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Posts published in “website”

On the web

Time moves on. So do websites - at least, as to look & feel.

A couple of months ago, the status was something like this:

We had one main web site (www.ridenbaugh.com) which included in a crammed-in space an extensive blog (accessible through the front page back to 2005), information and pictures of most of our books and those by myself, special notices and offers and a bunch of other stuff.

It had some appeal (I liked it, and I gather a number of other people did), but it was getting tooth-long, five years old or more. Ancient. More significantly, it wasn't keeping up technologically. In this case, that means keeping up with the newer versions accessing the web - tablets, smart phones and the like, which could read the old site but not optimally. (It wasn't "responsive.") New software was needed.

So that's largely been installed now. There's new site theme software (it's called "ignite") which is intended to highlight to through careful typography the writing on the site, while also keeping it light and well-illustrated. We've added sliders at the top, more frequent use of polls inside posts, and several other additions.

As this is written, the www.ridenbaugh.com site is oriented primarily toward writings - toward the blog and some other materials which our and some other writers contribute.

A second domain, www.ridenbaughpress.com, is concerned mainly with what Ridenbaugh Press produces and does - the books and other products, and services, we provide.

Through that second site, we'll connect a series of sites for our authors and their books. One of them, at www.ridenbaughpress.com/randystapilus/, is up now, though it's still a largely unstocked kitchen at the moment, We'll be filling it in, and adding as well sites for most of our other authors.

Whipping it all into shape will take a little while - a few weeks at least. But we should have a far better web presence when we're done than we've had before.

A new look

Yes, this is still Ridenbaugh Press, and the stuff that's been here is still here - including all our posts going back to 2005. We'll be making some substantive additions in the weeks and months to come, but the change you're seeing today is mainly cosmetic.

We've used the same basic design for more than five years, so it was past time for something new. As it happens, Google gave us to the push. One of the big pieces of recent news this season for people running web sites is that Google is ratcheting down in its search rankings any web site that isn't "responsive" to a range of viewers - not just desktop or notebook computers but smart phones, tablets and so forth. The old design was not "responsive," and making it so (while keeping it generally the same) would have been a complex and messy operation. So we decided to start fresh.

And according to Google's own web tool, ridenbaugh.com now is fully responsive. (Try it out on other sites; you may find the results interesting.)

What you see here today is what we've done after spending a couple of hours tweaking the core design (it should be more complete within three or four days), which is called Ignite. The simplicity of it, and its emphasis on the word and on typography, were appealing. But let us know what you think.

Introducing … podcasts …

We'll see how this goes ... but the plan is to start posting podcasts here from time to time. We're trying out a service called Spreaker.com, and if it works well our hope is to start including here the voices of a number of people, most (not necessarily all) associated with Ridenbaugh Press.

This first is really just a tester; don't judge it too harshly. Keep watch and we should be back with more, and better soon.

Column’s now in Nampa

The Idaho Press Tribune in Nampa has become the third newspaper home, starting today, of our weekly Idaho column.

Managing Editor Vickie Holbrook has up a piece describing the column and my background in Canyon County.

A bit more about the background:

In 1976, Canyon County had two newspapers, the Nampa Idaho Free Press and the Caldwell News-Tribune, jointly owned and with the larger share of the operations (and the press) in Nampa. At the time I was on summer break from the University of Idaho, and stopped by at Caldwell with a story proposal, which I dropped off. The story wasn't accepted (for good reason - it was out of date), but the editor called me in for an interview, and hired me. I stayed there about a year and three-quarters.

It was a good experience. The Caldwell office was in effect a substantial bureau, but staffed lightly enough that everyone has a hand in reporting all sorts of things. My main area was the Canyon County courthouse and the local school district, but I worked on police and courts reporting (picking up court records was part of the daily routine) and whatever else needed to be done.

By comparison with just a few years later, it was low tech. Computers hadn't quite arrived (they would before long, but after I left), so I was among the last cadre of journalists still to work on manual typewriters and edit stories by gluing the parts of them together.

Another era. But one full of lessons nonetheless.

Supporting the SOPA/PIPA strike

This site has opted not to be among those striking in protest over the SOPA and PIPA measures in Congress; we chose to explain our view here instead. But we do strongly support the effort, and agree that those two measures - billed as anti-piracy but carrying a prospective reach much broader and much more dangerous - must be stopped.

Some of the leading figures in working to stop these measures do come from the Northwest, including Senators Ron Wyden - one of the first to stand up on it, bring national visibility to it, and the prime backer of a filibuster-if-necessary - and Maria Cantwell. Most members of the Northwest delegation haven't yet made a clear statement of support or opposition to the bills. A request from here: Urge them to oppose the bills, and soon.

A good but simple introduction to the problems involved is available. The strike's page is online (at last check).

Stance, Citizens United, and other things

Thanks to John Runft, for offering in a comment the opportunity to address a few items - widely various, but still - worth noting all at once.

His comment, first, came in response to a post by blogger Barrett Rainey, "American democracy is drowning in a sea of money," critical of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision and its effects on politics. Runft, who is a Boise attorney long active in Idaho politics, took issue with Rainey:

In re Barrett Rainey's "American Democracy is Drowning in a Sea of Money, let me suggest that the solution is not to blame SCOTUS's decision Citzens United and call for more repressive regulations. The decision is sound and complies with your above "Our Stance" # 7 regarding freedom. As you imply in # 7, the corollary to freedom is responsibility. The rationale of the decision is correct, as the Court explained, on grounds of individual freedom. Now, the next step which appertains to individual responsibility needs to take place to create the balance reflected in # 7. That next step could possibly be accomplished by bringing suit against one of the PACs on the ground that it cannot qualify for immunity, because of its inherent anonymity, as a “public persona” under the N.Y. Times v,. Sullivan doctrine. Subjecting the PACs and their contributors liability for their slanders will solve much of the problem (similar to Great Britain where there is no N.Y. Times v,. Sullivan doctrine – although there are other problems in the reverse in G.B). Regrets for the foregoing " 30 sec. shorthand." John L. Runft

Three points here. (more…)

Weekly polls

You may notice a new polling box to the right on this page. With your help, we'll start running weekly polls here and several other locations (such as Facebook). The poll results on each location will be open; at the end of the week, we'll collect them and run them in our weekly Public Affairs Digests (Washington, Oregon, Idaho).

This first is about predicting who will be the next governor of Washington. If you have a question you'd like to see here next week, let us know.

All the usual caveats apply. These are self-selecting and unscientific. Still, they may be of some interest as a reflection of thinking (at least, of this site's readers). So have at it.