First, do the household stuff. Then do the necessary work (Peoplenomics for tomorrow, for instance). Then revise the UrbanSurvival website, and THEN do some fun stuff on eBay and in the shop…
The first few items are not too exciting: As soon as the column is done this morning, it will be time to jump on the riding mower and give the yard a quick once-over. We had a bit of rain earlier this week and if there’s one thing that does well here in “cattle country” it’s lawns.
The Peoplenomics report tomorrow will be mainly about the immediate future of the economy. While the futures were up 50-something early (like 4 AM when the work-dance began) I’m not too sure there will be many souls brave enough to cling to long positions over the weekend: There’s just so much that could go wrong in here.
This works us down to the third item on the list: Revising the UrbanSurvival website. I know, I know…why change?
Here’s the long and short of it: Standards on the Internet are constantly evolving. If you’re not aware of it, we have already dabbled our toes in the Google Accelerated Mobile Pages puddle and if you have a phone, see https://urbansurvival.com/amp/ for the phone-friendly version which I may muck-up this weekend.
The way I’ll go about this, is to put on a new “theme.” If you haven’t figured it by now, the UrbanSurvival site uses a content tool called WordPress to manage the housekeeping which we don’t have the time (or inclination) to deal with.
The “modern” website lives on a server. A content tool (like WordPress) handles basic functionality. But that’s pretty basic and you can’t really operate a site like this one without a “theme.” There are scads of reasons, but the simplest explanation is that WordPress is in a state of constant change due to hacker attacks, and changes in things like, oh, the current buzz to add privacy policies and whatnot. (Lawyers are taking over the world, if you hadn’t noticed!)
So once you have a server and WordPress, you’re not out of the woods yet because now you need a theme. And here’s where it gets crazy: THEMES are being updated all the time, too. So all our design/layout, colors, the embedded charts, ad calls, and such, have to go into a “child theme” which (is supposed to) “play nicely all the time.”
We’ve been very happy with our current theme/look/and so on. But, Google is changing how sites are “indexed” and they will be giving preference (or, so I understand) to sites that have a particular schema of coding within their Theme which means it has to carry over into the Child Theme.
This complexity grows by several more leaps and bounds when you try to do offline development on the home computer. Here,, you can’t just run a browser and be done.
Instead you have to emulate the Linux server environment at home using a LAMP stack. That’s computerese for Linus, – the operating system of many servers, Apache which is the web-serving code that sits on top of the operating system, MySQL which is the content database where articles live, and PHP (once Personal Home Page, it is now the Personal Hypertext Preprocessor.
Oh, and it doesn’t like to work simply: In the course of my development efforts, I’ve seen monumental battles between Win-10,, Avira Antivirus, and something called ServerPress which has allowed us to learn something about the new Themes and child-themes we’ve been reviewing.
It has come down to a choice between two: Divi and Genesis. Divi is more graphical while Genesis is more coder-oriented. The coding is a PITA, but the Genesis Framework has a few pluses in terms of built-in SEO (*and security) so we may do a two-part roll. In other words, DIVI can get us up and running faster where Genesis may be where we end up. We shall see how this weekend goes.
Somewhere in here, Microsoft Edge managed to collapse its WordPress functionality. It won’t (on my machines) allow me to delete a photo from an article once it’s placed. So, on to Firefox. Oh boy…
Bottom Line: There is some upside for you as a reader in all this. For one, we will be going back to a single column which will be more useful for many readers. From our standpoint, the single-column will ensure that ads are seen.
The site may be faster, but the real advances will be in our discussion group. I’ve been looking at different forum plugins and we will likely expand our discussion focus because there is so much knowledge among our readers it would be a shame not to share more of it.
Meanwhile, Back at the Weekend…
If there’s any left, lol. Obviously, this kind of stuff will eat most, if not ALL of the three days.
But I’ve still been going our into the shop to “de=stress.”
Elaine’s got a request in for a new base cabinet and upper cabinet in the master bath, so I’ve been refining my “box-making” skills.
For those not into furniture (or cabinet building) the simple “box” is really the core of most things in your home. A box that has drawers added and such becomes a whole kitchen. So, here’s a typical “one-hour box” cranked out Wednesday:
Now it’s nothing special. Except I wanted to tinker with some spray painting effects (corners) and get ready to bust out the dovetailing jig and get ready for real cabinet-grade drawer-making. I could have slapped on a couple of coats of faster-drying finish, but spar varnish and using paint to “age” things a bit makes them somehow look more “solid” than bright wood.
A simple box like this goes quickly. I can get a bead on the market and wander out to the shop. Since it’s hot as blazes now, I come back in every half-hour or so to cool down. I reckon the dovetailing part will add a half-hour to an hour to the process. Regardless, dovetailing is really an art and makes a much stronger drawer than a simple box-type. If you have a router, a few bits, and the jig, it’s worth it.
I’ve started collecting notes on how to best use eBay (as a buyer) as Monday will be (with any luck) a quiet news day.
If you have any buying tools or strategies, send them along and come back Monday for that.
If not, have a grand weekend!
Write when you get rich, too…