Blogging

Au Revoir San Francisco, I’m Moving to San Diego

So right now I’m vacationing with my family in the Florida Keys. The following week I fly to New York City to go to WeWork Summer Camp and visit Keith and the Girl. I then fly directly to Texas for work meetings and get this, on August 31 I move to San Diego.

San Diego California Embarcadero Marina ParkThat’s right. I’m giving up the cold blanket of fog for the warm sunshine of America’s Finest City. Starting September 1, all things going as planned, I’ll be moved into my new home and starting work a couple of days later.

If you feel taken aback by this news rest assured you’re not alone. Three weeks ago I’d never have even thought twice about moving to San Diego. I’d never even been to San Diego! Then, seemingly out of nowhere, an incredible job opportunity opened up. I jokingly responded something like, “Oh if only I lived in San Diego!” and then boom, two weeks later I’m in San Diego on interview six or eleven (depending on how we’re counting). Keep on reading…

Keep Your WordPress Blog Running Smoothly and Reliably

This post is might sound over the head of your average WordPress blogger but trust me, if you can click a mouse, you can turn your sluggish and bloated WordPress into the lean and reliable blog you’ve always wanted.

If you have a WordPress blog with a few years on it, there is a good chance that you have a messy database. Every theme, plugin or tool you add to your WordPress installation can leave behind a unhealthy handful of orphan database entries.

Ironically, often times these orphan entries come from a plugin or theme you have removed in an effort to speed up your blog. Sadly, many themes and plugins don’t leave your blog as clean as they found it. Sometimes these orphan entries come from theme and plugin updates or even blog settings and customizations.
Database Edits

Just today I did a cleaning of my blog which resulted in my database shrinking by 11.3 megabytes, a decrease of over 50%. This removed 4,122 orphan entries in my database. To accomplish this I used two must have plugins. Keep on reading…

2011 Central Florida Blogger Conference

The convention I attended while in Orlando was the Central Florida Blogger Conference. I went to this convention looking at it with two different perspectives. First, I was there to connect with local Floridian bloggers on behalf of clients and secondly I was there to see what the rest of the world is saying about social media outside of the Mashable sphere.

Someone caught a shot of me deep in thought

The conference was designed to cover to audiences, the n00b blogger who was still debating Blogger vs WordPress to the professional and marketing audience. I didn’t attend any of the introductory sessions seeing as I have been blogging since 2001 and that I do this sort of work for a living.

The speaker selection was done keeping in the central Florida theme as I’m pretty sure each came from the area. Not only did this cut down on costs, it provided the visitors to the conference a more realistic scope of possibility and networking. That being said, I found almost all the topics to be much more elementary and top level than what would be beneficial to me.

Sketch artist captures the conference keynote
Sketch artist captures the conference keynote

More often than not, I was providing asides, alternatives or more efficient/economical solutions to bloggers’ problems. At each table and each session, people gathered around me to ask my opinion, to repeat what I suggested to the speaker during the question and answer period and even to drop me their business card.

I was called a “Social Media Guru” in a bit on National Public Radio last year, a title I lament. Calling yourself an expert, guru, ninja or sansei in a field of marketing that is constantly changing is ridiculous. Never will I call myself any of those things, and if for some reason I do, please refer me to this post.

Pleasantly, only one person was referred to as a “ninja” during the entire conference. That is still one too many but far fewer than I expected.

All that being said, it is clear that there are still people, organizations and companies out there that lack the education on what social media is, what it isn’t and how it will or will not work for them. Luckily for them there are people like me who are more than happy to teach them the right way to do things.

That is the audience this conference was aimed at, those getting into blogging and social media. The amount of information gleaned by n00bs at this conference was pretty immense and invaluable. I just hope they listened carefully and took notes!

Nevertheless, the conference didn’t provide me with too much new education but I did leave with a few memory joggers, friendly reminders and suggestions. I’ll share them with you right here.

  • Don’t just talk about what you want to do, do it
  • Content is king but only when you’re able to match quality with quantity
  • Every blog needs a media page with a digital press kit
  • Fiverr.com is an awesome resource for cheap help
  • SWAG (stuff we all get) is 50% of the time SWAL (stuff we all lament)

The best part of the convention was easily the people I met, especially those that I met in my last session which was aimed at marketing, public relations and advertising professionals. We were given the opportunity to have totally open and honest dialog with not only other professionals but the bloggers we want to work with. Both parties understanding the needs and abilities of the each other is essential in a successful partnership.

