Prometheus Viral Videos and Websites

June 21, 2012 in Movie Reviews, Reviews, Websites by pacejmiller

The graphic that pops up after the credits in Prometheus

No, it’s not going to explain any of the gazillions of unexplained questions from Prometheus, the one film I think I might remember more than any other this year (given that The Dark Knight Rises isn’t out yet) — but it does explain why they got Guy Pearce to play a really really old man.

As it turned out, 20th Century Fox released a bunch of viral videos and websites for Prometheus. I know they want you to think they’ll help you understand the film better, but to be honest I don’t think they necessarily explain anything. Still, I have to admit they are intriguing.

The first one is Guy Pearce as a young Peter Weyland speaking at TED2023, which explains the origins of the Prometheus mission depicted in the film.

The second clip is one introducing David, the android played by Michael Fassbender. It’s my favourite.

The third is one of Noomi Rapace’s character Elizabeth Shaw asking for a chance to go on the space mission.

And here are the viral websites.  All of them, especially the last one, don’t have much, but it’s still interesting to see the amount of effort they’ve put into building a narrative to promote the film.

http://www.weylandindustries.com/timeline

http://www.whatis101112.com/

http://blog.ted.com/TED2023/

Ultimate WordPress.com to WordPress.org DYI guide for dummies

September 10, 2011 in Blogging, Websites by pacejmiller

I'm out!

I am master of my domain.

This is the fourth day since I completed the DYI migration from my WordPress.com blog (pacejmiller.wordpress.com) to my own domain (pacejmiller.com), and it looks like all is going well.  My blog is now freer, better to look at, and packed with more features than before.  And I can (potentially) advertise.  My old stuff is still all there and my new blog is still getting regular visitors.

For a lot of people in my former position (ie, thinking of migrating from WordPress.com to their own domain — and in doing so, shredding the ‘wordpress’ from their URL), I am hoping this post will provide a simple, comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to get it done — from getting your own web host to exporting/importing your old materials, installing themes and plugins and redirecting visitors from your old blog to the new one.

I had to learn the hard way because almost all of the guides I came across online were difficult to understand, required assumed knowledge or were plagued with gaps.

Anyway, I am going to start from the beginning and separate the process out under specific headings.  Feel free to skip the sections you are familiar with and go straight to what you need.

I must preface this guide by saying that I am no expert, just someone who had no idea what they were doing but figured it out eventually, so pardon me if I don’t get all the terms right.

Read the rest of this entry →

Welcome to the new blog!

September 5, 2011 in Blogging, Misc, Technology, Websites by pacejmiller

I'm back, baby!

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Deep exhale.

Finally, I have successfully migrated my old blog from pacejmiller.wordpress.com to my own domain at pacejmiller.com.  It was a little shaky at first but I think the blog has finally settled in.

The Big Move

To cut a long story short, I ended up doing it all myself, and it took a good couple of days and hours and hours of messing around and reading (and deciphering) online guides to move the blog over from the WordPress domain to my own purchased domain (from SiteGround) and to get it into the shape it is now.

In a previous post, I mentioned that I was going to pay the $119 fee for WordPress.com to do a ‘Guided Transfer’ for me, after previous attempts to export the material on my old blog to new blog failed miserably.  However, as it turned out, WordPress can only do Guided Transfers for people who have purchased a domain from one of their affiliates.  So I got the kind engineers at WordPress to do a full refund for me and I proceeded to do the damn thing myself, including how to redirect traffic from the old site to the new one.

For those interested to learn how it is done, I am going to do a post shortly that sets out exactly what I did, where I looked and where I sought assistance.  Hopefully it can help people in my position — ie, want to move your blog to your own domain but don’t really know what the difference will be and find the whole process a little overwhelming.

New Blog, New Features!

The first thing you’ll notice on this new and improved blog is that I have a new theme.  From day one I stuck with Regulus (a free theme from WordPress.com) and it served me fine for more than two years, but I felt it was time to go with a slicker, more professional look that made better use of the space.

So I ended up picking a new theme called Custom Community by Themekraft.  Custom Community is also a free theme but you can upgrade it (for $39) to gain access to more custom features, widgets and so forth.  The best thing about this theme is that it already has plenty of customisation options — the ‘how to’ guides are not necessarily the best, but if you muck around with it for long enough you’ll eventually figure it out.

The most noticeable difference with this new layout is that I have a massive slideshow just below the banner.  I have customised the slideshow so that every time someone opens the Home page it will display four random posts from my new ‘Best Of’ category.  Essentially, I picked out around 20 or so posts which have either been highly popular at one time or another or represent some of my better works and ideas and put them in this category, and I customised the slideshow to show posts only from that category and at random.

