About this little space of mine
(or how to justify my site's existance in a few short paragraphs)
posted by on Sunday April 17, 2005 at 5:23PM (EST)

"What's this?" you say, "he's blogging again?" Yes, yes, unfortunately it is true. I thought that I would stop blogging altogether and focus any kind of confused feelings into short stories, but that's a slow process. I only update the main page about twice a month (if I'm lucky), and that's not really enough to justify the price of webspace. So, here I am again, typing out all of this drivel like I'm still in high school.

What about goals? I should probably have some if I'm going to be writing. The good news is that I do. If you've read any of my past blogs, you should know by now that I'm horribly insecure. I've written plenty about that and gotten plenty of advice on how to get over it (which, in case you've never been in my position, is like a paraplegic hearing that all he needs to do to cure himself is start walking). There should be none, or, at most, very little, of that.

Another reason I don't like my old blogs is that nearly every sentance begins with "I", "I've", "I'm", or "I'll". I realize that this is entirely about myself, but it shouldn't have to read like that. It's annoying. I think that this blog should be about what's happened to me, not necessarily about what I've done. Places can be described, people quoted, and moods defined.

But enough about that, onto the technical crap that no one cares about. Once again I'm aiming for standards complience. As far as I know, it's all valid xhtml (try the links at the bottom; if they fail, please let me know). I've found that this gets easier and easier as I code more and more stuff. It's like, by default, I code html in xhtml. Valid css has always been easy. If it works outside of IE, then chances are it's valid. I'm starting to look into the handicap-accessible stuff. Keyboard shortcuts and the like. So far, I've only started using em's instead of px's in my stylesheets so that fonts can be resized without too much of a break in the design.

The "new" thing that I spent way too much effort working on is Javascript's XML HTTP Request object. In short, it lets you open a new connection with javascript whenever you need to. I can (and do) use it to bring new data into a page without reloading the page.

The pros are that I learned, to some extent, how to use this somewhat difficult feature and also that it looks pretty cool when it works. The cons, which, in hindsight, seem to overshadow the pros, are as follows. One, I only used it for the comments system. This is an issue because no one ever leaves comments, so I spent days coding something that will very rarely get used. Two, it's not common to see the object used for a comments system. It makes perfect sense to me, but I'm the one who coded it so I don't count. I don't know if the average user will be able to figure out how to use it, or if it will work in their browser at all (though I've tested it in Firefox, IE, and Safari). Three, it's hard to make absolute URLs. That is, if you display the comments and wanted some one to read them, you couldn't send them a link to the page containing the comments. You'd have to send them the link and tell them to click on the "comments" link. I can think of a way of fixing this, but, looking at my first con, I don't think it's worth the extra effort.

So, what about the design itself? The album that forced me to open up Photoshop and start designing a layout was Bright Eyes' Digital Ashes for a Digital Urn. Or whatever it's titled. The album art is like, black on black. It almost glows black. Very cool looking, but near impossible to read. Oddly enough, this was the same problem with my first design for this (ximwix design #16, if anyone besides me is counting). It was white text on a black background. Very contrasty. I liked it a lot, actually. I ended up coding nearly everything using that design. Once I finally had comments working, I realized that it was too black. It was hard to tell where one thing ended and the next began. If I had no comments system, I would definately have kept it. Also, I read a rather lengthy rant with white text on a black background. After I read it, I could see lines even when I looked away. I'm not sure if my page would have had a similar effect, but I didn't bother to find out.

The album that pushed this design into place, believe it or not, was Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Getting a rather peaceful (as I like to describe it) design out of a generally angsty album is not something that I can explain, but here it is. Because I had coded everything with the old design, I was forced to make a few compromise, but I think it turned out very well. The color scheme works. The fonts are readable. Everything is in place. As a final touch (which I really like), I added a script that changes the color of the background depending on the time of day. It's dark blue at midnight and light blue at noon, and various shades inbetween. I am quite happy with it.
copyright, etc
everything on this site is mine and not yours. if you bother to steal from me, at least give a link back. Also, and , yo. You ain't fat, you ain't nothin'.