Tag Archives: geeklife

test

ppI love ecto, but that goat lice post nearly broke it. I don’t know what the problem is. I’m taking this moment of relative calm in the yurt to see if I can do a little troubleshooting…./pbr /
ptest. test. test./p/p
pNow–see that? I upgraded to the new version of wordpress and now my beloved ecto isn’t working. It’s sticking in all this weird p /p on everything. It left the photos out altogether, along with chunks of text. This is not good./p

spammers suck

There’s been some problem at my webhost, massive spamming or something, and their servers are all clogged up, thus preventing me from getting into my control panel and stopping Akismet, the spamblocker on my blog’s comment section, from working. So I’ve been getting gobs of spam, masquerading as comments, to weed through every day. God, who are these people? I really don’t get the point of these messages. ‘mayalasster you made my day with that post. I really like your theme,’ attached to the webaddress rawspanking.com, give me a break. Or what’s with the ones that are just gobbledygook? Or the ones that are all question marks? “???? ??????? ??????” and a couple of ip addresses? What is that? Why do they do this? What it the motivation? I’d guess money, but I don’t get it. Does anyone anywhere ever actually click on these links?

signing off,

mystified in yurtland

i just read about the new apple tablet…

…and nearly wet myself with my geekgasm!

(It’s the one in the middle, between my beloved ipod touch, and my also beloved macbook. It’s a triumvirate of apply goodness!)

EXCEPT WHO THOUGHT OF THAT STUPID NAME???? I mean, really. iPad??? It sounds like something you use when you’re on the rag. Ew. What was wrong with iTablet? Or iBook? I like both of those names. Can we just collectively refuse to call it what apple wants to call it and rename it? In the name of everything good and holy, people! Please!

Name aside, this thing looks AMAZING. I adore my ipod touch, use it for everything, even reading, which I never thought I would. The (oh, I can barely stand to even type the name) iPad (ugh! ugh!) I am certain will just pick up where my ipod leaves off, fulfilling all my multi-media creation/consumption needs in one giant fireworks display of geek delight!

Oh, wait a minute, I have to, um, clean up this drool puddle. I must have left it there while reading gizmodo‘s coverage of Steve Jobs talking tech revolution.


“The revolution will now be apple-ized.”

How embarrassing.

So, anyway, I’m putting my spare change in a jar as we speak, to save up for one. By the time I get six or seven hundred bucks, they’ll have gone to 2Gen, worked out a few bugs, and hopefully have changed the name.

I can’t wait!

Updated the next day: I just read a little more about this thing and I have to admit, my adoration-from-afar is just growing. I honestly think this one is going to blow the roof off the publishing industry. And it looks gorgeous. Poor kindle. Kindle gets kudos for going first, but the iPad is in another class altogether. And of course, it is much much more than an e-reader w/ebook store built in. I am so impressed.

ipod touch / iphone games for little kids, part 2

A while ago, back when I first got my ipod touch (how did I ever live without it?), I wrote a post about gaming on the ipod with my kids. (ETA: for part three, go here.) At the time there seemed to be very little out there on games for little people, and few games they could play. As with everything in the ipodverse, this has completely changed. Now there are TONS of games for little kids. Clearly I was not the only one to realize how awesome a platform it is for small folk!

Anyway, I was purusing my google stats the other day and noticed that that old post gets tons of traffic from google! I thought to myself, hey, self, there are other parents out there, trying to sort through the millions of ipod apps. Lets write a follow up! So here you have it, a parent’s quick review of nineteen more games for the ipod/iphone, as enjoyed (or not so much) by a five year old and a three year old. And a thirty eight year old. Ahem.

Get ready, get set, GO!

200909131027.jpg

Blowfish —For those of you in a hurry, I’ll start with our most popular game (though the rest will not be in any particular order). Blowfish is a very simple game—you hold your finger down on the screen to create, and inflate, a puffer fish. Meanwhile, spiny sea urchins careen off the boundaries of the screen. If you’re inflating a fish when the urchin bounces into it, the fish pops. Ouch! The goal is to cover 70% of the screen with fish. Each level increases in difficulty with the addition of one more bouncing urchin. Both the kids love this game. Heck, I have a good time playing it, too. Maybe it is the funny faces the fish make, or the strategy of containing the bouncing urchins with fish bodies. Who can define fun? Thumbs up.

