a new look
Take a look at that cute header (made with Wordle and Picasa's collage feature). Now refresh/reload the page. What happened? Thanks to the coding I found over at Vincent Liu, we now have rotating banners: twelve different pictures from my adventures in Scotland, England, Vancouver Island, and at home.
Then there is the rotating quotes which give you something to think about while the rest of the page loads.
Next up is the nearly empty left-sidebar. It loads first and then quickly gets on to the good stuff, the daily posts.
In the posts, I'm real happy with the new threaded comment feature from Intense Debate that does NOT require you to leave the home page. To comment, just click on the comment line, and the little input box drops down from there. Everything just nudges over to make room for it, much like the neighboring houses did for the Order of the Phoenix headquarters.
From there we move on to the right sidebar, which I am particularly proud of. You know that I have a deep and abiding appreciation of blog widgets and tend to accumulate them in such quantities that the blog takes forever to load and looks cluttery. I have solved this, I think (let me know, eh Kate?). The right side-bar loads last, while you are reading posts, so I put all the 'clutter' over there and then I used Hoctro's very cool tabview widget to get rid of the clutterly look. I must admit that this was a very tricksy installation and required a great deal of modification. Someday, I'll post a step-by-step of how it works for me.
So, the right side-bar. First we have another rotating quote full of thought-provoking comments from my political hero, Dr. Ron Paul, Congressman - Texas. Then the widgets begin.
See the me! me! me! header? Click on one of those things beneath it. Cool huh? Click on another one. I've tucked into that widget all the things that a new visitor may want to have, but that old-time readers are probably getting sick of.
Next is you! you! you!. Those tabs have the most recent comments listed as well as a list of the posts that have the most comments. I use this tab to quickly see where the new comments are.
Then we have the posts widget. Here you'll find a list of the 15 most recent posts, as well as the linked posts (posts that someone else has linked up - your blog could be here, just find a post in my blog that you find worthy of sharing and link it up into one of your posts) and my technorati rating.
Next up is books tabwidget. What am I currently reading? reading next? regret reading? recommend that you read? reviewing? It's all there in the books widget.
Then there is shopping. Want to spend a couple of $100 dollars on me? I make it easy with my wishlist. Want to buy something for yourself and give me a little commission? Click through my endorsements or favs links and I'll earn a nickel or two for Chickadee's orthodontia fund.
Then is the label cloud which I may move into a tabwidget when I figure out how to do that, same with the bloglines reader, with which I keep track of new posts on the blogs I read, I'd like to put that into the you! you! you! section, but it didn't cooperate. And archives clearly needs to move into posts.
And I still need to tidy up the stats tabswidget which is currently sitting in detention at the very bottom of the page (avert your eyes, it's not pretty).
And while we are chatting about the blog itself, it is designed for, and works best in Firefox. If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer, it's time to upgrade to a modern browser. Web browsers all (except for MSIE) conform to a set of guidelines that make webpages look the same no matter what browser is being used. So, if this blog is not wowing you with its beauty and grace, it's time to join 621,675,859 other people and get Firefox. Besides, it's free, it's fast, it's easy to install and navigate and it has a whole bunch of nifty add-on features which I can tell you about on another day.
So, what do you think? How is the load-time? the gnomes? Is it all working for you?