Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 2019 – The Month in Review

I know that tomorrow is technically the last day of August, but I always post my monthly gaming goals outcome on the final day of the month. I’ll be drafting that up to go tomorrow as my last post for Blaugust.

This is mostly a wrap-up post to reflect back on how much blogging I did this month. And I have to say, yes, I did way better than I thought I would. In fact, once tomorrow’s post goes live, I will have officially blogged every single day this month!

Here’s some graphic proof (up to today’s post):

Posts I Made This Month
This counted the last post in July, too. Tomorrow will make it 32 days!

This wasn’t really a difficult experience for me, though I did decide to write several posts on Thurs/Fri so that I could queue them up over the weekends to take a break. I also tended to pick the shorter and easier topics for weekend posts.

Statistics-wise, I actually had less traffic this month than the last two. The reason being, the previous months were fueled by people hyped for the FFXIV expansion. Even this month, none of the posts I actually wrote during Blaugust outdid posts views from my FFXIV topics overall.

People still really want to know about the Bard Performance in FFXIV

But that’s just fine. We had a lot of great discussion about blog/feed readers, valuing content, what motivates us, using Gmail Tasks for lists, WordAds and ad blockers, and that sort of thing. Overall, I hope something I posted this month was of help to someone!

I’ve also met a number of great new folks, read blogs I’ve never seen before, and was happy to see the Discord hopping (even if I tend to be quiet in Discord). I hope folks who started a new blog or just revived an existing one will carry some inspiration into continuing their experiences.

We need more blogs and bloggers. We need more comments and conversation. It’s up to us to keep this alive and kicking. I’m glad to see that Blaugust had some amazing participation this year with lots of new talent. Let’s keep this fun going!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Housing Furniture Preview Feature

One of the features that launched with Shadowbringers that I would have been more excited about had I known what it was… was the housing furniture preview. When they noted this back in some fan fest or live letter presentation, I remember asking, “What does that mean?”

It wasn’t until I saw it in action that I understood how nice this QoL feature is! Up until now, if you wanted to know what a furniture item looked like, you’ve had to go to very useful sites like FFXIV Housing. And even then, it was easy to overlook furniture you didn’t know about because there’s just so much to sort through.

This preview system helps a ton with this. Basically, you can open up the Housing menu and select Preview Indoor Furnishings. This gives you a list of housing items, organized by category!

The system defaults to the most recent housing items added to start with. But then you can drill down into specifically what you want to see.

The best part of this system is that it places a temporary version of the item in your house. This way, you can check out what it looks like, how large it is, and how it fits with the rest of your decor. You can even use the dye preview to see what it looks like in different colors!

This would have been super useful when I was planning out my housing and room decorations earlier. I can’t tell you how many times I would buy something only to find it didn’t fit right, or was smaller than I thought it was going to be, or just didn’t mesh with the theme I was working on.

Not only that, but I spent so much time searching the housing website for specific things – bookshelves, lighting, beds, etc. And then when I found something I thought was right, I still didn’t know until I placed it and dyed it whether it was what I was looking for.

Of course, you can’t mess around with things like float glitches with the preview, so it doesn’t cover every base. But just to see in detail what something looks like before you make the effort to craft it or spend gil to buy it goes a very long way!

Oh, and talking about floating glitches. I saw last night there’s a new video out about the loft glitch. It’s very well done. So if you’re curious how to take your decorating to another level (pun intended), check this out!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust: Staying Motivated

Will you look at that – it’s the final few days of Blaugust! Wow, you’ve almost made it! And this week is Motivation Week. So I thought I’d write a bit about what motivates me.

And… this is a terrible topic. Not because I’m not motivated – I’ve been blogging for many years, but this blog in particular hit the 5 year mark in January. So I’ve been motivated enough to make that happen, even if some months have less posts than others.

But the problem is, I really don’t know what motivates me.

I don’t have a specific reason to blog. I don’t do it to make money, though I did talk about how I did make a bit this year, but hardly enough to cover the cost of the blog hosting. I’m not really a huge presence on Twitter or social media, so it’s not about being well-known or keeping up any net persona.

