Denise Goldberg's blog

Monday, February 02, 2009

Look over my shoulder

Remember my post back on January 11th about my placing watermarks on the photos that I included in my bicycling touring and hiking journals? At that point I decided that I would publish all new journals in a new spot, but I was still thinking about leaving the existing journals alone. The more I thought about the forum discussion on watermarks and another discussion the following week that also quickly degraded, I decided to move all of my journals to a new home. (I haven't removed the journals from their old home, but that's probably coming too. Soon.)

I feel like I've been glued to my computer for the past three weeks.

In order to complete the move (relatively) quickly, I decided to tackle it in two steps. The first was to move all of the content to blogger, using the same look as this blog. The second step will be to flip the journals on their heads so that they read like a book. Most of the journals look like a blog right now, with the newest posts on top. A couple have been completely changed, with a table of contents in the sidebar, page to page links at the bottom of each entry, with pages that read from old to new.

Oh, you want to see some examples? For comparison purposes... A return to Death, a journal about my November 2008 wander in Death Valley National Park, has been completely converted to the new format. And A tale of two, from my August trip to New Brunswick is still upside down, reading from new to old.

As I travel, my journals will be in blog format, with the newest posts on top. That probably makes sense for those of you who are following me on the road, since my latest post will always be easily accessible. I will wait until I return home to flip the journal on its head, adding a Table of Contents and photos.

For now, I have chosen to share a single guestbook among all of my journals. I did initially enable comments at a post level, but after someone posted a comment and I had to search through all of the posts in my Boston to Oregon, a cross-country celebration journal to find the comment, I realized that really wouldn't work for me. If I head out on a long trip, I may create a guestbook that is specific to the trip, but for now I think that a single shared guestbook will serve my needs. (Oh, you want to know how to find the guestbook? When you are reading any of my journals, click the entry "Talk to me, I'm listening" in the sidebar of the journal.)

Please join me in my travels, look over my shoulder... If you want to see where I've wandered, use the Travel stories link in the sidebar of my blog (or from the Gallery page in my photo galleries), and then jump into Wandering... assisted by 2 feet or 2 (bicycle) wheels, & a camera!. I've collapsed the biking and hiking galleries into a single chronological list of my travels, with links to both my journal and the photo galleries from my trip. If you prefer my old "Two wheels, pedaling circles, touring" and "Two feet wandering" pages as a jumping off point, links to both are included in the description of this new "map" to my travels.

Please - let me know what you think! If you have suggestions for improvements, or if you find a problem with my new pages (other than the fact that they are still upside down, of course), I'm listening...

Curious about why? The watermark discussion really really bothered me. The webmaster and owner of the previous home of my journals made it very clear that he didn't like watermarks. A watermark is a statement of ownership, but to me it also can be a signature on a piece of art. I was very careful to place my watermark in the corner of my photos, in a manner that I don't believe detracts from a viewer's enjoyment of the images. Most people who were participating in the discussion seemed to think that watermarks were bad things.

A statement was made that promoted open source software and went on to compare open source software (stating that this is good) and watermarked photos (accompanied by the implication that this is very bad). I'm sorry - that comparison makes no sense at all. After all, a software developer makes a decision to participate or not to participate in the use of open source. And somehow, comparing software and an art form just doesn't make sense to me.

During this tizzy, the ridiculous watermark discussion, I said that I wouldn't include photos in my journals since photos with watermarks were clearly not acceptable on that site anymore. The webmaster of the site didn't ban watermarks, but he made it very clear that he didn't want them to be used. He also clearly stated that he didn't want to see links to other sites (as in a journal without photos but with a link to a photo gallery).

I do think there is a value to including photos with my story. It became very clear to me that it was time to move on.

I'm well aware that I will lose some readers - not for my hiking journals, but for the biking side of things. The hiking site was not well publicized, and does not attract a large number of readers. I added Google Analytics to my "A return to Death" journal out of curiousity, and I saw about the same number of hits per day as it received in its previous home. The cycling journals? That's another story, since crazyguyonabike is a very well known site among touring cyclists. I suspect, I hope, that the people who are interested in my travels will be able to find me and will continue to follow my travels. Yes, I know, they will need to look as opposed to stumbling over my updates in the former home of my journals. Given that a search on my name on Google pops my photo galleries and my blog to the top of the list, I believe that people who are looking for me will be able to find me.

It was a hard decision for me to make, but I believe it was the right decision. I'm quite happy with the new look of my journals, and I hope that you join me as I travel.

I will continue to leave tracks in my blog and on my Kaleidoscope page to let you know of new wanderings.