Tag Archives: taiwan

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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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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Featured blog

I’ve added a new section to the homepage for a featured blog. The header “Featured blog” is hyperlinked to the original blog and there is a blurb with the author, blog name, and intro.

The first featured blog is Stu Dawson’s Hiking in Taiwan. In his article, he discusses his second attempt at Snow Mountain.

Featured blog section

Featured blog section

 Check it out at http://www.cruisy.com.tw

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Taiwan Flickr with comments

I’ve recently added more functionality to the Cruisy website with regard to comments on Flickr photos. You may be thinking, why have comments on Flickr photos? This can be done in Flickr. Well, yes… But the point here is to aggregate the Taiwan Flickr pools, photos, and comments into one place where they can be accessed easily.  

So, to start off, there’s a ‘Photos’ page which includes a small selection of photos from Taiwan-related Flickr pools.

Taiwan Flickr section on Photos page

If you click any of the Flickr pool hyperlinks, a pop-up gallery will appear (as in one of my earlier posts) with more photos from that pool and if you click on the photographer’s name (in this case it’s Paogao), you’ll be taken to their Flickr page.

Taiwan Flickr Gallery

Clicking on the blue comments hyperlink will pop up a Flickr photos comment dialog (you need to be logged in to add a comment).

Flickr comments dialog

Then, after adding your comment, you can then view it…

Flickr comments dialog

Commented photos can be accessed from elsewhere on the site and can be viewed, with all comments, as an article.

Flickr article with comments

I’ll go more into the comments functionality in a later post. If you know of any Flickr pools that should be included in the list, let me know!

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Yoho Kids Hotel (Kenting)

If you have kids and want a fun place to take them, Yoho Kids Hotel is worth considering. Actually, despite it’s name, it’s more of a resort than a hotel, being part of the Yoho Landis Beach Resort, with plenty of amenities to keep the little ones busy. It’s located about 2 hours bus ride from Zuoying high speed rail station (the final stop in the south), with a courtesy pick-up and drop-off included.

Location of Yoho Kids Hotel

Location of Yoho Kids Hotel

The prices for rooms vary, with peak season and weekends more expensive and two-storied accomodation pricier than one-level. We got an end of year deal for a single-level room for two nights at NT$9,920. Included in the price is a very nice buffet breakfast each morning.

The rooms are decorated with colorful theme based wallpaper (there are 34 themes to pick from – we chose the giraffe theme) and each room has a play area with large cushions and a beanbag. The kids get a giftpack which includes a storybook (in Chinese), a windmill, and drawing book and some crayons. They also have kids toothbrushes and toothpaste, and a bag of candy is left on the front door handle of the room each morning.

The room's play area

The resort sits on a beach with large hammocks for lazing on, and although it is mostly hard spiky coral, there is a nice sandy area for making sandcastles …

Sandy fun

 




…and a rocky tidal zone for exploring and finding little sea creatures.









There’s a big shallow swimming pool for the smaller kids with a giant bucket and water slides, and a couple of other deeper pools for older kids and adults, one of which has a large hydroslide.

Shallow kid's pool










A  children’s library includes a well-equipped play area and a DIY room for making arts and crafts.








The resort runs a variety of activities for the kids throughout the day, such as plays, dance parties, and balloon art.








So, if you’re looking for a place to stay that is taylor-made for the wee kiddies, this is it.

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