PLEASE NOTE: This blog formerly known as The Meridiani Journal is now Planetaria (http://planetaria.ca)! TMJ was first started in 2005 when the primary planetary exploration missions at the time were the Mars rovers Opportunity (landing in Meridiani Planum) and Spirit. Now there are many different missions happening as well as thousands of exoplanets being discovered, so the new name is a better and simpler reflection of that. The old domain for TMJ still works and now redirects to Planetaria, as well as all previous links.
After some technical problems with WordPress the past few days, the blog is now back online and basically restored, although unfortunately blog posts from about the past year have been lost. But at least it’s functioning again!
I’ve been revamping the blog a bit again, with a new WordPress theme, Retina, and a few other additions. The theme is nicely responsive for smartphone and tablet screens. I’ve updated the header image for a new look. I’ve tidied up the image galleries and will add more as I can. I’ve added a “Pin it” button to images, which shows up on the images themselves when you hover over them, for faster posting to Pinterest. Also, in the social sharing footer on posts, I’ve now added Pocket for easy saving of posts. The “about” pages have been updated too. I’m still tweaking things a bit, but this is the basic idea. There is also now a LinkedIn group page as well as an Instagram for the blog!
I am pleased to announce another new partner for TMJ, The Spaceflight Group. TSG, just launched, will be a collection of websites dedicated to various aspects of space exploration. The first, SpaceFlight Insider, is already online, and I will be doing some writing for that blog as well. You can also follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Blogger and YouTube!
Please note that the RSS feed for the blog has been updated. The default feed, http://planetaria.ca/feed, is now being used instead of the previous Feedburner one. Please subscribe or re-subscribe to the new feed to receive RSS updates from the blog. Thanks!
The blog is now on Pinterest and Instagram! You can now follow the blog on these new (and very popular) social media services. Like Twitter, Facebook and Google+, you can follow Pinterest on either the web or mobile devices, while Instagram is for mobile devices only. The social media icons in the right sidebar of the blog have also been updated with some nice new icons from Ashe Abbott Design.
The email updates have also been updated, using the built-in WordPress service instead of Google FeedBurner. Too many bugs with FeedBurner, and the format for the WordPress emails is cleaner and simpler. Subscribers have already been switched over, so no need to re-subscribe, but you may receive a confirmation email, which needs to be responded to in order to activate the service. If not, then you are already set up ok. You can comment on posts via the comment link at the bottom and adjust your subscription preferences to immediate, daily or weekly delivery (subscribe.wordpress.com). You can also choose between html and plain text format and change delivery times for daily or weekly subscriptions (subscribe.wordpress.com/?option=settings). A new subscription form is also now in the right sidebar of the blog.
I’ve updated the blog’s design theme again; the layout has been tweaked to better display on iPhone, iPad and other mobile devices. I was having problems again with that before, but the layout now works properly and is the same as on desktop or laptop computers, just scaled to nicely fit each mobile device accordingly. There are other mobile-only theme additions available of course, but they either remove a lot of relevant content, such as in sidebars, or push it down below the posts, which means a lot of added scrolling to see it. I prefer keeping the same layout, and on most mobile devices you can easily zoom in to get a closer view if needed.
I’ve also added the now popular Pinterest to the sharing buttons at the bottom of posts.
I’ve updated the blog’s layout a bit, tweaking the theme (using an alternative version) to now display properly on iPhone, iPad and other mobile devices. The default theme will now look the same as it does on desktop computers, proportioning automatically to the high-resolution screen sizes in both vertical and horizontal orientations. I was having ongoing problems with the previous theme version.
I prefer this method instead of some other more mobile-specific layouts which only display the posts, with the sidebar content pushed down below, forcing the reader to scroll way down to see that content. This also maintains the designed theme instead of a generic bare-bones type mobile layout. You can still easily do the “pinch or tap” gesture on most mobile devices to zoom into the text and images if necessary.
I’ve updated the email subscriptions for the blog. Since WordPress.org now supports built-in email subscriptions, I’ve switched over to that service instead of the other one from FeedBurner. Subscribers can now adjust their subscription settings – either immediate, daily or weekly delivery and choice of html or plain text format.
A subscription form is on the blog in the sidebar where you enter your email address. When you subscribe, you will receive an automatic email which you need to reply to (similar to before) in order to receive any updates. That email also contains links to a page on WordPress where you can adjust your settings.
If you were previously subscribed, I’ve already added your email address to the new service, but you will still need to reply to it as mentioned above.
TMJ is now on Google+! You can follow by adding the Google+ page to your Google+ circle(s), the same way as for personal profiles. The concept is similar to the Facebook page, but here you can also +1 the page, the equivalent of “liking” the Facebook page.
My personal Google+ profile is here, as well.