What Was I Thinking?

Archive for the ‘oneserving’ Category

Internet World 2010

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I attended Internet World 2010 the other week. It’s sort-of inspiring to be in an environment where I can completely focus on my start-up idea. OTOH, I learned exactly nothing from any of the seminars I attended.

For a start, should I really have any respect for an internet-focused conference that doesn’t appear to support permalinks on its official website? I’m sure that in 9 months’ time that deeplink I’ve included above won’t be working any more.

Besides that, I think it’s probably more targeted towards successful businesses who don’t know anything about social media/internet behaviour. Pretty much everything was well out of the range of someone (like me) languishing in seed stage. I did manage to learn that a fully-featured content management system will likely cost about £25,000. So… I’ll be sticking with WordPress for a while.

Edit: Oh, forgot to mention the most important thing that I discovered; the one thing that made it all worthwhile. I learned about BrandBank, who distribute product photos and label information. Not much use to me at the moment, but once I develop the plain fruit and veg categories on One Serving, BrandBank will make it much easier to branch out into processed or packaged food.

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Written by Weefz

16 May, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Happy Traffic

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This graph makes me happy :)

One Serving stats graph

None of those Friday visitors are me and one person is responsible for 27 of the pageloads. It’s nice to know that some one finds the site useful.

(Or, y’know, they’re showing it to their friends going “OMG, I can’t believe someone would make such an ugly site. Look at this. Look at this!” )

I’m choosing to believe the former ;)

Written by Weefz

14 March, 2008 at 3:36 pm

User Participation, and Lack Thereof

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Way back in October, I mentioned that I wanted OneServing to be a place where people could post their own food tips – just little tricks you pick up with experience, like how to peel tomatoes quickly.

For the past few months, I’ve all but abandoned that idea because there was no way to prevent users from posting in the categories that I’ve reserved for the food info posts. All the common plugins cited around the net date from the pre-WordPress 2.3 era – i.e. before they moved to the “taxonomy” system. I spent days searching for one that works with WordPress 2.3+ but there was nothing out there. Eventually, I decided that user participation would have to wait until I could pay someone to do it for me. This would destroy the only sticky aspect of the site in the first place, but I don’t have the time to teach myself about the inner workings of WordPress and php AND do all the research for the food.

(Come to think of it, lack of time is a common theme in these posts, isn’t it?)

Yesterday, I got very excited because I fiiiinally found a plugin to do the job – Level2Categories 2. It allows you to set a minimum user level to access each category. As the admin, I can allow myself and future Editors to post into the Site News and various food categories. Any authors who self-register will be limited to Tips, Articles and Recipes and subject to moderation. Perfect!

No.

After spending ages setting the plugin up for my 50+ categories, I ran into the fatal flaw. The plugin links some WordPress tables on the wrong ID, so it doesn’t always correctly identify the categories. Several of my categories were being identified as tags and a few of my tags were showing up in the category list. Shit! I can understand how the author might have missed it, because the problem only shows up if you add categories AFTER adding native WordPress tags.

Never mind. I might spend some time rewriting the whole thing later this month if I get the chance. Would probably be easy if I was any good at php but with my limited experience, I spend more time fiddling with syntax errors than actually achieving things. It’s like my MUDding days, all over again.

[For those in the know, he’s linking wp_terms_taxonomy to wp_terms on terms_taxonomy_id = terms_id and copying them into his own table. That’s fine if you only use categories or use fixed categories that won’t change after you start adding tags or other taxonomy types. Doesn’t work with my constantly-expanding list of tags and categories.]

The author has seen a few comments I left on the plugin page before I figured out the real problem, so I’ve asked him to email me to explain it properly. With any luck he’ll fix it for me.

Written by Weefz

6 March, 2008 at 2:44 pm

Update: March 08

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As I said in the last post, OneServing got a bit of traffic coming through from WordPress.org. Most of those visitors did have a quick browse round the rest of the site so there’s a little bit of interest.

Looking through my visitor patterns showed that one poor soul had been searching repeatedly to find out just what one serving of fruit was. Unfortunately for them, I wasn’t completely happy with the post explaining how I chose the amounts I did, so it wasn’t available. With any luck, they had a look through a few fruit pages and realised that one serving of fruit is always 80 grams or 2.8 ounces. Still, I’ve posted the explanation for the fruit and veg and nuts and seeds categories. I’m sure future visitors will want to know the same thing. Better to have visitors leave the site happy and successful than frustrated and unfavourable.

