Blog Fudzing 2: About Stats, Backups, Themes and Theme Switcher

The inside of a switch

Some progress, some thoughts and some experiences with WordPress to share with you:

XAMMP is an open source program under which you can run a PHP mysql server on your own computer and test WordPress (and other web applications that generate dynamic web pages).

I have been tracking my stats in two ways: All over I use a paid for stats program. Not only for this blog, but for all sites I manage. It is versatile and useful.
For this Blog I used a dedicated WordPress stats plug in, until my service provider banned me, because the plug in caused a hung mysql process….

In addition the plug in caused an enormous overhead in this blog’s mysql database.

In May, 2008, I installed Woopra. With Woopra the necessity for the old stats plug in slowly, but gradually faded out.

Earlier, when I tried to emulate a disaster by backing up the database and loading it in a WordPress version running under XAMPP on my local computer, I had the problem that in XAMPP the maximum size of a mysql database is 16 MB. With the dedicated stats plug in I easily had 250 MB in the database and I couldn’t find a proper way around this. For a long period I luckily could rely upon the safety and stability of my internet provider. With over 450 posts now, that can be a bit of too much trust…Now I have decided to rely only on my Woopra stats and overall stats program and discontinue the use of the dedicated stats plug in.

If you backup a Blog operating under WordPress, you not only have to back up your database, but also your uploaded media files and your pages (assuming you have created pages).

The DB Backup plug in for WordPress does only the DB part and not the rest.

However, with the current version of WordPress, version 2.6.2, it is reasonably easy to export all posts of a blog and all uploaded media content (in my case thus far only photos) as an XML file via the WordPress Dashboard. Same file can be easily imported into another blog.

This is also a better option for me than simply downloading the WordPress database via the PHP mysql interface, because then all links are links to the site and not links to my local hard disk.

The only problem I encountered with exporting posts via creation of an XML file is that not all pages, not all links and not all categories are exported properly, or imported properly into the version of this Blog that I have created under XAMPP. However my main goal of putting all posts and uploaded media in a “safe” place could be reached now. For one reason or another I seem not be able to detect the media directory on the server of my internet provider….

Themes and Theme Switcher
Now I am able to fulfill an old wish: To have a theme switcher installed to play around with themes and to enable readers to choose their own favorite theme.

Recently I started to test out various new plug ins and WordPress theme templates and adjusting them to my wishes.

I have some specific wishes for themes:

  1. I want a two column lay out with the sidebar on my right side. With the sidebar on my left side I (and my readers) would always have to cross the reading field of the posts.
  2. I believe a two column layout is simpler to look at, simpler to maintain and nice for the eye.
  3. The posts must be readable. So the size of the characters must be sufficient. In addition there must be a reasonable distinguishable difference in color between character and character background. Therefore I hate themes, although trendy, with dark background colors. Moreover the difference in size of characters of headings and main text must be proportionate.
  4. Websites have to be easily navigable. I want to be able to browse posts from a certain period and posts of certain categories. I like to see how many posts there are per period and per category.

Why change a good theme?

I believe the Misty theme does and did a good job in this respect. It actually still is my favorite.

However, as an avid photographer I would like to have a bit more space in the posts to show photos.

In reviewing many themes I have now come up to 8 or 9 themes I like.

Next to now the latest version of the Misty theme (3.6.2) I have now up and running the WordPress Default theme, the Intense theme and the Newspaper theme. I still have to ad some widgets to the last two mentioned.

I noticed that the newest Misty theme doesn’t have the problem anymore that when you look at a page cached in the Google search engine, you only see the header and not the body of the post. This is especially important if people are searching photo’s. Without the body of the post You’ll have no clue as to what the post is about and you’re clicking away. I tend to believe I get now more traffic from Google searches now.

More to follow soon, but in the meantime you can look for yourself and switch theme via the side bar.

Whether you like it or don’t like it, please give me some feedback.

