Saturday, 31 January 2015

New Posts for January @WordPress

This month is phonomenal in that I have published 9 new posts for АЎР-IaATR Blogger and WordPress. It is the most I have ever posted in a month ever in my blog and I really want to keep this momentum going. Four of the new published posts are currently only found in my WordPress blog, so the point of this post will be to provide links to those posts here.

23rd January 2014

The Versatile Blogger Award


It has been a little more than about a week since I first switched sides to join the WordPress family. All week I’ve been spending my free time fiddling around with my blog’s appearance and settings to make it more reader-friendly. I hope you like the way it looks now, because it’s likely that it’ll stay that way.

Last week on, my best blogging friend ASpaceWithin nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award! Thank you so much! I never expected to be nominated so soon :P. I never got nominated before in my old Blogger blog, so I was a little clueless at first on what to do. I had a read of ASpaceWithin’s post about her award after her nomination, but I felt like it wasn’t enough to understand what this blog really means. Continue reading →

25th January 2014

“Perhaps weekly posts aren’t enough… Hmm…”


I promised myself before to publish a new post each weekend so that I could be a consistent blogger worthy of global attention. For most part I kept to this promise and posted something on Friday or Saturday, the weekend days here in Egypt. However today, I realised that many successful bloggers here publish on an almost daily basis – ranging from a post a day to even a post every several hours.

I follow quite a few blogs here but each time I look into my news feed, I’d have 6 to 14 new posts each day calling out to me. I make the effort to look into what new stuff are in store – maybe an uplifting inspirational story or a travel journal to a far-away land. The thing is though, I often see the same names popping up in my reader feed and they are the most prolific – posting about 2 to 7 posts a day. With the amount they post each day, it would be impossible for me to catch up with every single post.

As a loyal follower, I hope I am not expected to read everything. But what if I am in the place of that blogger – the one who has around hundreds of followers on WordPress and beyond, whose readers expect a regular serving of fresh written entertainment? What if I had that pressure on me to keep going and to produce quality pieces all the time? Continue reading →

28th January 2014

A Character Profile of Jay Gatsby – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


Last school term, my class studied The Great Gatsby as part of the Literature component of the course. A novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the book is renowned for its faithful portrayal of the lifestyle of the upper-class American society during the 1920s. I don’t want to bore you with the details of the plot, you could read the book yourself to find out.

I was tasked with creating a characted profile of Gatsby based around the accounts from different characters in the first three chapters of the book. There was a lot of intended vagueness, mystery and contradiction around his character which was deliberately done to reveal the plot in the story. Without further rambling, let us begin the analysis. Continue reading →

31st January 2014

Learn New Languages At Your Own Pace Using Duolingo


As an aspiring polyglot, I am constantly trying to find new ways to learn languages in a way that is convenient, simple and fun. School has been a liability to my progress, since a lot of my focus and effort has to be shfited to that. Nevertheless, my prayers have been answered when I stumbled upon Duolingo, a website specifically catered to learning foreign languages from scratch!

The interface is user-friendly and appealing for children and adult learners alike. Duolingo gives a series of ‘skills’ starting from basic words and phrases to more complex sentence building and vocabulary. These skills are then further divided into a series of short exercises. To answer the exercises, you would primarily rely on translation from that language to English (or vice versa), listening then typing, listening then translating and reading the words yourself in that language using a microphone. It’s really simple – you’ll be familiar with it in no time. As you progress in the exercises, you get levelled up as your knowledge in your language increases. Right now, I am a Level 4 German and a Level 2 French. Continue reading →

Monday, 26 January 2015

This Blog Will Stay! Don't Go Away!

Greetings, my readers!


As you may already know, I was phasing out this blog to focus on its new WordPress version. However today, I decided to make a u-turn to the whole idea of abandoning this place.

I have come to the conclusion that this blog will remain operational as a mirror blog to the WordPress version. Any new posts I will publish on the WordPress site will be copied into a new post or published, or, linked in a post if it is more WordPress-specific.

