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Severe Bass » Technical Blog

Fer DoppMonster
June 14th, 2010

Strategy – A plan to achieve something
Method – The way you attack a project
Technique – A skill used to accomplish a goal
Tactic – A method used to accomplish a goal

You use all of them
Strategies and Methods are similar in that they are structural
Techniques and Tactics are similar in that they are more associated w. handling parts of the strategy

Strategies are somewhat laid out. You can approach setting up your strategy via methods, but methods are specific plans, whereas strategies are more comprehensive and general.

Tactics are specific methods to accomplish something – I think of them often as somewhat universal methods or approaches to solving a problem that can be applied to whatever is at hand.

Being a musician, I tend to think of techniques as learned skills – or at least versatility. When you practice something enough that it becomes natural, I see that as yer technique.

Tweaking away (this is not about doing crystal meth)
March 16th, 2010

No, it’s about tweaking with this website thing (I just typed “twearking” and thought it was apt). I’m obviously dealing w. a dead template, but my posse says that doesn’t have to stop me. I got my brother to edit some of my php – I had it almost right, but missed a few pieces of code. I was additionally confused when reading the help guide and told to modify the “functions.php” file, which I couldn’t find. My brother realized he needed to create one, which I assume is not especially difficult – but don’t mean to undermine what he did. Once bro had that under control, I could start using widgets in my sidebars.

I then asked if he could get rid of one of those dumb-ass columns, cuz 3 is way better then 4 as far as numbers go. So he went in turned the original calendar code into an html comment, so (I think this what happened, right?) the css code ignored everything between the wickets. Next, he shrunk down the size of the right sidebars in the styles.css. All of this stuff makes total sense AFTER the fact, but I never would’ve know where to start.

So what’s next? Customizing the sidebars of course! I believe there will probably be even more tweaking going on there, as the defaults NEVER work for me, hah. In addition, certain html doesn’t seem to be recognized immediately by my janky theme (See issue w. the ul/ul and li/li wickets from previous entries), so that should be fixed. Also, I need to look into expanding my middle column (the header one) and start to tweak that. Playing around with pages is coming up – and then there’s the big item:

How to organize this all in a way that makes sense? Personally, I want to fuck w. all my permalinks and standardize them, then try to keep them in ftp as much as possible so if I ever switch hosting (or what-the-hell ever) I can make the switch easier. But what’s best long term? Will I eventually want to do a re-install of wordpress, losing the link? So many questions still remain. But, things are becoming clearer (after they get a little fuzzier at least!)

Stay tuned for the next drama….it’s almost like a soap opera except less corny (and little-to-no making out *sadface*).

When we last checked in….
March 8th, 2010

So, I’ve made some progress dealing w. this website – but this silly internet seems to love doing the “one step forward, two steps back” dance. Let’s review, shall we?

I messed around w. some other themes, but really didn’t like them – however I did learn more about using Fantastico to install my wordpress onto my blog, and eventually decided I needed to learn FTP a bit more anyway. So I:

  • * Installed wordpress via the “five minute install”. This actually took me a couple hours – first I installed everything in my blog2 subdirectory to get used to everything. It took me a while because I had to re do this about 5 times. (The biggest issue – I wasn’t recognizing “localhost” as the database host – doh!) Then I uninstalled the fantastico installment and deleted the blog2 subdirectory. Both these steps were pretty easy but then I realized how much site5/fantastico had done for me in creating the first one. I ended up having to clear out all of my tables, which took a little digging. However, I was eventually successfull in all of this – and really I have to admit that the site5 interface made this ABOUT as easy as possible.
  • * Next up I wanted to learn how to use themes a little bit more without depending on wordpress. Apparently my previous theme (Neo-Sapien) was no longer compatible w. wordpress, despite that the upgrade I made was only an edition or two. Frustrated with the lack of other themes, I searched some more and eventually found the link to download it directly. After a little fumbling around, I eventually figured out how to upload it via FTP and eventually get my dashboard to recognize it. SUCCESS! (?)
  • * Sort of. The site is currently in Neo-Sapien, but I can’t use any widgets. Fair enough, I go to http://codex.wordpress.org/Widgetizing_Themes to follow the instructions there. I think I do things correctly – however using one of the fixes, I am still not able to use themes in my dashboard. When I use the other one, my site disappears telling me there’s an $end error in line 36 or something. I know a little html, but not enough to trouble shoot this, so I’m currently SOL.
  • * I also had some issues getting my new admin account to synch up with the previous posts Severe has made on the pre-uploaded version of wordpress, but that wasn’t too bad. What was frustrating was that my gravatars took a long time to enable – I’m still not entirely sure what I did to get them to work, but they should be showing up now. Other people’s gravatars worked – just not mine.

