Here are some frequently asked questions that I hope you will find helpful. Please contact me if you have any questions that are not post-related (To comment on a post, you can click “comment” at the bottom of the post).
We never share your email address or any other information about yourself with anyone else. This site is protected by Sitelock, which verifies my credentials (email, phone, and mailing address), and continuosly scans the site for vulnerabilities so as to guarantee the site to be spam and malware-free. In addition, other spam-blockers are used, such as Akismet.
What does “Subscribe to RSS” mean?
Many people keep track of website updates and blogs they are interested in by using a Reader, and using the RSS (“Real Simple Syndication”) feed that the site or blog provides. The advantage is they see “what’s new” with all things they are interested in located in one place, the Reader. If you use Google a lot, Google has a free reader accessible from the “more” menu. You do not need to download anything; Google aggregates your subscription interests easily, and you, the subscriber needs to do very little to make this happen. Using a Reader can simplify your web-navigating–you need only go to the source website if you want to (The “feeds” are clickable links). Google is not your only choice: Yahoo offers a Reader and their are many other options as well. The Reader does not bring across videos and pictures; you must click through to the site.
How can I help support this website?
To put together this website, I have spent about 1000 hours to date (early 2011). About half of that was program coding to get the site up and running. And there was a learning curve for me. An experienced php and css programmer could have done it much faster, howerver they command a fairly high hourly salary. I c ould not have afforded to hire someone to help with site.
But more importantly, I have spent at least 500 hours writing the content for this blog (not to mention a years of ny life of listening, loving, lstudying, practicing, playing, writing about, and teaching music).
I was recently forced to retire from my “day job” due to an expensive chronic illness that kept me away from work too much. I have no other job or income to speak of. So I would hope to at least recover the $53/year it costs me to keep the site up and running. In addition, Sitelock is about $120/yr. So far, Fortunately, I have found some free/trial-version) spam blockers that work really well.
If you find this site informative, entertaining, or interesting, and If you want to help me out, a contribution of any amount is much appreciated, although $1 is a good minimum amount. If you don’t have a PayPal account you can set one up in minutes, quite painlessly, and they are completely secure.
Click on the button below to go to PayPal.
What is the Amazon page, and the FatCow logo all about?
This site is a labor of love, not a business idea. You’ll notice that there are no banners, pop-ups, or ads. I do have two affiliates: FatCow.com and Amazon.com. FatCow hosts this website, and is an amazing web hosting site. I have never known them to go offline and they have real-time chat for tech support if you need it. They make if very easy to set up a WordPress blog. To have FatCow host the site, it costs about $53 a year. The site has unlimited storage space, so I don’t have to worry about photos, MP3s, and videos using up all the disk space. If you are interested in using them as a host for your own site, click the logo on this site which will bring you to their site; this site will get a small referral fee, and the price is the same to you either way.
Amazon lets me host a virtual Amazon store at this website. The only products that I have there are those that pertain to this blog. They are books, CDs and DVDs. I own most of these products and enthusiastically believe other musicians should, too, depending upon your interests. In the virtual store, if you click the Amazon Shopping Cart from this website and if you purchase, this site will get a small commission. The price is the same to you.
You can also donate in any amount directly to this website if you are so inclined. Any and all help is much appreciated.
Click on the button below to go to PayPal.
As a tech persion, I’m wondering about the programming language and architecture chosen.
This site is based on WordPress, an open-source content management system that makes an excellent platform for blogging. WordPress is written in php, and mySQL. In addition, it is designed to be extensibla by the use of templates and plugins. These are written by free-lance programmers, although their work must past muster of a committee at WordPress.Org. Many of the plugins and templates are free.
The Back End
This site’s web host, FatCow.com provides the mySQL database for the content and metadata. I can use jQuery to send SQL commands to the database. I use FileZilla, another open-source program, as my FTP Client.
The Front End
Another big part of the look and feel of the site is due to the use of the theme I have chosen, Suffusion, written as a labor of love by Sayontan Sinha. It is free to use, and is one of the most versatile, if not the most versatile theme available. It is very extensible, and customizable.
The Suffusion theme works “out of the box”; however, there is still a fair amount of configuration that needs to be done. Almost everything you see on the site is a choice, including the number of posts to display on the front page. Menus, Navigation, Pages, Categories and Tags must be set up so they can be assigned to the posts. Every plugin used also needs configuration, and occasional additional coding.
Customizing the Look and Feel
Not everything in the the theme is exactly as I want it. My customization tweaks involved primarily the use of HTML5, and CSS. CSS handles look and feel and HTML handles data, links and such. HTML and CSS tags can of course be mixed in the same post; that is, they coexist harmoniously.
The “Books & Media” page is embedded from Amazon. One must be an “Amazon Associate” to set this up. The YouTube videos are embedded frames, the code taken right from the video itself. Additionally, you’ll see pdf’s and png images of Finale sheet music files I have created; most have a MIDI file associated with them. There are also embedded running Flash MP3 players that play the MIDI files Some are also sourced from my iTunes library.
Browsers and Development Platform
So far, I have tested the site with IE7, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox. IE6 is no longer supported.
I have done all my development on a Macbook Pro, and use my PC to check it out with the other browsers (Geesh! There’s only so much one person can do–for free)–and what I really want to spend most of my time on is not programming, but creating (hopefully) useful and unique content