It is time to start writing on this blog again. This blog has become terribly stale since I haven’t posted anything since 2009. Wow! It sure has been a while.
So, to catch the random lurker up to speed, here is what you have missed.
My family has grown. Jack is 2 1/2 years old and Henry was born on Dec. 30th, 2010, so he is just about 5 months old. Jack and Henry are amazing kids, and I love them more than I can even begin to share.
I have also started a New testament reading plan. It is a one year plan, so the amount of reading each day is minimal. But, I am looking forward to thinking about a shorter piece of scripture each day. And this is one of the reasons I am starting this blog back up again, to to share my thoughts as I read through the New Testament. I found that blogging through the Old Testament really helped me process what I was reading.
Last July I also started running and am still running today. I have done a number of 5K’s, and finished a half-marathon on April 6th, 2011. Running has truly changed my life. I am healthier than I have been in a long time, and I have an activity that I truly love. I am also hoping to run a full marathon by the end of this year or early next year.
I signed up for the Beta of Google Friend Connect (a service built on the Open Social platform) a few months ago and today I received my official invitation into the program. So, I have Google Friend Connectified the site.
The concept behind Open Social is to expand social networking beyond being in one centralized location. Facebook and Myspace are designed to pull all of your content and social connections into their box. They control it. Open Social is designed to allow you to expand your social connections across the internet, a completely decentralized approach. Allowing you to control it. I am very interested to see if this concept can catch on.
Currently there are only a few widgets available through the Google Friend Connect setup, but I anticipate this expanding as more people begin creating widgets to socialize the web via Open Social.
On this site I have added the members widget (which you can see from the homepage), the login widget which is at the top of each page below the search bar, and the review widget which is located in the right hand side of every blog post.
I would love to see some people add themselves to the members widget and become followers of this site. So why not check out Google Friend Connect and add Jeff Bristow dot COM as a site you are following?
Today I updated a few things on https://www.jeffbristow.com. The comment section following every blog post is now done through a service called disqus. This will allow me to have the comment section for this site and other sites that I operate to be more uniform and ‘work together’. You can still leave anonymous comments just as you could before, but if you do choose to ‘login’ to disqus, you can claim your profile and other users can even see other sites you are leaving comments on. (any site that is disqus enabled, that is). Previous comments have not been lost, in fact they have all been imported into disqus. Essentially you will not notice any significant difference in making comments on this site. The big change for you is that now you can reply to a specific comment and see a discussion ‘thread’ rather than all of the comments simply stacking on top of each other.
The other addition is the page curl at the top right of the site. ( I noticed that Internet Explorer is unable to display the page curl. If you are wanting to see what it is you can use just about any other web browser. Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or Safari…) I will be using this page curl as a teaser for content that I want to have stand out more than some of the other content on the site. Most sites use this for advertising, but I think a better use for it is as a clever teaser tool.
[Update: I also added in a rating feature to each post. You can rate a post from 1-5 stars. I would love for you to comment as well, but a rating would be nice as well.)
Feel free to let me know what you think about any of these changes, or any other enhancements you might want to see at https://www.jeffbristow.com.
A big change has happened today. And it involves two websites. The site you are on right now and the former home of my personal blog, thebristows.com. I have decided to move my personal blog from thebristows.com to https://jeffbristow.com and keep http://thebristows.com as a family blog. What this means is that all of the content formerly found on thebristows.com is now located at jeffbristow.com.
This may sound like a simple move, but I wanted to move my blog and keep all my traffic. I had to find some way to redirect traffic dynamically to the proper page on the new site. This evening at about midnight I figured out how to do this. I am using a 301 redirect with some fancy variables in a .htaccess file. It is all rather techy, so I won’t get into it. But the result is very cool. You will begin to see non-family content vanish from thebristows.com over the next few hours or days, but all of the old URL’s to that content will still work by directing traffic to jeffbristow.com.
An example will be handy to explain this:
I have removed an article from thebristows.com that I wrote called ‘Pikter.com – The Ping.fm of Pictures’. The URL for this page is: http://www.thebristows.com/blog/tech/piktercom-the-pingfm-of-pictures This article no loner exists on this site. But if you click the link you are taken directly to this article on https://www.jeffbristow.com. This allows me to retain all of the traffic going to various articles on thebristows.com, and lets me move my personal blog to a completely different domain.
NOTE: If you subscribe to my personal blog you will need to change your RSS reader link. The new RSS Feed for my personal blog is: https://www.jeffbristow.com/feed
I am using Bluehost.com to host this website. I switched to them to save some money, and so far it has been a huge hassle. The initial setup and transition went smoothly. Then all of a sudden my websites IP address was changed because of ‘server problems’. When my sites IP address changed this made it so nobody could access the site.
After a good number of back and forth discussions with support over last weekend I was assigned a permanent static IP address that would never change.
Then yesterday morning my IP address changed to a dynamic shared IP address.
I contacted BlueHost support again and they told me about more ‘server issues’ and they would be resolved quickly.
After a few more hours I contacted them again requesting a status update and they responded by telling me everything is working and that my IP address had been changed back. So, I checked and it had not been changed back. So I requested that they do so.
Yesterday late in the evening they sent me a message with a new IP address stating that the old one was ‘broken’. So I changed my DNS to point to the new IP address and it appears that propagation has happened rather quickly this time around. This change can take up to 72 hours, but at this time there are likely people who are still unable to access the site due to this change not being fully propagated.
I have now requested clarification that this IP address is truly ‘static’ , meaning that it will never change. I have serious doubts about BlueHost’s ability to provide a true static IP address at this point, so I may be switching webhosts soon. However, this isn’t the best time for me to do this since little Jack is likely to be arriving this week, which would mean I won’t have the time to switch providers. So for now I will stick with BlueHost and see how things go over the next few days. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see another site outage soon. That is the BlueHost way. 🙂
My apologies for the downtime this past weekend. My webhost changed my sites IP address without notice. This caused my DNS entry to fail.
We have this resolved now with a static IP address that will not be changing. (at least this is what my webhost claims)
A few people have asked which webhost I am using (likely so they will know who to avoid), and it is http://www.bluehost.com , at this time I would not recommend them, since it took a few back and forths before they took this issue serious enough to actually take action to resolve it. But I will give them some more time, and see how things go. I really don’t want to mess with the hassle of moving my site to another webhost right now.
I am also going to be experimenting with a 100% free webhost soon. I will let everyone know what I discover.