Weblogs & Blogs

10 Years “dimrost.nl”

by Rob on

10 years

It almost slipped by without noticing it. By coincidence, I just saw it today: Our weblog on “dimrost.nl” was in October 10 years old! On 26 October 2007 the first article on this weblog was posted. And now we are more as 10 years further.

I remember well how at first the weblog was titled “Life is there to live again”. But at a certain moment I made the conclusion that I am living my life fully again, so the title was outdated. With some other titles in between, we ended up with “The Fellowship of Friends”. The name was based on the idea that during our holiday with our friends on Lesvos and we were walking along mountain slopes towards that high mountain and someone remarked that we were as the Fellowship of the Ring. And after I opened my weblog for my friends to write here, that was the perfect name for our weblog.

Looking back over some of the articles I wrote over those 10 years, it feels like a diary without really private stuff. But very good to bring many memories from over the years.

Oh, fun fact: The 3 most used keywords that leaded to our weblog?

  1. Kruidenbitter (herbal bitter)
  2. Sexmuseum (in Amsterdam)
  3. Lucifera (a soft erotic comic from seventies)

Why am I not surprised? Oh yes, most searches came from the countries where they “should” not come from *WINK*

I have many plans for our weblog. First thing planned is bringing the weblog to SSL, which will make it all more secure. But there are more (fun) things coming.

Well, up to the next 10 years! And special thanks to Marissa, Richard, Miranda, Jennifer, Sanne, Patricia and Marion, who all made this weblog even so much better, specially the last year. Thank you all!

Rob
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RSSYesterday Marissa asked me if there was not an easy way to see if something new happened on the weblog or the forums. I was happy that I was able to say that there is indeed something for that: RSS, which stands for “Really Simple Syndication”.

Let me explain what RSS is. With RSS you can register to a news feed and track the changes. That sounds cool, but doesn’t really explain anything.
A news feed can be any online source with changing information, such as a weblog, forum or vblog. Oh wait, we have a here a weblog and some forums. So that is a good start.
So with RSS we will be able to see what has changed here on our weblog and forums.

So how this all works. Well, it is not that difficult.
First, lets have a look with what application we are going the results of the RSS stream. There are special applications, as “Feed Reader” the view the RSS content.
Nowadays every self respecting mail client supports RSS.
But every modern browser also supports RSS, directly or through a plugin. I prefer this way as a browser is often already active.

You can see if a site supports RSS by the symbol at the top of this article or by a text referring to it, as on our weblog (see the picture below).

RSS

Activating an RSS feed is simple. Click the RSS symbol or the link provided with the referring text, select where the RSS feed should be stored, confirm your selection and you’re done.

RSS

An RSS will not only show the latest content, but it will also show if you have read already.
But here is a little catch: The article will only show as read when the article has been opened, reading while browsing the articles will not let RSS mark the article as read.

Both the weblog and our new forums support RSS.
The weblog supports 2 RSS feeds: One for articles and an second for comments on articles.
Our forums also has two RSS feeds, one for the public forums and another for the private ones.
Maybe needless to see, you can see the content through the RSS feed. So the private articles and forums can only be accessed when to proper rights are given and when logged into them.

RSS

I hope this helps and when there are questions, please let me know! And oh… there are many site out there that support RSS. Use it, it is very handy (at least I think so).

Rob
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A forum…

by Rob on

On request of the authors here on my weblog I will be adding a forum. They would like to have a place where they can discus things and make fun without bothering anyone. A forum can be a perfect place for that.

As I listen to the authors here on my weblog :-)

I suggest two make a forum with two area’s. One public area where anyone who wants to participate in the ongoing threads can do so (with a good Captcha, or anything alike, to block any spam). And the second area should be completely private with only access for the authors, so they (we) can discus subjects that are more private, for whatever reason this may be.

There are two options to do this.
There are WordPress plugins to have an forum. Big advantage of this is that everything is integrated into WordPress. So no messing around with the users and security. Everything adjusted to the layout of the used theme.
On the other side I could install a full forum-package aside of WordPress. This will most likely lead to many more features and control on everything.

Let me ponder on that a bit and try some things.

