Bits and Pieces

I’ve Transferred the links I missed from the old server for the second time to here. After my ISP crashed two or three times I’m glad today there were no crashes.

I’ve deleted most content from the old server now. Finally I can concentrate on other things than going backward and forward. Especially on the enormous backlog of posts I want to publish here.

Nobody tells you that when you export and import a WP site the photos you’ve uploaded get resized. In itself that is not so much of a problem, but but but, all of a sudden I find photos in duplicate triplicate or quadruplicate, depending on when uploaded and at what size put here in the blog…when I moved to Thesis I was glad to be able to post photos of 600 pix width rather than the old 460 pix width that I used….and now all of a sudden I am using far more space on the servers than I used to do on the old server….darn another cleaning job to do.

I’ve been under the hood of the design and have removed the background photo of the garden, because I found looking at the blog as a whole it distracted too much from the photos and the content. In addition it seemed to load from the server as one of the last items which made loading annoyingly slow.

I’ve changed the logo to one that is simpler and where the name of the blog is a bit better visible and without the tag line

With the 1.6 Thesis theme it is very easy to change fonts, sizes and colors of characters and colors of backgrounds. All in all the design is a bit cleaner now.

The next step is to bring the links and archives to a separate page and bring back the number of posts to 5 rather than 10 on the landing page and remove some widgets as they slow up the site. But then I would like my pagination back.

Stay tuned.

#enter09@Amsterdam Mini Bloggers Meetup


I’m back from the Enter09@Amsterdam conference.

Before posting anything, I had to address a technical problem here, as the electrically opening gate to our backyard doesn’t function anymore. Some of you know that I sometimes describe my job here at Haagsche Suites as a “Jack of all trades and Master of none”.
It appeared that a deliverer of glass to my neighbor (a tenant of mine) has driven against the safety provisions of the gate this afternoon. Nice having a security cam available to prove who did it. The only problem is it takes considerable time to sift through lengthy footage of stills. But I have pinpointed the trespasser. I find it so funny to see my neighbor standing there in person and looking when it is happening and simply not having the decency to warn me what happened. Now I’m really looking forward to a whole weekend without a functioning gate. – It turned out later he had tried to give me notice by telephone on the answering machine -.

Back to Enter09. The Blogger meetup yesterday afternoon turned out to be a Mini Blogging Meetup. Luckily with some beer, chips and a friendly chat.

Now I can prove you beyond doubt with the above photo that Kevin Can Smile. Hurray! (see my 10 Questions (15) For: Kevin May of Travolution)….even when he had just decided to remove Virgin screen grabs from his site (see his Tweet and these posts of: Travolution and of Alex)

The photo shows further Stephen Joyce and Jens Traenhart (he is the one with the really huge smile).


This photo shows Dimitrios Buhalis, left, who was also conference chair and a young man of the Austrian Tirol Tourist board whom I hope will give us his name when he reads this. Added: I found him out before he me. It’s Hannes Egger, one of the authors of Blog Tirol. Oops I should have known: I’m on their Blogrol…Thanks Hannes and do come to ITB Berlin!

That made up a meet up of 7 6 Bloggers while William got lost in Amsterdam.

Later Stephen offered me dinner that I chose for him to be real Dutch “Suddervlees” (also known as “Draadjesvlees”) at Moeders a decent restaurant in Amsterdam that serves traditional Dutch Food and the name of which means Mothers (or Moms or Mamas) it is fested with photos of moms.

Thanks Stephen and we will meet again in Berlin where I owe you one.

From the conference itself I don’t have much to report to you, as I had a lot of other things to do, so I could not attend, but my own presentation and two sessions. I had especially to finalize my own first ppt presentation. When I have translated it in English (it was for the Dutch Day of Enter09 in the Dutch language), I’ll put it up here.

I posted some more photos at my Flickr set Enter09@Amsterdam

It was mentioned that Jens has new plans wit Tips from the T-List, but I didn’t attend that session. Maybe more somewhere else.


Added: Kevin used one of my Flickr set’s Enter09@Amsterdam photos for a Caption Contest

10 Expat Blogs about The Netherlands

Expat Blog Logo

Clearing up and posting old drafts:

Expat Blogs are a wonderful source of information about a destination through the eyes of a foreigner. Here are 10 of them relating to The Netherlands.

Through Expat Blogs, a community of expat bloggers that charts the various expats in various countries, I found some interesting foreigners blogging about The Netherlands.

