Sprucing up the place

I’ve been feeling under the weather the last two days, in that frustrating “too sick to be productive or have fun, but not sick enough to just sleep all day” zone. To fill the time I resorted to my traditional practice of screwing with my blog layout.

No major redesign this time, but people viewing the site proper will notice some nice new fonts. The new header is set in Archivo Narrow, while the new body font is Merriweather. These fonts finally realize my coveted sans-serif title/serif body text combination–a combination that has eluded me on the web until now. People who know the high school yearbook I helped edit might recall I had a similar thing going on there. That was not an accident!

Ye olde blog is now also responsive, which can be seen by those in desktop browsers by varying the width of the window. (I have a weakness towards playing around with responsive sites, just adjusting their width to see how they react… now I can entertain myself!) It’s also generally–albeit not entirely–retina-ized, for those with futuristic display devices.

My only problem, now, is that I’m still sick. Drat.

Server migration: semi-victory?

I spent a good chunk of yesterday, and an hour or two today, moving all my stuff over to my new server digs. The blog here was the last thing to make the switch–hopefully I didn’t make too much of a mess of the RSS feed in the transition.

The only problem, now, is some bizarre server issue (one that looks to be beyond my reach) that’s preventing me from checking my email on my iPod touch. That’s surprisingly annoying; I read (past tense) the vast majority of my email on my pocket computer.

Time to celebrate with exercise! Yay!

As the Web Host Turns

Current word on the street is that Joyent will not be reneging on their lifetime hosting contract; instead the original CEO of TextDrive is coming out of reclusion/retirement/what-have-you to spin TextDrive out from Joyent and continue honoring our contracts.

I’m fifty-fifty, assuming this all actually happens, on whether or not TextDrive will be a going concern in a year or two. Still, I guess it’s worth the gamble–free is free (once you get over the sunk cost fallacy), after all.

So: VPS plans on hold. I’ll keep riding this bronco, for now.


Seven years ago I got in on a sketchy-sounding “lifetime hosting” offer from a small company called TextDrive. TextDrive was soon after consumed by Joyent, who last Thursday demonstrated how sketchy the offer actually was. My lifetime hosting is being unilaterally revoked as of the end of October, and I need to migrate to a new host before then. (Moral of the story: Joyent’s word isn’t worth shit. Corollary: think twice before relying on node.js.)

I’m uncharacteristically taking this as an opportunity to grow, and have elected to try setting up my own little VPS instead of relying on others to manage a server on my behalf. I figure it’ll be good for a laugh and at least one night of squinting at command-line prompts–and I can always fall back to the other if my kung-fu ends up being too weak.

So: look forward to a transition to a horribly insecure, spam-riddled and hacked-to-hell server in the next month or so. I’ve mostly given up drinking while I continue trying to lose weight, but tonight I’ve cracked open a beer. One does not simply provision a VPS while sober.

Well, it’s a start

As you can tell, I’ve installed WordPress. It wasn’t exactly a five minute install, but it was far easier than I had feared. (Granted, it helped tremendously that I’ve already figured out things like enabling PHP extensions and .htaccess files.) WordPress itself seems to be pretty slick, and the admin interface is soooo much faster than Movable Type’s.

As I warned, the blog will be sporting the generic WP interface for the time being. There are all sorts of rough edges, I’m sure; what’s stood out to me, initially, is that inline pictures work on the front page, but not on individual pages. That’s certainly because of my old-school habit of hardcoding references to my images, rather than using the CMS’ media capabilities… ah well, I’ll get things sorted out eventually.

Life has an annoying tendency of requiring you to destroy things in the process of improving them. (I’m reminded of Evangelion’s the fate of destruction is also the joy of rebirth.) We’re just in the middle of that whole destruction/rebirth process.

Let’s do this

I’m going to start the process of migrating to WordPress here (though I’m going to begin by taking a break to watch House), so things may be unusually interesting for the next {period of time | couple hours <= period of time <= couple weeks}.