Where did I get this idea and why the sudden change from "I will leave Blogger" rhetoric?

As I explained earlier in the last post, I did not leave Blogger out of hate. I think it was more of the desire to build new relationships with other bloggers, which I wasn't getting at all.

However today, I found this amazingly written and beautifully designed Blogger blog by Renard Moreau which is called "The Chronicles of Renard". I found this site after he left me a comment in my WordPress blog. Out of curiosity and interest, I decided to see who this guy was and lo and behold, he is both a Blogger and a WordPresser!!!

My first reaction when I saw his Blogger Blog was of awe and wonder. I never knew a Blogger Blog could be so amazingly designed with such personalised customisations! Clearly this was not an official theme from Blogger's theme options.

Renard recently wrote a post celebrating "The Beauty of Blogging on Blogger". After reading it, I couldn't agree more with what he had to say. He was right about having to be patient to gain lots of followers and readers on Blogger. It's slow to the point of being mentally excruciating, but it pays in the end.

How is that true for me? I don't know whether this is a cheap technical glitch courtesy of Google Inc., but yesterday, this blog received a total of 298 pageviews! How on earth did that happen?!



You may call it a purely anomalous statistical data, but I believe that this is a sign telling me not to give up on Blogger.

Back to Renard's blog-post, I believe that what he wrote there was very inspirational and motivational for many Bloggers, including myself. He was right when Blogger was filled with "pleasant surprises", and what happened yesterday proved that. I am optimistic that it could only get better as I continue doing what I am doing: blogging regularly and sharing it with people through social media. That way, I am sure that traffic would pick up on both the platforms I am using.

So to sum it up to my main point: yes, I am continuing this blog as usual, my WordPress blog is an additional blog which will receive the same content plus WordPress-specific content. This Blogger blog will also have some of its own platform-exclusive content based on whatever topic I'm writing. To join the two together, I will pepper the sites with links to both versions so that not only traffic could be evenly spread out, but also to give fair treatment and appreciation to both platforms.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Making the Move to WordPress (and leaving Blogger)

Welcome WordPress, Goodbye Google Blogger



It's a new year, a perfect time to make a fresh start. For me, I'd like to make that fresh start by making the move that will forever change the (short) history of my blogging career: switching to WordPress.


For those who are reading this from my WordPress site for the first time, allow me to give a bit of explanation. Before starting up this site here, I had this exact same blog hosted in Blogger. The blog has the same name "Аку Ўартаўан Рәмажа - I Am A Teenage Reporter" with a slightly different address: http://iamateenagereporter.blogspot.com. This blog has been running for over a year now. When I transferred from Blogger to WordPress, I migrated almost all of my blog content without any changes. All posts, images and comments I have made previously on the Blogger site are retained in this one. As a result, it may seem like this WordPress blog is over a year old, but it's not.

For those who are reading this from Blogger site, I have written and posted this simultaneously on both sites. I am still posting here because a lot of traffic still come here anyway and that my WordPress blog is relatively new. FYI my new WordPress blog is at this address: http://iamateenagereprter.wordpress.com. It is the same blog with the same content, just with a different design theme and address. Why am I making the move? I will explain down below...

The question you'll probably ask is, why am I moving in the first place? I'll try to clarify my decision through these numbered points.


1. I feel lonely L - Lack of followers and community support


Look here, only one 'official' follower on Blogger.
The rest are just friends from Google Plus.

I tried and tried and tried. I posted posts and articles every month in hope for someone to follow me or at least like my page but to no avail. I know it might seem self-centred of me saying this, but I was hoping for at least some words of encouragement from one or two readers who happen to pass by. Not getting any support from the global Internet community can really get you down, especially if you think that your writing is good. If it's not, how would you know without any criticisms? This problem is partly the reason why I did not blog anything for several months. In my mind, I already thought that nobody is going to care much about it and it would be ignored and sink into oblivion.

