ProBlogger: Should You Move Your Blogging Site to HTTPS?

Lets Encrypt in LaptopIn many ways I’m not a fan of meta; social media about social media, conferences about conferences, blogs about blogging, etc. However, in an effort to stay in touch I do follow a few sites, including ProBlogger. Yesterday’s news dump included their post, "Should You Move Your Blogging Site to HTTPS?" 

In general, I appreciate their recommendation that bloggers adopt HTTPS. Since the guest author is an SEO specialist, he presents the argument from an SEO perspective. He notes that very soon Google will warn Chrome users when they arrive at a site that isn’t secured.

While the author hints very generally at some of the mechanics of moving to HTTPS, he fails to mention Let’s Encrypt. That’s a pity since the project has been a godsend to many bloggers, myself included.

When Lightningbase, my glorious host, offered integration with Let’s Encrypt back in February I jumped on it immediately.

The setup process was blissfully simple. Just a few clicks in their admin portal initially, then use a search & replace plugin to bulk change the root of every link in the database. Voila! Done.

The certificate auto-renewed at the 90 day point. There’s been no looking back.

Uptake of Let’s Encrypt has been growing, with 16 million active certificates at present. It’s supported by a long list of hosting providers.

What I don’t understand is why ProBlogger removed a comment I left about Let’s Encrypt. I don’t really understand how a post encouraging people to use HTTPS could fail to mention the newest approach to easier implementation via a free, automated, and open certificate authority.

Meta: Open Live Writer Launched

OLW LaunchedAs mentioned yesterday, I have long enjoyed using Windows Live Writer as my offline blogging tool. I appreciate its simplicity. It’s purity of purpose. It’s lightweight, just enough tool to get things done.

It’s not perfect, but it has some great features. It’s simplicity has allowed its functionality to be extended by the user community. For example, there’s a nice trick that uses DropBox to sync WLW drafts between systems. This has proven very productive as I move between desktop & laptop.

I also appreciate the way that it will automatically insert web links to a library of phrases. This kind of auto-linking, previously done server-side using a WordPress plug-in, was a constant source of problems in the past.

Sadly, Microsoft has largely ignored Windows Live Writer in recent years. It wasn’t even included in the Windows 10 RTM. There was a trick initially required to get it installed on Windows 10.

Continue reading “Meta: Open Live Writer Launched”

Meta: WordPress Apps For OSX & Windows

WordPress App on MacBookToday saw the launch of WordPress 4.4. For me this is significant as most of my writing for publication online ends up in WordPress.

Some time ago I documented my initial experience with the platform and hosting services. Since then I’ve grown to admire the WordPress team for delivering utterly seamless upgrades, and Lightningbase as a wonderful hosting company. This site is just passing three years live at Lightningbase.

While I spend a lot of time in WordPress, the actual writing most typically happens in Windows Live Writer.  I like the program for it’s simple functionality. I’ll have more on that in a post to follow tomorrow.

Recent changes in WordPress have included new back-end functionality that’s designed to facilitate more evolved front-end applications. The WordPress mobile apps (Android, iOS) have been around for a while. I’ve had one loaded to my Nexus 7 tablet for a long while, but never actually written anything substantial that way. I’ve tried a few times, but ultimately found the experience lackluster.  Continue reading “Meta: WordPress Apps For OSX & Windows”

M is for March-In-Meatspace

Projects-in-the-worksYou may have notice that March was a very quiet (crickets) month hereabouts. It was the slowest month in the seven year history of this blog. As such, I can’t help but feel that I owe an explanation for these events. March was spent focused on events in meatspace.

I suppose the term “meatspace” is by now archaic. The term “cyber”space has certainly been devalued, most especially since part of it was coopted by CBS into their newest CSI franchise. Whatever the case with the linguistics, I spent most of March engaged in things that involved getting away from my desk and dealing with real people in the physical world.

When I left Pixel Power in the spring of 2013 part of my plan was to become more engaged in the local community. For many years my work life involved so much travel that I had been unable to commit to such activities. Since then quite the opposite is true. I need such engagements to keep me from going stir crazy in the home office.

Continue reading “M is for March-In-Meatspace”

OT: Online Image Quality

Apple-MacIntoshI’ve been involved in computer graphics all my adult life. That may seem a bit counter-intuitive as I was schooled in the technology of music and recording. However, I’ve spend my working life in video and broadcast production.

The one time I took a bit of a sabbatical from the  world of television I went to work for a small magazine, where I was still involved in print layout and production using early MacIntosh computers. That’s when I discovered that I like to write. It’s also where I first encountered Adobe Photoshop and Quark Xpress.

This finally brings me to the topic of this little-thing-that’s-quickly-devolving-into-a-rant. I simply cannot believe how often I encounter poor-quality images as aspects of otherwise professionally created online properties. I’m surprised that design professionals would submit shoddy work, not-quite-so-surprised that customers accept it.

Continue reading “OT: Online Image Quality”

Where’s Michael Now?

zipdx_logoThere have been quite a number of changes going on hereabouts, largely behind the scenes. Some have been mentioned in passing on recent VUC calls. I thought it was about time to break the news more generally.

On March 31st I left Pixel Power. After fourteen years on their staff, it was a very difficult decision to make. I had been in the broadcast business for over twenty years, and I still very much liked the work. Nonetheless, it was time for something new. I needed a change and a new challenge.

Early in April I began working with ZipDX. Friend and long-time VUC sponsor David Frankel has project that sounded interesting (pardon the HDVoice pun,) and gives me an opportunity to participate in the IP communications space in a more direct fashion.

Thus there have been a lot of changes going on over the past couple of months. A lot of broadcast-related hardware has left my office, destined for my former employers office in the west. Also, some interesting new hardware has arrived, which I will some day get around to describing here.

In a tweet some weeks ago I expressed the notion that “a new normal” was fast approaching. In recent weeks I’ve been trying to define that new normal. As I grow more accustomed to my new scope of activities I hope to re-engage on many different levels.

I’ve recently been reminded of the opening to the old Six Million Dollar Man TV Show, “We can rebuild him, we have the technology. We can make him better. Faster. Stronger…” and in my case, maybe just a bit bloggier, too.