Tag Archives: WordPress

Welcome to P2. If you’re logged in, you…

Welcome to P2. If you’re logged in, you’ll see a quick post box on the front page. The one hang up is that everything from the front page gets posted in the “asides” category. If you’re writing something longer, login and use the regular post editor, and assign categories. Ditto for anything with video or audio.

I think the new comments setup is awesome. They’re all listed in-page, so replies and such are much easier. Let me know what you think!

Updated to 2.5

I know, I know. It looks awful. It will look awful for a little while. I’ll add the pretty later.

We just upgraded to version 2.5 of WordPress, which means everything broke. If you want to see why, check out the new admin section of the blog, if you’re an author. It’s simply fabulous, kiddos. GORGEOUS! And, since I spend most of my time on the backend (heh heh), I decided to do the upgrade right away.

Enjoy, or, mock and deride. Either way.

mobile update: full disclosure

mobile update: full disclosure

I think that this whole thing, this whole twitter, last.fm, myspace, xanga, podcast, youtube, meebo, friendster, del.icio.us, icq, instant messenger, wordpress, flickr, mobile blogging, stickam, facebook thing is all really just about one thing.

The search for social connection is the search for meaning.

Pick a person 15 to 25 years old. Anywhere in the country, any city, any school. It doesn’t matter if you know them or not. You can find their favorite movies, what books they’ve read, who they’re dating, where they live, what music they’re listening to, how they did in their classes this semester, what major they’re thinking of taking next, what they did over spring break (with pictures!) their room number, their cell-phone number, and most of the time, exactly where they are and what they’re doing right now. Right. Now. Does that sound creepy? It should sound creepy.

You don’t have to go looking; they’re already broadcasting it for you. They’ve put it all down in easily scannable, pre-formatted columns. You can get it delivered to your morning email. It’s a flood of full disclosure, a blow by blow account of every single thing that happens, every single day.

They update facebook every 15 minutes with accounts of what they’re doing. They text their twitter account with book titles and bowel movements. They stare into a tiny webcam, and openly divulge the intimate details of friends and lovers. Then they upload it to a server, where the link gets passed around faster than a business card and a fake lunch invitation at NAMM.

The flood of self-disclosure is epic.

This is what I think. We took away the meta-narratives, the structures that gave significance to the mundane actions of life. We told them that there was no reliable test for truth, and they believed us. We told them that good and bad had no meaning apart from what we decided they should mean, and they believed us. We told them that the dust between their fingers was the end of the world, the full substance of reality, and even though they knew it had to be a lie, they believed it. We stripped away everything that gave purpose, structure, dignity, and value to life, and left them nothing but doubt. They are grasping for meaning in a world where we have left them none.

And they, and we, all of us, found ourselves on Descartes stoop, listening to him lecture on the one true thing; if everything else is false, if the world and its tenants are the elaborate deceits of a cruel demon, then one true thing would still remain. Cogito ergo sum,

“I ponder. I exist.”

And we fling this one true thing out into the world, to listen for echoes. We strain to hear the shouts of others in this dark wood, to find comfort in the fact that, if we are lost, we are at least lost together. We spit out the running dialog of our ponderings, because they are the only evidence we have that something real exists.

And every time someone hears, and responds, that ephemeral tendril is drawn between us, between the thinker and the listener, and it gives meaning to both. The connection is meaning. We may not know what is true, or good, or real, we may doubt everything and anything, we may doubt even the words that we hear from the person we listen to, but the meaning isn’t in the words. It’s in the speaking and hearing. The connection is the meaning. The validation of existence is the meaning. Thin, fleeting, fragile, impossible to parse, yet it is still meaning.

Because it is so thin, and so fleeting, it takes quite a lot of it to matter.

William H. Auden was one of the great poets of the last century, maybe one of the greatest poets of the English language who ever wrote. In his poem “September 1, 1939“, written on the occasion of Hitler’s invasion of Poland, Auden writes about the futility of modern life, in its relentless and ever-failing pursuit of meaning.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

In this same poem, Auden asperses love as a great deceit, saying that it is not enough for a person to be loved; what a person really wants it to be the only person loved. To be at the center of the connecting tendrils of meaning. To fling every act of disclosure out into the world, and to have it lauded and embraced, and not only that, but to be lauded and embraced while everyone else is ignored. If love is the escape from the meaningless existence, then it cannot be the kind of vacuous, self-embracing love borne out by massive self-disclosure.

What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

But Auden holds out some hope. He hangs it on two words. The search for meaning ends in despair if the the goal is to be “loved alone”. If existence is to have meaning, it can’t be because of a flood of disclosure, or the apoplectic grasping of echoes to the exclusion of others. Instead,

We must love one another, or die.

A little too social

Ryan Boren is a very nice guy (I’m assuming) who works at Automattic, a company that makes some very nice tools to protect us from spam. Ryan has also been a part of the development community for WordPress, the software that runs this blog. Ryan is a new media guy, all about the blogging, the twittering, the Web 2.0′ing, the social networking and whatnot. Very social.

