Monday, November 24, 2008

Zo Kwe Zo

There comes a time when the old you no longer fits, and a makeover is in order.

I have renamed my blog (and changed its URL) to reflect the new me.

The phrase "Zo Kwe Zo" is in Sango, the national language of the Central African Republic, a beautiful country that is the heart of Africa where I was lucky enough to be sent for my two years in the U.S. Peace Corps. I hope that in greatly expanding the Peace Corps, President Obama will "send the troops back in". I hope after retiring to be able once again to return again to the CAR as a reentrant PCV.

"Zo Kwe Zo" is the founding motto of the Central African Republic, and means "All People are People", a direct allusion to Thomas Jefferson's line in the U.S. Declaration of Independence that "All Men are Created Equal".

This theme having of late become the central focus of my blog, the pursuit of equality for all, including gays and lesbians, combined with the none-too-soon demise of the Bush Administration, has once again given me optimism in the direction our country is headed.

The powerless Rantings of a Crazed Lunatic, despised and marginalized by a country under the spell of the Religious Right, at last can give way to a more positive expression of belief in the possible, confident that (with effort and furious blogging) we will in my lifetime see the Promised Land, where zo kwe zo.


Dan Weston said...

The beautiful symmetry of the expression "zo kwe zo" shares its power with some other less noble chants you may know: "burn baby burn", "drill baby drill", "run sarah run".

I can only hope the form does not lessen the impact of the message.

Brendan said...

Congratulations on the move! I like the new name and the philosophy behind it.

I bet the blogosphere would be happy if you wrote up a post describing how you moved everything (including comments) to a new blog. Did you use the Blogger tool I think I mentioned to you? However you did it, the more details the better.

May your optimism, bloggy and otherwise, remained undampened.

Dan Weston said...

The migration process was trivial. Sign in, go to Settings, then Publish, then enter a new URL that is currently unowned (if you already own it, you will have to first delete the blog to free it up).

All prior content is then located at the new URL unchanged (except with the different URL prefix).

The old URL gets released to the public, so you need to quickly create a new blog with the old URL and post a follow-me link. If anyone knows how to just get the old URL to redirect to the new, please let me know. That would be awesome.

Befitting a new blog, I changed the title and subtitle to match. Googlers find it confusing to see a blog title that doesn't match the URL anyway.

Twin said...

If anyone knows how to just get the old URL to redirect to the new, please let me know.

Stick the following line of code somewhere between the [head] and [/head] tags of your old blog's template:

[meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;url="]

The number before the semicolon is the delay in seconds before the redirect occurs. This can be used if you want users to read a message before they are bounced to the new URL -- such as "please update your bookmarks, etc.," though I will note that there is actually no need for any such message (or for anyone to update their bookmarks) if you are going to permanently remain in control of the old URL -- so you might just want to set the interavl to 0 seconds.

Note: I had to change the normal HTML pointy brackets (< & >) to square brackets because the comment form won't allow the [head] and [meta] tags. Therefore you must convert the square brackets to pointy brackets to use the code above.

Also: See the Wikipedia article "Meta Refresh" for more information.

Dan Weston said...

@ Twin,

Thanks for the info. I put it in. It seems that 0 sec means more like 1 sec, but that's okay. It gives people a chance to see what might have been.

Brendan said...

Automatic redirection is a matter of taste, but I think the interval should be long enough (say, 15 seconds) so that the visitor has a chance to see what's going on. Generally, I think that redirection should not be automatic when you first move a site (just supply the link to the new one).

My two cents.

Dan Weston said...

Not just taste. As soon as I turned on redirection, blogger accused my blog of being spam and threatened to shut it down. A hearing is scheduled for tomorrow while a human being passes judgment on it.

I got rid of the redirection for now. Depending on the viewer's taste, it is always either too slow or too fast for comfort anyway.

Brendan said...

Woah. Sorry to hear that, but I guess I can understand why Google would look for such things. Good luck on keeping the old site alive.

As a matter of principle, I don't think a redirect can be too slow, as long as you provide a clickable link for where the visitor is going to be sent anyway. I suppose in the case of someone registering a domain name with multiple TLDs (.com, .net, .org, etc), all of which are intended to resolve to the canonical site, then a 0-second redirect is in order.

Verso said...

It seems that 0 sec means more like 1 sec,

Well, yeah. I usually work on a corporate intranet with superfast connections and don't notice what you're seeing there with the 1 second delay, but this is the Internet. What's happening is that the code will only execute AFTER the entire page has been downloaded and rendered in the browser. Although my Internet connection here at home is blazing fast by Internet standards, the "supposed to be zero second delay" really was more like 1 second, and I didn't like how it felt.

For users, I think the 1 second redirect would be pretty unsettling. They would have no idea what was going on, and would wonder why the hell they ended up on a completely different blog with a different name.

There are some ameliorative steps you could take, although having read the comments posted since you turned on redirection, I realize these are both moot. However, since we all love talking about web stuff, here they are:

(1) If you did use the [meta refresh] tag, you could remove all content from the page so that it would load more quickly, and would only be a blank, white page. Then the 1 second would be more like .5 seconds, and users would not be as "jarred" by the experience of seeing Blog #1 load and then be replaced by Blog #2.

(2) The best solution would actually be a server side redirect. The code I gave you is client-side; i.e., the server serves the code; the client executes it. What would be better would be a server side redirect, in which the server itself responds to the HTTP Request by serving the new site instead of the old one.

I don't know what server side code languages are supported by Blogger. But if it supports ASP (Active Server Pages), you could use a simple statement like this as the first line of code in your page:

[% response.redirect "" %]

Note 1: I changed the standard "pointy brackets" to square brackets because blogger's comments won't allow me to submit pointy brackets that resemble HTML (unless they are among the few tolerated HTML tags).

Note 2: If you did use a server side redirect such as the one above, you could (and should) delete ALL other code/content from the page. It won't hurt if you don't, but there is really no point for it, since nothing else on the page will ever be served to the client as long as the server-side redirect is included.

In any event, I guess Blogger wouldn't let you do this anyway, so it's purely academic.

For what it's worth, I agree with Brendan. I answered your question from a technical standpoint, but I think it makes more sense to leave a "we've moved" message and a link to allow the user to click over to the new site. There is clearly a time and a place for a redirect, but I'm not sure this is it. An alternative would be, as Brendan suggested, a 10-15 second delay that would give the user time to read the message. Still, either is (IMO) preferable to the instant redirect...

Anyway, cheers, and hope things are working out at the new place.

Anonymous said...

Whoops. Verso and Twin are the same person.