Learning more, reading more and sharing more

I have been busy lately. Busy at work and busy with learning and reading. And because I have been doing a lot of reading these past couple of months and because I keep everything in Pocket and Feedly, I now have a pretty interesting archive of articles on various areas of expertise. So, hopefully, in the following weeks I will be publishing quite a few collections of links, you know, to share the knowledge.

Thanks for checking this out and hope to see you back here soon!

 

Little bit of News: Apparently, Samsung + MIT = better batteries

They actually say these batteries will have ‘indefinite’ lifetime. Which is awesome. Finally. Now, let’s hope they will also find a way to make them affordable as fast as possible 🙂

MIT said the findings will become a “game changer” for the battery industry, as it “solves most of the remaining issues in battery lifetime, safety, and cost.”

The article was written by the good people at The Korea Times and you can find it here. It’s a short article with very few details but hopefully we will get more on this in the coming days.

Today’s NextDraft edition was full of good stuff

I mentioned before that I am a subscriber of the NextDraft newsletter, and today, I found there a lot of good stuff to be read. It happens once in a while that I find almost all the links shared to be good reads. As you would expect, tastes differ, and since I am not an american, some of the articles shared hold little interest to me. But today there was a good crop. I will be sharing all the stuff I found to be good reads in the coming days, or if you want to get to them all in advance, you can find the current issue here (I am not sure for how long it will be available), or just subscribe to the NextDraft newsletter.

Where is this blog going ?

I really have no idea. I keep trying new things until I find something that works for me. At first I wanted to make it about WordPress, but there are a lot of resources out there for WordPress and I eventually I did not feel like I had anything meaningful to add. So I changed its direction somewhat. These days is mostly a place for me to share interesting stuff I read online, whether or not they are related to WordPress or web development in general, for that matter. In any case, for the time being, I find that the current approach works for me. This does not mean I am not going to change its direction again, it’s a personal blog after all.

 

Where do I find the stuff I have been posting recently

You may not care how I find the articles I have been posting recently but I am still going to tell  you 🙂 . I am currently subscribed to both NextDraft and The Skimm plus a few other sites, but these 2 are rather central to my process of finding good articles to read. Whenever I read something that was recommended on either newsletter, I just go back to the main page of the respective website, and surprise, there I find even more stuff to read. Of course, not everything is awesome/great/interesting but without these 2 newsletters I would not have found some of the gems I have been reading lately.

So there you have it, NextDraft and The Skimm. Head over and subscribe and you won’t  be disappointed. And if you know of any other such newsletters, let me know, I am always up for some more reading.

Wingsuit Flight Through 2 Meter Cave

There are a lot of crazy people out there, but this guy seems to be one to the craziest. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not saying what he did is not amazing, it’s just that it is crazy.

Uli Emanuele pilots what is possibly the most technical and difficult BASE jump ever. For the past 3 years Uli has been dreaming about and preparing for what could be a world record jump. With just his wingsuit and hiking poles, he climbs to his exit point and realizes there is no turning back.

New (blog posts) series coming

I may or may not have mentioned that I read a lot. Mostly articles online, and on quite a variety of topics, some more interesting than the others. Therefor I have decided to share the articles I liked most, every week. This (blog posts) series will contain a recommendation of the day ( Monday -> Friday), and at the end of the week (Sunday most likely) there will be a post with a bonus of a few other recommended readings.

This concludes my announcement 🙂 Have a nice day !

Content curation – is it worth it ? part 2

After the first post I wrote on this, I started a new curated content blog. It was in my native language and the content was curated from local and/or national publications. Due to work picking up a bit, I interrupted it for a while, but I have not given up on the concept. I still believe I can make something out of it and will get back to it this very weekend. But it was a lot of work. I don’t think I actually knew how much. Well, now I do, and I will share some of the details with you.

