Paying the Piper

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As I settle into retirement, I keep learning new wrinkles about how to juggle my existing universe of web sites, blogs and social media. It was all so much simpler when I was employed and could absorb a few bucks here and there to tweak a site.

SandboxWebSiteRetires

Over the past few days I have been shutting down my old sandbox site (used primarily to try out things while I was learning HTML, JavaScript and CSS). I wanted to keep my domain name, though, so I worked with my domain name provider and the former hosting company to transfer the pointers so you could read this post.

WHOIS_Lookup

It turned out to be a Rube Goldberg situation, to say the least. I register the domain (and pay for it every year) to one company, who uses another company to do the actual registration, which points to the name servers of the host provider [where all the actual data that is being shared lives]. The domain name server [DNS] comes into it somehow; which is owned by someone else. Apparently over the years bits and pieces of the puzzle are bought and sold behind the scenes. So, unbeknownst to me, apparently I was doing business indirectly with GoDaddy for some time.

I put myself through all this in order to save some money [because I am now on a retired fixed income]. The catch is: I had to pay to accomplish the switch anyway, even though I am already paying! The internet is a wonderful thing (and some of it is sort of free), but what I learned this week is that there really is no free lunch.

It does feel good to have my internet footprint cleaned up a bit, though, so I’m glad it has all worked out. I wonder what else I can cut instead to pay for the rearrangement?

Dabbling with WordPress Again

I suppose you’re wondering where I have been all this time? Maybe not. I have been working on honing my HTML, JavaScript, jQuery and CSS skills elsewhere (on my own site, on learning curve sites for various courses and at work, of course).

DonPrattSnowBlower2015_IMG_0453_wp

Winter hit us pretty hard this year, so I am just beginning to recover from all the snow and it may be a while before I have time for myself and my activities. I am still working on cleaning up the Mac Mini to donate to a local person; that exercise has been very slow in the making. And let us not forget that it is time to file the tax return. First a few notes to catch up.

Here is a book I have been reading to help out a local non-profit (and to help my wife learn how to blog). The author is very good and I am really enjoying some advice that I hadn’t bumped into before [not that I have had time to incorporate it yet].

WordPress Absolute Beginner's Guide_wpI am currently taking a Complete Web Developer course from Udemy. Most of my energy and attention has gone into learning general web development skills (including jQuery, Bootstrap, PHP and MySQL), but one of the chapters in the course focused on WordPress and it just happened to coincide with an offer to update an existing site.

In the course of my research, I reviewed the links to this site and either fixed them up or added comments to earlier posts to explain why they were broken.

I also ran across several very interesting themes that I may use in future. Notably the X-theme and Willow themes. I don’t have any real need for them at the moment (and I want to revise my own site with the new skills I am acquiring from the Udemy course first), but they seem to offer a much faster path to publishing content than my manual efforts. I very briefly began to look into Drupal for another possible avenue to explore in retirement, but so far I have done very little to follow that thread. I do prefer the control of writing my own code (and I prefer Java to JavaScript and PHP), but it definitely takes longer.

Moved Blog From WordPress.org to WordPress.com

Learned how to export my Don Smallidge of Maine blog as an XML file today and imported it into this new WordPress.com blog which I have called “A Grab Bag Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste”. Thank you Professor, wherever you are, for recognizing and labeling me just as I was beginning to transition from student to professional.

grab-bag

Thanks to Google Images and to Jessica for the image.

Spring Water

Small Falls

A Glimpse of Paradise

We needed a break and decided to take advantage of the opportunity to go for a Sunday drive in the country; we were fortunate to see a young moose near the road and stopped to photograph some exciting water rushing in the rivers in Phillips and near Rangeley. This photograph is my favorite for today, a picture of the final step of Smalls Falls before it dumped into the river.

To see a larger version of this picture and other pictures from our trip, please go to
my online gallery and choose Sunday Drive Spring 2011. The controls for the gallery are not always obvious. If you look at the bottom of the window you will see options for viewing style (Grid is the default, Mosaic is my favorite, Carousel is like the Apple Macintosh file viewer style and Slideshow is just what you think it is). To end the Slideshow, click the arrows that point at each other. Enjoy!

Update [1 Mar 2015]. Time marches on. Apple changed the rules some time ago and the photo gallery is no longer available. If I can ever find the time, I may provide a self-hosted alternative. Sorry about that!

Winter Has Arrived!

Author at Inland Trail

Author at Inland Trail

We started off the weekend with a walk in the woods on the Inland Trail in Waterville. We had a good day for it and didn’t even really need snowshoes. The temperature was also just about right.

We were having such a good time, we decided to go again on Sunday (and managed to get the car stuck on a hill in Oakland). Arbo’s towed us back up onto the road (thanks to Randy, AAA and the gracious gentleman who offered me the use of his cellphone). We returned to Inland Trail instead (with excellent parking lot) and got in another walk before dark.

Kafiristan

map of Afghanistan topography

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

I found this image [Afghan topo en.jpg] at Wikipedia while looking for details about Kafiristan after deciding to watch The Man Who Would Be King again (with Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Christopher Plummer) to start off the new year. Given the current conditions in Afghanistan (and because I know some who are there right now), I thought it would be interesting to look at a small part of the history of that part of the world; we used the Internet to learn a bit more about it’s historical background. It makes me wonder how the current efforts there will turn out. Not since Alexander has any nation had much luck militarily in this place.

In addition to Rudyard Kipling, many authors have written about this part of the world, including Daniel Bolger (in his excellent book Feast of Bones), Lie Down with Lions by Ken Follet, Caravans by James A. Michener and In the Graveyard of Empires: America’s War in Afghanistan by Seth G. Jones. If you search for “Afghanistan” at Amazon.com you can find hundreds more books on the subject!

The Day of the Big Storm

I haven’t enjoyed reading a novel this much for a long time! Gale finished reading The Unincorporated Man last week and passed it along to me. I took advantage of the shutdown day, holiday, weekend and storm day to make some progress in the story. I would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in the impact of corporations on modern life.

illustration for the Unincorporated Man

The Unincorporated Man - art by Dave Seeley

Here is an excerpt from the book cover:

The incredible has happened. A billionaire businessman from our time, frozen in secret in the early twenty-first century, is discovered in the far future and resurrected, given health and a vigorous younger body. He awakens into a civilization in which every individual is formed into a legal corporation at birth, and spends many years trying to attain control over their own life by getting a majority of his or her own shares. Life extension has made life very long indeed.

The Unincorporated Man is a provocative social, political, and economic novel that people will be arguing about for decades.

And if you feel like arguing about it, comment on this post or go to their web site and blog and have your say!

Happy Boxing Day!

The day after Christmas in our house when I was growing up was always very special. Not many people in the U.S. are that familiar with Boxing Day, but I learned about it because we always treated the 26th as a special day. There is at least one person out there who knows why it is so special, and I hope he is enjoying this Joker’s Wild day.

Joker's Wild More of the Different

Joker's Wild More of the Different Barbershop Music

Merry Christmas

I had originally planned to wish everyone a Merry Christmas earlier today, but the day got away from me, somehow. We managed to get in a few walks and I got lost in a book. A fitting present this year. And I got to talk on the phone with some real live friends and relatives (which is always nice). Ran out of time again, as usual, so now it’s off to sleep. I hope you had a good day, too!

Boulder at Shore Path

Boulder at Shore Path in a Fierce Wind