Thursday, April 10, 2014

And Here I Thought My Spring Cleaning Was All Done

A few minor changes have been or will be made to the Dept. site, and I wanted to let you know what was happening. Some of it is basic Housecleaning, some is accommodating my Sloth, and some is merely practicality.

A. Commenting: A few of you miss the Comments section being called "Brainstorms." Well, me too! One morning, I devoted hours to my template, trying to troubleshoot it, googling like crazy and trying to learn some HTML coding on the fly to fix it. Ever since Google bought Blogger, they aren't too interested in servicing the platform at all, so we are left to our own devices. Anyway, after noodling about forever, I happened upon a notice that this is what GoogleBlogger calls "An Outstanding Issue." In other words, it's still broken, they don't know why, and they aren't fixing it thus far.

Next, I had changed my Comments policy to accept Anonymous commenters. A few people had contacted me to let me know that they wanted to ring in, but for some reason, they had been unable and did not want to bother setting up a shadow GoogleBlogger account. I am so sorry to say that I Will No Longer Be Allowing Anonymous Commenters. Every day since the exact moment I switched (and, no, I am not kidding), my blog has been flooded with junk comments which are simply commerce bots hawking their crap. The built-in spam filter has been doing a great job, but all the comments come to my private email inbox, and it's a pain. So, since the larger concern is outweighing the few people who claimed they wanted to join in, I've scotched Anonymous comments.

B. Sidebar Elements: I usually change my sidebar elements every time I do a new post. It's very time-consuming, and I wonder if anyone really pays attention. Could you let me know if you do, and if you actively engage with any of the elements? Then I'd know which to keep and which I can let go or keep static.

C. Email Subscriptions: Google also now owns Feedburner, my subscription service facilitator. It's--in a word--erratic. As with Blogger, Google isn't really interested in maintaining or servicing Feedburner, and it shows. I will be switching email service providers soon. Those of you who experienced the glitches in March with my daily postings know how badly the email service screwed up. It's all very frustrating, and it takes a lot of time and effort. I have time, but I detest mucking around with this sort of thing because I fear that everything I do could have fatal repercussions, to what I've already done, to my blog, to my subscribers/readers, to my computer, to the world. Each keystroke is fraught with peril. So. Fraught.

D. Feedback: In Comments, please offer any suggestions you have for anything regarding the Dept., whether it be color scheme, content, or layout. Sometimes, I can't get a fresh view on it because I'm consumed by the work of it. What do you like, dislike, want more of, want less of? I can't promise I'll act upon it because, after all, I have to love it, whatever it is that I put here.

As always, Dearest Readers, thank you.

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  1. I use my iPad Air almost exclusively now, and the only thing that appears on your blog are your posts and the comments. I use to enjoy the other when I used my laptop, though. (It just feels too large and heavy compared to this nifty iPad.) I always enjoy your blog even though I don't comment too often. Sometimes, I feel I have less and less to say about anything. Perhaps it is Facebook overload. (FB can be so annoying although it allows me to keep in touch with our E-town peeps and family members who live all over the country. At any rate, Nance, write on!

  2. Hmmmm, after I posted my comments, everything else on your blog appeared in full color on my iPad screen! Magic, huh?

  3. that's why a Google sign-in popped up when I tried to log in to my blog from MrL's computer....hmmm...probably an indicator of just how busy I've been that I just assumed it was some weird glitch and rushed off to do something else.
    I would say I look at your sidebar about half the time. I had no idea you changed it every time you posted. I love to read blogs, but I don't pay much attention their format. I'll try to do better in future. And I will say that Piper's fur looks very lustrous in that photo. You can pass on my compliments.

  4. The fact that I never look at your sidebar has absolutely nothing to do with the content, and everything to do with the breakneck speed with which I peruse people's blogs.

    I don't read anyone's sidebar, really. Even my own.

  5. Gina--that's why I'm asking. I don't take it personally at all, and I know that most people's sidebars don't change. They contain static elements like contact info, links for subscribing, etc. I'm not one for working if there's no ROI.

    MsCaroline--Sometimes I run out of stuff to photograph of P&M. They're cats, after all. Piper is usually asleep, and Marlowe detests being photographed. She is uncooperative about all things, actually. That may be one thing I get rid of as I streamline my sidebar. How many cat pictures can anyone look at/care about anyway?

    RE: doing better in future; why? I have to tell you that so much of what I've read in comments thus far completely goes against everything I've read by the "experts" about boosting readership and marketing one's blog. I love how my readers don't give a crap about the window-dressing and just want to read the content.

    BooksterOne--I hate the fact that I am losing you to the quickie quips on FB. Having said that, I can appreciate the nature of that medium for you; in many ways it must be very similar to the Lounge/Workroom back in the day. Lots of different topics getting covered since several people come and go in the span of forty minutes. It's light and you don't have to get all that involved if you don't want to.

    There are times in which I miss some back and forth with former colleagues. I really do. But I am enjoying my limited contact and Fortress of Solitude, and renewed closeness with family.

    Thank you for your encouragement. I love writing here, so I will continue for the foreseeable future. But I hope I see you here more often. Here, and "in person." We are terrible about that.

  6. Anonymous12:24 PM

    I am reminded of why I left Blogger and went to WP. Your template difficulties bring back memories of frustration. I feel for you.

    I don't allow Anonymous comments. If someone is unwilling to take a few minutes to set up an account, then I suspect that I'm nothing more than a distraction to them. If I'm not their priority, they're not mine.

