New Year, New Design, New URL
For my inaugural blog post for 2011, I was planning to implement some big changes, consistent with some of the other big announcements made by my fellow diabetes bloggers recently, including Scott K. Johnson, Amy Tenderich and several others within the diabetes blogging community, including my friend Hannah McDonald (a.k.a. "Dorkabetic") who is reportedly still working on some of her own blog refinements, but she tells us they are coming soon. Another blogger I follow, Alex O'Meara, who authored the book "Chasing Medical Miracles: The Promise and Perils of Clinical Trials" and is himself what could best be called a "former" type 1 (he had an islet transplant a few years ago which made him insulin-independent, at least for the time-being) has also recently updated his blog (see HERE), too, so I seem to be in pretty good company. But my timing wasn't exactly right on the New Year, but a bit later. Still, I guess it's an advantage to being the only one on this date to announce my big changes.
My blog news was pre-empted by the news of my longtime pet's passing last month (see HERE) which I'm still dealing with, but the blog stuff has helped to divert my attention to more pleasant thoughts. In spite of my being quiet on the blogging front, I was actually working through some issues behind-the-scenes that have been in the works for a while.
Today, as you can see (except possibly if you're reading this from an RSS reader, in which case I really encourage you to click on the actual link to this blog post so you can actually SEE the changes I'm referring to) I join the others by introducing some of the biggest changes I've here at Scott's Web Log since I first launched this blog in the fall of 2005. Although my Twitter feed has already been updated with the new design mascot, I have remained active on that social network throughout my blog's makeover. (I can talk a bit about Twitter later, but first the announcement.)
A New Year, A New Look, and A New Domain Name
There's nothing like kicking off a new year with some long-awaited changes all at once! For the 2011 new year, I have finally decided to give my own blog presence a much-needed design face-lift, and for my faithful readers, that may take some time getting used to (with the basic green template being gone after 6 long years of the same), but rest assured, the content you come here for will continue!
Aside from the obvious visual changes, I should also point out that I now have my own domain name, too. I've finally taken the plunge and am officially using the "sstrumello.com" domain name, so my blog address will henceforth be found at the following URL:
Apparently, my move comes just as some geeks are predicting that the internet could run out of addresses soon (see HERE and HERE for more on that prediction). I don't worry too much about that stuff, although a shortage of the popular .com domains could plausibly be tapped out before too long, but I can say that "sstrumello.com" domain has already been assigned -- to me! I have little doubt those issues will be resolved somehow before it reaches crisis mode, but back to my main issue: While the old domain "sstrumello.blogger.com" should still work for the immediate future, but if I should ever I decide to switch blog hosts down the road, I strongly recommend that you update your bookmarks and/or update your RSS feeds to the new, http://blog.sstrumello.com/ address so you'll be sure to capture all of my future posts, research into cure-related stuff, scrutiny of the business of diabetes, regulatory issues we need to be aware of, groundbreaking interviews, industry research, etc. regardless of which company I decide to have host my blog in the future.
I realize that some of this is might be radical news for my loyal readers (and I would note that I've decided to adopt the same new theme with my Twitter avatar, at least for the time-being) http://twitter.com/sstrumello, although I may not keep the "3D Man" (the template's name) avatar on Twitter forever, it will be there for the next few weeks at least to introduce my new visual "brand".
About the New Design
I actually selected this new design template about a year ago and believe it or not, I've actually owned the sstrumello.com domain name for even longer, but wasn't really using it. I wanted to make some refinements to the new design template (changing the fonts, adjusting the size of the publishing area, etc.) before I went "live" with it. I also had some setting changes that I needed to implement with my domain name registrar and with Google's Blogger as my host before I implemented all this stuff. Being someone who is pretty steady in my ways, I also had some concerns that my old blog posts would not necessarily continue working with their old URLs, but after some trial-and-error on my part, it seems to be a non-issue (but please let me know if you uncover anything).
