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Some housekeeping and thoughts about the future of this blog

January 22, 2012

Now that I’m back here on the old blog I’ve got a bit of housekeeping to attend to.

Sidebar

In an effort to keep the site clean and easy to read, I’ve simplified the sidebar to the right. There are so many geoscience blogs now (this is a good thing!) that there’s no way I’m going to spend the time to maintain a list of them all here. I’ve got the automated feed of the >100 geoscience-themed blogs from my GoogleReader list (called ‘The Latest From Other Geoscience Blogs’). Make sure to check out this list updated regularly by Ron Schott for the most comprehensive accounting of all the blogs out there. And then there is a ‘recent comments’ and my Twitter feed. That’s it, no other lists, widgets, and other stuff.

Pages

The pages (links up on the header) are essentially unchanged from the previous incarnation except for updating my affiliation information and links to my page at Virginia Tech. At some point in the future I’d like to add a page related to all the geologic photographs I’ve posted. There are a bunch that show sedimentary structures and other features that may be useful for those of you teaching intro classes or sedimentology courses. I’m not sure what the best way is to do this — if anyone has any ideas, please comment below.

Archive

At some point I’ll move all the posts I wrote at Wired (September 2010-January 2012) over here to maintain continuity. Even when moved here there will surely be links within those posts that refer back to Wired. I will update some of those as I find them, but I won’t be fixing every single one of them.

Commenting

To comment here you can log in with WordPress, using your Twitter or Facebook login, or the standard name and e-mail (which won’t be displayed). Let me know if your comment doesn’t show up and I’ll try to fix it promptly.

Mobile/Tablet Viewing

People are increasingly reading web content on devices other than computers. The mobile version of this site (for iPhones, Androids, etc.) should automatically load and when I tried it the other day it looked pretty good. However, the platform for viewing WordPress blogs on an iPad (called ‘Onswipe’) is clunky and annoying in my opinion. I’ve disabled it (under Appearance > iPad on the WordPress dashboard). If that didn’t work and it’s still displaying, simply scroll to the bottom and there should be a link to view in standard format.

Ads

Although I have my own domain name, I’m using the free WordPress.com service for this blog. Since I was last blogging here they’ve started to include ads. So far, I’ve only seen ads at the bottom of some posts (between the content and the comment thread). The only way for this blog to be 100% ad-free would be for me to pay extra. For now I’m just going to wait and see how it goes, see how much it bothers me.

What Will I Blog About?

I don’t know yet. I will continue to show photographs from the field. It doesn’t take much time, it’s easy, I definitely have permission to do it (because they’re mine), and I really enjoy it. As I mentioned above, I’d like to come up with a nice way to organize all the photos so other educators/researchers can find and use them for their lectures or talks.

I’m going to hang up the ‘What Rocks’ series — the one where I highlighted and linked to five posts from the geoblogosphere every Monday. I’ll still link to the awesome stuff out there, just not in a regular series.

I’m pondering using this blog as a space to write more about the research in my field — the work my students and I are doing and what my peers are publishing. It will contain a lot of jargon and technical details and it probably won’t be accessible to a broad audience. It may contain stream-of-consciousness musings and only semi-coherent thoughts. And, because of the time it takes to do research, it may only be once every few months.

The number of people reading what I blog about will surely go down. That’s fine. For those that like labels, instead of ‘science blogging’, which includes outreach and broader science communication, perhaps this will be ‘scientific discipline blogging’ or ‘technical scientific blogging.’ Whatever. Obviously, the label doesn’t matter, but you get the picture.

See, I’m rambling already :)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 22, 2012 9:01 pm

    I never take advantage of it myself – but Blogger has View opimization choices available if one selects them. And yes, I do enable them.
    Time does press.I hope you learn to blog for relaxation. :) ( I should talk ! )

  2. January 23, 2012 10:19 am

    All completely reasonable.

    As to photos – I think you’re right that it would be nice to have those kinds of things easily accessible for other educators. I’d like to continue building my own collection of those kinds of things, so I’ve been thinking about this too. It seems like either flickr or picasaweb could serve well here, but the search in flickr is currently better. Picasaweb seems to return stuff that’s totally unrelated in the few searches I’ve done with it. I’m wondering if this is because people aren’t using the service as much, and/or if they are are they including those key word search terms as tags. Both allow photos to be tagged with key words, so one could imagine searching for “geologic structures” or “sedimentary structures” or even more specifically “load casts” at either one. As things currently stand, to find good photos people have things posted at AGI, on flickr, on picasaweb, on individual blogs, on personal websites, and on other photo hosting sites. Things are scattered all over and it is hard to know where to find really good stuff. My guess right now is that flickr is the leading spot for this kind of thing. I haven’t used it much yet, other than set up an account and do some searching, but in the searches I’ve done I’ve been very successful in finding really good stuff. Also difficult here though is how to connect people I know through blogs or twitter or g+ or whatever and find them on flickr too. Some sort of coming together of all of this would be useful to the community I think.

  3. January 23, 2012 10:32 am

    Charles … I’ve been using Flickr for years and really like it. I have a lot of photos on there, but not that many that would be good for educators/researchers. I have a lot in my collection, just haven’t uploaded them yet. The uploading part is easy, but to make them actually useful (and findable via search) requires a well-written caption and some geographic/geologic information, which takes some time/effort.

    Flickr has ‘groups’ where different users can add photos to a theme, but I haven’t used it that much.

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