All posts tagged: Wordpress

2013 Blog Stats and a Shoutout to Regular Readers

I have been a little tardy with my blog lately. I received the WordPress annual blog report almost two weeks back, and it’s only now that I am able to talk about it here. As per WordPress, my top five posts in 2013 were some oldies but goodies: Gulliver’s Travels – A Book Review A Simple Way to lose weight? David Copperfield Q and A/Slumdog Millionaire-A Book Review Khalil Gibran’s Poem on Marriage I suspect a few of those hits on Gulliver’s Travels and David Copperfield are from students trying to take a short cut with their school essays 😉 . Apart from the above posts, this one post – Disneyland – The Happiest Place on the Planet went viral on April 17th raking in almost 462 views. I have no idea what happened on that day for a personal travel post (to Disneyland no less) to rake in such high (for me) page views, but there you go, some things can never be explained. I also want to give a shout out to some …

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Plug-in and Theme Experimentation

Now that I have moved to self-hosted, I am having a bucket load of fun trying out a whole bunch of plug-ins and themes. Here’s a little bit about my experience, probably useful for someone considering a move or has just moved to a self-hosted WordPress blog. First up themes I am a wee bit disappointed to find that the whole wonderful world of themes that I thought were out there for me to use when I go self-hosted are not for me after all. A lot of the free available themes were untested in a big blog, and though very pretty were very time-consuming to debug. Even more dangerous, some of them contain malicious code that could bring down the site. After reading this very eye-opening article post, I decided to really play it safe with themes. Another word of advice. Stay away from cheaply priced pre-made themes available on sites like Etsy and stuff. Most of these themes are simple customizations of the Genesis framework or similar such themes and aren’t very feature-rich …

Heart these yummy donuts

Krispy Kreme Yummyness and Some Ballet and Theme Updates

Last Sunday was spent ferrying the snubnose to extra ballet rehearsals. She is due to perform in a ballet performance of Cinderella mid-December and the dance practice is really heating up. Snubnose actually has a very minor role in the ballet. She plays the role of the mouse in Cinderella’s house 🙂 . She is on stage only for a short while, and most of the rehearsals involve standing around and gossiping with her friends watching Cinderella and the Prince in action. But she still needs to spend a good 3 hours there. She can’t eat much (if anything at all) before the dance as it slows her down and so I generally pack something light n healthy that she can eat once her part in the rehearsals is done. Last Sunday though we ran terribly late + there was a political rally in town and so we just barely made it on time and I was forced to pick up something close by, and that is inevitably some junk food. I never knew Krispy …

Self Hosted…

I’ve been a busy little bee this weekend. Apart from organizing a small pooja (religious ceremony) for the family, and getting the kids all set for the start of school (overseeing homework, primarily), I’ve also finally done something that I’ve been wanting to do for ages. After a lot of waffling and worrying, I finally jumped in the deep end and moved my blog to its own self-hosted space (that is, I am no longer hosted on wordpress.com). I now use the services of bluehost to store all my related files, and I manage my blog myself. As readers, you won’t see too many changes on my blog (at least, not yet). I am yet to find my footing and confidence before I go about making big changes to the blog. Couple of minor changes that may happen: I am test-driving a few themes/templates. Currently, though I am very happy with my existing theme – Panel. I love its flexibility and its ability to display text-only and photo-intensive posts equally well. But, like I said, …

Top Ten Tuesday – Things that Make Blogging Easier

Today, the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish have asked us to list ten things that make my life as a book blogger easier. I love this topic. This is the ideal opportunity for me to appreciate all the great resources at my disposal, and it’s a great meme. I can’t wait to read what tools help make other book bloggers lives easier. I could definitely do with some tips. Amazon: Yes, the big bad online retailer that is swallowing up all the book shops. Why do I love Amazon so much? Well, this was the first online tool I had access to that made me realize just how many books/genres are out there. The sad fact is that most bookshops in India stock mostly best sellers, self-help, and non-fiction, and so before I started blogging, I really didn’t have much knowledge about what’s available out there. Also, I don’t have many bookish friends in my real life, so I really love and rely on Amazon recommendations and they work really well for me. …