So, I’m making progress, but it feels dreadfully slow. I still need to figure out how to customize this theme enough (or get a new one that looks similar as the black/red scheme is really what I’m looking for). Then I’ll need to tweak it as I remember some of the previous widgets I had not being snazzy enough. Eventually I think I’ll be able to get this all under control so the website feels coherent – and then the real work will begin. I’ve yet to start fucking around w. pages and categories vs. standard blog posts. And this is all just the groundwork – after that’s done I’m going to need to start putting together content and organizational pages. My previous goal was to launch officially sometime by the end of April – I have no freaking idea if that is achievable at this point, but will keep it as my goal.

However, it’s not all in vain – I have learned a bunch about FTP and page editing, and while it’s not especially hard or snazzy, I did configure this on severebass.com/blog all by myself. I really appreciate how much free support is out there for folks such as myself – I just wish it didn’t make me feel so freaking stupid sometimes.

BUT, first things first – I’m going to get a page or two set up (probably cursory pages for now) so you can SEND ME MONEY! I’m also getting more comfortable w. my laptop – it’s minor stuff, but I’m using my mouse, monitor, and keyboard from my desktop through my laptop and I forget my computer is even running sometimes because the fan noise thats associated w. my desktop isn’t there!

EDIT Now I have a new level of frustration as my ul and il wickets aren’t working – but it shows up correct in my visual preview. WHAT GIVES? (I’m guessing it has something to do w. my theme….grrr)

For posterity’s sake, here’s what my homepage looks like right now – again, I can’t wait to come back and laugh at how far I’ve come someday…..

Let's hope I'm eventually embarrassed by this

Owning the Internet can be FRUSTRATING!
February 26th, 2010

This page doesn’t look like I want it to just yet.  In fact, I am feeling a little of that “one step forward, two steps back” thing going on with ye ol website.  I’ll eventually get around to writing an intro that will include this general synopsis, but I am pretty much doing this on my own. That doesn’t mean I don’t have amazingly gifted friends who are ready and willing to offer advice and feedback at their earliest convenience (b/c I do – and in droves. I think part of the reason I feel so compelled to have this website is because of how many close personal friends of mine are absolutely brilliant at how they use the internet – and they love me and encourage me as often as possible, so I am truly grateful for all that). What it means, is, as mentioned previously, I’m kind of fucking clueless, which I wasn’t expecting.

How so? Let me just map out the last couple weeks. This isn’t a bitch session at all – instead I am hoping to think out the problems I have had so I can better understand them. Actually, what would be amazing is if one day, these writings actually helped someone else with creating and navigating their own web presence without making the mistakes I am. But for now, this is probably just for me.

Starting a few weeks ago, I finally started hosting severebass.com. I went w. Site5 on the recommendation of a friend, eventually deciding on them because their customer service was highly praised, their website interface looked more navigable then the main competition, and I found a coupon to save some money on my purchase. I don’t regret that decision at all.

