New Essay Uploaded

I have just uploaded a short essay about the poetry of Ishikawa Jozan to the website. This is the first major addition since the summer when content was added to the Downloads page. Considering what a no brainer it must seem to have a page about Ishikawa’s poetry on a website devoted to him, it’s fair to ask what took me so long to create it.

In fact, the idea for the essay came about almost by accident. In September, I started a short blog post taking Donald Keene to task for some harsh words about Jozan’s poetry (you can read the post here). Once I finished my rant, I realized that it might be more productive to write a more balanced appreciation of Ishikawa’s work. To my surprise, the essay was much more difficult to write than I expected, as I tried out three different angles before finally settling on my approach.

Regardless of what you think of my opinion, I hope you enjoy reading the poems I included to support my thesis. Both books which translate Ishikawa’s work into English are out of print, so it is hard to find samples of his writing.

Better Late Than Never

I am pleased to announce that a longer preview of The Samurai Poet has been added to the Downloads page. Most recently, I had promised to have this ready in August, but ended up devoting the month to formatting the entire novel, not just the first four chapters. Thank you for your patience.

For the moment, it is only available in the epub format. If anyone is interested in obtaining it in a pdf or mobi format, drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do. The pdf would be fairly easy to produce, but I’m less certain about the mobi.

Please note that my software only supports epub 2.0, so some of the Japanese characters included in the novel display as empty boxes. Fortunately, epub 3.0 supports Japanese, so when the complete novel is published, character rendering should no longer be an issue. In the meantime, here is a list of the missing characters from the chapter 1589:

eternity -
big -
mouth -
person -
tree -
convex -
concave -
tea -

In Search of the Geisha Added

Another epub story has been added to the Downloads page. This one is more of a travelogue. The epub workflow is getting a lot easier now that I’ve figured out the work around mentioned in the previous post. The one thing that was different this time is that I had to enter the page breaks for the chapter headings to start on a fresh page inside the eReader. Don’t know why and don’t care, just as long as it works for you as well.

On another note, I had originally promised to have a longer excerpt of The Samurai Poet uploaded by the end of July. Due to the problems getting “Fushigi Meeting” ready, that date might be pushed back to early August. I realize a couple days isn’t a big deal, but it’s better to be up front about these things.

First Epub Document Is Up

Well, it took me far longer than necessary, but I have finally figured out how to export an epub document with a photographic cover using Pages. What sounds like a simple task turned into a frustrating exercise that required me to break all the rules before I could be successful. Turns out the best way to ensure that your cover exports properly is to put it on page 2, leave page 1 blank, then check the box that says “Use first page as book cover image.” Who would have guessed?

To the best of my knowledge, “Fushigi Meeting” can now be downloaded and read on any eReading device that supports the epub file format. In other words, if you have an iPad, Kobo, Nook, or Sony Reader you’re in luck. If you use a Kindle, you’ll have to convert the file first. If you give the story a try, please let me know if any technical glitches arise since I was only able to test it with a Kobo. Hope you enjoy the story.

Mission Accomplished

To all my visitors from Canada and around the world, Happy Canada Day!

At the beginning of the year, I posted three resolutions on my blog, one of which was to redesign my website and transfer it to a new host before Apple mothballed MobileMe. I’m pleased to announce that as of today, MobileMe no longer exists and yet I still have a presence on the Internet. Here’s a brief summary of the changes:

1) Site Creation: After trying 5 different programs intended for web design on a Mac, I went with Rapidweaver for its blend of professional-looking templates and options for under the hood modifications even by those with limited programming knowledge. An early favourite was Sandvox because of their attentive customer service and the number of templates that featured drop down menus. While I am extremely satisfied with Rapidweaver, Sandvox is a good option for people who want an iWeb experience with more design options.

2) Hosting: While enjoying a free year of hosting as MobileMe wound down, there was time to investigate Rapidweaver friendly web hosts. I went with RAGE web hosting for a number of reasons. First of all, they were already in my good books for their free iWeb SEO Tool that remedied a glaring need in iWeb for users who wanted their sites discoverable by search engines. Secondly, they are a Canadian based firm. Even though they bill in US funds, I like knowing that my .ca domain is being hosted in Canada. Thirdly, having the ability to prepay has allowed me to find hosting for $5 a month. Since my website has always been ad free, inexpensive hosting is important to me. As an added bonus, I have received excellent customer service in the form of quick replies and personalized e-mails.

3) Domain Registration: I switched from a .com to a .ca generic top-level domain primarily because the .ca gTLD allows private citizens to hide their addresses from WHOIS searches, whereas .com does not. I see no reason why that kind of information should be widely accessible, so why not keep it private if you can? So while the .ca domain makes me look more patriotic, there were more practical concerns at work.

The Transition Begins

It’s been about six weeks since I uploaded the beta version of the site. It gave me time to clean up the site and fix some little problems. No one has written to point out any egregious errors, so I have decided it’s time to start making the transition from the old site to the new one.

Almost every page of the new site has been encoded with meta data to ensure that search engines start finding it. As well, every page except the welcome page on my old site, travisbelrose.com, has been embedded with redirects. If you are also making the transition from Mobile Me and iWeb to a new web host, you can find the redirect code at http://iwebfaq.org/site/iWeb_Redirect.html

Website Re-design in Beta

The website re-design is far enough along to start testing on the Internet, but not enough to remove the beta tag. If you have any suggestions regarding improvements or features you would like to see, feel free to contact me by e-mail.