Blog Questions

A number of people have written with questions about the blog update. A lot of these questions will be answered later. Please keep the questions coming because they help me ensure that the new blog will meet your needs.

The one pressing question is about things people have noticed are missing. There are two items that won’t move to the new blog: subscriptions and comments. The comments are pretty much gone unless people want to make them all over again. However, the subscriptions will be easy enough to make again. I’ll post instructions for you after the blog is completely changed over. Please don’t create a new subscription until after I post instructions for you.

I’m adding the tags back in as I move the posts. That’s one of the reasons that the move is taking so long. The tags have to be added by hand (as do the graphics). As of today I’ve moved 293 posts, so there are only 376 more to go !

Thank you again for your patience. This move really shouldn’t have been so hard, but that’s how things go sometimes.


UPDATE 6/24

There are other problems that you’ll notice with the posts that I’ve moved. The most noticeable is that the source code in my posts isn’t moving correctly. Actually, it appears pretty much unusable. The information is there, but you’re going to have to look hard to use it. I’m looking into WordPress compatible source code add-ins to make the source code look nicer. If someone has experience in this area, please contact me at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com. I’d prefer to see an example of the add-in output if you have one to provide.

Another issue has been tables. I think that all of the tables are currently usable, but please let me know if you spot something that doesn’t look quite right and I’ll do my best to fix it.

Blog is Moving!

Hi Everyone,

Never in my life did I imagine that moving my blog to the new software would take so long or come with so many hurdles. However, the time has come to make the move. Please be patient over the next few days as I continue to move posts from one location to the other. Eventually, you’ll find the new software running on the current blog URL and will be able to access it just as you always have. In the meantime, if you truly can’t wait to play with the new software, you can check it out at: http://blog.johnmuellerbooks.com/.

So yes, to answer all your queries, I am aware that the old blog is going away because it’s finding a new home . Please hold your questions for now. The new site setup requires tweaking, but the information you find on it is content complete. After the move, I’ll be uploading posts asking for your input on the new setup. For now, please do test the new software with your cellphone, tablet, and PC. It should run well on any device you choose. The new software is also more accessible and should be considerably easier to read.

Thank you again for all your support. This blog wouldn’t exist without you!

John

A Change in Blog Software

If anything is inevitable in life, it’s change. Some changes make us happy, but others don’t. My provider for this blog recently determined that the software I use for my blog is no longer in high demand. What this means is that I need to move my blog to different software. As far as I know, except for a few changes in appearance, you really shouldn’t notice any difference. The blog URL will remain the same as before: http://blog.blog.johnmuellerbooks.com/. You may have to update your RSS feed. If this is the case, I’ll provide instructions at some future time.

What I’d like to find out is whether you’d like to see any changes in blog content or structure. Since this move is inevitable, I plan to look at it as something that will help me correct any deficiencies, rather than an onerous task to be overcome. With this in mind, please write me at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com with your ideas.

I’ll post another message once the update is complete. When the change is complete, I’ll be asking you for input on any problems that you encounter using the new blog setup. Updates don’t always go quite as smoothly as we’d like. Until the change takes place, I hope that you’ll continue enjoying the blog posts on the old software and that you’ll continue writing me with your thoughts and ideas. I’d especially like to hear from anyone who has had to make this sort of change. Your experiences will be helpful as I make my own transition.

 

Printing the Blog Posts

A number of readers have written to express their desire for printable blog posts. I feel your pain. If I had a nickle for every piece of paper wasted trying to print something found on a site somewhere, I’d be a rich man. On some sites, it just isn’t possible to print the content without dragging a lot of extra material. Just a little bit of material ends up consuming several printed pages and sometimes you can’t get a good printout no matter how hard you try. Yes, it’s quite frustrating.

Fortunately, it’s easy to print my blog posts without all of the extra material. Start by clicking the post title link (when viewing multiple posts in the list format). You’ll see the post presented by itself. The title text is a little larger in this format and you have the ability to add comments to the post as needed. However, look down at the Posted by entry at the bottom of the page. Next to that entry is the name of the poster (me), the date and time of the posting, and a little printer icon.

When you click the printer icon, you’re taken to another page that shows the post in plain text without any of the fancy formatting. The printer dialog for your system also opens so that you can choose a printer to use. All you need to do at this point is tell your system to print the post and you should see a plain text version appear at your printer.

I know this particular setup works well with my systems and I’ve tested it with Firefox, Chrome, and IE. However, if you encounter problems printing a post, please let me know at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com. I’ll do my best to find a solution for you so that you can output the post to your printer.

 

Information Overload – The Conclusions

I’ve been
discussing the issue of potential information overload with my blog entries for the past several weeks now (see Information Overload) and it’s time to come to some conclusions. Several of you wrote in to tell me that you’d actually like me to write more. As nice as that would be, my current schedule won’t allow for it. In order to provide you with a high quality of writing, I need to focus my attention on a few good posts, rather that a flood of mediocre ones.

I received a total of 117 e-mails. Three of those e-mails wanted me to publish posts six days a week. Because that wasn’t one of the options, I chose not to chart them as part of the output you see here.

BlogFrequency

Strictly speaking, most of the blog readers would prefer that I publish posts four day a week. As you can see though, the numbers are pretty close. What I’ve decided to do is publish four posts a week from this point on, unless I happen to have an excessively easy week (when I’ll publish five) or an excessively hard week (when I’ll publish three). I’m hoping that the new schedule will meet with everyone’s approval.