Yoo Pimps your Property

Yoo Pimps your Property

Cleaning up and publishing some old drafts:

As some readers may know: I am a fan of Philippe Starck, not in the last place because he, like yours truly, is from the very good Bordeaux wine vintage year of 1949:-). Didn’t I promise yoo to pay more attention to Wine?

Lately you don’t seem to see the usual stream of new ideas and new inventions coming from him.

Probably this is because he teamed up with UK property tycoon John Hitchcox and others and formed Yoo. Yoo is mostly about development of residential property, but is also engaged in new Hotel developments.

Granmercy By Starck is one example. Back via the back door in cooperation with his old buddy Ian Schraeger? Oops, Tamara of Mr and Mrs Smith had a Lunch with John Hitchcox who stated there is no connection with this Granmercy and Ian Schrager’s Granmercy.

‘We want to offer democratic, high-fashion living.’ – PHILIPPE STARCK

Well this post is also meant as a rant. Those apartments don’t come cheap. In addition, like many designers, Mr Starck likes Flash for his sites. I don’t like Flash, not in the last place because it prevents poor Bloggers like myself to pinch nice photo’s from a site. (Even if you know how to do it, it is cumbersome) Therefore this silly picture…..

Last edited by GJE on November 29,2009 at 11.13 AM

High Five (4): about Travel Marketing, Networking, Hotel Guests and Guest Reviews

Gorilla High Five

Here are Happy Hotelier’s High Five (3) for:

  1. The Value of Social Networking for a Large Business by Ken Burgin who refers to a slideshow in a style I like from Sacha Chua. Ken has a keen eye for the unusual and a lot of experience
  2. Office Worker Going Insane and Office Worker Goes Absolutely Insane. There is a petite histoire here that I will disclose in a separate post if I can remember what I thought when I wrote this.
  3. Not all Hotel Rooms are created Equal where Hotel Marketing reviews Trip Kick, another user generated hotel review site. The idea is great when hotels will be more and more apt to publish their floor plans and detailed room lay out, so that you can really can make a choice. In my experience the best site with a real choice is that of Propeller Island City Lodge

About Happy Hotelier’s High Five
Happy Hotelier’s High Five is a meant as a gesture of appreciation to fellow Bloggers who blog about travel and are sometimes referred to as members of the “T-List” or other interesting Bloggers or Web Personalities.

The arms are usually extended into the air to form the “high” part, and the five fingers of each hand meet, making the “five”, hence the name, although Happy Hotelier’s High Five will always be a left handed one.

I will not publish it on a scheduled date. I will publish it each time when I have found five persons or sites or posts that I deem worthy a High Five. It even may imply me echoing old news here.

The Category Tag here on Happy Hotelier is High Five.

If you want to draw my attention to a post, please use the Contact Page or give me a message at Twitter

About The High Five Logo

I borrowed the photo of a sculpture from Lisa Roet, a sculptor born in Australia and currently living and working in Melbourne, Australia, because one of the main items on my passport is that I miss a big chunk of my right thumb, so my right hand is much alike that of an ape:-)

Piclens 1.6.3 update: A Brilliant Must Have Plug In for Photo and Video Browsing

Piclens Screen 1 From ITB2008 Berlin Travel Bloggers Summit 460 pix.jpg
The opening Screen

Some time ago I came across Piclens from the company Cool Iris via a recommendation from Internet Guru Doc Searls. Doc has no search function on his Blog. A severe neglect! At first I couldn’t find his post back.

As an aside: He also recommended Flickrfan in a post Less T, More V , but that is for the Mac aficionados. I have no Mac.

Eventually my persistence did find me Doc’s: Nice Plugin.

Another aside is that a commenter to that post advised to have a look at Photo Synth. I didn’t (yet).
What is Piclens?
Piclens is available as a plug in for Firefox and some other browser flavors to view large numbers of pictures on sites like Flickr. It is an amazing quick way of browsing around a lot of photos. Much quicker than Flickr’s slideshow and also much quicker than Adobe Bridge or Adobe Lightroom of Adobe for those who work with it. Brilliant!

