Location Revisited – an update on the digital move

I am pretty far along in my research on moving to a self hosted WordPress environment.  I believe this will give me more of the flexibility i am looking for in terms of capability without having to also do a bunch of graphic design.

I just got off the phone with godaddy to switch my free hosting account associated with www.bone-of-contention.com from Windows to Linux.  (It helps to do your research before you go screwing around with your domain settings.  I did not check the requirements before i set-up the account.  Oops.)  That change will be completed in 24-48 hours.

The free hosting accounts at godaddy do have slightly annoying banners at the top hocking their products.  But i believe and hope that it will be tolerable for me and for you for a month or so to allow time to experiment and see if self hosting does what i hope it will do.

If the experiment works, i will happily beg you all for money shell out the dough for a paid account with no banners.

There is still nothing new for you guys to do.  The biggest question i have now is whether or not the blog can exist in two places at once (here at the free hosted site and over at the godaddy self hosted site).  I hope that it can.  I would not expect those to be integrated in any way so that updating one updates both, but it would be nice to be able to have this area stay nice and clean and ad free and “predictable” while i experiment at the new site.

Anyway, time will tell, more will be revealed.  I believe there is some feeedburner research to finish in my future.  I will let you know here before anything changes…

Misho and Nick - Library Bar, Doha, 2004

Blog Comment Spam

I am lucky in that i have had very little spam come through the comment section of this blog, and so far, nothing that was auto-shifted to the spam folder was legitimate mail.

I do check out the spam folder though because i find it entertaining and here are the two highlights so far:

1) I’ll paraphrase – “God Bless Google for bringing me to this post, and thank you for writing it!”

Wow – awesome praise right?  This was a comment for the post WordPress Weirdness – which is about some silly momentary glitch in WordPress.  How desperate for fans do you have to be to receive a comment like this on a post like this and think “i am really reaching the people!  See how moved this new reader is!  Approve this and all future comments!!!”

2) I did not bother to translate this – but i got my first spam comment in Bulgarian!!  I was at first thrilled because i do have Bulgarian friends and i can understand a fair amount of spoken Bulgarian and Google translate and i can read Bulgarian at a second grade level so i thought, “hey, maybe it is Vlad!?” – but then i looked at the address and it was just spam.  But it was Bulgarian Spam and no one is gonna take that away from me anytime soon.

A few Bulgarian friends and Camper - Doha 2005

Password Protected

I will use this feature from time-to-time.  If you read this blog, then i am most likely not trying to keep you from seeing whatever it is i have “hidden”.  If you want to read something password protected, let me know.

Then again – i could be trying to save you from seeing something like this:

Hard at work in Doha - 2004

A quick word

Before i began blogging, i did some comparative research between Blogger and WordPress.  Since i had never blogged, i was not entirely sure which factors would become important.  I selected WordPress for a variety of reasons, many of which i do not even remember now.  I have discovered an unintentional groovy element about WordPress that i really like – the email subscription option.  I set it up for my blog, but it was not until it was added to my buddy’s site (or i noticed that it was there) that i really felt the full effect.

I go to this site regularly and i subscribe in google reader, so at first glance email updates may seem like overkill.  But, i really enjoy when i am out and about and my iPhone makes the mail ding sound and instead of an REI or EMS promotional update or new consular information about country X (i am singed up for all of them so you never know) it is a new post from bowlegged (hey – do i have to call you bowlegged for your anonymity?).

I have enjoyed every time this has happened, but the best and i think the first time was a few weeks ago while i was sitting in my car while Lucas was in surgery.  I was trying to stay out of the way and time it right to make sure i beat Lucas back to the cage post surgery to be ready to help him as he recovered, and it was difficult to stay distracted.  While i was with him before surgery it was easier.  I pet him and rubbed him and read to him.  But when it was just me, it was harder.  Then i hear the little phone ding sound and it is a new post from bowlegged and it is the first 365 reasons post.  So i had something i wanted to read anyway, but a nice beefy read to help ease me over the hump.  True i could have used the browser on my phone to go look for that stuff, but i did not know it was there to look for, and it was nicer to have it just appear.

Maybe it is on blogger too, but i have not really seen it yet (not as comprehensive and easy at least).

Anyway, that is my thoughts for the morning.  I am off to finish the resume re-write, inshallah.

Rojonekku Shirt on Nick the Cagefighter

Check out Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts – i made this a link in case you missed the one on the right over there…

Query/Poll: How do you naviagte? (or Tags in Blogs)

Anyone who is here reads blogs (at least one) and some of you also write your own blogs.  I am curious about the use of tags in blogging.

It seems to me that the main point of tags in blogging is to drive page hits, up a blogs interaction with search engines, and generally drive traffic to a blog.