Also, hear the food was terrific.

Big Wheel Truck catered the event
Big Wheel Truck catered the event

I look forward to my next blogger/social media conference now that I have this one under my belt. While I have presented at similar types of venues, I have never been an audience member, as surprising as that is for me.

Would I recommend the Central Florida Blogger Conference to a blogger or someone new to the world of social media? Absolutely. Would I recommend it to someone who has already accomplished quite a bit in this industry? Probably not, unless there are a few more workshops for people like me. Luckily, next year there should be more for people like me and those who went to the conference last year.

From the conversations we had at my last session, which was directed at marketing and PR people, the convention will continue to grow and become more advanced in the future. It will grow with its audience which is great..

Perhaps the follow-up mixer would make everything copacetic. Alcohol and networking go hand in hand you know!

A Change is About to Come

I’ve been running a blog since 2002 and have always either made my own templates, used pre-designed templates or modified basic designs to fit my site design.  It has always worked out pretty well for me, especially since I switched from Xanga to MoveableType to Blogger and finally to WordPress.

After my first WordPress install, I came to the realization that this was the last blogging platform I would ever need.  Really, over the last few years, WordPress has become less of a blogging platform and more of a true CMS (Content Management System).

Unfortunately, WordPress has never been the best format for me to manage my photography.  I’ve used photo templates and plugins such as Yet Another Photo Blog plugin (which is just about the best one I’ve used).  In the end though, I was always left wanting something more.  As it is right now, I host my photo blog, Justin Moore Scott on PixelPost.  It’s basically a stripped down blogging platform just for photography.  Instead of a true blog format, however, it creates a sort of online portfolio like you’d get from LiveBooks.com, only it’s free and self hosted.

But it also isn’t regularly updated by it’s creator and seem to have a few bugs in the system when it comes to managing my photos and such.  Plus, since I’ve actually started to have my photography shown in galleries, collected by real artist collectors and with the new possibility of my show going on tour, I have this real need for a professional, limited collection, online portfolio.  Wow, that was a long sentence.  Sorry Mrs. Bader, my 6th grade English teacher.

But I don’t want to keep all my other work pushed away.  Most of my work isn’t shot for gallery shows but I’m still proud of it so instead of having Justin Moore Scott hold my gallery stuff and some older, less refined work, it will be turned into a portfolio site with just the best of my work, the stuff I want galleries to see.  I will also have a photoblog where I will post all the photos going through my day to day life, like I used to do on this very blog.  I also plan to have a page that shows the latest Flickr uploads, from screenshots to iPhone photos and videos to whatever else finds its way into the view of my lens.

And finally, the blog, which is where you are right now.  This will remain the same only with a much better design.  Thanks to my friend, David.

Already at the top I’ve begun to build out pages that will give you quick access to all my favorite sites. My three future photo sites, my Twitter stream, my Facebook updates, my location via FourSquare and more.  These pages will load directly into this blog so you won’t have to go anywhere else just to see what I’m up to.  Pretty sweet huh?

Meanwhile, bear with me (bare with me? beer with me?) while I make all these changes.  I figured, now is as good a time as any to make all these changes.  I’m hoping WordPress 3, which so far is amazing, will prove to be a much better photo blogging and even portfolio system and that I will find the time to actually manage all of this.  Which I’m pretty sure won’t be a problem.

I’ve got so much to catch you guys up on.  Let me apologize right here and right now for my belated blog updates.  Graduating, moving, new job, friends moving away and life aside, it would be unfair to keep all of you out of the loop.  I promise to make a much stronger effort into keeping you apprised of all the things going on in my little world.

Catch you later!

-justin

Enhanced by Zemanta

17 Hours for a Disqus Resolution

I hate that I might actually have to give up on Disqus.  It’s gotten so bad that even when @Disqus comments on my blog they don’t show up on their dashboard or the blog while somehow they show on my WordPress dashboard.

Not sure what’s more upsetting. My Disqus not working, over 1,600 comments missing or the fact that my blog has become a review of Disqus.  I typically only review products I adore, of course with few acceptions.  This time I feel disenchanted by a service I was so optimistic about.  And I’m honestly not sure what else I can do. I’ve exported my blog to @Giannii or @Disqus four times in three different formats.  What more can I do?