Ryan supports some of the cost of the blog by suggesting books to buy in his sidebar. I don’t know if these are books Ryan is currently reading, or books that Ryan has recently looked at on Amazon, or just books that Ryan thinks his readers might like. But I will say this – somebody has been a little too social.

Herpes 4 Everyone

Ryan, I don’t know who you’ve been talking to, but I don’t think Hydrogen Peroxide will cure Herpes.

Happy Blog Redesign for Super Joy!

It was time.

As always, if you find anything quirky or broken, let me know. Especially those of you who are using Internet Explorer. I tried hard this time around to make everything cross-compatible, but that’s always a tricky proposition. If someone wants to take some screenshots with IE and email them to me, I would appreciate it.

Also, this is the thread to submit tagline suggestions. Yes, the people have spoken, and taglines are back. Rejoice, you miscreants and anarchists. Thanks to Bobby for writing the PHP code that is powering the taglines. Turns out somebody wanted them back badly enough to actually do something about it.

Also, check out the menu. Not all of the links work yet, but the little greybox popup is very cool. If you want to make your case for being included in the “our other gigs” section, email me.

If any of you miss the old design, here’s your nostalgic look back:

addy old design

Results from the Blog Survey

The first 50 results from the survey are in. If any of you want to see the raw data, click the photo below, and it will take you to the survey report page. (quick note: click the plus sign on the right edge of the red bar at the bottom, and it will let you add all of the answers to the questions, so that you can see the raw data)

wufoo surver results

A few observations:

Fully half of you identify yourselves as lurkers. I think that’s funny, and a little creepy. Kinda like having a backyard BBQ with 300 people standing in the shadows watching you and your friends talk.

I’m surprised that more people don’t use RSS to track with the site. This is the inverse of most blogs – in most cases, significantly more people use RSS feeds to read the content than visit the actual site. I think this means that ARD has a lot of readers who are outside of the blogging mainstream. They visit this site, but don’t have a regular list of blogs that they read. I think that’s cool. I also think that if they know more about RSS, they would totally be into it.

I like that most of you think it should be up to me to decide when to change the look of the site. It means my plan to beat you all into sheep-like submission is working.

The consensus seems to be toward a blog layout that favors the core text, without so much dead weight on the sidebar. I like this idea, and I think the next design for the site will move that direction. Also, some of you have real daddy issues. I’m just saying.

Google ads vs. Tip jar, and the winner is google ads. Cool. I think it’s funny that the people who seemed to be the most upset by any sort of monetization (the “pay for it yourself” answer) were overwhelmingly people who identified themselves as fringe (lurkers, visiting once a week, via RSS only).

A quick word on that – when I started the site, I paid for the hosting out of my own pocket. No worries, it was like 7 bucks a month, and I considered it more than justified for the enjoyment it brought me as a side hobby. Then, when we started to get an uptick in readers, and more authors joined, I started hitting my bandwidth limit for the site (how much data you’re allowed to move in a month). Starting last August, the multiple authors started putting media content up (mp3s, videos, etc.). I think this is very cool, and I’d like to see a lot more of it. In fact, I think the fact that this site produces more content than commentary is one of the driving features.

But here’s what that means for hosting costs. When Chad posted “God Of My Future“, it was about a 5 MB file. Within a month of being posted, it had been downloaded about 1,000 times. That’s roughly 5 Gigabytes of bandwidth for just one mp3. “Ring Them Bells“, which I posted about a year ago, still gets abut 200 downloads a month. That’s another Gig of bandwidth. You get the picture. We started blowing through our allotted bandwidth within the first two weeks of each month, and the overages started getting very expensive. Just to reiterate, I do NOT want the solution to be less media posting. I love the media. Keep it coming.

The beauty of the google ads solution is that, as more people visit the site, more people click the ads, and the more revenue is generated. It balances the bandwidth issue nicely. Right now it’s pretty much perfectly balanced with hosting costs. On the months that more income comes in than goes out, I slip the extra off to someone else, like Real Live Preacher. On months where less comes in, I make Sophia roam the streets with a tin cup.

Eventually, I’ll probably have to lease an entire server somewhere, to host all of the sites I’m running:
Addison Road
The Bible Podcast
APU Music Tech
Details of the Day
The Logic Pro
EDU Tech Talk
Doulos Media
and coming soon, The Dailies (get off your butt and get me a domain name, Chaddy-poo).

The cool thing about that will be much more bandwidth, much more storage, total control over the software configuration, and if any of you guys want websites (www.bonowannabe.com, anyone?), kick me like $10 for the domain name, and it’s off an running. In fact, I can probably do that now, if you’re interested.

So, that’s the state of the blog. I’m off to start work on a text-based, emotionally distant blog design. Happy posting, everyone.