200909131046.jpg

Tamagotchi —This game is extremely cute. The art is funny and adorable and engaging and that makes us want to like this game. But the game design leaves something to be desired. Not an intuitive game. And hey, I’m happy to read intro’s and directions, to sit and play with the kids when a game requires it (although most of these games do not), but even reading the instructions, it is really hard to figure out what we’re supposed to do. We spend a fair amount of time poking things and trying to figure out what the games wants of us. Not good. Having said that, the game engaged us for longer than some of the very simple games that I would call a success. It’s definitely got some good parts. For example, the kids think it is hilarious that you can get the tamagotchi to poop (s/he sits holds up a newspaper, and is all happy when s/he finishes, lol). But a game should not be frustrating. Maybe future updates will fix some of this, but for the price, I’d say pass.

200909131031.jpg 200909131031.jpg

Skyburger and Scoops —These are separate games but very similar: food falls from the sky and you build an increasingly high, wobbly, creation by tilting the ipod to catch it. Burgers or ice cream cones, both are enjoyable, and the tall tale of ice cream cones that reach to the sky or burgers as tall as sky scrapers, is amusing. Both the kids play these games regularly.

200909131047.jpg

Aquaglobs —This is a fairly intricate puzzle game where you draw connecting lines between like critters, while keeping different critters from running into each other. You lose a life each time there is a collision and the goal is to stay in the game as long as you can, until you’re lost all your lives. It’s too hard for Luc, but Sophie is intrigued by it. We tend to pass game along. Luc starts the screen while it is very easy. He hands it to Sophie who manages for a while. I take over when it gets too hard, so this game works for me, too. Then it gets too hard for me and I die. Game over and we start again. Sophie says this one makes her brain work. Thumbs up.

Now for a theme, three Japanese-styled games.

200909131033.jpg

iBonsai —Is a lovely ‘game’ where you grow a 3-D bonsai tree in a minute. As it grows, it grows away from wherever you put your finger, so you can direct it and shape it. Once it’s done growing, you can rotate the image to see it from any angle, zooming in and out, and shaking the ipod to make the leaves fall off. Beautiful and intriguing. When we first downloaded this one, Sophie sat and grew trees for about an hour, totally engrossed. I think it took her that long to try all the variables. She’s only picked it up a few times since then. Luc will grow a tree or two and then he’s done. Thumbs up.

200909131033.jpg

Tanzen —This is the classic tangram puzzle with an elegant interface. Luc likes it a lot. Sophie hasn’t been interested, but then Luc is my puzzle guy. He adores jigsaw puzzles, tangrams, anything where you fit pieces together. He has a bit of trouble with the interface (rotating the pieces is a two fingered maneuver that he can’t quite manage) so we tend to play this one together. I would guess that as his fingers get more agile, he’ll be more interested in this game. Thumbs up if you like tangrams.

200909131034.jpg

Zenbound —This is a very intriguing game where you wrap string around a wooden carving by rotating it in any direction using two fingers. The string puts paint on the sculpture and the goal is to cover the sculpture 80%. The art is detailed and lovely, and the controls are complex but intuitive. Sophie likes this one. She got up to a level that was too difficult and quit playing, but recently I noticed she was playing it again, starting back at the beginning. The controls are a bit much for Luc. I played this one a bit when we first got it until the spinning of the object when I rotated it made me feel a little nauseous. Paul says I have a delicate constitution, har har.

Now for some drawing programs.

200909131036.jpg

Trippingfest —This is a very cool drawing program that Luc adores. You can make all kinds of crazy patterns and effects. I recommend clicking through to peek at some screen shots to get the idea of it. Sophie, who likes to draw representational images, doesn’t care for this one as much. It’s more for abstract images, which are more up Luc’s alley. I don’t have much more to say except thumbs up.