The second main difference is the three image boxes directly under the slideshow, which lists my three most recent posts.  Personally, I would have preferred to get rid of them but they are not customisable in the free version of the theme. [Correction: I just figured out that you actually can get rid of the post list under the General/Default Homepage tab under Theme Settings but I realised the blog looks better with them so I put them back in]

The biggest hassle with the slideshows and image boxes is that I have to create these new Featured Images on my existing posts.  There’s a new box in the new post creation screen and I have to separately upload an image to it — and the image has to be resized (to 756px in width) in order for it to fit properly.  And I had to crop the images in cases where the slideshow zoomed in on the wrong part of the picture.  Hours of work, I tell ya.  Hours of work.

Those are the most obvious differences but boy did I have to do a lot of stuff.  Even though migrating your blog keeps all your old posts and comments, etc, none of the widgets in the sidebar are moved over, so I had to redo everything from scratch.  On the bright side, it allowed me to clean out a lot of the old stuff and links that weren’t being used.

Lots of other customisations that you probably won’t think much of but took me forever.  For instance the header of the blog (that little blue strip of the night sky), which I grabbed from my old theme — that alone took like three hours because I had to get the size and placement exactly right.  The drop down menus as well — the colour, the shape, the shadows — all that crap had to be customised.

One of the biggest changes I’ve had to get used to is all the Plugins that I have to install in order to replicate some of the features I had on WordPress.com as well as the new ones to give me additional features that weren’t available on WordPress.com.  It’s been a struggle but I am slowly coming around.

The next step is to install Google Adsense and other advertising mechanisms to take advantage of the ability to advertise (something which WordPress.com prohibits).  I’ve already signed up for Adsense but it might take a few days before the application is approved.

Another thing I will have to go through is the wealth of information provided on SEO (search engine optimisation), which is crucial if you want to increase your blog’s exposure and traffic.

In the meantime, life will be back to normal and I will continue to pump out posts.  I already have a handsome backlog.

Anyway, take a look around at the new site, check out the new features, and let me know what you think.  Any comments or suggestions would be much appreciated!

Moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

September 2, 2011 in Blogging, Misc, Technology, Websites by pacejmiller

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I’m finally doing it. At last. Well, not me specifically, but someone at WordPress.com is doing it, for a handsome fee.

What am I talking about?

Well, in Feb this year, after consulting my blogging guru friend, I purchased my own domain name at pacejmiller.com. This friend told me that my blog had potential but was been kept in shackles because it was being hosted by the free and wonderfully user-friendly WordPress.com. However, being a free blog, there are of course restrictions on what you can do with it, including how it looks and operates, and the big killer, the inability to advertise. Accordingly, it was time for the blog to break free and soar to new heights.

So I purchased a domain (on special) at Siteground for a very very cheap price and it appeared as though everything was ready to go.

However, being a complete tool at the Internets, I got a bit overwhelmed by the numerous step by step instructions (which weren’t step by step at all!) on how to migrate my current site over to the new address. After all, my current blog is where everything is at — I lose the content I have on it and I lose everything. It was, frankly, a tad frightening.

I tried to use the supposedly simple migration process stipulated in the help articles at WordPress.com, which involved ‘exporting’ everything on my blog into a single file, which I would then take over to the new blog and ‘import’. Sounds easy enough, right?

Not quite. I made several attempts to create the export file, but perhaps it was because I had too much content or something, the system kept crashing. After a frustrating struggle, I finally obtained an export file, but the import process just wouldn’t work. The export file was corrupt or incomplete or just plain evil.

And even if it was successful, I’m not sure if everything could be moved over smoothly. For starters, I read somewhere that the embedded videos will not make the migration. Secondly, is it just the posts or do my numerous pages get moved over as well? What about all the custom drop down menus I painstakingly created? What about all the widgets (including the text ones I created myself)? Do I have to do everything again myself? And more importantly, what about my existing visitors and my Google rankings and what not? Will they become innocent victims in this seemingly innocuous move?

It was blowing my mind, and in any case I wasn’t in any particular rush. I also had a bunch of other things I had to take care of, so the migration almost entirely slipped my mind.

More recently, I started getting quite a few requests for advertising, which rekindled my passion for the migration. I had already wasted 6 months and who knows how much that has already held my blog back? But with a massive move on the way, job applications, freelance work, freelance work seeking and other crap, I just wasn’t prepared to go through all the time and effort of relearning how to migrate the blog and doing it myself again.

