I just realized that I never added a post about creating an iPhone version of the website. I have actually made one for all my websites. I posted about it on Twitter but never mentioned it here where there might be some that don’t follow me on Twitter. Anyways, it is iPhone friendly now along with being mobile friendly on any device. Those that might check their phones more than on a computer can now load our site that much easier.
I decided to try out a new theme for the website. I felt like the other one was pretty noisy and a little confusing. The new look is very simple and clean. Plus it gave me a chance to mess around in the new wordpress 2.7 dashboard. I also updated the theme on my personal blog, check it out.
Well I am happy with what I have come up with on the new site front. It is a different direction that I have wanted to take the site in. I have moved from the conventional site to having the blog as the main focus of the site. Since all our photos and videos are hosted else where, it eliminates the need for a full website like we previously had.
Now joshandkristee.com takes you straight to the blog and then from there you can get to our photos, videos and my personal blog. Hopefully this new direction will be easier to maintain than the previous style. I am not completely finished with the over feel, but it is good start to what I hope to be our new site layout.
Any thoughts or opinions, things missing are very welcome.
If you are coming to our site you are now seeing a different look to the website. I am toying around with a different direction to take the website. So please bare with me as I try to get the new layout/ design figured out.
I don’t know what happened but I was going to update the site and I went to open iWeb and it acts like the file is non existent. I still have all the content and the site works fine right now, but I can no longer update iWeb without recreating the site. I am going to look at the option and it looks like I will be rebuilding the site one way or another. Fortunately most of our content is hosted via other sources so I may not go back and redo all the old photo pages since we can still via all the photos on picasa and same with videos on blip.tv.
I will be interested to see what my options are and what route I decide to take, but look for a change in the site some how some way.
The other day after putting together the video from Halee & Kristee on Kansas City Live and trying to add it to our site I realized just how long it took for me to post a quick video to the site. It took way to long. The main problem being that I don’t have a .mac account in which I use to host our website which would make it faster to post items through iWeb. I love using iWeb for building the site, but for posting quick photos and videos is way too time consuming. Hence my recent decision to post all photos to Picasa Web Albums. But going to .mac isn’t something that I want to pay for since I already have awesome hosting from Godaddy.com.
I found blip.tv, some may have heard of them before or maybe not. In a since it is like youtube, but way better. First off it is completely free and they look at everything in terms of being a tv show. Naturally our tv show is called JoshandKristee TV. They offer free hosting of your videos that you want to share along with the ability to offer alternative versions for viewing on their site. Such as the original quicktime file that I upload to the site. Everything is converted to flash for use, but the original copy is kept for viewing on the site and even for download. They also integrate with iTunes podcast, which means that those who are subscribed through iTunes will need to subscribe to the new feed in iTunes. They also provide a regular RSS feed for any news reader. I can also simultaneously post a video to blip.tv and our blog at the same time which is awesome. (Which is what I did with the Halee & Kristee on TV video.) All of our videos are available through one player and all videos load extremely fast. One other big benefit is that the size of the player is bigger than any other video hosting site that I have seen. There video quality is awesome. All videos that I post from now on are going to be higher quality which you will be able to view if you would rather not view the flash version. I am going to go into greater detail about all the features on my blog in a day or two.
If you go to our video page on our site you will see one video player there, but you have access to all of our videos from that one player. Right now they are not in order and I don’t think I can rearrange them, but the newest video added to our tv show will be the first video that pops up. (That isn’t the case right now, but will be in the future.) You will see at the bottom of the player a guide button click on it and it will bring up a 3 tab guide menu. The first thing that shows is the description for the current video playing, at the bottom you will see 3 tabs. An about tab, episodes, and hot blip.tv episodes. Click the episodes tab and you will see all of our episodes, click the more button to get more older videos. It is very slick. The hot blip.tv episodes are just videos that are getting a lot of hits on blip.tv right now. Next to the guide button on the bottom of the player are share and then full screen view, this allows you to blow the video up to your full computer screen. The quality isn’t the greatest, but it is full screen. In the future when I produce more content at a higher quality I would imagine that the full screen will be better quality.