Posted another 5-odd fruit and vegetables, bringing us up to 21 in total. I’ve also given in and plundered my savings to buy a couple of proper studio lights. My current equipment so far has been:

  • 80cm photo cube/light tent from eBay (£14.50)
  • Table lamp with 100W equivalent CF light bulb from ASDA (£12)
  • Boyfriend’s halogen bulb table lamp (free)

Yeah, not the greatest of macro lighting setups. OTOH, £26.50 is pretty good for a low-cost startup. Problem is, I spend way too much time processing the shadows out of photos and fiddling with contrast. Even devoting an entire day to the task only gets me about 6 usable pictures. The photo on One Serving of Whole Peeled Banana is pretty borderline.

The new lights cost me just under £85 so I shall expect a four-fold increase in productivity ;) They arrived yesterday and I have an exciting hour of almond, grapefruit and sunflower seed photography planned before my Pilates class tonight. Hope the lights will prove their worth!

I wonder if I can claim them as a business expense, since I’m now registered as self-employed…

Written by Weefz

4 March, 2008 at 12:38 pm

New Year, New Focus

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I have lost my way. Again.

So far there are 8 items of food published on OneServing. I have about 5 decent photos sitting on my laptop, which makes 13 when I post them. My launch target is 50, so there’s quite a way to go.

I have set myself some milestones. I can’t be bothered with full-on project planning at this stage, so they’re on Ta-Da Lists. One Serving: Getting the First 50 Items

Why I am so far behind

  1. Laziness – It’s easier to just hang out at my boyfriend’s or play games than do work.
  2. Inexperience – I’m not an experience graphics manipulator by means, so taking and processing the photos is incredibly hard work for me.
  3. Lack of info – I buy whatever fruit, vegetables or seeds I see in the supermarket that appeal to me. Then I find out that there doesn’t seem to be an official Glycaemic Index for them. Not too sure what to do about that. Will probably use substitutes (disclosed, of course) and wait for someone to correct me.

Written by Weefz

3 January, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Weekly Update – Weeks 5 and 6

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I was bad. I missed my weekly update for the past couple of weeks. Here’s what’s been happening:

  1. Took a bunch of food photos
  2. Posted 6 fruit and veg posts
  3. Added Glycaemic Load
  4. Added Calories
  5. Dropped foodquote
  6. Changed the style of the food info box based on feedback – apparently it was “threatening”
  7. Talked to a graphic designer mate about getting a proper logo
  8. Added a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England and Wales licence
  9. Worried needlessly about a replacement for Gravatar

So lots of little things. Add them up and I now have a fully operational almost-stylish food info site! :) Pity Google seems to indexing everything BUT the individual food info pages. Must look into that.

I was originally going for a very simple approach to nutrition – eat the right portion sizes from the right food groups and you should be reasonably healthy. My sister convinced me to add calories and glycaemic index. I think she’s probably right that people are used to calories – may as well give them all the info at once. Glycaemic index is another matter. It seemed a bit faddish but is supposed to be very sound advice. I’m keeping it for now. Must do more background reading to make sure it’s ethically okay. It certainly seems to be.

Foodquote – whe I first designed everything, the food info boxes looked a little empty. I had planned to find interesting, amusing or informative quotes for every food. Turns out it’s a lot harder than you’d think to find short literary passages on the subject of cherry tomatoes. Not only that, the information section is now rather full with the addition of calories and GL. For the moment, I have deemed the foodquote unneccessary.

Written by Weefz

19 October, 2007 at 3:26 pm

Automattic Avatars

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Remeber those issues I had with Gravatar and unreliability? Automattic, owners of WordPress.com have acquired Gravatar.

Looks like I won’t need to search for some other solution after all. Freaking sweet! :)

Seems that Automattic are aligning the planets for my startup these past 6 months. I needed tags for One Serving – hey presto, tags were available in the next version of WordPress. I needed simple, reliable, hosted avatars – ta-daa! Here they are. I need millions of pounds to be waiting for me when I get home tonight…

Written by Weefz

18 October, 2007 at 3:18 pm