Posts in the category "Site" and its subcategories.

Posts about the site, quite small because a lot is categorized into the sub-categories. But sometimes there’s just something general to tell about the site.

Nice to see you here!

This is just a small post to let me know when the domain points to my new home.
It might take awhile when I iron out the bumps. Let me know if you notice something odd. I mean, with the way the site works… But you can also tell me about anything odd. I’m curious.

Layout hall of shame

Pull up a chair, or a recliner, this is going to be a long story. In a nutshell: new theme! In case you didn’t notice.

At last, a new theme for the blog! How I’ve missed the CSS and HTML tweaking! I haven’t worked on a layout in ages.

“Ages” also meant that I needed to brush up my knowledge and the code needed to be updated (HTML, CSS, as well as WP functions). And so started the process which I was determined to finish this time — from scratch: 1) created empty text files style.css, index.php, header.php, footer.php, sidebar.php, and functions.php. 2) typed <html><head></head><body> in the header.php and </body></html> in the footer.php.

Then I started digging through the WordPress Codex because I couldn’t remember the template tags — and, naturally, a lot had changed: functions were deprecated and nice new features were available, such as threaded comments and fancier image handling.

I also updated some of the code to HTML5 since the HTML validator noticed deprecated elements. I like using W3Schools as my HTML/CSS reference. For instance, <acronym> tag is now deprecated in favour of abbr and I wanted to clear all those out. Why did I use acronym, which needs more typing than abbr, to begin with, I have no idea…

As you may notice from my earlier post, I ended up using the nice (in my opinion) photo of my shirt collar and smiley pin that I had as a header in one of the unfinished themes. Even though I’m really bad at graphic design (or anything resembling it), I wanted some pictures in the layout.

The theme is by no means finished. I still have some tweaking and prettifying to do, but I wanted to publish this at last. It’s going to look weird for a while as I set up the widgets and things. I’m also going to browse my old posts to check which elements I’ve forgotten to style but hopefully everything looks more or less ok. I noticed I need to do some markup streamlining especially on my pages. (The headers are not logically tagged.)

While I was looking for some inspiration from my unfinished themes, I stumbled across files from my old layouts as well as pictures of some really old ones. I thought I’d put up a little Hall of Shame in honour of this historical day.

I got acquainted with HTML in an optional computer course (some pupils did crafts or PE; I was one of the few girls who chose computers) in junior high where we were taught to indent paragraphs with <li> tags. No, no <ul> or <ol> around it because that would’ve made an ugly bullet. Just the <li> with text. (I’m banging my forehead to the desk now.)

I would be curious to see how my HTML pages looked back then as I have no recollection. (Maybe I have something stored on a 3.5″ somewhere.) I do remember that I realised our teacher was bad, which led me to pick up a Microsoft Frontpage guidebook from a bargain bin. I didn’t buy it because of Frontpage which I did happen to have installed on a computer at some point and I actually used it sometimes, but because it was a basic guide to HTML (must’ve been HTML 3) with clear illustrations. And it knew about <blockquote>.

I don’t remember what I did (HTML- or otherwise) between junior high (~1998) and the first “blog” (~2004) but I do have a vague memory of a very simple homepage that I had in the small website space that came with the Internet connection. I believe the X-Files site was my first proper site. I don’t have it up at the moment because it got stuck in the middle of a re-design that I managed to destroy by uninstalling XAMPP. (Oh, the hours I had spent on making it!) The X-Files has been off the air for 8 years so maybe I won’t put the site up anymore. Not that I don’t love the show as much as I did; the collection part of that hobby of mine could easily be made into a new sub site.

My “blog” started as a launchpad for my different sites (about the X-Files, Stephen King, my alien and font collections etc.). I wasn’t even blogging, as such, only wrote a little about the updates and maybe about music I was listening to and things like that as a side note. Because it wasn’t blogging, I have no log of the status updates and asides; they could’ve been interesting to read (just for myself, that is).

I really liked iframes back then — and I still have them in Little Grey Men which I haven’t updated for a long time because I haven’t found any new alien items anywhere! I also liked image maps which I used in the first two menus seen below. Since I didn’t have much to say on my front page, this first one was probably just a simple table (gasp!) layout. I don’t think I knew any other way to align the content both horizontally and vertically in the browser window than put a table inside a table (contents of table cells could be aligned vertically). I did this in all of the first three layouts (even though you can’t see it in the pictures); the layout part of the site was small to accommodate 600×480 screens :D. I could say divs hadn’t been invented yet back then but I would be lying. I do honestly believe that I hadn’t discovered div’s yet and I didn’t know much about CSS — although just now I noticed that I was using style sheets already with this first layout. I’m quite surprised. (Then again, the very first layout(s) of which I have no record were most likely plain HTML with e.g. font styling in <font> tags, remember those? So, I had had practise.)

