My Online Realm

Tag: CastleRain (page 1 of 2)

It Looks Weird

Denny ConfusedIf you’ve visited in the past couple of days, you may have noticed (and you will notice now that you’re reading this)…  The website looks drastically different.  I was sort of forced into this.  Let me explain.

I use WordPress.  I have for several years.  Way back in the day I did this site in plain HTML.  Then I discovered content managers.  I went from PHP-Nuke to NSN-Nuke.  Then DragonflyCMS and moved to E107.  They all had similar offerings but none had everything I needed.  Then I started messing with WordPress.  It was well known and used on many popular sites.  I really got into it when I started using Artisteer to create themes and learned some about PHP programming.  For years I could make my site look exactly like I wanted.  I could have all sorts of features.

Sadly WordPress does have some major drawbacks.  But it’s not the fault of the WordPress authors.  It’s the community.  There are literally thousands of plugins and themes you can get for WordPress.  Up until recently I could pretty much make my site do whatever I needed.  If a plugin didn’t do exactly as I wanted, I could figure out how to change the code to work for me.  However the problem comes when WordPress updates and breaks old plugins.  Or plugins and themes get forgotten about and don’t get updated to work with new versions of WordPress.  Then things break on my site and don’t work so well.

Like my photo gallery.   Once I had all my pictures on Google and pulled them in with a simple plugin.  That broke one day a few months ago.  Plugin was abandoned.  Google changed their format and I had to find a new plugin.  I hated every plugin I came across.  So I finally gave up and used the built-in gallery WordPress has.  Takes a lot of space hosting the photos locally and it’s not as nice as what I had.  But it works.

More recently a plugin I used to have my short URL’s shown on my site broke.  Caused some havoc and I had to paste some crude code in to get it to work.  I’m still fixing the mess it left behind.  In working the code, my theme is horribly outdated.  Artisteer stopped making their software in 2015.  I haven’t found a suitable solution to replace it.  Their code is very convoluted anyways.  So I had to settle on finding a ready made theme that I could modify to my needs.  Hence you see what you see now.  That’s of course after looking through thousands of themes and not finding anything that looked even close to what I had.

Therein lies another problem with WordPress.  Thousands of free themes.  But they are neutered in functionality unless you cough up $70 (PER YEAR!) for function and support.  It’s a money making racket.  Even this one is holding back on functions unless I pay.  Not paying.  I had to modify the source code to get my short URL’s to show.  Allow zooming on mobile devices.  Do outdated browser detection and a few other things I need.

Of course all these changes causes my security software for my website to go bat-shit crazy because I have modified source files.  That’s another major drawback to WordPress.  Being so popular.  It’s a big target for hackers.  Plus…  All the plugins and themes may have flawed code to also cause security holes.  Sometimes having my own website is a real pain in the ass.  Especially now that I don’t have a lot of time to sit and pick at the code all day.  I have a real job now.

So…  It may change again in the coming months if I find a better theme or have to change plugins.  Or modify the code.  Though I’m doing my best to make it fit me.  Especially since I noticed just now in mobile format, the sidebar widgets don’t show at all 😡


The Wedding Site

Please bookmark, add to your favorites or what-have-you.  An all-in-one location for info and photos (coming soon) about our up coming wedding.  It will remain after as a place of very fond memories and images.

Wedding Site

Please use it to update your address with us if you wish to attend, offer to bring a dish to pass for our Pot-Luck reception, and if you share your photos with us of our wedding, engagement and all the adventures in between…  We will add the photos to the online gallery.

CTRL+D (Windows) to bookmark in Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge and Opera
COMMAND+D (Mac) Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Opera


CastleRain Radio goes Mobile!

Scosche freqINI doubt many folks who read this site now remembers when I used to stream my music over the internet.  Long before Spotify, iHeartRadio and Pandora.  I used good old Shoutcast.  I’ve long since had the issue of not liking local radio stations as they hardly ever play my kind of music.  Unless it’s 70’s, 80’s and Metal or Acid Rock.  I have a love for the classics, but listening to the same songs for 40 years gets old.  Real old.  And today’s pop, I mean rap just isn’t my bag of tricks.  I guess what I listen too is called Pop Punk (at least most of my new favorite bands are all listed on it), but it sounds more rock and roll than some of the crap that 105.1 plays.  Their stuff is like a mix of metal and whiny pop rock.

So, I learned how to use Shoutcast and listen to my own music library anywhere I had an internet connection.  Though in my car I was still stuck with commercial radio if I didn’t have a CD player or audio in connection.

Mostly I’d listen at work.  For some months I left the broadcast running 24/7.  Made up more sweep MP3 files, added a bunch of fake, funny commercials and some comedy bits.  I had a few listeners for a while.

At least until the RIAA started making internet streaming a real pain in the ass.  Then I had to make it private.