However, my first confusion was with making sure the domain name, purchased dirt cheap through Active Domain actually transferred through to site5 (which it did). Then came logging into Site5 iteself – not too bad. Site5 also made it easy to point severebass to my current wordpress blog – nice. Things got tricky however when I tried to get a similar domain (severemusick.com – which is on my business cards) to go to severebass (and eventually the wordpress blog – for now). I thought I set up the dns servers correctly, but the controls over at Domain Panel suggested things would be more straight forward. I sent a couple emails to their Tech Support, getting the most basic reponse – eventually they told me my dns servers were set up correctly (note: on more then one occasion I did a search for what the fuck dns servers actually did and how to use them and didn’t find much that made sense to me – meh). Finally, after mentioning this to my little brother (a very smart guy and electronic engineer), he took on the task himself. He set up the parked domain (which I completely missed), and then when things didn’t work that way, emailed site5 on my behalf, and they made sure things were working correctly.

Sweet! Now I needed to tackle my FTP access. I used ftp explorer first as I already had a download of it in my folders somewhere, but while I could view the _incoming folder, and it seemed like I Could upload to it, nothing showed up. So I gave FileZilla a shot (At the recommendation of site5), and got similar, if not worse results. I figured I was missing something basic (as my little bro had put up a quick html page) and sent him screenshots. It turned out that even though site5 had a place for me to CREATE ftp accounts, what I really needed was my generic log-in in order to access the real files. Easy enough, I made the change. ONE STEP CLOSER!

Or so I thought. That evening I met w. my consultant, who after I plied w. half a carafe of sangria, started to look at what I was trying to do – specifically and overall. I spent the first half of the meal explaining myself and the last bit showing my consultant my strategies – things like my own personal workplan, a line-item-list of the columns and subcolumns I want in this site, as well as some of the basic functionality.

At least three times I heard: migrate your wordpress blog into site5. I was told this was quite easy, that using a 3rd party option known as Fantastico, this would all make sense. Which I did – I started a new blog at severebass.com/blog (which you are now reading). I had been under the impression that this would just mean linking my pre-existing wordpress blog into my site5 account – with more fancy-schmance options coming. Instead I found out I had created a separate blog, within severebass.com (currently directing immediately to severebass.wordpress.com). When I went back to my consultant making sure this was correct, I was assured that yes, I just need to now import my existing wordpress blog into the one I had just created.

This wasn’t too strange to me – I’d already tried this when I FIRST created severebass.wordpress.com. I’d done as much when I first tried to import my old blogspot. I realized I couldn’t choose the posts – so EVERYTHING came flooding through. It took me several sessions to delete all the old tags. But what I WASN’T aware of is that the attachments were still there – which ones? I don’t know. But instead of 4 or 5 posts, I imported over 140 items to the blog – and I don’t know what they are.

What I want to do with the blogspot is to store it all – separately – in it’s own /blog/archive folder. If I can get the tags to work JUST in that space, that would be sweet. If not – fuck the tags. Most of them are me messing around anyway.

This isn’t all so bad – I can navigate it. The biggest pisser (of the moment at least) is that the theme I was using in severebass.wordpress cannot be found now that I’ve migrated. The theme wasn’t perfect – but I liked it. It was black and red, with a customizable header, and called “Neo-Sapien” by Small_Potato. It, nor anything quite the same, is nowhere to be found now that I’ve moved. I can get around this as well, but it’s just a BIT FRUSTRATING.

It seems my next steps here are:

  • find a theme I can work with for now
  • from that theme, create the page wrapper I want to use and figure out how to apply it
  • start setting up my pages up non-publicly while I start to pull things together
  • figure out the best way to start upping severebass.com as the #1 google hit
  • learn more about this “categories” stuff I hear about and how it works
  • find out where to add my gravatar now that I’m signed in this way!! (answer – themes/widgets)

I’m sure I have more things I need to do, but I’ll start with these. It will be totally sweet when I one day look back at this blog and am amused by how little I understood things…:)

P.S. In case my tone isn’t clear here, all my friends who give me free advice are all complete professionals (and in the case of my consultant – probably a genius) for whom I have the utmost respect and appreciation for. My own frustrations lie in my wishing that I the internet will not read my brain, so I’ve spiced the post with plenty of hyperbole for effect. XO – Severe

P.P.S. Let this be the last blog post i publish before thoroughly proofreading.