200909131048.jpg

Cartooning for Kids —This was a great app providing two afternoons of step by step drawings of funny cartoon characters. The kids really enjoyed it. Both of them sat down and worked through the whole thing in two sessions, side by side.

Here they are, ipod between them, listening to creator Richard Galbraith’s friendly Aussie voice explaining how to make a funny snail creature.

cartooning 1.jpg

And here is Sophie making an angry duck.

cartooning 2.jpg

Mr. Galbraith has such a supportive attitude as he takes them one bit at a time into the details of making cartoon faces “come alive.” Luc, who sometimes is quite shy about how his drawings don’t come out as ‘fancy’ as Sophie’s (the cross of the younger sibling is always to compare oneself to someone who is more developed!) was really able to stay with it and do his own drawings, which I found delightful. And I’ve noticed that some of the lessons have stuck—Sophie has been using eyebrow angles and pupil sizes to put certain emotions into her drawings lately, and I think it came straight from this app. It hasn’t gotten any repeat play—I think once they went through it, they were done—but for your entertainment dollar, as terrific bargain! Many thumbs up.

200909131037.jpg

Spinart —Sophie loves this one, Luc likes it. It’s exactly like the spinning machine that you drip the paint into, except, you know, no paint. Quite fun. You can also draw with splattery paint lines without spinning it. I had a spin art thingy when I was a kid—I don’t remember getting to use it much though. I think we ran out of supplies and didn’t restock or something. Anyway, this is just about an intriguing as the live action version, not quite, but close. Thumbs up.

200909131051.jpg

Doodle kids —Finally, we have this one, a very simple drawing app that Luc likes to play with pretty regularly. It offers a black screen and when you draw with your finger, you get ‘lines’ that are made out of multi-color shapes. You shake the ipod to get a fresh screen. Luc loves to write his name in glowing shapes. “Look, Mama, L U C!” This game has the distinction of being created by the youngest ipod developer in the world, a nine year old boy in Singapore, a fact the kids like. Makes me wish he had charged .99 cents for his app, instead of offering it for free.

Now for one more theme, so called ‘educational’ games. I usually avoid these because they are often incredibly boring, pedantic, and condescending. But here are three that got some play around here.

200909131050.jpg

Cutemath —This one has a half dozen little number-related activities. Sophie played it through and has actually returned to it a couple of times. Luc just got interested in the counting games, but isn’t interested in the adding or subtracting activities. Sophie has never been forced to “do math” and so it’s all a game to her. I explained ‘plus’ and ‘minus’ in about one sentence each and showed her on my fingers, and that was enough. She went off and played for awhile, enjoying the animations that go with the math.

200909131039.jpg

iWritewords —This one has lively graphics inviting you to trace the shapes of letters to form a word. Luc really liked this for a while and still will play it when an update has provided new words to trace. After you trace all the letters, you tilt the ipod to ‘flush’ them down a whirlpool drain. He likes that part. Sophie really learned the letters from Sesame Street, but I would credit this game as the source of Luc picking them up. Thumbs up.

200909131052.jpg

Dot 2 Dot —For a while Sophie was really into dot-to-dot books, so of course I went to see if there was an app for that. There is. Dot-2-dot is basically a dot-to-dot book with about twenty patterns to solve, and a handful of colors to draw with. Once you’ve drawn them all in, you’re done. For a buck, it’s twenty minutes of entertainment and number recognition.

Okay, enough of the schooly stuff. Back to some games!

200909131040.jpg

Flyloop—This game has pretty pictures and pretty music and involves drawing a loop around like-colored butterflies. It’s fun. Too hard for Luc (those butterflies are fast!), but Sophie has played and enjoyed.

200909131038.jpg

Kooleido —This is a cool looking kaleidoscope that creates repeating image patters of your choice (hexagon, rotating, ten point start, etc) out of many beautiful photos. The best part, though, is you can use your own photos. The kids had a ball one afternoon making kaleidoscopes of their own faces. “Look, here’s one with only noses!” You get the idea.

