With a bit of spare time on my hands, I decided to change the way embedded pictures are enlarged to a more contemporary and elegant method. Feel free to click on any image within any post, and please do let me know if you come across any buggy behavior. Thanks!
I have spent the last hour or so recovering my blog from backups after it was hacked by some f***ers who had replaced my WordPress installation with a single sound-hotlinked page in Arabic. On a plus side, I am pretty diligent with backups, so I was able to restore all of my stuff pretty quickly. On a minus side, I apparently did not back up all of the WordPress plugins, so there may be some things that will not be working correctly until I get to them later in the week. For instance, clicking links right now seems to result in an error… (fixed – 11/6/11)
If anyone notices anything else missing or behaving strangely, please drop me a line, I’d be very obliged.
The interesting part is that the Travelog section was untouched. Of course, there is a question of what kind of protection my hosting provider has that allows such hacking to occur.
Back to our regular [scarce] programming…
We’ve been back on the home soil for two years now. I felt a tiny bit of re-branding of the site was due. The word “[back]” was no longer appropriate as the modifier of our local status.
So, welcome to “Burlaki on the Hudson”, all!
Heh! The whole thing took me less than half a day to turn around, and a couple of hours were idly spent on waiting for DNS changes to propagate.
I have one strange artifact in the Travelog, which I will have to look into at some later time. I also do not yet see the mail server resolved to the new platform. But other than that, burlaki.com is now residing at a new host. And I actually managed to get the cost down to one-fourth of what I was paying before. It’s not that great deal of money, but it makes me happy nonetheless.
If you catch any strange behavior with the website, please let me know. Cheers!
… but there will likely be an intermittent downtime at burlaki.com in the next couple of weeks.
The reason for that is that I am moving the domain to a cheaper hosting platform.
When I started the website about four years ago, I was not expecting that the main blog would become practically the only regularly used feature. I did know that I wanted to host the picture gallery within the site, I suspected that I might need more than one blog running, I had plans for other “fun” sections, I even considered eventually building an online store to parallel Natasha’s eBay activities.
So I went for dedicated hosting, with enough room to grow in my hosting plan. At $9.95/month, it did not feel like a tremendous expenditure.
As time went by, all the site grew into was three different blogs and a picture gallery. Quite a while ago, I concluded that it will not grow into anything else. With such limited needs, paying ten bucks a month for hosting was definitely a waste.
Since both blogs and galleries can be well hosted for free on a variety of specialized platforms, I considered moving wholesale to WordPress and one of the photo sites, supplemented by a set of index pages on some free hosting platform for purposes of re-direction. This worked for Becky’s blog (which she has not been updating for months) and for Picture Gallery, both of which are now hosted externally to the main site. But the main blog and Travelog section both make heavy use of WordPress plugins, which are not available at wordpress.com. I am loath to lose some of the older posts that rely on those plugins.
I also thought of moving to a no-fee domain hosting platform, but researching that I realized it was an obvious case of “you get what you pay for”. I’d rather spend a little money but be able to rely on prompt assistance and not run into regular “this option is only available for premium accounts” responses.
Without boring you any further, I will be moving the remaining two pieces of this site, the main blog and the Travelog, to a host that will provide me with everything I need to run two blogs within one site but charge me one-third of what I am paying for hosting today. The downtime may occur during the time I switch DNS routing from old host to the new one, and also if, for some reason, the newly configured site does not work as needed right off the bat. You should not notice any design differences, though; I am transferring the entire configuration without changing anything.
If you use RSS to subscribe to my blog, and you experience longer-than-usual interval of silence from me, you may have to re-subscribe. While the URLs of the two blogs will remain unchanged, I am not sure if RSS will catch up with different DNS routing by itself.
This sign at a nearby supermarket parking lot kinda symbolizes the speed of my movements this weekend. Aside from seeing friends and watching football on the telly, I devoted the large part of the last two days to cleaning up some loose ends in the Travelog (the most recent articles on Kraków and Budapest are now complete, and the map has been updated to finally show a continuous darkened area stretching across all of Eurasia) and adding a few pictures to the Travelscapes. That’s the extent of the new content. We’ll be back to our regular programming soon.
I know there is a handful of people out there who subscribe to my RSS feed via FeedBurner (which is where the “Subscribe” button on the navigation bar pointed to until today). FeedBurner was bought by Google some time ago, and they are gradually getting around to migrating their service to a different platform. I’ve heard about occasional problems with that from different blog owners who have already been migrated, and, to be honest, I never really needed the additional bells and whistles that FeedBurner provides, some of which, I understand, are no longer going to be available on the Google platform anyway.
Therefore, the Subscribe button now points back to the original feed. I’m not planning to get rid of FeedBurner altogether, so any of my distinguished subscribers who want to stick with that may not even feel a thing, with luck. But if you notice a disruption in the feed at any point in time, please consider re-subscribing with the original feed.
Oh yeah, I also changed my old boring favicon to a slightly less boring one. If anyone cares to clear their browser cache to have it updated, it would make me happy.
Don’t worry, you’re in the right place. I decided to redecorate, is all.
Comparatively loud colors and large fonts tired me after a while. So, I chose a more subdued look instead. Because the selected template was seriously different from the old one, it took me somewhat longer than expected to adjust it completely to my liking, which had a nice bonus of being another little programming project. I rarely get to employ my deteriorating skills otherwise.
