Blog Archives

New website for the family

Its been a really long time since we have updated our website.  To be honest, its not very functional.  There are links that don’t go anywhere, pages with no content, and people usually only come to visit our site for the pictures.  So I decided to re-do the site, making it more of a blog/portal for our family.  Soon there will be family updates listed on the main page, along with links to our blogs, and picture gallery.  Soon you will find our site to be much more user friendly and contain the information you want as a visitor anyway.  We just need some new graphics and to finalize a theme to use.

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updated picture gallery

I spent some time on friday night and uploaded some new pictures to our picture gallery. Sadly it had been four months since the last update… Go to the picture gallery!

My WordPress wish list

I’ve tried many blog platforms, and am please to say that my favorite by far is WordPress. I really like the WP platform and the abundance of plugins to extend functionality. However there are a few things that can currently only be done with plugins that I would love to see become fully integrated into the core WP platform. Here is my list.

1. Better multimedia support. What if I want to podcast or post streamable mp3 files? Currently I have to use plugins such as this.player or podpress to enable this functionality. I think this should become fully integrated into the core of the WP platform

2. Lightbox – I think WP should integrate lightbox as well. This kinda goes along with the better multimedia support I spoke of above. It would be nice to have better integrated options for posts with images.

3. Gallery integration – I use a plugin for integration with gallery 2, which is great. But it would be awesome if WP could integrate support for various gallery platforms into their code. Having an options page for your gallery integration would be a huge time saver and supporting multiple gallery systems would be ideal.

4. Better uploads management. I think WP could have much better file level security and download tracking built in. It would be great to be able to have a built in downloads tracker, upload management and general file management. Perhaps some security settings, being able to restrict download of some files based on security permissions per user or something.

5. Better customization support. Sometimes its a little hard to place something on my WP site in exactly the spot where I want it. You usually have to have pretty good knowledge of CSS and PHP to be able to get it just right. Its hard for a novice user to make these kinds of changes. It would be great to have enhanced theme management to let you use an editor of some type to place custom content such as images, text, links, etc in exactly the spot you want, not just in the sidebar.

Thats about all I can think of for now, but if you (the reader) have any other ideas, I’d love to see what else people are coming up with in regards to WP suggestions. Feel free to leave your comments.

Vacation Summary

We are finally back from Vacation (actually got back on Tuesday evening). We had a nice relaxing time (mostly) and it was nice to see family and friends and places we haven’t seen in a few years. Now lets see if I can remember a few highlights…

My favorite part was playing badminton for over 6 hours straight. I think it was Saturday we had a family get togther and a cookout, after everyone ate, we started playing and it was a lot of fun. It was a little disappointing at how easy it was to beat Ray and Jeremy, I expected more competition than what I saw out there. Liz got some great shots of me playing, and they are available in the picture gallery.

We went blueberry picking (actually I took the kids to the field) and we picked over 13 pounds of blue berries. They were $1.50 a pound, so I spent almost $20, but boy were they good!!! I probably ate about 6 pounds by myself the first day we got them.

The kids played in a stream down a dirt road, and rode bikes through it. My kids loved it and enjoyed getting wet and muddy. At one point Abby had to go to the bathroom while we were all at the stream, so I carried her on my back all the way back to the house and helped her, and then we drove back to the stream in Uncle Jam’s car. I stuck Abby up through the sunroof so thats the first thing they’d see as we drove up. Then on the way back, I had Michael ride with me, I drove Jam’s car in reverse all the way back to the house with Michael in my lap, I had to hold the steering wheel tightly as Michael was trying to “steer” with me.

Overall our flights up and back were very good, no bumps or problems. When we got to the Tampa airport, our main bag was 3 pounds over weight. They made us take out 3 pounds. So Liz took her purse out and shoved some shoes in there to get through check-in. The girls were great on the flights, only bugged me a bit about pushing the seat’s recline button, they really wanted to push it bad, so I told them it was to push if you wanted to take a nap, then they weren’t really interested anymore. They watched a movie on my laptop on the way there.

We forgot Michael’s stroller on the way back, so Liz used the snug carrier thing that straps onto you, and carried Michael that way, which worked out good on the plane.

We rented a van from Budget on the way from Dover to Newark to visit my Aunt and Uncle. We got a nice Dodge Grand Caravan which was very comfortable. We had a nice visit with them as well and I ended up staying up really late talking “tech” with David.

Leaving Philly on Tuesday, our plane was delayed a little getting in, and had to wait in line for about 30 minutes before we could leave. So there was a little delay getting back home. Mike picked us up in their van and brought us home, which was nice.