To the authors here on my weblog: Thank you for being such nice people *SMILE*

Rob
 


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Problem with the slideshow

by Rob on

Out of order

I just discovered that the slide show with photo’s on top with widget-menu is not working any more. No idea what the problem is yet. If I cannot fix it fast I will be looking for another plugin. I was not very happy with configuration of the current one (way too complex to add new photo’s).

I will keep you posted.
Rob

 

 

(Credit photo: Public Domain, please read Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license)


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Visitors to this weblog

by Rob on

Just for the fun of it. Below a map with the locations of the last 200 visitors to this weblog. It is interesting to see the origin of the visitors.
If someone visited the weblog more than once, there will only be one marker on the map.
Also be aware a marker on the map may be a little off the real location.

200 Last visitors

It is also interesting to see from which area’s there are no or just a few visitors. For some area’s there is a logical and obvious explanation, but others make me wonder. Well, I leave it to everyone themselves to have an opinion on that.

Rob

(Source map: Detail Google Maps)


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Offline

by Rob on

Out od order
As some may have noticed, my weblog has been for the last two days offline. Well, maybe offline is not completely correct. The site was running, but not in a proper way. Visitors only saw blanc pages.

So what happened? For a certain update I wanted (and needed) to do on the weblog a newer version of PHP was required. PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is the scripting/programming language that was used to create Word Press. And Word Press is the software package that I use for my weblog.
So I contacted the company that hosts my weblog what the best way would be to do this. They suggested to move the complete weblog to a new server in their data-center with the newest version of PHP and other software (as MySQL) installed. That sounded as a good plan.

My provider moved the site and mailed me that all the was done, but that it could take some hours for the site to be reachable again.

But sadly the site didn’t come available again. Well, it showed only blanc pages. It was Marissa who noticed it the first and sent a mail to me.

It turned out the a rather old plugin was not compatible with PHP v7.* and that caused any page to show as a blanc page.
Luckily this plugin that caused the problem was not an important plugin and could easily replaced by one that almost did the same.

The trick I used to solve it was renaming the plugin-directories (“askimet” to “askimet.old” as example. Renaming the directories will deactivated the plugins automatically. By renaming the directories one by one to the original name and reload the website in a browser will show fast which plugin caused the problem.

Anyway, all is working as normal again and now the weblog is running with PHP version 7.1.2 and MySQL version 5.7.17. And that was the goal I was after.

And oh, the new server that is running the website is really faster :-)

Rob
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A Fellowship of Friends

by Rob on

Fellowship, Life is better with friends
It seems that everyone agrees and “A Fellowship of Friends” will be the new name of the blog. Kudos to Mel and Marissa. Well done!

A nice step forward in the new structure of this weblog with multiple authors.

The “About Us”-page of The Fellowship of Friends.

With this please the request to the authors to complete their part on the “About us”-page. People visiting our weblog should have an idea who we are. And please keep maintaining the information on the “About us”-page. Often after such information is written down, people tend to forget about it. Lets not do that :-).

Search Engine Optimization

The coming time I will also focus on SEO… Search Engine Optimization. I have been reading into that lately and there is a lot more that then I thought. It not only about meta-data and such, but also about how the weblog (in our case) is set up and is used. Very surprising, but also very interesting.

For those interested: Last night I made the first change.
By default WordPress links to its post by post number. Every post has a unique number and be directly referenced by that number (like “http://www.dimrost.nl/WordPress/?p=123”). That is very nice, but those numbers mean nothing to us humans.
Now we can configure WordPress that it will work with more meaningful links like “http://www.dimrost.nl/WordPress/health/running-through-the-moor/”. So this post belongs to the category “health” and the name of the post is “Running through the moor”. This is something we can understand.
But there is more to it: Search engines like Google can also read these links with the category and the name of the post. And that will make the site shows up in more the search results of people.

I had so my concerns to do, because this links (or perma links as they are officially called) are the very base of the weblog. Luckily it all went very smoothly (and of course I made first a backup for doing it).

This was step one, there is more to come…

Rob
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Weblog 666 :-)

by Rob on

This morning I noticed by coincidence that there were exactly 666 articles posted on my web-log. And that is a reason enough for a new article!

Since 2007 666 articles and 1295 comments. Not bad at all, I would say. Specially when you consider that there have been times of low activity here on my web-log. There even have been times that I was thinking about to shut it down. Now, when I look what is going on here on my weblog, I am very happy I never did this.

