Dynamic Views – Not Ready Yet

Yes I really did try.

Yes I do like a lot about the new Dynamic Views, see my Google’s Dynamic View – I Started Using It post but after using it for the past 5 days, I found out they are too limiting or limited for me right now.

I like the functionality of the sidebar and the information that it provides to my blog’s readers.  Dynamic Views doesn’t have that capability – yet.

The letter color in your header cannot be changed which means that with some backgrounds that I wanted to use, the reader could not read the header – minor but important.

The more I used the Dynamic Views, the more I missed not having my sidebar and it was really bugging me today, so I decided to switch back to my previous theme, that I had done so much work on over the previous week.

When Blogger gets the Dynamic View theme updated so it can include a Sidebar and we can personalize the theme – I will be back to give these themes another try.  I just feel that when I put a theme on my blog, I need to have it be “my” theme and reflect what I want my blog to look like to my readers and visitors and I can’t do that yet with the Dynamic Views.

The Dynamic Views are a great idea, but they needs to be more polished a before I would use it as my blog’s theme for any length of time.

So it is back to attempting to getting my old/new theme – “just right” and mucking around in the code a little more.

Have you tried the Dynamic Views themes yet?  What did you think?

What Kind of Blogger Have I Become?

Everyone has a niche that they primarily blog to – right? That is the advice that the experts say will increase your readership and force you to focus on primarily one area when you are writing.

So what niche do I fall into and what kind of blogger have I become?

What is my Niche?

Well let’s see for a long time I considered myself primarily a Special Education/Educational Technology blogger and I enjoyed that, but since I have left teaching, that definitely is not my niche for “One Foot In Reality” anymore.   Even though I have mostly considered this my primary niche, I have always struggled with what niche or focus my blogs should have.

Let’s see the other areas that I write a lot about lately are gardening, technology, hiking/walking, running, but I am not “expert” or active enough in any of those communities to make them my blog’s niche.

The blogging about blogging community is very well established and is a tough place to wander around in at times – it almost seems as though sometimes they eat their young bloggers – though some are really helpful – others well just let that one go. Simplicity/Minimalism blogs are likewise pretty full of people who believe they are “right” a bit too often – I guess idealism and realism can conflict from time to time.

Living Simply is the one that sort of encompasses all of the niches that I enjoy reading about and probably is closest to the niche that I write for, but even that is not my real niche.

Wikipedia says the following about blogging:

“A blog (a blend of the term web log)[1] is a type of website or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.”

“The modern blog evolved from the online diary, where people would keep a running account of their personal lives.”

I Believe that I now Know

It is has taken a long time for me to figure out what kind of blogger that I have become (and more than likely always was) and the more I think about it my blogs have always been a kind of online journal/diary focus to them. The blog posts I have mostly written about are where I reflect about events that have happened around or to me, my thoughts about different products, work, software or events and things that I am doing with my computer, garden, exercise, etc., basically things that are going on in my life and how I feel about them.

So as I approach my 4th anniversary of blogging on October 21st, I have finally figured out what my blogging niche actually is – ME.

Yes my blog is about my small, insignificant life and things going on around me that affect it.

Is this extreme hubris on my part? Am I so important in the overall scheme of things that my point of view matters or that too many people actually give a rat’s ass about what I think?

I have the simple answer to those questions – No.

However, after having reading many different blog posts over the last four years from non-corporate/company blogs, they almost all have one thing in common – they are mostly about the person writing the blog post and them giving you a piece of their life, whether it be an opinion, how they do something, an idea, a reflection on something that happened, etc. Most of the time a blog post has something in it about the person writing it.

The reality is

in my mind at least – most blogs continue to be an online journal of our lives and things that we write about in our blogs is usually something about us in some shape or form.  I know that I learn a lot about myself when I go back and read old blog posts that I have written.

Honestly look back at your blog, how often do you use the word “I”, reflect on something you experienced or even wrote about “how to” do something in your blog writing. Think about the niche you actually write for or about – what do you write mostly about – is it about you and thoughts about…?

So I do not think that I am unique in my saying my blogging niche is me, I am just now admitting it to myself and accepting that this is what I blog about – me.  Does this mean that I will get a big head  and become an obnoxious blogger – nope.

I plan to just keep writing the same way I always have, talking about my different interests of the moment (gardening, technology, getting healthy, etc.) but now, I am not going to worry about my which niche or focus that all the “expert” bloggers out there say I need to be a successful blogger – I already have a niche.

What is your niche?

Please take the time respond in the comments, I am interested in your thoughts on this post.  Am I a complete blithering idiot or did I make some sense?

