A Plan to Restore the “Xanga Style” Community on “Free” WordPress

(Note: This is a “Pinned Blog” – newer blogs below this one)

Soullfire is Bringing Sexy Community Back

** Former Xangans – Like and Reblog if you support this idea **

It’s been close to a month OVER SIX MONTHS since Xanga has launched it’s “updated” “Xanga 2.0″, driven with the WordPress engine, and it’s still operating well below the “free” WordPress state. The “community” that was, disappeared with the end of Xanga 1.0 with the loss of free blogging, along with all of “1.0′s” community centric features like having a front page, ring groups, and general areas where users could find each other and congregate.

Xanga has given no updates – so no one over there knows how long the “non community” condition will last.

Many former Xangans like myself have moved their general blogging over to “free” WordPress but are also feeling a general loss of overall community that “Xanga 1.0″ had.

After using my WordPress site more often, I realized that it has certain features that will allow the former Xanga community to reconnect.  The answer lies in the “Reader” section, which is accessed by the top menu bar:

Top_WP_menu

In the Reader section, on the right hand side, there’s a “Topics” exploration search column underneath “Find Friends”:

Side_WP_menu

The topics search works by searching all the “Tag” keywords put in a blog and displays the blogs that have a match. Below shows an example of the Tag area in a new blog:

blog_WP_menu

Tag words go on the bottom line separated by commas.

So once you’ve published a blog with certain tag words, it can be searched by others using the “Topics” search function.

Now here’s where the Xanga community restoration comes into the picture. All that’s needed are some common “key words” used as tags that will allow users to find posts by former Xangans. Searching on a particular keyword will be similar to using the Xanga “Blog Rings” to find a group of posts related to a similar interest.

Okay, to set this up, Xangans need to do the following:

Post a blog stating what your Xanga name was and what your current name is now. In this blog use the tag word “ID_Xanga“. This will let people search for other former Xanga users using “ID_Xanga” as well as identify the Xangans who have changed their usernames. The beauty of this is it will only pull up the blogs that use this tag, so you will have an exclusive Xanga search feature.

Next, when blogging, include the tag word “FreeXanga“. This will allow folks to find the latest blogs of former Xangans.

Following this format, we can now use keywords to group blogs by interest or subject, just like the former “Xanga 1.0″ Blog Ring or “Ish” sites. I’ve created a few tag words to get us started:

QOTD_Xan  - Use this tag word to post with a question of the day

Dollarish_Xan – Use this tag word to post with a money/savings/economic blog

Politicish_Xan – Use this tag to post with a political related blog

Rant_Xan – Use this tag to post with a rant type of blog

Drama_Xan – Use this tag for drama blogs – for the drama lovers, haha. =)

Townhall_Xan – Use this tag for general community info. This would be the tag to use when introducing new tag words to create a new search group.

FreeXanga – Use this tag in all your blogs to make them “Xangan” searchable.

I added “Xan” to the tag word topics to make it unique to Xangans, and it provides the general format for creating new search terms/groups. “ID_Xanga” need only to be used once for identification and to create a search list.

I think this should work to help restore the “Xanga 1.0″ style of community on WP, with the super bonus of now having a new world of people available to meet as well!

Note: The max number of searchable tag words is 9, so don’t add too many tags words to your blog.

** Like and Reblog this and pass the word around if you support this idea – the “FREE” solution to bringing back community “Xanga 1.0″ style! =)  **

Freaky Friday- “Too Many Cooks” Show

I was told it’s best to just pass this on without describing it, so I won’t elaborate too much.

Whether you find this hilarious, idiotic,  brilliant, boring, or disturbing will depend on your sense of humor as well as your TV show IQ based on how much TV you’ve watched over the years.

I found it to be quite humorous/entertaining, in a nostalgia mixed with Salvidor Dali plus PTSD sort of way.  :-)

The show is about 11 minutes long.

 

Whatcha think?  =)

Featured Image -- 1651

Live: The Rosetta mission’s lander has just touched down on a comet 300 million miles away from earth

soullfire:

Yesterday, the European Space Agency had a spacecraft about the size of a washing machine land on a tiny comet over 330 million miles away- an incredible and amazing achievement when you consider all the moving objects and variables.