Wish you a very happy 2013

Blogging – Year in Review

So, it’s that time of the year when WordPress sends you a little report about how your blog fared. Here’s what they sent… The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: 19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 130,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it. Click here to see the complete report. To me, it doesn’t say very much at all. Honestly, I blogged a lot less this year. But, I am a bit startled to find that my most popular posts were those written two years back. This was the case last year as well, and it feels a bit weird to me that people are reading such old posts, when I have moved on so much from my old blogging style (or at least I think I have). I mean one of my most popular …

Wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2012

My 2011 Blogging Report and Happy New Year to All

WordPress.com has very kindly sent a blog report summary this year to all users of its platform. I found it interesting enough to post the report here and acknowledge the great readers of this blog for the support and kind words that inspire me to keep going even during some hectic personal times. I have summarized the report and my thoughts in this blog post. If you want to click here to see the complete report. First of, I need to acknowledge the top commentators this year: Jenny Veens Priya Iyer who is sadly not blogging any more. Priya, if you are reading this, I really miss your blog. Please come back! Laav Smita Of course, I also have to thank the many quiet readers on this blog. I appreciate you all just the same :). I also need to give a special thanks to WordPress.com for featuring my blog on their Themes page and Judith for hosting the Literary Giveaway bloghop and sending over so many new visitors to my blog. The latter part …

Pleasant Bloggy Surprise

I was pleasantly surprised by my blog statistics yesterday. For some time, my blog has been comfortably static – regular bibliophile visitors turned blog buddies, along with real life family and friends. So, today when I logged in and saw my site visits have almost doubled in a single day, I knew I had to investigate further. Could it be my Google doodle video post going viral? No, it was something else…getting featured on the WordPress.com theme page for Selecta that has resulted in so many page views. Wow! Getting linked from WordPress makes a huuge difference! Thanks WordPress.com for featuring my blog. It’s a great blogging platform (have never looked back since I migrated from Blogger four years back), and Selecta is an awesome theme!

Awesome Just Write Feature from WordPress.com

Four years ago, I moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress and have never looked back. My reasons for the move were: Ability to use tags and categories to label my posts, instead of just using labels. The Misty look theme, which I loved, and still have a soft corner for. Akismet spam blocker I definitely did not move for the writing/usability experience. Most people I know who have moved from Blogger to WordPress find the dashboard slow, clunky and user-unfriendly. The editor window was no great shakes. But all that’s changed now. The new WordPress dashboard is super-fast, and best of all the distraction free writing is awesome. Normally, I run out of steam at around 500 words or so…probably because the older editing window was so cluttered. But with this new window, I just banged out an 800+ word post as easy as pie. Maybe there is something to this distraction free writing after all. Whether me churning out 800 + word long posts is good or bad…well, you be the judge of …

So, I Changed my Theme Again…

If the series of theme changes makes it look that I am totally fickle, then I have to plead not guilty. I was quite happy with my old Vigilance and Pressrow themes for the longest time. All this confusion started early this year when I got tempted by the series of themes being issued by the WordPress theme team. Each theme sounded more intriguing than the last and I got sucked into the vortex of the almost monthly theme change. I did try out Coraline earlier this year and I really liked my blog look a lot. However, then the negative feedback rolled in…it’s too bright and brash, the 3-columns make everything look very cramped, and so on. I immediately made a jump to Paperpunch, but never really felt comfortable with it. It seemed rather dull after Coraline, and no amount of wallpapering could make me like the fonts. So, yes, I have decided to switch back to Coraline, and to commit to it. Sure, it’s a bit brash/bright, and so on, but it’s more …

