Introducing Blhog – Taiwan’s new social network

I’ve been developing Blhog for the last two years and am now finally able to release it.

Blog socially with Blhog

 

http://www.blhog.com

 

It is a primarily a social network, but is also a communal blogging platform and classifieds content aggregator. The hope is that it can be a great place to go to share blogs, find new places to go, see what’s for sale, find a language exchange, job, or place to rent…All in Taiwan.

Let me introduce the concept behind the website. Blhog is both similar and different to a traditional social network.

It is similar in that you can make friends with others on the network and you can control if you want to follow them back or not (if you have Auto-Follow status). Your posts go into your followers’ Feed and you have a personal Feed of all the people, groups, and companies that you follow, and you can sort your feed items by region. You can also control the level of privacy of your posts, labeling them “Followers and Me” or “Public”, and you can chose how much of your About page to show to others, too.

On the other hand, Blhog is quite different to other social networks in the way it uses communities to categorize posts. These communities are based on region and spoken language, so for instance,  you can post to the Taipei (English) community and make it available to others that speak English and are interested in that region. Categorizing posts is very intuitive. For example, if you create a post in the Taiwan (English) community and decide that the post is more relevant to the Kenting (English) community, you can move it to that community at a click of a button and you automatically become a member of the Kenting (English) community. Your post can also be viewed in all encompassing communities, so the post in Kenting (English) can also be seen in Taiwan (English) and All Communities, which is the top level community. Furthermore, by joining a new community, you get a separate set of pages (represented by a tab box) so you can monitor friend requests, edit posts, etc. for that particular community.

Blhog has a goal of making it easier for people to share and find what they want in the region that they live and in the language that they they speak. Therefore, Blhog has a more communal outlook than other social networks. If you chose to set your post’s visibility to Everyone, it is put into the public list of posts that you can find by the main menu. In this way, Blhog becomes more aggregated – a communal blogging platform – making it easy for anyone in the community, member or not, to browse posts and find what they want.

Blhog Directory

I hope you can have fun using Blhog!

PS. If you like it, please spread the word and like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Blhog

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JRebel: Eclipse & Netbeans

For Eclipse, remember:

[Eclipse top menu] Project > Build automatically (checked).

[Click on server] Publishing > Never publish automatically.

For Netbeans, remember:

[MyProject context menu] > Properties > Run > Deploy on Save (unchecked).

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It’s been a while…

Yes, it has been a long time since I’ve blogged about anything. In the time since my last blog, I’ve taken Cruisy offline – yes, that’s the end of it. If you don’t know what I’m taking about, Cruisy was a website that I built for the foreign community in Taiwan. I’d like to say thanks to those who supported the site through visits and other contributions and want you to know that I have more in the pipeline.

The reason for shutting down Cruisy was that, although it had a fairly decent structure, I realized the formula wasn’t quite right. I decided to pretty-much start all over – keeping the good parts, ditching the parts that didn’t work, and adding more. So, that’s what I’m up to now – plugging away at the new site.

I’ll get back with more blogs when I get closer to releasing it. Cheers!

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New section – Taiwan Directory

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about anything new about the site. That’s because I’ve been working on a new section (as you might have guessed by the title of this blog) – Taiwan Directory. It’s AJAX, which means there are no page refreshes, and incorporates Google Maps and image upload functionality. The directory in organized in a tree menu on the left, which has regions in the top level and categories at the second. Categories and listing are added by right clicking anywhere on the tree.

Here is an example of adding a listing. The listing is of JianGuo flower market in Taipei and the category is “For kids”. I recently wrote about this in my other blog, Taiwankids, so it was just a matter of copying and pasting the content.

First, right click on the menu item of choice and click “Add”.If you’re not logged in, a login dialog will appear. After logging in, another dialog will appear and for adding a listing, as below.

Adding a Google map makes it easier for readers to find the location. The add map dialog looks like this:

After adding a title, category, description, rating, image, map and address, my listing is ready to be submitted and looks like this:

Clicking the Add Listing button adds the listing to the directory, as can be seen below. The listing’s rating shows up as stars and the number of ratings is also displayed. Listings can be ordered by date or rating.

And when the listing is clicked on, the resulting article page looks like this:

Comments can be added to each article and the directory is searchable, if you know what you’re looking for. I hope this new feature comes in handy for people looking for somewhere to go or help with something in Taiwan. Here is a full list of categories:

  • Restaurants & cafes
  • Bars & clubs
  • Shopping
  • Accommodation
  • Learning Chinese
  • Sport & recreation
  • Places for kids
  • English schools
  • Household cleaners
  • Scooter mechanics
  • Plumber/electricians
  • Higher education
  • Legal help

Please let me know if you’d like me to add a category and feel free to add anything you think is suitable! Thanks!

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New Buy & Sell section

I’ve added a Buy & Sell section which follows the basic layout and functionality of the Discussions section. At the moment, it looks like this (only two items for sale – both mine):

New Buy & Sell page

You can add a for sale ad by clicking the “Add” hyperlink at the top and logging in (or the other way around). The add form looks like this:

Buy & Sell form

As you can see, you can optionally upload up to six images. The first of the images is the main image which appears in the Buy & Sell article (if you choose to upload an image). The article page looks like this:

Buy & Sell Article

If there is more than one image associated with the item for sale, a link below the main image will open a popup gallery (in this case there are only two images of the item):

Pop-up gallery for Buy & Sell images

I hope some people can make use of it because I don’t have a lot of things to sell!

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Taiwan Flickr Favorite box – First image from DreTW

I’ve added a new box to the home and Photos pages called “Taiwan Flickr Favorite”. This box retrieves the Flickr image with the most recent comment, so if you comment on any Flickr photo it will immediately appear in this box until another image is commented on. This is what it looks like:

Taiwan Flickr favorite box

This image was taken by Flickr member DreTW (who is also a prominant blogger in Taiwan – Andre in Taiwan) of highboard divers at Yehliu Ocean World. There is a link below that takes the reader straight to his Flickr About page. If you click on the image, you’ll be taken to the article page where you can see and add any comments on the image.

Flickr photo article

If your interested in adding a photo to this section, just go to the Flickr pools box in the left column and choose a pool (make sure you’re logged in first). A pop-up box will appear with a gallery of twenty photos from that pool – choose a photo you like and add a comment to it by clicking the comment link below the photo. Unfortunately, the gallery is a bit slower to load than I would like because the most Flickr photos are very big.

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Cruisy now has a discussions page

As you might have seen (and as some have mentioned), the international content on the front page of Cruisy has been a little overwhelming. I’ve been planning to gradually fill it out with local content, and started that with the Featured Blogs subsection which I added a couple of weeks ago. Now, I’ve added a Discussions subsection which links to the new discussions page. Here it is:

Discussions subsection on home page

Clicking on the Discussions hyperlink takes you to the Discussions page, featuring the latest discussions, a search tool, and an “Add” link to add a discussion article. The Discussions page looks like this (there are only two discussions, so far):

Discussions page

If you log in and click the “Add” link, you’ll see this form for adding a discussion article. An accompanying image can optionally be uploaded, which is associated with the article throughout the site.

Add discussion form

And, if you click on the discussion headline link anywhere on the site it will take you to the discussions article page, which looks like this:

Discussions article

I hope this new addition to Cruisy can lead to many fruitful discussions and help people to learn more about Taiwan. If you have anything you want to discuss, please feel free to add or comment on any discussions!

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