Coding and Web Design


Asides on programing, languages, and mostly web design.

A Clean and Friendly Website for 2022

Screen Shot of mmedit code, Steven Reid

Over the last month, I’ve been doing some housekeeping on my website. I’ve had a few lingering issues to take care of. Unsurprisingly, this led me down a few different paths. From simple fixes to big ones, I’ve made a few subtle changes that impact the feel of my site. Hinted at in my change log, I wanted to dive a bit deeper into the adjustments made thus far.




When Fast Isn’t Fast — the Bad of Incremental Updates

When Fast Isn’t Fast — the Bad of Incremental Updates

Practicing a “get it done” attitude, I've recently added a constant stream of features to my site. Most visitors wouldn‘t notice. They aren‘t dropping by to relish my web design, nor are they interested in my latest tweaks to enhance their experience. Nope, they‘re here to read an article. Or, more likely, they‘re lost—but I digress. If the content is there, the looks, assuming the basics are present, is secondary.


My 2016 Site Makeover

My 2016 Site Makeover

Finally making the leap, I released a new template for my primary website this weekend. As noted in the past, I’ve been fed up with my 2006 based theme and have been testing out new designs for a few months now. Transferring most, but not all, of the design ideas from my test site, I just couldn’t wait any longer. Tweaking continues, but you can enjoy the new look now.


Jumpstarting Web Design Using Bootstrap

Coding and Web Design

I’m feeling pretty good about the structure I want for my web site. Plugging away on my test site, I’ve updated my old blogging script to present unique titles with modern slugs, improved categories and decent paging. In the backend I have page redirects working to reduce duplication, added stub 404 pages to prevent caching of bad links, and turned on decent logging to track errors. Yet, the look is still circa 2006. It may be flat, but it isn’t responsive and needs an update.


Does Your Site Need a Refresh?

Coding and Web Design

After ten years, I’m sick of my web site’s look. During my early web development days I would change the design almost yearly. My original LEGO site went through many refreshes until I abandoned it for Flickr. My blog, now, feels old and neglected. Not only that, I’m not happy with the format or flow of content either.


Favoring Icons

Coding and Web Design

I’m slowing working through updating my site. Recently, I decided to update my icons. I’ve been using favorite icons for years—favicon.ico for those that care. But, it was old and boring. Time to update.


Slugging it out with SEO

Coding and Web Design

I’m trying to start of the new year by updating all my web sites. I’ve been researching SEO (search engine optimization) for a few months, but only recently started to work through how to actually do it. The last few days have been a eureka moment for me.


Encoding Update

Coding and Web Design

Well, encoding issue is fixed. Sort of. After digging around I found that the routines in my CMS are forcing the use of ISO-8859-1 which makes it difficult to easily convert to UTF-8. It isn’t impossible, but it isn't what I want to work on right now. I’m saving that exercise for another day.


A Lesson in Encoding

Coding and Web Design

I’m currently working on a responsive HTML5 template for my website. As much as I like the old one, it is starting to get a bit long in the tooth. Five years of life is a pretty good run, but it is time to get with the modern world full of mobile devices and tablets. Unfortunately, I’ve run into a bit of a pickle.



DISH CINEMA Userbar (Updated ... again)

Coding and Web Design

I was doing a bit of clean up and, wouldn’t you know it, my DISH pay-per-view (PPV) userbar broke again. Apparently this is going to be an ongoing battle. It is good for me as I don’t spend a lot of time coding anymore. My eyes glazed over writing the new regular expression needed to parse out the title and image. Fortunately, it came back quickly.


How to Break Your Site In One Easy Step

Coding and Web Design

The Mistake We all make mistakes. My mistake was not understanding the code behind the categories sections that my site uses. What I wanted to do was create a new category called “Writing” that I could log my NaNoWriMo entries to. It seemed simple enough. I went into the category administration section and created a new one. My mistake was wanting to reuse the news picture. It was late at night and I was in a hurry to get to bed. In my hast I forgot that the program links the picture and category name together. Worse, I didn’t even realize I’d done something wrong.