23995 Spam comments captured by Akismet and my spam queue is empty. That is good news.
An old article was targeted by a spam attack from China. Akismet handled basically everything very good and stopped any spam message of becoming visible. But the spam queue filled up with all the messages.
When I noticed this the solution was simple. It was an old message, so no problem to have it moved to “no comments allowed”. That stopped the spam attack, as it was not possible to add new comments any more (spam attacks are mostly automated processes and even more likely no one ever noticed that it was not possible more to add new comments to that article.
The 23995 messages in the spam queue was something else. Removing them one by one was no solution. So I wrote a “delete SQL-query” and removed those directly from the database table (after making a backup of the database table of course :-P).

The changes I made recently to the weblog are good. I love how enthusiastic “the group” reacts. I have seen some very interesting and fun articles. I really really like it.

I still have to solve the issue with number of comments per article. Doing it manually is temporary an solution, but there needs to be a permanent fix.

And as last: Now we write here as a group, I want a new name for the weblog. The current one was fitting when I wrote here alone, but now it is not any more. Any suggestions?

Oh yes… and of course 666 is the number of the beast. Wanna have some fun? Google religious explanations about 666. Never read so much unscientific and vague stories…

 

 

(Credit WordPress screen shot: Rob)


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So far, so good…

by Rob on

I really like the changes I have pushed through recently to my weblog. And I also get positive reactions from the folks that write here as well.

But there is one thing I still don’t like. And that is you cannot see right away how many comments there are on an article. I am working on that, so please hit the “Continue reading” button to see and read the comments, if any, for now.

Another thing that has to be done: The “About me”-page should become an “About us”-page. So ladies and Richard, please mail me a short text about yourself :-).


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(Click on the image to zoom in)

Rob bought beautiful flowers for his dinner-table again. He really has a great taste for that. Without any problem he picks the flowers that fit well together.
I fully do agree with him that flowers add to the atmosphere of the living room.

Anyway, another thing I want to mention is that I really like the idea that Rob opened up his weblog for his closest friends and allows them to post here. At first only Sanne and Marissa were interested, but now our complete group of close friends showed interest. And that makes it an interesting mix of people.

The current “crew” will be:
Marissa, my niece (daughter of my father youngest brother). She works at an law firm and is studying law. I only can call her naughty and very playful.
Richard, the boyfriend of Marissa. Works at a garage as an mechanic and is very passionated about cars and sailing (and about Marissa of course :P). Good relaxed guy with a great sense of humour.
Miranda is the partner of Jennifer. Miranda is working as a chef cook, a profession she handles with great passion. Apart from her work, she enjoys volley ball a lot.
Jennifer, as already pointed out, she is sharing her live with Miranda. She is taking care of their house and garden. Flowers and plants are her greatest hobby. She can be very often be found in the garden or in the greenhouse behind their home. Parts of the garden and the greenhouse are dedicated to herbs, which she takes great care of. This of course is something Miranda is really enthusiastic about as she can use these herbs for the food she prepares.
Sanne is working as a teacher at a public school. Apart from teaching she is very skilled in Taekwondo. A sweet and caring woman. Strongly believes in the equality of humans, no matter what or where they are.
Rob is the owner of this blog and above my all my partner in crime and love. He is working as a software developer for international operating company in the payment business. He has many hobbies and interests. To name some of them: Science Fiction & Fantasy books/movies, photography and cooking.
And then me, Marion. I am working as account manager for an pharmaceutical company. Although the title account manager doesn’t really cover the job I do. Anyway, I love travelling and can enjoy a good book. Good wine and good food have also my interest. Rob and I like to go out for dinner and that we do quite often.

That as basic introduction of everyone. They can add more to this themselves.

So there is quite some different people with even more different backgrounds on Rob’s blog. And that is what makes it very interesting, I think. I am sure there will be many amusing and funny articles written, but I expect also that interesting and handy to know things will be place and also that at times very serious subjects will come up.
And no, I don’t expect that everyone will write very week an article, but it will be fun!

Funny thing is that I just realize that we all have one thing in common: We are all convinced atheists! Oh duh… :-)


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