Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tech Stuff, Mostly of Interest to Bloggers, Possibly of Interest to You

I have posts to write that will last me all week. We had a slumber party for Sam's 9th birthday this weekend, Sam had an awesome soccer game, and Jack played his first hockey game. I don't think I have the fortitude to tackle any of those topics yet, so I'm going to cover some changes/additions/etc to my blog. I won't feel bad if you don't read this, but I'm sure it will be fascinating. For some reason I feel you need to know about the following three things:

1. Stimeyland (and also The Junk Pyramid and Things and Stuff Reviews) is now offering email subscriptions. (AutMont has always offered them.)

2. I'm now watermarking my photos.

3. Information and feedback on my new comment system.

If any of these topics sound of interest to you, please to continue reading below. If not, see you tomorrow! Or the next day.

1. Stimeyland's new email subscriptions!

I am aware that some people do not use feed readers for their blog reading. Some of you just visit blogs by bookmarking them or remembering them in your head. Although those of you who just remember sites in their heads must be coming here to laugh at me and my disorganization.

However, there are probably people who don't want to have to come all the way over to Stimeyland to check to see if there is a post and be gravely, gravely disappointed when there is not. For you, I have introduced email subscriptions.

Look in the middle column over there to the right. Scroll down under those six buttons in the information booth. See where it says "Subscribe to Stimeyland by Email"? Click that, fill out the information, and wait patiently for Stimeyland to be delivered to you every evening.

You get a maximum of one email a day, even if I write more than one post. It will come from "Jean" at stimeyland at gmail dot com. It might get sent to your junk/spam folder, so be sure to check there if you don't get it in your inbox. I subscribed to my AutMont email feed, got it in my inbox for a couple of days and then had to rescue it from my spam box by marking it as safe. Weird.

2. I'm watermarking my photos!

I publish lots of photos of my kids on this blog. I've put thought into this and have come to terms with my decision. I publish their names and have allowed my online name to become public. That online name is my maiden name, and not the same as my kids' last name. I have weighed pros and cons and am comfortable with this.

I put a lot of thought into what I write about my children and the photos that I post of them. In more than three years of blogging, there are only a couple of posts that I would alter in terms of what I've written/posted.

Regardless, I've been meaning to start watermarking my photos (for example of watermarking, see this post) for a while now, but have always had more pressing things to do. My reasons for wanting to watermark are for greater copyright purposes ("Git yer mitts offa my pictures!"), but also for a more personal reason ("Don't use photos of my kids for nefarious purposes.").

I finally decided to get started on my watermark after reading this post by Heather Spohr. There are lots of reactions you can have to that post. My reaction is that I have decided to create photos that feature text that is hard to crop out, hopefully making the photo unattractive to steal.

Granted, it would be easy to Photoshop my watermark out, but hopefully, it will have the same effect as the Club on a car or an alarm system sign in front of a house—a little deterrent that causes a perpetrator to decide it's not worth the hassle.

The watermarks probably won't exist on every photo because I'm lazy. They'll probably mostly go on photos of my kids.

Hopefully my watermarks won't be too obtrusive, but just obtrusive enough. I also completely forgot to add them to two posts after instituting my watermark policy. Shut up. It's not a perfect system.

3. My new commenting system: Intense Debate

If you comment on my blog, you probably noticed a while ago that I changed from using Blogger's standard commenting system to Intense Debate. I've been mostly happy with it, but there are a few things that I would like to discuss with you.

Perhaps the most important thing that I have done is changed the way I reply to comments. I used to track down people's email addresses and send emails in reply to comments. (Not to every comment, mind you, but many of them.) Now I reply mostly in the comment section.

See, for example, this comment from Jodifur and my reply:

Now in the past, I would have emailed her. I still do that sometimes. But when I think the answer is something more than just Jodi would be interested in—for instance, my victory in this situation—or if I think my reply is hysterical (I know. I'm a comic genius.), I put it in the comments. Hopefully, Jodi has her comment form set to "Subscribe to Replies," which means she will get an email from me with my reply.

Confused? I have created the following for you:

That is my comment form. I have circled what your comment form should say before you submit it. And trust me, my comment section isn't a hotbed of discourse, so I almost guarantee you that mine will be the only email you get.

Also, just so you know, if I respond to you and then you email me back, but instead of my email address appearing in your "to" box, what you see below shows up, your email address will appear in my comments section. I'm just telling you in case you care.
See, like my email address showed up below, because I emailed my response to Sue's comment with the "to" address similar to the one in the screengrab above.

Emailing a response to that "notifications" address will cause your response to appear in the comments section. It will also come to me because I always make my comment form say "Subscribe to Replies." Practice what you preach, I say.

If you reply directly from the comments section, your email address doesn't show up publicly.

So, to sum up: I sometimes email responses to you privately, sometimes through my comments section, and sometimes not at all. If you "subscribe to replies," you should get my reply regardless of how I respond to you. If there is something I really think you need to know, I might reply through the comment section but also cc your email address, possibly causing you to get the response twice. Many apologies in advance.

Holy crap. I've confused even myself. Does any of this make sense?

Now. Pop Quiz:

1. What was the first thing I discussed in my post?
(a) Um...mice?
(b) That cat you won't shut up about?
(c) I'm pretty sure it has something to do with toothbrushes.
(d) Email subscriptions.

2. Why shouldn't you steal my photos?
(a) Your photos are lame.
(b) They are your property!
(c) I'm not an asshole.
(d) I'm confused about who "you" and "I" refer to in these questions and answers.

3. Are you ever going to comment here again?
(a) Yes.
(b) No.
(c) Maybe so.
(d) All of the above.

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