My Five Essential iPad Apps

My Five Essential iPad Apps

I have mentioned loving the iPad in an earlier post. In this post, I will list and describe in specific the iPad apps that I am addicted enough to turn to everyday…because after all any Apple product is ultimately about the apps, right? So, here we go: iBooks: I’m in love with the design of this app. Since I got iBooks I have read a book a week and haven’t paid a cent for it. There are thousands of free classics in there. Some of the books I’ve reread recently are Black Beauty and Gulliver’s Travels. What I particularly love is the extensive dictionary. I can look up any word just by tapping it twice, and I can easily highlight and annotate favorite passages in several colours. It’s awesome for book bloggers! Note: I am not aware if Kindle or Nook have this functionality, so I can’t compare. Also, I am seeing that the prices of some books are much higher when bought through iBooks as compared to Amazon…so, yeah, I love the app, but would like to see …

My new Early Birthday Gift…

My new Early Birthday Gift…

…is the Apple iPad. Woohoo!! I bought it when I went to the United States in May on work, and I can’t believe I have managed to keep this quiet on my blog for so long. Well, I had my reasons to keep it quiet. I wanted to take my time with it and to figure out what exactly it’s good for and isn’t good for, so that I am able to post something meaningful about it, rather than just post a list of stats and apps. I am a total Apple newbie, I have never used any of their products before (yes, I don’t even have an ipod), so when I opened the package I was totally surprised by the beautiful and simple design of the product. The images that I had seen on the web simply do not do enough justice to this product. I was even more surprised when I was able to configure my wireless network connection and email within a matter of minutes. All in all, the initial setup on …

Answering a Blog Customization Question

Today, Su asked a couple of questions on my blog customization: You have customized your WordPress blog with some pretty cool and funky features—the background, etc. from TCBOTB. I am relatively new to WordPress and can’t seem to figure out how to incorporate the background or buttons into my blog. Can you advise me on the process? Also, how were you able to add the My Stats counter? (I’ve been looking around for one of those.) Well I started responding and then ended up having so much to say that I might as well create a new post out of it…especially considering I am running a little slow on blog post ideas 😉 So, Su…thanks for sending in the question. And here’s hoping that I am able to help you a little bit with your blog First up, the background: The older WordPress themes (the one you are currently using) do not support adding custom backgrounds. You can only do that if you pay and upgrade to the CSS option. If you want a custom …

A Sea of Poppies

Lovely New Wallpapers

Recently happened to stumble upon an art site that had some wonderful imagery that folks can use on blogs or as wallpapers (if you are not into blogging). I could not use some of the imagery I liked because of WordPress security restrictions (no Javascript-based widgets), but you blogger users who like to jazz up your blogs could play around with a few. I particularly liked some of the lovely clocks. I eventually decided to just use the following image as my laptop wallpaper… There are plenty of options available. Unfortunately, this site does not have a good search option (in fact, search is non-existent), so you do have to patiently go through the images to find the one that you like. In addition, half the text is in Japanese, so apart from the images, I had no clue what the site was about. If you’re still wondering whether this site is worth all the bother, here is another lovely wallpaper option… I hope you like it 🙂

Exciting WordPress News

So, last week WordPress announced the creation of a new theme team. You guys by now must know how much I love playing around with the appearance of my blog…so news that there is a dedicated team for theme-creation (how come it took so long) could only have me jumping up and down in joy. This news was immediately followed by the introduction of the new Inuit Types theme. I immediately played around a bit with it before realizing it was not for me. I then thought a little bit about the various themes I have used and what I loved about them, and then tried to put it all together in the following wishlist… Love the dreaminess and the fonts of Misty Look Love the crispness and the look of the header text of the Pressrow theme Absolutely love the flexibility of the Vigilance theme – the ability to change colors, the ability to add 2 sidebars as well…this is my favorite WordPress theme by far Love the colors of Motion and the ability …

Has Anyone Tried Posterous Yet?

