somewhat daily mutterings

/Meta Back in Business

My reader may have noticed that I was down for a couple of weeks. I had some sort of networking problem that was beyond my meager networking skills. Everything looked fine in my setup, but the site wasn't visible for some odd reason. Meanwhile, while my site was down, I'd signed up with dreamhost for unrelated reasons. It hit me that I should just move my site out to dreamhost, and so I did (applause).

While I loved the flexibility of running the site out of my house, moving to a hosting service does have advantages:

  • I save a lot of money on DSL charges, because I no longer need a static IP address
  • I no longer worry about my DSL connection, and thus my site, being down, and thereby causing my reader to have to wait for new content
  • Being offsite, and in a hosting facility, my priceless content is (theoretically) protected from harm (of course, I'll still back it up locally)

I still have a couple of loose ends to tie up. My semi-dynamic content (the Google referrals, and SpringViz download counter) is broken until I get the scripts running again, and I think I'm going to add caching to gemcast because dreamhost seems to serve my content at a more, shall we say, relaxed pace than my old setup at home.

Posted: Fri Mar 10 10:55:47 -0800 2006

/Meta A Portrait Change

Old "Portrait"

A few months ago, my mother complained that my old weblog portrait was, well, unflattering. Of course, like any good son, I ignored her. I always kind of liked the picture, and I had done some processing to make it look as though it was from a comic book or graphic novel.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I deleted my ponytail (which I'd had for 8-9 years), so the picture was no longer representative (I have wavy/curly hair), and no good photo being available I employed the Simsomaker to get the job done. Except for the fact that I sport a full beard these days, it's pretty dead-on. Hilariously so, according to MB.

Posted: Sun Feb 19 15:03:58 -0800 2006

/Meta Router Problems

My site has unfortunately been very unreliable lately due to some problems I'm having with my router(s). I had to replace my Linksys wireless router, and did so with exactly the same model. I'm pretty sure I set the new one up exactly like the old, but for whatever reason my DSL router and the Linksys are not playing together nicely sometimes.

Hopefully I can get my network stabilized soon, and my reader will have reliable access to my priceless content.

Posted: Tue Jan 24 08:05:15 -0800 2006

/Meta I'm serving up RSS Feeds!

After a couple recent complaints about the lack of an RSS feed for my site, I whipped up RSS support today in about four hours of ruby hacking. Most of the time was spent getting gemcast (my ruby-based weblog engine) to recognize new feed-oriented URLs. This meant making gemcast recognize "flavors" (like blosxom), although my implementation is not totally complete. The rest of the time was just wiring up a bit of code using ruby's RSS library (which took all of a half-hour or so). Then, I made links appear on the site, which required one template update and one code change (bummer).

For now, I'm serving up full HTML (from what I've read, that's A Bad Thing). It will have to do for a while, unless I get around to writing some sanitization code for HTML, which, to be honest, isn't bloodly likely.

Now, both of my readers can use aggregators to obtain my priceless content. Note that if you want to subscribe to only a given category, you can do that: just navigate to the category and click the RSS link at the top of the page, near the breadcrumb.

I'll be releasing a new version of gemcast with the RSS code soon - I just have to scour the code for any ugliness I created in the rush to get RSS working.

Posted: Sun Aug 21 16:27:17 -0700 2005

/Meta Comments Now Supported

I've always wanted to add a commenting feature to my weblog (a custom hack that I call gemcast), but I've been too lazy to get around to it. That, and I just have an aversion to letting strangers write to my webserver's hard disk.

A hot tip from Vivian's site led me to HaloScan's commenting service. This allowed me to set up a commenting feature for my weblog in about five minutes. Really. Comment away, dear reader (the singular is quite appropriate).

Posted: Fri May 13 09:10:58 -0700 2005

/Meta Traffic Increase

My traffic has increased a lot over the last couple of months. It seems to be mainly due to all the content about my home theater I've posted over the last month or so.

Last September's spike was due to my posting SpringViz on the site and announcing it on the Spring Framework mailing list. I believe the Home Theater content will prove be a longer-term traffic-generator.