Oh and Disqus, why make a comment requiring a followup on a blog where the PROBLEM  is comments not showing up on the blog? You have my email address.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Why I’m Quitting Disqus in 48 Hours

I tried Disqus a few years ago.  Didn’t work out for me.  So when @LeoLaporte talked it up on This Week in Tech while discussing blogs vs Twitter I decided to give it another try, even though he was actually recommending JS-Kit Echo.

A few weeks earlier I tried out IntenseDebate, which was buggy as all hell so the idea of a fresh start with a more established system was a great feeling.

The switch wasn’t so easy.  ZERO of my comments imported into Disqus, despite increasing my MySQL memory.  Disqus is pretty good about checking on things through Twitter however.  I tweeted my frustration and posted a formal complaint on their customer service system and within a few hours I had a response.

But over a week passed and nothing was resolved.  Eventually, @giannii was able to take my emailed WordPress database and upload it to Disqus for whatever they had to do at that point.

But only a handful of nearly 1,700 comments actually imported! All added up over the past year or two, only 14 comments made it in!  And that is still the case (beyond what have been added since October 21 by way of new comments to the blog).

I got a tweet from @Giannii that @Disqus would take a look at the problem last week. But another problem sprung up!  Missing old comments was one thing but missing comments that were new?

Unacceptable.  One person commented on my blog about being blacklisted by Disqus.  Hello, what?! I’m sorry but did I hear that someone can be permanently blacklisted? I can understand this for robot spammers but this was a human with a cogent argument. Their comment can show up in my WordPress comments through the dashboard but not actually on my site?  Even if what he/she is posting is relavent, which in this case it certainly was?

What about someone that posted a comment earlier in the day, which was given the “thumbs up”, and when he comes back to post a reply his comment disappears?  This was the case for @Vortex_Bits.  He left a reply to my reply on his comment.  I value his opinion greatly and considering the fact that this was a sort of debate between the two of us, not posting his comment makes ME appear as childish, sending his comment to the abyss.

On my WordPress Dashboard his comment shows up, I can even view the comment in WordPress’s editor.

So WordPress says it’s approved.  It shows up in the dashboard but it’s missing from Disqus and the blog entirely?! Doesn’t Disqus advertise the sociability of their service to create conversation within your site and the internet?  A conversation that permeates through what we typically understand as individual networks?

Unless Disqus can actually fix this by this time Saturday I’m quitting Disqus, recommending to all my friends, readers and followers that they do the same and trying out the third player in the game, JS-Kit Echo.  I love the idea of Disqus.  They have been really nice and helpful and even as late as early this week promised to look into fixing my problems. However, in the end, it is the results that matter.  You can be super nice over email, twitter and the like but if your service can’t deliver the results, I’ve gotta say see-ya-later.

If Disqus is able to fix this, and I have my nearly 1,700 old comments imported into the service and the ignored new comments published, I will sing their worthy praises.  I’m one of those people who is actually willing to pay for a service.  I’d pay for Disqus but not if it is this buggy, as bad or worse than IntenseDebate.  At least ID managed to show all my comments.  JS-Kit Echo is only $12/year, that’s looking awfully tempting.

I’d love to get your thoughts on this.  Horror stories or success stories.  Though, good luck getting them to actually post.  :-\

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Disqus the Frustration

Sad about it but my Disqus is still not working properly.  Only maybe a hundred or so of the comments actually imported.  As you can see in the screenshot below, the “latest” fourteen comments came in over the last two years.  Now, I know my blog isn’t BoingBoing.net or LifeHacker but I’ve gotten more than fourteen comments over the last two years.

Disqus Comment Moderation Panel

So, where do we go from here? How do we get the missing 1,500 comments imported?  How do I active posting a comment on an older post?  Yeah, another problem I just came across.

While I’m sure this is just a setting issue, I sure can’t find it.  That option is unchecked in WordPress and I don’t even see it as an option in Disqus.  Help?  I don’t want to poke and poke Disqus but I’d really like this to work.  I’m pay for Disqus, I like the platform that much.  But if this is how it’s going to work for, maybe I’ll look again for another option. JS-Kit Echo?  Any other suggestions of where I should send my comments should Disqus never work properly?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
« Older Entries