Originally posted on Quartz:

Update (11:05am): The probe has landed safely on the comet.

Original:

In 2004, a spacecraft known as the Rosetta orbiter was launched by the European Space Agency with with the ambitious goal of landing on a comet. Now, a decade later, that goal is just hours away.

The Philae lander detached from the Rosetta orbiter a few hours ago and is expected to land on the surface of Comet 67P/CHuryumov-Gerasimenko, which is 300 million miles away from earth, at 4pm GMT, or 11 am EST. You can watch the scene from ESA mission control here:

[qz-iframe url="http://new.livestream.com/accounts/362/events/3544091/player?autoPlay=true&mute=true" height="56"]

NASA, the American space agency, contributed sensors to the mission. Its live stream of the landing is below. (Some of the footage overlaps with the ESA, but you can never have too much space.)

[qz-iframe url="http://www.ustream.tv/embed/6540154?autoplay=true&volume=0" height="63"]

And of course, in…

View original 40 more words

October Extreme Market Volatility AKA “Super Roller Coaster”

This comes a bit later than I had planned, but it’s still worth blogging about…

The week of October 13 – 17 was quite the wild one in market extremes. We’re talking about moves that were more than double or three times the normal move, happening throughout the trading day.

Here’s a chart of that week:

ES_Week_10_13_14

The typical daily range has been about 12 – 15 points  , so these major moves really stood out. This type of extreme market resembled the go go days back when day trading was all the rage and everyone and their cousin were attempting it.

Each $ES futures contract is worth $50 per point move- so the market was either a gold mine or brutal depending on whether on was on the right or wrong side of a market move.

 

 

 

 

Featured Image -- 1619

I see debt people: 10 scary economic charts for Halloween

soullfire:

Some scary and sobering global economic charts just in time for Halloween.

Originally posted on Quartz:

Ghosts, zombies, witches… and unemployment rates. If you want a real scare this Halloween, check out these charts hand-picked by Quartz’s writers and editors that show the most ghastly trends in the global economy.

But be warned—these blood-curdling bars and bone-chilling lines aren’t for the squeamish…

1. Southern Europe’s jobless youth

More than half of Greek and Spaniard young people are out of work, and have been for some time. But while youth unemployment rates there have plateaued (or even started to fall), Italy’s stagnating economy is pushing more and more young people out of work.

Youth-unemployment-rate-Spain-Greece-Italy-Euro-zone_chartbuilder

2. Japan’s rapidly shrinking workforce

Japan’s working-age population peaked in 1995, and it’s been downhill ever since. The world’s largest share of over-65s as a percentage of population, an incredibly low fertility rate, and a daunting debt burden are all conspiring to limit Japan’s economic potential. But the really scary thing is that this is a sneak preview of what much of the Western world faces…

View original 567 more words

My Final Xanga Update: After over a “Year’s Silence”, Xanga Finally Opens its Mouth and Sings its Swan Song

September 9th, 2013, was the last mass update provided by the “XangaTeam” when they went over to the “new” Xanga 2.0 “WordPress” format. After that,..silence….and more silence.

Unanswered were questions running through the mind of many- here are a few:

1) Why is Xanga 2.0, which is costing $48/yr, operating with less functionality and features than free WordPress?

2) What happened to the “Front Page” and other user and community friendly features Xanga 1.0 had?

3) When can we expect to see improvements to restore all the community centric features of Xanga 1.0?

4) if Xanga 2.0 is on the WordPress platform, why is it still shut off from the rest of the blogging community so that not even free WordPress users can leave comments?

5) I thought you guys said Xanga 2.0 was going to keep all the community features as “1.0″ and would be a better deal than the free blogs like Blogspot and WordPress?

 

Days, weeks, and months passed by with nary a peep from Xanga as to what their status was and what they were doing. NOT ONE WORD. The only one saying anything was the volunteer Xanga helper EdLives who did his best to provide a positive spin to the situation.