I am probably very late to the Posterous party, and everybody already knows everything there is to know about it; but still I need to think through Posterous out loud and hopefully, you guys can tolerate my rambling on about yet another blogging/social networking tool. So, what is posterous? It is apparently the "simplest, easiest, and fastest way for anyone in the known universe to become a blogger, a journalist, a lifestreamer". If you can send an email, you can create a Posterous blog. That’s because that’s the way you blog – you simply send an email to post [at] posterous.com. Your email gets posted, and you get a dedicated URL for all your thoughts – often yourname.posterous.com. Sounds good? Well, in addition to creating the blog post for you, Posterous will automatically update things like your Facebook status, your Twitter status, your other blogs, or even an iTunes podcast, every time you email Posterous (depending on the settings you have configured). I did some more investigation and found out that this could be the …

The Blue Jeans template from Infocreek Blog

More Blog Beautifying Templates

If you are looking for some nice n snazzy templates or design ideas, you have come to the right place 🙂 I love redesigning blogs and simply love to try out new designs and check out how things look. In WordPress, I have not opted for the CSS upgrade, so if I want to fool around with templates, I use my now-defunct Blogger blog as an experimental sandpit. The Blogger platform really gives you a lot of flexibility regarding the design of your blog, and it is simply so easy to revamp, you can do it even if you have very little CSS knowledge. There are tons of sites on the web, which provide you with ready-made templates. All you need to do is upload them to your blog, and your blog is as good as new. Some sites that I really love: Blogger Templates (huge variety – there are templates to suit all needs) Infocreek Blog (the variety is not too much, but the templates look really professional) Btw, if you have a wordpress.org …

Blog Beautification Project Complete

For the past couple of months, I have been waffling over a change in the look of my blog. While I loved my old theme (Pressrow by Chris Pearson), it was definitely time for an upgrade. It is difficult to explain, but I think when the content of my blog has evolved from a largely personal chronicle to something a little more different, it makes sense that the blog’s appearance also change. With change in mind, I went over various themes in the WordPress catalog, and finally settled on Vigilance. What I love about Vigilance: The neat right-hand side sidebar text. While I generally liked Pressrow, I always hated the blue color text on the sidebar. I also disliked the appearance of the tag cloud. With Vigilance, everything is neatly aligned and looks just right 🙂 I love the option to have a two-columned sidebar that is offered by Vigilance. This let me arrange all my various buttons and badges neatly without occupying any more space than is required. To visualize what I am saying, …

Fooling Around with WordPress Themes

Since I started blogging on WordPress, I have taken full advantage of the various themes they have on offer. I started off with Thirteen – a lovely green theme, before moving on to the very popular Misty Look and Pressrow themes. Three themes in three years! But, change is good, right. And, I love how differently my blog can be perceived when the theme changes. Of late, I have been covetously eyeballing two very different themes on various blogs – Spring Loaded and Vigilance. Spring Loaded reminds me of my first Thirteen theme – only with a playful edge. Unfortunately, when I previewed the theme with my blog, I realized that all the widgets on the right column did not appear so good. The green frames that were supposed to encase the widgets correctly were either too big or too small. Even more surprisingly, the standard WordPress widgets for tags, archives, and so on did not display properly. After fiddling around with the settings (to no avail), I just gave up the effort and moved …

Why do I blog? A survey

Ms Mazolla at State of Denmark is conducting a meme, where bloggers answer a few questions about their attitudes and motivations. I am doing this survey almost a month later, and so it’s probably not useful to her. However, since, I enjoyed reading other people’s survey responses, I thought I would participate too. How long have you been blogging? I have been blogging since November 2007 Why did you start blogging? I used to read a couple of personal blogs that my friends wrote about their lives, families, thoughts and so on. I was thrilled about the idea of keeping an online journal about my life. However, once I started I found some things to be too personal, so my blog has finally evolved into an “almost a book review blog”, although I blog about a lot of other things as well. What have you found to be the benefits of blogging? I love looking back at all the memories of what I experienced at a particular point in time. I also love the opportunity …

