We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Thursday, December 13. 2012
As an experienced professional in the field, my experienced, professional answer was that I didn't have a clue.
But, as I've preached here in the past, why take the chance? These things are dirt cheap ($5/mo) and you don't actually have to do anything to the domain to preserve it (like build a web site), so I advocate getting it now before someone else does. You'll only have yourself to kick later on if you don't.
For hosting companies, I highly recommend BlueHost. It's owned by a good conservative family out in Provo, Utah. The CEO's twice-yearly emails are a laff riot, and very critical of current governmental policy. There's no sign-up fee and no early cancellation fee. Also, the cost of the actual domain name is free, unlike some hosting companies which charge up to 35 bucks for it.
Even if you're not going to use it for twenty years until it's finally time to post pics of the grandkids, get it now. There's only one 'yourname.com' out there, and once it's gone, it's gone forever.
This is, if you call my causing an 84-year-old man to openly weep, 'great'.
A couple of years ago he approached me about putting together a blog site. He had gotten into his family's genealogy and wanted to share the results with the rest of the clan which were, typically, spread out all over hell and gone.
He knew a little something about computers so I figured he could handle the actual procedure, so I gave him the address to my WordPress Guide and told him to give a jingle if he ran into a snag.
Which he did a few times, which enabled me, in turn, to make the guide even clearer. So it was a win-win all around.
He got the site up and started posting his findings. He also had some DVD videos of his great-grandkids that his granddaughter had sent him that he wanted to post. Got a tissue handy? This is where the tears come in.
He'd never dealt with video before but had heard about the huge block of code that's involved on the web page and was terrified at the prospect. And he's right; the block of code an average web page needs to display a video is massive, about fifteen lines.
But WordPress isn't 'average'.
I told him that if he could manage to wade through five goddam setup pages to get the site going in the first place, he could certainly wade through a page of video instruction. Never the mollycoddler, I. He said, "I'll try!"
A couple of hours later I was getting back from the store and decided to drop by and see how things were going. He'd told me to come right in, which I did. I sat down next to him at the computer. He was very misty-eyed, if not outright teary. I asked him what was wrong.
He said, to the best of my memory:
He pointed to the monitor, where a freshly-ripped, freshly-converted, freshly-uploaded and freshly-configured video was playing of his adorable great-grandkids.
I got a little misty-eyed, too.
I'd also note that it's hidden from the search engines via the WordPress software. They've never had an unwanted visitor.
Neither has Mary and her brood. This is a totally different story. What made it stand out was this email I received from her a while after I posted an article here on putting together a family blog.
I hope you kept that tissue handy.
So there are two stories about the 'family blog', and how using this modern little invention can keep families on the same track, with the benefit being that people can air any grievance in real-time, not have it simmer for years until you finally see that hated cousin again. Adding creative elements like image manipulation makes it all the more fun, and even video becomes manageable with the right tools (provided on my site) and a simple-to-use WordPress plugin for the nasty block of code.
Which do you think they'll be happier with?
I'll be around in case you run into a snag. It's just a guess, but I'm pretty sure if old Jim can do it, you can do it.
The reward would be immeasurable.
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Okay, I'm in. My problem is that my first and last names are actually pretty kewl, but my middle name is a total embarassment and I'd never use it. So I clicked on the magic link and my first/last/name.com was available so I bought it for 3 years. Thanks for what might turn out to be an invaluable tip!
In "computer difficulty' terms, how hard is it to get a blog site going? It looks pretty easy from reading over the home page, but I've been fooled before and suddenly everything was VERY complicated. The only thing on the computer I really know much about is surfing, and I had to learn Quickbooks and Excel for work. Is there hope, herr doktor?
Well, the good news is that you already know how to use the only tool you need -- the browser. The actual editing software is online.
The bad news is that this will take some manual labor on your part, like editing a Notepad file.
