Category Archives: Blogging

New RSS Feed Url

Should have done this long time ago. Feedburner.com was bought by Google and as a result my RSS feed urls have changed to:

http://feeds2.feedburner.com/walkingbetween

http://feeds2.feedburner.com/walkingbetween/comments

Please update your RSS reader. Thank you for subscribing.

(The original WordPress feed URL http://walkingbetween.com/feed or https://walkingbetween.wordpress.com/feed will always work.)

If you don’t know what RSS is or don’t use RSS, I strongly recommend you check it out. My favorite desktop RSS reader is SharpReader from http://sharpreader.net. It has an Outlook like UI and, when a new item comes in it slowly raises a light blue box, with summary line inside, in the right bottom corner of your screen, stays still for a few seconds (during which you can peek and decide whether to click on it for more), then slowly descends and disappears. You can customize the frequency each feed checks for new items, among other properties per feed.

If you can’t use desktop client Google Reader is probably the most popular web-based RSS reader out there. Just click the “Reader” tab at the top of your Google/Gmail account.

If you have many blogs you follow regularly, a desktop RSS client with notifications on new posts is, IMO, a must.

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Resuscitation, 2008, and moving forward

About a month ago on Facebook my friend Jun used the word “resuscitate” to describe the action I needed to bring this blog back. She also volunteered to teach me CPR… ;-)

Although I did not take up her kind offer, I have been thinking about how best to “resuscitate” ever since. Lots of things have happened since my last post on August 4, 2008; it doesn’t feel right to just skip the past 6 months and suddenly start posting the latest things I want to write right now. I need a “bridge” post, I’ve decided, if only just for the one or two readers who were not with me on Facebook the past 6 months.

So here’s a really quick look back to the last few months of 2008, up till now:

  • The Beijing Olympics. During those 3 weeks I subscribed to almost all the Olympics blogs by major media sports writers and journalists in my RSS reader, and read just about everything that’s been written every day in the western media, NYT, ESPN, FoxSports, Guardian Sports, BBC Sports, Yahoo! Sports, CNN, ABCNews… On top of those I also read tons of message board posts and did my share of postings. It was pretty crazy. So many things happened. There were times I felt powerless. sad. And there were the times of pride. awe. and inspiration. They could go on a separate post of its own, but somehow I have lost the drive to write it.
    (or perhaps it’s the courage to write them that I’ve lost, like a climber facing an insurmountable mountain…)
  • The U.S. Open. The first time we went to see live tennis. We went on the Labor Day weekend and later for the men’s finals. Notable players/games that we watched include: Zheng Jie/Yan Zi women’s double, Djokovic vs a pretty good young guy, Li Na vs Dementieva (the freshly crowned Olympics Gold Medalist), and of course, Federer vs Andy Murray. I was hoping for a Nadal/Fed final but didn’t get it.
    Live tennis games are fun. I highly recommend you try it once, if you watch tennis on TV. Don’t buy the worst seats though, you need a reasonably good view to get yourself into it.
  • Yellowstone Trip. We were lucky enough to have caught the perfect weather, beautiful foliage, and plenty wildlife sightings that include: a black bear (next to a dead elk body), a grizzly bear (walking in the woods at roadside), a wolf and an antelope wandering in the same valley (and missing each other!), a fox-like wolf in the vicinity of a bison (of course neither was interested in the other), three different types of deer, a coyote, a group of sheep, and the best of all, an army of bisons walking right in front of our car (and right next to it within an elbow’s length). The geysers and hot springs were also amazing as advertised. They look even better on photos :c).
    One lesson learned from the trip: you need a binocular, a video cam, AND the best camera/lens you can afford to go to Yellowstone. All three are necessities.
  • The Financial Crisis. The best thing that came out of the whole thing is, it prompted me to start paying real good attention to my 401k… ; ), which then resulted in me delving into a reading fever on some of the best, and academically sound if you will, investment advices that I truly wish I had learned 10 years ago.
  • New Year Eve. Another first: First time we spent the countdown watching a ball drop with a crowd outside. It was freezing like hell, but I really wanted to go, to send off this crazy year of 2008. When it counted to 0 and all the fireworks erupted, I was cheering with everyone else from the bottom of my heart.
  • Movies. 2008 was a great year for movies. I’ve been putting in short, one paragraph reviews on Facebook (via Flixster) for movies I watched lately. Maybe I’ll make a compilation of them into a post later. I think I’ve watched 3 of the 5 best picture nominees as well as some very good ones like The Wrestler and Revolutionary Road in the last couple months alone.
  • New Food. Nepali is now added to my list of Cuisines I’ve Tried At Least Once, as #25. ;-)

Lastly, to whoever that noticed, the kitties pictures on the right is replaced with the latest Flickr photo feed. There seem to be something wrong with Flickr’s RSS feed on a set that caused the kitty set photos all broken. Until I figure out the problem this is the only feed that works here.

