Blogging

The Beep Beep Boop post editing system seems a bit… shit, if I’m honest.

I didn’t mind when WordPress added in the Beep Beep Boop alternate post editing page because there was a link that said “Click me if you want to use the old editing page” and when I clicked it the Beep Beep Boop page went the fuck away like a bad smell being sucked out of a car window.

But now that link is no more! WordPress, annoyed with their users failure to love the ginger step child they have created after one too many expensive hipster coffee jams, have decided we must all be forced to use the Beep Beep Boop Bollocks because we are too fucking stupid and ungrateful to know what is best for us.

Sigh. Look, I love you WordPress. I even loved you enough to move my blog from Google and I bloody love Google! But blocking me from using a perfectly good dashboard in favour of the bag of poo that Beep Beep Boop seems to be related to is not my idea of repaying my slavering, blind love. No, making me use Beep Beep Boop means that I can no longer get a simple wp.me link (something that took 2 seconds and now takes a lot longer and involves sharing to a tweet and then C&Ping the wp.me link out of that tweet so I can post it somewhere useful) and I can no longer copy a post (something I had come to rely on hugely as it saved me much time and help ensure I didn’t miss tabs and categories).

It turns out I can get back to the old dashboard and posting format by using the following link (https://headburroantfarm.wordpress.com/wp-admin/) but really that is a faff and WordPress is becoming very faffy these days.

As much as it pains me to say it, it may well be time to quit WordPress once and for all and head over to Blogger again. It’s been a good 10 years WP, but frankly my time is limited and my patience wears thinner with age. I’m going to have a peek over the hill and see if the grass is any greener (and if Google have stopped Blogger being a fugly sack of kak). I might stay, I might not. Loyalty isn’t what it once was, but that runs both ways I think you’ll find.

1000 and counting…

This is my 1,000th post on this blog and I’ve been putting off actually writing it as I’ve been really unsure what to write. Do I mention it in passing and move on, effectively taking up the 1,000th post slot with a filler? Do I engage with it totally and have a retrospective post about how awesome I am? Do I write about where I think the blog is heading? Do I just ignore the arbitrary nature of these milestones and move on as if nothing has happened?

The answer, of course, is a little of all these but in the briefest way I can think of because, as you may have guessed from the sporadic nature of my posts, I’m far more time challenged than I was 1,000 posts ago when I had a simple 9-5 job and no kids. In all that time this blog has been my gaming centre, sometimes more important to me than the games I was blogging about, helping me expand and increase my gaming pleasure in ways the games never could – this is why I generally end up writing stories about the games and characters I’m playing rather than reviews.

1,000 posts ago this blog was a place for stories but the sad fact is writing stories takes time and energy and gets in the way of playing. As with everything in life a balance has to be found, a compromise reached and it is not always possible to write compelling stories, play the game inspiring them and still hold down a job and not ignore the family.

A while back (200 posts or more ago) I found a balance I was, and still am, happy with. I don’t bulk write and schedule posts any more. I don’t worry about keeping content going. I don’t sweat about saying something just to be heard. Now I just write when I can do *and* want to and it works for me. Sometimes I have a splurge and will post a lot for a few weeks but that never lasts long these days and the blog goes quiet again. I still have posts running about in my head but either the opportunity or the desire & energy are missing and this, if I’m honest, is the only source of regret I ever feel about the blog. The sense of missed or lost posts bothers me but only slightly, after all I don’t write anything of any worth so the sum of human knowledge losses nothing if I never get around to sharing my thoughts on a game mechanic that will never come to be in a game that will more than likely be gone in the next ten years. I know it’s hard to accept, but the world will keep turning without my wisdom.

So I guess I’ll reach 2,000 posts because even though games will come and go, my desire to play them and then write about them will remain. I suspect this blog will be with me for a very long time indeed. In the coming posts I’m going to keep doing more of the same because, at the end of the day, I’m writing this for me. I’ll try to be less ranty and think before taking cheap shots for easy laughs, but I’m a fiery sort and can’t promise too much because, at the end of the day, saying “bollocks” is always to make me giggle 🙂

Happy 1,000th to me!