Click on the J&K TV on the bottom of the player and it will take you to all of our video post. From there you can click on an individual video and get access to the alternative video source, download the quicktime version, the subscription buttons, tags and this also where you can leave a comment on any particular video. There is a lot that we can do with blip.tv.
I am very impressed with their service and very excited about what I can do in the future. As said early I am going to do a fuller review about everything you can do with blip.tv on my blog, joshmetts. There is just so much to talk about, but feel this blog isn’t the place for it. (This post is getting long as it is and some may be bored already.)
I also changed the photos page. I have broken down the old photos into 3 different categories so it doesn’t take so long to load the albums. But again there will be no more photos or video added directly to our site, but you can still get to all the videos and photos through our site. Having a quick and easy way to add photos and videos to our site is important and Picasa Web Albums and Blip.tv are by far the easiest and fastest way to share new content. As for our rss feeds you will need to update your readers, if you subscribe, and below are the new feed links along with a direct link to the JoshandKristee Show.
Just wanted to put up a quick post to let everyone know that I have updated the search box with a box powered by google as you can see on the right. We have always had a search box, but this one is integrated as a part of the blogger service as long as you are using the blogger draft dashboard. It will be released soon as a part of the blogger service so I guess it is sort of a beta. Anyways it is extremely slick I am very impressed with the way the search function works. I can’t describe it, you just need to test it out yourself and you will see just how awesome it is. Even if you have nothing to search for come up with something I have talked about and search it, it is very sweet!
I have made the decision to go away from uploading our photos to our website and strictly upload them on Picasa Web Albums. I have been extremely happy with the service, it is very clean and simple to use with very nice slideshow, commenting, and tagging features. It is very fast and simple for me to add the photos to our Picasa Web Albums and I find that it is pointless for me to continue to add them to our website also. I will leave all the photos that are already on our website, but those that are there are also available on Picasa. I will continue email everyone when I have added new photos and I will also post on the blog when new photos are added.
This will be a lot easier for me because as soon as photos are taken and put on my computer it is pretty much automatic that they will appear on Picasa. In the past I haven’t ever added them as soon as they were taken because of the amount of time it could take to get them on the website. I couldn’t ask for an easier method of adding photos. I hope all that do look at our photos enjoy the experience of viewing them on Picasa.
In addition to the updated blog I found more interesting settings that I can do with Blogger now. I have been able to add a 3 columns to the blog rather than just the 2 column look. And with all of the extra widgets that I have been adding it just makes a simpler way to view them all without having to scroll so far down the page.
I love the way the labeling is set up now, instead of being a long list it is now a label cloud and now I have included every label that I have. For those of you that don’t know how a cloud works, the bigger and bolder the label the more post have that label applied, also you can hover your cursor over the label and the number of post shows up also. I like this just because it looks cool and is also very functional without being a super long list. I have also moved up our subscribe buttons to the top right corner for visibility and ease. You can also subscribe to our comments now too. It is handy people who comment on our blog a lot and want to see if there is ever a response to your comments. (but I guess that only applies to you Jon, since you are the only one that puts comments on our blog regularly.)
I have added a couple of new “favorites” links to the left side. I have also added a little photo stream from our picasa web albums. Although the photo bar was at the top before, but now it is actually being used by the widgets and will allow me to change the pictures every once in awhile a little easier. These are all the changes that I have made lately and will probably be the last for at least a little while. Even if you looked at the page before check it out again, I am really happy withe the new layout.
I just finished labeling all of our post. Now you can access all post associated with any particular label. Another neat thing, not that anyone would really use it on our blog, but you can subscribe to only certain individual labels. Just click on a label then scroll to the bottom and there is a subscribe link. Like I said though there is really no reason to do that with our blog due to the fact that it is really not a topic based blog. The labels are there to quickly find any particular subject that I have written about. I have more labels than that, but I am only going to list the ones with 4 or more labels. Just something extra and useful.
