Glot Theme #4 “Glot-o-matic” Unshelved

Rubik's Window

Well, hm. This is sort of embarrassing. Did any of you read that post I made back in November, about my upcoming website redesign? I was so excited. So eager. So naïve.

So… it’s been awhile since then. Most elements of my design were actually implemented; others were forgotten as life went on (as it tends to). So I’ve decided that good enough is good enough — as usual. I seem to be growing more practical and less apologetic in my old age. At least as far as apologizing for personal web designs done in my free time as a  hobby, skill-building exercise, and meditation on imperfectness.

Anyways. This is the New Stuff:

  • GLOT letters at the top are dynamic div areas (pure pixels!), style-able with CSS
  • author portrait with color-changing vertical stripes behind it
  • post titles used the 04_19 font; now they use Grixel Extended
  • tags attached to a post now have the same color and have a mini-tag next to them on hover
  • “about me” spiel is revealed on portrait hover
  • recent comments appear in the sidebar (in pixelated form)
  • Tumblr quotes, delicious links, Last.fm songs in the sidebar
  • my WeHeartIt images used as filler in the sidebar
  • number of comments shown in a comment bubble
  • posts outside of the default category (Wordglot) are now specially featured on the front page
  • Flickr photos show up below the main column on the front page
  • ditto for Twitter tweets, too
  • Creative Commons license and contact link shown prominently in the footer
  • post pages now have a more interesting mono-color scheme
  • possibility to set a featured image as background for a post
  • the “not found” page is really cool — try it!

And this is the Broken Stuff:

  • spacing is off in lots of places
  • colors can combine in near-unreadable contrast
  • the tags page… is bad
  • vigorous testing was not vigorous
  • I haven’t even checked it in Internet Explorer. Really. That’s how much fuck IE.
  • comments have no pictures and are a gray box
  • no, seriously — there’s not even a place to comment at all yet

Comment below and let me know what you think!

Upcoming GLOT-o-MATIC

Religiously, I tune and tweak. I intuit and poke. A new Glot design is in the works. I drew this a week ago:

There’s nothing wrong with it yet. It’s still in that wonderful stage where nothing is broken, per se, just not gotten-to yet. But why do it in the first place?

Well, it’s exquisite process of brain-development and creative excercise and human development. I set out to learn things sometimes, then I learn them.  This time it was CSS3 and HTML5 and some Javascript. Hopefully, maybe, possibly, that pays off some day.

Very little is started, but one interesting thing I’m adding is more pictures. Below is an image from my WeHeartIt feed, which will automatically be displayed in the sidebar (just like this!) :

Nifty, huh? Back to work.

Photo Finder 4000

Ok, I am a photographer. Or I take lots of pictures, at least. Or I take lots of pictures and obsess over processing them. And then people use them all over the Internet (I use a Creative Commons license on all my photos, much like I use on this Glot).

I can point straight, at leastOk, so I’m a photographer. Today I was looking at this magnificent gallery of photos taken on the Suisun Bay Mothball Fleet. The photographer has a pretty nice gallery (although it could be a little smoother, photo transtions and such). And then I realized that her site actually links up with her Flickr. Huh, that’s a cool trick. I then found the very clever and useful Flickr Photo Album for WordPress plugin from Joe Tan. It allows you to put up galleries of your Flickr photos onto your own site — you know, like a “real” photographer.

My, my, it seems like I could get some real use out of that. For a while I’ve had a back-burner project to start selling some photos (although the feasability of that remains to be seen). I’ve always liked the idea of showing my stuff right here, where I can control the presentation. And, honestly — don’t tell ’em I said this, though — I’m beginning to think a lot of people consider Flickr kind of a photographer’s ghetto, where every level of quality or involvement is allowed, and where the best aren’t necessarily advanced forward. Having your own gallery is more than simply a mark of pride, or effort, or professionalism, but also a mark of status.

Little-known: I began at an early ageThus begins the odyssey to create something worthwhile. Things I hope to incorporate eventually into my very rough, yet functional gallery:

  • CeeBox for pop-up image enlargement
  • javascript toggles to show/hide sets
  • integrated commenting, so a visitor never has to leave the site
  • browsing by tag
  • javascript pagination — so there’s no tedious reloads
  • Flickr collections, favorites, galleries, view counts, contacts (maybe)
  • a classy dark layout

Long, Cold, Grey Domain Transfer

Brrr… that was unpleasant.

For the last two weeks I’ve been without Glot. All just an error, but whose is hard to say. I waited until three days before homepie.org‘s expiration to try and transfer it, which wasn’t very smart. After it expired on the 13th, there was an unanticipated 5-day waiting period from Tucows.com (my registrar’s registrar? I think?) and after that, the nameservers “didn’t carry over,” and we had to wait for them to “propagate for up to 72 hours,” and even that “didn’t work,” blah blah bleh. I just kept calling Moniker customer support and eventually I got high enough that somebody flipped a switch and BOOM everything works exactly as before. That sucked, but boy does it feel nicer now.

It sort of reminds me of something which happened around exactly this time last year.

One of the worst parts is that my primary email is located on the homepie.org domain — so even though it’s hosted on Google Apps, the magic of the internet couldn’t find it. I’m sure I’ve got a lot of newsletters to re-subscribe to, and a lot of people to inform that I’m not dead yet.

Regardless, it’s good to be home. Don’t let me do that again.

This Ol’ Twitter

And that's the l'il page...

