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On foundations, bitcoin, and whether or not my color sense melts your eyeballs :-)

Well, dear people, the blog-foundation fundraiser swooped past two milestones yesterday: we passed that halfway point and we made it to the one-year mark.

Thanks to you, Living Freedom blog will move to its own dedicated site. And barring unfortunate incidents with my Lamborghini, it will live for at the very least another year on what you have already donated.

Now, if we can make it all the way to goal, we’ll not only have two assured years of bloglife, but He Who Fakes It Well and I will add interesting new features that take advantage of the very best thing this blog has ever had to offer: you guys.

Oh wait. Perhaps that was an unfortunate way to put it. No, I don’t want to “take advantage” of you. But (big tease), if we make the full goal of the fundraiser, then I’ll know that there’s enough reader support to expand the new site, adding community-oriented features.

More than that I cannot say at the moment.

Except, of course, to say thank you.


A single donation put us past those two milestones. It came in the form of bitcoin. My very first bitcoin, actually. Half a bitcoin. Which doesn’t sound like much, but is one of the biggest donations of the fundraiser.

Now, what to do with it? The Wandering Monk won’t take it in payment for earth-moving or wall repair, but I’m sure I’ll find good uses. The donor tells me there are ways to use bitcoin for Amazon purchases, even though Amazon doesn’t directly take it. And Amazon has a fantastic regular price on 20-ton bottle jacks. I have four of those already, but four more will come in handy when the entire back of the house has to rise at once.

Much learning and experimenting ahead. Both on the house and on bitcoin.

Although I understand that the blockchain technology behind bitcoin is likely to be a worldchanger, I’ve resisted jumping on the bitcoin bandwagon. Partly because I got burned by egold (feddies, you stole my little half ounce). Partly because those who’ve most ardently promoted bitcoin at me have come across as True Believers — something that never, ever bodes well. And partly because I perceive bitcoin itself as a flawed product (if product is the word) with serious security issues.

Still, it does signal the future and I’m overdue to experiment with it. We may see the demise of bitcoin, sooner or later. But the blockchain is with us to stay.

So I’m grateful to the kindly rational donor who was not only so generous, but simply offered a couple of helpful links along with his donation and didn’t back me up against a wall and preach the Bitcoin True Believer Doctrine in my face.


Until now, He Who Fakes It Well has done most of the work on the new site. I’ve been hampered both by my limited online time and problems with my OS that temporarily prevent me from ftping files. Both problems will be fixed within the the next little while. But for now, thank heaven for hard-working and creative HWFIW.

For the blog, we first choose a free WordPress theme. Then at H’s suggestion, I purchased a pro version that allows all kinds of fun and attractive customization.

Well, attractive must be in the eye of the beholder. I finally put my hand into the blog-to-be last night, sitting on the steps of the closed library. Okay, maybe I went a little wild-n-crazy with colors just because I could. But I thought what I’d created was … um, lively and upbeat.

When I had to email H. for his help, though, first thing he did before checking out my question was blow away my color scheme so it wouldn’t melt his eyeballs.

I saved a copy, though. So what do your eyeballs think?

And don’t worry if it burns your eyeballs, too. We’ve got a long way to go before it’s ready for reading.

Screenshot from 2016-07-22 07:10:52


  1. Pat
    Pat July 22, 2016 9:24 am

    I like the green, but not the shade – it does kind of “melt” the eyeballs. Personally I’d go for a darker, richer shade, or add some blue. (I’m trying to design a website myself with a light aqua.) With light grey on the page instead of tan.

    And, my eyes being what they are :-), I would need more contrast for the text against the background.

    I like the simplicity of it, though had gotten so used to a bright graphic at the top that it seemed almost barren at first.

  2. LarryA
    LarryA July 22, 2016 9:33 am


    But then my eyes are old, and I don’t have a big floppy hat to protect them. 😉

    And the title seems to be “Living blog Freedom”

    Might work better if the “blog” was larger, and more behind the “Living Freedom”

  3. s
    s July 22, 2016 9:36 am

    Don’t forget color blindness. It affects 2% to 10% of males, and the most common type is reduced or no ability to distinguish red and green.

