We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
A fair while back I did a post on starting a private 'family blog', where only family members (and maybe close friends) can make posts and comment. It can really bind a family together, especially when they're strung out across the continent. And WordPress makes it so easy that anyone can make a post with pics and vids of the grandkids playing in the back yard — those little dickens.
Pic: Exhibit A
I've received a handful of complimentary comments and emails since then, but this one kind of stood out. It's cutely done in something of an over-the-top manner, which I like. It also reminds me of a friend of mine who claims to have the most dysfunctional family in the country. Or did until this arrived.
Dude! You done saved my family's ass. There are four clans, located in Washington, Colorado, Kansas and Maine. Involved are seven uncles, eight aunts and seventeen cousins.
In short, cousins Gary and Susan dislike each other, Aunt Meredith dislikes Aunt Jinny, Aunt Jinny dislikes Uncle Bob, Uncle Bob dislikes his brother Charles, Uncle Charles can't stand any of the Kansas gang, and the Kansas gang doesn't particularly like the Washington clan. I should also mention that Aunt Sue and Aunt Margaret are always snipping at each other, Uncle Bob and Aunt Hilda are talking about a divorce, and Uncle Bob and Cousin Dave almost got into a fistfight at the last family reunion over who was in charge of the BBQ.
I would also be remiss if I didn't mention that Cousin Nancy will never, ever, forgive Cousin Jason for accidentally killing her pet bunny rabbit 20 years ago, Cousin Dave will never, ever, forgive Cousin Gary for wrecking his prize motorcycle 11 years ago, and Cousin Ron (me) had decided that I would never, ever, forgive Cousin Becky for voting for Obama -- twice, no less.
That's how things stood eight months ago.
My, how times do change. About 2,000 family blog posts later, with a few exceptions I'm not sure if any of the above is still true. Uncle Bob and Aunt Hilda went ahead with the divorce, which was probably best for everybody, and no clear resolution of the murdered bunny rabbit has been reached, but for the most part the remainder of the grudges and pet peeves have been resolved and we had a family reunion two weeks ago in Steamboat Springs, CO, that was the best one anybody can remember.
In most cases it was just a matter of talking things out, like the piled-up motorcycle. In the blog, Cousin Gary pointed out that he was only 17 when he wrecked it and it was because it had rained earlier and the roads were slippery and he just wasn't used to such conditions. Amazingly, Cousin Dave admitted that as a wise old 19-year-old at the time, he had to shoulder some of the blame for letting a beginner take it out in dangerous conditions, and that basically settled the whole score. The next thing ya know, they're pairing up as a doubles tennis team at the reunion and cleaning everybody's clock with superb game play and excellent teamwork.
Aunt Sue and Aunt Margaret, the two "snippers," formed the social committee for the week-long event and it was when they gave each other a great big warm hug when saying goodbye that I realized I owed you an email saying thanks. I had forwarded the original link to Cousin Becky who set up the site, and according to her everything went "smooth as silk," so thanks also for the great set-up guide. I even partially forgave her for voting for Obama -- twice, no less.
Best regards, Cousin Ron
And you're mighty welcome, big guy.
And he's right about the value of communication amongst family members. My middle brother and I went through about a decade of estrangement ages ago, but then we took a canoe out at a family reunion about ten years ago, spent the whole day talking and got it all hashed out. I thought of that a few weeks ago when we had a great chat on the phone. There's just something about getting family problems out in the open that's wonderfully cathartic.
My how-to site is here. If you're going to give it a spin, it's important to do the five steps in order. The link to the web hosting service I use pops up when you get to that part of the setup routine. There's a specific page on setting up a family blog and a Quick Reference Guide for the newbies.
When it comes to getting a blog or web site going, nothing beats WordPress, although how much you get out of it depends on how involved with the settings, plugins and widgets you get, hence the value of an in-depth how-to site. At 50,000 words spread over 81 pages, this monster is probably the biggest how-to WordPress site on the 'Net. It takes twice as long to get through the setup routine as the next site, but you'll learn four times as much.
Very interesting, and perfect timing with the weekend coming up. If I'm reading this right, the only fee is for the web hosting, and all you have to buy is a month to see if it works out?
I just glanced over the guide and everything looks fairly straightforward. I use WS_FTP instead of FileZilla, and it looks like that's the only program required. I've had a couple of websites in the past but always edited them locally, then uploaded the parts. Online editing should be an interesting experience. Any specific tips?
Yes, that's the only outlay. Most of the themes out there are free and the five or six additional programs on the site are all freeware. An FTP client is all you'll need for installation, although you might give FileZilla a spin and do some time tests. It does a 2-at-once routine that's pretty slick.
As for online editing tips, read the Firefox page. Otherwise, there's no real dif between an online program and a local program. The main benefit of doing an online PHP site is that the actual data on the web site isn't just sitting there, like an HTML site. It's all in a heavily-protected MySQL file on the company's own server. So they're much harder to hack. Lemme know how it works out.
FWIW, I set up a blog site (just me and friends) about a year ago using Doc's guide and it's been a blast. It's mostly just silly pics and links, but it's a nice change from the usually-depressing blog and news sites. T'anks, Doc!
I dood it! I dug in yesterday morning, got the domain, went through the guide and had a great time! I'm now playing with themes and can't pick between so many good ones. Do you use Theme Selector on any of your sites? Are there any drawbacks to it?
There aren't any outright 'drawbacks", but it does mean you'll have to configure more than one theme. I don't use the plugin on any of my sites, but mainly because they're all "single-purpose" sites so they really don't merit a fancy cavalcade of themes. If I were designing a blog site that I expected to be semi-popular, I'd probably give them four or five themes, just for fun.
And glad you got the site going! Any questions, lemme know.