200909131354.jpg

Topple 2 —This is like tetris with faces on the blocks. Only you don’t have to fit the pieces together, just pile them up. Only watch out, the physics of the game will cause the blocks to slips and fall, tumbling over if you don’t place them carefully. The early levels are a blast for the kids, but after about five or so, it gets too tough. Time to restart. Luc can’t do the block rotate, so he’s less interested, but Sophie gets into it every now and then. Thumbs up.

200909131042.jpg

Triazzle —This is is a really fun puzzle game, where you match the sides of triangles to each other. When you get them right, the butterflies and frogs animate. It is a beautiful game to look at, and you can dial the puzzles in to the exact level of difficulty you want. Including very simple for kiddos. Sophie loves this game. I get into this game, too, in that way that solving a puzzle can be relaxing and challenging at the same time. Definitely recommended.

Some games we’ve tried that went bust for us are Frogger (too hard, too fast), Wild West Pinball (too hard to figure out when to flip the flippers, too static, maybe), Mazes (if you could draw the solution, this would have worked, but tilting the ball was too hard), iGlow (nice idea, but they were done with it in about a minute), Colorama (too hard to get the colors where you want them), Toki Tori (I’m not sure why this one didn’t catch on, it looks cute enough. Sophie says it was boring.) and Puzzlings (boring, boring).

Well, there you have it! Happy app hunting!  (See more of our ipod touch game reviews here.)

plants vs. zombies eats our brains

The time has come to reveal that lately, here at the yurt, we have a secret identity, a secret purpose, one we take very, very seriously.

We kill zombies.

I know I previously commented on a lack of zombie action here in yurtsville, but all that has changed in the last few weeks. Here is why.

[Dun dun DA!]

200908030940.jpg

That’s right. Plants vs. Zombies! Betcha didn’t know you could protect your lawn from zombies with horticulture. Well, we’re here to tell you: YOU CAN. And it is crazy fun! Because, when I say that Plants vs. Zombie’s has eaten our brains, I mean that in best possible way. Here look.

200908030941.jpg

See the pea shooters to the left?     And the zombies approaching from the right? We’ve got a bunch of cone-heads, a few bucket-heads, a scuba zombie, a javelin zombie, that guy in the ice machine is a zomboni. Up top you can see the flag zombie, leading the charge—see his little flag with the brain on it?

Aren’t they adorable?

How can zombies, animated, rotting corpses that want to eat your brains, how can they be adorable? That’s just weird.

But it’s only part of mystery that makes this relatively simple game—the goal is to plant a good defensive line of sunflowers, shooters, chompers, squash, etc. (eventually you collect twenty or thirty different kinds of plants) to stave off wave after wave of zombies—so freaking SATISFYINGLY FUN. Is it watching the zombies fall apart as the trundle across the lawn? Is it watching them turn to blackened ash when you explode them with a good cherry bomb? Is it the ever expanding roster of funny zombies and plants? Because the game is nothing if it isn’t amusing. Amusing CRACK.

200908030949.jpg

Here is a nighttime scene where you have to use various kinds of mushrooms (no sunlight in the night) to defend the lawn. Looking at this screen, my mouse hand itches to plant! It’s silly, challenging, and makes you forego sleep to keep playing. I’m telling you, Popcap hit the formula for playability just exactly right when they made this game. The kids play, Paul plays, I play, we cheer each other on, shout strategy from the sidelines, groan when the zombies break through our line and eat our brains—its just hours and hours of zombie killing fun! And it impresses the heck out of me that the game’s creators have managed to make something that is equally compelling to the three and five year old kids in the house, as well as their late thirty year old parents. That’s not easy to do! And they knocked it out of the park!

You should have heard us screaming in exultation the other night when the kids and I (I was driving the mouse for this one) beat the Zombot! We were all up dancing with the zombies, let me tell you, singing along with the break away pop hit “There’s a Zombie on your Lawn.”

200908030958.jpg

Good times! Highly recommended game. And just think how prepared we’ll be when the zombies come for us! I can just see us out there, arranging all the junk into zombie killing traps. Because everyone needs a Zombie Contingency Plan.