    There are claims that the Facebook logo is blue because Mark Zuckerberg is color blind.

  4. Claire
    Claire July 22, 2016 10:55 am

    Good point on color blindness, s!

    LarryA — Also point well taken on the logo. HWFIW will be making the change you suggest and a little bit more.

    Pat (and everybody) — Don’t worry; that blinding green will NOT be the final color. We’re still at the “messing around and punching buttons to see what happens” stage. I’ve already put a nice, calm blue image in place of the green. And might still change that before we’re done.

    In any case, your feedback is really helpful.

  5. jed
    jed July 22, 2016 12:09 pm

    Somewhere, at the Cretaceous level of my pile of bookmarks, I have some good material on web layout, including psychology of color, color blindness, and human attention. Possibly, I can find those. The only one that comes readily to mind is VisiBone, which has some online tools (scroll down about 3/4). But it appears to have been updated last in 2012, and still has the old old 216 color pallete from back in the bad old days. Still somewhat useful to see how colors look, even if you end up tweaking them a bit.

    My eyeballs prefer muted tones, and earth tones. Not to say that neon colors have no place on the web, but IMHO that place is pretty limited.

    And ftping files? Please say you aren’t using plain ftp. Especially over a public WiFi connection.


  6. Claire
    Claire July 22, 2016 12:25 pm

    “And ftping files? Please say you aren’t using plain ftp. Especially over a public WiFi connection.”

    Well, no. I’m not using ftp, especially since that function is broken on my computer right now. But since I’m just talking about ftping (with FileZilla, probably) files that will be available on a website, why should I not use ftp? Something I don’t know here.

  7. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty July 22, 2016 12:47 pm

    I built the pages at the Sierra Times in Dreamweaver and used ftp to upload them. Same for The Price of Liberty for the first few years. When I went to wordpress, it was all done on line and I’ve not touched the FileZilla since. The wordpress is SOOO much easier and cleaner, even if quite limited in comparison. I finally gave up whining about losing Dreamweaver… so wouldn’t go back for anything. The only thing I do is back up every article and image I use in wordpress to my hard drive here… just in case.

  8. Claire
    Claire July 22, 2016 1:07 pm

    ML — On the site we’re building we have both a Word Press install for the blog (much easier, I agree), but a regular CSS/HTML setup for the non-blog portions of the site. The ftping is only for the latter.

  9. Tahn
    Tahn July 22, 2016 2:43 pm

    I’m a fan of a fast loading white background, reserving color for banners or ad’s but that’s just me and Claire, you know what an expert I am on designing websites. LOL

  10. Fred
    Fred July 22, 2016 3:06 pm

    I’ve looked at, and commented on, some the pictures you’ve taken around the house. You have good sense for simple beauty. Consider the esthetics that catch your eye in your design plans, after all, it is your blog.

    Blockchain? what does one shop with when the power goes out? Oh yeah, a gun. Of course, same is true now I suppose.

    Las Vegas casinos take bitcoin. They immediately cash it. The value against the dollar can fluctuate enormously. Now, I’m not saying to cash the bit coin for dollars but, the Vegas casinos ain’t known for losing money. Their experience could be instructive, is all I’m saying.

  11. Brad R
    Brad R July 22, 2016 4:01 pm

    Claire, if all else fails, we’ll be happy to send you Paypal for your bitcoin, at the current market rate. (Say, as given by ) Send an email to Wendy.

  12. jed
    jed July 22, 2016 4:50 pm

    FTP is an insecure protocol. Password is transmitted in the clear.

    I hope you picked a web host that allows ssh access. If so, it’s likely you can use sftp, which is like ftp, except it’s encrypted, and it can use SSH public/private key pairs.

    I use gftp-gtk for file transfer duty. It supports sftp as well as plain ftp.

  13. Joel
    Joel July 22, 2016 6:21 pm

    Getting back to the color, here’s another vote for “oh dear god no.”

