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Stuff By Josh

Three years ago I started a blog for my 13 year old son, Josh.  Titled “Stuff By Josh”, my idea was that it would encourage him to write about whatever interested him.  He wasn’t doing too good with his English at school, he was more interested in playing video games like Minecraft, so I thought if we encouraged him to write about his games at least that would have him thinking about spelling, grammar and the composition of legible sentences.

Unfortunately, the Stuff By Josh blog didn’t last very long.  After just six posts, Josh lost all interest in blogging.  In a few days time the domain name I registered for the blog,, is expiring, so I’m simply going to let it go.  It would only be $12.50 to renew the domain through Crazy Domains, but as the log-in details are long forgotten there isn’t much point.

For the sake of archiving Josh’s work before it disappears, I’ve taken some screenshots for the gallery below.  (It can also be found in the Internet WayBack Machine.)

This post contains affiliate links to Crazy Domains.

Perils of free web sites

I’ve been thinking about adding a page to this blog to show case my favourite photos that I’ve taken since getting my DSLR camera.  Simply adding a page in Blogger maintains the same layout as the rest of the blog, complete with the search, archive, labels and adds that appear in the right column, but I’d like my best photos to be shown using the full available width of the blog.
I could pay to make some really nice pages using SmugMug or SquareSpace, but so far my hobby of an online presence only costs me a nominal amount for domain names and a Pro Flickr subscription, so I’d rather not throw money into the cloud when there are free options available.
Free options?  Yes, there are still plenty of ways to maintain an online presence without costing a cent (and I’m not thinking about social media at all);

  • As my photos are already on Flickr, the easiest for me would be to simply add a link to a Flickr set or slideshow.  However this is hard to incorporate into my blog, as I cant link back to my homepage.
  • I tried starting another blog using Blogger, but a blog format would make a new dated post whenever I wanted to add more photos.  So I added a page to that blog (formatted without the extra column) for my best photos, but that gets awkward because even though I can link back to my homepage, I cant remove the link to the homepage of that blog.
  • I thought I’d give WordPress a try, this is a very popular platform, but ran into similar problems of dated posts in a blog format or a page with links to it’s own homepage that I couldn’t remove.
  • The next option to try was Google Sites.  I originally tried Google’s free web site building service a few years ago to a make a family page, but found it very hard to work out and far from user friendly. I ended up going to Blogger for our family site.  (I now use Blogger for the site you’re reading now and my Web Links site.)  Having another look at Google Sites recently I still found it difficult to work out, but they have made some improvements from a few years back.  The advantage this time for me was that it doesn’t have to be a blog format, so I was able to create a photo page that linked back to my homepage.

Sure it took some trial and error with cursing and head scratching, and it’s not as pretty as a paid site, but I got there in the end.  That’s why I enjoy my online hobby.



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Windows Live Writer

As I’ve previously mentioned, my blogs are hosted and written on Google’s Blogger platform.

This post is something different; I’m writing this using Windows Live Writer to see if it’s any easier, if it has any advantages over using the Blogger web site.

Sure I can insert a smiley face Smile but when would I need that in regular blog posts?

I can insert a table / grid like this…
but I don’t think I’d use it much

There are lots of plug-ins available for Live Writer too, but most don’t seem to add much more than you can do on the blogger web site.

There are more font options available… Comic Sans, Calibri, Jokerman and many more options you don’t get on the web site.

I can even insert a map…

Map picture

Maybe I will just keep Windows Live Writer as an option, depending on what I want in a particular blog post.

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Swim Club Web Site

My boys, Josh and Brad, are in the local swimming club and both swim in the squad.  For the next 12 months I’ve been elected to be Club Secretary. The first job for me in this role was to re-register the club’s expired web domain and set up the web site.  Being a small community based club, there’s not much funds for a professional site, so I’ve used Google’s blogger service to set up a free blog style web page.  All we’ve had to pay is $25 for two years registration of the domain name.

So here it is… 


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