Really, blogging has just become a part of my gaming experience. Last Blaugust, I wrote a post about always being ready to take screenshots to capture great moments in game. I still play like this. Blogging is a normal extension of the experiences I have in games. I don’t play to blog, but I do enjoy the feeling of sharing moments from gaming in posts.

My in-game friends are quite used to hearing me say “I’m screenshotting this for a blog post.” Sometimes they even tell me when something is going on that should be a blog post. Sometimes they take the screens for me if I’m not there! 🙂

I also keep my blogging very casual. I usually don’t blog on weekends, but I do store up things that happen over weekends for a Monday post. I don’t push myself to have a certain number of posts per week or month. In fact, this WordPress chart will give you an idea of how often I write:

It’s sporadic, and some months I write more than others. But the important thing is that I haven’t stopped blogging, and I really haven’t even considered giving it up. What would I do with all those screenshots I take?

Anyhow, I told you this is a terrible topic, because I really can’t give definitive advice on how to make this work for you. Motivation is very fickle.

Some people need more structure and organization. Some people would feel boxed in and suffocated.

What works for me:

  • Having the freedom to write about whatever I’m interested in today
  • Not forcing a posting schedule – I write when I want
  • Making blogging a natural extension of what I enjoy doing
  • Not focusing on traffic stats or making money
  • Writing for myself first and foremost – and if other folks enjoy it, that’s fantastic!

This may not work for you. But if anything here gives you ideas to try, feel free to run with them!

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: The Rising 2019

Seems like a lot of folks are off having fun in WoW Classic – hope it’s a good launch for you all! Not being much of a WoW player myself, I’m over in FFXIV enjoying this year’s anniversary event – The Rising.

What I love about The Rising is that it’s not just a game’s anniversary celebration. It’s often some sort of message from the devs – usually Yoshi P himself, and sometimes other members of the team. This year, we got some really heartfelt messages from various parts that make up the team, such as the sound folks, the visual folks and even the message board mods.

Spoilers ahead!

Continue reading “FFXIV: The Rising 2019”
Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs

FFXIV: Making It Through Stormblood… Again

I currently have a lot of alts sitting at the start of Stormblood right now, and I’m struggling with the motivation to get them through. While I absolutely adore Shadowbringers, and I’m hyped to play through that on my alts, I’m trying to find a way to pace myself through the old expansions still.

One of my goals for this month was to finally get Tai through Stormblood 4.0. This gets most of the dungeons shoved out of the way (there’s still 3 and 1 trial to do), and also gives me access to spending Poetics on the higher end gear.

Thanks to patient FC folks, not only did I get Tai to level 70 Dragoon this weekend, but I did get him through 4.0 content! I still need to go back and finish up his job quests, and now I’m facing the Drowned City dungeon. But for the most part, there’s not much aside from a string of MSQ quests (which I speed through since this is my third time through).

I’m going to try to focus on this since my other characters are mostly just running roulettes for weekly Tomes now, and doing some beast tribes for leveling alt jobs. It’s a very good time to play catch up, and if I can get another character moving through it on Tai’s heels, then all the better.

Really, the Trust system in Shadowbringers makes everything so much more friendly for a player like me. I feel as if once I get the rest of my crew to Shadowbringers, and I no longer have dread forced-grouped dungeons, I can play much more to my own pace. I know I still have to group for trials, but that’s not a huge deal in the end.

I’m certainly going to add continued progress for alts as goals in the future.

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust: RSS Feed Readers – The Big Switch

Yesterday I posted about using WordPress.com Reader to keep up with your content. So, what about blogs that aren’t part of WordPress that you’re interested in? That’s where the old fashioned RSS Feed Readers still serve well!

I’ve been using Feed Readers since before the demise of Google Reader, and I still lament the loss. I’m confused as to why they shut it down, but I assume money. Anyhow, it was a huge inconvenience, and it forced me to look for alternatives.

