Saturday, February 24, 2007

Moving from Blogger to WordPress

Google updated Blogger a while ago, but many of the new features are not available to blogs that are published by ftp (like TsukuBlog). So, if we want to use all of the new Blogger features on this site, we either have to move the blog to BlogSpot or set up a "custom domain" that is still kind of controlled by Google.

I would rather be able to keep some control over the blog (i.e. I want to be able to decide how much space I am able to use for photos, etc.), so I have decided to try to move TsukuBlog to a WordPress-based system.

A Blogger-WordPress import tool was recently developed for the updated version of Blogger, so I think it is time to start working on the changeover. I am not sure how long it will take to move everything over, but I am going to start the process this weekend. If you notice the blog doing weird things, that is why.

I will post again when it looks like the job has been completed.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

TsukuBlog Privacy Policy

TsukuBlog will not use any email address that is provided to us through any form on this site for purposes other than subscribing that email address to TsukuBlog updates (only if the person requests a subscription) or responding to a comment that has been submitted via email to the site.

We will not disclose your email address to any third party.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

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If you would like to have regular updates on what is happening in Tsukuba, please subscribe to TsukuBlog by filling out the following form.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Moving to Blogger Beta

TsukuBlog is run by Blogger and the Blogger software is currently undergoing some major upgrades. I have switched TsukuBlog to Blogger Beta (we were given the choice, but it was only a matter of time before we would be forced to switch) and that has caused some changes to the blog.

1. All members (contributors) of the blog must sign in with a Google account to post to the blog. (People who read the blog will not be affected.)

2. All of the posts can now be given labels. (See the bottom of this post for the label "tsukublog". If you click on it, you will be taken to all of the articles labelled with "tsukublog" on this site.)

3. The "feed" and "email service" was a bit strange yesterday because of the upgrade. If you subscribe to the feed or the email updates, you probably received a large number of posts yesterday. I assume that this was due to the upgrade and it shouldn't happen again. Sorry for the inconvenience.

I am still sorting out some of the details of the migration to Blogger Beta, but so far, everything seems to be in working order. If you notice anything strange, please let me know.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

TsukuBlog Available by Email

You can now access TsukuBlog three ways.

1. Come to the website and read the articles online.

2. Subscribe to a "feed". I have changed the feed to include updates to the Tsukuba Link Collection, so if you are already subscribed to the TsukuBlog feed, you might want to resubscribe with this new link.

3. Have the posts sent to you by email. Clicking on this link will bring you to a page that will let you enter an email address for receiving updates.

Options 2 and 3 are available in the "Subscribe to TsukuBlog" menu on the right side of the blog.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

TsukuBlog Updated

I have put some extra work into TsukuBlog lately. Here are some of the changes.

1. Added a photo album.
2. Added a section that shows the latest 5 links that have been added to the Tsukuba Link Collection
3. Added a section that shows all of the categories of the Tsukuba Link Collection
4. Posted a variety of new articles, such as...I will also add categories to the blog articles as soon as "team blogs" are allowed to upgrade to Blogger Beta.

I'm not sure if I will be able to keep up this pace, but I'll try to keep it interesting! (Also, I hope some of our other contributors will post every now and then.) One idea I have is to make a "Tsukuba Kanji Quiz" where we will post photos of signs that you can see around Tsukuba and ask the readers to guess how to read them. Does that sound fun? Are there any other kinds of articles that you want to see? Please let me know!

With your co-operation, I would like to make TsukuBlog a place where you can find fun, informative, and timely information about Tsukuba. My plan is for the articles to be posted continuously during the month and then have relevant ones archived on the Alien Times site and/or Tsukuba Wiki. (If anyone wants to volunteer to update Tsukuba Wiki with the content from Tsukublog once a month, please let me know -- or just go ahead and start doing it.)

Subscribe to TsukuBlog

If you have an rss reader (usually built into your browser, or available as an add-on), you can subscribe to Tsukublog and be notified of new articles automatically.

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Related Projects

I have started to collect links to Tsukuba- and Japan-related websites in a "del.icio.us" account for Alien Times.