  14. RickB
    RickB July 22, 2016 7:07 pm

    I like eye-searing colors–on my sea kayaks. Less chance of getting run down.
    On web pages, however…

  15. Ellendra
    Ellendra July 22, 2016 8:27 pm

    One of my philosophy teachers had a saying: “In simplicity is power.”

    I’ve found that to hold true in most fields, from essay writing to architecture, and yes, to web design.

    I think muted colors, and fewer of them would help. And if you want the title to be off-beat, at least try to keep the words in the right order 🙂

    There will be lots of opportunities for experimenting with designs.

  16. LarryA
    LarryA July 22, 2016 9:17 pm

    When I went to wordpress, it was all done on line and I’ve not touched the FileZilla since.

    The problem with that is if the website gets deleted you have to take all those backed-up files and rebuild the site. And as I understand WordPress, while your information is on your ISPs server, all the WordPress proprietary templates are on the WP server. I’m not sure you can back up an image of the site.

    I kept a website (as a volunteer) for a certain organization for over a dozen years, with a huge variety of information. It won several design awards. I used HTML/CSS, so everything was “on the page.” A new administration decided I was old-fashioned, and they wanted a modern website that looked like everyone else’s, so I turned it over to the young, pro, expert.

    So far he’s had to rebuild it twice, and the information under the template’s limitations isn’t nearly as accessible.

    But I have more free time.

  17. AG
    AG July 23, 2016 12:57 am

    I’d delete the word “blog” altogether or put it after the word “freedom”. Smaller font, tuck it under the “dom”. But that’s me. It’s your house, do what you want.

  18. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty July 23, 2016 4:05 am

    LarryA… I’m well aware of the limitations of wordpress. What I back up to my drive are not the pages there, but the original text and images. Those can be used for other things if needed, and take up little HD space. If WordPress were to crash on me (hasn’t happened yet), I’d probably just start over. I don’t know too many people (besides the feds, maybe) who actually read old articles anyway. Else we wouldn’t have to repeat ourselves so much. 🙂

    Claire – very eager to see those other things for which you need ftp. 🙂 But I agree that it would be wise to use the more secure version.

  19. Bill St. Clair
    Bill St. Clair July 23, 2016 6:43 am

    Cool. Community features? Forums?

    Mind jed’s recommendation. The first time you use FTP, the NSA will have your userid/password pair and can modify your web site, if they choose to do so. Use SSH with a keypair and an SFTP client (or learn to use rsync; it rocks!)

    Not that they can’t still steal your credentials, by installing a keystroke logger on your computer, or snarfing your private key files, but they have to target you specifically for that, it won’t just come for free along with the rest of their surveillance.

  20. Bill St. Clair
    Bill St. Clair July 23, 2016 6:44 am

    Note that they CAN still steal your credentials.

  21. Shel
    Shel July 23, 2016 7:32 am

    AAARRGH!!! Gasp. Pant, pant. Whew. There, I’m better now. I agree with the others. I believe garish (?) colors only work once, then wear thin. Since the theme is freedom, I think it ought to be a comforting, welcoming place, which suits your personality perfectly. You have already given much thought to what would accomplish those goals; and as Fred says, your house looks great. The first view another would get of your house is the outside paint job. If you arrange those colors judiciously on your (web) home page, you ought to be able to create a wonderful effect. As to the specific psychological implications of different colors, I really know very little; but I did once read the red and yellow of McDonald’s were optimum for that situation, though advertising a Big Claire wouldn’t seem to suit.

  22. Claire
    Claire July 23, 2016 10:25 am

    “Claire, if all else fails, we’ll be happy to send you Paypal for your bitcoin …”

    Thank you, Brad (and Wendy). I’d like to use the bitcoin and see what I can do with it, since this is a great opportunity to experiment. But I will absolutely keep your offer in mind.

    I had a friend who had a fair bit of money in bitcoin, was in dire circumstances, needed USD, and could not get his dollars quickly enough.

  23. Claire
    Claire July 23, 2016 10:26 am

    “FTP is an insecure protocol. Password is transmitted in the clear.