    About your sidebar info, I look at it but I rarely click on anything. I use it more to get a feel about what's rattling around inside your head than to glean specific information on a topic. So I like it, but maybe not for the reasons that you think.

    I don't know how your color scheme shows up on other computers, but on my iMac the pale greenish background is charming, but the hot pink lettering on the sidebar is difficult to read. Everything else is easy to read.

  7. Hi Nance-

    Blogging is supposed to be easy on the blogger - we don't/haven't changed our sidebar in ages... I know yours changed frequently, but didn't realize till just now that you did it EVERY post. Too much work! I have to say, though, that I could watch the bunny tear around the corner and startle the crap out of the other one all day long! -Dean

  8. I agree with Ally Bean about the side bar - I usually look at it but don't often click on anything. But given how infrequently I make it to blogs these days maybe only change it once a week? That way I don't miss anything - ha! My favorite thing is probably the bunny section :)

    I always subscribe to your reader comments so I can keep track of the conversation & I can attest to the amount of spam you were getting - holy cannoli! I don't allow anonymous comments either, for just that reason. I also moderate comments on posts older than 14 days.

  9. Bug--Sorry about that, Bug. I never thought about anyone getting all that crap if they subscribed to comments. At least it's over now, and I won't be doing it again.

    I'm thinking of removing my sidebar entirely, now that I have gotten this feedback. Most of it is filler anyway.

    Dean--I loved that one, too. The one I have now--B-SPAN, cracks me up. The looping is seamless, and who can resist a munchy bunny?

    "Blogging is supposed to be easy on the blogger"--that's an interesting concept. It's never easy on me. Ever. Whether it's digging into what I'm talking about or formatting it to be pleasing to look at or looking for just the perfect image to put at the head of the post, it's laborious for me. I like the work, however; it's fun for me.

    Ally B--The background is actually a straw "Chardonnay" colour, and the sidebar "hot pink" is sort of a vivid orchid/thistle. At least that is what it is on my computer, an HP laptop running Chrome. LOL.

    Blogger has gotten easier to manage templates, but as I said, once google bought them out, there is simply not the support. It's all community-based troubleshooting. I hate to change over and possibly lose stuff. I don't know what to do.

  10. My computer shows what I suppose is "straw Chardonnay"--- I might describe it as just about the colour of "clotted cream" (ever had that? Yum!)

    I do read the wine (previously martini) glass links and quite enjoy them. I am guilty, of course, of rarely commenting on them.

    I wouldn't think you'd have to change it every time you posted (surely you don't mean when you were posting daily during March?-- I did not notice that, if you changed that one every day). And if it's all more work than you think it's worth, well... it's your blog. I will eagerly lap up everything you set on the table, but if the sidebar just has the standard fare of links and info, I don't see it as a problem.

    Here's a thought,if you decide to stop posting the links to articles/anecdotes: When you find something interesting that you would normally put up in the "clink the glass" category, why not use it as fodder for a post and include the link in your post? ;-)

  11. P.S. I just saw the Terri Lynn Land quote. OMG. You could totally have written a very snarky post on that. (And then sent a link to this stupid b*tch...)

  12. Ortizzle--Oh, my heavens! Don't worry about commenting on every little thing, and don't ever let my blog inspire guilt, of all things. You know how I feel about THAT!

    Is it more work than it's worth? No, not if it's being looked at and if readers find it engaging. But if I'm doing it for nothing, so to speak, then it's "sound and fury signifying nothing".

    I like the idea of turning some of the sidebar stuff into a blogpost. My problem is that I have a hard time with short posts. It's a Thing with me. I have no idea why I can't simply write a post of just a paragraph or two. I feel like it has to be more to make it worth your while to read.

    Oh, I have some more thinking to do.

  13. I read your sidebar sometimes, and I enjoy it when I do. I'd say do whatever makes you happiest. Certainly don't bother updating EVERY TIME if it's too much. it's too much for me. Gosh, I used to update mine all of the time, with lyrics to songs and pictures and badges that I "earned" and so on. Then I reformatted my blog and all of that was lost, and I felt kind of liberated. So now I don't bother. I don't even update the book I'm reading, which is kind of sad because I finished that book MONTHS ago at least. But really, my point is, whatever makes you happy.

  14., it's really not a question of it being Too Much. Nothing is too much if it's something my readers enjoy and look forward to. My issue is this:

    If the Sidebar Items aren't being noticed or engaged with, then I need to re-evaluate whether I even need a Sidebar, need to eliminate some Sidebar elements, or change the Sidebar elements.

    Perhaps I need to re-think what the Sidebar's purpose is.



    Thank you, though, for wanting me to be happy. I want that, too.

  15. One thing that's a small issue, but perhaps one that affects others...

    When I try to load your blog on my iPhone, it takes quite a while to load and I get a little image of some gears. But when I try to load other Blogspot blogs (specifically this one), they load immediately.

    I'm not sure if you're just using extra content or something, but if there's any way around that it would be much appreciated. Sometimes I'm stuck looking at the gears for a good 15 seconds.

  16. Dear Stuck--Hey, thanks for telling me! That's not supposed to happen at all. For some reason, Blogger changed my Mobile View setting to "Dynamic." If you hadn't told me, I would never have known, and I have a lot of subscribers who grab the Dept. on their phones. You're my Hero Of The Day! Try loading me up again, and let me know if it's any quicker.

  17. Sooooooooo fast now!


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