A Bearded Fish and Some New Features

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I’ll start with the geeky, boring stuff. I’ve added two new features and made one other change to Madang – Ples Bilong Mi.  The new features are not obvious until you look for them.

First, I’ve added what’s called Related Posts.  You won’t see them when you come in the “front door” by using our main address, for instance, if you have us bookmarked. However, if you come in on a “single post” link, such as you might do from a search engine result or from a Facebook link or a dozen other ways, you will see HOME at the top of the sidebar and, if you go down to the bottom of the post, you will see a selection of posts that directly relate to the content of the post you are currently reading. This is handy for me and for you. I don’t have to constantly think of posts related to the current subject that might also interest you and you can easily find other posts that have similar content.

If you arrived from a bookmark to Madang – Ples Bilong Mi,  you are on the “front door” (all recent posts) page. You will see no HOME in yellow at the top of the sidebar. If  you want to see posts related to the one you are reading, all you have to do is click on the title of the post  and you will be taken to the “single page” version of that post. At the bottom, you’ll find the related posts. I did it this way because the “front door” page would become impossibly long if each post also included related posts.

The other thing that I’ve added is a gizmo that allows you to be notified by email whenever a comment is left on a post on which you have commented. This is a great way to keep discussions going. You don’t have to go back to a post to see if anyone has replied to your comment.

When you leave a comment by clicking on the “Comments” link at the bottom of a post (and I encourage you whole-heartedly to do so), you will see a new little checkbox just below the “Submit Comment” click target. It says, “Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.” That’s exactly what will happen, supposing that you have given your real email address. (It’s surprising how many nasty comments that I get which have bogus email addresses. I don’t approve them for display. I just delete them.) You will know when I or someone else replies to your comment and if anybody else chimes in. Thanks, Robert of Trupela Tok  for suggesting this feature.

Finally, in response to regular readers with slow connections, I’ve reduced the number of posts shown on the “front door” page to seven down from fifteen. This should make the loading time less irksome. If you think that you’ve missed something (tragic, I know), you can always use the “Previous Entries” link at the bottom of the page.

Okay, let’s get to some images.

Here is a rather poor shot that I got at Planet Rock  last Saturday. As long as you keep it small, it doesn’t look too bad. There was a lot of particulate matter in the water, so the blue is lumpy and speckled. It would have taken hours to clean it up and it still wouldn’t have been publishable. Still, here in the journal, it’s pretty and interesting:

Swarming Anthea with a diver in the distance

The diver is Dr. Pascal Michon of Divine Word University. The fish are some species of Anthea. 

Here is a fish that I have been trying to capture for a long time. It is a kind of Grouper and has the unusual name of the Spotted Soapfish (Pogonoperca punctata).  Aside from it’s unusual name, note that it has a beard:

Spotted Soapfish (Pogonoperca punctata) at Planet Rock

No, I don’t know what the beard is for. They are quite shy and usually hide under coral ledges where it is hard to see them. My dive buddy Albert Serra Pou spotted this one.

I was curious about the common name – soapfish ??  I found this on SaltCorner.com:  “As with all soapfish, if stressed, it may release a toxic substance (grammistin) from the skin that could kill itself and all tankmates. Prevent any stressful conditions in the tank!” I gues that explains it.

Here is a dramatic image of the incridible flourescent Bulb Anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor)  at about 23 metres on the east side of Planet Rock:

Incredibly red Bulb Anemone at Planet Rock

You have seen it before here. I admit to dramaticising the colours . . . mmmm, slightly. For art’s sake, you understand.

This prickly looking thingie is a Feather Star or, more properly a Crinoid. I think that it’s a Comantheria briareus,  but it’s pretty hard to tell. The colours of Feather Stars are somewhat variable and sometimes you have to count the “arms” and look at the “feet” to tell which species you are looking at. Since touching them causes a lot of damage (the arms stick to you and pull away from the animal), it’s not worth hurting them to determine which species it is:

Feather Star (Comantheria briareus)

Last, but my trophy kill of the day, is a Checkerboard Wrasse (Halichoeres hortulanus):

Checkerboard Wrasse [intermediate phase] (Halichoeres hortulanus)

As with many fish, many Wrasses go through two or more phases of life during which they display dramatically different colours and body details. This individual in in the Intermediate Phase, between baby and adult. Like most teenagers, this fish believes that being seen in fashionable clothes is the key issue.

By the way, this is one of the best specimin shots that I’ve ever been lucky enough to snap. What you see is what you get.

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6 Responses to “A Bearded Fish and Some New Features”

  1. Steve Goodheart Says:

    Hey Jan! Great new features, and of course, I especially love the “notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail”….that will be a big help to keeping a conversation going, as you said. Thanks!!

    Now, as for the pictures…WOW! I *really* liked this set….can’t even pick a favorite, but the Checkerboard wrasse is simply stunning, and I really like the bearded dude! (I bet the “beard” is some sort of sensing apparatus…wonder if it’s just tactile or has some electric field sensing ability?)

    Anway, way, way cool post, and thanks for the new features…you really make people feel welcome.

  2. Wencke Says:

    I agree… :-)

  3. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, Steve. Please let me know if the comments thing works like you think it should – there are several packages available. There is a “manage your subscriptions” thing which I have not played with yet.

    Have a look at Feeding Frenzy. There’s a little story there telling how we get these close-ups.

  4. Steve Goodheart Says:

    The comments software is working great on this end. Does just what I hoped it would — totally cool!

    Oh, and the “Related Posts” is working fine too — I *really* like that a lot…does it take a lot of work on your end? Do you have to come up with the “relateds,” or does that happen automatically, or semi-automatically, through tags or the like? Anyway, seeing it in action, I can see how this feature will enrich any blog/journal experience. It’s a huge plus to your site, no bull.

    I’ll check out “Feeding Frenzy” in a bit. I’m off to my beloved Berkeley Hills for a walk up the fire trails…..interested to see more of the aftermath of the biggest October storm in 47 years! It was doozy, and I went up into the hills in the height of it…60 mph wind gust, incredible rain….awe-inspiring. Got blown around and totally soaked but wouldn’t have missed it for anything. More later. (Watch out for them “walking” octopi!)

  5. MadDog Says:

    Good on the comments thing. As Forrest Gump said, “One less thing.”

    The related posts thing is all automatic. It looks at text, tags and categories with a formula for which you set the parameters (relative importance of text, tags, etc.) and compiles a list of related posts. It puts the highest scoring number at the top. You can tell it how many you want it to show and what threshold to use (what score it needs to be called “related”). It builds a cache of all your posts the first time you run it. From then on it just adds your most recent post to the cache, so it doesn’t take any longer to load pages. It’s a very cool plugin.

    Take some pictures and post them on your new blog which you will have shortly.

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