Posted: Sun May 01 20:15:47 -0700 2005

/Meta This Site Now Brought to You By OS X

I received my new (old) G4 Cube a few days ago, and after a false start with some bad memory (the seller sent me a partial refund to cover new RAM), it's up and running. To move the site from the old Sun Ultra 1 to the Cube was absolutely simple, and literally took about 10 minutes:

  • Create a "website" account on the Cube
  • Copy my latest site backup to the website account and expand it
  • Update my wiki and weblog engines' configuration files
  • Copy some Apache config from the Sun
  • put cron entries in for my semi-dynamic content (such as SpringViz Downloads)
  • Change the port mappings on my router.

I will have to take the site down for a bit when the RAM comes in, at which point I'll install the RAM and put the box into its final resting place on my "rack".

Posted: Mon Oct 11 09:33:29 -0700 2004

/Meta Major Site Refactoring

I mentioned in a previous entry that I'd incorporated a wiki into the site. Well, actually, the wiki has nearly become the site. Almost all my old static pages have been replaced with wiki pages, which should help me keep that sort of content fresh and consistent. The one remaining problem was that my weblog had always kind of had an independent visual and navigation style, which had always bugged me, and this continued once the wiki was installed.

So, tonight I refactored my CSS, revisited my weblog templates, and pulled everything together both navigationally and stylistically, albeit in a fairly boring way. That's OK, it's the content that counts, right? Uh-oh, I'm in trouble then.

I'm happy with the results, for now, and love the fact that the transition between wiki and weblog is fairly seamless.

Posted: Mon Aug 23 20:56:46 -0700 2004

/Meta I've Installed a Wiki

I've finally gotten around to installing a Wiki for the more static/stable parts of my site. I've found that my static HTML files tend to get very out-of-date, and a Wiki seemed to be just the ticket. Of course, with hundreds to choose from, it was a tough decision. I opted for simplicity, and am using UseMod Wiki.

I've started writing new content, and am slowly porting content over, but a lot of parts are still on the garage floor. Eventually, I'll put redirect headers in the old HTML content and I'll be rocking with Wiki and Weblog.

Posted: Tue Aug 17 20:35:41 -0700 2004

/Meta Wiki Woes

I'm unfortunately having trouble finding a Wiki that fits all these criteria: a) not too complicated (one file is best), b) has reasonable default CSS classes and structure, and c) allows HTML tags without allowing dangerous tags.

UseModWiki, and its cousin OddMuseWiki came close, but failed on point b). Twiki would be great, but fails on point a). I think Kwiki might be the one that wins, but it's more of a framework than a one-script Wiki, and I therefore haven't installed it. Eventually, I'll give it a shot to see.

I fear that in order to have the features I need, I may end up writing my own Wiki in Ruby. I'm sure that would result in my maintaining two feature-incomplete varieties of Web-management software: my gemcast weblog engine, and a new Ruby-based Wiki engine.

Posted: Fri Dec 26 09:58:48 -0800 2003

/Meta Adding a Wiki to the Mix

I've recently been considering the addition of a Wiki to my site in order to manage the non weblog-oriented content. It's kind of a pain to manage multiple pages with similar structure, and a Wiki makes that simple, with the addition of remotely-editable content (well, I have that now, via SSH, but I'd prefer something even simpler). I'll need a Wiki engine that allows for HTML in the content, as I'm not a Wiki purist, and I want some control over the presentation on my pages.

I'm on the hunt, so watch out for it.

Posted: Sat Dec 20 16:37:43 -0800 2003

/Meta 50% of Site Restyled

Whew!! I've been putting what I learned in Meyer's Cascading Style Sheets to good use tonight. Well, to decent use, anyway. I've re-styled my bio, my resume, and I've gotten rid of the cheesy redirect on my index page and replaced it with this. On these particular pages, I've chosen to go with embedded styles, at least for now. There are enough structural differences between the pages that it makes sense to have most styles embedded. However, once I get all my pages re-styled, I should really factor out what common stuff there is.

In the above pages, I got rid of all the stupid nested tables that I had used for layout, and all the horrific font tags I'd used to control text. The content is now dirt simple and structural. I am completely freakin' enamoured with the power of CSS. Really!

Posted: Thu Sep 04 21:43:13 -0700 2003

/Meta Weirdest Google Referral Ever!

So, today I look at my Recent Googles Leading to sidebar box and I see this doozy:


It leads to What a weird coincidence.

Posted: Sat May 17 20:07:41 -0700 2003

Thanks for visiting! Send comments to Mike Thomas.