At the time I selected this design, I didn't really have to search too hard for a design I really liked (they now they have so many more desgins -- many of which are celebrities -- and this one is now really buried among them). Even better: this design was a FREE design template (the reason it's free is because at the top of the page in the original design templete, there were links to the designer's web page, which enables them to continue offering some cool designs without charging for them, and also the graphic has their tiny logo on it, although I'm actually hosting the image myself, just in case the image should disappear from their site in the future. I felt that the selection of this particular template was consistent with my basic focus on the business of science/medicine as a basic focus, as well as my Bionic fascination (see HERE and HERE), which this fit in very well with. By the way, pretty unrelated, except the 1970's TV show "The Six Million Dollar Man" is now available on DVD (see HERE), which follows the DVD release of The Bionic Woman.
As for the design modifications that I wanted, my goal was to keep the column widths the same as they were with my old template, make some margin adjustments, and continue using the same font family that was in the old blog template, just in a different color. But my skills in this stuff is what could best be called "basic" (I say enough to be dangerous, but not enough to know how to do what I really want/need) so I needed some assistance to make the kind of modifications I felt were needed. I reached out to fellow d-blogger Chris Bishop, whose blog names and presence has changed a few times over the years, but he's got the graphic design and web programming skillset that I so badly needed.
For those of you who haven't met Chris personally, he was perhaps most humorously captured in this YouTube video by Scott K. Johnson at last year's CWD FFL conference. When Chris isn't suffering from narcoleptic attacks (as he was in this presentation), I can honestly say that his graphic design skills are pretty awesome (his numerous tattoos are evidence of that, not to mention the comic-like images he did for a few of us in his old blog), and he did a really great job helping me tweak with my new blog template (which I noted actually came from the pYzam.com website, which has lots of free blog templates, although not all are for Blogger specifically). Chris was able to help me with modifying the margins, column widths, fonts, fitting video images in, etc., taking far less time than I would be able to accomplish by myself, so my thanks to Chris on his help with all this stuff!
Next On The Agenda ... Thoughts on the JDRF Capital Chapter Research Summit
This past weekend (on January 29, 2011), I attended the JDRF Capital Chapter's Research Summit that was held just outside Washington, D.C. at the Bethesda (Maryland) North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, although this was really Ginger Viera's relatively new home turf. I also got to meet a few other diabetes bloggers I hadn't met previously, including Miriam Tucker + @MiriamETucker and Ann Bartlett which was awesome!
One of the chapter's event organizers had invited me to attend this event, and in spite of SmartCells' (which was recently acquired by Merck) Todd Zion having to cancel at the last minute, they had a really great agenda, and also earned a phenomenal turnout for this event. I plan on speaking with the organizers and getting some additional information about what was involved in planning this event, what to do, what to avoid, potential pitfalls .... all that stuff. My goal is to share this information with others who might be interested in doing something similar with their local JDRF chapters. Ideally, I'd like to see a number of these events nationwide, but the JDRF isn't quite there -- yet -- so I am happy to share anything I can in order to help others who want to do something like this in their areas.
I think I'll Pass on the Guest Bloggers ... For Now
while many people in the Diabetes Online Community (the "D-OC") of bloggers have been doing "guest posts" and/or posting stuff on other people's diabetes blogs, I'm not a huge fan of doing that. My reasoning: if I wanted to read something written by someone other than the person who started the blog, I could just as easily visit those people's blogs. I just don't think many people go to Scott's Web Log to read content written by Kelly, George, Kerri, Allison or whoever else is guest blogging -- that's just my impression, and maybe I'm way off-base, but I just don't see guest blogging as an imperative that I need to pursue at this point in time. Personally, I'd find it much more interesting if people shared a list of bloggers they follow and provide the rationale for why they follow those particular blogs than read guest posts. Because of this, you may have noticed that I haven't really featured any "guest posts" here, because my feeling about that is "really, what's the point"? I won't say I'll "never" do it, but I'm also not actively recruiting guest bloggers right now!
In the interim, I'd love to get your comments on the new design for Scott's Web Log and what you think of it, so please feel free to leave comments (and take my poll HERE)!