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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Housekeeping

So by now you've noticed that the design here is completely different. Questions will naturally spring forth, like Paul Ryan from W. Mitt Romney's copious fivehead. For example, "Heywood," you might ask, "why the big change now, and not, say, six years ago?" Great question, imaginary person! Here are a few reasons why the blog design has remained static, and a few more as to why I'm making some changes now.


Why not before?
  • I'm a lazy bastard.
  • Only so many hours in the day.
  • Concentrating too much on writing, not enough on design.

Why now?
  • I've been in the process of building content with which to start up a new site, and I'd like to experiment a bit with some ideas before launching (new site will definitely be launching within the next month or so, and even though it will be a guitar site, I will post some sort of notice here at least once or twice).
  • I've been meaning to do some redesign work for quite some time, but have had neither the time nor expertise. But Blogger has rolled out some seriously cool design tools, and I've been learning as I go along, and I'm taking a long weekend, so let's give it a spin.
  • As I think I've indicated earlier in the year, I'm kind of in a minor dilemma with this blog. There are days when I'd like to keep it going, and days when I'm ready to walk away from it, just because there's only so many synonyms for "dumbass", and after nearly eight years, I think I've exhausted them all.

    But I don't think it'd be right to decide either way without giving things a fair shot, without using more of the tools and ideas at my disposal, trying some SEO tricks that I can tweak for the guitar blog, etc. I'd prefer to keep it going, if I can generate a reasonable amount of traffic. I don't need Atrios numbers, but I don't think a minimum of 100 hits a day after eight years is too much to expect.


Anyway, things are in flux right now, I have to go in and figure out a way to fix the blockquote formatting, rebuild the blogroll, play with the gadgets, experiment with design, yada yada, so expect more changes over the next few weeks at least.

In the meantime, please feel free to critique in the comments; I can't promise I'll respond to everything or give you what you want, but I will read and consider everything. Thanks in advance for your input, please be patient, and spread the word.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

You may get tired to people who 'just don't like changes'...

I'll read you no matter what the font, but...

* I like fairly plain vanilla and serviceable. Plain vanilla html beats graphics-designed pages in most of the following ways:

* I am soooo tired of 'upgrades' in the computer world which merely require me to adapt to something new and provide no advantage to me that I can perceive. (Granted, site changes are not usually as bad as app changes that throw away to hide features I've come to depend on (thanks, windows sound mixer. Thanks Skype...)), but...

* I dislike that new layouts invariably seem to require me to widen my browser or horizontally scroll to view all content. (Thanks, Daily What. You do this only a little here (Heading quote), but it's still an irritation.) I do many things at once on my computer and that screen real estate is valuable to me.

* I prefer black on white to the reverse.

* The new font's fine; I don't care, really. But does it have to be smaller?

Sorry not to be more encouraging. Go for yourself. But I wish you'd just devote what limited time you have for this blog to writing it. Thanks for listening.





Tehanu said...

too hard to read. Like Anonymous, I prefer plain vanilla and black-on-white is much easier on the eyes. Can't even tell what the rest of it looks like because it's all dark, innit?

I subscribe to your RSS feed so I can read you in plain but I like to click over here to give you the hit. But if I can't read it, I'll have to stick with the RSS.

Heywood J. said...

Thanks for your input and patience. I've bumped up the font a little, and will keep experimenting with templates (black-on-white and vice versa) throughout the week.

Anonymous said...

I like the new format, Heywood.

Desargues said...

Maybe I'm getting old, but I feel much like the first two commenters about the layout. If you'd like some variation, how about a charcoal font against a (really) light grey background. Or dark red letters on a light blue background?

Also, it is my shitty browser or are you writing in small caps now? If it's the latter, they're not easy to read. (I can set my browser font choices to override the website's own fonts and sizes, but I don't know that everyone else will be able to do that.)

I'd love it if you could still find the time to post on politics and culture. Why the readership of this website hasn't reached stratosphere in eight years is a confounding mystery to me. People just don't know what they're missing.

The Vile Scribbler said...

Yeah, I generally prefer dark text on a lighter background too. Beyond that, it doesn't matter. I rarely even notice much about blog designs until some obsessive typography/graphics freak points something out.

I fucking loathe Blogger's new post editor, though. I have to manually fix the HTML for the blockquoting and line breaks after every post now. If you figure out how to undo whatever the fuck it is those geniuses have done, let me know. I'm actually half-considering moving everything onto a Wordpress site that I've been tinkering with, in fact.

Desargues said...

In my comment above, I forgot to emphasize that I meant really, really light grey (or blue). More like an off-white kind of thing. That makes it easy to read. You don't want the background to scream, Hey, look at me, forget that chunk of text you're reading.

Heywood J. said...

TVS:

Yeah, the line breaks are kinda jacked up. I've had better luck and fewer fixes with those in Compose mode rather than HTML, though personally I prefer to work in HTML, since I know just enough code to get into trouble.

In the template I've switched over to for the time being, I notice that the blockquote template I've had in my settings since about 2006 cannot be read, the box is just whited out. I would have to go back through and pull out my formatting from each post that has a blockquote in it. Not gonna happen. In the meantime it's just straight blockquote here, no addtional formatting.

Finally, while developing content for my next site, I've done a ton of research all year on this stuff, and Wordpress seems to be the gold standard, especially for self-hosted sites. Google is at least trying to upgrade Blogger capabilities, which for here is fine (it is free, after all) but for my own site (coming soon! really!), right now I will probably go Wordpress, there are way more templates and plug-ins.

Sean Riley said...

Looks good. Fits the general subject matter.

Anonymous said...

(first commenter:) these 59-yr-old eyes do thank you for 'bumping up the font a little'. That was the most important thing....