Sunday, a time for light reflection and spending time with your PC. I mean, family. But when your son would like to kick you to the curb in favour of Minecraft servers, well, you roll with it for the day.
Item 19.1 was a bit more tweaking of my website. There are two things that annoy me a little with my setup and plugins. The first is really small…when I post a new article/post, my site sends an email copy out immediately as a newsletter to subscribers. For this site, there are only a couple of people; for PolyWogg, it barely cracks double digits. Most people get their fix either through FB or Twitter or other feeds. But the option is there. Except, because of the way the software works, if I use too many special “blocks” in the article, the formatting may or may not go a bit wonky for the person receiving the newsletter. Since I can’t control how the plugin reacts to non-standard formatting, there’s a simple solution to that problem — don’t send the whole post. In fact, that is also a best practice — just forward the excerpt, thus encouraging them to click to the site to read the article rather than just in email. Click-through conversions, yay me (no, I don’t really care about that, not as relevant if I’m not monetizing the site). Anyway, that’s all well and good, but I used to send the post to myself so I would have an email backup of the post. Now that it’s only the excerpt, it’s not quite the same. Until it occurred to me, why not just create a second newsletter that ONLY goes to a smaller distribution list (population: ME!), and which sends the whole post? Sweet. So I set it up on this blog and completely forgot to do it for PolyWogg too. Oops.
The other bugaboo is sharing automatically to FaceBook. If I copy and paste the link to FB, the pasting will take my image settings for either the featured image or the first large image. The SEO for it is a bit finicky, and sometimes doesn’t seem to hold for every featured image. I bypassed the problem with a plugin that auto-posts for me, but it wasn’t sharing the image. I read their online setup, the PRO version DOES force it to share a specific image source, so I upgraded. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, installed, posted, annnnnnnnd, same deal. It was NOT sharing the right image on FB. Don’t get me wrong, it was sharing an image from the post, just not the right one by default. Dang it. I was about to open a ticket, after all I just paid a decent sum for a lifetime membership, and it wasn’t working. But as I worked through the help files, I discovered that it was NOT a problem with the plugin NOR my site. It’s a setting in FB. In essence, I need to verify my website with FB. In the past, you had to create your own FB mini-app to link the two, and getting those set up if you weren’t a paying business was a pain in the patootie. If you were Joe Schmo, personal user, the company wasn’t even TAKING applications for a really long time. I blew through 3 other plugins trying to crack that nut, looking for ANY solution to sharing properly. Nada. But I found info on how to do it on the site for the new plugin, and it looked like it was active again. Actually, it’s a different way to do things, but I followed the examples, and dang if it didn’t work. I tested two posts, first one didn’t work, second one did. So I ran a test later with a real post from PolyWogg and it worked PERFECTLY. Woohoo! They’re small tweaks, but I’m really happy with them.
Item 19.2 was about TV watching for the fall. I treat premieres almost like fantasy football, picking winners and predicting losers. I managed to work my way through the plans for 47 new shows from Entertainment Weekly’s coverage, and while it isn’t everything, it’s a start. I even blogged about it. https://polywogg.ca/early-thoughts-on-the-2021-2022-tv-premieres/
Item 19.3 was about helping Jacob with his Minecraft setup. He plays Minecraft with a bunch of his friends online, and they are sometimes a bit clique-y for who can play or not. Most of the time they let Jacob in because he’s nice and doesn’t cause anyone any problems, but other times they’re fighting lags on the free servers of two of the other kids playing. And it was frustrating them to no end. So they were all trying to figure out a way to download it and run it from their own computers, hoping that would solve the lag problem (it generally wouldn’t, but they didn’t know that). Anyway, mostly the problem was the low quality of free public servers, so I checked the price to run your own personal server for Minecraft. About $5 a month. Jacob and his friends found a server they liked, it was popular and had good settings, and I set it up for him late this afternoon. They all logged in, there was no lag, everyone’s happy for now. I admit I have a bit of a Machiavellian side to my decision too…if he’s the one running the server, it’s not like they can kick him out if they’re trying to manage numbers. A small cost for his major hobby.