New Skin for Old Wine?

May 8, 2011

Technology, Wordpress

If you haven’t noticed it yet, I’ll let you in on a secret: I’ve cleaned up the look of the blog.  And I do believe that it is quite a bit nicer than it was before.

What did I do?  Well, I decided that it was time to start using some professional themes to improve the visual appeal of the site.  Yes, there are some excellent free themes for WordPress.  But after taking a look at a few of the professional themes, I realized that I really needed to update the look and feel of the site.  In particular, I needed to make the content far more accessible.

To do this, I had to take a few key first steps:

  1. I needed to clean up my content taxonomy.  When I started this blog, terms like “folksonomy” were all the rage.  And my site had a very sparse category structure.  That’s was fine then.  It was not so good now.   So I reduced the total number of high-level categories.  And I created a loose hierarchy.
  2. I then went back and re-categorized a few hundred posts so that they would match the new category structure.  This was quite a chore.  But I just finished my first pass on the old content.  All posts are now categorized somehow.

With these steps done, I looked for a theme that would utilize the new category structure.

But I wanted to get more content within easy viewing.  So the theme that I chose shows multiple columns of content on the home screen.  In addition, I wanted to be able to use a thin header image to minimize the picture muddle (and download time) for mobile devices.  So I chose a theme that has a clean and simple look.  My hope is that it draws the reader to the article headers.

After reorganizing the content and using a fresh theme, I think I’ve got a look that meets many of the requests that I’ve heard from the readers.

But here is something more interesting – at least, for me.  I had to look at all of the content that I’ve posted over the last five years.  And it is very insightful to review your own thoughts after several years.  Here are some quick content takeaways:

  • I really do love technology.  Wile there are lots of posts on lots of subjects, I do write quite a bit about technology.
  • I have been very accurate on some predictions – and very inaccurate on others.  I’m glad I’m not a prophet because you would have to stone me.  But I can say that many of my predictions about the large waves within the technology industry are spot on.  I tend to fall down when predicting things about the company (and/or the products) that I am working for/with when I post something.  To remedy this, I’ll make sure I highlight a bias based upon company/product loyalty.
  • I have a peculiar obsession with security and privacy.  I haven’t worked in IT security for almost twenty-seven years.  But I still write about security.  And I really do seem to spend a lot of time talking about privacy and anonymity.   And since these technologies overlap political issues, I can get very animated about them.
  • I don’t write nearly enough about my faith.  Yes, I do write about my faith in Jesus.  But most of that content surfaces on Twitter or Facebook.  I wonder if that means anything.  I should probably spend more time writing thoughtful posts on this blog.
  • I really do have a fantastic family.  I have a big grin on my face as I write this.  When I started blogging on this site, Dana was still in high school and playing AAU ball.  She has now graduated from college.Cindy has been through three different employers in the period that I have been blogging.  And she is very close to earning her master’s degree.

    But I really haven’t spent a lot of time talking about ALL of my children.  I have some fantastic kids. And I haven’t blogged about all of them.  That’s a shame.  I will be writing more about Meredith and Bailey this summer.  Both are getting married.  And I really love being the proud father of the bride – twice!

  • As much as I am a bicycling kangaroo, I haven’t spent much time (lately) discussing my bicycling exploits.  I’ll have to remedy that.  And I really need to spend a little more time talking about local cycling.  So I have joined the Johnson County Bike Club.  And I’ll start putting up a few more posts about bicycle commuting and cycling in the KC area.

So after re-launching the site, I’ve made a few new resolutions about content.  Keep me on track by letting me know when I’m missing the mark with your content interests.  My goal with this blog is to write thoughtful posts that might even challenge you.  I promise o be transparent – and a little more prolific.  Please hold me to that promise!


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