During this time, the subscription clock was running – meaning folks were being charged to blog on a site that looks like the pre alpha version of free WordPress.

What was delivered was NOT what was offered – a new site that would have all the rich community features that made Xanga 1.0 stand out from the rest. People were NOT told the system they had pledged money to would be a bare bones version of free blogging sites and would remain in that state until further notice.

People wondered if Xanga had pulled a “bait and switch” and had taken the near $70 grand of crowdsource moula just for their own amusement.

After a year of silence the “volunteer cheerleader” EdLives mentioned that he had finally been able to communicate with Xanga CEO John and that an update would be forthcoming.

That statement became a reality on October 1 when The XangaTeam blog finally issued an update. Let’s review this update line by line to fully understand what it means…

Before I begin, remember what Xanga 2.0 was marketed as – having the SAME community features as Xanga 1.0. A direct quote from an update from them last year:

Community

Whenever anyone asks me what Xanga is all about, I always answer: “blog community.” To me, that’s what makes the site fun: you can blog, and there’s a community of people generally excited to read your posts (and vice versa).

I know a lot of people who have tried other blogging platforms, and they’ll often say that they feel they’re publishing into a vacuum… and that nobody is reading their blogs. We’re working to keep that warm community feeling on Xanga… so that when you post, your subs can quickly and easily chime in with a comment. (As part of that, we’ll be importing every single login over – along with all subscriptions/friends – so that your subs can continue to read your posts even if they’re not blogging on Xanga 2.0).

We’re incredibly excited about using the WordPress platform, as the publishing software is incredibly powerful. As we adapt it for use for Xanga 2.0, we’re working to make sure that all that power is combined with the warm fuzzy feeling of Xanga community love as well.”

 

Also, they noted that they would be more communicative going forward with the arrival of Xanga 2.0, with the community playing a greater role in guidance and control. The year of silence appears to contradict that notion however.

Anyway, EdLives’ answer to mine and others complaints about this lack of response was that we didn’t have all the info to justify our criticism and when the John’s update came to light, all would make sense. You can be the judge if this is the case. Here we go (my comments in blue)….

_________________________________

Update

We want to thank everyone for being there for us.  Without your involvement, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Here are a few of the things that we’ve been working on over this past year:

* We built out a new server system, and migrated thousands of websites over to the new servers
* We fought off ongoing DDOS and brute password attacks that were slowing the site down
* We’ve made further upgrades to our server setup over the past six months, to use new more powerful servers as they became available.
* We’re planning one more server upgrade later this year, to take advantage of better and cheaper server systems that have become available.

(These hardware updates are nice, but this is the “back end” stuff- the stuff that is invisible to the customer, the blogger. For the PAYING customer, the more important items would be front end stuff like the user interface along with user features and operations.)

One area where we’ve dropped the ball is providing updates on all of the above.  Initially we were fighting off the DDOS attacks, and didn’t want to tip off our attackers on our progress.  So we focused on talking to our users one at a time, through our email support and help forums.

 (So this is their excuse for over  a YEAR of SILENCE? They act like no other company has to deal with “denial of service attacks”. Newflash- it happens to just about ALL major internet entities such as Facebook, Google, Blogspot, Amazon, and a host of other popular internet companies. It’s nothing new.

Besides that, how on earth do they think that justifies ZERO updates for a YEAR? They didn’t want to “tip off” the attackers?  What does that have to do with any upgrades or new hardware purchased? And if this were the REAL reason for lack of updates, why not just state that as a simple update – that they are dealing with internet attacks without going into any details?

Two Words: LAME EXCUSE

IMO: They should just admit this was a screw up with no decent excuse and fully ACCEPT the blame rather than try to deflect it.

On to the next LIE – they focused on talking to users “one at a time”? I guess all the folks saying their emails and attempt at contacting Xanga went unanswered must be hallucinating…)

But more recently, we’ve largely defeated the ongoing DDOS and password attacks.  The site has been up and stable, and we’re gearing up to make the further upgrades mentioned above.  We’ll be providing more regular updates and communication, both on this blog and also on our Facebook page.

