Sunday, August 21, 2011

Starting to look like something...

One of the most useful things I learned in high school was the basic logic behind HTML, or putting up a simple website. Of course, today's websites are much more sophisticated, with a multitude of layers, languages and protocols behind them. XHTML, XML, CSS, Java, Java Script, Flash... the list goes on! Thankfully, HTML is still relevant and remains one of the more popular languages out there. Despite that, what I know isn't really much... but at least for now, it's enough. In putting up this blog, I've used all the HTML tags I could muster, and more. And with that, somehow, the blog is finally starting to look like something!

I finally turned to a blog because of my frustration with the limitations of other sites, including Zazzle (the fine folks who make the products when you order from The Old Soul Store). On the store's homepage for example, I couldn't change the paragraph alignment to "center"! Nope, the "p align" tag didn't work. Neither could I use the Twitter widgets I wanted. Facebook only allows you to do so much. I once tried Google Sites, and actually had fun setting up that page (it's still up! Click here to see it). The problem was, it wouldn't allow me to include "unsafe content"... a.k.a. cooler features. I could't even display Zazzle panels (see the bottom of this page)! Of course, any Tom, Dick and Harry out there with slightly more technical know-how would probably tell me I could have used Flash, Java or maybe even a WYSIWYG application to do just that. I could have used Zazzle's "Store Builder" too... But obviously, I know nothing about PHP or CSS. Whether it's a lack of programming skills, the absence of the needed software or just plain laziness, I've stuck to what I could type, copy or paste.

I can't quite figure out why I've been hesitant to go on the blogosphere in the first place. I'm guessing it was because I didn't really know how I wanted to do it. Should I post as the store or as a real person? Use the third person (like I do on Twitter and the store's Facebook fan page) or the first? What would I write about? How would I write about it? Well, here I am... questions answered and starting to discover what I've been missing all this time; posting stuff just the way I imagined. I've always wanted to tell the Old Soul story. Finally, I get to tell it the way I've always wanted to.

Add gadget > input social plug-in content and preferences > copy code > paste > CLICK > Instant Twitter widget. Add gadget > create Zazzle Panel > customize panel > copy code > paste > CLICK > Instant Zazzle panel. No unsafe content here. Pure awesomeness.

With all this new-found freedom, it's hard not to put too many gadgets and features on the page. But I'm certainly happy with my current list:

- Catchy blog name? Check.
- Nice header image? Check.
- A good blog description? Check.
- Easy-on-the-eyes font? Check.
- Links to The Old Soul Store? Check. (yup, one right there!)
- Comment boxes? CHECK.
- Social plug-ins? CHECK.
- Widgets? CHECK.
- Zazzle panels? CHECK. (see the foot of the blog)
- Good reading material??? Hopefully.

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