These days I spend a LOT of time in my car.  Way more than I’d like too.  It’s old and only has a cassette player.  I had to come up with a solution or be stuck in radio hell.

IF it weren’t for iHeartRadio and Spotify, I’d never hear any new music I like.  With two exceptions of my liking Highly Suspect – Lydia (hate the video though) and Nothing More – Jenny (also not a great video) in the past 2 years.

To get musical satisfaction while on the go, I’ve tried using my internet radio apps on my phone and playing them through some wired and Bluetooth cassette adapters in my ancient car.  Both would play but eat up my data, sound terrible and crackle if anything was physically connected.  Such as my charger.  Plus volume was an issue.  Then I loaded my MP3 collection on to my phone, but much of the same result.  No real happiness and I had to keep charging the Bluetooth adapter.  It would only work for a few hours on a charge.

But then I found the Scosche freqIN.  I can put all my MP3s on a flash drive and play them through my radio like I was my own radio station.  Just pick a dead channel and go.  Currently I use 88.7 FM.  I can charge my phone while it endlessly runs from the cigarette lighter/power outlet.  This thing is cool.  I get great sound and volume.  The player is a bit lacking in ability to pick and choose songs but I can deal with that.  If you drive near me, you can pick up my very own station.  Music I like.  Plus when I want new music, I can use my favorite apps on my phone and go.  Screw commercial radio and their … um… commercials 🙂  (and corporate run playlists of teenage hormone music)


TeamSpeak Move

TeamSpeak MoveJust wanted to let everyone who uses or has used the CastleRain TeamSpeak server (formerly Ventrilo)…  That it has moved to a new home.  Please contact me for info on how to connect to the new TS server.  As I’ve seen very few people on, it’s also been reduced to a 10 slot server.  If we need more we can upgrade it.  We’ll play it out first to see if there is a need.

To my gamer friends, friends and family I have.  If you want to get a hold of me or just want to talk for a while (which is always welcome).  Or if you simply don’t want to use TeamSpeak, you can contact me in a number of ways:

If you don’t have my number, email or what have you that isn’t linked above.  Simply contact me and I’ll provide it 🙂


Band/Musician Demo Site

With all these concerts going on around here lately, I got all inspired to make a new Demo Website geared toward bands. As always, it’s Mobile Friendly 🙂

[Click Images to Visit]

Band or Musician Demo SiteCastleRain Web Design


New CastleRain Shirts!!

Setup a whole new line of T-Shirts on the CastleRain Store!  Check em’ out!

CastleRain ShirtsWOOT! WOOT!

Site is Mobile Friendly by CastleRain Web Design 🙂


Responsive Web Design by CastleRain

Even though I’ll be a die hard desktop computer user for many more years to come.  The world is moving toward mobile.  Having a website that displays on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices has become absolutely crucial.  More and more customers are retiring their desktop computers in favor of their mobile devices.  They can take them everywhere and they are far more comfortable with using these devices than they ever were with complicated software found PC’s, Macs and even those who dabbled with Linux desktops.

Since this is not only the case, but the firm growth on the future of the internet.  Everyone who has a website should get on board with this way of thinking.  Websites that are not mobile friendly, lose customers within minutes because they cannot find what they need quickly and have a hard time reading and interacting with the content provided.

Did you know 6 out of 10 mobile users will leave a non-mobile friendly website?  How many potential customers have you lost because of this?  If so, ask yourself these five questions about your website:

  1. Would a mobile user find it easy to browse your website?
  2. If a mobile user is on your website, can they find the information they need quickly and easily without zooming in and out?
  3. Can your customer find your location quickly using their mobile device?
  4. Do your customers recommend other potential customers recommend your website because it is mobile friendly?
  5. Is your lack of a mobile friendly website forcing your potential customers to others who have a mobile friendly site?

Just as food for thought, Google is predicting that mobile searches will become more popular than desktop searches by 2014.  Which means it may already be the case.  Your website should be mobile friendly by now.  Even big name companies who have mobile apps have websites that are mobile friendly for those who choose not to install the apps.  Companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Google and thousands more can be used merely by the web browser on your mobile device.  They load quickly and have no need for zooming in or out.

Responsive Web Design by CastleRainClick for Larger Image

I can help make you a mobile friendly, responsive website.  I’m not a big time web designer, but I have tools excellent for small businesses, organizations and more!  I can make you elegant, responsive websites and WordPress themes.  I’m low cost and local as well.  Check me out at CastleRain Web Design.


We’re Back!