Tsukuba Link Collection

Subscribe to Tsukuba Link Collection

If you have any suggestions of website links that should be added, please let me know. If you have a del.icio.us account, you can recommend links by tagging them with "for:alientimes". If you don't have an account, just send me the links and I will add them manually.

I am working on moving the links from the Alien Times site over to the new account.

If you have any ideas, comments, or suggestions or if you want to contribute to TsukuBlog (or Alien Times or Tsukuba Wiki) in any way, please let me know.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Still There?

I have to apologize for my extended absence from Tsukublogging. Autumn always seems to be a busy time for me, both at work and at play.

We have had some wonderful weather lately. On Saturday, I was able to take a bike ride down Tsukuba RinRin Road thanks to the new (trial) rent-a-cycle service they are providing at the 20km mark. And I took a walk around Expo Memorial Park this afternoon. It was great to see so many people out with their families and friends just enjoying the nice weather.

On Friday I went in to Tokyo for a dinner, but I had some free time before meeting up with my friends, so I decided to go to Meiji Shrine. It is a bit embarrassing to admit this, but I had never been to Meiji Shrine before now even though I have been in Tsukuba for almost 5 years now (and in Japan for longer). I didn't realize it when I came up with the plan to visit the shrine, but November 3 is the day of the official Meiji Shrine festival. There were all kinds of people there, so it wasn't very peaceful, but it was really neat to see the 3-, 5-, and 7-year-old children dressed up for shichi-go-san. The kids were extremely cute, and I would have loved to take some pictures of them, but it would have been weird for me to take pictures of other people's kids! So, here's a picture of one of the big gates instead...

How did you spend your long weekend?


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Posting Articles on Alien Times Site

Hi Fellow Tsukubloggers!

I have finally been able to make some time to archive some of our posts on the Alien Times site. Please have a look at the articles listed in the October issue. I hope to be able to keep AT updated with the archives from this blog on a regular basis.

I would like to know what name to add to the articles by RfFish and Daddy B. I think it is fine to use nicknames on Tsukublog, but if possible, I would like to list proper names (even if they are pseudonyms) on the AT site. I think it makes the information on the AT site more trustworthy to have it signed by "real people".

Can you guys send me an email to let me know what to do? If you disagree with my reasoning about the AT, feel free to tell me what you think I should do.



Thursday, August 10, 2006


Hi Tsukubloggers,

I would like to ask the bloggers here a favour. I have not yet figured out what the relationship will (eventually) be between Alien Times, Tsukuba Wiki, and this blog. In a perfect world, they would each have a large team of volunteers and a unique purpose or goal in the community. As it stands, they all kind of overlap one another and generally seem to serve similar purposes. I'm all for redundancy, however, since that helps to ensure that people get the information they need, from one source or another.

So, until (or unless) we come up with some sort of master plan for all of these sites, I would like to propose the idea that Tsukublog act as a sort of feeder for Alien Times articles. I want to make sure that the blog posts you write get maximum exposure to the Tsukuba community, and I also want to make sure that the information you provide gets archived in at least two places, so it has a better chance of surviving. To that end, I would like to ask your permission to create Alien Times articles out of some of your posts. I won't necessarily post all of them on the AT site, but when there are ones that have the potential to help people in the future (like the ones about Sakura and monthly passes, etc.), I would like to be able to post them on the AT website and occasionally have them printed in the paper version.

Any objections? Please let me know what you think in the comments section or by emailing me. (If I don't hear anything from you within a week or so, I will take your silence as consent -- but I would really much rather have your explicit permission.) Of course, if you ever write a post that you would rather *not* see in Alien Times, just let me know and I will honour your wishes. Sound fair?


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Words of Encouragement

We now have seven people signed up to "Blog for Tsukuba". That is about five more than I expected, so I am really pleased!

I would like to offer all of our Tsukubloggers encouragement to blog more often. I'm sure it's really boring for our readers just to read messages from me all the time! Your posts don't have to be long and they can be on any topic that relates to your life in Tsukuba. I have been posting information about restaurants and events, but you don't have to follow that pattern. Anything that will help people see Tsukuba from your perspective is welcome. Daddy B's posts on the Sakura area are wonderful, and I loved Renato's thoughts on pigeons! I hope to hear from the other contributors soon.

