Coding and Web Design


Asides on programing, languages, and mostly web design.
A Clean and Friendly Website for 2022

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.

Posted Feb 06 by Steven 12 min read

How to Fix My Mistake That Blocked Campaign Parameters

Do you have those moments where you discover something and want to dig into it? Today was that day for me. Although what I found wasn’t new, I still want to share what I learned—that way I won’t forget later. In this post, I’ll walk you through what I found, why it’s broken, and what I did to fix it.

Posted Jul 30, 2017 by Steven 6 min read

Having Fun With Change, Logs That Is

Last year, I ran across a nifty web changelog service. Although more than I needed, I liked the simple look for tracking changes. Looking for an opportunity to learn Bootstrap, I added it to my test site. Now that I’m including more features on my main blog, I thought I’d add a changelog here as well.

Posted Mar 04, 2017 by Steven 2 min read

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.

Posted Jul 17, 2016 by Steven 5 min read

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.

Posted Apr 10, 2016 by Steven 6 min read

Jumpstarting Web Design Using Bootstrap

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.

Posted Mar 23, 2016 by Steven 3 min read

Does Your Site Need a Refresh?

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.

Posted Feb 23, 2016 by Steven 4 min read

Favoring Icons

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.

Posted Jan 12, 2016 by Steven 3 min read

Slugging it out with SEO

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.

Posted Jan 02, 2016 by Steven 3 min read

How to Build a Site - Again

I’ve been using this theme and with the WebAPP CMS for a few years now. Unfortunately, it is getting a bit old in the tooth. Although mostly flat, which fits nicely with today’s designs, it isn’t responsive. In fact, the original mobile version of the site was for the Palm Pilot. Really?

Posted Aug 20, 2015 by Steven 2 min read

DISH CINEMA Userbar (Updated ... again)

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.

Posted Oct 15, 2014 by Steven 2 min read

How to Break Your Site In One Easy Step

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.

Posted Jul 24, 2014 by Steven 5 min read

Fixing for IE10 and Other Updates

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.

Posted May 11, 2013 by Steven 2 min read

DISH CINEMA Userbar (Updated)

As part of my periodic check of my userbar code, I found that DISH once again changed their pay-per-view (PPV) web page causing my DISH PPV userbar to break. I’ve fixed it again and it now displays a pretty good choice of featured movies.

Posted May 05, 2013 by Steven 1 min read

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.

Posted Nov 24, 2011 by Steven 2 min read

Hacking Up RSS

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.

Posted Nov 20, 2011 by Steven 2 min read

Quick and Dirty Football Scores Userbar

Today, like most Fall Sunday’s, is a great day to watch Football. It was fun watching San Fransisco play, but I often hack around on the computer during games. Fortunately there is plenty of time between commercials and time-outs to work on code.

Posted Oct 16, 2011 by Steven 2 min read

Slide Show: What’s Old is New

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.

Posted Oct 09, 2011 by Steven 2 min read

Random Names

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.

Posted Mar 06, 2011 by Steven 1 min read

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.

Posted Jan 31, 2011 by Steven 1 min read

Topography Troubles

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.

Posted Dec 05, 2010 by Steven 2 min read

Fun with Fonts

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.

Posted Oct 23, 2010 by Steven 1 min read

Topography and Hyphenation

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.

Posted Sep 07, 2010 by Steven 2 min read

CSS Fun and Standards

I’ve playing around with other CMS systems lately to get a feel for what is out there. I recently had the opportunity to hack around in WordPress and ran across a neat little utility in some of their docs. It is an external Online CSS Optimiser/Optimizer that does some CSS compression.

Posted Apr 10, 2010 by Steven 1 min read

Reflective Fun

I’ve been using Reflection.js for some time now to generate reflective category images. I did this mainly to avoid having to create the reflections by hand. However, it has always had a bit of a lag when generating the reflections. This can be a bit jarring at times, but I’ve gotten used to it.

Posted Dec 02, 2009 by Steven 2 min read