WordPress was actually my first source of comments. A WordPress user named ASpaceWithin was my friend from my old school and had started up her own web blog in WordPress. Ever since then she encouraged me over and over to switch to WordPress because the community there is more receptive. I looked in to see it for myself and she was absolutely correct. Her posts have at least one or two comments, while her most visited ones have over twenty. And she started blogging even later than I did. From then on I felt compelled to make the switch, but I kept delaying it.



2. Greater control over site design



Although I do like my site design on Blogger, there isn't really much choice to pick from anyway. Many Blogger blogs end up looking too similar to each other or too plain because of this. With WordPress, I could choose from a greater range of themes and styles. They are very unique and most are free to use. For now, I'm not sure if I'll stay with the design that you see here if you're reading on my WordPress. It's possible I may change it if I find a better theme, but I'll keep it here for now. The name of my WordPress theme is Misty Lakes.

3. Better reputation


I've read somewhere on the net that WordPress is better suited for professional bloggers and people who need websites for their businesses. I am not one of those people though: I blog as a hobby. However, I do like presenting whatever I have in a professional manner, so I need to choose a site with a higher 'prestige value' to it. No offence, but Blogger seems to only attract hobbyists because of simplicity of design. Due to the variety of aesthetically pleasing web themes and the more complex way to handle things, I think of WordPress much highly than I do for Blogger as a blog hosting site.

4. Better integration with social networking sites that are not Google Plus



One of the reasons why my blog in Blogger isn't as successful as I'd like it to be is because it really sucks at social media integration. I use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on a regular basis ever since I owned a Samsung Galaxy S3. Not that I am addicted to them, but I find them as a convenient way of communication and spreading news to other people. I have a Facebook page dedicated for my blog. Many of my regular readers follow the page on Facebook and I post links and notifications for new posts and updates.

Note the actual difference in size and text between the top one from Blogger and the bottom from WordPress.


With Blogger there are very tiny, almost unnoticable buttons where you can click to share a post to a social media platform. Nor are there any suitable widgets that synchronise well with Facebook. On the other hand, WordPress offers tabs for sharing which are clear and visible to all readers.


This is a WordPress widget
that shows all my followers to
my FB page of my blog, which shows quite
a number of people. I could not put this
widget in my Blogger, which really irks me.
It gives the impression that no
one reads my blog at all.
Since Blogger is part of Google, it touts Google Plus over everything else. Now, I don't use Google Plus often just because it's not my cup of tea. However, ever since I started this blog and use my YouTube account in tandem, it automatically posts my activities there on my Google Plus page. I have very few followers on Google Plus, but Blogger can only show people who follow me on Google Plus as my blog followers.I can't display my followers of my FB page in my Blogger - only my WordPress can. WordPress wins all the way in syncing with social media.

5. Ability to get followers from platforms that are not your own


The sad thing about Blogger is the fact that my blog followers have to either be: one, a native Blogger blogger with a Blogger account, or two, someone with a Google (and therefore Google Plus) account. This limits the scope of my audience to a trickle. If someone tries to follow me on my Blogger blog from other platforms, it is possible using a roundabout method using RSS feeds. However, I would not know at all if you actually followed me, because the Blogger system does not include unofficial followers into their statistics. It's all very confusing and depressing.

WordPress users have a much larger scope of inter-blog interactions on the Internet. First, they are able to follow WordPress blogs, Blogger blogs and any other blogs from their blog dashboard (the same way as Blogger blogs). In addition to this is something Blogger does not have. Anyone can wander into a WordPress blog and follow him/her, regardless whether you are a WordPress user or not. How?

Courtesy of http://en.support.wordpress.com/

WordPress allows regular people without blogs to follow via email. When a person signs up for it, WordPress records the person who signs up as a follower on the blog's statistics for the blogger. In short, you would get to know that you have followers even if they themselves don't have blogs. Does Blogger have this function? Nope!

