CSS Humor

You can blame Hacker News. Specifically, this discussion thread on sarcastic CSS3 Rainbow Dividers. Here’s the sequence of comments that got the ball rolling:

lol at #tongue{position:cheek;}

Did you know that CSS caused one of the big disasters?

How about
.einstein {position: relative;}


I thought it was all so hilarious. Sucker for cheesy geek humor I am. So naturally, I tweeted it. (I wonder if that word is going to make it into the dictionary one day.)

A bunch of friends chimed in with more CSS humor. While my geek funny bone was being thoroughly tickled, my pattern recognition bone wondered, “Is csshumor.com available?” And indeed, it was!

I purchased it, installed WordPress as a quick & dirty CMS, set up some random theme, and invited some friends to submit more CSS humor. I got a bunch. Most notably, nine from the generously hilarious & prolific Groxx, who would later submit a total of thirty-one entries to date. It’s enthusiastic users like this that make small projects such a pleasure. Eventually, I redesigned the UI and made it mobile-friendly.

And that’s how CSSHumor.com got started. As Gary Larson once said, “I don’t know how interesting any of this really is, but now you’ve got it in your brain cells so you’re stuck with it.”

On Writing Faster and More Frequently

I’ve been experimenting with a new process for writing entries for this blog.

I used to mull over them for several hours, writing and rewriting each until it was somewhat more refined. This included hunting for photos, changing up the formatting, editing for clarity, etc. As a result, the finished products looked nice, but took so much time that I began putting them off.

Eventually, I found myself favoring Twitter over this blog. The barrier toward writing was much lower – just type out 140 characters and hit Send. How could a 3-hour blog entry compete over a 30-second tweet, when you have a hectic schedule? It can’t.

However, it’s difficult to express a full range of thoughts in 140 characters. So for longer thoughts and opinions, I’ve decided to return to this blog and lower the barrier to blogging.

I ride the bus every morning. That’s about 30 minutes of time to write. Or read, when the mood strikes me. So now I compose these entries on my iPhone. I write the entries in the good ole Notepad app, then copy and paste them into the WordPress app. I add some basic HTML formatting, and that’s about it.

What used to take 3 hours now takes 30 minutes. As a result, I find myself more willing to write. Perhaps the entries aren’t as refined as before, but at least I’m writing again. And that’s the goal – to keep this blog alive.

I decided to share this story in case you’ve got the same barriers and limitations I do. Sometimes, all it takes is a new method that lowers the barriers to blogging.

Bathroom Graffiti and Blog Comments

Is this wrong?

I saw some bathroom graffiti the other day. Several individuals were having a conversation on the wall. The dialogue was witty, snarky, and vulgar. Sometimes the same guy seemed to reply. Other times, someone else took the conversation in a hilariously new direction.

As I was reading all of this, I thought: “Hey, these are like blog comments!”

Then I felt all dirty and geeky inside. So wrong, so very wrong.

P. S. The photo here isn’t of the bathroom I saw. This is just a photo with a Creative Commons Attribution License from Flickr. In case you’re wondering.

Photo by: srbyug

Duh, Mr. Comment Spammer

Every once in a while, spam gets through my blog’s comment spam filters. It’s rare, but it happens.

And every once in a while, it’s a blatant piece of spam. How can I tell? Because the author’s name is meant to be some kind of SEO-friendly link text. Like “Free Viagra” or “XXX Porn.”

What I don’t get is, if this spammer was smart enough to get through my spam filters, why wasn’t s/he smart enough to use an actual person’s name? Like “Joey” or “Suzy?” The spammer must know that most blogs add nofollow tags to their comments nowadays, especially those with spam filtering. SEO-friendly link text is totally useless in those cases. So if they’re going to do all the work getting through the filter, at least make the comment look less like an obvious piece of spam, in the off-chance the blogger approves the comment and you earn a few clickthroughs.


Redesign and Reblogging

BizThoughts by Mike Lee You may have noticed a change over here. I figured it was about time to do a redesign. Every site needs a redesign once in a while, right? It’s like Spring cleaning.

Along with this redesign is a renewed commitment to write & blog more regularly. I’m pecking out this entry on my iPhone right now. Though it’s not the easiest thing to do on this virtual keyboard (I must have fat fingers judging by how many times I’ve mistyped), or on the iPhone in general (the WordPress app and Safari both crashed on me, so this is my fourth, count it: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th attempt, ack), blogging on a mobile device is terribly convenient. When it works…

I already use Twitter through my iPhone, why not my blog too, right? Convenience = more usage. That’s a formula for a successful product if I ever heard one. Hopefully WordPress on the iPhone is just as easy to use.

Props to ReadWriteWeb

ReadWriteWeb I often check out Techmeme for my popular technology news. Then I’m off to Google Reader for further news.

A new realization struck me today. Every time I dig deeper into a story on Techmeme, I click on ReadWriteWeb’s related entries to get more detail. Once upon a time, Iwould turn to TechCrunch for story details & commentary. Now it’s RWW.

