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Monthly Archives: July 2009

It’s been over six months since I moved this blog to WordPress.com. It feels like a short period of time, no doubt at least in part because I’ve been pretty bad at actually using my blog consistently in that time. Nonetheless, it’s been six and a half months.

WordPress.com is okay. After all, I’ve used it for all this time without complaining too much. But there were some annoyances. For instance, the fact that all the tag links go to a list of all posts on WP.com to use that tag. I mean, what’s with that? This is my blog; I don’t really want to encourage people to surf right through like this system encourages. They’re supposed to be interested in what I have to say, and stay. Okay, that’s a little selfish, but a more compelling reason is that a lot of my tags aren’t designed for any use other than on this blog. For instance, when I tag a post with “Tigger”, I’m talking about my cat. If someone else tags their post with “Tigger”, they are probably NOT talking about my cat. Consequently it makes no sense to show people every post on WP.com tagged “Tigger” — they’re different topics. People want to know about my cat!

WordPress.com is also very limited in what I can actually do with my blog’s design. If you pay you can edit the site’s CSS (not that I would pay for that), but nothing will let you alter how posts, pages, the navigation, the archives, etc. are arranged. On my old site’s front page, I had two different loops to show two different lists of entries: asides, and the titles and one-sentence summaries of my most recent posts. I liked it that way — I could differentiate between two different styles of post, and all was good. But I can’t do that here.

Over the school holidays one day I was really bored and decided to open my theme files and convert them into an HTML mock-up. So I could relive how the layout looked in some format other than a puny thumbnail, I guess. Then, unable to resist the temptation, I started making alterations and improvements. I thought about the categories I really wanted, how wide I really wanted the columns, and how I really wanted the front page designed (I decided the most recent entry should be more prominent than just a little link, because surely casual visitors would want to know at a glance whether the post has been updated since their last visit — without needing to look around).

In the end, I found myself really inspired to work on my website’s design. Only, tragically… I couldn’t. I could only work on this lame HTML demo’s mock-up. No one would ever see what my hard work and thoughtfulness had produced! What a depressing thought.

So I did what any reasonable person would do, and sought out some subdomain hosting. Before I’d even made up my mind to emigrate from WP.com, I’d heard some good things about Bubble.nu, so I checked that site out. After a few days thinking about it, I filled out an application, and within an hour I received an acceptance email.

All of this means: I have a new blog, available at jess.skyness.org.

Of course I also decided to attempt a switch to Chyrp to see if it’s better than WordPress. Honestly I haven’t made up my mind yet. One of the downsides of the switch is that the complex realities of porting a theme from one templating system to another means that 99% of my carefully-considered design changes did not actually happen. But on the bright side, at least I have the freedom to work on it now.

Also unfortunately, Chyrp’s templating system doesn’t seem to be well-documented. I mean, if you read the templating tags you can work out what every single one of them does; it’s easy to pick up that way. Unfortunately, that tells me nothing about the OTHER tags I can use. You know, like the ones that would let me have multiple loops on the front page. Or how to link to an RSS feed. Or how I can get an RSS feed of just one category. (Okay, I guess neither of the RSS feed things relate that much to template tags, but just continuing on the theme of hard-to-find documentation…)

Because the link somehow got lost in the middle of the entry, I’ll repeat myself: new blog: jess.skyness.org.

On Sunday it was Melbourne Open House Day. My Dad was REALLY EXCITED about the prospect of seeing old buildings that are usually closed off to the general public, and I accompanied my Dad and we explored a whole lot of dilapidated rooms, abandoned theatres, and so on and so forth.

However the real point of this entry is that we got off the train at Melbourne Central, and caught an escalator up from the station part to the shopping centre part. At the top of the escalator — just as you’re getting off — is a sign saying something about “escalator safety” and enlightening people about to how to avoid dying on them. Because you know, a lot of people find that very challenging. Apparently. Read More »

Earlier today I was struggling really hard to put a watch on my wrist and it occurred to me that if I was someone else, someone with two perfectly functional hands, I’d probably be able to get this watch on my wrist in thirty seconds flat and it would never occur to me that there were others out there who find it next to impossible to complete this seemingly simple task.

I have a condition called Klippel-Feil Syndrome. I don’t mention it very often because for some reason, I rarely remember that I have it. I’ve had it all my life and the thought of not having it is unimaginable to me. It’s like, someone born in a country without ready access to modern technology isn’t going to spend all their time thinking about how they don’t have a computer. That’s just their life. Well, it’s the same with me.

But occasionally, something happens — even something as minor as wanting to put a watch on my wrist — and, frustrated, I’m forced to recognise I have a disability. It took me ten minutes to get this damn watch on, and even now it is on, it’s on pretty loosely and keeps sliding around. So annoying. Read More »