December 13, 2014

Blog Design Bummer: nRelate bids farewell!

Advertisement, c. 1865 (PD)
Perhaps a year ago or so I was tired of using Linked Within to show "recommended posts" at the bottom of each journal entry on this site.

A large part of that had to do with customization: I wanted more control over how my site should look, and after doing some research, I chose nRelate to serve this function. Not only was it easy to add their html/javascript gadget to Blogger, but it allowed me several design options for how my images looked, how the headlines looked, and more. It also allowed ways to monetize sponsored content and also let you keep track of clicks and views...although, being a design newbie, not a lot of this mattered to me--I just wanted something that looked good.

Then I received a very brief email December 4th stating very simply, 

Unfortunately, we are retiring the nRelate platform at the end of this year.For those who are presently using our service, we will stop serving recommendations on December 31, 2014. For all users past and present, reports will be available for download in the Partners dashboard until January 9, 2015.  For those who are using our ad service, payments will be sent out on schedule in the new year. All nRelate services including our customer facing dashboards will be terminated, and you should sign up for an alternative discovery platform by the end of December.

I now have the joyful task of finding a decent replacement for my nRelate content bar, and I'm at a loss for what to do.

I'm hesitant to go back to Link Within, but I also don't want to spend money on a product when I'm making the lowest amount of money I've had in years...(read here  and here).  So far, the products that I'm finding on the web either charge money or are designed for Word Press sites...

And I briefly had a Word Press site. I didn't like it because of the amount of money I had to throw in to customize a webpage, but it looks like most of the widgets designed for blogs are Word Press.

Grr.

If anyone has any suggestions for a good content-widget formatted for Blogger, please let me know in the comments!

December 11, 2014

It was one thing after another.

Source via Giphy
A month-long absence from my own website? Shame on me!

I haven't mastered the art of time management so that I can still juggle responsibilities even when crisis-mode hits. And that's kind of what happened. 

During Thanksgiving, my PC was annihilated. I have about three theories as to what could've happened, but suffice it to say everything was obliterated when I had to do a factory restore. I could save very little of the four years of work that lived inside my machine. Most of my files were too big to backup on Dropbox (I thought they were backed up all this time, too!) and Crashplan said it would take 76 days to backup about 7-10 GB of my data. (I have a 900 GB hard drive, btw...though it wasn't close to being full, at least 400 GB of data was taken).

I didn't have the money to get an external hardrive, so I burned DVDs, CDs, and uploaded items to different flash drives in the hopes to save photos, videos, music, and my creative projects. 

The PC crashing every 20-30 minutes while trying to back things up didn't help. 

Anyway, after doing a factory restore, my machine has not quite been the same ever since. 

My work from Nanowrimo was lost... a lot of my school files were lost...several programs that I downloaded instead of opting for an installment CD were lost, and I will have to buy new licenses for them if I wish to re-download. This includes almost every piece of my graphics software--Manga Studio, Photoshop Elements, Creative Suite...etc.

It's been a huge bummer. 

It's also the end of the semester and teaching (even more so, grading) has been extremely challenging this term. It's currently Finals Week and I have been working like a madwoman to get things graded...only to have lost all of my work yesterday when my flash drive got corrupted (I think that's what happened. When it rains it pours, right?) 

On top of all that, stress and illness have kicked me when I'm down. Money troubles, too. Student Loans are killing my paychecks.

SO! This is why I fell off the planet. I will have about a month off after Finals Week and will start teaching at the college again January 13th...will try to stabilize my PC and get some creative works up and running (or completely rewritten) over again. 

Thanks for your patience with me!

I currently do not have any "Proust Your Protagonist" entries lined up, so if you are interested in participating, please comment or email me!