Tag Archives: Writing

I Read Two Books

I Read Two Books

This is notable because my library use had plunged over the past three years. I read Michael Pollan’s “How To Change Your Mind” for a Gnosis discussion. I couldn’t believe he spun nearly 500 pages on how hard it was for him to get high. I learned very little, except that he started about forty years late and had medical issues about trying things without a cadre of doctors and licenses. Sigh.

I just finished Michelle Obama’s “Becoming.” Maybe she is charming and funny in person, but the book was a grind about how hard her life is. I am hoping it was deliberately written to the eight-grade level, the way the Early News is. How can a 40-year-old woman not know that the First Lady’s job is to plan state dinners, roughly once a month?

I’ll admit that growing up in the Washington, D.C. area, pretty much all the high schools girls knew this, regardless of race. And we all knew that the motorcade stops traffic, but not for long. I’m sure her post-9/11 security was way worse than it was during the Eisenhower and Kennedy years when I lived there. I realize now some of the qualities Barack saw in her were tenacity and stamina. Sometimes, being first lady is hard like coal mining is hard. The story of her first Inauguration Day, for example. The book ended with her sounding grateful to be getting out alive.

WordPress v. Squarespace for Blogging

WordPress v. Squarespace for Blogging

Here is a quick note I wrote to a friend to follow-up on the Facebook discussion about the best platform for her to start sharing her writing online.

1. Who owns your content?

2. Can you reclaim it if you decide to leave the platform?

WordPress is ideal for blogging, that’s what it was designed for.

Wordpress v. Squarespace
Squarespace is designed for “flat files” which are faster to load (important for Google ranking). Blog functions are available on Squarespace, but I believe its first function is fast, good-looking, easy-to-build static websites. If I were to start a new website today, I would use Squarespace if I did not need an Email service from the host.


Although Squarespace does not offer you a free plan, they do have a 14-day risk-free trial for you to thoroughly test out their website builder before you make your decision. … So the ongoing cost for Squarespace ranges from $144 per year (Personal plan) to $480 per year (Advanced plan).

WordPress is powerful, cumbersome, widely-used, and for that reason, the target of a gajillion hack attempts per day (I have a counter on one of my WordPress websites). My personal blog is on WordPress (self-hosted with hosting company A), and my business website is on WordPress (self-hosted on hosting company B). I built a business website for one of my advertising clients on WordPress.com, which is NOT self-hosted, and he pays them small annual fees.


Matt Mullenweg, co-founding developer of WordPress, launched a company called Automattic which provides “restricted” free blog hosting service at WordPress.com, and you can pay/upgrade to unlock features such as CSS modification etc. However, to get the full power of WordPress.org on WP.com service, you have to spend over $3250 per month for hosting.

It is not your imagination that this can get complicated. Two things:

1. WordPress.com is “free” blogging platform where Automattic takes care of all the updating, security, etc. This might be a good choice.

a. It is not really free for someone like you. You have to pay a small amount to keep ads off the site, and a small fee to have your domain name directed to the cloud-based site.

b. Be sure to own your domain name separately, under your own name, on your own account, that you can direct wherever you want. If you want to change platforms, you will have the ability to do so. I register my domains at Domains.Google.com

c. Using WordPress.com removes the website security issues. On the other hand, all your content is created in the cloud. You will have to make sure all your content is backed up to a place where you can find what you are looking for should something (unlikely) happen to your cloud-based website.

d. If you decide to try this, check out the website I built to support my students who took my SRJC Continuing Ed classes “Blogging for Business.”

2. Self-hosted WordPress.org (which is that I do) is not recommended because it is cumbersome, slow and old fashioned, but gives me more control over the appearance and ownership of the material. Plus, I can create Email accounts like anet@anetdunne.com

I do not know the Squarespace answers to the ownership quandary. Those websites are created in the cloud, and I think you would need a way to keep an archive copy of your writing. I don’t know what they offer in this regard.

I hope this helps. Please let me know what you decide to do.