error checking). And last and probably least though I get a great kick out of it, I built my Favicon using favicon.com’s beta online image editor. It is a very cool piece of online software.
I think that covers it. Now it’s on to blogging!
You could be wondering, I did, why blog? For me, I set up my website so that I could have a way of keeping in touch with, and being found by, old friends and colleagues. I spent my entire adult life in New York; for 25 years I was the only Windish in the Manhattan phone book (now there are none). If someone, anyone, wanted to find me, all they had to do was look. Everyone knew I was and would always be a New Yorker. But look, here I am in rural Georgia. Won’t they be surprised! So one reason I’ve staked my claim to the Internet space is to be found.
The blog is an extension of that and more: it’s a way to stay intellectually engaged both with my far away friends and with the world of issues and ideas. In New York I felt very engaged; I was constantly involved in rigorous conversations on the issues of the day. Even at work we had a tradition of lunches together during which we’d debate issues, sometimes heatedly. I looked forward to a monthly Internet industry salon that I contributed to through the peak of the Internet bubble.
Here I’m just as engaged, but I rarely have the conversations I once thrived on. I still subscribe to my magazines, watch the news programs, and read the blogs that get me all fired up. I’m as fired up as ever; with nowhere to let off steam. So maybe my blog will help with that. Maybe it will open up whole new worlds. Maybe a new day’s dawning. So with that swell thought, here goes…