Archive for the ‘siteupdates’ Category

Having completed the makeover for, the next phase of my “website-unifying strategy” is well underway.

Since part of the unification is to reduce multiple arrangements of similar content, the FS menu now incorporates the (still-active) features at the portal, formerly known as Quotations 102. The main portal page — echoing the FS table of contents as a placeholder — will be mostly “off the grid,” as in, unlisted among primary links at my sites, in favor of streamlining navigation to a few key data sets.

The next layout update on my list is for the main page at neloo dot com. My starting point is for it to look very much like rusted-crush. Beyond that, I lack specific direction, so the design will probably not be finished this year.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to post at RainShine… and chase after other projects, as inspiration strikes. 😉

In carpentry, they say to “measure twice, cut once.”

When I’m reworking a website’s content and layout, I “brainstorm for a week, decide one thing.”

Nevertheless! Last week I finished and posted my latest project: updating

If you’re thinking, “Hey, that looks like eclectic,” fret not! The similarity is by design, part of a strategy to give my website collection a more unified format.

Next up, and will get “unifying” makeovers.

The primary objective for this streamlining effort is efficiency, for visitors in navigating between features and for me in maintenance. Building from a template will certainly save time in forthcoming layout designs.

Website work will resume in 2020(??). Until then, I’ll largely be occupied with the annual review plus real-life gotta-dos (chores, organizing) and wanna-dos (Christmas!).

good night, sweet forums

Posted: June 15, 2019 in siteupdates

Last weekend, I clicked over to make the usual check of my forums… and they weren’t there. As I recapped to a friend, “Apparently my host sent an email [in March] that they were changing, and I’d have to upgrade. I didn’t have time, then I guess I forgot, because they kept working…”

I could install a new message board, but I won’t. I am in the process of weighing my website endeavors against my current — and foreseeable — level of interest, minimal free time, etc. My assessment of the forums is that, with 99% of the posting done by me, their absence will simplify my life.

My small photo gallery, a.k.a. “visual” is gone as well, unlikely to return.

For the last few years, my primary reason for keeping the forums open has been to avoid a slew of broken links. Presently, I am making a pass at removing them, but, my apologies, with the links so widespread, some breakage is unavoidable. I am anxious to finish this final bit of clean-up and return to work on this year’s priority project: an overhaul of my signature site,

Many thanks to those of you who supported the forums through its 15(!) years on-line. What I would’ve posted there, I will now share here, so feel free to follow this blog — and respond in the comments, whenever you are so inclined. 🙂

Back in late February, I outlined some points for a state-of-my-projects post:

Lingering health woes have let me
depleted of both energy and motivation
So, I’m setting the bar low for projects for this year
But I do need to do something
my unoccupied mind wanders nowhere good
and it doesn’t help that aimlessly scrolling through FB and twitter
Although I’m setting the bar very low, I’m daring to list a few plans for this year.
THE NEXT DAY, after a FEW MINUTES of concentrated thought, I had several GOOD STARTS toward an AMBITIOUS PROJECT that’s been on the backburner.

Through the years, I’ve often repeated that “the more I *have* to do, the more I get done.” As hinted at above, my claim proved true yet again. Both energy and motivation returned with a vengeance because last month, I wrote the following to a friend:

I don’t know about you guys, but if I expected a slow down to catch my breath after the “holiday rush,” wow, was I sadly mistaken. Mom’s sudden downtime derailed not only my schedule but my emotions as well. Also in January, one of my two doctor visits spurred two other trips to obtain my new glasses. Plus, my car came due for an oil change, and then I returned to the auto place one week later because it was past time for the transmission service. Doing [my sister’s] and my income taxes took longer than any year in recent memory because [our state] added a new form that I had to research/learn. Since early April, my regular grocery store is out of commission for two months due to remodeling, so I’m going out of my way to another in that chain (Aldi). And on and on…

Lately, when I’m pouting over the burden of my never-ending plans, I remind myself that I could honestly skip quite a lot of those To Do’s… but then I admit that I *want* to do them. When I reframe from have to to want to I feel better. I’m prioritizing, and after I get those priorities done, I have such a sense of accomplishment.