  1. A Touch of Dutch, “I’m a happily married American woman and have been living/working in the Netherlands for 6 years. I’ve decided to finally put together a blog for family/friends and everyone to share what life’s like living/working halfway around the world.” And, dear readers this Blog is a Gem with tons of information!
  2. Doe Maar Gewoon English with a very Dutch Title:”The adventures and misadventures of living in the Netherlands. Thoughts on Dutch culture, food, the joys of the public transport system and life in general.”
  3. Sethy’s Blog, “We are both expat from Malaysia and France. This Personal blog aims to keep contacts with our family staying in Malaysia and France. Via this blog we are trying to compare/comment the different style/way of live of our three countries.”
  4. Suze abroad, Suzanne from Down Under has been musing away from 2003. I fully second her sometimes hilarious mutterings and especially her post about The Dutch Midwife Mafia, as we have been confronted ourselves by some grave errors in this area recently. It is not only the midwifes, but also the gynecologists who are really old fashioned here sometimes. In a way they dependent on the midwifes, so they keep their mouths shut and go with the (wrong) flow. Because of this anomaly in Dutch Health system Suze decided to go back to Australia for the child delivery and to live there. Suze had been living in Utrecht.
  5. Sara de Mul – Living in Dutchland is a British woman blogging about living in Amsterdam. Sara has some interesting facts on her Blog. Unfortunately she updates very in frequent, one explanation could be she is really into learning Dutch. Kudos for that, because the Brits I know are very hesitant about learning Dutch.
  6. From Arkansas to Amsterdam A good idea: Here all members of the family have their own section on the Blog.
  7. Orange Journey, “Orange is the color of the Dutch Royal Family. The lineage of the current dynasty — the House of Oranje-Nassau — dates back to Willem van Oranje (William of Orange). But while the color orange has royal roots in the Netherlands, today it symbolizes a broader pride in the country and in being Dutch. We (Mr. and Mrs. Awaara) moved here in June, 2007 and first lived in Oranjastraat. Here it starts our journey in this orange country.”
  8. In Search of Dutchland, “In Search of DutchLand is a blog that chronicles and romanticizes the adventures of a 26 year old Pilipino-American living in The Netherlands. It is a refuge that attempts to illustrate her waking up to a “Dutched” reality complete with personal observations of cultural idiosyncrasies, narcissistic ramblings, and lingering homesickness.”
  9. Gone Dutch, “Life and travels of an American expat living in Rotterdam.”
  10. Reasons Not to Blog. “American living in The Netherlands since 2004. Since then, reading too much, not writing enough, and pursuing sometimes disparate, sometimes desperate academic and personal goals.”

Will be followed (I hope)

Some Concerns about Tips From The T-List

Tips From The T-List Banner

After three conferences with dedicated sites, the initiators of Tips from the T-List decided to start a more permanent site.

The site and its lay out need urgent attention imo!

  1. My main complaint is that the RSS feeds don’t work as they should: During a certain period of time they produced duplicate content. That has been taken care of in the meantime. The feeds are intentionally delayed. However to me it seems that the feeds are not added automatically with a delay of one or two days, while I believe they should. The time lag is so big the Blog loses momentum.
  2. Contributers to the site should be able to withdraw posts they deem less suited to publish over at Tips from the T-List.
  3. Contributers to the site should be able to edit posts. I understand the need of some over all editing of the site, but it is clear from looking at the site for some time now that the editors have very little time available for the editing;
  4. The navigation of the site needs attention, because it is not easy to wade through. I don’t like the difference between tabs and categories. Throughout the site there is no consistency.

All in all Tips From The T-List doesn’t take off as it should. Presently there are only 30 some travel related bloggers putting together their content. WiWiH has travel blogging as a lesser priority than its other activities and therefore was not chosen to act as a platform for the Tips from the T-List posse. Nevertheless WiWiH performs far better better imo. It gives you a clear overview of some travel blogging.The new startup Alltop’s Travel Alltop with currently 81 Blogs featured even gives a far better overview.

The income from the site

The initiators have announced that all income from the site goes to a good cause. I am glad they announced that. No fear anymore that they will earn some Adsense cents over my content. However I was not asked neither informed on beforehand that they would open up the site for advertising. Maybe I don’t like advertising at all….

The various agendas from Travel Bloggers

During ITB Berlin Bloggers summit it became apparent to me that the initiators of Tips From The T-List have their own limited area of interest, which is internet marketing for travel. I have a feeling that their main aim is to convince travel providers that they should listen to and engage travel bloggers as a marketing tool. There is nothing against that idea, but I am afraid that when one looks at the huge reservoir of thousands of Travel Bloggers, they forget they could make a far bigger Travel Community than Tips From the T-List is doing presently and consequently are losing big opportunities and huge momentum.

In my prior post I noted that Hotel Blogs Org, another Travel Bloggers aggregator presently seems to be hacked. I am sure the participants won’t like to be part of that. I wouldn’t. However Hotel Blogs seemed becoming a far better sharing tool than Tips From The T-List is at present.

Some Travel Bloggers don’t want to be part of Tips From The T-List because they are afraid they might jeopardize their Google ranking.

Some other Travel Bloggers don’t want to be part of Tips From The T-List, because direct competitors of them are behind the site.