October '03 to January '04

Next came a brown theme with colours picked directly from HTML’s named colours (tan, steel blue, and antique white). I called this “Cafe Latte”.

January '04 to March '04

I had fewer elements to style then and therefore creating new layouts was faster (and I had more time and energy!), so this layout stayed up for only 3 months.

For some strange reason I kept using blue in my layouts even though I’ve never liked blue! (The “steel blue” is pretty nice, though.) The next one was based on a photo I’d taken at our summer cottage and now it did have an iframe plus a transparent scrollbar (available on IE only). This one survived for only 3 months, too… Here’s “From Dusk till Dawn”:

March '04 to May '04

At this point, around March ’04 I’d started writing longer entries instead of just update notices and so I started looking into different blogging platforms. My website was hosted in someone else’s (then known as Shirasade) domain for free and I think I couldn’t use MySQL for instance. I figured I wouldn’t be writing so much anyway and kept on “blogging” with plain ol’ Notepad and an FTP client. Or as I called it, “powered by coffee and noodles.”

I really like this next one, called “Scribble”. It featured some fancy underlining (whilst making a new design for my King site I’d discovered a way to do underlines with graphics) and an animated UFO in the header!

May '04 to June '04

Finally something pushed me over the edge and I decided to start using a blogging platform. I began with Greymatter and created a new layout, “Swirly”, for it (I’m shocked by the colour scheme, I didn’t remember this one!):

June '04 to September '04

(The screenshot is from the WordPress version because I didn’t have a picture of this layout. Luckily I had backups of the files so I installed WP1.2 on XAMPP and took a picture.)

Greymatter was soon replaced by WordPress because I started getting tired of the constant rebuilding of static pages.

I modified this to WordPress’s layout system when I started using WP in July 2004 (at a time just before templates and themes); WP was in version 1.2 back then. I kept the layout for a whole 4 months in total. I had used a drop shadow in most images, so they had the green background colour for a cleaner look. It was such fun to modify them to the next layout which had bright purple background instead:

September '04 to August '10

And now. Finally, after nearly 6 years I can present a new layout. To my defense, I haven’t been on a complete coding hiatus all this time because I’ve created several layouts for my “sub sites” (X-Files, Stephen King, alien collection, Ami (the dog), fonts…). And I also have been close to releasing new themes before. Apparently I had been nearly done with a design in 2005, only 7 months after releasing the purple one. I’d actually planned on finishing it in 2007 but never did. It must’ve been the design I’d created for my course work because I can remember fighting with some silly pixels — I just couldn’t get the building blocks looking the same (or at least similar enough) across browsers. It probably was structurally too complicated. Now that I look back at the design, I’m glad I didn’t finish it. The colours are… sheesh. Way too bright.

Without further ado (especially since there’s been plenty already), I present: “Not So Serious” (no reference to Batman intended). Dedicated to my late socks.

(Funnily, the colour scheme matches those boots… At the beginning of my vacation, I took a backup of the site to use as a sandbox on a local installation of WordPress and the boot post was the newest one then.)

Hope you like it! I think I do. At least it’s a change from the purple.

Pretending to be a designer again

This must be at least the fourth time I’m starting to code a new blog theme. I’m not sure how long I’ve had this layout — +3 years in any case. (Can it be 6 years? An internet archive site showed this layout in a stored page from 2004… Whoooboy, high time then.)

First I started making a theme based on the blogging application I did for a University course.

Snippet of a portfolio layout for uni

Then I wanted to do something red…
A layout sketch

Next I started creating something around a nice photo of mine…
Collar with a smiley pin
(The pin is from my sister and I often wear it on my winter coat.)

Now I’m creating a theme around this colour palette I created at when I was planning the colour scheme for my apartment (back in 2007, sheesh).

I’m feeling this time I’m actually going to finish it. Thankfully, I have 2 more weeks of vacation left! The creation process is always very difficult for me because I can’t doodle, draw, or design the graphics, AT ALL.

Site worries

You may’ve noticed that my site has been a bit wonky the past few days. Last night I noticed a bunch of PHP errors in my blog but wasn’t even able to log in because everything was forbidden and write-protected. Everything should be ok now.

Luckily, this is a small site so no harm done.

I always wonder why some people feel obligated to update their blog. (I mean that they take it too seriously.) They get nervous breakdowns if they are unable to produce several full-blown articles every day or apologise from the bottom of their heart if they are busy in other areas of their life or if they are going to take a week off from their hobby! Jeez, do they really think they’re that important? Or, are there actually readers who expect too much from someone’s pastime? I would understand just a notice that “hey, it’ll be a bit quiet here for a few weeks” (although that’s an invitation to hackers or spammers) but I’ve actually seen people apologise for the inconvenience their absence may cause. :shock:

It’s a whole different thing of course if you blog for a living. But even then, you should be able to take the normal holidays — or at least weekend(-like) breaks.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go make me some tea and something to eat. And I may not blog for a while if I can’t think of anything clever to say.