Following up on my website plans from the previous post (February of last year), I accomplished all of the numbered items… at least to some degree. 😉 In a week or two, I plan to watch the next episode of The Young Riders and type up my comments, but most of my website work for the near future will be focused on a certain layout redo.

For the Real-Life items, I continue to work on this:

* assessing my belongings, decluttering, and rearranging to optimize storage options

…and it seems like I do this every two months:

* restructuring my computer files to better outline upcoming projects

On some level, I must believe that if I can put my computer files in order, organizing my thoughts will surely follow. XD

Alas, between — frequently unexpected! — new undertakings and my so-called recurring To Do’s (described on the page below), my thoughts rarely remain “in order” for very long!


website plans for 2017

Posted: February 4, 2017 in FYI, review, siteupdates

Another February, another so-called maintenance weekend!

Actually, since I accomplished the re-do of the eclectic website layout last year, I’ve already been doing a bit of “maintenance,” such as:
* assessing my real-life belongings, decluttering, and rearranging to optimize storage options
* restructuring my computer files to better outline upcoming projects
* going through the contents of my work computer, purging my personal items in anticipation of finding another job 😉

As part of the aforementioned restructuring, I tried to realistically plan and prioritize my ever-growing list of to do’s, including defining my website goals for this year:
1) Add photos from missing years (2014 thru 2016) to the photolog.

2) Write and then add information for the next episode (“Gunz ‘N Boyz”) to the MacGyver episode guide.

3) Continue to watch and then type my comments about season two of The Young Riders episodes. Although I generally keep these write-ups simple (a list of points instead of working my thoughts into whole paragraphs), I’m still not specifying a number of episodes to complete this year. I don’t need that kind of pressure. 😛

4) Do links checks at the fan websites. Usually I do this as part of changing the layout, but since each layout is now years in the making, with many links checks long overdue, my aim is to put a dent in that this year.

That may seem like a short list for a year’s worth of projects, but as I said, I’m being realistic. My free time is very limited, plus there are always other distractions, as I’ve described here:

P.S. As of this year, my on-going maintenance has been made slightly easier, because I no longer run the “official” Jack Bristow fanlisting. In late 2016, while I was involved in finishing the eclectic redo, I neglected to update the JB fl, and happened to check and found “inactivity.” I’m sure they emailed to warn me, but the address they have for me is one I no longer use (whoopsie!), and so I never got the message. Ah, well. :shrug: The last fan joined in July of 2012; for that reason, I did not reapply to be reinstated. Plus, while I have been glad for it to be the Jack Bristow fanlisting … for the last 15(!) years…  it will *awesome* to not have to update that site every two months to keep some “signs of life.”

new layout for eclectic – done!

Posted: November 26, 2016 in FYI, siteupdates

The website re-do that I mentioned way back in April is – finally – done!

new layout for eclectic

Posted: April 16, 2016 in FYI, siteupdates

I have accomplished much on the new eclectic layout, but applying it to the site will not be finished (or, um, started) by April 18, as I ambitiously planned. However, if I am correctly estimating the amount of work left to be done, I believe a more realistic goal is to finalize and post the layout by the end of this year.

Barring any sudden need/inspiration to redesign, the layout is 95% complete. Below is a sneak peek, with the banner I started with plus the final (?) result.



website update schedule

Posted: September 13, 2014 in FYI, siteupdates

I recently took some time to evaluate my website project to do lists. And I realized that nearly every week I was putting effort into tasks such as logging into free accounts, posting to free photo galleries, and checking my fan website polls and recording the results “just in case” that free service suddenly shut down. I was doing all of this to avoid having my account(s) cancelled for inactivity and/or to keep some signs of life at my websites, so visitors would know they haven’t been abandoned.

However, it occurred to me that a large portion of my *very* limited free time was being spent on chores I now deem “maintenance,” and this has been keeping me from the projects I enjoy, such as working on some of the new layout ideas I’ve been compiling for years.