It is my strong conviction that Blogging is sharing and not only sharing what you deem in your own commercial interest. I myself for instance have blogged about a fellow small hotel that blatantly had stolen the look and feel of the website of my own hotel. In another instance I have written about the opening of another hotel that is a direct competitor. A Blogger should be as impartial as possible without becoming impersonal.

Dear Friends can’t we finally bridge these gaps?

Finally we should reconsider its name: T-List
While every startup nowadays seems to reconsider its name, I suggest we reconsider T-List as a name for a posse of Travel Related Bloggers.

Create a Google alert for “T-list” and see what happens: All sorts of post are reported by Google:
Sh*t List
I don’t list
won’t list
didn’t list
can’t list
doesn’t list
weren’t’ list

All very negative.

Let’s go positive!

Maybe Travel Bloggers Posse could be a better name? Anybody a better idea?

Or should we just forget about the T-List and go on with solely?

Winding Down from ITB Berlin part 2: The Travel Bloggers

I have to get this post off my chest, be it for mere reference for myself, but also as preparation for the tagging of the many photos I took and uploaded already.

Here are the travel bloggers that were listed for the Berlin ITB Bloggers summit:

  • Ram Badrinathan PHOCUSWRIGHT (India)
    Ram commented that only recently he started to blog, but also started to like it.
  • William Bakker WILHELMUS (The Netherlands / Canada). Nice to meet, dine and talk with. He was blogging and twittering on the fly as a real professional.
  • Annalisa Ballaria RELACTIONS (Italy) Unfortunately I had no chance to talk to her.
  • Florian Bauhuber TOURISMUSZUKUNFT.DE (Germany)
  • Claude Benard LES EXPLORERS (France). Nice to meet, dine and talk with.
  • Vicky Brock TRACKING TOURISM (Scotland). Nice to meet, dine and talk with.
  • Karen Bryan EUROPE A LA CARTE (U.K.). Nice to meet, dine and talk with. She came in rather agitated because she had booked in a Hostel right across Berlin, only to find out early in the morning that public transport in Berlin was on strike.
  • Stephen Budd TRACKING TOURISM (Scotland). Nice to meet, dine and talk with. I’ll nickname him “Our Professor”, because he has already forgotten what I still have to learn:-)
  • Joe Buhler TRAVEL MARKETING IN THE AGE OF WEB 2.0 & BEYOND (U.S.). Nice to meet, drink and talk with. Our Veteran Hospitality Guru
  • Philip Caines TOURISM TIDE (Canada). One of the initiators of the Book Tips from the T-List.
  • Martin Cowen TRAVOLUTION (U.K.) Newly arrived at the Travolution crew.
  • Darren Cronian TRAVEL RANTS (U.K.). Who missed his train and unfortunately couldn’t make it.
  • Ralf Eggert TRAVELLO (Germany).
  • Klaus Hildebrandt FVW (Germany).
  • Yeoh Siew Hoon THE TRANSIT CAFE (Singapore). Our Asian Travel Guru.
  • Jamie Horwitz CANADIAN TOURISM (Canada). Nice to meet, dine and talk with. The lonesome hockey fan who took it upon him to solely make Mexican travelers understand Canada better as a travel destination.
  • Stephen Joyce TRAVEL & TOURISM TECHNOLOGY TRENDS (Canada). Another initiator of The Tips from the T-List book.
  • Kevin May TRAVOLUTION (U.K.). The editor of The Industry blog who can listen and write and edit at once. I envied him.
  • Detlef Meyer ROUNDTRIP (Germany)
    Who seemed a bit busy with other appointments at the Fair.
  • Abbas Nokhasteh OPENVIZOR (U.K.). Not a Blogger per se, but trendy he is!
  • Jens Oellrich TOURISMUSZUKUNFT.DE (Germany)
  • Goetz A. Primke LE GOURMAND (Germany). Likes Girls (who doesn’t:-).
  • Eckart Reiche OPENTS (Germany).
  • Henri Roelings WIWIH (WHO IS WHO IN HOSPITALITY) (The Netherlands). Watch my sleeping with Henri post.
  • Bruce Rosard PHOCUSWRIGHT (U.S.). A swell guy.
  • Karin Schmollgruber FASTENYOURSEATBELTS (Austria), who unfortunately couldn’t make it due to the strike.
  • Carlo Alvarez Spagnolo TEXTING ALL OVER THE WORDS (Spain).
  • Ludolf Stavenga REISPORTALS (The Netherlands).
  • Jens Thraenhart TOURISM INTERNET MARKETING (Germany / Canada). The third Tips from the T-List initiator.
  • Guido Van Den Elshout HAPPY HOTELIER (The Netherlands), yes, Yours Truly.
  • Dr. Klemens Waldh BLOGS IN TOURISM (Austria).

I intend to add the photos later.