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Blog Customization Options

When I first decided to start a blog, I was torn between WordPress and Blogger. I just did not know which option to go for. So, I just flipped a coin and ended up with Blogger. Turned out to be not a bad option. It was easy to use and setup, and I liked the overall experience. However, I was just not that happy with the quality of themes that they have on offer. They were always a little dull, and I felt that the WordPress blogs that I followed have a much crisper layout. So, I moved my blog to WordPress and I have never looked back … i.e. until now. While slowly getting accustomed to the blogosphere, I came across some unique and lovely blogs on Blogger. Only then did I realize the extent of the customization options provided by Blogger. You don’t even have to be a CSS guru to personalize your Blogger blog to reflect your taste and individuality. This is a good thing because the default themes are not the …

The TweetDeck Client Interface

My Twitter and TweetDeck Experiences

I have been a little late to get on to the Twitter bandwagon. Primarily, because I thought it was quite a pointless addition when I do so many status updates with my Facebook account. But recently, I have been getting a little tired of Facebook and spend much lesser time on it that I used to. However, I tried Twitter last month just for the heck of it, and I think I am already hooked. I enjoy receiving news and updates from other people, without feeling too much pressure to respond. Also, I like the fact that Twitter is a very simple and basic application that does not include too many additional bells and whistles. Another great aspect: I can display Twitter updates within my WordPress blog. How cool is that ! Everything in one place, I love the idea! Now, WordPress guys, please add support for Shelfari too…this is a long-pending request from my side! Using the Twitter web interface, I was able to add (follow is the Twitter terminology) existing friends and make …

An Anti-Facebook Rant

I am going absolutely nuts with Facebook. Can’t believe I hate it so much. Here’s why I hate Facebook… Strike 1 – I absolutely hate the new messy design. Usually, I take my time to start appreciating new versions of products. Finally, I do get adjusted and start to like them. However, the new Facebook look n feel is just too awful for me… Strike 2 – Too many web apps and invitations. I just hate those awful web apps, which suck you into trying some new quiz only after you send invitations to 25 other people. I hate that…bugging people with invitations to take some random quiz. In addition, I get about half a dozen mails inviting me to participate in something or the other. I will scream bloody murder if I get yet another invitation to grow some lil green virtual patch of grass. Strike 3 – Get accosted by random people who after a 20 min chat, I realize are not some long-lost friends, but truly random people. Let me get this …

Time to Change my Theme Again

I have been generally very happy with my old Misty Look theme. But seeing my friends experiment with their themes, inspired me to try out something new too. Nothing too drastic. Still the same white background, just went for something that looked a little more crisper (Pressrow theme by Chris Pearson). I also just went ahead and changed the heading of my blog. Change is good, right ! One thing, which I think is an improvement over the Misty Look theme, is the navigability. Once I open a particular blog post, I can just keep clicking the “Back” and “Forward” arrows to read other posts. Misty Look’s navigation was a lot clunkier. So, I am pretty ok with the way it looks for now. I still need to change the header graphic, which I will do soon. What do you think about the new theme ?

Trying out a new theme

Have been feeling a little bored with my green theme, and thought about trying out some other options. After a bit of playing around, I settled on this current one called Misty Look. The header on this page is actually a photo I took of a sunset in Colombo. Not too sure how it looks, but I am planning on creating a banner – probably using a collage of images. Let’s see how that turns out. I am using the help of someone else. In the meantime, do post your comments on the new look of the blog and tell me what you think.

My new Sony Ericsson Phone

My WordPress wishlist

In the past, I have blogged regarding my dissatisfaction with the inability to add my Shelfari bookshelf to my WordPress blog. Now, I have another addition to my wishlist. Recently, I bought a new Sony Ericsson mobile phone (K530i) One of the reasons why I picked up this phone was that it has a neat feature that enables me to take pics on my mobile (it is a camera phone), add some text to it, and then publish it to Blogger. I tried this feature and it works superbly. Now, I wish I had this option with WordPress 🙁 . Does anyone know whether there is some option within WordPress to enable this ?