You know I’m right.

i think in digital

I realized yesterday, with a start, that my thinking about books has shifted to a digital model, without my noticing it had happened. It freaked me out a little because, hey, I’m a book lover. My standard answer to “what do you want for [birthday/christmas/holiday/etc]?” has always been BOOKS. Or, in the last few years, “gift cert to amazon.” Despite living in a 700 square foot house, there are probably a thousand books in here, two rows deep on every shelf and then crammed in sideways on the top, piles of them on every flat surface, ready to topple, with more in storage with several relatives across the state, and still more coming in all the time. The age of amazon used books has been a tremendous boon to me and bookshelf makers everywhere. I write them, I read them, I love them.

But lately, I’ve been reading them on my ipod.

Blasphemy!

Still, the shift has happened. For me the content has become separated from the delivery device.

It’s easy to see it in music, from LPs to cassette to CD to MP3s. I reckon it’s harder to see book-content as separate from its media—paper bound with glue and thread—simply because text has been delivered on paper for centuries. But just as vinyl was a delivery device for music back in the 70s and 80s, just as mashed potatoes are just a way to get the gravy to your mouth, paper is just a way to get text to your eyeballs. But books are not the paper they are printed on. Really.

But reading on an ipod? I’m kidding right? The screen is so tiny! How could that be any good? It would hurt my eyes! And the feel of books, the smell of the pages, the pretty cover, etc etc… how could I read on an ipod?

When I first got my ipod (and we’re talking ipod touch, in case anyone is confused) I never intended to read books on it. I downloaded a couple of free books for fun, sure, and I noticed reading them wasn’t so bad. The get-used-to-it curve for reading on a 3.5 inch screen was surprisingly short, and made shorter by how light and bright and easy to hold an ipod is. It’s weird at first, yes, the first book I read on the ipod (“Wizard of Oz”, downloaded for free, read out loud to the kids out in the woods) felt odd the whole time, but the weirdness went away. I’m serious, you just get used to it and it disappears, just like a treebook can. But I wasn’t hugely interested. I loved books. It was just too odd to read on an ipod. Like cheating on a boyfriend or something.

Then amazon came out with a Kindle for Ipod app.

It’s not that I’m a huge fan of Amazon DRM or anything, but now, suddenly, when I went to buy a book, there was frequently a version for kindle winking at me from the screen, often for about the same price as a used copy + shipping. And the big thing, the hugely compelling thing: I COULD HAVE IT RIGHT THEN. No waiting. Whispersync technology. Instant gratification. A powerful motivator.

So I bought a couple of kindle books. And read them. And I bought a few more. And then I noticed I was looking first for the kindle version, and felt disappointed if there wasn’t one.

Then yesterday, I was looking for something to read and….I was annoyed to only have paperbacks at the moment.

Huh? I was annoyed? At a book? For being a book?

Yes! It was heavy! My hand got a cramp holding it! And it didn’t have it’s own light! I had to twist around to catch the light from the desk lamp and I was uncomfortable! Reading! And, and, not only that, instead of a tiny finger flick of the hand holding the ipod, it took two hands to turn a page! The horror! On top of that, the pages were a bit dusty, making me sneeze! That’s right, I was allergic! To my book! And, and, I couldn’t just jump back to the fourth chapter to jog my memory about something, I had to flip endlessly, back and forth, to find it. How annoying! And as if that weren’t enough, when I put the book down, it didn’t remember what page I had been on! I had to find my own page! Can you believe that? I mean REALLY. Who ever put up with dumb old treebooks anyway?

See what I mean?

In addition, buying a paperback recently I thought, “I don’t want to have to store this book. It will just get dusty and take up space. And I won’t be able to find it when I want it again. I wish they had a kindle version.” Wow.

