Going back to London

Well it's been less than 48 hours since Jro's World went online, but a lot can happen in 48 hours. I was complaining a couple of days ago when I wrote a blog I was bored. That's not been the case for the passed couple of days.

First off, I sorted out advertising. On particular pages, where is doesn't affect the content or look of the page significantly, I've put in some Google ads. These seem particularly useful on the hostel page, where sponsored links take you directly through to some of the hostels I talk about. Or in the last blog entry in which I wrote about uploading the site, the adverts currently displayed advertise different software to upload webpages. Content that people reading these pages may actually find useful. So I am happy to keep these here as they do not affect the site significantly and could be worth some minor, but much needed, revenue when I'm travelling. If anything, they actually help the look of the site. They fill up spaces where previously there was nothing but black.

The other way I wanted to incorporate advertising into my website, was to integrate a Google search box on every page. Something that is always useful to have available. And if people happen to click on the sponsored links for these search results, then I will generate revenue from this. Unfortunately, implementing this search box was not as simple as just listing the code, like with the other adverts. I tried doing that, but the box came out all messed up. The Google logo, and words custom search were laying inside the search box, rather than next to it, so you could not see what you were actually searching. Not being able to figure out how to fix this, I yesterday posted on a Google forum looking for help.

The thread of posts appears here, but unfortnately no one solved the issue for me. What did though happen, as you will gather from reading the thread, is that my style of website came under some criticism. It was described as follows. "It looks like a website I am used to, until I look "under the hood" and it becomes more like a Hollywood studio back-lot where only the facades of the building are "real"." The person who levelled this criticism did though offer some help, offering to put together a mock-up that I could work from. My design skills were complemented, but it was my technical skills that came under fire. Not surprising really considering I taught myself this whole building websites lark. Since that final post on the forum, there has been a couple of emails sent each way, and I am eagerly waiting for the "mock-up". I am not yet sure of how useful it will be to this website. I am able to do all I currently require on my site, even if not done how is typically supposed. However, if not too time consuming, then having a website that will be able to cope with whatever I require from it on my travels may be very beneficial in the long run. I shall see what this mock-up provides for me, and then make a decision about whether to change things. If nothing else, it should be a good guide to the next website that I make, whenever that will be. Maybe not until after I get back from travelling, but it will be good to use at some point.

Incidentally, I was able to eventually solve my problem with the search box myself. If you read the thread that I linked to in the last paragraph, you can see that I come up with a solution, but one that Google would apparently not approve of. I have now come up with a solution that doesn't involve altering any of Google's code. I had to change my CSS from having absolute positioning applied to every div tag in a blanket form, to having in apply to each div tag individually. This then solved the problem of the search box getting crowded by the Google logo and 'custom search' writing, as all 3 were no longer being told to appear in one place. To position it as I preferred, it was then a case of making a table consisting of 1 row and 2 columns, with the search box being located in the 2nd column. To then move it up and down, I just altered the height of the row, and to move it left and right, I altered the size of the first column. And because my whole site was set to absolute positioning, it was not affected by the addition of this table. My new mentor did talk about this solution in an email very disparagingly, and his reasoning did make sense. But I am at least proud I am learning to find solutions to my problems.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I was implementing Google analytics into the site. This is Google tracking the site, and providing statistics about it, such as where people viewing the site come from etc. I'm sure they gain as much as me from this information, but it's still good to look at. By today, apart from the views in Hull, UK that went well into double figures, I had a viewer in Japan, whom will have been the person who was helping me on the Google forum, but also a viewer from Sweden. Arlov to be exact. Now I'm not sure exactly how they found the site, because it is not yet listed on any search engines. I guess they were looking at the Google forum as well or something. But it's nice to know I can be found. "Mr. Arlov, if you read this then feel free to say hi. You're one of my first ever visitors. You must be honoured."

Speaking of the search engines as I just was, I have registered the sites url with Google, Yahoo and MSN search, but it is yet to appear on any of them which is a little frustrating. All say that the process of looking at the site takes time though, so hopefully within the next few days I'll be listed. What I did find out from this process, is that my Facebook profile is now the third item listed on Google if you search 'Jethro Williams'. It was bloody ages ago that I registered my Facebook profile for Google. And I remember checking for ages afterwards, but I was never listed. I guess it really does take a lot of time. But if nothing else, I am listed on Google somehow, even if it is not Jro's World. Incidentally, searching for 'jrosworld' does though turn up feedback I've left for people on eBay. 'Jrosworld' is now also my eBay name, and for some reason, my feedback appears in Google search results. I guess if people've registered their eBay accounts or something.