No Subject

Lately I’ve not been blogging much. There are a few reasons for that:

  1. I’ve been spending lots of time on Facebook, which I just joined a month ago.
  2. I got into poker, Texas Hold’em Poker. I’ve been playing (mostly on Facebook) and absolutely loved it. At the time of speaking, my poker status is “Poker Pro” with about $15,000 in my bag. My goal is to get to at least “Big Dog”, preferrably, “Shark”. :-)
    Texas Hold’em is a fascinating game, so many facets to it, full of strategies and a lot are based on observations.
  3. I’ve spent quite some time reading and commenting on a couple of friends’ blogs, who have been blogging like crazy lately… (you know who you are!)
  4. I’m in a lull.
  5. A couple of other things that were occupying my mind, which I cannot blog about.

However I also remind myself that there are more than a few reasons that I should keep on blogging:

  1. I want to keep a record of my life, my thoughts, my mind so in the future when I look back, I will truly experience that famous saying, “my whole life flashes in front of my eyes”. I just hope after that I would not die.
  2. I want to engage my readers, however many, or few, there are.
  3. I want to keep up a commitment I made when I started. There are few things in my life that have lasted for longer than ten years (with the exception of family, a husband and some friends). A personal blog may not be a very significant part of life, but a will to commit is.
  4. I have a voice, I like to express, that makes me a great candidate for this modern creature called “blogger”.
  5. I consider writing artistic expression. That would make one who writes an artist (whether a good or a bad one is another issue). It feels good to think of self as the creator of something meaningful.
  6. I type fast.

Blogger’s Choice Award 2007

I found some great blogs I’d never heard of from these lists. Thought you might too.

Blogger’s Choice Award 2007 Winners

(My long-time favorite animal site CuteOverload.com was voted the Best Blog of All Time… wow)

Related Articles:

To “Read More” or Not To “Read More”?

Mouse Click

By that, I mean the use of the More tag that truncates your blog post and in place put a “Read More” link for your readers to click to read the rest.

Is that a good practice? for you? for your readers?

I have been thinking about this ever since I started blogging, then today I found some fellow WordPress.com bloggers were discussing this very topic in WordPress forum. Some of my feelings were echoed there. Some were not. I decided instead of posting in the forum I will write down my thoughts in a post here.

There are two types of readers: those who have been reading your site and those who’s come here for the first time. Among those who’ve been reading, some of them read from an RSS reader and some visit the website every time. New visitors, obviously, are always reading at your website when they come for the first time.

  • Regular feed readers
    They don’t like the Read More link as it requires them to wait and load the web page to read. If all your readers are feed readers then you don’t want to use More tag at all. Getting the whole post right in front of their eyes makes them more likely to read the whole thing. It increases the readership, even if it means one less hit to your web site.
  • Regular web readers
    You don’t want to use the More tag on them either. Similar to the feed readers, they are already regularly visiting and they most of the time are just looking for new posts at the top. You want to make things easier for them, so they will read as much as possible. One less click is a couple seconds less wait time. Treat your regular readers well.
  • First-time web visitors
    This is where the issue becomes interesting. Do you get more readership out of a visitor when he has to hit page down 5 times just to see the next headline (then lose the patience after 10 keystrokes)? or do you get more when he sees 1-2 headlines per page, quickly finishes scanning all of your headlines on the front page before picking the ones he likes to click on?

    Ask yourself. When you are a visitor to a website for the first time, do you hit page down to scan the headlines first to see what this site has in store? I do and I think most people do too. I scan the headline quickly then decide which one, if any, to read. I hate having to scroll down and down and down and still can’t see the next headline. Sometimes I just lose the patience and don’t want to scroll any more.

With all those being said, they are not the deciding factors (they are considerations).

The deciding factor should be, in my opinion, based on what your last 10 posts are as of the moment, what portions of each one do you choose to be on the front page?

  • If a post has a very compelling first paragraphs, cut at the best place, even if it’s not particularly long. Do it especially if the rest of post might not be as grabbing as the beginning. Don’t deter visitors with the length. People are more likely to read when it looks short.
  • If a post don’t happen to have a compelling beginning, but gets to the best part midway or in the end, then leave the whole post on (unless it’s miles and miles long). Maximize the likelyhood of engaging your readers per square feet of your real estate. :)
  • If a post is about a niche topic that draws only a certain crowd (like my Dancing with the Stars posts), try not to put the whole post on. People who don’t watch the show have no use for them. You should make it easy for them to skip and move on to things that have a better chance capturing their attention.

Do these make sense to you?

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New Domain: WalkingBetween.com!

Please change your bookmark/feed URL for this blog to

http://walkingbetween.com

http://feeds.feedburner.com/walkingbetween

Thank You.

———————————————————————–

Ever since I started blogging two and half month ago, I’ve heard here and there this golden advice from experienced bloggers that the early you get your own domain name, the better. “The time to buy a domain name is when you first start blogging“, said engtech at InternetDuctTape.com in his excellent article “The Biggest Mistake a Blog Can Make is Not Owning Its Own Name“. If you have a blog and want to know why this is, read that article.

I think to me the most appealing aspect of having my own domain name is the ability to move my blog anywhere I want while keeping the same address (not that I want to leave the wonderful WordPress.com now ;-). Besides having an easy-to-remember address is quite neat too.

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Blog Action Day – October 15th

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

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