Do you need help navigating and using my site? You’re in the right place. My Site Help page is divided into these sections:
Much of my website is organized in the popular blog format, with a few organizational modifications to better highlight content. When a sidebar is displayed, it’s shown along the right side of your browser window. Primary content is displayed on the left side of your browser. Most of my site’s features operate in a manner that should be straightforward to web surfers. If you find something that doesn’t work as you expect, just contact me.
Menu & Sidebar
I use 2 menus on my site. My upper level menu, shown at the left, includes links to many of the key pages of my site. The secondary menu is slightly lower and typically includes links to a stream of related posts, such as on my Blog.
When you’re searching for real estate on my site, I swap out the links on this secondary menu with links specific to the town in which you’re searching. That is, if you’re looking at single family homes in McLean, VA, I set all the links on the secondary menu to other property types in McLean. That makes navigation easier. I only do that when you’re on a search page such as my McLean, VA real estate search page.
While we’re on the topic of swapping out menus, I also swap out the sidebar when you’re reading one of my community snapshots. These community snapshots are profiles of hundreds of communities across Northern Virginia. When you’re reading a snapshot about a community located in McLean, VA, I swap out the sidebar to include content specific to McLean.
The Search function will search most pages and posts, but it doesn’t search comments left by others. It’s designed to search for a single word or a phrase entered in quotes.
For most of the images that appear on my site, clicking on the image will dim the background and expand the image for better viewing. To return to normal browsing, you can click anywhere in your browser window, click the “close” link in the lower right, or press , the Esc key. If you want to print a copy of the image, right click on the image and choose the print option on the context menu (the menu shown when you right click on something in your browser) if it’s available. Not all browsers include a print option on the context menu by default.
If you want to print content for later review, use the link next to the printer icon at the top of a page or post, . Clicking this link will format the post for printing. Once the content is formatted for printing, use the link at the bottom right of the page to print this view. An image of that link is shown at the right. Use your browser’s back button to return to normal browsing. This print-formatted view does not print comments, just the post itself; it also removes certain content (e. g., large images) that are not easily transferred to a print format. Of course, you can always use your browser’s printing functions while the content you want to print is in your browser’s window.
Posts are the individual articles that appear on my website. All posts are assigned one or more categories, and category links appear in alphabetical order in the sidebar, followed by the number of posts in that category in parentheses. Only categories with posts are displayed. If you click on a category link, you’ll see all of the posts for that category.
Posts are also assigned one or more tags, and some or all of the tags used on my blog appear in the tag cloud in the sidebar. A tag cloud is a visual tool that uses font size and color to indicate the relative frequency of posts having that tag, where more frequently appearing tags are represented in the tag cloud by relatively larger fonts in darker colors. Each word or phrase in the tag cloud is a link to the posts having that tag.
I use categories and tags to provide different approaches to find relevant information. Categories represent broad topics. Tags mark specific things (e. g., a town, an architectural style, an event, or an organization) that are connected to a post but are not necessarily the post’s central theme.
My blog is paginated, and each page only contains a certain number of posts. Links to the pages appear at the bottom of the posts on that page. The page numbers themselves are links; clicking on the link will load that page of posts, and clicking on the arrow will load either the next or previous page of posts. Older posts are also archived by date and accessible by their associated categories.
Generally speaking, once I publish a post on my site, I don’t change the text except to correct typographical or grammatical errors. If I discover a factual error or even simply facts that have changed after I first published a post, I’ll add a warning icon, edit the post with a strike-through, and insert the corrected or updated information, as in the
wrong corrected fact. I go to the extra trouble to do this to enable you to easily identify changed information; sometimes, especially when reading important information online, it’s easy to miss these changes unless they’re called out. Hopefully, you don’t see too many warnings.
Posts may contain a variety of other content, such as links to documents, images, and video clips. Links to files enable you to review or download the document we’re discussing. All files are in Adobe PDF format, compatible with Adobe Acrobat Reader versions 5.0 and higher. Links to files will open in a new browser window or tab, depending on the configuration of your browser. Adobe Acrobat Reader is available for free at Adobe’s web site.
Posts can also contain images. For more information on image behavior on my site, see the Images section of this help page.
Comments & Other Opinions
I write all posts, but you can comment on them – and I encourage you to do so. Comments appear at the bottom of each post. To make a comment on a post, use the “Add a Comment” link below the post. Enter your name, email address, web address (if you have one) and your comment. When you are done, press the button.
Comments on my site are threaded. This means that you have the option of replying to a specific comment as well as replying to the original post itself. To reply to a specific comment, follow the link in the comment itself; to reply to the post itself, use the comment form below the post. The most recent comments on the post appear at the bottom of all of the comments. Links to the most recent comments also appear in the sidebar. Clicking on a comment linked in the sidebar will take you directly to that comment.
I support gravatars on the comments posted at my site. A gravatar is a globally recognized avatar, which is an image that you associate with your email address. The gravatar follows you from blog to blog and helps to identify comments you make under that email address. To post your gravatar, visit Gravatar.com’s site. You’ll need to supply an image (about 80 px X 80 px, soon to be 512 px X 512 px) for your gravatar, either from among your own files or located elsewhere on the web. All of my comments are identified by my gravatar, shown at the right.
Comments, as well as some of the content linked on my blog (e. g., videos or articles), may be created or authored by someone other than me. Content created or authored by others is an expression of the opinion of that author or creator. This opinion may not agree with my own. For example, comments made by others are opinions of the commenter. My comments clearly indicate that I am the author.
General Site Requirements & Other Features
I set the design goal to use valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional markup on this site, but I may not achieve that at all times as I incorporate and test new features. I designed the site to operate optimally in a standards-compliant browser at a screen resolution of 1280 x 1024 pixels or higher, but I’ve also tried to render pages acceptably in older browsers. If you use a non-compliant browser, pages may not display as I intended. If your screen resolution is less than 1280 x 1024 pixels, you can still access all of my site’s content and functionality, but you will need to use the horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of your browser to see all of the content, menus, and links. If a feature isn’t working or the layout just doesn’t look right in your browser, send me an email or post a comment below and I’ll do my best to address it.
For those using RSS feeds, I have separate feeds for Posts and Comments. Links to the feeds appear at the bottom of the sidebar. Feed readers can simplify reading blogs like ours. If you need assistance configuring your reader to use feeds, make a comment on this Site Help page.
You can leave comments on this Site Help page to discuss the technical operation or to ask questions about how to use the site, or to let me know when something doesn’t work. Don’t make comments here about individual posts; make them on the post itself. Off-topic comments made here will be moved or deleted.