Piclens Screen 3 From ITB Berlin Travel Bloggers Summit 460 Pix.jpg
The Full Screen

My first impression:
Wow! Cool! but you can’t link to the photo you like. This has been fixed with version 1.6.3 and hence I believe it is ready to become a mainstream plug in.

Piclens Screen 4 From ITB Berlin Travel Bloggers Summit 460pix.jpg
The Full Screen with one photo in the centre zoomed in
and following you each time you move your mouse
Piclens Screen 5 from itb2008-berlin-travel-bloggers-summit-460-pix
A video wall alike browsing screen

For these examples I used the ITB2008 Berlin Travel Blogger Summit Flickr Pool.

Piclens Screen 2 From ITB Berlin Travel Bloggers Summit 460 PIX.jpg
A Screen with one photo zoomed in maximally

Be aware!
Today the plug in page of Firefox only offers version 1.6.2 without the tagging and linking possibilities and not yet version 1.6.3 with the tagging and linking! That you should obtain from the Piclens site.

Piclens now for Youtube!

It took me some time to find out how Piclens would work with Youtube. It is only a small indication somewhat forlorn on the site of Piclens:

Piclens screen for YouTube searching
The only way to open a Youtube video search

You always should launch Piclens first from your tool bar where it installs itself. In the Piclens screen you then open the Youtube search tool of Piclens which you find at the top of the Piclens screen.

But then you have something!

Piclens Screen with YouTube Piclens Search

The result of a Piclens search on Youtube. The video starts playing immediately!

I like this instruction video and its song best

Here is the video itself:

The song is “Technologic” by Daft Punk, also a must have:-)

Further goodies

You can download a tool to make your own site Piclens compatible.

There is a WordPress plug in: A must investigate.

I see one big disadvantage of Piclens. Flickr Photos are uploaded under various licenses and cannot be copied easily. With Piclens you can make a screen dump and avoid the license protection of Flickr easily.

Rest assured: I am not trespassing copy rights here, because most photo’s I showed you are my own.

Post Alia
Today again Philippe Wolff was talking about the perfect storm he sees in the online travel world. See Kevin’s post at Travolution’s Blog. Well I would say this small plugin will definitely add to that storm!

MyBlogLog: Something Old and Something New

This is a re edited post originally dating back a year. (Yes I am trying to getting organized).

Some time ago I was inclined to kick my MyBlogLog widget from this Blog, because its server didn’t respond quick enough and caused hung pages on this Blog and several other Blogs.

My first introduction to Bloglog was by Guillaume of Hotel Blogs who had the widget already quite some time. I got curious and registered in January 2007.

Basically MyBlogLog was about counting. Counting the incoming and especially the outgoing links as a tool for the Blogger. The main reason seemingly to make it possible for the Blogger to see the clicking through in detail, as Google Adsense gives such a tiny little bit of information. Community building is also possible, but only as an afterthought I believe. The best part of MyBlogLog still is its recently revamped widget, especially because you can visualize your visitors if they also have a MybloLog account.

In January 2007 My Bloglog was acquired by Yahoo. See: The Jig is Up.

Browsing around I hit upon the Everybody Hurts post on the Blog of Mybloglog

Quickly thereafter I found The Rise and Fall of My Bloglog

and here is the other side of the story: Shoemoney is part of the problem

It all came down to the fact that a lot of people were using MyBlogLog to spam. Shoemoney pointed it out and the result was he was banned from MyBlogLog. An example of killing the messenger. MyblogLog cured the problem and apologized to Shoemoney and case closed.

In their recent revamp they are trying to make MyBlogLog a sort of center of your community building. It is not bad, but BlogCatalog does it a bit better. I don’t like it that MyBlogLog apparently allows non Blog authors to join and seemingly to incorporate non claimed blogs as well. The advantage of the also recently revamped BlogCatalog is that you can unfollow feeds of “friends” in you dashboard. But both are worthwhile to pursue.