(The site may be stable, but it still has subpar functionality than that of free blogging sites. And didn’t they ALREADY say last year that they would be updating more? Xanga needs to learn that WORDS are CHEAPACTION Counts.)

 So we’re working to communicate more regularly, and to start building the community teams that we mentioned earlier.

(As in a YEAR ago before they collected the funds and went silent)

First up: we’ve asked Joel of edlives.xanga.com to serve as a community liaison.  You can reach him at his blog at edlives.xanga.com, or through Xanga’s facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/xanga.  We will have a regular call with Joel to discuss feedback and ideas.

(Uh, really? Isn’t this what he was doing ALREADY? The only difference now is you are making it “official”?)

We’re also going to be working together to pull together a list of other areas where we could use help.  If any come to mind, please let us know and we’ll discuss it with Joel in our next call!  And as a thank you for sticking with us, we’re offering 6 months of free blog hosting to all of our paid members.  Just email Eugenia at help@xanga.net, and she’ll add it the extra months to your account!

 (So lets see- in return for one year of horrible blogging conditions with no updates that whole time, the reward to the diehards is 6 more months of broken website? Really? Even worse is folks who want this offer will have to request it as it isn’t being given out automatically.

Let’s take a moment to think about this- Xanga hasn’t updated for over a year – so most folks that did pay for subs have no idea there is a new Xanga update and a free six month offer. Why not just extend everyone’s sub by six months automatically? Oh yeah, if they did that, some folks who would have PAID another $48 to blog may put off doing that.

So it’s okay to leave paying users in the dark for over a year on a subpar blogging site, but it’s NOT OKAY to extend them the additional time automatically, because making money is more important, got it.)

Thank you for sticking with us over the past year.  We’re looking forward to working together to build Xanga in the coming year.

_____________________________________________________________________________

 

That was it with no mention of any restoration of ANY of the community features of Xanga 1.0.  This was it after a year of silence.

So was EdLives right? Does the above “update” adequately explain the year plus long silence and massively degraded service so that prior complaints were not justified?

 

To me the update did explain quite a bit- it made it CRYSTAL CLEAR that Xanga is finished and “Xanga 1.0″ is history, not to be duplicated by anything Xanga offers for the foreseeable future.

It’s crystal clear that any business sense Xanga had at the beginning of its existence has left the building long ago. The first and most important rule in any business is that CUSTOMERS COME FIRST. You MUST do what it takes to convince new people to pay for your service and current customers to continue paying.

Imagine if Facebook, Google, or Amazon decided to offer extremely subpar service for an ENTIRE YEAR. Do you think they would still retain their customer base, or would the vast majority of folks migrate to other companies? And those are FREE sites! But Xanga thinks charging people for a service inferior to free blogging sites, and ignoring their customer base is the ticket to success.

The reality of the situation is Xanga already lost most of their users when they decided to put up a pay wall. Then they lost many of the folks who paid to blog during the continued poor functionality of their “new” Xanga 2.0 site. Now the 1 year subs are expiring and there is no incentive for anyone to continue to pay to blog under such poor conditions.

Xanga needed to restore the community features ASAP and they FAILED MISERABLY and don’t seem the least concerned about it.

There are so few people left that there’s little hope for any type of recovery and more subs expiring will be the final nails in the coffin.

If people want to restore the old “Xanga Style Community”, it will have to be done elsewhere without Xanga’s “help”.

In summary, this is my response to Xanga CEO John’s latest “Update“:

 

 

RIP Xanga 1.0 you deserved to go out better than this.

 

 

WordPress Fix: How to Find Your “DashBoard” Button after WP’s Latest “Improvement”

It seems that as of late WP has been bitten by the “change” bug and has been making what seem like spurious updates to its site. Earlier this year they “upgraded” the blog edit page which I found to be quite hostile to saving and formatting, so I went back to using “classic mode” once they allowed us to. I say “allowed” because they just sprung the new edit page with no warning or trial period allow you to test the waters first. I and many other users found the original editor to be more user friendly, which is why they probably made it available again.