6. Support and encouragement from other people


I've seen how WordPress had helped my friend to gain lots of followers and readers. She received lots of encouragements and comments from bloggers who are, I suppose, complete strangers to her at first. However, they were able to connect and get to know each other as online friends - even on a first name basis! This kind of community life is what I am missing out on. In Blogger, no such things exist because social interactions are mostly reliant on Google Plus. There isn't much of a bond between Blogger bloggers compared to WordPress bloggers, but that's just my opinion.

7. (Hopefully) Better for getting blog traffic once fully operational


Yes, hopefully that will happen. The thing about blogs that it takes time for traffic to pick up anyway. Just as Rome was not built in a day, blogs don't become famous overnight. It will take time for traffic to pick up in the WordPress version and I will be patient. I still have a lot of tweaking and fiddling around to do with getting used to the more complicated WordPress system so I will take my time and not rush.

Conclusion...


These are not to say that I hate Blogger in any way. In fact, I cherish my time in Blogger so much that I felt reluctant to change or move to WordPress. For example, I prefer editing my posts in Blogger than WordPress because there I could just state which font I wish to use. WordPress requires me to have some knowledge the complex language of CSS and HTML. I love it that every time I type something, it automatically saves without me having to save it myself.

Despite my eventual settlement to the realm of WordPress, I will not abandon Blogger outright. In fact, what I will do is to keep the Blogger blog running indefinitely. However, it would do me a great favour if all my readers would start getting used to my WordPress blog because I will, at one point, stop updating the Blogger blog. I am not sure myself when this will be, but one thing is for sure - WordPress is the way forward.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Жом Бача Бәрита! Let's Read the News - In the Malay Cyrillic Alphabet!


Last year, I went around the Internet looking for any suitable reading materials for me to help people learn the Malay Cyrillic alphabet.

Since I was the first person ever on the face of the earth to create such an alphabet (a daring claim, I know, but I'm convinced), currently there are zero Malay reading material and literature written in Cyrillic. Nobody could find anything written in Malay that is written in this Cyrillic alphabet other than that found in this website.

I want to change this. I want to make it more accessible for people to learn and practice Cyrillic for Malay and my long-term goal is to have a growing number of people committed in using the script for everyday use alongside Latin (the official script) and Jawi Arabic (the liturgical/religious script).

I translated whole news articles from Rumi Latin to Cyrillic. I did the whole process manually without any automatic softwares to change the letters. Obviously it took quite some time to publish and prepare, but the end result is satisfying to say the least.

Below are two different articles sourced from the online website of Sinar Harian, a popular Malay-language newspaper in Malaysia. Sinar Harian is known for its balanced reporting on news events in the country as well as having state-specific local news stories in different regional editions.

Please click each individual image to read the text.


ITIK BAKAR RANGUP

13/01/2014

(Restaurant review)





MELAYU LEMAH, SALAH SIAPA?

13/10/2014

(Opinion piece)






DISCLAIMER
No copyright infringement was intended in the production of these articles. They are merely translations into the Cyrillic alphabet modified for the Malay language. The translator (yours truly) has taken great care in maintaining the integrity of the news and has assumed good faith. Although none of its meanings are changed from the Latin-alphabet original, there may exist some unintentional spelling mistakes overlooked by the translator. The translator is not liable or responsible for any damage or offence caused by reading the articles in any way. 

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015...

2014 - A Year of Change

Looking back at all the events this year that have happened, I realised that have gone through so much. There are always recurring periods of happiness, sadness, excitement, boredom, pain and healing. For me this year was marked with moving to a new country, graduating, entering a new school, saying goodbye to old friends and saying hello to old friends.

I don't remember all of the events in my life very well. Too many things come and go, so it becomes difficult to keep track of cherished memories. Thankfully though, I am a regular Facebook user and from there I can go through and mark the milestones in my life.

Life events are represented with black-coloured text while blog-related events in dark green.