So, in order to correct this and focus on higher priorities, I am relegating most maintenance-type activities to one day three times a year, with the current plan being the second Saturday in October, February, and June. Not every site/account will be updated at that time, and some updates will occur at other times, but with this “schedule,” visitors can have a general idea of when to check for new material at my websites.

I’ll reply here if my so-called maintenance plans change.

website review: Sitemeter dot com

Posted: September 28, 2013 in review, siteupdates

website review:

Pros/Things I like
-The service is free.
-It’s been around for years, and (from what I can tell) has been fairly reliable.
-They record various data about your site’s visitors, including what browser they use, screen resolution, etc.
-My favorite feature is the “last 100 referrers” to my websites. To me, where my visitors are coming from is at least as important as how many total visitors I receive. None of the other counters that I’ve tried offered this. (Although, to be honest, it’s been years since I added a counter, or tried any new counter service. The current offerings may vary.)

Cons/Limitations/Things I don’t like
-I think it does require registration.
-If your page receives only few visitors over a long period of time, they will cancel your counter for inactivity.
-Their reliability may be more questionable than I thought. See below.

Additional Comments
I have 8 or so Sitemeter counters, because of the Pros listed above. However, last month, the Sitemeter counter recorded zero weekly visitors for a site that had more than that. [My website host also tracks the number of visitors to my pages… but I leave the Sitemeter for convenience and comparison.] This made me check my other Sitemeters… and some, but not all of them, were doing the same thing.

Seeing that this was happening, I briefly considered looking for a new counter. Ultimately lack of time made me opt to wait and see what happened.

I checked again this weekend, and all of the counters that had been stuck at zero were working again.

But! I decided to make a note of the current stats, for my records, just in case they went down again, or ultimately disappeared. And for one of my larger sites, I had previously made a note of the stats back on March 8, 2010. I found the difference quite interesting.

Total Visits as of September 21, 2013: 229,969
Total Visits as of March 8, 2010: 230,983

So…in over three years, my site has had negative 1,000 visitors? o.O

As I said above, I’m left wondering whether Sitemeter’s service is less reliable than I thought. Still, for now, the bottom line is that I’ll continue using them. I just take the data they produce with an even bigger grain of salt!

– ~ *^ ~ –

webmaster tips and tricks

Posted: June 15, 2013 in etcetera, FYI, siteupdates

I’m working to get organized/phase out one of my old message boards. These were some posts/tips I’d written and wanted to keep.

webmaster tips and tricks
I feel compelled to share some hints about running a website – as if I’m such an expert.

Anyway… I’ve recently redid the tips I have posted at one of my sites:

A few other ideas that I typically employ:

* Try to make layouts that are browser friendly: test them in various browsers to see how they look.

* To minimize load times – for those not blessed with high-speed connections – I usually keep the size of any one page under 50 kb. (If you’re on a free webhost, that will also help keep you from going over your allotted bandwidth.)

* Don’t feel as if you need to use every single HTML trick that you know: sometimes less is more.

Please don’t think I’m saying that people who don’t follow my suggestions are wrong, because that’s certainly not true. Websites should express your personal taste, so there’s not necessarily a “right” way to do them. I basically try to design pages that I would want to visit: reasonable size, not a lot of clutter, clear navigation, etc.

more webmaster tips
A few other ideas that I typically employ when I‘m designing websites:

* I put my CSS on the page itself, instead of in a separate stylesheet, because I’ve seen on other sites that sometimes the stylesheet doesn‘t come in, leaving the page unformatted.

* Beware putting a Last Updated date on the main page. If it was any time prior to today, visitors will get the impression that your site is old.

As a side note, if you’d like to start a website and are looking for ideas, is there an old, neglected site for your topic that you could take over and build on? Just ask permission first, and be sure to give the first webmaster credit.

