Slowly getting back on track with the blog entry writing. I have several topics lined up, but they are fast approaching their sell-by dates as I procrastinate and fail at time management.
Due to other time constraints (mostly exhaustion brought about by coming home from work, doing chores, and having to lug around a massive ball of fetus and amniotic fluid) I haven’t been able to devote as much time and care to my two (yes, two) LAMP virtual servers: Natty Narwhal with the PHP install that broke MySQL, and the cryptic Ubuntu server whose LAMP is A-OK… but insists on speaking to me through command lines. I needed these babies to work perfectly so I could simulate a local WordPress installation before I fork up the subscription fee for a domain and a web host.
The learning curve is steep and needs much devotion, and sometimes my swollen feet and aching back just make me want to catch some shut-eye. I’m obviously milking my pregnancy woes.
To appear more productive, I decided that this website needed a simple redesign, and the easiest way to accomplish this was to switch to a new template. I loved the spare, dark beauty of the old Hemingway template, and how it focused attention on the text. My concern centered on the tedious navigation, and, yes, lack of emphasis on image display. My goal was to find a easy-to-navigate, readable, dark, subtle template that had a custom blog header and the basic 3-column 1-footer setup. After previewing a handful of themes that failed the cut,Elegant Grunge proved itself capable.
Regularly updating the blog is time-consuming, as I do try to provide content that is inspired and interesting enough. To sate the hunger in between full blog post meals, I have included a link to my oft-updated Twitter page. It is more banal and personal, but useful if you happen to like linking to the same weird stuff that I do.
Share the Lurve
Another step I took to “professionalize” the blog is to stick a Creative Commons license in the footer.
Not everyone is well-versed in copyright legalese, but in this world of free digital data, even bloggers should take the time to look into copyright, licensing and similar issues. I profit considerably from media that is shared on the Internet, and I do think people should be less tight-fisted and anal with sharing. Big business is well within its rights to establish pay walls and make readers subscribe for a fee for content that they maintain is higher in quality than the free crap floating around. OTOH, if you are one of those bloody liberals that believe universal access to information is necessary for humanity’s advancement, then you are equally unrestricted from sharing your work.
Simplified, attaching a Creative Commons license to your work is all about good manners. Bloggers, coders, photographers, artists and musicians who regularly share their creations online for free believe in self-expression. They have a desire to enrich the world with all that creativity, and possibly be of help to other Internet denizens. A LOT of my web idols share these ideals: Cory Doctorow, Richard Stallman, and MC Lars, to name a few.
Being an attention-whore doesn’t hurt either, and you get more commenting, sharing, liking, mashing-up johns by being cheaper (or free). All this makes for a frightful soup of copypasta STDs! Internet hippies, instead of being boring and celibate, use protection: a CC license. You do not wish to be compensated for your work, but at least those who link to it have to attribute it to you. True, plagiarists have no impediments to copy-pasting a couple of your paragraphs for homework; however, the key here is trusting in the goodness of the general public despite a thick frogspawn of bad eggs.
There are several kinds of Creative Commons licenses with varying levels of restrictions. A handy table is provided below for your quick comprehension, in hopes that it will make it easier for you to emulate my lofty example and start sharing with some reasonable reservations.
|License Type||Go Share the Lurve||Shout-out to the Author||Editing is A-OK||Make Money Off It||Must Share Your Blessings Too|
|Attribution – Share Alike||X||X||X||X||X|
|Attribution – No Derivs||X||X||X|
|Attribution – NonCommercial||X||X||X|
|Attribution – NonCommercial – ShareAlike||X||X||X||X|
|Attribution – NonCommercial – NoDerivs||X||X|
|CC0 – Public Domain||X||X||X|
A Murder Of Crows
With my newfound knowledge of Creative Commons, I began to search around for an appropriate blog header image to add some pizzazz to my monochromatic blog. Flickr is a good place to start if you want to search by CC license. Quality varies, but there are gems if you have the patience to look. Most sites that offer you free blog header images give you CrapArt images that look like they were designed in Paint by six-year-olds. Getty Images and other quality stock photo sites make you pay to remove those watermarks off them artsy photos. Sorting through Google Images might give you poorly-tagged photos. Not to mention, Google Images with Safe Search off is a nightmare of strangely-tagged photos (there is almost ALWAYS porn regardless of the search term).
I found an appropriate one, a group of crows menacingly perched on a piece of driftwood. The owner ingridtaylar is credited with some notes in the blog footer, as specified in the license used. For more brownie points, I sent a thank-you note. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside; I hope the Internet gods do not throw a spanner into the works.