Blog Organization Blues

I am thinking about organizing my activities. It is no fun to be stuck in routines, but it is good to have a smooth flow. It is when my flow gets disturbed, that I note a need for adjustments.

Sometimes I have to ask myself, “Self, what are you doing?”

Asking that question gets my attention for a moment and I can focus. My focus moves to my feelings. Usually what I am feeling is uneasiness, a discomfort on some level.

That’s the process. I have to take a moment to ask myself where my feelings are coming from. Once I am conscious of my feelings, I have to make decisions on how to resolve the annoyances that cause them.

When I sat at the computer this morning, I had a flash of feeling overwhelmed with all my current projects. I caught the feeling just before I moved in to my head. I know that is a moment of choice.

In that moment I choose to listen to my feelings. I didn’t immediately dive in to todays projects feeling like I was swimming across an endless pond. I stopped, realizing I needed to get organized before I jumped in to my day.

I had a flash of immediate anxiety. Organization? I was playing, writing, and enjoying myself. Now I find I have created something that’s needs organizing. I need to organize to create balance.

Some people are natural jugglers. I do better on the balance beam. I need to know where I am putting my feet.

Organization gives me a feeling of having a foundation to stand on in preparation for the times when my thoughts and activities cause me to wander off again.

When the size of a task looks overwhelming, I start at the foothills. I plod along learning how to manage the terrain. Strangely, as I have moved along, the mountain I perceived ahead has never materialized.

Currently my mind is conjuring up visions of an avalanche of past posts and articles falling off a mountain and heading directly for me. It is nice to know I am not dealing with a mountain, but I sure have something big to deal with.

Today I will try new tools. I will see if they can help me better achieve my organization goals. That means I’ve got some new software to try. It may help turn my mountain in to a molehill.

Smiles. ET

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Published in: on June 16, 2008 at 5:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Fun Computer Days

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I have noted in other posts, that bringing the Internet in to my home has really changed my daily routine. I am comfortable being home more, and have a wider variety of activities to fill my day.

I spend a great deal of time on the computer, but I do many different things. I am online and offline. I write, listen to music, watch movies, play games, and surf the Internet.

Most of my Internet time is spent doing research for software and my blog articles. I also spend much of my time online managing several email accounts and communicating with friends.

The IBM R51 has changed my days as well. I am back in a Windows environment again. I have had to go out and explore all the free software available for Windows. These are programs that are not available with Ubuntu.

I generally have about three programs for each area of computing I am active in. I have music players and DVD burners. I have graphics programs and word editing software.

Each activity involves its own programs and it adds up to a fascinating amount of software. I have also been gathering some software to explore the new activities I am interested in.

It has been enjoyable to read ebooks and to listen to audio books. I would like to make many of my ebooks in to audio experiences. I began my software search with several ebook readers, and have now found software that creates Text to Speech wave files.

It is possible to easily listen to my ebooks on my computer, or to change them in to files I can listen to on my iPod. I plan to be well read real soon.

Listening to an ebook is nice during the customary long waits for food at our local Guatemalan restaurants.

We wait for out food, but it is also nice that there is no rush to have you leave your table after your meal is finished. Our meals become quite leisurely. Then too, it is nice to have the iPod when no one stops by my table to visit.

That’s what’s happening here. Future posts will explore these ideas further as I more have more experience in each area. It is all good.

Smiles. ET

Published in: on June 14, 2008 at 5:27 pm  Comments (1)  
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Using Windows Live Writer with WordPress

Great free blog editor from Microsoft

This afternoon I have been playing with Windows Live Writer. I have seen that it integrates almost seamlessly with my WordPress blog. From the WLW side panel I can immediately connect to my blogs’ dashboard or manage pages. When I post, I see my draft first goes to the WordPress Editor before publishing.

In Windows Live Writer I can set categories, and insert links, pictures, and videos from the side panel controls. You can also set tags, maps, and tables in to your posts with WLW very simply.

Here is an example of how you can show a map for an event within your post. In this map you will find Guatemala right in the center, and that’s where this post was written.

Looking at Central America
Looking at Central America

The map insert is a fun feature. It can bring someone to your location quite simply with any map size you wish.

You can adjust the map size. Text adjust as you set the margins. You can choose to show the world, or the four street corners in your small town. You can even show a stickpin where you are standing. Try it and you will see how easy it is to get everything where you want it.

This gives you the ability to wrap text around pictures well. Simple insertion of pictures is another great feature of WLW. You can crop them as you post them, and then watch your text wrap neatly around the image. It is so easy.

Here is a link where you can see all the features of Windows Live Writer and download it for free. Yes, it is for free, and you can choose not to add all the extras Windows would like to install on your system along with Windows Live Writer.

