I Sense a Trend …

Annual Posts 2004-2010
(How do you like my rockin’-it-like-it’s-2003 MS Excel graph?)
This shows the decline and fall of salguod.net. Back nearly seven years ago (yikes) when I started this thing I was pretty prolific, posting nearly 4 times a week for the first two years. Alas, each year had fewer posts than the last and in 2010 I barely managed more than once a week (this is post #63 for 2010).
I hope to reverse that trend this year and to that end I’ve signed up for Project52. Again. You may recall that I signed up for this last year too. Well, while I did manage to post more than 52 times, I wouldn’t say that my personal Project52 was a success since many of those posts were fluff like Five for Friday, links to posts on other blogs or other such goofiness.
Another thing I’d like to get back to, rather need to get back to, is my quiet time journal. There haven’t been many here of late because, well, I haven’t been really studying much of late. There’s really no excuse, and I intend to change that in 2011. If I can be consistent with that and put up at least other one decent post of substance per week this year, this could easily be another nearly 200 post year here at salguod.net.
Well see how that goes.

Updated Photogallery

1958 VW BeetleSlow around here lately, sorry (as if you’ve all been waiting around, checking in to see what’s up.). Likely to stay that way for now, unfortunately. Twitter is too easy to do, and bogging takes more effort, frankly.
One thing I have managed to do is update my long neglected photo gallery. It’s not been updated in well over a year due to an upgrade in the plugin I use to publish it that broke my old gallery. The old gallery is still broken, as far as being able to update or add to it, but it’s still viewable. I’ve started a new one, though, linked above and it matches the look of the blog and is pretty easy to update. I may, over time, migrate the 1,300 odd photos from the old gallery to the new, but there’s not automated way to do so. That means moving them one by one, so it’s not high on my priorities at this point.
Right now, the only photos are the set from this year’s Arthritis Foundation Car Show earlier this month (it’s just barely still July, right?). Take a look, and there’s more to come.
Oh, and I’ve got an upgrade to the look around here as well that will bring some neat features like the ability to use Facebook or Twitter (and other services) to log in and comment.

Better Anti-Spam

The 3 or 4 of you who visit the site regularly only to discover that I still haven’t posted anything new may have noticed that the level of spam comments has increased recently. I’ve been getting maybe half a dozen spam comments a day recently, sometimes less. Not awful, but pretty annoying.
I’ve added a new anti-spam plugin today, or rather returned to an old favorite. Back several years ago when I was running MT 3.x, I used a neat little anti spam plugin called Ccode (and it’s companion for trackbacks -Tcode). It worked great, but with the upgrade to MT 4.x, the new Six Apart anti spam plugin Typepad AntiSpam (TPAS) seemed to work well enough that I didn’t need it.
Well, TPAS hasn’t worked as well lately, so I’ve reinstalled Ccode. Hopefully it’ll do better.

Project52

Project52 LogoThrough a tweet from Jesse Gardner, I discovered Project52:

Project52 is a personal challenge geared toward getting fresh content on your website. The goal is to write at least 1 new article per week for 1 year. Because we all know what it’s like to procrastinate on our content. A website is not just a fresh design that can be uploaded to the web and forgotten about! …
All you need to do is just commit to the challenge and write the content. This site is just here to remind you of that commitment.
The Project52 challenge will go from January 1st, 2010 to January 1st, 2011. It will be interesting to see how many of us make it that far.

Sounds great to me, I need a little kick in the pants to keep the content flowing here. My goal is not simply a single new post a week, but to add at least 1 post that’s not a quote from someone else’s blog, my quiet time notes or Five for Friday. (EDIT 1/13 – I decided that my QT notes are my own content and frequently rather lengthy, so they count. :-D) So, although I’ve posted 6 things thus far this year, none of them actually qualifies, so I’m technically starting off behind. Maybe I’m being overly ambitious, i don’t know, but I want to focus on substantial content that’s genuinely mine.
Not sure how my own restrictions will play into how Project52 actually get’s implemented (The level of enthusiasm has made implementation more complicated, so it’s not yet really in operation), but that’s my plan anyway.
So, hopefully 2010 will bring more fresh content here at salguod.net than 2009.

Updates and Improvements

Some long awaited improvements here at salguod.net. I had issues with my database encoding that prevented me from implementing some of these, but I successfully converted my database from latin-1 to UTF-8. What does that mean? I’m not really sure, but it’s now fixed.
What does that mean for you, my loyal blog readers?
First, I’ve added a feed of my activities elsewhere on the web, mostly at Twitter and Facebook, on the lower part of the right column. Now you can see what’s been distracting me from blogging.
I’ve also added ‘Subscribe’ forms to the main blog page, the category pages and the entry pages. Enter your email address and you get a notice of new posts to the blog or to a specific category or of new comments. The comments subscription will be the most appreciated, I think, since it’ll let you know if others comment on a post you did. As of now, the form is only at the top of the right column, I plan on integrating it into the comment form as well.
I hope to have more improvements to come soon.