I’m not quite sure when RWW replaced TC, but I enjoy their longer posts, thoughtful insights, and occasional personal commentary. While I don’t always agree with their writers, it’s nice to see that personal flavor in there. They cover all the same popular topics that TC, Mashable, GigaOM, and all those guys do, but sometimes I like a longer, more in-depth article than a quick 2-paragraph “Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma’am” kind of post.

So here’s my very non-RWW, “Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma’am” post to give props to RWW’s founder Richard MacManus and his team of writers. Nice job guys!

11 Reasons Why WordCamp Ruled

WordCamp San Francisco 2009 I geeked out this weekend. Went to WordCamp in San Francisco and saw a bunch of old friends, met a few new ones, and found some developers for WebMocha. Geeking out is fun!

And so was WordCamp. Let me tell you why:

  1. Tim Ferris showed us how to “peel” a hard-boiled egg without peeling it. Well, he didn’t really show us at the conference, he just referred to this as an example of a viral post.
  2. BuddyPress is a suite of WordPress plugins and themes that can turn WP into a social network. I’ve heard about this before and am now itching to try it out.
  3. Matt Cutts told the audience: “Avoid BO”
  4. Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz has a secret diary. Can’t believe I didn’t hear about this one sooner.
  5. Matt Mullenweg announced that WordPress and WordPress MU (Multi-User) are going to merge into the core WordPress installation. Makes total sense.
  6. Some guy loves WordPress so much that he got himself a WordPress tattoo. “I guess we can never change the logo,” said Mullenweg.
  7. The BBQ lunch was tasty. Yum.
  8. Tara Hunt uttered the question: “Are there any cougars out there?” Hehe.
  9. Ann Oyama did her very first conference presentation ever. Her nervousness was endearing and her custom WordPress theme tips great for beginners.
  10. Someone accidentally exited Steve Souder’s presentation through the side door, setting off the fire alarm. But we forgive him. He’s Canadian. Heh.
  11. Mullenweg reveals a WordPress easter egg. Ooo!

P.S. Bonus points for you if you know where I got the title of this entry from.

It’s Been Awhile

“It’s been a while
Since I could hold my head up high
and it’s been a while
Since I first saw you”
– A. Lewis

Has it really been that long since I last blogged? Wow. When I started this blog, I told myself I would blog at a minimum of once a week. Looks like I just barely made it with today’s post.

Life and work have been busy. That’s the usual excuse for not keeping up with a blog. Unfortunately, infrequent updates are also the usual reason readers abandon a blog. I sure wouldn’t want you to do that, goodness no!

In brainstorming a post for today, I thought: how is an entrepreneur to balance a regularly-updated blog and a start-up? Some business owners do this well. Many others, I suspect, are like me and sometimes find it tough to do both. What’s a busy entrepreneur to do?

Here are a few ideas:

Schedule It
Carve out some time in your schedule to blog. Maybe it’s in the mornings, right after you check emails. Maybe it’s at night, right before you go to bed. It may not be easy to find time in a busy schedule, but if you are like me and run your life with a calendar, whatever isn’t make it to your calendar won’t make it into your day. So schedule it.
Write a Bunch at a Time
Don’t have any spare hours to write? Perhaps there is an occasional slow work day. Take advantage of this block of free time to write a bunch of entries. Then schedule them to be published throughout the week or month. By their very nature, these entries can’t be about daily events, so pick time-insensitive topics.
Hire a Ghost Writer
This technique is controversial, though some celebrities do it (and on Twitter too). If you are a business owner and are trying to establish a brand for yourself or your company, I would highly recommend against this tactic, however. Instead, consider the next tip:
Assign a Team of Bloggers
Do away with the idea of your own personal blog and select some responsible & word-crafty members of your company to operate a company blog. You may want to write an occasional entry so your readers can hear (see?) your voice. Of course, this effectively means you’re running a group blog and not a personal blog anymore.
Write Shorter Posts
If you are prone to somewhat-verbose entries like me, consider writing a short post here and there. They are quicker and easier to do, not to mention a lot less stressful.
Use Alternate Publication Tools
Speaking of short posts, there are other publication tools that are formatted for smaller entries, such as Twitter, Tumblr, and Posterous. Consider using one of those for your self-publication needs.
Use Alternate Devices to Blog
If being at a computer is difficult because you are frequently traveling, then download a blogging app for your mobile device, such as WordPress on Blackberry, WordPress on iPhone, TypePad on Blackberry, Blogger from Blackberry, or MoveableType from iPhone. There are plenty more out there too.
Give It Up
Ultimately, it is a matter of prioritizing your workload within a finite amount of time. If there are simply too many other important responsibilities, maybe it is time to retire your blog. Bid bye-bye to your abandoned blog.

Of these tactics, I try to schedule some time to blog and occasionally write a bunch at a time. Once in a while, I’ll do a shorter post just to get an idea or comment out. But to make sure my blog doesn’t start attracting cobwebs, maybe I’ll need to schedule a weekly time for them.

These are just some ideas I’ve heard of or thought up. Do you have any other suggestions?