07 March 2008

More progress on Arts-Careers.com

First, some geekspeak: PHP is a foreign language for me. I know just enough CSS to be dangerous, but generally sort things out so my websites look okay.

So, I feel victorious that I was finally able to place some images in my posts at Arts-Careers.com. In WordPress, it took me forever to understand Custom Fields, and then to find the correct keys and value URLs to fit the Branford Magazine template.

I still can't figure out how to add space around my images. The pop-up window in WP gives me alignment options... which don't show up in the finished page. They probably can't override the CSS. But, everything in the CSS looks okay to me, too. Arrgghhh! As I said, I'm not red-hot with CSS and a total novice with PHP, so I may be overlooking something obvious.

The other current glitch is in the post pages, where "More from this category" shows an extra bullet in Firefox, or a bullet plus a href in IE.
Update: Aha! Only part of my sidelist is loading. It's cutting off in the middle of the Archives link. I'm way over my head with this kind of PHP glitch...

(Resolved by overwriting with the Mimbo sidebar.php)
If anyone has dealt with these issues before and can shed light on the solution/s, I would be eternally grateful.

In other news...

This past weekend, our cable TV service offered a free preview of the first ten episodes of Showtime's The Tudors, and it was absolutely amazing. The costuming, the settings, the art... everything is visually inspiring. In addition, the historical insights make Henry VIII into less of a crazy person. Frantic, yes; crazy, no. The addition of European politics and religious controversies makes a huge difference in understanding what was going on in England.

If we're not pinching pennies, I may sign up for Showtime, just to watch the full-length episodes plus the new season that starts on March 30th.

I've also learned a valuable use for the On Demand feature on our cable TV service. Most network reality shows (Survivor, Big Brother, etc.) are one hour long. So, rather than set a timer, I put one show on the TV while I'm packing boxes for our move. It lasts an hour--which is my daily goal for packing--and I'm not especially tempted to stop and watch the TV. The suspenseful music in the soundtrack (on Big Brother, anyway) energizes me, too.

Yes, it's a silly way to measure an hour, but it's working. That's what matters!


06 March 2008

CMS and Arts-Careers.com

Whew! I've just copied all of the articles at Arts-Careers.com into a new format. I'm using a magazine-style template as a Content Management System (CMS), and it's all based on WordPress.

Right now, there are still a few glitches. For examples, the articles aren't illustrated yet. (That's a code issue, and I need to resize some graphics, too.)

Some of the links aren't current, and a few don't work. I'll work on them as time permits.

There are other small code issues as well... thank heavens, they're nothing major.

But, I'm going ahead with this change, even though the site needs tweaking.

One reason is that the site is now searchable. If someone's only interested in tips about eBay, or Cafe Press, or teaching, or tin foil hats (mentioned once at the site), they can search easily for their favorite topic.

Another reason is that I can update the site as easily as I blog. No massive amounts of HTML, cross-linking from other pages, adding to sitemaps, and so on. So, I can throw marketing ideas onto the site, on whim. I like that.

Finally, anyone who wants to be notified about new articles--and/or read the newest posts--can do so with RSS.

The old pages will remain online for people who've linked to them. (Yes, that's a liability for my search engine rankings, but I'll take my chances there.)

I've put a redirect from the old homepage URL of http://www.Arts-Careers.com/index.html to the new homepage of http://arts-careers.com/success/

As time permits, I'm phasing all of my websites over to this kind of system. (Arts-Careers.com was the guinea pig for this.)

Using CMS trims about 2/3 of the maintenance time from my website work. Even better, improved navigation will make my sites vastly more useful to visitors. It think that this is an "everyone wins" improvement, and I'm very pleased with it.

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