So the new design, which I hope you all like, came out of the blue. Even I hadn't planned on the change for more than an hour or two. It was brought to my attention when I received an email from an attentive reader who emailed the address in the binding entry that there is no contact page. I had remembered fiddling with the outgoing email settings for the site so I knew that somewhere there was a page. Well, I found it after messing around with the design I had chosen. In case I haven't mentioned this before, I cannot come up with a decent design to save my life. I'm certified in web development and everything but I'm just not creative. I know when a layout and design works, but I have to work really hard to make it work. So I borrow freely available designs for my BlogEngine.net setup I have here. The design I had previously picked turned out to be hiding quite a few things from you guys. So, just a real quick run through of what is available to you.
First, what's new. Archive, Contact, Subscribe, and Filter by APML all conveniently located in the upper right hand part of every page. Archive is just a well broken down list of all my blog entries by the categories I decide to put them in. Should be simple to use if you know what you're looking for or know what you want to read about. If you think I mislabeled a category, just say so in the comments and/or just contact me on the now working Contact page. In the contact page, just fill out the form and send whatever you want my way. It's private and direct to me. I'll do my best to respond in a timely manner if I find it's something to respond to. Next is the search page, which I know is a little less than perfect. It's part of BlogEngine.net so if I ever get enough time to sort all that out, I may look into improving search functionality. That would give me a good excuse to learn more about search algorithms... Anyway, next comes Subscribe. It's a great way to stay up to date with my articles. RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndicate" if you didn't know, and it really is so simple that it warrants it being in the name. Just add the link to your favorite RSS reader *cough* Google Reader *cough* and every time I post an article, you'll be notified. Please don't mind the ads in the feeds or the one in the sidebar of each page, I could blame the economy but who doesn't want a few extra pennies? Last but not least is the Filter by APML. I'm new to this open source standard but am liking what I read about it. Attention Profiling Mark-up Language is a tool for filtering content based on what users like to read. You may notice that you don't and can't sign in. There is no need for any user to have an account, but once you leave a comment or fill out the contact page, some of that information is used to make your experience easier (note that I don't go through this data, which is already publicly available to me and anybody who reads this site when you post a comment).
Since I'm already talking about the layout of the site, let's run down what's available in the sidebar on the right hand side of the site. First is the Digsby chat widget, if I'm signed on (and I often times am) you can chat with me directly using this widget. If I'm on, don't be afraid to send me a message. If I don't respond, don't take it personally, I have family, school, and personal projects that can keep me busy at times. The next segment down from Digsby is a section for seeing your fingerprint on this website. It'll count your comments and apply a filter as defined in your APML file. Your experience with this section can differ from other user's experiences based on your involvement with my site. On down is my Twitter feed, five of the most random things off the top of my head most likely. It has a link if you dare to follow me. Recent Posts comes next, it's pretty straight forward. It's the 10 most recently published posts on my blog here. Next is the Pages List. I reserve pages for more static things like projects of mine (don't worry, the tower defense I promised you six months ago is almost here!). As this site grows, I may put more in there, perhaps interactive pages or something. One more step down is the Month List. This groups my posts chronologically and shows you which months I've been busy compared to others. Last but not least is an ad, do what you will with it.
I hope this new redesign will help create a bit of a community here on my blog. I'd like to keep you readers coming back, but I know I'm making this up as I go. Now with twice as many ways to contact me as before, please let me know if there's anything I can do to help make this experience what it should be.