Simplifying my Photo Collections

I have procrastinated this day for a long time, but this week, I have finally been merging all of my electronic image and photo collections in one place, so that I can create one good set of photos to back-up and give to others in the family.  That also meant that while I have over 35,000 images, many of them are duplicates
I reluctantly decided to use iPhoto ’11 as my primary photo collection software.  Needless to say I have not been impressed all that much with iPhoto ’11 (my system slows down and acts squirrely with iPhoto’11 running, especially if I leave it running for a long time – I have to force quit it every time), so I prefer to use Picassa when I can, which also connects easily to Blogger and here on Google+. Actually, I had uninstalled iPhoto completely from my system and only used Picassa until I started this project.
But iPhoto has programs that will automatically delete the duplicate images, while Picassa you have to go through them manually, which is a pain in the butt and I am not going to be tied to the computer for many, many hours doing the delete image routine. It took me far too long to delete the ones that I did manually on Thursday.
I deleted almost 10,000 images to cut the time down for the Duplicate Annihilator (it was originally looking at days to do everything), it predicted 14 + hours to do what was left, in iPhoto since yesterday afternoon.  According to the timer it should be done around 2:00 this afternoon.  It just takes a long time to run that many images through it.
Strangely enough, since this morning Chrome, Safari, TweetDeck all will not load and since the Annihilator is running, I don’t want to start it over to trouble shoot the cause until later.  Surprisingly, the Opera Browser is working like a charm, but unfortunately is not supported by most of Google’s services and gives you a warning and advises you to use Chrome (which is my default browser).
I have always like Opera, but since it is not supported by some sites or Google, it is a difficult decision to use or not use.  But whenever, something is going on with the other browsers Opera always seems to work.  It is too bad that more people/sites/companies don’t support Opera it is a very good browser, but too many companies want you to use their browser, not an independent one in today’s internet.
I knew that simplifying my photo/image collections would be a time consuming ordeal, but I hadn’t realized that it would take this long.  I just wish that iPhoto ’11 (if it is the problem) worked better for me, but everytime I leave it open for long, other programs have issues or my computer bogs down to unacceptable levels.
Does anyone else have these problems with iPhoto ’11? Or is it just me – and yes I have re-downloaded and installed it several times, including most recently on Thursday, so it is the newest copy available.

CTWW Challenge-Changing Light Bulbs to CFL or LED

Geoffrey.landis at en.wikipedia


This Week’s Challenge on Reduce Footprints:

This week’s challenge comes from Rachel. She suggests that we revist an old challenge … with a twist. Here you go:

This week, replace at least one incandescent bulb in your home with either a CFL or LED bulb.

OR …If you accomplished this challenge when we first ran it in July of 2009 (or before) … or if you felt, at that time, that you couldn’t participate … we’d like to know how it’s gone since then. Are you using Eco-friendly bulbs … why or why not? Do you prefer CFLs or LEDs … and why? If you’re using Eco-friendly bulbs, have you noticed a decrease in your electric bill? Do you recycle bulbs … if so, where? We’d like to know where you’re at now in regards to light bulbs.

I guess I am a bit too frugal sometimes, in that I don’t replace something until it wears out or breaks anymore. Yeah I know that CFLs and LEDs are more energy efficient and all that, but the incandescents that we have left are still working just fine, so why replace them until they burn out. I think we only have 3-4 left and they are in rooms that don’t get that much use.

As the incandescent bulbs in the house/garage stop working we are replacing them with LED or CFL bulbs. Personally I prefer the light given off by the LED bulbs and that is the direction I am going for future bulb purchases.

We haven’t really noticed any difference in our light bill from when we started using the “superior” bulbs a few years ago. Then again we are pretty frugal with our turning on and off our lights and we have a small home.

The local hardware store and transfer stations recycle CFL light bulbs for free. We haven’t had to replace a CFL bulb yet, so the recycling of them has not been an issue for us YET.

I can see a problem with waiting to get them to a recycling place or in the house – like any light bulb that they are subject to being broken and the toxins that are released when one breaks concerns me – especially if someone is there to breath in the vapor.

There is no doubt in my mind that sooner or later you will break a CFL bulb. However, it doesn’t seem to concern the green community all that much, because so many are on the CFL bandwagon, so it can’t be that big a concern. I haven’t really researched this point all that much, but it does concern me.

No the switch-over from incandescent lights to the more energy efficient ones has been a slow transition and not one that we have overly hurried to do. As the new light bulbs become better and more ascetically appealing the transition is not as difficult. Pretty soon it won’t matter, when they stop selling the incandescent and then everyone will just have to switch.