As far as content is concerned, I only receive a few messages that talked about it at all. Most people seem quite happy with the content that you see on the blog now. There are some people who like the technical articles best and others who like the self-sufficiency articles best, but even amongst those who expressed a preference, they usually added that they liked at least some of the posts in the other category. For the moment, I’ll continue to post the mix of articles that I do now. Of course, I’m always happy to hear from you about blog issues. Feel free to contact me at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com if you have any questions or concerns about the blog at all.

 

A Reminder About Information Overload

Last week I wrote a post entitled, Information Overload. It really is important to me to find ways to serve your needs. If you’ve already responded to that post, please accept my thanks. I’ll be posting the results next week Wednesday. If you haven’t responded, you still have another week to respond to the post by writing a comment or sending an e-mail to John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.

Make sure you also tell me about posts that you particularly like or dislike. While it isn’t possible for me to tailor my posts to meet the needs of any specific person, I do try to meet the needs of the majority. Of course, I’m always open to your ideas and suggestions as well. My goal is to provide you with the best content that I can !

 

Information Overload

I’m always looking for ways to serve your needs better. Of course, that means reviewing the statistics for this blog so I know what you find most useful, reflecting on your comments both in the blog and in e-mail, and looking at the latest trends in content presentation. This third possible source of useful information has made me wonder whether I’m not overloading you with information. Check out the post entitled, “Why I Will Be Posting Less” to see for yourself. Information overload is indeed a problem in our society and I would want to be the last one to add to anyone’s burden, especially after writing posts such as Learning to Unplug.

Of course, every blog is different, as are the people who read it. I’m taking a page from Mr. Hyatt’s blog and considering what you need from me in the way of usable information. What I’d like you to do is tell me how often you’d like me to post new additions to this blog:

 

  • Two times a week
  • Three times a week
  • Four times a week
  • Five times a week


You can tell me as a comment to this post or through e-mail at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com. It’s important to me to provide you with enough information, but not to overwhelm you. Of course, if I end up posting less often, I’ll cover some topics a little less often too.

From what I’ve been able to garner from the statistics that the blog software automatically maintains for me, you really do like the eclectic mix of topics on this blog, so I’ll continue in that vein and using about the same percentages of posts as I do now. However, I’d like to hear about any topics you particularly like or dislike. Be sure to e-mail me about your concerns. It’s important to me to serve your needs the best way I can.

I’ll gather statistics for a couple of weeks from you (reminding you at times about this post), and then provide an update here on what I’ve learned. These sorts of discoveries are always interesting and often produce unexpected results. I’m sure you’ll want to know what I discover just as much as I want to learn your thoughts and opinions about this blog. In the meantime, happy reading!

 

Subscribing to this Blog

Sometimes the simplest things cause problems for people, even those of us who have been working with computers for a long time. When Really Simple Syndication (RSS) first came out, it took me a while to figure out that I could subscribe to news stories or other items of interest online by clicking a link. Because Outlook was behind the technology curve, it took even longer for me to find, install, and learn how to use a third party RSS feed reader add-on. The feed reader makes it possible for Outlook to receive and use RSS posts (something that Outlook 2010 provides by default). Once I understood how RSS worked, it seemed so simple, but getting to the point of actually using RSS was daunting in a way because it was something new.

That’s one reason why I think this post is important. I imagine that there are many people out there who are just like I was—they don’t understand that RSS makes it possible to read this blog every day by having it automatically delivered to their e-mail application’s inbox or to their browser. So, just how do you subscribe to my blog? Look at the left side of my blog and you’ll see a category called Syndicate as shown here.

BlogSubscription01

Within this category you see links for subscribing to my posts, comments people make about my posts, and any podcasts I upload. Clicking these links subscribes you to various portions of my blog using either Atom or RSS. Atom is simply an alternative to RSS, but both technologies work essentially the same way. You click the link, your feed reader receives a request to make a new subscription, and then you subscribe to the content. Once subscribed, you receive updates about content on the site automatically through the feed reader. Feed readers are normally part of a browser or e-mail application.

In order to choose the right link, you need to know what sort of post notifications your feed reader supports. The help that comes with the application should provide the information you need. In addition, you need to decide whether you want to see posts, comments, or both. I don’t currently provide podcasts, so even though there is an option for them, you won’t receive any notifications at this point.

What happens after you click a link depends on which feed reader you’re using. For example, I use Outlook 2010 as my feed reader. When I click on an RSS link, I see a copy of Outlook 2010 open and a dialog box telling me about the feed like this one.

BlogSubscription02

When I click Yes, Outlook adds a subscription to the RSS feed for me. Every time I check for updates from that point on, I also receive any RSS feeds that I’ve subscribed to and can read the posts they contain. In my case, the RSS feeds appear in a site-specific subfolder of the RSS Feeds folder in Outlook. It really is that simple.

Many RSS feed readers support additional features. For example, clicking Advanced displays other information about the feed in Outlook as shown here.

BlogSubscription03

I can use the options on this dialog box to tell Outlook to download articles, rather than just headers. I can also automatically download any enclosures supplied with the post, such as source code. The point is that you can use your RSS feed reader settings to modify how your system works with RSS. Downloading complete articles makes sense only when you intend to read entire articles most of the time—headings make more sense when working with sites that you read some of the time.

This is a brief introduction to RSS that should make it easier for you to subscribe to my blog and enjoy it on a daily basis. Please let me know if you have any questions about subscribing or if you encounter any difficulties at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.