Contemplating A Break

20 August 2004

Since around midnight last night, I’ve been without Internet service. Thank you Road Runner. This comes on top of all the frustrations of the past two weeks – Firefox problems, syndication problems, blockquote and code problems, etc.

This weblog has too many problems and they are mounting. I get valuable advice from readers. Unfortunately, I find myself not knowing enough to even understand the advice I’m getting.

Asa pointed me toward the DOM extension for Firefox. When I tried to take a look at it, I got an error. Truth be told, I have no idea what a DOM is, does or should mean to me. Only after I understand some of that could I begin to grasp how a DOM inspector might help me.

I know this sounds like I’m being ungrateful to Asa and others who have offered help. That’s not my intent at all. Rather, my lack of knowledge makes me unworthy of the help extended. I’ve simply got to study harder and in a more effective way.

Some changes are needed…

I’ve got to decide once and for all which CMS tool I’m going to use in the future. Is it going to be Movable Type, WordPress or Textpattern?

I’ve got to resolve things like why my comments and trackbacks point to one domain and my weblog points to another. I’ve got to figure out what’s really wrong with my copy of Firefox on this computer. I’ve got to learn how RDF, RSS 2.0 and Atom are supposed to be formatted and where/how one learns the way to ”write” those feeds. Each of them ought to be capable of providing a complete entry in whatever news reader people are using to subscribe. Mine don’t include extended entries from Movable Type.

I have a design in mind with a four-style switcher. I have a new logo in mind. I know how I want to write. I know that I always want to be able to post some XHTML or CSS code and have it fit on the screen, be legible and be understandable. I want to properly format blockquotes with CSS. Right now I can’t even spell MySQL and PHP, but I have a web site and multiple hosting accounts that depend on my use of those tools.

This weblog has become the rat race it seeks to avoid. It just seems as though it’s the right time to take a break, get some fundamental knowledge somewhere and return with a fresh design, a fresh CMS tool and a fresh outlook on how to make this all worthwhile. It’s the only way I can make this of real value to those who read here.

This past couple of weeks have made me realize that I don’t have the skills or know-how to do a site redesign that comes anywhere close to those that I most admire. I’ll probably have to seek out one of the top designers and get them to help me achieve what I want to with this weblog and the porting of it to a new design.

So, where does this leave us? I’m going to contemplate the notion of backing away from this for a while. I need to learn XHTML, tags, CSS, how to use editing tools for text and code and images, etc. I need to improve my understanding of the terminology that web people toss around. I need to learn a CMS tool so that a simple blockquote doesn’t taint my entire site.

How long will I be away from here? I’ll likely continue to read web sites while I’m away. I might drop a post onto this existing site from time to time. To learn XHTML and CSS, select a CMS tool, find a designer, do the redesign, port this weblog to the new one, understand syndication feeds, master some tools…it could be a month, a quarter or a year. Having done this the way I have for almost three years, I’m not optimistic that I have the intellect to make it all happen quickly.

Programmers use different standards for quality from those I’m accustomed to. I’ve got to understand why that is and get comfortable with the fact that there are thirty ways to do everything on the Internet, and all the standards-based gurus have different opinions about which ways are ”right.”

Be assured, it’s my intent to return to regular posting when I feel I have something to offer again. Troubleshooting code is NOT why I have a weblog, but it’s a skill that simply must be developed if one is to have a web site that is as feature-rich as many are. Call it designer. Call it developer. Whatever it’s called, I’ve got to become more of a coder to manage a weblog well.

We’ll see how my thoughts evolve over the next few days, but know that posting here is going to be infrequent for a while. I’ll be reading what you write and admiring the savvy so many of you have that allows for great writing and amazing web site designs. When I return, perhaps I can even contribute a little.

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  1. Cass    20 August 2004, 12:50    #

  2. Rob    21 August 2004, 17:50    #

  3. kevin    24 August 2004, 22:32    #

  4. Alison    8 September 2004, 03:33    #