Weekly Digest #3

This third weekly digest comes with a slight delay of three or four days because as a teacher, I had the usual end of the year final exams to correct, several hundred actually. All of those have been returned to their owners and now Christmas is approaching fast

As usual, I will go completely offline for a minimum of two or three weeks to recharge my batteries and to actually enjoy the Christmas time outside of that great big virtual echo chamber that is the Internet. To be quite honest, I need time away from those demented terrorists blowing themselves (=good) or other people and stuff (=bad) up to wreak havoc, from right-wing imbeciles spewing their hatred wherever they are given the chance to do so online and, most of all, to avoid the constantly and insistently whining middle class ruining just about everything everywhere. Especially the latter has become both embarrassing and unbearable.

What’s new?

At some point, I set up a separate Google+ “Business” account for this website. I sometimes wonder why I bother, simply because Google+ is a comparatively dead place, but it does have advantages when managing this website in regard to Google search engine integration, placement, etc., so I decided to go that route.

Also, if you haven’t noticed yet, I quietly started adding some gallery pages to this site. I decided not to go with any of the (usually proprietary) solutions available for WordPress because those are usually a pain in the neck to transfer to another theme, should I decide to use a new one in the future. What I did do was set up pages which are then grouped and linked to from the header menu on my website. I started with some pages for colleagues of mine who constantly ask for photos showing what I like about Lanzarote on the Canary Islands. The links to those pages can then also be easily forwarded to people who need some recommendations.

I will probably quietly add more gallery pages these next two or three weeks, so if interested, check back once in a while to have a look as I probably won’t be announcing any of those additions.

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Here’s a small selection taken from the Lanzarote gallery pages I have added already:

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Website Maintenance

Although I will abstain from any Internet-related activity for some weeks, I will start to fix small issues this website still has. I have been in contact with the designers and programmers of the theme I’m using and some bigger problems have been fixed already I (great service, btw), but others that haven’t been all that intrusive still need to be addressed. If you haven’t noticed any issues, fine, but I can see them and am usually anal about this kind of stuff. BTW: If you did notice a bug or inconsistency on any device you are using, please let me know via the contact form of this site.

A second thing that absolutely needs to be done is the switching out of featured images for older posts that just don’t work anymore in this layout (and won’t work in any future layouts either). It’s the crux of WordPress sites that featured images have increased in size these past many years and that themes use all kinds of more or less intelligent techniques to work old images into a new layout. In my case, that often leads to an awkward display of some featured images that seemingly don’t show anything relevant to the post they appear in. Most people probably don’t care, but I do.

Thirdly, this site has too many links in old posts that don’t work anymore. Many of those need to be fixed. I’ve got a plugin to help me with that, but there’s still lots of work involved in updating them.

Last, but not least, there are anywhere between 50 and 100 posts I will either need to update or delete. They just don’t fit into the concept of this site anymore. Currently, around 500 posts have survived the great Thanksgiving Massacre of 2016 and a lot more have to go until I’m satisfied. So, between now and the first of February 2017, I’m going to whip out the editorial machete again.

Christmas

I’m not the giddy Christmas type, but I do add some decorations to my home for two or three weeks every year. Many years ago, I decided to never have a real Christmas tree again at my place because getting rid of it in January always quickly turned into a major logistical nightmare … every single time. Getting a dead and totally dried-up needle tree out of an apartment on the third-floor, an apartment with wall-to-wall carpeting in every room, was a pain in the neck. Often I found myself trying to remove needles from the tightly-woven carpet for weeks, one needle at a time, and the last time that happened I decided I’d rather shoot myself in the head (thrice) before doing that again.

So, I bought myself an (expensive, top-of-the-line) artificial one two years ago … which turned out to be a total failure. It looked fantastic, but the Chinese people who apparently glued the whole thing together did not follow any environmental protocols and added so many chemicals to the paint mix that the entire town I live in ended up smelling like industrial China on your average work day. And it didn’t stop. Two years later, the penetrating smell is as bad as it was the first time I exposed the tree to an indoor heating system.

As luck would have it, my parents decided to go more minimal this year and sent me theirs, which is a bit smaller and just as nice as the one I had. Mine I’ll keep, but for future use outside, far removed from where I presently live. I just don’t want the police to suddenly show up on my doorstep.

I also added some other more or less quirky items, but … have a look for yourself.

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Into 2017 …

Usually, I have a list of quick shots at the end of every weekly digest but this time, I’ll refrain. I’m about half-way finished with a “Year in Review” post for 2016, which will go live in early 2017, and many of the links and items that were supposed to end up in this post here actually found a better home in that future post.

So, dear readers, I hope you’ll have a great Christmas, with your loved ones around you and with as little intrusion of the evil world outside as possible and, most of all, I hope for all of us that 2017 will turn out to be better than 2016. 2016 was crap and as things stand now, 2017 will probably not be any improvement.

Hope always dies last, so, until it does, stay good, stay strong and don’t let the world get you down.

See you in 2017!

Posted by Volkher Hofmann

Volkher Hofmann (deus62) has been blogging on and off since the 1990s and deus62.com is all that is left. He loves music, literature, drumming and, most of all, real life. He thinks the open web is much more important than social networks, closed-in ecosystems and other severely commercialized online endeavors.

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