websites

Other St. Louis-area Catholic Blogs/Bloggers

[UPDATE: I've posted a more comprehensive guide that I intend to keep updated here: St. Louis-area Catholic Bloggers/Websites].

I've come to the realization that many St. Louis-area Catholics have no idea how many excellent blogs are published by other Catholics in the area. Here are the ones I know of - feel free to leave a link to any that I've missed in the comments below.

  • Archdiocese of Saint Louis

    Obviously the main source of information for Archdiocesan events. I hear they're getting a site upgrade soon... more to come ;-)

  • Saint Louis Catholic

    A great blog about timely news in the Archdiocese, with a bit of a traditional slant. Often uses colorful and entertaining language when discussing the current state of affairs.

Rupert Murdoch: No More Google News?

After reading a few articles mulling over the implications of Rupert Murdoch's purported move to pull out all News Corp content from Google News, I thought I'd share a few thoughts, especially since the 'pay wall' issue is something I deal with from day to day with a local news publication...

Online Ads - a Faltering Art

With the popularity of Google Ads and other similar ad networks, where impressions are free, and clicks cost money, it's no surprise companies are hard-pressed to make any real money with this traditionally-based advertising medium. Heck, only 16% of Internet Users actually click on ads—that's not something the accountants and marketers are excited to hear, when all their business models are based on CTRs (click-through rates). Impression-based pricing is problematic, as well, especially considering the many different techniques people have for tricking ad-impression trackers.

There are a plethora of problems with online advertising metrics, and with revenue from online advertising. There are a few areas where online advertising is extremely effective (YouTube and other video sites have a successful pre-video commercial model, which works well). But for simple news and blog pages, the flashy, arrogant and often irrelevant ads that display in and around the content are largely ignored.

I don't propose any solutions to this huge problem—especially for news companies who, in the past, received more than half their revenue through advertising dollars. However, it's necessary to acknowledge the problem.

The Google Generation

Bing, Google, Yahoo - whatever the site is, online search and aggregation is the way of the future—I can count on one hand the number of people I know who have any particular website besides the three above (or one of their sub-sites) as their homepage. The fact is, people don't use the Internet as a replacement for the morning newspaper and bagel. People browse topics that interest them, then follow a topic around to different sources, and gather more information about this topic than was ever before possible in such a short period of time.

Drupal: 2009 Best Open Source PHP CMS!

Packt publishing just announced earlier this morning that Drupal has won the 2009 Open Source PHP CMS award!

Packt Publishing is pleased to announce that Drupal has won the Best Open Source PHP CMS Category in the 2009 Open Source CMS Award. This category featured a very close contest between the top three, Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla! in which Drupal ended up as the overall choice for the judges and the public.

Joomla was the second place winner (kudos to them as well!); read the original release here.

With Drupal being used on Whitehouse.gov, AT&T's mobile apps website, and countless other corporate sites and subsites, it's a good time to be in the Open Source arena!

More award categories will be announced soon!

Moved to Drupal. Hello Drupal!

As of today (October 5, 2009), I have moved all the content off the old Lifeisaprayer.com into a new Drupal-based site, in order that I might not have to do so much manual labor in maintaining and updating the site.

This has been a long time coming, as I had the idea to move to a CMS (it was a heat between Drupal (for extensibility) vs. WordPress (for it's ease of use for blogging). But as I didn't know exactly what I wanted this site to become (is it about articles? the blog? photo galleries? what???), I figured Drupal would be the best choice, as I can have a lot more freedom in building out new functionality now. Wordpress is a little limiting if you want to really stretch your site into different directions.

I'm working on the site's theme right now, and probably will be tweaking it over the next few weeks. Please let me know if you have any problems or have suggestions for improvement!

Designing a Good Website

This article will help you to learn some fundamental principles in web design and to design your own nice-looking, functional website

Over the past eight years (ever since I've owned a Macintosh), I've designed many different websites. I've dabbled in different web programming languages and done many, many technical tasks (some of which I don't remember how to do). But does this make me a good web designer? Not necessarily. I've learned through experience and research only so much about web design. It's more of an art than a science really; but it takes a lot more than an artist's mind to design a functional and eye-catching website.

Getting OSC's Drupal Install Optimized on Slicehost

Initially, when thinking about finally taking the plunge and purchasing a slice or two from Slicehost, I thought, "wow, this is going to be incredibly fast and awesome, compared to my Host Gator account!"

Slicehost + Drupal

But, after setting everything up and putting Open Source Catholic live on the fresh slice, running free -m, and looking at the results, reality set in: 256 MB of RAM is not much to work with if you're running a Drupal site on a LAMP stack! Drupal usually consumes 15-40 MB of RAM per page view for a logged-in user, and if you have a site with 10 or so logged in users at any moment... well, bad things can happen.

For anonymous users, using Boost will help your site fly no matter the amount of RAM you have. But even so, a bunch of requests to uncached pages will cause your site to load a heck of a lot slower, and will fill up your RAM faster than a fire hose fills up an 8 oz. glass!

Using default Apache, MySQL and PHP settings, free -m showed a full 250 MB of RAM used, along with 400-500 swap space used (swap should be kept to a minimum—if you have a lot of swap usage, that means the hard drive is being used instead of RAM, and the hard drive is inherently many times slower!). After performing a few quick modifications to Apache and MySQL, I was able to get this number down to 140 MB RAM / 40-60 MB swap, on average.

I modified the server configuration in two different places: Apache's httpd.conf, and MySQL's my.cnf:

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