March 29, 2014

My take on the Copyblogger comments issue

by Priya Chandra

You_talking_to_meCopyblogger’s recent announcement that they were shutting off comments on their blog has certainly sparked some interesting conversations in my neck of the blogging world.

I’ve been mulling over my own thoughts about this for a few days as I’m torn.

I agree with A.J Kohn that for readers of a blog “Commenting is your chance to get the undivided attention of that creator, if only for a few seconds as they determine whether the comment is interesting.”

But I don’t necessarily agree that in today’s online world those comments need to be on a blog post. Those conversations can happen anywhere (and often do) whether comments are enabled or not.

I also don’t agree that a blog has to have comments to be successful.

Many of the people writing about the Copyblogger decision are in an area that celebrates content creation in an online world. And their audience tends to be the same; creative people who enjoy creating content (usually by writing) and want to learn how to get better at it (usually so they can provide a service to people who don’t enjoy creating content).

And in that situation blog comments can extend the conversation and create interesting discussions for both the original creator and the people commentating/lurking.

Many blogs though cater to an audience that just wants to learn stuff – they want to know how to fix their T.V antenna; write a LinkedIn status update or worm their cat.

Or how about the audience that’s looking for advice on swimming pool construction; questions to ask a plumber before getting a bathroom renovation or the latest photos of a celebrity?

No matter how many calls to action you put in your post they’re unlikely to be interested in leaving a comment – they’ve gotten the information they’ve needed, they’re not going to hang around.

But that doesn’t mean the content is useless. I’ve gotten lots of extremely valuable information from blog posts that didn’t have a single comment on them.

It would be a shame if people writing these types of articles were made to feel failures because they don’t have the ‘social proof’ of comments.

So to sum up – I agree that comments can be useful (whether on a blog or elsewhere) but if a blog (even a really big one) turns off comments I don’t think it’s the end of blogging as we know it.

Image By Ped Xing from Austin, Texas, US (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons 

March 9, 2014

Open Spaces

by Priya Chandra

Wine in our new backyardStep 5 of the “10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer” is particularly pertinent to me today.

I know that I need to write every day, but today I definitely don’t feel like writing. My head is woollen from possible hayfever and my cat is desperate for me to feed her. She is apparently starving to death – someone please call the RSPCA on her behalf!

However, since I do need to write, here goes.

We’re currently renovating our house and garden. That means a LOT of waste is being generated on an almost daily basis as walls are ripped down, garages are cleaned out and weeds are uprooted.

For months we’ve had two massive piles of green (garden) and other waste sitting in our backyard. They were clean and fairly tidy but they were huge. Every time I looked out the back windows they were the first thing I saw. Even with our large backyard I felt hemmed in and very aware of the amount of work required to remove them.

Today, my younger brother came around with his trailer. He and my husband spent four hours in 30 degrees heat shovelling the majority of those two piles into the trailer, driving to the tip, ditching the rubbish and returning for a second trip.

An amazing effort by two amazing men. (I stayed inside with my gorgeous sister-in-law and equally gorgeous niece if you’re wondering.)

What’s even more amazing is what a difference the removal has made to my attitude towards the garden. Although there’s still a lot of rubble to be removed, all of a sudden I can not only see but also feel the potential of this space. We’ve naturally talked and talked about what we were going to do with the garden / backyard but before today it was all just talk to me.

Now, I can actually imagine us using that space, making it our own green sanctuary ready for wine and cheese nights.

November 14, 2012

Is Cardinal Pell serious?

by Priya Chandra

Warning: I will be ranting about the Catholic Church in this post. If this is likely to offend you, please don’t read any further.

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So according to Australia’s most senior Catholic, Cardinal Pell, although he personally would never hear the confession of a priest suspected of child abuse (bully for you mate, how about actually telling the police about this guy rather than simply not hearing his confession???) he personally considers “the seal of confession [to be] “inviolable”.

What the hell?

Let me get this straight. Cardinal Pell believes that the ‘right’ of a child abusing priest to ‘confess’ his sin (and they obviously know it to be a sin otherwise why would they be confessing to it?) AND BE ABSOLVED OF IT is higher than the rights of the child that this scumbag has violated?

How does this in any Universe equate to common decency let alone his self-professed Christian values and ideals?

And the Catholic Church wonders why people are so unkind to them – have they tried actually listening to the words that come out of the mouths of their senior staff?

Congratulations to those Catholic politicians (including the Leader of the Opposition) who have spoken out publicly against this appalling belief.

 

//end rant

 

November 12, 2012

Living the high life

by Priya Chandra

Our cats have suddenly decided that they want to play in boxes – after weeks of having just one box out that was completely unloved and unused, today they’ve both been struggling for possession of it.

So I pulled on my tradie’s boots and donned my safety work gear to create this masterpiece of cat furniture:

I might have found my latest business venture – what do you think?

November 6, 2012

Not exactly thrilled

by Priya Chandra

So apparently the race that stops the nation is on today but I don’t think they mean stopping quite this literally:

Shiloh took up residence on the couch about 3 hours ago and has not moved since then.