It does not seem to me from the blogs that i read or use in research that tags are particularly useful as navigational tools within a blog.  I believe this holds true for regular as well as new readers, but these are just my impressions.  It is also conceivable that tags could be useful for navigation on a complex or poorly organized blog as well.

So far, i am not using tags.  I am using categories and i believe that is working well for now, and i think that the structures i am building will work well into the future (granted that i do still need some re-writing/re-design on my static pages).

What have your experiences been? What do you think?  Do you use tags on your blog(s)?  If so, why (driving publicity, navigation, organization)?  Do you use tags to navigate blogs you visit?  Have you wished there were tags on my blog?  Would it be helpful to you if there were tags here?  Do you want to see tags here  Do you not care about this subject in the slightest?

Any and all feedback will be welcome and appreciated!


Thrashin' up France



A little bit of random for you (or welcome to my head)

I am still here, still doing ok, and still committed to writing in this blog.  I have not run for several days, but i have stayed on the abstinence plan.  I celebrated 4 weeks of cleansing on the 4th with a nice bottle of tap water!  Without thinking about the larger context, i ate a chocolate covered coffee bean in Giant.  It was awesome, but after 4 weeks with no caffeine or coffee – it took about 3 seconds before i REALLY wanted a smoke.

I am currently working on a few different, hopefully brief, personal writing projects offline that i will bring here when they are a little more advanced. {Current difficulties with the running/exercise, why i hate the holidays, the general anxiety/dread/discomfort i feel related to impending life changes, the golf basics project, and a political mash-up (voting, the state of public discourse, the “discussion” about health care reform, taxes, government spending, and more!) that will take a while to untangle into manageable chunks.}

I also still have a lot of my least favorite kind of  writing to do for work (corporate re-branding) involving my least favorite professional subject matter and format (me, my career, the resume, and the short form narrative bio).

Redesigning schematics at midnight

I have made some good progress, but i need a few more hours of dedicated but undirected writing to get more of the broad strokes down.  I will also need another brainstorming session and review of my notes and emails to jog my memory and capture some critical past events and projects.  (For example, i forgot all about developing a TV show in India, and writing and doing the voice-overs for commercials/promotional videos in Doha and India until a short work session this morning.)  Then i have to craft that mess into sections and sift and evaluate.  What should go on the website to describe capability?  What should go into the projects archive? And the challenge for long-winded bastards like me, The One Pagers!!  What gets cut from the narrative bio?  How to mash all this crap into something attractive for a resume?

Sorting out the Tents

I will get there – but i hate this.  The last time i was even asked to submit a resume to get a job was at Borders in 1998 (maybe 99 – i am no good at historical time-lines), so this is not a simple update.  It is really hard to figure out how truthful to be also.  I don’t mean “should i embellish”? I mean “should i leave most of this out”?  Will people hire a dude who has been largely self-employed for 11 years, who founded/or co-founded six companies on three continents, who is still the CEO of three of those, and a Senior Partner in another? But who only has a BA (technically three, but no one really cares about that) and is not in a higher ed program currently?

Enough.  I gotta do some head clearing with the books or the tube for a bit and sleep.

I did golf today.  The first time i played 18 holes in a long while.  I did many things that i have been working on quite well, but i could not put it/keep it all together to avoid a few of the big numbers.  After 7 holes, i was feeling good and thought, “i will break 90 again today”.  But i carded a 101/98 (there was no one out there and i played 2 balls on two holes). My best score ever is still an 82, and i did not think i would beat that, but i feel like i should be breaking 90 much more often.

More practice required…

WordPress Weirdness

When i logged in this morning to moderate a comment to a recent post, i noticed that all my categories were missing.  I first read and commented on the comment, then went to “New Post” to write about the missing categories.  But, when the new post window opened, all the categories were present.  I went back to check the publicly visible section and the categories were there too.

I went back into the post to add links that i should have put in when i wrote it, but i was too tired.  When i finished adding the links and updated the post, all the categories were missing.  No problem, i know this fix.  I mashed “New Post” and – all the categories are missing.  Grrr.

So this is just to inform you that i don’t know why all the categories are missing and to ask for some input.  If i do end up having to re-create my category list, would you like to see any changes?  It seemed to me to be working out fine and building a decent guide for the future, but i know what all this stuff is.  Was it useful for you?

* This would be filed under, Birth of this Blog, Tech, and I’ve got a Bone to Pick…

and i mashed “publish” and they are back…

Location, location, location

Just an FYI – i will be moving this blog sometime “soon” – meaning probably before 2011.  I am midway through both the research and the process of doing this.  I need to create some more time to finish reading a few articles in order to learn more about what to expect. I know how to do it technically, but not what all the fallout and unintended consequences may be.

