Ok, I thought I’d solved the problem of getting my most recent Mastodon posts onto my sidebar, but maybe not? They are there, but they don’t seem to be updating. I’ve verified that the RSS feed is updating (by way of a feed reader), but no joy over here at the blog. I’m not in a mood to deal with it at the moment. I’ll ignore it for now and check back later. Maybe it takes longer than two hours for a new post to appear there (which is insane, but whatever).

Addendum (20 min later): I didn’t ignore it, because it’s not possible for me to ignore a problem that needs solving. Anyway, problem solved. By default, WordPress caches RSS feeds for 12 hours. Added a line to the function file to shorten that stupidly long wait. Seems to be working.

Site Stuff

Managed to move the search bar from the header to the sidebar, and figured out how to see a page’s source code on the iPad. The only problem that really needs solving at the moment is the vast amount of white space in the header. I’ve tried everything to make that space only a bit larger than the actual title of the page, and yet no changes ever show. I can’t find which thing it is that needs changing, and it’s excruciatingly frustrating.

I’m going to leave it for now … again … and try again another day. I’m not in the greatest headspace at the moment, and tomorrow is recycling day, so there are boxes to be cut to pieces.

Current Blog Problem

Current website problem I’m trying to solve is how to get the most recent 3-5 posts I’ve made on Mastodon onto my sidebar. Found a plug-in that gets me part of the way there. It does grab my feed and I can use a shortcode to place it anywhere I want (currently have it on a page), but there’s no built in way ti limit how many posts show. Also, I don’t know how to fix that myself. Once upon a time, I probably did know how, but not today. Guess I’ll just keep poking at it over time, or maybe I’ll contact the guy who wrote the plugin.

I’ve now stared at it for long enough that my vision is blurry and I have a headache, so time for lunch and maybe a little nap.

Addendum: Found a better way to solve the problem. This better way also has the potential to solve another problem. Am now tired of working on this stuff.

Addendum to the Addendum: Ok, that problem solved. Going to stop working on all of this now, because the rest of the problems can wait. Nap required immediately.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

The problem at hand:

How best to inform interested parties (friends, family, associates) scattered across the internet that I have babbled at length on my blog … in a way that irritates neither them nor myself, as well as not requiring an onerous amount of labor on my part.

Possible solutions:

1. Crossposting links to blog posts on Facebook/Twitter/Mastodon without actually having to put my eyeballs on Facebook/Twitter/Mastodon.

Twitter works fine and was how I’d actually always used that account. In light of current events over there though, not inclined to provide it any content. Facebook has become even more of a hellscape since I was last there, and now they don’t allow any posting to feeds from anywhere other than Facebook. My jury is still out on the usefulness of Mastodon.

2. Letting people sign up and subscribe to my WordPress install.

I don’t want anyone’s email address or other personal data in my database. Then I feel responsible to care for it and keep it safe. I mean, I do keep my database safe, but stuff can happen, and if it does, I’d rather it only be me that suffers for it. Also, I sometimes lost a LOT of times a day, and it could begin to feel spammy in people’s inboxes to get an email every time I post.

3. A newsletter.

This had been my very first thought on the matter, but I tossed it aside for three reasons: could be a lot of work for me, might require me to store other people’s personal data, felt too old school internet and like not a thing that’s done anymore by normal human beings.

End result:

I spent entirely too many hours last week exploring these three options, as well as a slew of others, and after asking around amongst the folks who have requested being informed of updates at my blog, it looks like my first thought was the correct one. A newsletter it is! Probably a weekly one, though with me that may be quite variable. I’ve never done a newsletter for myself before, but I have helped other people set them up. The biggest problem for me will likely be remembering to do it.

The first problem though is finding a service to use that’s reasonably easy for me and subscribers to use while also being worthy of trust. I already have a shortlist, due to having helped others with this before, so it shouldn’t take long for me to sort out the details. Guess that’s what I’ll work on this week.

But now I’m tired of thinking about internet stuff. I spent all day yesterday working on blog problems, and I’d like to spend at least some of my weekend having fun and being extremely lazy. So I’m off to thaw something for dinner and play some video games. Also cuddling with cats. We’re having nasty winter weather, and the cats are extra cuddly today. Bring on the pile of furry, purring pillows!

In Touch?

Current blog related problem I’m trying to solve is how to inform people who have now scattered to the four winds that I’ve posted to my blog. I’d intended to just keep auto posting links to Twitter, but I noped 100% out today. Auto posting to Facebook only works if you have a page, which I did, but it’s so damn complicated I can’t even with that nonsense. I may be able to allow people to follow me on Mastodon without me having to be on Mastodon, but without knowing how it works over there, I have no idea if that’s a good idea or not. Ugh.

As early twentieth century as it sounds, I swear it feels like putting out an email newsletter is the way to go. That’s a lot more work for me, because I would, of course, want said newsletter to be awesome. You know, look nice and stuff.

It’s almost 2023, and I’m thinking of putting together a newsletter. What has become of my life?! 🤣