While staying with my mom, we basically had no cell service, so it was a little disturbing to be so disconnected for the first day or two. After that I got used to it and it was actually nice not to be glued to my phone all day. I almost forgot how relaxing that is. I was joking around telling people that we have these nice GSM quad band world phones that will work in Austrailia, the UK and abroad, but we can’t even use them in Delaware! Cingular has good signal in the major areas, but service in the rural areas is really bad. Verizon by far is the better carrier in the north east. Now that Cingular is the new at&t, maybe that will improve over time.

Overall our trip was good, it was good to see old faces and places and catch up with people. We got lots of good pictures and had a relaxing time. However, it is still a difficult thing to travel with small kids, so I hope not to have to travel like that again for at least 5 years!!! 🙂

Finally! – NEW Pictures!

After more than 5 months of slacking, I’ve managed to sort through tons of pictures and come up with the best ones for uploading to our family picture gallery. So for those of you who’ve been waiting and asking when new pcitures would be available, here you go!!! Find all the new pictures at our picture gallery.

Changes to my blog

Last night I implimented a few changes to my blog. I added several new plugins that will make the site much more functional. Here is a list of the changes:

1. Share This – you will now notice a “share this” link in each post. This will allow you to more easily share any post on my blog with your favorite services, such as technorati, etc. There are many other services listed, and it makes the whole process much easier.

2. Blog Stats – I installed this plugin to get better information on the stats of my blog. I tried Google Analytics, but didn’t like the interface much. So I’m giving this a try to see if I can get better stats. I already have access to several other stat apps since I use cpanel on my hosting server, but I want to get some other information as well.

3. Gallery2 plugin – I added this so I can post about new pictures in my picture gallery on my main website. With this plugin, I can easily browse my albums and simply click an image to easily link to it and post a pic in my blog.

4. Random redirect – I added this just for fun, and made a post about it. Its a link that will take you to a random blog post on my site. Its toally for fun and I probably won’t use it much, but its still pretty cool. Stumbleupon type random post finder.

5. Search Everything – I haven’t enabled this one yet, but when I do, its going to be cool. It will let you search everything on my blog in one simple search box.

6. Twitter tools – I enabled this so that each time I make a blog post, Word Press makes a post to my twitter account. Again, not very useful, but totally for fun.

7. Updated today banner – I haven’t actually gotten this to work yet, but when it does work, its supposed to add a neat little banner to my blog saying its been updated today. I’m still working on this one.

Idea about our family website

I got an idea today about our family website. It really is a pain to keep up with changes and updates. Its been months since I’ve even uploaded any pictures to our gallery. (I do plan on uploading soon). So I thought, well, why don’t I do away with a complete website with sections for each family member for now, and just put up a page with links to my blog, our picture gallery, Liz’s blog (if I can get her to use it), and anything else that people might want ot see. Most people that come to our site go there for the pictures or to read my blog, so why bother spending all that time working on the site as it is now. So the plan is (whenever I get time), to take down the site as it is now, and put up an attractive page, very simplistic, with links of some sort to my blog, the picture gallery and anything else I think would be good. This will make maintaining our site much easier for me. Especially since people can get updates and news from blog, so there really isn’t any need to maintain that information twice.

And I promise, I’ll upload some new pictures from 2007 soon. We have some great ones too, so I’ll make sure I get on that in the next few days.

Website Re-design

After several years of little to no updating, I’m happy to announce that churchgang.us will soon be undergoing a major overhaul and will be completely re-designed. The new site will be powered by Joomla for the back-end, and completely customized on the front end with updated graphics and a new layout. A template has already been chosen and Liz and I will begin working on the new logo and graphics this weekend. I plan to integrate gallery2 into Joomla and perhaps even setup a bridge with Nucleaus so I can integrate our blogs on our individual sections as well. This will make churchgang.us much more accessible and easy to navigate. Much more information will be available on the main page and the user will have less clicks to deal with to get to the desired content. More announcements on this will posted as we make progress.

New Pictures

Ok, I’ve finally managed to get some pictures uploaded to our picture gallery on churchgang.us. Just click on Pictures and look for 2006. You should see an October gallery, just go into there and you’ll see the new pics!

Big Scare

Early this week I had a big technical scare. On Friday of last week I had noticed some problems with my hosting server. I contacted support and they said they were doing maintenance and would have the server back up in 3 hours of less. It came back up and I went about my business. Well then I noticed some pictures in my picture gallery were corrupt. So I submitted another trouble ticket. They ended up restoring a backup of my account which put me over quota which gave me another scare, but I was able to fix that one on my own. Then I thought my blog had been wiped out, but fortunately it hadn’t. I was just jumping to conclusions before really looking into it. So finally everything is ok except for some picture gallery issues which I should be able to fix without a problem.