I don’t think that any faithful readers will have to do anything different if i do my job correctly, but that is one of the things i have yet to verify.  I also do not know if, similar to switching web hosts or locations with more traditional sites, can i leave it up in both places for awhile, or is it instantaneous?  I will get it figured out and moved, just wanted to let you know that it is in process in case you come to this page and it is not here, or it looks real weird, or you feel like sharing your experience moving from a free blog hosted by X to hosting your blog on your own domain…

If you want to slap a bookmark up in advance because you know, who wouldn’t?!:

Click Here!  This is also a great place to click if you want to bask in the glow of amazing graphics brought to you by me!

I am going to start a blog…

From October 7th – In preparation for the launch of this blog:

I have been thinking about this for over 10 years because there is a lot to consider.  I have not started it yet and am not starting it now because I still need more information, but I have resolved enough of my concerns to know that I am going to start a blog.


I am a writer.  For a long while I was hung up on putting my product ‘out there’ for free.  Three elements have eased me over that hump.

1: The immense success of the two-fold Scott Sigler podcast novel publishing model – give it away for free and be able to demonstrate to traditional publishers that you have a following of size X – and also self publish limited runs but only after half your target run has been pre-ordered guaranteeing that your personal costs are covered.

2: The ‘new’ Creative Commons relatively easy copyright formula.  (I probably should have figured out how to trademark that use of ‘Creative Commons’…)

3: The success of other writers who have used blogging as a means of honing their craft and transmuted their free blogs into product.  I don’t really care about ‘product’ in the strict marketing sense, but I have had people steal my words for their benefit before we even really had the net – and I would like to make money because not having any and living in your parents’ basement is – less than ideal.

It is both hard for me and uninteresting to me to tell incomplete tales.  I tell pretty long stories.  I don’t have short answers to questions, and I really like to explain why and how it is that I have come to certain conclusions.

1: One of my overseas 18 month adventures needs to be told and has fascinating stuff in it.  I was on that adventure to Doha, Qatar for my family company, Renfroe Associates International.  Some of the things that happened, my reactions, and my feelings about all of it pose complications.  The core of RAI is me and my Dad.  I have to consider how anything I say about that may impact our current and future business, our relationship with certain companies and individuals (and maybe countries and governments) and it is possible that some of it could be classified.  The tales from Doha will largely just not enter into the blog.  One day, when we are all more financially secure – I will put it out there.  Hopefully that will be sooner than later, but who knows.

2: Another overseas adventure, my 18 months in India founding 3 companies, also really needs to be told.  It is marvy!  But there too we find complications, fewer than with RAI, but similar.  I love my chief partner in India, RamKamal.  There is less danger of saying anything that could have any negative impact on Ram or our companies, but I am currently searching for new contracts and very soon will re-enter the world of consulting/full-out working for someone else who is DC based.  I am not embarrassed about any of the things I have done, even the embarrassing ones, and I am not afraid to share these stories, with one small caveat.  I can’t tell them incompletely, and I have to recognize that what I write can impact whether or not I get interviewed.  I don’t think that anyone at the top of any company, anyone else who is or has been a CEO or President or Big Kahuna or Whatever, would have a real problem with my take on business development, team building, operations management, marketing, and the real deal on how that does or doesn’t work (and the rest of what goes into building an organization), but they are not going to be deciding who gets the interview.  That person may not have ever been in the position to understand the pressure and the kinds of decisions I had to make.  Hopefully I can tell the India tale sooner than later, probably much sooner than the Doha adventure, but who knows.

I can tell you anything you want to know about Renfroe Tile as long as Mike, Steve, Matt, and Tony sign consent waivers and that would probably be pretty easy to acquire.

There are some of my book projects that will not come into it.  I am not going to blog about my intense beef with what is happening in Epistemology or philosophy in general, or some of the other technical concepts like use/mention distinctions and other minutia.  I probably won’t blog about “how to fix education at the collegiate level” – or “what’s wrong with universities”, because I am still trying to decide if I need this as my fall-back business.  I’d rather give it away for free, but if I can’t get another job…

But that still leaves a whole bunch.  I write constantly – but I do all of my writing in my head.  Since I got out of college in 1998, I stopped putting it also onto paper or electrons.  Since I have ceased to utilize an outlet for all this stuff it is cramming up my head and driving me a little nuts, so I am going to start giving it to internetica.

A few things I still have to research – Form and Function.  I am pretty anal about most things, but most especially how information is organized.  It should be easy to find whatever you are looking for really quickly.  I am going to write about golf, and cooking, and running, and smoking/not smoking, and my family, and dogs, and hiking, and travel, and religion, and politics, and everything.  I don’t want 15 blogs or even two.  I want to do it all in one place.  I could probably have figured out how to do it in the time it took me to write this (and read it 700 times), but then I couldn’t sleep because I would still be writing this in my head until I got up and typed it out.  So research comes later.  Good night…