I rewatched “Ghostbusters” the other day—who you gonna call?—and remember that opening sequence where the elderly librarian is walking through the basement stacks and the card catalog drawers open behind her and the cards start flipping out into the air? I’m old enough to remember when libraries had card catalogues, but I saw that scene and sort of remembered card catalogs again for the first time in a while and I thought, how ridiculous to have to search through actual pieces of paper like that, how inefficient, how slow and prone to mistake. There’s no keyword search! No picture of the cover! No list of the author’s other works, or ‘if you liked this, you might also like this…” to help with browsing! And then I thought of the angels in “Wings of Desire,” sitting up on sky scrapers and fast food restaurant signs, writing down their observations of humanity in these tiny notebooks, moleskins probably, you know they were, and I thought, those notes aren’t tagged and searchable! No one will ever go through millions of tiny little notebooks to find anything! Those angelic observations are essentially lost forever!

It has happened, insidiously but it has happened. I think in digital.

martuz .cn can kiss my ass

This weekend my poor, traumatized blog was hacked again. Repairing the damage takes all the energy that would have gone into creating cool blog posts for y’all. So, sorry things have been dull around here for a few days. I don’t really want to increase my knowledge of blog security by a power of ten, which is what it would appear to require to keep the fuckers at martuz. cn from infecting my site with their nastiness. I did figure out how to block all the IP addresses that this stuff has been coming from. Maybe that will help. I could call down a plague upon both their houses, but the kickback is always a bitch. Maybe I need to hire someone. To beef up my blog security, not call the plague. Sigh. Tired. Maybe I’ll have something fun to say later.

whew.

Picture me, running around the yurt with my arms up in the air shouting “Go Me! Maya Rocks! Woo HOO!!!!”

That was the situation last last night when the google malware alert was lifted off my poor, victimized blog. Malware FREE. I mean, I had to learn a bunch of tricky tech stuff, and talk to friendly tech people, and figure out how to clean code, and everything! I felt like a freaking GENIUS when I got it to work again. There may not be dragons any more, but there are TOTALLY knights on quests to slay evil monsters, because that was me for 48 hours, Sir Maya out to defeat the Evil Malware!

I did it! Woot woot!

One thing—in the process of reverting to back-ups and updating this and that, etc, I lost comments from the last few days. If you posted a comment and it doesn’t seem to be there now, Sorry! Please feel free to re-comment! Especially if you asked a question.

Apparently thousands of sites were hit with the same thing, or so google tells me when I put in the particulars. A url out of South America somewhere was the source, go figure. There was a trojan component, plus endless lists of alphabetical porno pics injected into my site files. Nasty. I feel so used.

The image titles were actually pretty funny. Every variation one could think of was represented, in addition to LOTS I had never considered, hilarious in their specificity, things like jewish-jockstrap-gays, not to be confused with irish-republican-army-gays. Or how about louisiana-cops-fucking or kitchen-ass-sex? Or you could just stick with the basics and go with im-so-fucking-horny.

Weird.

And weird stuff to find on a blog that mostly features cute little kids and, more recently, kittens. For heaven’s sake.

But it’s all good now. Please come enjoy the kittens and kiddos with no fear of mal-anything. Or whacky fetish porn. This site is CLEAN, hallelujah praise be to the tech gods and my stubborn tenacity in the face of tech-y evil! Go me!

I’ve been hacked!

Holy shit! Some asshole put hundreds of weird porn images onto my server and google flagged my site as containing malware!

But I’m on it. The elves are helping. Things should be under control shortly.

Sorry!

how I blog

I’m hardly an expert, but a friend asked me the other day, after reading my one year anniversary post, what my thoughts were, at this point, on blogging. Heck, having a blog is all about spouting one’s opinion, right? So here you go…

—They say to have a single topic blog, and I get that. It makes sense. But it’s my blog and I’m not a single topic kind of gal. I do make use of categories and tags to help people who are only interested in part of what I write about, to find that part. See over there, in the sidebar? I’m helpful like that.

—The tone and style of blogs are personal and friendly. Make it funny, easy to read, and clear. I don’t mean that the content has to be lite. I just mean that the blog form isn’t the same as, say, a press release. Or a business memo. Beware of being too serious. It gets boring fast, and boring doesn’t get read unless one HAS to read it. And no one has to read your blog. So make them want to.

—Write what you want, what you’re interested in. Be into it or don’t write about it. If a post is boring to you, it’ll be boring to read.