A more recent change is having the list of menu items on your blog site such as “Blogs I Follow” and “Freshly Pressed” appear on the left side of the screen rather than the right side. Why switch sides? Were people actually complaining about the menu being on the right side? I wasn’t, and I find it annoying for it to be moved to the left.

That change, while annoying, was harmless relative to the latest “improvement” foisted on the blogging public- the “new”, but definitely NOT improved  “My Sites” menu.

The previous “My Sites” option button gave you access to your “Dashboard”,  which gives you an overview of your stats, comments made, replies received, in addition to other useful information and tools.

However, this is what the new “My Sites” page looks like:

WP_info1

Um,….where’s the Dashboard button, you may ask? Good question…..great question! WP has made changes and neglected to tell anyone how to access the prior menu items that existed there. How very nice and considerate of them….NOT! >:(

I guess they thought these changes would be so “intuitive” that all the answers would just come naturally. That certainly wasn’t the case for me as I felt pretty lost.

I was fortunate my browser saved the location of “Dashboard” so I was still able to access it, but I was angry that I wasn’t able to find it directly, so I set to work trying to figure it out.

I finally did, and will present it here in case you too are having issues with finding it. You be the judge on if this “new upgrade” makes it “easier and faster” to find things as WP  claims…..

Step 1: Locate the “All sites” toggle on the top left side of the screen (see red circled item):

 

WP_info2

Step 2: Click on “All sites” list if closed to show the list of sites available (green circle):

 

WP_info3

 

Step 3:  Click on the site you wish to use. This will reveal a list of additional menu items:

 

WP_info4

Step 4: Click on the “Menus” button (red circle):

WP_info5

Step 5: Okay, now you are almost there and you see a screen that “looks” like the old dashboard, but you have to make one more selection – click on the “Dashboard” button located on the top left (blue circle):

 

WP_info6

 

And there you go – so MUCH easier and faster now, right? :/

 

WTF WordPress?

soullfire:

My nasty surprise by WordPress today- no Dashboard button- I’m still looking for it! >:-( Good thing I had the location saved on my browser.

You would THINK they would provide the info on how to access the items they removed, like “Dashboard”, but nope…

Give me a break with these lame changes already- with NO warning!, WP! >:(

Originally posted on Cordelia's Mom, Still:

InterrobangWhat is it with all these WordPress changes?  This morning I went on to check my stats, and the format has been revised AGAIN.  It took me about 10 minutes to find my own Dashboard, and I only managed it by reading WordPress’ instructions at the top of the page, and then scrolling through numerous options on the left side of the screen.  None of those options said “Dashboard.”

Settings” only took me to the administrative pages that include such stuff as my account information.

Finally, in desperation, I clicked on “Menus.”  That took me to a screen that looked amazingly like the old Dashboard – until I focused my eyes on all those drop-down options in the middle, one of which was — wait for it — “Menus Structure.”

Where the f* is my Dashboard, people?  I just want to check my…

View original 216 more words

Trading Update: The Knowledge Trap

As I continue to work with my trading system and observe how it performs – both on the sim and live accounts, my thoughts begin to wander as to why it’s taken me so long to arrive at this trading system solution. I don’t believe it’s super complex, although I have to keep in mind that even complex things can feel more simplified when you are working with expanded knowledge about that topic. It can be compared to math or science courses in school. The first level of calculus can seem difficult to comprehend at first, but at the end of the term, the concepts taught can feel pretty clear and straight forward compared to starting the class teaching the next level of calculus.

As I thought about it longer, I came to the realization that the bulk of my progress happened over time as I applied observational insights to my system over what I had learned in technical analysis books. It dawned on me that all the information I had picked up on how to apply technical analysis to market data had become a main hindrance and block to my trading system progression. It’s like the saying goes, “To the man who only has a hammer, everything starts looking like nails.”

While TA books gave me a sizable set of new analysis tools, it also directed my mind into thinking along certain paths that fit in with those tools. This turned out to be both a good and bad thing. One has to start somewhere, and just watching market prices bounce around with no guidelines at all isn’t going to magically turn into a trading solution. On the other hand, the danger is letting that framework of knowledge you start from constrain your mind from branching out to other solutions- basically trapping you in the “box” you have unknowingly created.