Because it took me  long time, because I’ve not seen it before, because I can, I’ll tell you all about this:

Orin Zebest’s permanent Twitter archive for his Twitter account, @Orinz on Twitter

Yes, that’s right, it’s a collection of every tweet (Twitter update) I’ve ever Twitterered. Because who knows? Twitter.com could be bought by Fox News Corp., or explode, or any number of unfortunate things. Or perhaps it’s just a pain in the ass to search through 120 pages for one interesting thing. So, through the miraculous process of tedious copying and pasting, I’ve made myself a good, everlasting monument.

Course, I still have to maintain it. And I couldn’t actually fit it all on one page, since after about 2000 updates the code gets so large my web server can’t handle it all in one chunk (I split it into three, there’s one for 2008 and 2007).  But it still looks nice; like my real Twitter page just much, much longer. It was a labor of love. I’m pretty amusing, it turns out (to me).

That picture on the right is a screencap of my whole first year, the shortest (!).

Pulling a Switch

Ha! You didn’t even notice it, but something has definitely changed. GLOT is different. Believe it or not, you’re not reading this the same place as you would’ve been last week.

Server’s changed. After the seamless file copy from the old to the new, the nameserver pointers repropagate, and no one’s the wiser. Like *that*.

It’s their own dumb fault. I’d been hosting homepie.org with Lunarpages for four years and had few problems. Of course this year I’m a little strapped for cash, but since they were running a discount on hosting for two years, I was planning on taking them up on it (long-term planning, y’see?). $118 is a chunk o’ change, but this internet thing is important to me. So I asked for it as a gift. In fact, I asked my host if there was some sort of “gifting page” I could send people to. By way of response, they charged my card the $118. Oops.

Long story medium, I got it back, then a couple days later had an unannounced auto-renewal at the normal $95 yearly rate, canceled my service, canceled my card, had the charge go through anyways, negotiated the lengthy cancellation process, had to accept paying them for the domain fee… somewhere along the way a friendly girl named Lynae suggested that I just pack up and put all my stuff on her server. She’s using nowhere near the “unlimited space” or “unlimited bandwidth” provided for in her hosting plan, and she’s not quitting the internet anytime soon. So yeah. We’re just that much closer now. It’s even better than sharing a bedroom, I say. Wasn’t even that hard. Like pulling a switch.

Welcome to the new, cheaper, more convenient, same old Glot.

Showing One’s Backend

I’m just trying to prove it’s a labor of love. For the record, no, it doesn’t make sense to do this custom CSS work when no one but me will ever work with it. Pleasure isn’t always sensible.

Considering the current financial climate, both personal and national, I feel forced to justify the frittering waste of several hours of time that is updating one’s admin screen. So here goes (prepare for long sentence): it’s an exercise of skill which not only keeps the mind sharp, provides a small bit of accomplishment, and is something to show off, but reasserts and reminds me every time I login of my personal sense of style, a style which is particularly energizing and, well, awesome. I like it. Do you?

Why I Do Web Design

Often I’ve been asked, in the fifth hour of a project to improve some small thing on my GLOT, why I bother. Why not bother to actually update it, rather than improve something no one will notice anyways? Well, dammit, I notice. I notice that the Rubix cube doesn’t display correctly in Internet Explorer 6. I notice things that don’t match well, like the alignment of the contact form and me-photos. I know that the search was placed incorrectly and used borrowed CSS since I put the damn thing in. And so today, I fixed it. I fixed all of those things. Yet do I find satisfaction?

No. And here’s why: the web isn’t real. It’s not a tangible experience. Up until the moment someone pointed their browser at this particular website and saw this particular thing, it was just an idea. It was information, data stored in a machine of irrelevant location, and will go back to being there once that someone leaves. The data might be slightly different. It might be very different. But it’s still just data, and it doesn’t have a life of it’s own, it doesn’t DO anything that isn’t in its basic nature. It’s not even a thing, it’s an it.

Existential pontificating of digital existence complete. Back to the original question: why do it? Because it’s a challenge. Because it’s one I can usually accomplish, given enough time and tenacity. Because it fits my habits, sitting in front of a computer. Because it’s something I’m good at. Because it makes me feel like I did something. Because I can. And so there you have it: I do it because I can. Sometimes it seems like a pointless exercise. Often it is. But here you are, and for the moment, it’s real. Hm.

Restructure

I just created a new category, “Smartglot,” for all the thought-piece writings that I tend to be proud about and that tend to be forgotten. Also, it gives me more of an excuse to write throwaway posts about junk that’s happening at the moment. Just saying. There’s also the semantic and also highly unimportant addition of the Stuff-n-Glot category, which is broken down into audio and video/pictures. I was also try to install a word-meter that will show the amount of words written since a certain date (no reason here given for such an addition) but that has yet to be worked out. Thanks, ProgressFly—how many fields do you want in your table, anyways? Why must I ask casual readers in SQL jargon? Wouldn’t it be better simply to ask on a proper forum?

As they say, Content is King. Maybe tomorrow I’ll actually have some of that. But really, who says that but douchebags? I’m not gonna say that. Come back tomorrow.

Booted

Sometimes one has just stop caring about our dear ones. We grow them well, we make them the best that we can with the time we are given, but at some point we must let them out into the world and hope for the best…

Glotocracy-example

Here’s my web redesign. I call it: The Glotocracy, or rule by Glot. It’s been in born and incubating now for more than two months. Checking the first confirmed date—February 23rd. Those of you who are long-time… fans? Long-time readers (i.e. those who know me personally) will attest to how much has gone on between then and now. Moved out of one place, got another, lost a job in the process, still don’t make hardly any money and have more to write about than you could shake a shtick at… Hell, half the reason I don’t write anymore is cause every time I sit down to blog glot I start fixing something.

So here it is, the solution to all my worries. The solution to all my very web-specific, non-life-relevant worries. And hey, just in time for the internet. The Glotocracy. Version 1.0!


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