—Pictures are good. Pictures are fun. Use lots of pictures. And make it easy for yourself to capture pictures. (But don’t post pics of people who don’t want to be on the internet. Obviously.)

—Yeah, I know, they say you should post every day, and no doubt, the blogs that come up with something new every day get more hits. But again, it’s my blog, and I only want to blog when it’s fun. So I post when I have something to say, and I don’t bang out a post because I think I should. Quality over quantity. And sometimes I do have something interesting to say every day. Hey, it happens!

—Be kind. There is a ton of snark out there, and snark can be funny, yes, and yes, rants can be interesting, therapeutic, and amusing. But still, try to add to the kindness in the universe every chance you get. If there’s a choice between snark and joy, pick joy.

—Cory Doctorow, I can’t remember where (probably his blog, haha), gave a really useful piece of advice on blogging: make your headlines google friendly, that is, plain and descriptive of what the post is about. Save the funny, the voice, for your content. I totally find this to be true. My boring titles get more hits. And thank god because I suck at catchy titles. Now don’t go looking at my titles to test me on this, okay? I’m doing the best I can, for heaven’s sake.

—The voice, content, photo, and layout of your blog is a persona. Even if it is very true to who you are, ALL of you is not on the blog, so what IS on the blog, by process of elimination, is not a whole person. Duh, right? But here’s the thing: don’t let your persona fall to chance. Cultivate the persona that you want. Now, I’m NOT saying to be fake. I’m just being realistic—all of you isn’t on the blog, the editing is unavoidable, therefore, edit the persona you present in such a way as to capture the bit of you that best serves the goals of your blog. I write funny, interesting, self-effacing stuff (or, I try to, anyway) and that is fairly authentic to me on my good days. But as my bio says, sometimes I’m a boring ninny. And I try not to post on those days.

—There are certainly cool blogs out there that are paying their hosting fees with ads, or even making some nice money with ads, and that’s fine, to each his/her own. But I just don’t like looking at ads. I studiously ignore them wherever I go, and am especially annoyed if they flash or wiggle, trying to get the attention that I don’t want to give them. So I don’t put ads here. If my blog is my internet home, I don’t want flashy, wiggling ads in my living room.

Obviously, I’m not trying to make money at this

—Don’t publish anything you wouldn’t want posted on a billboard. Never forget that a blog is not an intimate setting. This is the world wide web. If there is anyone on the planet you wouldn’t want to read X, don’t publish X, or if you must, do it under a pseudonym.

—A lot of people say that blogging takes away from their writing time, and I can see that would be true in a lot of circumstances. But in mine, that is totally not the case. Here’s why: I can work on a blog post off and on, basically all day, or for days, being interrupted a million times—as is inevitable with my full time job as Mommy. But I really can’t write my fiction in that way. I have to go to a deeper place in my head to do fiction. Interruptions produce a snarling “What?!” which is not how I want to be with my kids. Blogging, on the other hand, I can do with my kids. Heck, they often help me with my posts, taking pictures or providing content. But fiction—I do that on my own, either when I have childcare for them, or they are asleep. Blogging and writing novels do not compete for my time.

—Finally, keep a corner of your brain always on the look out for a good post. I find myself composing them in the bath, or in the car. My thoughts are trundling along and then, poof, I realize I have something to say. A blog post is born. I use ecto, which lets me have several posts going on at once. Sometimes I realize one has been sitting in the queue for a while and I’ve lost interest. That’s fine. Delete. But a little bit of me is always keeping an eye out for an interesting thought or image that I might like to polish a little and publish. That’s a big part of the blogging fun for me.

–Oh wait, here’s one more. My friend also asked me if I worry about running out of things to say. But I really don’t. I figure, I’m always thinking about interesting stuff, so I have an infinity of interesting stuff to write. I mean, the stuff I think about is interesting to me, anyway. If that stops being true—if I’m NOT thinking about interesting things—the problem would not be my blog. The problem would be my life

There you have it. Blogging 101 by Me. These are my rules. I make them up. There will be no advance warning when they change.