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WordPress vs. WordPress

A little technogeekery for the non-technogeeks.

SarcasticMonkeys.com is a WordPress blog. That means that I use the WordPress software to create, post, and manage this website. The WordPress software is open-source and can be downloaded for free from WordPress.org.

DreamHost is my hosting provider. Not only do they host the domain – SarcasticMonkeys.com – they host all the sub-domains that I have created, including Shae.SarcasticMonkeys.com, TBQ.SarcasticMonkeys.com, and SarcasticMonkeys.com/Sammy.

As you can see, having a hosting provider provides me with more flexibility and control. There are also some sub-directories you can’t see in my account that I use to store different things. I have a couple of websites that I play with – but I’m the only one who knows they are there. (If you’ve found them, let me know!)

The disadvantage of this strategy is that I have to keep the software up-to-date. While DreamHost makes this very easy (the video at the top shows how it’s done), it is still another step I have to take.

The easier path is to use WordPress.com. One of the reasons I went to my own hosting provider was because I wanted my own domain name. This wasn’t possible through WordPress.com.

Now it is. And this makes WordPress.com much more attractive. It is also – in most cases – much less expensive. If I’m only using my hosting provider for one domain, it only costs $15/year through WordPress.com. That’s less than two months hosting with most hosting providers.

WordPress.com also has a lot of built-in features, including stats, that can only be done through plug-ins with WordPress.org software. Working with plug-ins can be very time consuming.

I have also used Blogger.com and all the Googleness that it has.

But if you are considering beginning your own website, I would recommend looking at WordPress.com.

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Going mobile

There is a fantastic new plug-in for WordPress blogs that lets you easily offer a mobile phone-optimized look to your site. It’s called WPtouch, from BraveNewCode. Yes, this is one of those geeky, computer-talk posts. But if you want to see what I’m talking about, try viewing SarcasticMonkeys on your iPhone, iTouch, Blackberry or other mobile browser.

If you have a WordPress blog, you really need to try this. It’s easy and makes your site look great on a mobile device without changing the way it looks in a normal browser.

I’ve installed it on my church web site and on our church’s Scrooge blog, too.

As an added bonus, the plugin points to another site – Flavor Studios – that allows you to create free icons that work beautifully and look great on an iPhone.

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Testing from my phone

This is a test of the WordPress 2.0 app for the iPhone. I tried the first version of the application and couldn’t get it to work correctly. Every time I would try to write a new post, it would work…until I tried to save or post it. Then it would disappear.

So far, this version seems more stable. And if you’re reading this, then we both know it actually works.

This picture – if you see it – is from another iPhone app. NASA’s appos free and has some really cool pictures you can download. I’m including the picture here just to test the picture-inserting capability of this app.

Judging by the fact that I’ve been able to get in and out of editing this post without losing it, I’m guessing that posting this will be no problem. So I can also tell you that, should you decide to use this yourself, it’s a pretty straight-forward application. You can’t see the formatting of your template, and there aren’t any options to take care of most of your administrator options, but you can post, moderate comments, insert pictures, and work with pages, too.

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I keep fiddling

I keep fiddling with the look of the blog, trying to find a balance between interesting and busy. Visually, less is better. I keep coming back to this Thick template from WooThemes, but I wish it had a ready-made YouTube widget.

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A place for everyone and everyone – eventually – in their place

Welcome to the relocated and renamed blog, formerly known as RevMcGator.

The original RevMcGator blog was an experiment. It was a way to see if I could run a blog and what it would become. It wasn’t my first attempt at a blog. Back in…the day…I signed up for AOL’s initial offering of weblogs. I created one on my AOL account, but I didn’t know what to do with it. It still exists, as an empty place on AOL’s servers I suppose.

Then I learned about Google’s Blogger system, where you could set up a free blog and easily give it style and structure. What I’ve learned the last couple of years is that blogs are easy; content is hard.

Most of the blogs I subscribe to have a particular theme and I read theme for one purpose. For instance, I am subscribed to Jon Acuff’s Stuff Christians Like. It is a humorous blog built around one theme.

I’ve tried to give RevMcGator some structure by categorizing my posts in three categories – Rev, Mc, or Gator. Rev is the pastoral side of my life. Mc pertains to the family and personal things. Gator posts have to do with sports, hobbies, and the like.

That’s still pretty broad, so I’m continuing to cast around for the right theme for this blog. In the meantime, I’ve transitioned to SarcasticMonkeys. Let me tell you what you’ll find here and why.

The big idea for having this site was to have one place for the whole family to have their own space. Whether or not they ever use it, I wanted Trudi and each of the children to have their own webspace. So far I’ve only got Sam’s up and running, but in the days ahead I plan to have a blog for Trudi, Shae, Summer and Sawyer, too.

“What would I do with a blog?” Anything you want. Or nothing. The point is to have to the option. Sam likes creating videos, so his site is video-oriented. Trudi, Shae and Summer like to write, so I will be creating a more traditional writing-type-blog. And Sawyer…I’m not sure, but we’ll do something.

Look around. See what you like and don’t like. Feel free to comment (although the comments are moderated and we might not post your comments.) I’ve been playing around in this web space for awhile, trying to find what will work best. I installed Joomla and WordPress and uninstalled them both and came back to WordPress.

The name was a family consensus. I gave everyone their choice of some names, and they all liked Sarcastic Monkeys the best. Our humor tends to be a little sarcastic. And we’ve always referred to the children as “our monkeys.”

We hope you enjoy our new home.