A bit too computerised?

I have miscellaneous recipes all over the place: saved from the net, cut out from a magazine, written down on a tissue.

So, I had an idea: I should start collecting them in a cookbook. But what is my first thought how to implement this? WordPress on a USB stick!

I didn’t think of a plain old notebook, binder or a card index. Nope, not I. I was already checking out USB sticks when I decided that maybe I’ll just make it a local installation of WordPress for now.

But I think it’s going to be great! WordPress 2.3, which should be released tomorrow, is going to have tags. Categories and tags will make for excellent browsing. Categories for appetisers, main meals (maybe divided into vegetable, meat, fish, soups, special e.g. Christmas), desserts (this might need subcategories, too), and drinks (coffee, fruit drinks… all non-alcoholic of course). Tags for the ingredients. So, whether I need a certain type of food or feel like a certain ingredient, it should be easy to find inspiration. A search box finds the ingredients of course, but sometimes it’s easier to pick from a limited list.

My recipe collection isn’t extensive yet but I think it’ll have to be unless I want to eat spaghetti bolognese (let alone tv dinners!) every single weekend…

Oh, Daniel!

Luckily among the dozens and dozens of dirty spam comments that are caught in the blocks, and just drive me crazy, there have lately been these gems from “Daniel.”

I couldn’t understand some parts of this article Disappointment, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

I couldn’t understand some parts of this article Movie Meme, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

I have to say, that I could not agree with you in 100% regarding Defeating Sudoku in five simple steps, but it’s just my opinion, which could be wrong :)

Oh, Daniel. You’re a moron.

Forgot the anniversary again!

On July 11th, 2004 I switched from Greymatter (after barely a month using it) to WordPress 1.2 “Mingus” which had been released in May of 2004 (had to take a peek in the developer blog on to be sure, but I had a hunch I jumped on the WP wagon1 with version 1.2).

So, I made the switch on July 11, 2004.
The first anniversary I remembered on July 13. I may’ve been using version 1.3 then, with the amazing theme system.
In 2006 I didn’t mention the anniversary at all! I hope that doesn’t mean the era of the Puppy Love had ended.

Now, it’s three years later and switching to something else has never even occurred to me.

1. On the WordPress wagon: Slang Abstaining from other blogging tools. :mrgreen: goes mobile

Well, only in part. I often find myself scratching my head when shopping: I stand in front of a bookshelf or a DVD shelf and can’t for the life of me remember if I’ve bought a specific book or a specific movie.

B.N. (Before N73) I used to carry a small note where I’d listed all the King books I have and, more recently, all King movies I have. Nowadays it’s easier for me to remember which King books I don’t have (that is, only Cycle of the Werewolf and any recently released — currently Blaze), so the book list is pretty much unnecessary. I haven’t listed other books I have because books are things I remember more easily. A.N. (Anno N73) I’ve surfed to my Stephen King site, to the Bookshelf page and waited, waited, waited for the pretty pictures to load. I don’t have to worry about moving too many bits because I’ve never come close to the 25 Mb per month I pay for, but it’s the wait that bothers me.

My “Achilles heel” in the remembering department are movies. Although my movie collection is small by movie-buff standards, I often buy a DVD and put it on the shelf without watching it right away. I also record quite a bit from TV. And I don’t usually have my sister with me (she remembers my movie purchases better because she usually watches all additions as soon as I bring them home; movie-deprived, that one).

Therefore, I decided to create a mobile-friendly version of my movie and King book collections. Possibly in the future I’ll make the different pages modular so I only have to update one or two files but for now the mobi site is plain and simple HTML. I set the font size to 60% so that I don’t have to zoom out on the phone. (I view pages at 50% zoom.)

Without further ado, I present: Pretty much for my viewing pleasure only. The movie collection isn’t complete because I haven’t listed all my VHSs (bought and taped) or all movies I’ve recorded from TV.

Here’s a snapshot of it on my mobile:
all things me gone mobile

Upgrade whoopsie

I don’t know if you noticed it at all, but this definitely wasn’t my intention:

Links to (odd) people

During the upgrade, link and post categories were merged (stupid feature; at least I don’t understand it yet) and I had two identical slugs for my post category “(Odd) People” and my link category “People”. WP merged the two and kept the post category title, causing slightly embarrassing sight.

Now, I don’t consider ‘odd’ a bad thing to be, quite the opposite, but if you were offended, I do apologise.

Upgraded to WP 2.1.2

I’ve just upgraded to WordPress 2.1.2 and I haven’t had time to inspect all the pages and how the old plugins work. If you see any errors anywhere in the blog, do let me know.