It’s hard to imagine that it has been a year since I made any meaningful updates to my website. Well, WordPress has had some major changes during this time, with new features rolling out with each new version, so it’s natural that I do some updates myself, starting with installing a new theme. The new theme is called Arcade Basic (Basic, because I’m not paying for the premium version) and it has many of the nice bold features that I am accustomed to, like big graphics on the home page etc. I will be digging into the CSS files in the near future to customize it the way that suits me best, and I’ll be adding new contents as well!
It’s hard to believe that it has been three months since I’ve written anything on my blog. In fact, a lot of things have happened, but I won’t go into detail…yet. In any case, I thought that it is time to spruce up my website with a new theme. So I did. The new theme is (surprisingly) almost identical to the old one, but with more features. What I liked about my previous theme (Shuttershot) is that when you load the page, it automatically loads a slideshow for the background images. That has not changed. What has changed are the features, and it is a vast improvement. I am very happy about this theme.
I want to quickly update small changes to my website. On the right hand side, there is now icons for Twitter and Flickr. Yes, I now have a Twitter account, and while I have had a Flickr account for almost 10 years, I have never linked it to my website until now. So, please, try them out, and please drop me a comments. All encouragements are much appreciated.
Last July I wrote about wanting to change the WordPress theme on this site to something more modern. The theme that I had been using (Atahualpa) had served me very well for almost three years. But at the rate that things change in cyberspace, two years is like an eternality in Internet time. The website was beginning to feel dated, and I wanted a change…that was over a year ago! But I looked and I looked and found nothing that had all the features I wanted, at least I found nothing that was free…until now. Apparently since last year when WordPress itself went through a lot of upgrades, there has been a lot of free new WP themes that takes advantage of some of the feature in the new version. Since I’m into photography, I wanted something that can do slide shows with ease. This new theme that I am using—despite its apparent finesse—does have a few quirks, and I have spent the better part of a day to customizing the PHP and CSS files to suit my needs and my style.
At the moment, I have two different website running with the same theme, for consistency. The first is this blog. The background images are linked straight from my Gallery, so I do not have to store extra image files on this WP installation. Customizing the CSS and PHP files will be an ongoing process, but hopefully, as bugs are discovered and fixed in the near future, the website will run increasingly smoothly. My photography website is also getting a make-over with the same theme. Not that there was anything inherently wrong with the “Minimatica” theme that I used to use either. (Minimatica is still one of the most popular themes for photography-oriented blogs.) But I like this new theme so much that, In fact, the whole overhaul started on that website first. For those who don’t know it, I am starting a side business to take photos for other transgender women in Toronto.
You may know that I have taken this blog offline for the past month or so. It is a rather lengthy story, and I might eventually share with all of you everything that has been happening (or not happening) in Katie-land. Although mostly it has to do with the not-happening part. Right now, all of my posts (except for this one) are set to “private”, meaning that I am the only person who can read them. In time, revised versions of some of those posts may re-appear again, starting with the oldest posts. For the most part, however, a majority of my thoughts will forever remain private.
In any case, It is good to be back. Please comment if you have any well wishes or if you want to know anything else.
A New-And-Improved Katie
February 14, 2012
Added February 21. I set the status of my “website update” posts back to “Public”. They don’t say anything about me, but that’s a start.
This website of mine is getting more sophisticated by the minute, now that I have updated my gallery outside of this blog. But sooner or later, I’m going to need better content–and more content altogether–to match. Anyway, I had been corresponding with a number of transgender women in Hong Kong, who told me that a lot of them browse the web on their iPhones regularly, and that’s how they usually read my blog. I do feel honoured that someone halfway around the world is reading my blog, but when I tried doing that myself, I realized that it’s a bit of a pain. For one thing, Safari tries to squeeze everything into one little screen, and the text doesn’t show up very well.
So I searched on Google for ways to get around this, and it only took me a few minutes to find a popular plugin called “WPTouch” that does exactly what I want. If you read my blog from an iPhone, iPod Touch or an Android-powered smartphone, the plugin will automatically the browser type, and format the blog to match. This format takes up less bandwidth, and (in my opinion) quite easy to read. Of course, there is still an option on the bottom of the page to switch back to the standard theme, which you’ll still see if you use your browser on a computer and quite possibly your tablet too. I must say that I am quite happy with this plugin so far.