It was a fast download and the program installed easily. I entered my WordPress blog name and it gathered all the information it needed. WLW now has a nice catalog of all my past posts and I will see how it organizes them. I am starting to accumulate a lot of published posts, and I would like to find a simple way to organize them.

Windows Live Writer will work seamlessly with Your WordPress blog, and many other blogging platforms as well.

WLW has one other feature that will surely charm you. It stores your WordPress theme information. When you go to the task bar and choose “View,” you can then choose “Web Layout.”

From the Web Layout window you can see your post appear on your blog theme as you write it. You can see what you have instantly. The feature saves me a lot of time. I don’t have to switch pages constantly while saving changes in the WordPress Editor.

Windows Live Writer can be a great add-on for your WordPress blogging experience. I hope you try it out.

Smiles. ET

The Big Look at Blog Stats

About a month ago I went on search for stats programs that would work with my WordPress.com blog. I was able to compare the results of three stat counters; WordPress, Sitemeter, and Statcounter.

Most free software for Windows is free for thirty days. I am running in to that situation with Internet Download Manager on my IBM R51 now. In that time I have also filled my “free” project log at Statcounter.

I was excited to see I could download a log from Statcounter for Excel. It turned out to be a running list of my log entries. That is interesting, but doesn’t provide much information I can use.

Now that my free Project log at Statcounter is complete, I will have to pay to have continuous stats, or continue free on a month by month basis with a new log each month.

With Sitemeter I found that their “free” log holds 10,000 entries. I can have a continuous record of my stats over a longer period of time for free with them. When I decide to pay for a stats service, Sitemeter is my choice.

The depth of information available on Sitemeter still amazes me. Their charts and graphs present the information I need so simply. Their world map isn’t as neat as the one Statcounter has, but that is the only area in which I don’t feel Sitemeter excels.

Once I self-host my own WordPress.org domain, and can use Java on my blog, the keyword and referral source information on Sitemeter become available to me. I will also be able to use Mint on my own domain using free WordPress software.

These stat programs have allowed me to see that half the visitors from my blog come from the United States, one quarter from Europe, and the rest from 19 other countries around the world. Welcome everyone!

Basically, my WordPress.com stats page gives me information on referrals sources and page views. This is solid information, but leaves out the people factor. I have also been interested to find that my WordPress numbers match those provided by my other stat services.

I have mentioned in the past that I have found some problems with the chart presentation of WordPress “page” and “syndicated” views. The lighter color blue used for syndicated views causes them to disappear behind the more numerous and darker colored page views on the WordPress graphs.

Over a month’s time I have learned to zip through my stats a couple of times a day to see what is happening on my blog. It doesn’t take much time, but I can see so much more that is happening using Sitemeter in combination with my WordPress stats on my blog.

I can even see now that I average at least one visitor an hour on my blog, sixteen to twenty hours a day. That’s special. You all keep coming back now.

Many Smiles. ET

Guatemala Sunshine

Sunshine is a good thing after days of rain. I got a late start this morning. I went to sleep as the sun was rising, so it felt fine to sleep in. Trouble was, I missed most of today’s beautiful sunshine.

In the afternoon I needed to go shopping. As soon as I left the house, the rain started. It has been raining for hours. It is a sleepy time.

I made it down by the Pannachel dock as it began pouring. The street water had a good flow as it headed for the lake. The rains wash the San Pedro real well, and then send all that down the streets and on in to the lake.

It was the wrong time for leather shoes, and the ATM wasn’t working. We locals affectionately call the dock area the “Vortex.”

The satellite connection to the Internet has been slow most of weekend. It held through our tropical storm, and now that the weather is returning to a more normal pattern, Hughes Net is sputtering. That can be life in Guatemala.

For a week or so, I have mentioned the rain here in San Pedro Laguna on Lake Atitlan. You think, well, it is Rainy Season, and you are right. But when you are here for awhile you learn a special secret about our wet days.

Our rainy season usually begins shortly after Easter. It normally starts with heavy rain for several weeks. This is about the time the “winter” storms start coming in from the oceans on either side of Guatemala.

The weather gets snotty, the airlines lower their fares, and the tourists disappear. I smile because I know all the gloom and doom about the weather is going to be old news real soon.

Our Rainy Season started late this year, and that was especially noticeable with an early Easter in March. The timing has been different this year, but the usual pattern is here.

Our Rainy Season begins with heavy rains which become days with afternoon showers. The afternoon showers become less intense and shorter. Then we enter a magical six weeks of beautiful sunshine and warm days.

So this summer while you are baking in the heat and humidity, we will be enjoying warm sunny days with low humidity here in the Highlands of Guatemala. The airlines will have their focus on the storms in the Eastern Caribbean, and still have low fares reaching here.

Possibly a summer vacation at Lake Atitlan just might be financially possible this year, and a welcome relief from your own weather. It is a possible dream.

Smiles. ET