Things I look for when I’m visiting websites:

For a fan website dedicated to a certain TV show or movie, the top things I look for are:

* complete information about the subject (that is, for a TV show, all episodes are listed with a summary, or whatever detail they’re providing)
* a well-organized layout, so that it’s easy to navigate and find what you’re looking for – without having to click through many submenus
* original material is a big plus, whether it’s a recap or a review
* if it has advertisements, they’re kept to a minimum. And no popups!
* don’t have sounds or videos that start automatically. If I want to see/hear them, give me an option to select it; don’t force it on me.
* it doesn’t have to be updated every day, but it’s nice if the site doesn’t appear to be completely abandoned
* as for types of content I look for, I love original detailed summaries of the movie or TV episodes, top ten lists, quotes…

For a personal website, like a blog, the #1 thing I look for is: is the site updated regularly? (It’s so frustrating to find a site where the person seems really interesting and then you discover that they last posted nine months ago.)

[I wrote the below about two years ago, but I’m reposting it here. (Some of the points may be repeated above, but just go with it…)]

Complaints About The Internet

Sure the Internet is a plethora of information and entertainment. However, lately some of the sites I visit often have some problems:

* Yahoo – keeps displaying those heartbreaking WSPA ads. News flash, Yahoo: while those ads accomplish making me feel bad, they do NOT inspire me to visit this sponsor. If anything, they get me to minimize my visits to YOUR network of sites to avoid seeing them.

* – which I have visited for months without problems, now a) runs sloooooowly and b) gets locked up and “recovered”… but still doesn’t work right after the so-called recovery. Guys, please fix this, because it’s annoying for me to have to switch to the Chrome browser every time I want to view your page.

* Facebook – repeatedly changes their site’s features and then automatically sets users’ profiles to comply. No, I don’t expect them to value our privacy, but I do want them to know we’ve got their number.

* – I preferred their old blue start page to the new white one

* (multiple sites – msn and Yahoo specifically) – I get that it’s gotta be tough to post NEW news articles these days, but *please* refrain from posting pseudo-news with titles such as, “Will The Earth Blow Up?” Most readers know that no article can definitively answer such a question – and therefore, it’s a waste of time for us to read it. In other words, give it a rest, Chicken Little!

* (multiple sites) – I click on a link called the “20 Tips for ____” or “The Top 50 ____” only to find that the list is presented in slideshow form, with 1 item per page. They (really!) expect me to flip through 50 – or even 20 – pages. I’m not nearly that interested, ppl! Very often the next click I make is to leave the slideshow altogether.

* (multiple sites) – Similarly, when I see an article that looks mildly interesting, I’m put off to find that the article is spread across three or four more pages. Again, I’m not that interested in it!

* (multiple sites – msn and Yahoo specifically) – And, similarly similar, I click on a headline on their main page only to be routed to some video. I know why they do this – hello, they start with an ad – but I want to READ an article, not see a show. Especially if I’m at work with the sound turned off…

**Caution, I’m writing some words in an unusual way in this entry because I don’t want to attract spA mb’0ts.**

A while back, I added a simple PHP f_o r-m to allow visitors to easily con-tac-t me. Unfortunately, the spA mb’0ts found it and used it to generate much for my inbox.

So, I changed it to one from a freebie website, that included a captcha feature. Voila, no email inbox full of junk.

Recently, I was making some changes at that site, and I decided to try reposting my own f-o-rm… and not 24 full hours after I re-added it, I got a spam email.

But before going back to the freebie site option, I tried changing my original fo’rm to a checkbox only. Visitors check the box to confirm they’re real, and when they submit, they’re taken to the actual fo_ _rm.

That was almost two weeks ago, and I haven’t got any emails yet.

So, I thought I’d share this here as an option for other webmasters. It’s a tough decision: if you make the ph0rm too complicated, legitimate site visitors won’t use it. But make it too easy, and it seems only spA mb’0ts find it. And there are plenty of options to make it complicated – captchas, etc. The checkbox was a lot easier to code, and (if I was the one sending the info) I would much prefer a checkbox to a captcha verification.

Anyway, I’ll post here if I get any junk. Until then, assume it’s working!

– ~ *^ ~ –