Changes to Shed.TV

Overnight, I received a notice from the previous video host I have been using for the past 6 1/2 years that they were going to shut down the Stu’s Shed channel.  Bit abrupt disappointingly, and without explanation, but so be it.

So, over the next few weeks I will be migrating all the old videos across, directly onto the WordPress servers.  I already pay for the VideoPress service, so the only issue is going to be space, but that is easily fixed by throwing a few dollars at the problem.

I have just worked out the stats for the videos still hosted on the old host (and this does not include the videos from the past 18 months or so).

132 videos, totaling just over 25 hours of footage, and taking up 16GB of space.

I am going to use this as an opportunity to clean up the whole Stu’s Shed.TV area, and have not yet decided exactly what I will be implementing.  To start, I will need to edit every one of the original posts so they point to the new video location (when I upload them).  Then just how I index the collection will have to be decided.

Given there will shortly be quite a surge in the number of videos produced, it is rather timely 🙂

Total number of views of the existing collection (again not counting videos that were on HowCast (before they shut down the channel), or on YouTube, or any produced in the last 18 months), is 418736!

And to think that I was looking for a sponsor of the videos back in the early days, and noone was interested.  That’s 1/2 a million times their sponsorship would have been promoted by now!  Well at least I can remain a lot closer to my ideal of being ad-free 🙂

All Change

Taking on the guise of the Mad Hatter, you will have noticed some changes around the place.  Nothing too dramatic, but some font and colour modifications.  I may change the background too, if I can find something wood-like that is suitable.

This all stems from the pro-upgrade I’ve purchased to improve the place.

For one, I needed a new (and better) way for hosting and embedding video.  My original method (using blip.tv) had become very problematic in recent times, so needed something new and better.  The solution was WordPress’ own video hosting, called Videopress.  Few drawbacks, one being it costs, and two I would have to pay for storage (blip.tv was a free solution), but it is worth it. I needed it to continue to integrate with iTunes for the Stu’s Shed podcast, and this does so without any hassles.  Expect more regular videos again – they have been LONG overdue!

So along with video hosting, extra storage, I also like this site to be ad-free, at least of ads I cannot control!  All these popup and auto ads on sites really suck, and I hate banner farms.  In the past few years, the free WordPress site was pushing ads onto posts (you may have seen some in past years, and again on here recently), as my 1 year no-ad subscription had expired.

The pro-upgrade includes the no-ad option.  Oh, and I use stusshed.com, not stusshed.wordpress.com, and again it costs to have that.

The one option I didn’t specifically go out of my way for was site customisation, but seeing as it came with the pro-upgrade, I thought I might play with that as well, tweaking some colours and fonts.

So there you have it, all for you ongoing viewing pleasure.  No ads, inline videos and more storage space for multimedia content.

Droll

The best content is original. Repeatedly re-blogging others content (look at your archives for the last 6 months) indicates you have no original ideas. I remember when Stu’s Shed was ‘great’, now it’s droll. – Sam

It was an interesting comment I received from “Sam” after posting about Michael Turri’s phenomenal work that happened to have been previously mentioned on The Wood Whisperer.  Unlike other media, apparently bloggers are only entitled to write original content, and not refer to anything someone else has commented on. Not sure why there are “Press This” and “Reblog” tools available, if not for reposting interesting content found elsewhere (or retweet for the twitterati).

However, if not for my readers this site would not exist, so you tell me what you want.

From Sam’s comment about the last 6 months, I decided to count back. 145 posts. 20 posts that I would regard as re-blogs (or primarily to embed someone else’s YouTube content).

'Droll' Content Graph

‘Droll’ Content Graph

Sam suggested I rename my blog “Wood Whisperer Reblogged”, although there has only been 1 post in the last 6 months.  There have been 8 from Lost Art Press (Chris Schwarz’s blog).

So my question is this: are you interested in me reposting interesting content when I find it, or not?  If not, it would simply have meant 20 less posts, but the real question is whether you think it degrades the whole site or not when I do so?

And just as an aside, have a look at some other sites, and see how much of their own “original” content they post.  And how much advertising they have.

“No original ideas”? Seriously?

WordAds

At the time Stu’s Shed turned four, I paid for a premium service that prevented adverts being shown on the site.  For a while there I had a link for anyone inclined to make a donation to the site, but after a number of months, I decided to remove it again – didn’t like asking in the first place, and the $0.00 donated in all that time just demonstrated how fruitless that proved to be.

More recently, WordPress (the platform I blog on) released a product called WordAds.  I looked at a couple of sites they gave as a demonstration, and I saw a few links only, very subtle indeed, so decided to see what happened when I switched it on.  Forgot about it for a few weeks.  After posting tonight, I had the experience of seeing just how subtle it was on here.

