About Finer Things in Tech v2.5

FT 2013 JanuaryOne day soon I will finish up my draft about the evolution of Finer Things in Tech. It really has gone through a few major platform changes—Tumblr, WordPress, Squarespace, and back to WordPress—that readers regularly ask me about. I plan to share the experience and what I’ve learned, but today is not that day.

As of this weekend we are now at what I consider Finer Things in Tech 2.5. I moved from Squarespace 6 back to WordPress in fall 2012, found the Megazine WordPress theme, and rebuilt the size in a magazine format to help readers discover each section of the site and make it a little easier to find stuff you’re interested in (more of that coming soon). Altogether, since the move I have added:

  • A flexible, responsive WordPress magazine theme
  • Sub-menus to the main navigation for some of the most popular topics (tags) on Finer Things in Tech
  • Content-aware sidebars that have social links for each top-level section. Visit any post under the /Mac or /iOS categories or simply their main sections, for example, and you’ll see links to the separate social accounts for Finer Things in Mac or iOS on Twitter, Tumblr, and more
  • a new Submit a Finer Thing form powered by Gravity Forms that supports media uploads and more fields for personal data so I can thank you for public submissions
  • a new Follow page that lists all the different ways you can indulge in the Finer Things in Tech, like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and RSS as of this writing
  • an author bio section at the bottom of each post for contributors to get more exposure from their posts. This isn’t where I want it to be yet, but at least it’s a start—I want to add more ways to thank and promote kind folks for submitting posts
  • a Creative Commons license in the footer to help other writers quickly find what kind of credit I would like for the content created here
  • RSS feeds powered by FeedBurner (found on the new Follow page), even though I realize Google seems to be slowly killing it
  • Flattr buttons on individual posts to tinker with giving readers an unobtrusive way to support the site. Think of it as sort of a tip jar for the web. You sign up with Flattr, toss a little money into your account, click Flattr buttons (or even a bookmarklet) on any site you find, and that site will get a slice of your contribution

Moving forward, my focus is on four primary things:

  • Better design and presentation – This includes presenting more media in more ways. I’ve dabbled with GIFs, now have a Finer Things in Tech YouTube channel, and I’m testing some gallery ideas; anything to help share the handy features, bits of detail, and wonderful polish of great tech. This also includes the theme—Megazine is better than what I’ve had before but I’m not entirely happy with it. WordPress really is the best place for Finer Things in Tech now and for the foreseeable future, but the WordPress theme and plugin industry is a frustrating and cumbersome mess of bad design, poor decisions, and broken abandonware
  • I’m considering an Android section – There truly is a lot of great and powerful stuff to Android these days, but there’s just one problem: I don’t really use Android myself, so I personally can’t do it the proper Finer Things justice. A Finer Things in Android section would need someone who’s interested in creating posts and proofing submissions. I’m not sure how much I can pay for this, but if you’re interested, let’s talk
  • More exposure and thanks for contributors – I want more ways to promote and otherwise thank contributors for submitting content, whether I add them as an actual author on the site (i.e., give you a login) or whether they use the public submit page
  • New ways to support Finer Things in Tech – like the Apple TV, Finer Things in Tech has been a hobby for three years. While I’m not looking to quit my day jobs, I do want to spend more time on it and find ways to let readers support the work that I and contributors do here. I might start accepting sponsorships again, but I also want to try other ways (not involving an ounce of slime, promise) to get a little creative, hence the Flattr buttons on posts. If you have ideas, I’m all ears

As always, thanks for reading and submitting to the Finer Things in Tech. In the coming weeks and months, I plan to give you plenty more to sink your teeth into.