Thankfully, WordPress.com offers a ‘Guided Transfer’, which can be found in the ‘Store’ tab towards the top of the left side menu when you log in to the WordPress dashboard. In short, it’s $119 bucks and you work with an expert to do everything for you — seamlessly, of course. You agree on a date and time for the migration and they even stick around for a couple of weeks afterward to answer any queries and guide you into the world of WordPress.org.

Anyway, there’s no turning back now because I have just purchased the Guided Transfer, so the move will be imminent. I’ll keep everyone updated and informed on how things go, but in hopefully it will all go smoothly and visitors to the current address will automatically be redirected to the new one.

Moving forward, I think I will start a series of posts on the actual experience of migrating from WordPress.com to WordPress.org — including whether this Guided Transfer was worth it, any obvious differences between .com and .org, the impact of the migration on my visitors, rankings and stats, and (fingers crossed) my foray into running advertisements on the blog, in particular the best options for bloggers and the effectiveness they have in generating revenue.

So if you’re interested in any of that crap (told from a web moron’s perspective), stay tuned, and if you haven’t already, subscribe!

On a final note, having tried a couple of other blogging platforms, I can honestly say that WordPress.com has been absolutely fantastic and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone thinking of starting their own blog.

E-Book Millionaire Gives Hope to Aspiring Writers

March 6, 2011 in Blogging, Misc, On Writing, Websites by pacejmiller

Source: smh.com.au

A friend of mine recently sent me a link to an article about 26 year-old Amanda Hocking, who is apparently making ‘millions’ in the e-book market on Amazon.

Being an aspiring novelist, I was intrigued by her success, especially since there’s been nothing but depressing news lately on the publishing front with the collapse of RedGroup Retail, the owner of both the Borders and Angus & Robertson bookseller chains in Australia.

Can a writer really become successful selling e-books on Amazon?  Well, Hocking has.  She prices her books between 99 cents and $2.99, but gets to keep 70% of all sales.  She reportedly sells around 100,000 books a month, so by my calculations that would net her between $70,000 and $210,000 a month.  Those are numbers any writer with commercial aspirations would die to have.

Anyway, I looked up Hocking’s blog here, and learned that she is American, and she writes paranormal romance, which means that she probably owes some of her success to that person who wrote a love story between a human and a vampire (and a werewolf).  Hocking’s the bestselling author of Trylle Trilogy and the My Blood Approves series.

However, what I found most interesting came from her post on March 3rd, which really put things in perspective for me.  I’ll just quote her directly:

Everybody seems really excited about what I’m doing and how I’ve been so successful, and from what I’ve been able to understand, it’s because a lot of people think that they can replicate my success and what I’ve done. And while I do think I will not be the only one to do this – others will be as successful as I’ve been, some even more so – I don’t think it will happen that often.

Traditional publishing and indie publishing aren’t all that different, and I don’t think people realize that. Some books and authors are best sellers, but most aren’t. It may be easier to self-publish than it is to traditionally publish, but in all honesty, it’s harder to be a best seller self-publishing than it is with a house.

I don’t think people really grasp how much work I do. I think there is this very big misconception that I was like, “Hey, paranormal is pretty hot right now,” and then I spent a weekend smashing out some words, threw it up online, and woke up the next day with a million dollars in my bank account.

This is literally years of work you’re seeing. And hours and hours of work each day. The amount of time and energy I put into marketing is exhausting. I am continuously overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do that isn’t writing a book. I hardly have time to write anymore, which sucks and terrifies me.

I also have this tremendous sense of urgency, like if I don’t get everything out now and do everything now, while the iron is hot, everything I’ve worked for will just fall away. For the first time, I truly understand why workaholics are workaholics. You can’t stop working, because if you do, it unravels all the work you’ve already done. You have to keep going, or you’ll die.

Or at least that’s how it feels.

How about that?  I admit, I was one of those people that thought, maybe this is just some girl who got lucky riding the Stephenie Meyer wave, pretty much like how she described it above.  But of course, while she must have had some luck along the way (as most successful writers do), she succeeded because of hard work and persistence– not just in writing and editing but also in promoting and marketing her books.

While I do envy Hocking’s success, what I envy most is her determination and sense of urgency.  She’s not an overnight success, even if that’s what the media is painting her out to be.  She has been writing for years, written 19 books, with 8 novels and 1 novella published.  She didn’t get e-published until April 2010, and since then has sold 900,000 copies across 9 titles.

That’s the mental stuff I need to develop — that burning desire to work every waking moment I get, continuously striving to perfect my craft and work.

Kind of like what Charlie Sheen is doing right now — making the most of his life (and winning!).

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