I did also attempt to implement the JS-Kit into my site. However it bestowed the same problems as the Google search, with the features all piling on top of each other. Having now worked out a solution to that problem, I may try again to implement it. Should I be successful, then I think it could replace the guestbook I currently have, which would be a good solution. I'd still need one for the forum mind. JS-Kit also promises to make me money from advertising. I haven't looked into how yet, or how much, but any revenue when I'm travelling will be welcomed. They probably use Google ads, then split the money that they make, with you. So it will I guess be less profitable than making the guestbook myself. However, it's a part-solution until I figure out how to do so, if I ever do. And the fact that it's called JS-Kit leads me to believe that it may not be too easy. I assume JS stands for Java Script, and I haven't had much luck with Java as yet.

Another change I've made to the site, is I now have a snazzy new 'Welcome to Jro's World' on the homepage. It was previously just written in black writing in headings tags. This didn't give the look I wanted though, so I went Welcome to Jro's World back to Cooltext, whom create buttons and logos and stuff free of charge (at the time of writing, they were responsible for all of the buttons within the site. And probably still are now), and made a snazzy 'Welcome to Jro's World' logo. It's a lot more striking and looks that little bit less amateur. I did have to edit the it a little in Paint to get it the way I wanted, but I'm happy with the look.

That has all been development within Jro's World. I'll be honest, I'm boring myself talking about it, but this really is how I've spent my time for the passed couple of days. And I guess it'll be good to look back at how the site was created a few years from now. Maybe. In the real world however...

Eventually, after wanting to get on with it for so god damn long, we finally started booking things for Mexico. I booked a Mexico City hostel for 3 of us, but unfortunately, at the time of booking, I got a runtime error on their website (I guess we aren't yet back in the real world). I don't know what this means really, but I was never taken to any confirmation page, and have not received a confirmation email from the hostel. Rather, I have just received a confirmation that the payment was taken. I know that I should be getting a confirmation email, because I've spoken to others who are booking, so it leads me to think that my credit card may've been charged without the booking actually going through, because the money was paid to an external website. I tried messaging them, but of course the website was failing still. I eventually did get a message to go through the system, but that was 24 hours ago now. And I have still heard nothing. Which makes me worry that I'm going to need to phone Mexico... Passport 1 Spanish going into full effect. Or at least Google translator. It's fucking typical though, the site stops working at the exact time I need to use it. And they get my money. What an unnecessary hassle.

As I said in a previous blog, I had bought myself a Pacsafe on eBay for this trip. That arrived the other day, and the stupid cow sent a size different to the one advertised, so now I have a Pacsafe that is too big. I was offered 2 options. 1, I send it back and get a full refund. Or 2, I keep it, and get given a £4.50 refund, because the postage charged was too excessive anyway. That would mean that the total cost of the Pacsafe comes to just £22.51, which is a fucking bargain. I'll be selling it on again on eBay, probably at a price of around £30, and then buying another one of the right size. Means I've saved quite a lot in buying this Pacsafe. Or it will once I've bought one more and sold this one. Even if the whole process has been an absolute merry-go-round, I'm always willing to sweat to make a few pennies. I'm a tight-git like that.

As you might be able to tell from this blog so far, I've been sat in front of the computer for a lot of the passed couple of days. Not that I had anything better to do anyway, but this was fuelled also by way of me fucking up my lower back at the gym. I actually injured it initially in a class on Sunday. I think it just got sore from doing too many reps, probably with bad technique. But I made the whole situation worse by pushing it too hard this morning. I had put off Back Pain doing any back or leg work since Sunday, but I was thinking it was healed up enough by today that it wouldn't be a problem. Wrong. I felt it go again whilst doing bent-over rows on the second rep. But I hate stopping during a set, so I carried on for a further 8 reps, and now I feel like an idiot. You wouldn't think that you need your lower back for much, but right now, even tying my shoe laces puts me in absolute agony. This is even more proof that I'm getting old. 22 going on 60. Despite this gym though, sitting in front of a computer as much as I'm doing is really getting me out of shape. I'm beginning to sprout little breasts. I really need to find something more active to fill my time once my morning gym workout is over. I'm going to look like a beached whale come Mexico otherwise. As you might've guessed from the title, I'm going back to London this weekend for 3 days so maybe that'll provide me with some inspiration.