Fixing for IE10 and Other Updates

Coding and Web Design

I happened to load my sites into IE10 the other day and noticed the reflections were broken. Generally, I wouldn’t care much as I don’t use IE except at work. However, I thought it best that things not continue to look different. I updated reflection.js to the latest version. I also updated jquery.js as it was a bit outdated as well. So far things are looking better. I did notice my site was loading a bit slower though. I’m not sure if this is the new code or something else. I’ll keep watch and update you if something else is amiss.



Weather Mashup

Weather Mashup

Although I like my existing weather userbar, I really wanted an easier city search. I decided to stick with NOAA and the NWS for now and ran across a nice all in one weather page with an XML link. The XML requires latitude and longitude meaning I need to find a way to find your city from a search string. Here is where the mash-up comes in. After a quick search, I found the Google Geocoding API. It accepts just about any search string and returns the closest match with the coordinates I need. The result isn't much different, but the location is easier to read.


Hacking Up RSS

Coding and Web Design

When I first created my re-visioned ZX81 site, my goal was to integrate it as a sub-site of my existing one. However, the CMS I use doesn’t lend itself to easily do that. Technically, that wasn’t a show stopper in and of itself.



Slide Show: What’s Old is New

Coding and Web Design

I recently started using FlashControl for Chrome to control which sites use flash. I was getting annoyed with sites I ran across sucking up my computer’s CPU with flash programs. It is annoying how many sites use flash, my own included. I’d swapped out my original JavaScript slide show some time ago for Flickr’s slide show to show off my recent LEGO renderings. It always annoyed me that Flickr wrote the slide show using Flash and wouldn’t display properly on my iPod. I didn’t bother me much until FlashControl started blocking it. It was time to do something about it.


Random Names

Coding and Web Design

What do you do on a lazy Sunday? Write programs of course! I was reading Tim Hartnell’s book Creating Adventure Games On Your Computer and ran across a little gem for generating random names. It is short and sweet and easily converted into Perl.


Quoting Quotes

Quoting Quotes

Last night I happened to notice that my last blog post didn’t look quite right when viewed in an RSS reader. Come to find out, it appears that the code that converts the UBBC tags wasn’t undoing a quote conversion earlier in the code. This caused the regular expression that tries to show bare URLs as real URLs to convert parts of my image tag into an anchor tag. Not quite what it is supposed to do. It took me hours of futzing with the code to unravel the mess. Fortunately, it was an easy fix. Use the same darn subroutine that the articles use. Duh. One freaking line of code to change.


Topography Troubles

Coding and Web Design

I recently upgraded to Chrome 8 and ran into a minor problem. The text-rendering: optimizeLegibility; CSS option now causes hyphenate.js to display the hyphens in some words all the time. This, obviously, isn’t the desired effect I was going for. Because of this I turned off the optimizeLegibility option. I haven’t found any bugs or mention of this on the various sites yet. I did some more testing and found that there is subtle kerning going on, but little in the form of ligatures and other font improvements. So, for now, I’ll leave this option in my tool box to come back to at a later date.


Fun with Fonts

Coding and Web Design

I decided to play around a bit and try a different font for my site. My original goal was to use something with better kerning and ligatures, but most browsers don’t seem ready for that yet. I settled on using Trebuchet MS as my new site font. It has a bit more character than Verdana and better reflects the style I was looking for. It is a generally web safe font supported by most platforms.


Topography and Hyphenation

Coding and Web Design

I’m a sucker for topography, something I really enjoyed in college when using LaTeX to get really cool looking printouts. A lot of that fun was lost with I started using applications like Word that do a pretty good job of kerning and hyphenating text without you having to do anything. Using (X)HTML I often just let the browser do what it does, even if it leaves a lot to be desired. This changed today when reading A List Apart’s wonderful article The Look That Says Book.