Anyway. Please let me know what you think. While I am reasonably positive that all major graphical components appear fine in the new template, I certainly did not go over all of my hundreds of posts to check. If you notice something out of whack, I’d me much obliged if you let me know.
Burlaki.com are happy to announce our newest feature: The very cool annotated World Map. Made possible by the excellent Flash tool by amMap.com, it puts every place in Europe that we have ever graced with our presence onto the interactive map and provides short capsules of visit context and timing for every destination. Further links to available destination overviews within Travelog are provided in synopses.
North America and the Caribbean remain to be annotated next. New destinations will unquestionably be added as we continue our traveling exploits.
We’d love for you to check it out and tell us what you think. Any notes, corrections, suggestions can be left in the comment thread here.
As I have mentioned elsewhere, for the last few weeks I have been chipping away at our old travel diaries, transcribing the observations about sights, museums, restaurants and hotels into Travelog entries. To my own surprise, I’m actually finished with that now. While I have what I think is a pretty nifty idea of what to do next with the Travelog, for the moment I do not have any outstanding material that needs to be converted into an online post.
I’ve no pretenses of being a travel journalist or, really, of having any talent for reviewing things. While the Travelog was meant to record our personal impressions of things that we’ve seen and tried, I know I err too much on the side of de gustibus non est disputandum to forcefully advise against something that left less than a positive impression on me (except, of course, a horrible meal somewhere). And for the things that I do like, I eventually run out of synonyms to nice/beautiful/outstanding/excellent/remarkable/magnificent/majestic/splendid/striking/stunning/resplendent/lavish/opulent to lay claim to any exceptional quality of my wordsmithing.
But what I started to realize as I drew closer to the completion of that body of work is that I put this together primarily for ourselves, as ready references for our future visits to the places that we’d already been to. Which helps to explain why there are so many passages of “we did not do this, but plan to do it next time” in various articles.
On the other hand, I certainly expect to continue to refer people who come to us with questions about what we liked at such and such destination to the online Travelog. So, anyone interested is more than welcome to look. And if you see anything there that helps you plan your next trip or anything that would trigger a recommendation different from mine, please, by all means, let us know.
I unexpectedly got inspired to play a bit with a Flickr plugin, the result of which is the Travelscapes widget on the right (it opens into a page that displays the entire photoset, if you click on “view more” link). I’ll likely work on several adjustments, but I like even the simplest form of it. Let me know if something does not seem to work. More pictures will eventually be added.
It occurred to me a while after writing the previous post that there may be topics of interest to my readers that do not cross my mind on their own. Therefore, here’s an open solicitation for all manner of questions that people may want to hear answers to on my blog. Feel free to leave your question in comments thread or send me an email. Thanks!
I hate to disappoint people waiting for recent pictures from us, but they are unlikely to appear until some time in September. We, as a rule, post photos only after our resident Photoshop maestro, Natasha, had a chance to apply some improving touches to frequently already brilliant shots, and in her absence, I feel neither empowered nor qualified to muck around with all of those Curves, Shadows/Highlights, Channel Mixers and what-have-you’s…
Actually, the only pictures I could post would be the ones from our pre-holiday outing to the Windsor Castle (yes, a single unedited picture was included in that post, but that’s my limit for exposing our “raw” photographic material). I am not about to lug my laptop with me to France to transfer current holiday pictures from the flash card.
And as far as the Windsor pictures go, there are a few with me in it, looking… how do I put this nicely?… portlier than I want to appear in public. I simply do not have the wherewithal to make myself slimmer in Photoshop. As a result, everyone will have to wait for a while for new images from us.
I spent a good portion of the weekend updating my Travelog with entries related to our recent trip to Spain, including some of the stuff from the trip four years ago. If anyone is interested, the good starting point for new entries would be here.
The pictures are coming in a few days.
Surprise! I spent a little bit of time and moved the main blog to the WordPress platform. Initial reasons for doing that were outlined here, and I have gotten more and more convinced of the overall superiority of WordPress as I kept playing with it. I might write more on the subject later on.
I had to write my own database conversion script to migrate all of the b2evolution stuff to WordPress, as there does not seem to be anything available on the web, aside from convoluted “disguise-it-as-another-platform” procedures. I am quite happy with the result, and if anyone ever needs such a script, I am more than willing to share. The rest of the work was in adjusting all of the theme templates to something that would be usable without much tweaking across multiple themes.
The initial look and feel is very much like the one at the old location. I still need to make some internal adjustments, but the new site is already in operation. Please feel free to let me know if you come across any glitches.
And if you put my blog under Favorites, you may want to update the link, although if you are still pointed to the old b2evolution location, it will kick you over here automatically . Either www.burlaki.com or www.burlaki.com/blog will do the trick.
I am happy to announce that my elder child now has a soapbox of her own within confines of this website. The link is now prominently featured on the navigation bar.
Warning by the newly-minted authoress: You are not really advised to visit if you were born before the 90’s. (P.S. There is only one post there so far…)
Man, what was I thinking!!!!
I am not much of a user of the “Links” sections on personal websites, which is why my own such section has been utterly inadequate since the very advent of Burlaki.com. I finally attended to making it somewhat presentable over the weekend. Whoever thinks they might find something useful there, feel free to browse. Use the link on the navigation bar or click here.