2013: Not a bad year for a blog run by a part-time Burro…

I wanted to blog a lot of the looooong xmas break I took, but I just enjoyed the break instead (it’s a repeating pattern for me, if I’m honest) and therefore I’ve only just come across this report from WordPress about my blog. Click on the picture below to read it and go OOOOO & AHHHH at the nice fireworks 😀

2013wpreport

10 years of blogging. Blimey.

I just saw this notification from WordPress and it seems I’ve been blogging for 6 years now! But when I thought about it, I was even more shocked when I factored in my previous blog. I’ve been blogging for 10 bloody years now. Sweet baby jesus!

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It’ll never catch on, part 528,913…

It must have been 5 years ago. I was sat on a bus struggling to get my precious Xperia 1 to let me blog. I had tweeted about my frustrations, venting how hard it was to wrangle a post out of the device because the app WP had released didn’t cover the god-awful Windows 6.5 Sony had crippled their wonderful device with. My thoughts were picked up by a fellow blogger and one of her regular commentors mocked my desire to blog on the go. He found the very idea that someone would actually enjoy blogging on a phone laughable.

And yet here I am, 5 years down the line and with 99% of all my posts are written on my tablet or phone, which goes to prove that the internet is becoming more and more mobile for me all the time. That and what an enormous tit that commentor was, but then of course he always was.

My blog’s 2012 in review…

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 16,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

A funny thing about Guild Wars 2…

…is that playing it seems to swallow up all the time I have planned for writing about it. Fair enough, I’m as busy as hell at work (soon to have added trips to London – boo!) but I know I could spare the odd hour in an evening to pop out even a small post about some gorgeous location or amazing dynamic event but when I start to plan it I find my fingers mysteriously clicking on the GW2 button and not the Google Docs link… spooky!

Seriously, I have *never* had as more fun in a game . The initial days of LOTRO, my fondest memories of SL and just about any time in L4D(1&2), Max Payne (all of them), Portal (both) & Half Life (just the first – the second was like watching the film Children of Men, amazing but ultimately bloody depressing) have all grabbed me in the same way, but something about Guild Wars 2 feels different. Something about the non-competitive nature of the play combined with the sheer repeatability of the world just makes me want to log in and play again and again and again… Damn you Arenanet, you’ve made me a junkie!

See you sometime in 2013. Maybe.

And then they added a dragon…
gw661

Newbie Blogging Initiative: How to get noticed…

All kids love log. And all bloggers love attention. I know I do, attention and log. But as a blogger just how do you get noticed? I don’t know why you are asking me but I’ll give it my best shot…

First off write well and often. People don’t follow blogs that are dead or just downright awful. Once people follow you you’ll find at some of them will link to your blog, both in their blogrolls and posts and your readership will slowly increase. But if you are looking to be more proactive than that then here are a few tips I know other blogs have tried (not me, I’m far too lazy):

  • Find a niche, an alternative view point – give people something to think about and they will come back for more.
  • Get a gravatar and use it when you comment – that way you build up recognition and people can follow your comments back to your blog.
  • Join all the forums you can – post there and people will follow your profile back.
  • Look for well known blogs that may want a guest contributor – get a good guest spot and you’ll get known pretty quickly.
  • Syp from Biobreak contacted up all the other cool blogs and interviewed the owners – this is a great idea to both get known and up your readership in all the right circles.

This message was brought to you by the Newbie Blogger Initiative and Dr Burro’s Dept of Log!.

Newbie Blogger Initiative: Are comments important? Hell yes!

Are comments on your blog important?

Yes. Next question.

What do you mean “Is that it?” You want more? Blimey! You NBIers are a demanding lot!

Look, as far as I’m concerned, right after providing me with a creative outlet/hobby/platform for saying daft things to amuse myself, comments are what blogging is about. Obviously you want people to read your posts otherwise you wouldn’t have written them, but other than a few numbers on a stats page how do you know if people are reading you? Comments! That’s how! You want your readers to be so impressed that they stop whatever they are doing to actually write to you.

So for the love of all that is holy, turn your ruddy comment feature on and make sure anyone can use it (Blogger & Live Journal I’m looking at you – nothing guarantees I will never read a blog again than finding I can’t leave a comment) and reply to them!