We're Back!Theodes, Kyllia, Theodas and Theodaz (and a few nooblet toons) are back in Warcraft with a different approach.  I’m Alliance once again and plan to stay that way.  Horde has better jokes and all, but their racial talents aren’t nearly as handy and let’s face it, they are fugly for the most part.  Most Horde cities are a labyrinth of mindless nonsense.  And Silvermoon?  Way to turn a beautiful city in to a desolate paradise Blizzard.  Undercity is almost the same, except it is a horrid place, but still virtually vacant.  (To be honest, I’d love to see Lordaeron restored, probably was really cool looking.)  Coolest of the Horde are the Goblins but it only carries them so far.  Recreated my CastleRain Guild, but this time it’s just me and my toons.  Since I can’t really raid, there’s no point to joining other guilds, I can talk to everyone I want and not feel guilty of not doing things that require me to sit for hours on end.  If I want to quit game and get up and go out, then by all means I can.  Though I love the storage space of a guild bank 🙂

They’ve obviously changed a few things, rep is super easy to get with guild and I’ve already got the guild leveled up to 3 and it’s just my toons doing quests.  And I leveled my Death Knight to 80 in a matter of days from 55 since Christmas.  Talk about fast.  Wonder if 80 – 85 is just as easy.  I know going from 85 to 90 wasn’t so hot, but the quests were interesting enough to bear repeating.

{Forrest Gump} And that’s all I have to say about that.

I do have one question though…  When are we going to kick the Horde’s ass for destroying Theramore!!!


Sandbox Gaming is Freakin’ Sweet!

Freakin Sweet AchievementSo I’ve been playing Minecraft now for a couple of weeks, and I have to say I’m hooked 🙂  So far, I haven’t done anything very serious.  Mostly have it in crafting mode all the time and just poking around at all the features.  I’ve even setup a server so that I can monkey with my Castle anytime I like, from any place I have an internet connection.  I’ve even checked out the Ender Dragon and that was pretty freakin’ cool.  Of course I was in crafting mode so it couldn’t kill me, but it’s absolutely amazing how in depth this simple looking game can get.

Even more amazing, is that when a world is generated, it automatically builds towns, sets up NPC’s, randomly builds dungeons, temples and all sorts of hidden places to explore.  The world it builds is absolutely enormous!!  I have yet to find the edges of the map.  As much as I’m an Achievement Whore, I get satisfaction in that department as well 🙂

Here’s some of the progress I’ve been making on my in game version of CastleRain (Click for Larger Images):

I know it’s a bit boxy and is lacking loads of detail.  It’s my first creation, so we’ll all just let it be what it is and perhaps the next go around, once I get more inspiration, will hopefully be 100 times better.

I need to setup a spare machine to run this dedicated at some point.  No rush on that though, got a lot of work left to do on it.  I think once it’s done, I’ll open up the server to my friends and we can put it in adventure mode and have a good time together.

The best part of this as it is though is that I don’t have to feel like I have to do anything.  If I want to get up and go do something else, I can without worry of leaving something unfinished.  It will always be unfinished, but I don’t feel like I’m letting myself or anyone else down if I get up from the PC.

I’m still new to Minecraft, so I’ll see how it goes, but so far it’s freakin’ sweet!  (Peter Griffin reference)  See for yourself by watching the video below 🙂

I’ve even heard rumors that there might be quests coming soon.  Hope that’s true.


Why didn’t I think of this before!?!?

It’s one of those days that I could just smack myself in the head and say “I could’ve had a V8!” er.. I mean “Why didn’t I think of this before!?!?”.   It’s like, have you ever found yourself trying madly to handle a situation in your life, that you spend so much time thinking on it, you miss the obvious answer that has been thrown in your face over and over and over again?  Yeah… This is one of those times for me.  In so much, I feel a bit sheepish.

In my self banishment from MMO’s in order to get away from the computer and get back into shape..  I’ve tried numerous game demos, and even bought some older cheap games hoping they’d satisfy the void of not being able to play my beloved World of Warcraft.  WoW had all the elements I craved in a game.  It’s had a lighthearted look about it, with it’s cartoonish graphics and the banter of the NPC’s that always keep it upbeat.  It’s vast landscape that in many ways is beautiful and artistic.  I could make useful items as well as supercilious things just to keep myself happy.  I could play in a group or by myself.

But every game I’ve tried up until now, has left me feeling like something was missing.

So I kept looking because I didn’t want games that were based on:

Yet the answer was staring me in the face.  Minecraft!

  • Buy once, play forever.  No subscriptions nothing to buy to keep up with other players from some in-game store.
  • I can play by myself or with others.
  • I can save and quit anytime I like.
  • I can craft anything!  I can make a whole world of my own.
  • It’s cartoonish yet has the feel of an MMO.
  • It’s a mere $27 to buy the full game.

While I will miss riding an epic dragon mount or smoke spewing rocket, I can fly in Minecraft.  Everything I could ever want to do.  If I want to build, craft, explore, fight, survive, loot and so much more!  And… I’ve always wanted to build CastleRain just the way I wanted it.  Now I can 😀

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