    I hope you picked a web host that allows ssh access.”

    Ah. My mistake — mostly in terminology. Yes, you’re right. Plain-vanila ftp is not the way to go and I was sloppy to use that wording.

  24. Claire
    Claire July 23, 2016 10:45 am

    Getting back to the color, here’s another vote for “oh dear god no.”

    V*tes duly noted. But please, don’t anybody worry. I knew as soon as I heard the first report of melting eyeballs that I would NOT go with that color scheme. It’s just fun experimenting.

    FWIW, the current scheme (which might also change before things are ready) features a nice, subtle sky blue.

  25. Claire
    Claire July 23, 2016 10:48 am

    BTW, I owe thanks to five donors now. Not forgetting you! Soon. Really.

  26. Claire
    Claire July 23, 2016 11:19 am

    That’s beautiful, Ron.

    But yeah … I don’t want to create a site that causes people to break down from overwhelming color. LOL!

  27. jed
    jed July 23, 2016 1:27 pm

    @LarryA: Backup capabilities depend greatly on how the hosting account is set up. Since Claire has a cPanel account, she (Or HWFIW) can use phpMyAdmin to do a SQL dump of the database, and also get direct access to the WordPress directory tree/files, so backing those up is pretty easy too. Especially if there’s ssh access, then one shell command, followed by a file download, will do it.

    I have SQL dumps and site tarballs from every incarnation of blog I did. I migrated from one to the next, taking it all with me, except the very 1st one. But if I were to fire up a blog again, I’d probably take ML’s route, and just start from scratch. For one thing, converting my old template to the latest iteration of WordPress would be, I think, a major pain.

    @Claire: I’m relieved.

  28. LarryA
    LarryA July 23, 2016 3:48 pm

    Sorry, jed, but you lost me at “SQL dump.” HTML is still my third language, so I tend to use Arachnophilia and leave higher programming to those who have the training, talent, and time for it.

    The organization I was talking about had their files deleted when the ISP’s admin computer generated an erroneous, postdated-by-two-years renewal notice, marked the account as long past due, then automatically (as in without human review) wiped the files. Twice. So I don’t think I want to know how the hosting was set up.

    The group now has a new ISP.

    It’s nice to know HWFIW will be guiding Claire.

  29. Thomas Knapp
    Thomas Knapp July 24, 2016 3:44 am


    If you’re wanting to spend Bitcoin at Amazon, the site you are looking for is called Purse. Here’s my review of it (feel free to strip my affiliate link thingie — I’m letting you know about it because you mentioned wanting to use Bitcoin on Amazon, not to make that little bonus off you):

  30. Claire
    Claire July 25, 2016 11:35 am

    Tom — Thank you for that! The donor of the bitcoin suggested several places/ways to use his gift, including a place to buy Amazon gift cards. But yours is the first direct bitcoin-Amazon link I’ve learned of. I’ll give it a try. And of course I’ll use your affiliate link!

  31. jed
    jed July 25, 2016 7:15 pm

    I can’t say much about Bitcoin, except that apparently, it isn’t money.

  32. Roberta X
    Roberta X July 26, 2016 4:26 am

    Let me just suggest that desaturated — paler — colors might be a good idea for general reader. Intense colors can be *very* distracting for some of us; despite my own blog’s howling orange, I perceive a lot of fully-saturated colors as something akin to a loud noise.

  33. LibertyNews
    LibertyNews July 26, 2016 6:38 am

    The color is fine 🙂 I’d like to see you have a real https certificate (you can get ’em for free from, H should be able to set you up. Also make sure whatever hosting you’re using doesn’t block Tor.

    As far as layout goes, design for small screens like phones and tables, so no big non-scrolling banners and a design that dynamically resizes for the screen are a good idea.

    I’m glad the fundraising is going well, but I’d watch out for bitcoin these days. There’s a bunch of conflict between the developers and I don’t consider it stable, or even very useful unless you find someone to accept them. When I have used bitcoin I’ve had good luck with

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