It's been 6 months since I was last there. But it will though mean that I can actually write a travel blog that is about travel. How revolutionary. Yes it might not be fucking Madagascar and I was brought up there, but it's better than nothing. It'll definitely beat writing about a website. Probably. Actual travel... a train from Hull to London. I'll have a field day once I get back.

It's not like there is really much for me up in Hull right now anyway. I'm enjoying the gym, but other than that... People are all leaving. Just today, the person I've been going to the gym with for the passed few months has left which I was a little sad about. It definitely won't be a social fest for the final week that I'm up here once I get back from London. It's really sad if I'm honest. My 4 years of uni is slowly petering out. I'm going to have to become a real fucking person. How depressing. Nothing can beat the student life.

One other thing before I wrap this up (I'm really running out of ways to say I've done nothing but sit in front of a computer for 2 days), is about the US. I commend them on finally getting rid of Clinton in the presidential race. She was never going to amount to anything. Out of Clinton, Obama and McCain, Obama is undoubtedly the most competant. But I really worry from listening to interviews with Yanks, that McCain might actually get to the Whitehouse. First off, what is all the deal with Obama being black. 1, does it really matter? 2, he's not even black. He has a black father and a white mother; that's not black in my book. He's half black. It's just he's in a white dominated country, so anything non-white, is considered black. What I am curious about, is if he was to run for president in Kenya, where his father is from and a black dominated country, would he be billed as a white candidate because of his white mother? I'm not sure, but it's just a thought. Seems a lot of commotion about a non-issue in my opinion.

Dumb Americans Anyway, back to these interview with US citizens that I'm seeing. People in certain states of the US are scared to vote for Obama. His middle name is Hussain, so he must be trouble. His last name is only one letter away from Osama, so he's obviously a terrorist. How the fuck are these people allowed votes? I've never been a fan of democracy. It's too flawed for me, and giving idiots like this a vote to determine the most powerful man in the world, is why we have been stuck with Bush in the White house for 8 years. Had Gore won in 2000, then think of the changes. If you believe my stance on 9/11, then there would have been no Bush-instigated attacks on the World Trade Centers. Then there would have been no Afganistan war, no Iraq war. No Iraq war, and there probably would have been no suicide-bombings in London. And with Gore in the White House, you could have been assured that climate change would have been atop of the world agenda, rather than Bush for a long time, refusing to even acknowledge its very existence. Reduce climate change, and there would have been no hurricane Katrina, no Iranian earthquake, no Tsunami, no Burma flooding, no Chinese earthquake. 1,000's upon 1,000's of lives could have been preserved in a more carbon friendly world had it been Gore instead of Bush. Western and middle-east issues would not be such an issue, as it is widely recognised that the biggest benefactor of the Iraq was, was Iran. And this was all because of a few dumb-ass yanks voting for Bush. Eight years later, and here we are again. McCain, a man who will carry on the Dumb Bush Bush legacy of illegitimate wars, attacking his own people, and a faultering world economy. Or Obama, a man with the common sense to actually undo some of Bush's retardisms. Then, as now, the fate of the world is in the hands of the American people. Yet some of the idiots with the right to vote, will simply abstain from supporting Obama, simply because his name rhymes with an al-quaeda leaders. This is why democracy doesn't work. These idiots do not have the intelligence to vote for the right candidate. Not only did they vote in Bush, in the 2000 presidential race, but then thought he was doing such a job at destroying the world, that they gave him another term in '04. And now these same people have the fate of the world in their hands, but are too fucking stupid to see beyond a name. That is why I'm worried.

Please do not make the mistake here of thinking that I am slagging the entire US here. I have a great respect for parts of the country. It is those where the inhabitants are too thick to see passed a man's name, but still have the same rights to vote as the rest of the country that rattle me. It would be a very different world we lived in right now if these people could mustar the brain cells together to vote for the candidate who won't keep on starting illegal wars. It's not a difficult choice. Ah well. I have faith in Obama. Hopefully he can turn these idiots around.

Next time I write a travel blog, it will actually be about travelling!!! All the way to fucking london whoopee.

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