This position looks particularly uncomfortable to me but he seems to like it since he’s spent most of those 3 hours like this!

October 16, 2012

My council rocks

by Priya Chandra

Yes I know that is a bit weird and really not something most people say on a regular basis but I’m happy to say it loud and proud – my council rocks.

Last week I submitted a request to council to have a couple of trees looked at on the footpath outside our house.

One of the trees before…

Not only were they pushing up the footpath but an engineer’s report suggested they were also playing havoc with the house’s foundations.

I got a response back the same day that the council agreed with my assessment and that the trees would be removed within 4 – 5 weeks.

I was pretty impressed with the speed of that response and even more impressed when the council workers turned up today to cut the trees down!

the aftermath

It took them just over 1 hour to dispose of both trees leaving a few blocks of tree trunk behind (most of it was wood chipped as they cut the tree down).

It took the first scavengers about 5 mins to remove the majority of cut up wood!

Nice work local council and even nicer work local residents – good to see the magic footpath continues to hold its magic.

October 10, 2012

Yay for internet

by Priya Chandra

You know the worst part of moving house?

It wasn’t the actual move or the unpacking (though if my husband asks, it was so those two things).

It was NOT HAVING proper Internet for almost 1 month. I had the data plan on my phone of course and my father kindly lent me his mobile wireless for a while but it wasn’t the same.

Today though is a red letter day in my move – today I got internet and my life has returned to normal.

Thank you Internode – you delivered right on time as promised and have made me a very happy camper.

October 6, 2012

I’ve become one of those people

by Priya Chandra

You know, the people who ‘go to Bunnings’ – not because they have to, but because they want to. And not only want to, but are willing to spend lots of time and perhaps lots of money there too.

This is something completely new to me – I’ve never been a DIY person and always enjoyed the freedom that renting a house brought me. Tap loose? Call the agent. Need to hang a picture? Grab the removable hooks from K-Mart during the weekly shop. Full on maintenance and all that jazz were definitely not something I yearned after.

Until, we bought our first home. Now, all of a sudden I’m cruising the aisles of Bunnings, and yes I do mean cruising. Yesterday I spent over an hour in our local Bunnings (I have a local and it isn’t a pub, how sad is that) checking out the amazing array of items that I can purchase to make a complete new home – or provide an army of tradies with a few month’s worth of work fixing my mistakes more likely.

More by luck than by good management I managed to get away fairly cheaply yesterday – a couple of rakes, a new shower curtain and this amazing retro style lawn mower!

My latest gadget

It is so cool looking that I didn’t even mind that I had to put it together before using it (and by ‘I’ I mean of course my brother and by “didn’t mind” I mean of course was very annoyed until my brother said he’d do it).

Good thing we don’t have a great deal of lawn weeds to mow since I’m pretty sure I would be pretty unhappy at pushing this contraption around a regular suburban lawn but for the nature strips next to our inner city home it will be perfect.

Did I really just say I’m looking forward to mowing on the weekend? I really have become one of those people haven’t I

September 26, 2012

Pass the Gin please

by Priya Chandra

Well this has been a fun evening – not.

It started out pleasantly enough – lying on the sofa, scrolling through my twitter feed (yes, I have no life, stop judging me!) – only to be rudely interrupted by a shower of glass from the overhead light fitting.

Apparently when the globe packaging says “halogen globes burn hotter than other globes” what they really mean is “these globes will destroy the glass cover of your down light fitting making it look like this:”

The next step in this evening’s frivolity involved breaking a mirror. Don’t even ask how it happened – one moment I was holding it against a wall to see how it would look; the next I was getting the vacuum cleaner out of the cupboard to handle all the broken glass.

And then I made myself a large gin and tonic (in a non-breakable glass) and got the ice-cream out of the freezer.

Situation sorted.

June 22, 2012

Playing with website stuff

by Priya Chandra

Today I managed to drag a 2 hour job out into about 5 hours purely because I was playing (and breaking) with things that I really didn’t have to play with.

Luckily all the breaking occurred online and was easily fixed in the end. Website design work is fun that way!

I’m very lucky that I have the time available to me at the moment to do this sort of thing. This time around I even took notes so that the next time I encounter a similar situation (it involved changing colours which is actually a lot harder than you might think) I’ll know what to do.

And that leads to my next obsession – Evernote. I am seriously loving this software at the moment. It is something I’ve been using on and off for the past 2 years, but inline with my new resolution to actually peer below the surface of things, I’ve been spending some actual quality time with it recently.

And it rocks.

I’ve been comparing it to Google Docs – since that is also a free product available through the cloud – and I really do prefer Evernote. The ability to tag notes; clip webpages; easily move into different notebooks all make my life a lot easier. It is really simple now to clip an instructional webpage into Evernote, knowing that at any point in the future I can search Evernote to find that information again, rather than doing an online search.

Google Docs just doesn’t offer that facility as yet and even though I’m as big a Google fanatic as they come, I just couldn’t handle its navigation and clunky searching style anymore.

Ok, that is enough product spruiking for one day. Sorry about that!

Hope you have a great weekend.