web building

Ruth and Public Domain Images

Ruth in field of Boaz

This artwork of Ruth and Boaz is by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, a German painter who lived from 1794-1872. It seems to be a study for an oil painting of Ruth in the Fields of Boaz.

This post is an introduction to a series of posts by Ilana-Davita and me on Ruth and the holiday of Shavuot. Read an introduction to Shavuot by Ilana-Davita.

And now, about public domain art: When is it OK to put up someone else’s art? When is it stealing?

Works of art that are from the 19th Century or earlier are, generally speaking, in the public domain. But your best bet is to go to a site like Wikimedia, and take art that declares that it is in the public domain or under a license that allows you to use it. For more recent images, you can use artwork or photos that are under a license such as GNU Free Documentation License.

There is also a concept called fair use. Fair use means you can use it for educational purposes but not for commercial purposes. So you could argue that you could use one of my paintings if you were trying to teach something.

But I got a better idea. If you want to use something that belongs to someone else, ask. It’s just common courtesy. And give credit back to the person to whom it belongs.

This is very simplified; if you want to study copyright law, you could come up with a much more complicated discussion on images and use on the web.

More about public domain art and reproductions here.

What’s My Google Ranking?

Two questions here:
1) What is a Google Ranking? (and should I even care)
2) What is MY Google Ranking? How do I find this out?

Let’s start with question 2. If you type “Google toolbar” in Google, you can get a link to the Google Toolbar. Download the toolbar and install it in your browser. I have mine turned off most of the time (because it takes up a little space at the top of the page), so now I’ll go turn it on so I can see the Google Ranking for every page I browse.

The Google Ranking for my own blog is 3 (out of 10). For my main website page, https://www.leoraw.com/, my Google Ranking is 4. Why is it higher for my main website page? I design websites, and I often link from the home page of the site I designed back to my main website page. So if the site I designed has a higher ranking than mine, it helps boost my ranking. I’ve been designing websites longer (10 years?) than I’ve been blogging (6 months?).

You can read more about Google ranking technology here. But the basic answer to question 1, what is this ranking stuff, if you want your page to show up higher on a Google search than a similar page, you need a higher ranking. The best way to get a higher ranking is to have related web pages with a higher ranking than yours link to your page. Note that I said related. If you are writing about dog food, and someone who is writing about poetry in China links to you, that is not as valuable as a dog food company linking to you.

Now comes the fun part. Let’s take some blogs and find out their Google ranking:

Maybe at some point I’ll discuss Technorati ratings.

Juggling Frogs, Tag Cloud, Comment Spam

For all those who care to know about fellow bloggers: Juggling Frogs is reportedly fine and busy preparing for a family simcha (celebration). Nice to hear good news.

A few days ago I created a Tag Cloud for my sidebar. What’s a Tag Cloud, you ask? Go down to where it says Popular Tags. If you roll your mouse over one of the tags, you can see how many posts I have done that have that tag. And if you click on it, you can read those posts. Now, being an artist, I wanted the smaller tags to balance more nicely with the larger tags. So ideally I would want some little tag that begins with an ‘a’ or a ‘b’ to balance those larger ones. That’s just more interesting than starting my cooking for Shabbat.

Finally, I am pleased to say that Akismet, the anti-spam module that comes with WordPress, let Therapydoc post a comment without my having to take it out of spam, where it previously put her comment. So my fears of having to check continually to see if I have false positives in my Akismet comments were unfounded. This stuff works, after all. (Basically, I like WordPress).

Garden Slideshow

It’s cold and grey outside. We have no snow, but it has been wintry cold. Maybe you will enjoy my new garden show?
garden: coreopsis, columbines, salvia

I confess that I stayed up last night working on this slideshow. And then some more time early this morning. Is this how a mom with three kids spends her “free” time? Well, that’s my habit, anyway.

So for those of you who like the technical details, I did this in Actionscript 3. The pictures are all external to the Flash (.swf) file. They are listed in an XML file, as are the captions, so if I feel like adding or subtracting one more pictures, I don’t have to touch the code. It worked fine on my computer, but then when I uploaded it to my web server, not too surprisingly it needed a preloader. I put in the most basic preloader I could find. That’s those little numbers (and “images coming…”) you may see on the screen before the winter pic comes on.

So here’s a list of stuff I might add if I wanted to continue with this project:
1) fancier preloader
2) something more interesting at the end than “the end”: menu? redo? “the end” typewriter style? a fade out?
3) fun with tweens — meaning fancy effects
My last attempt with tweens in Actionscript 2 didn’t go so well. Some of the tweens worked, but some failed in Firefox, for some reason that I will probably never know since I am now delving into AS3. I do hope I get some mastery over AS3 before AS4 shows up.
4) Maybe get that frog that I drew really quickly for Parshat Vaera to jump through the garden? Or let the user control how it jumps? Or hide the frogs in one of the pictures and see if the user can find them? Time to do some more skill building…

All the photos are taken by me of my garden, except the tulips are from my neighbor’s yard.

My 5 year old daughter and her friend’s reaction? Beautiful pictures, but boring.
Well, I gotta learn some more Actionscript 3 before I do anything terribly interesting with it.

Upgrade, categories, tour of Highland Park

Did my first WordPress upgrade this morning. It went without a hitch (yippee!).

Contemplated getting rid of most of the categories for blog links and sticking the majority under “More Blogs”, with Highland Park Blogs still existing. Decided to leave as is for now. Hint: two of the bloggers under “Jewish Blogs” are also Highland Park residents, but they don’t blog much about our borough.

I plan to post a text-based virtual walking tour of Highland Park soon. Meanwhile, be sure to visit the environmental virtual tour. I started redoing that start page of the tour in Flash, but I was two-thirds of the way done and got interrupted by my paid work. When I finally had time to get back to it, Actionscript 2 had been replaced as the standard by Actionscript 3. So I haven’t had the energy to get back to that project yet.

Arnold Clayton Henderson, the wonderful writer of Highland Park Environmental News has been away, but I did find out that Edison’s Triple C Ranch is holding their annual CBC today. Birding is popular in this area!

Learning About Blogs

Seems to me the best way to learn all about blogs is to blog, right?

So Technorati wants me to post this to claim my blog:

Technorati Profile

Leave me comments, so I can learn more about how to handle those…