Blog Maintenance – Complete

I have to do some database work on my blog, which will require taking the database offline. So, I’m closing comments site wide for a while. Hopefully won’t take longer than the weekend.
UPDATE: Maintenance is complete, comments are back open and salguod.net is now coming to you in fabulous UTF-8 character encoding. If you notice any goofy characters in any posts or comments, let me know.

(Still Thinking About But Not) Living Intentionally

Well over a year ago, I wrote this post about living intentionally. In other words, deciding my path, doing what I know I should or what I believe to be best based on what God has shown me in the Bible rather than just going with the flow of life, wherever it may take me. Back in May of 2008 i wrote:

I sit down at my laptop every night and most days (like now) at lunch, but mostly I browse around the web looking at stuff. Some good stuff, like Codepoke’s blog or Jared’s blog (two you ought to read), but sometimes it’s just time killers. The online equivalent of reruns of M*A*S*H, something you do to have something to do.

Painfully, this is exactly where I find myself today. More and more distracted by the fluff of life, sitting on my bum watching re-runs of M*A*S*H, figuratively. Almost a year and a half later, and nothing has changed.
Ouch.
Today, however, I a this post from the Desiring God blog that opened my eyes. It was titled When You Don’t Want to Do What You Ought To and was an eye opener. In it, John Piper lists 5 ways of dealing with exactly what I’ve been feeling.
Choices 1-2 are basically ignoring the problem or fooling yourself into thinking that what you want and what you ought are one in the same. Options 3-4 are where many religious people live, gutting it out, doing what you ought even though you don’t feel like it and maybe feeling guilty about not wanting to.
I’ve realized that I’ve been living in Option 1 (denial) while trying or hoping to get to option 3 (just doing it).
Option 5, however, is where I need to be:

You can seek, by grace, to have God give the “want to” so that when the time comes to do the “ought to,” you will “want to.”

In other words, cry out to God to change my heart and make my desires line up with the good I ought to do.
My prayer life hasn’t been what it should be, shoot it’s been practically non existent. But my mental focus hasn’t been on reconnecting with God so that he might refresh me and renew in me the desires of His heart. Instead, I’ve been spending my mental energy trying to figure out how I can make room in my schedule, remove Twitter followers, readjust the feeds I subscribe to, change my viewing habits, rearrange my schedule or whatever so that I’ll be able to get myself to do the good things I ought. Instead, I should be on my knees, asking to be made ready to act. Not just in ability but, more importantly, in heart and desire.
it’s a fools errand, trying to change myself. I’m far too broken, far to limited in my intellect and far too weak to do so. All along, he stands at the ready to give me what my heart desires. All I have to do is ask.

Date Headings in Action Streams

I’m playing with Action Streams in MT so I can add my activity elsewhere here. It’s rather daunting, unless you just want to use the default settings, so I’m going to try to post tips as I go.
Say you have a feed that is infrequently updated that you want to display on you site using Action Streams. For me, it was my blip.fm feed. I use blip.fm to share music that I find interesting, but I don’t do so regularly. Some days I might blip a bunch of songs, then I might go days before the next blip.
The bundled Action Streams feed widget sorts the items by the day of the week. So, you get the subhead of ‘Today‘ and the items posted today, then you’d get ‘Thursday‘ (since today is Friday) and the items from yesterday, then ‘Wednesday‘ and so on until the max number of items is reached.
Well, if you set the number of items too high or if you don’t generate new items that often, you can get multiple instances of ‘Today‘. The reason is, the widget code simply checks to see what day it is today and then looks for any items that have the same day and changes the label to today. So, anything that happened on ‘Friday’, even if it’s 28 weeks ago, gets labeled ‘Today‘.
It’s a little odd to see ‘Today‘ then ‘Monday‘ then ‘Thursday‘ then ‘Today‘ again.
Fortunately, the fix is easy. You just change the date format to look for ‘Month date’ instead. That’s an attribute of the <mt:date> tag. In the Action Streams Widget, it’s <mt:date format="%A">, change that to <mt:date format="%B %d">. You’ll also need to change the <mt:StreamActionDate format="%A"> to <mt:StreamActionDate format="%B %d">.
That’s it. Now, today’s items will still say ‘Today‘, but older items will be labeled by their actual date, ‘May 3‘. If you want the date formatted differently, you can use the various attributes of the <mt:date> tag to generate whatever output you want.

Hi, Remember Me?

Yeah, it’s one of those “sorry I’ve been away” posts. I’d love to say I’ve been too busy serving at the homeless shelter or building houses for Habitat for Humanity or even finishing my basement (OK, that’s partly true) to blog. Oh if that were true.
The simple truth is lately I’ve sort of lost the will to blog. I dunno why, but there it is.
I am fairly active lately on Twitter or Facebook, so look me up there if you’d like. Someday I’ll get a link to those places up here.
I hope to return to regular blogging at some point, and I will keep up my Quiet Time Journal here.

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