Disclaimer: the blog was a general interest one, not a very narrow niche in other words

The project so far

So, I thought I would post every day, I would go through a lot of content in the evening, select the stuff I found worth of curation and put them together into a post that would go out in the morning, not exactly first thing, at about 9-9.30. But, one problem was that I had to read most if not all of articles in order to make a good choice. That was mainly because I almost got tricked by the god awful titles a bunch of times. There were articles that actually had good stuff in the content but the title was so awful that I almost skipped them. Therefor I had to actually read the articles and not go after their titles. And going through about 600-800 links takes time. About 3-4 hours just the selection. This considering that I also have a full time day job + the time it takes me to get home from work, it adds up to me going past my regular bedtime. Now, I was thinking I would also write something, just a few words on each article, some sort of a comment on it. Well, that turned out that to be a bit more than I could chew. Writing the post with comments + the selection took too much time, the fact that I also had about 15 or more links in the list may have beenn a factor as well.

The project from now on

And by now I mean from the post that will go out on Monday 🙂 . The posts will no longer have 15 or more links in them. I will try to limit them to 8 links at most, 5 would be ideal. I will not be putting my own comments on the links, but rather quotes I found representative from the articles. I will post Monday through Friday, with the Monday article being a bit longer, 10 links, that will have articles that came out Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I still do not have an awesome design for it so I will use the same theme I have here. I keep looking for something more appropriate or at some point I will build one myself, this remains to be seen. Also I will set up a mailchimp account and add some email collecting plugins.

In conclusion

I am still willing to bet on this, I think content curation could be a good model for me, since I suck at coming up with blog post ideas and writing in general. I will publish here my progress with the content curation blog, in as much detail as I can so that you will be able to learn from my mistakes or my successes.

Also I want to say that you should realise that with a more narrow niche this could be a lot easier (less articles to go through, less frequent posting etc). So keep that in mind if you think of starting something like this.

The last man on Earth – sort of a review

I saw the first 2 episodes of the new tv show The last man on Earth and I have to say I found it kinda cool. It put an interesting spin on the whole apocalypse scenario. You can find a lot of detailed reviews out there, on this big world wide web and I’m not going to get into details here, I just wanted to let you know that The last man on Earth is a show worth watching. Will Forte does a great job and Kristen Schaal ( an actress I find very annoying although I’ve read she is a great person ) is great for this type of character. I hope they get a full season, and I can’t wait to see how the show will progress.

photo from fox.com

Content Curation – is it worth it ?

I have done some content curation at on point, but then I realized that the website I was using was ugly, so I shut it down and was going to work on a redesign. And I didn’t. Work, laziness and procrastination got in the way 🙂 . As for that website, well, it wasn’t something greatly successful, it was barely getting 10 visitors a day (considering that the content was mainly automated, and it did not have an english audience), but it was slowly (very slowly 🙂 ) growing. With a bit more effort, I could have turned it into something great.

So, I just decided to discontinue my efforts on a couple of other stuff I was doing and focus on this. I have started doing research for the redesign and by this time next week the website will be back, new design or no.

Back to the subject at hand: is curated content worth all the effort ? What effort, one might ask. You just find content elsewhere and put it on your site. Well, that is the gist of it, but you still have to read all the articles you plan to curate, you still have to figure out which ones are worth sharing with your audience, and you still have to give them some sort of an introduction. You can’t just slap a title with a link and hope people will read it just because you put it there. But is it worth the effort ? Well, for me it is. I mainly say this because I am not good with producing original content, as you can see from this particular post. I suck at writing. But I can tell good content from bad, and the recommendations  I make to friends, I am told, are pretty good. So if you lack the talent to write good content on your own, content curation may be worth it for you too.

Checking to see if content is bigger than excerpt in WordPress

The problem: I need to check if my content was bigger than the excerpt in order to know whether or not to add a read more button.
The solution: This one was a bit tricky for me, but in the end with the help of the almost “all-knowing” Google, I found an answer. This here is my code:

 

So what happens here is:
– I first declare 2 variables to get both the actual content and the excerpt
– on the lines 5-8 I check if the post has a featured image and if so, I display it
– then on lines 9-13 I write an if statement to check if the actual content of the post is bigger than the one of the excerpt with the help of the mb_strlen function and I display either accordingly.

The rest of the code should be self self-explanatory.