Hello Feedly, Goodbye Feedly

Back in 2015, I wrote a post about using Feedly as my reader. It quickly became the go-to replacement for Google Reader for a lot of folks. It imported all my feeds easily, and was a great service. Until…

They forced monetization into the system.

Feedly Pro had been a thing for a while, but I ignored it. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to pay for a feed reader. I’ve been using readers for years for free, so that’s just how it goes.

Then, one day last year, I went to add a feed to my Feedly, and got denied. What was this?

I did research and discovered this:

Wait a second. So free accounts can only have 100 sources and 3 feeds? I’m confused by this. What’s a source and how is it different from a feed?

I don’t know, but I did understand one thing…

While they didn’t remove any of the feeds I currently subscribed to, I was faced with the reality that I’d hit a limit and couldn’t add new feeds to my reader. Needless to say, I went reader shopping that day and found an alternative pretty easily.

Hello Inoreader

My current reader is Inoreader.

This one may not work for everyone because the free version is supported by ads. And in order to use the reader, it did keep prompting me to whitelist the reader domain when I visited (YMMV). I know from a past post that a few folks out there feel pretty strongly against this, but I just whitelisted it for the sake of…

150 feeds for the free account.

And to be honest, they offer a $20 yearly package for 500 feeds and no ads, which isn’t terrible. So far, I haven’t had any issue with the 150 feed limit, but I don’t hold on to feeds that go inactive for super long.

BUT, if I were to upgrade, I think I’d fork over the yearly $20 sooner than I would a monthly fee. Yeah, I know above I just said I’m not paying for a reader (and I’m not), but this is the most likely case if I did.

Right now, this is the reader I recommend. There might be other good ones out there – if so, let me know in the comments – but this works for me. If you want to know more about how to set up your feeds in Inoreader, check out their comprehensive help!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust: Let’s Talk About WordPress Reader

I do a lot of praising about Tumblr’s great dashboard because it’s a feature that is at the heart of the blogging environment. The platform does an amazing job at delivering other people’s content to you and encouraging people to share content around and recognize it.

This is an area that WordPress.com as a platform could really improve on. It’s also the reason I choose Tumblr over WordPress when it comes to needing to create blog that’s highly interactive (such as an RP blog). However, that doesn’t mean WordPress doesn’t have tools. In fact, it has a pretty great feature, if you are on WordPress.com, called the Reader.

So, when you click that little Follow button on WordPress blogs, that actually does do something – it adds that blog to your your Followed Sites in the Reader. It creates a flowing dashboard of content for all of the blogs you follow. To access it, just click the Reader button on the top WordPress bar of your blog.

There, you’ll see a bunch of options! View your Favorites, Discover new blog content in the WordPress.com environment, see what you’ve liked before, or check out Tags.

Tags is actually a pretty cool little feature, so let’s take a look at it. Basically, when you click on Tags, you get a list of tags that you’re following.

Not following any tags? Click Add and type a topic you’re interested in. Then, when someone else writes a blog post and tags that post with a tag you’re following, you can see it by clicking that tag name in this list.

It’s pretty darn cool, and a very good reason why you should make sure you’re tagging your content when you write blog posts! Not only does it help you organize your writing, but you never know who might have saved tags you use, and will see your posts because of it.

The great thing is that WordPress has these options in the Reader. The sad thing is that I don’t know that people are aware and using it… at least nothing to the extent that they do in Twitter or Tumblr.

If more bloggers got involved, watched tags, discovered new blogs, and really put the Follow system to use, then WordPress could become much more social.

It really would benefit all bloggers who use the platform. This would lead to creators becoming readers and more exchange of comments and ideas. Other than writing a post about it, and encouraging folks to check it out if they don’t use it already, I’m not sure what else can be said.

Soooo… if you haven’t used WordPress Reader, check it out! It’s really a great snapshot at what other people are doing, and gives you a quick look at all the blogs your Following in one place.

It’s also a part of the WordPress App if you prefer mobile!