Why I need help doing this
February 20th, 2010

I’d like my site to look like this please:

awesome drawing of my site #1

this picture is better then nothing i guess

(except, you know, AWESOME).

At least I’m thinking about it, right?

Patience in the Face of Ambition
February 12th, 2010

I’m trying to do this website thing on my own as much as possible. While that sounds GREAT in theory, there’s just one problem:


Well, that’s not entirely true. I do know a little something about websites. In the early 2000’s I was the administrator for a now-mostly-defunct online community (this was in the days of Friendster folks – cutting edge stuff). I didn’t actually program or design a damn thing, but I did get used to the behind-the-scenes tools that we had to use to flex our Admin-muscles. And I also got to sit in on a lot of brainstorming between two people who could have done this for a living (and sort of did for a while).

In addition to that, I like computers. I work with them. In my job, I’ve been forced (not exactly against my will) to learn html. I know, hmtl is some archaic bullshit and I’m 5 years behind after just starting, but it’s something. I update some how-to guides using old-school systems. I also check emails that go out to thousands of people for technical and logistical errors and then fix them. My job isn’t sexy, but I do take some pride in it and sometimes get to be close to some pretty cool stuff.

I consider myself a pretty smart dude – this is working against me at the moment. Because I consider myself a pretty smart dude, I kind of expected to pick up this whole “running a personal/professional website” thing pretty quickly. I figured once I made some basic decisions & spent some money I would be controlling my online presence. Big surprise (really it shouldn’t have been) that I am finding things are not quite as simple as I would hope.

Part of this is because I want to do it all – NOW! You hear me? I want a site already set up for me to update w. all my music available for download and some videos and a way to pay me if you like what you get. I want my blog up and running and followed so I can start connecting with people across the country/world/universe and collaborating. I want to have complete control over the sites that have severebass in them across all the social networking platforms – and now. NOW! (or at least you know, like by the weekend, right?)

Instead, I’m reading the beginner how-to guides while I talk to myself. “Where is that?” I say. “What do you mean?” I question the writer of the guide I’m reading. “That’s not how it looks!” I insist to a similar writer. “I don’t understand” I complain to the tech support departments of the places I host and bought my domains from. “Why doesn’t my screen do that?” I plead w the words on a screen.

Some of the programs I’m working on utilizing include:
WordPress (recommended by everyone and their dog)
FileZilla (recommended by my hosting provider)
Open Office
Virtual Box (and then linux – recommended by my brother after I broke my laptop w. a dual-boot install of ubuntu)

Perhaps it would be easier if I just picked one and stuck with it? NO! That is not the kind of thinking I’m promoting here. My theory is that it’s all connected – while it’s intimidating as all hell (did I mention I recently bought a laptop too?) at the moment, I have to keep plugging along. Learning a bit here and there is probably the only technique that will work right now. I don’t have the flow or the influence (or even the product) to be able to justify someone sinking free-time into a project like this, and I don’t exactly want to. Yes, I’d rather have a designer put together a kickass logo for me to put up everywhere, and then have a web person set up the back-end of a site for me that I can use their pre-installed and tweaked version of wordpress to kick ass with. But in the end, I’m going to be at their mercy. In the long run, I want to be able to do MOST of this myself. It will only be after I’ve learned that I can really decide where it is what I do is good enough, where I need to learn more, and when to just call in the professionals.

The good news with this is that I KNOW some professionals already….so if/when I get to that, the answer is easy. But for now, it’s time for tough answers I learned the hard way – then re-learned – and then finally start applying. Who needs to go back to grad school if I can find ways to frustrate myself w. my lack of knowledge ALL BY MYSELF?

The more I think about what I want severebass.com to look/feel/sound/smell like this time next year, the more intimidated, scared, swamped and EXCITED I get. I have great ideas – please make sure to check them out once I get them out of my head.

  • Tha OBAR!

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