Ahhh, replying to comments. Should you, you wonder? You’re busy after all, you have stuff to do, things to write, should you reply to all the comments you get? Well, and this is a personal choice of course, but I would say yes! yes! and double bloody yes! Look, if someone has been good enough to reach out to you, you really owe it to them to say something back, even if it’s a “Thanks for your kind comment!” or “Cheers for that!” Also, unless you are a a huge blog like Massively then the chances are you aren’t going to be inundated with comments so I wouldn’t worry about it taking over your life 🙂 Looking at my stats most posts here never get a single comment and I’d call 2 or 3 on a post a success. Hell, even though I’ve been blogging here for 5 years the single highest commenter has only left a grand total of 56 comments!

If you want my honest opinion, we bloggers should be honoured that people read our scratchings (especially the drivel I offer up!) so the least we can do is say thanks when they leave us a note 🙂

But what to do when a commenter disagrees with you, or is being abusive? Well first off you need to be prepared that if you are posting opinion pieces then you will get people who disagree with your opinions and there is nothing wrong with that – I’m a great believer in allowing such comments through and then replying to them, after all an open dialogue is always a great way to spark debate and that in itself will bring readers to you blog. But if you also attract trolls and idiots who just post crap then feel free to delete it and ignore them – do not take them on because not only is that what they want, but such displays of anger will drive the intelligent readers away from your blog in droves. The golden rule is: Ignore comments at your peril but ignore trolls and idiots at all costs.

As an adjunct to that last point, even though I always advise you always turn your comments on to allow people to interact with you, you must equally always keep some form of moderation in place so that trolls, idiots and spammers can’t just post away with impunity – there is nothing worse than being unable to get online for a day only to come back and find some pillock has spammed a stack of your posts with idiocy and/or filth that has then gone out to any readers following those posts. WordPress has a very powerful but very simple set of moderation functions that help keep my blog free of crap with a combination of ensuring that someone’s first ever comment is held back for my approval as well as comment containing even a single URL is also held back – this way not only can I see that a new commenter isn’t a troll, but I can also intercept any mass Russian lolita pr0n links before they get to my readers. WordPress for the win, I say 🙂

This message was brought to you by the Newbie Blooger Initiative and Dr Burro’s Dept. of Mutual Back Scratching.

Newbie Blogger Initiative: How to deal with writer’s block…

If you’re going write, whether for fun or (possible) profit then you are going to face the dreaded Writer’s Block. Sometimes you’re not in the writing mood, sometimes your’re knackered or have too much on in your day to day life. Other times you want to write but nothing pours forth from your fingertips and every word you tap out comes to you like a pine-cone moving through your lower intestine.Sideways. Whatever the reason and whenever it strikes, writer’s block can be a right bastard and no mistake. It robs your hobby of joy (and your working day of its productive reason if blogging helps put food on the table) and can, if it goes on for any period of time, be a worrying thing to experience. If you have it now, then you also have my sympathy – I’m sure you’re rather not have either, but I can only offer so much.

Now there are a metric ton of articles offering advice on writer’s block out there (really – look!) so I won’t waste your time or mine rehashing them. Suffice to say that when the words won’t come then you should take a look at some of these articles – especially if you need food on the table! No, instead I’m going to give you the one piece of advice I’ve always found helpful when I have found myself barely able to type my own name without slipping into a coma. I don’t know where I got this advice from, I like to think a wandering Tibetan monk imparted a nugget of wisdom unto me in my moment of need but we both know that’s not going to be true so I won’t try and pass that off as a likely source. Instead I’ll cut to the chase and say that if you find writing hard, if the posts slow or even stop then the first thing, next and last thing you should do is quite simply this…

Nothing.

That’s right. Do absolutely nothing and then mooch off somewhere to chill.

The muse has left you yes, but she will be back so until then just accept, wait & relax. After all, it’s only blogging. No one is going to die on an operating table, eh? 🙂

This message was brought to you by the Newbie Blogger Initiative and Dr Burro’s Campaign to Chill Out and Live Longer.