(I am using math notation in a midlife crisis sort of way, to try and prove to myself that I haven’t lost all my math skillz.)

Expect this place to look unusually generic, until I wrap my head around WordPress’ templating system. On the off chance that inline pictures survive, I have included a random anime picture below, so you know you’re in the right place:

I don’t know if the RSS feeds will be in the same place when I’m done, so if you’re using that to keep tabs of my sporadic updates (I would be using RSS, too, if I were you) you may want to check back at the site proper and re-add the feed, if you don’t get any new posts after this one. You could make a snarky comment about how that wouldn’t be any different than normal, like I was going to, but then you might think about it a bit more and correctly surmise that I’ll post something once WordPress is up and running.

WordPress, ho!

So I heard you liek mudkipz that Six Apart is getting rolled into a new corporation called SAY Media, and that SAY Media* issues press releases full of gibberish. (Six Apart is the main force behind Movable Type, the blog software I currently run.)

*It is a mystery why I bother respecting SAY Media’s inane capitalization, but don’t respect Sony’s attempt to make sure that PLAYSTATION 3 is always all-caps.

As should be blindingly obvious by now, I’m not in this to grow and monetize [my] audience. That phrase is a baseball bat to my gut, and the moment I read it was the moment I knew that my time with Movable Type was ending. Nowadays all the cool self-hosting kids are running WordPress, so I figure that’s where I’ll turn my attention when I get some free time.

(Yes, I do intend to start posting here again. Eventually. Soon. Tomorrow, I swear!)

Layout tweaking

Playing around with the site’s layout a touch instead of being smart and going to sleep. The main text is a touch bigger, and the width of the “page” is a bit smaller. My main goal is to make the place a bit easier to read; I’ve recently noticed that I quite prefer sites with slightly larger text and shorter line lengths. (The fact that it exposes a bit more of the side pictures is a nice, but unintended, benefit.)

I haven’t resized any inline images at the moment, so pictures that are being scaled down (e.g. the header, or the Sunriver stuff below) will look as nice as your browser of choice makes them. Once I re-settle on something, I’ll work on those.

Blog v3.0: Entangle!

My newest creation is alive! Against all odds, I managed to get this thing to look and act substantively the same in Safari, Firefox, and IE.

As you can tell, it gives its best impression in a much wider window than the old layout did, and takes advantage of CSS3 effects where it can. That said, the content portion scales down quite nicely (including pictures!)—you should try making the browser window narrow and see what happens, if you’re so inclined. (If you’re on a smaller screen and want to get a feel for its overall look, look for your browser’s “zoom out” command.)

The vertical bar next to my pseudo-tweets remind me of my days as a student, when I would emphasize important notes by putting a heavy line to the left of the text… ironically, the heavy line here is probably more indicative of a not-important piece of text.

Not that any of this text is important, really.

And now that I’ve had a chance to stretch my web-design muscles, we’ll see if I can get down to the dirty business of posting more regularly. Things have been happening, no matter what I mutter to the contrary.

(Props if you caught the Zegapain reference in the title. Guess what I’ve been watching recently?)


On Brian’s advice, a few weeks ago I poked around Movable Type’s options and tried to figure out a better system to keep spam out. I settled on trying out the “trusted commenters” option, which should allow people who have previously commented (since I marked them as “trusted”) to keep commenting without issue—and anyone else who wants to comment should just need to be approved by me once before having free access.

The keyword there, of course, is should. GreyDuck’s recent comment just got auto-moderated, so I obviously need to do more tinkering before things run smoothly. If they ever run smoothly. I hope they do.

But! That’s the current status of comments around here. If you comment and don’t see immediate results, I apologize—and I’ll keep working to get my spam settings sorted out. And, perhaps, one glorious day in the future, we’ll be able to make snarky comments unencumbered by links for cialis jug porn.

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