Assuming these rigors can be overcome, if you just want a stock, out-of-the-box look, then it's ready to go. If you want it to have a custom look, then it'll take some effort of your part as you painstakingly, laboriously, look over the thousands of free WordPress themes out there until you find the one that's really 'you'. Then you have to manually click on a button to download it, then manually click on yet another button to install it.
So I'm not saying it's 'easy'.
How timely! My neighbor and I were talking about this just the other day. There's only five houses on our cul-de-sac so we were talking about a "neighborhood blog," just for the yuck of it. There's one old fart who probably won't participate, but his wife will.
I love 'Rainbow Garden'!
I presume by now you've come across the 'Family Blog' page on my WP site. Note what it says about there only being one 'Admin'. Deviate from that at your peril.
Ah, yes, Rainbow Garden. Always a crowd pleaser. Now if only I could get up the gumption to use it!
Yep, got it on the 'Admin' thing. That'll be my husband. He's the only one of us who even uses a computer at work, so he got elected to be the blogmaster. I'll let you know how it turns out in your next post on the subject. And thanks!
Rainbow Garden forever!
I don't understand the idea "once it's gone, it's gone forever."
Suppose I want the domain "MarieBeeson.com," go and look for it, and it's taken.
Well, whoever took it has to pay the $5 per month, right? Are they going to do that all their lives? Even if so, won't they eventually die?
At that point, doesn't "MarieBeeson.com" become available again?
I'd appreciate a response because I'd really like to know!
From what I've seen and heard, the domain harvesters lie in wait for any likely-sounding name to come free again, then snatch it up electronically literally within seconds. They used to then sell it to you for X thousands of dollars, then the next step was just leasing it to you -- for the rest of eternity -- and the latest twist is to treat the whole thing respectably and actually offer web hosting -- for your stolen domain! Like I said, for a crummy $5/mo, why take the chance?
"For hosting companies, I highly recommend ."
Is the hosting company a state secret, or this just a ploy to get a few more comments from fools like me?
Not sure what you mean. It says "...highly recommend BlueHost.", with 'BlueHost' being a link. I think your browser is playing head games with you.
Doc, I got the web name a year or two ago at your suggestion but I've never used it. I want the site to advertise my apartment building. I have an html page on Craigslist that would be good enough, so can I import that code into Wordpress and have it show up without doing a lot of rewriting / formatting? Thanks
Well, if a simple page is good enough, then installing WordPress would be overkill. I'd just slap it up there as an HTML page and let it be. The name should be "index.html" for maximum compatibility's sake. I've never done a review on a free web editor, sorry, but there are tons of them out there and for this project you don't need anything very fancy. Put the whole thing inside a 90%-wide Table so the page has margins, slap a banner across the top and you're good to go.
When doing a search for a web editor, include the word "sourceforge". That's the biggest freeware site around and has tons of good things.
Okay, I'm aboard, and thanks for the kick in the pants. I meant to do this last time you mentioned it but just kind of forgot about it. My first-last-name was gone, but with my middle initial was available. This Bluehost place looks pretty nice. Their Control Panel was twice as elaborate as my last host, Apollo.
They also have superb customer service. I don't know if you caught it, but the readers here had been having some streaming video problems recently with my posts so I've run a few tests, narrowing it down to a Flash incompatibility with the older player I was using. I had also contacted BlueHost Tech Support and actually had three techies get back to me on it, one right away with some specific questions, one later that afternoon doing a follow-up, and one the next morning asking if things had been resolved yet. Pretty cool of them, as these things go.
Just wanted to let you know that I signed up with Blue Host this week. I've been happy with my current host, entirely digital. The problem is, they bought up the American hosting company that I originally signed up with. Every time I pay for my hosting, I get an additional charge for international payments.
I think this will be a good fit for me. They even had mailing lists, which is one of the things that I need for my service. And so far, they seem to be good folks to deal with.
"I get an additional charge for international payments."
Ouch! And, of course, what the word "international" has to do with the Web is anybody's guess -- since the Web is 'international' by definition alone. At least, judging by what the first two letters in "www" mean.
Glad the article helped.