A full width banner at the top of the page, and another large one in the right hand column.  Subtle is not how I’d describe it.  Nor targeted.  Horrible comes to mind, and a few things worse.

I still haven’t seen even what the first (partial) month earnings are (I can’t imagine much), but after seeing how intrusive the ads were, I have immediately switched them off.  Guess I’ll have to find another way to fund the site.  Bugger!

2001: A Blog Odyssey

Rather than quoting Prince, we move to Arthur C Clarke, and a look back to the dawn of man (or in this case, this blog).

Back at the start the blog was created to package up videos for a feed to iTunes.  As much as it achieved that, the blog itself quickly grew a life of its own.  Now given so many site visitors have read much, if not all the site there is less point rehashing where we’ve been, and just get to the point: where are we going?

First things first: Put any fears aside, there are no radical changes to the blog on the current horizon!  (I’m not ruling it out in the future, so never say never, but no plans as yet!)

What I do want to see changed:

I’m looking at the video hosting options.  Since starting, blip.tv have implemented change after change that has pretty much ruled them out remaining as a long term option for video hosting going forward.  So I am likely to head down the route of using VideoPress (which is videos hosted by WordPress – the platform this blog runs on).  This does have one drawback: cost.  But the convenience will be superb.  I will end up also having to spend on extra storage: videos have a habit of really chewing up the available space.  And that means even more cost.

A return to Triton.  I have been in discussions and negotiations with Triton (via Kincrome), and I am intending to reintroduce the hobby-starting tools back into this blog.  So projects and demos etc could be seen on mid-range gear (such as my large tablesaw etc), or on a range of tools responsible for so many becoming weekend woodworkers (and some moving on from there into serious woodworking.  There may also be some high end gear becoming available too.  Time will tell.

I am hoping to identify some limited, interesting items to be able to sell them directly through the site. Not sure what they will be.  These days if you find something from overseas to sell, there seems to be a growing movement for some to undercut sellers where possible irrespective of whether the playing field is level or not (normally isn’t).  So overseas products without absolute exclusivity is too much of a risk. Somethings Australian made perhaps (and still exclusive to Stu’s Shed). Or, well see the next point.

I am really interested in having a published work (or rather works!), and have a few different directions available.  Book of plans, or woodwork instructions perhaps.  Perhaps individual downloadable PDFs.  Probably a pipe dream – need time to create something like that!

Still, no mention of advertising, paid sections etc.

There may be more, just nothing else that comes to mind. Onward and upward!

Is the Internet in danger of ceasing to exist?

In its current form- simply, yes.

There is some legislation in the US being proposed that would effectively destroy the internet as we know it, with many websites (including this one) potentially being shut down for good. If you are wondering why Stu’s Shed is at risk particularly, it is because it is hosted in the USA, and the service provider (WordPress) could have its hand forced to shut down a website, whether or not it is based in the US.  Irrespective, Google could be forced not to provide links to this site (if this site was accused of piracy, substantiated or not), which would still be a death’s sentence.

Wikipedia are taking it very seriously indeed, and in less than 18 hours will initiate a 24 hour shutdown of the whole of Wikipedia.

If these legislations go through, or similar ones are raised and actioned either in the US or Australia, and there is a question of copyright infringement (legitimate or otherwise), then this site could be shut down, and quite simply it would be permanent. I couldn’t afford the legal battle that would then ensue.  An accusation of piracy would be enough to be blacklisted, and it is then up to the accused site to prove that it hasn’t breached copyright.

You can read more here: Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)

and here: PROTECT IP Act (PIPA)

Here is hoping sensibility will prevail.

Update: as part of a global movement, this site, and my photo blog Stu’s Darkroom will be displaying the Stop Censorship ribbon until 24 Jan 12 (when the US congress votes on the bills).

These bills are more threatening to the ongoing use of the internet than spammers, and that is saying something.

Update 2

Wikipedia is off the air!

Tags and Categories

I’m giving some thought to the whole tags and categories thing on this blog, and particularly to how people might be searching for past posts / areas of interest etc.

When I started, there was only the option of Categories, and through a series of changes, there are now also the ability to tag posts (which from a search point-of-view is exactly the same, so the difference in some ways is a bit academic).

However, the one noticeable difference, is Categories allow the use of the drop down selection, tags don’t. Also tags don’t allow any sort of hierarchy.

What I’m thinking of doing is limiting the number of categories to each of the main machines (tablesaw, router table, drill press, powered handtools, shed, etc), and have the tags be more specific, and varying.

Be a bit of work going back and adjusting all the old posts to the new format (over 360 posts!), but it might be worth the effort to get it more right. The category method has been altered by WordPress, and is a lot harder now to assign the right one, so for a while I’ve just been too lazy to bother, so that is probably going to be the final push to change to the new system. It has to work for me, as well as the readers!

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