Also, if you wish, you can post a self introduction. It might be interesting to see who we have here... students, researchers, teachers, others?

If possible, I would really like to see at least one post per blogger per week. If that is not possible, then don't worry about it -- it's just an idea. Your posts can include your thoughts on life in Tsukuba or reports on events or places. My goal is for this site to become a place for people who are (1) thinking of moving to Tsukuba, (2) already in Tsukuba, or (3) back in their home country (or elsewhere) after a stay in Tsukuba to get a sense of what is happening in Tsukuba right now. And I don't just mean the events, but also the "feeling" in Tsukuba -- how Tsukuba's residents feel about their lives here.

I would like to build up a loyal readership of the blog and get people to think of it as an important Tsukuba resource, on par with Alien Times, Tsukuba Wiki, and the City of Tsukuba website -- but even better than those in a certain sense because it is totally "bottom up" and "for the people by the people".

I hope, too, that people feel free to comment on the blog articles in order to add their perspectives to our contributions. People of Tsukuba have your say!

Too lofty a goal? Perhaps. But you can't blame me for dreaming!


Friday, July 21, 2006

Moderating Comments

Tsukublog has been inundated with spam comments in the last couple of days, so I have set it up so all comments will be moderated before they are posted to the blog. This means that if you add a comment to an article, it may take a while for it to show up on the blog. It's unfortunate that this has to happen, but I guess that is the nature of the internet these days.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

What is TsukuBlog?

I think there might be some people out there who are not sure what a blog is, so here is a short explanation.

A blog is a like a journal or a diary that you put online. Blog is an abbreviation of "web log". If you are interested in contributing to the blog, you can become a member and write some diary entries. Otherwise, you can just visit the site and read what other people have written without becoming a member. You can leave comments about the individual entries by clicking on "comments" on the bottom of each entry. You don't have to be a member to leave comments.

If you think you will want to write up some entries about your life in Tsukuba, I can make you a member of the blog. Otherwise, if you just want to enjoy reading the entries and maybe make comments sometimes, you can do that without being a member.

Another feature of a blog is that it can be "syndicated", which means that you can get copies of all entries to the blog sent to a news reader (or, in some cases, your email address). This means that you will be notified of all new entries automatically, so you can keep up with the blog without having to visit the actual site. You can subscribe to TsukuBlog by following the link at the bottom of the page that says "suscribe to this blog". You will need a news reader to read the entries like this, but your internet browser may already have one built in. If you are not sure, try clicking on the "subscribe to this blog" link and see what happens. (This option will not really be helpful until we get some more entries!)

Here are some links to more information.

More about blogs

More about subscribing to a blog

One person has already joined TsukuBlog as a member (thank you!!) and I am hoping to get at least one or two more. I think it would be particularly good if someone who hasn't been in Tsukuba for very long joined as a member. Getting the perspective of a newcomer would be great. If you are interested in becoming a member (which means that you are interested in writing entries for the blog), please let me know. (Click on the "Contact us" link on the right.)

If you like the idea of contributing to the blog, but you are not sure how to do it, I will be happy to help you familiarize yourself with the process. You don't need to know any html or anything. You just have to know how to write. Also, I should mention that it doesn't matter whether you are a native English speaker or not. As long as we can understand what you are saying, it doesn't matter whether your English is perfect. It is the message that matters, not the grammar.

If you have any questions, please let me know. I hope you enjoy reading TsukuBlog!


Friday, July 14, 2006

Welcome to TsukuBlog!

I don't know if this will catch on or not, but I wondered if anyone out there might be interested in starting a community blog.

Topics for blogging could include restaurant reviews, sightseeing spots, something interesting you learned about Tsukuba, Japanese language tips (or questions), comments about your life in Tsukuba, announcements of events, recommendations of things to do, etc. Basically anything is okay, as long as it has some (at least remote) connection to Tsukuba and it is not offensive. (And I guess since I am starting up this blog, I get to decide what is offensive.)

Rather than starting with a bunch of rules, I thought I would just invite people to join, and see what happens. (Am I crazy to think that this will work?)

If you are interested in joining in as a blogger, please let me know. I will add you to the blog as a member and you will then be able to post whenever you like.