New Theme. One of the most noticeable change over the next few days will be my switching to a new WordPress theme for the website. FYI, I have been using the Atahualpa theme on this website since I started it. For the most part, this has been the best theme that I’ve ever used, because it let’s me customize just about anything and everything. But you know what, after awhile, I grew a bit tired of it. Also, the latest version of the theme seems to have some slight problems with spacing my commas, as you can see quite clearly in my posts. So I’ll be switching to another theme shortly. I don’t want to spend money on buying a theme package, as I’ve already spent some money on getting the latest version of WPML, which used to be free. (WPML is by far the best plugin for using multiple languages, so I was happy to give them a few bucks to keep their business going, but really, that’s all I’m willing to pay in terms of software for my websites.) But I’ll be looking for something that has a reasonable amount of customization without requiring me to do any coding. I code at work, I don’t want to code when I’m not at my office, even if it’s updating a PHP script.
Gallery is Up! I used to have a gallery online. I had all my pictures, including the ones already on Flickr, and a whole lot more that aren’t posted anywhere. But I’ve been neglected it for almost half a year now, and when I tried to access it again, I found out that it didn’t work—it kept giving me a web server error that didn’t make sense. I wasn’t sure what happened during those few months, but I’m not too impressed by the fact that it failed at all for no reason. Anyway, I’ve installed a clean version of gallery3, and re-uploaded my pictures on there. In fact, there are actually more pictures on my new gallery than on the old one. I’m feverishly trying to re-post some of the captions and information about my pictures, but I’m sure that all the comments have been lost, unfortunately. My new gallery has the same address as the old: gallery.katie-young.net.
Graphics Fixed? When I migrated to the new WordPress installation, the graphics didn’t quite migrate properly. As a result, some of my older posts now have missing graphics in them. I’ve started fixing them, and who knows, by the time you read this, may be all of them are fixed already…
My plans to modernize my blog got underway today, after coming back from the trip to Hawaii, I just didn’t feel like working hard on my research, especially when there is so much to think about before I can move on. Anyway, it gave me the time I needed to upgrade my blog from WordPress 3.1 to WordPress 3.2, and to install a new (but unfortunately no longer free) version of WPML, the multi-lingual plug-in. What you are reading is, in fact, a brand-new installation of the WordPress blog, and the old blog entries were imported from the old site. A couple of things:
The old comments from my old posts on the Yahoo blog now appears properly
Going to www.katie-young.net or www.katke-young.net/blog now redirects you to this site, which has its own subdomain, at blog.katie-young.net.
Other than that, the new site should look and feel quite a lot like the old one. Regrettably, I had to use a new widget for ClustrMaps, and so the old history couldn’t be saved. I’m not going to lose any sleep over it though.
Once upon a time, I used to have a blog Yahoo 360, but then Yahoo decided to discontinue the service, and moved all the blogs to their new experiment called Yahoo Pulse. I didn’t much care for that, so I started a new blog on Blogger, and then eventually imported it to this WordPress site. One of the things I have always wanted to do was to download all the blog entries and comments from Yahoo 360, and then import them into a WordPress blog. At the end, the importing script didn’t work, and I was never able to re-post my original Yahoo blog entries elsewhere. But the file has always been saved on my hard drive somewhere.
Recently, Yahoo decided to shutdown Pulse as well, and this time, I’m not so sure what they will do with the blogs. So I tried downloading it from Yahoo one last time. When I unzipped the file, I realized that it had the extension -Moveable-Type.txt; and the only difference in formatting between this and the one I downloaded a few years ago—when 360 was shutdown—is that the new file doesn’t contain any of the comments people left me.
But an aha-moment nonetheless! So Yahoo had always downloaded their blogs in the Moveable Type format! As it turns out, both my WordPress-hosted (i.e. on wordpress.com) blog and this WordPress (hosted by my own ISP) blog both have an import function for Moveable Type files. So I tried both. Both did a poor job of importing the graphics, and while the blog on wordpress.com correctly imported all the comments, it didn’t quite work on this blog.
But it’s a minor victory nonetheless. I now have all my old blog entries. I plan to clean up the HTML code a little bit, re-insert all the graphics, do some quick proofreading, and re-post everything.
This morning I temporarily deleted a number of my posts on this blog. The main reason has to do with recent harassment that I’ve received regarding some of the things I wrote about, so this is mainly just a precaution. Deleting anything from my blog is always disappointing, since I have spent a lot of time writing them, and then spending even more time translating them into Chinese. Of course, the posts aren’t actually “deleted”, just marked “private” so that only I can see them. I do hope to have some of the posts back online in the future, but as of now, I’m not holding my breath. I am indeed hoping that this will happen in the near future.