I was up pretty late last night doing a major upgrade to our blog. It actually may not look like much to most people, but blogger was bought by google a while back and they have just made blogger the “new blogger”. I didn’t have to make the change, but in order to take advantage of all of the “new” blogger functions, I had to move to the new templates. The funny thing is that the template looks exactly the same as before, but the code is completely different. Therefore the actually blog address has changed, it is now http://blog.joshandkristee.com. Although if you get to our blog via the website you will notice no difference, but if you access the blog directly then you will need to change your bookmark. Also if you subscribe to our blog then you will have to resubscribe (sorry) via the new rss feed. There is one on the side bar and at the very bottom.
One of the biggest things that blogger has now added is labels (or tags) for each individual post. Some may have noticed at the end of each post there are labels at the bottom allowing me to label each post into categories, which helps with find specific things a lot faster. That has been going on for the past several months, but one of the things I wanted was a list of the labels on the sidebar and the only way to add that to the blog was to make the switch over to a blogger hosted blog, hence the address change. (Our old blog was hosted on our server, through blogger.) So I made the switch last night. As you can see if you look at our blog on the side bar a little ways down below the Archive section. I am still in the process of labeling all of our post so it will be easy to access all posts from the beginning till now.
Now onto the other features that I discovered because of the update. Starting at the top, as you can see I have added a new photo collage, it was easy to do with the new blogger “widgets” or tools as I would call them. I thought it would add a little life and color to the blog, plus help it blend with our website even more.
The first new thing you will notice at the top of the sidebar is “Josh’s imeem feed”. Some of you know that I have an imeem page with all kinds of stuff music, videos, and another blog. I use that blog to write about and post things that interest me, but do not pertain to our family. I want to keep this blog for all things family related. Anyways it is an rss feed of the latest 5 post on my imeem page, I don’t post a ton of stuff there, but every once in awhile I will add something. I will be writing a post about another browser pretty soon, so if that interest you keep and I out. I thought that was pretty neat and again with the new blogger tools it was a piece of cake to add.
On down past all the links is the new and improved Blog Archive. It is no longer a drop down box as before, but a very well organized archive. Not only does it archive by month but also by year which looks very clean in my opinion. But it also serves 2 functions. Our old blog contained Recent Post, but now with the way it displays the month the recent post are right there below the months, just click the arrow to drop down a list of past months post. I think it looks very nice and again it was very simple to do. The old blog’s drop down menu required me to mess with the code, this is just done with the new tools.
On further down is the little logos, these are all things that I use and am very happy with and want to share them everyone that reads our blog. I don’t get paid if you click on them, I just like these products, 3 of them which are free. Feel free to check them out. I have added a new one there that says GET FLOCK, it is a fairly new browser I found based on Firefox, it is the browser I am going to do a review about on imeem. (Safari is giving me problems and I quit using Opera awhile back.)
The other thing that I have been wanted to have with our blog is better search engine spidering for the blog via Google and Yahoo. The code in the new blogger is a lot cleaner and will hopefully work better with search engines that spider our site. We will see whether or not this happens. The new blogger blows the old blogger out of the water, it way easier to customize and has added a lot of cool features that make blogging a lot better. I didn’t even scratch the surface for all the new features and tools that make blogger more enjoyable than ever to use, check it out if you are interested in starting one. (for those of you who have blogs with blogger and haven’t posted in a while you need to check out the new blogger, you know who you are.) For those of you that made it through the entire post congratulations, it was long one and a little boring for some of you, but I do appreciate those who do read our blog regularly. I have a really enjoy sharing everything that is going on in our lives.
As you can see I have added a new item to the side bar on the blog. (Unless you are viewing the rss feed, you may need to go to the actual blog to see what I am talking about.) I discovered a pretty neat message board system that works with just about any blog called tag-board. It is basically a place to type a simple message to say Hi or whatever you want. I know that the blog already has a commenting system for each post and it isn’t meant to replace it but just add another element to messaging on our blog. I have posted 4 messages from each of us just to demonstrate/ test its functionality. It is really just an easy way to leave us a quick message in which we will read and reply. Anyways I just thought it was pretty neat and I hope that a few of you out there that do read our blog will make use of it. We really do love getting comments or messages even if it isn’t related to a post. Look forward to hearing from you.