The term “sophomore” is used to describe second year students in school. The literal Greek translation of that word is “wise fool”, and it’s an apt one. It describes the state of the student as having learned enough to move past the freshman stage, but now has the potential problem of believing they know more than they really do. This is the knowledge trap – thinking we have enough information when we really don’t. When caught in this trap, our minds are limited to only what we know, and this leads to consciously and subconsciously making decisions that dismiss alternative paths to solutions that should be explored.

We can feel confident enough to attempt to answer questions when we should be looking for more information and confirmation. This happens all the time in all areas of life and business. Think of all the stories of how doctors can miss correctly diagnosing a patient even though all the tell tale signs were staring them in the face. Most businesses miss the jump to the next level to a competitor despite their head start advantage.  A current classic example of this is Apples “iPhone” series, which allowed a non phone company to dominate a well established cell phone industry both in hardware and software operation.  Another example is Blackberry, formerly the undisputed dominant leader in business smartphone sales, but got crushed by the iPhone to the point where some question Blackberry’s survival going forward.

All the TA books I’ve read were a two edged sword. They allowed me to start the process of analyzing chart data but they were also unconsciously chaining me to certain solutions paths as well. The fact that the majority of folks using TA still have trouble trading/investing should have served as a warning to remain open minded.

I read articles on trading about having to “free your mind” to master trading, but most of them present it in a way that suggests you just need to be calm and relaxed – which I believe is a false lead. What they should be focusing on is opening one’s mind to accept new solutions and realize that what is written is only a piece of the puzzle with other pieces needing to be discovered.

In my case, I would eventually get stuck at a level and keep running into walls. Perseverance kept me at it despite the lack of progress. During this time my subconscious mind was processing the market data I saw day after day and I would start seeing natural patterns form, so eventually I started creating new analysis methods to capture these patterns and they would wind up being more reliable than the TA book listed ones. However, my mindset was still primarily locked in “book TA” mode so I spent much time trying to marry my natural solutions to the ones I read about.  This put me in a repeating loop of progress and failure as I just couldn’t lock down the consistency I was looking for.

Over time, a LONG time, and a ton of hours working through and rehashing my actions looking for insights for improvements, the book TA methods starting fading one by one and the natural ones started being the driving force. Although I feel very fortunate that I was able to arrive at effective solutions in the realm of the high probability of failure traders face, had I listened to what my mind was telling me and not dismissed it with my “sophomoric” trading knowledge, I believe I likely could have arrived at this solution much faster.

Our minds are really super computers - if we feed it information and give it good observational data, there’s no limit to what solutions can be processed as long as we remove our “knowledge bias” – this is the true Zen of trading and solution solving in general. We just have to be open to listen to what our mind is saying without the problem of automatically rejecting based on “prior knowledge”.

 

If I could ask a million questions…

That would leave me wanting more

That’s why I let you do the talking

Maybe that’s what talking’s for

I do my best to learn to listen

Since you have so much to say

If I connect with your position

I will learn so much that way

The Secret Language of the “Zig Zag”

The volatile market can be very choppy, in that the graph of a price chart seems to be all over the place. Some notable examples of the past 2 weeks (main portion of trading day circled in blue):

9_5_14

zz1_9_5_14

9_8_14

zz2_9_8_14

9_15_14

zz4_9_15_14

 

9_17_14

zz5_9_17_14

 

Most chart analysis books present charting examples that are much smoother and easier to analyze. But the real world market movement can be anything but “smooth”.  It’s frenetic nature can pose as a difficult riddle to solve for many traders/investors.

However, all that “zig zagging” represents a language, the secret language of the market as it tests resistance and support. Understanding that language is a key to accurately reading market behavior.

So while all the zig zag “chop” is practically universally disliked by traders, it does present opportunities in gaining a deeper understanding of market behavior, which translates to moving up the ladder of trading skill and performance.