Tag Archive for 'nedward.org'

No More Pink Grid Bars

Quick admin note: I removed the gridlayouts.com javascript from this site, so you should not see the pink bars appearing when you’re typing a comment or searching for something.

The Javascript was only supposed to toggle the pink grid bars when the user hits ctrl+shift+G – but it must have interfered with some other ajaxy stuff, because it was toggling with only the G key. So, it’s been removed – and I added a screenshot of what it looked like to my original post about the redesign.

That is all.

WordPress 2.5

A bit of administrivia to pass along…

WP 2.5I spent some time this weekend updating this weblog to WordPress 2.5 RC1.1. The 2.5 public release should be available soon, but you can grab nightlies that are pretty solid.

There are many new features, but the one I was most looking forward to was the redesign of the admin screens, by Jeffrey Zeldman, Jason Santa Maria, and Liz Danzico of Happy Cog. The design is simpler and fresh, and I like how they separated the pure administrative options from those that deal with posting and managing content. Also, the posting screen is greatly simplified and elegant.

Of course, in order to upgrade WP, I had to first upgrade the k2 theme, which my design is built upon. This involves reconciling my old CSS with any changes made since to K2, lest I break my site. After a few hours of work, everything was in order and I’m happy to report that the RC5 nightlies of K2 worked perfectly for me in WordPress 2.5.

If you’re curious about WP 2.5, but not ready to upgrade – Chris Johnston has put up a public demo of 2.5, (login with admin/demo).

And if you’re considering taking the plunge, I recommend first making a backup and verifying that your theme is compatible.

RSS Updates

I’m doing a little house cleaning of this site’s RSS feeds. For a while, I was experimenting with splicing in del.icio.us and flickr content along side the weblog posts. Kind of like my own tumblr hyperblogging experiment, via RSS.

However, after thinking about it, I’ve decided to limit the main RSS feed to only weblog entries. It just makes sense, since a lot of my del.icio.us and flickr content is channelled into expanded weblog posts anyway. And, Ricky makes a persuasive case against what he calls hyperblogging. So, the default feed is now just what I put through WordPress.

Continue reading ‘RSS Updates’

A New Nedward.org

Today, I’m launching version 6 of nedward.org, a typographical grid-based layout, with heavy use of Helvetica Neue. This site has always used a similar shade of green, so I wanted to maintain that bit of consistency with the past, while introducing something very different. I also wanted to bring together my content from twitter, flickr, del.icio.us, and last.fm, while keeping it distinct from the weblog content – yea, I’ve gone back on my post is a post comments.

The last major revision of this site was launched on May 1 2005, but even that was somewhat of a realignment of the previous design, which dated back to 2001. I’m a big proponent of Cameron Moll’s realign not redesign rule – so I spent the past few years tinkering away, refining the same basic layout.

Continue reading ‘A New Nedward.org’

Pink

I revamped the CSS and a couple of graphics to be more festive… why should Valentine’s Day be for 1-day only? Enjoy, while it lasts… ;-)

PageRank and Me

When I switched this weblog’s domain from ned.suckahs.org to nedward.org a while back, I wanted to maintain both URLs for a transition period, so as not to lose readers.

Sounds innocent enough, but since then, Google has stopped deep-indexing this site. On the advice of Casey, I tried re-directing with 301s, providing a sitemap with every entry on this site, and a whole lot of other trickery… all without luck. To this day, searching the old domain is more fruitful than searching the new one.

Since I’ve tried everything I can think of, I think the fact remains that ned.suckahs.org has a higher PageRank than nedward.org… There are still many people who link to the old domain.

I’ve started sending out emails to the people I know about. But, won’t you help me out, and update your URL?

Thanks in advance.

301 (Permanent redirect)

I’ve taken a second step toward fixing my Google indexing problem. On the advice of Casey, I modified my .htaccess file to rewrite all ned.suckahs.org URLs to nedward.org and send out 301s (Permanent redirects).

Now, when a user arrives here via a ned.suckahs.org URL, they’ll be transparently redirected to nedward.org and Google will see the 301 message. Hopefully then, Google will get with the program.

Thanks Casey!

Site Header Tweak, III

I just realized today that my site header photos were only visible if you’re visiting this site using the URL nedward.org… So, ned.suckahs.org, www.nedward.org, etc., wouldn’t load properly.

Since XMLHTTP (Ajax) only works locally, I had to use Nick’s PHP proxy, but I hard-coded the script URL. To fix it, all I had to do was switch to a relative URL (“/”).

Done. Thanks to Nobuko for pointing it out!

Redesign followup

Thanks again to everyone who has written me about the reboot. I’m still getting used to seeing my site looking like this.

And, yes, I’m still working out a few kinks. I did receive my Flickr API key, so hopefully I’ll find some time this weekend to get my site header photos plugged-in.

Nick Chapman posted his javascript solution that I mentioned in my previous post… and it looks very cool. I can’t wait to try it out.

Redesign… version 4

Somehow, some way, after more than eight months tooling around in Photoshop, I managed to give this site a major design refresh. The motivation was the May 1 Reboot, but I’ve been trying to get this done for quite some time.

First, my objective was not to totally re-brand myself and my site. I like how this site’s structure and style have evolved over the past 2+ years, and I love the green & orange. So, job #1 was continuity.

Keeping this in mind, there was a lot of room to improve…

Logo
I switched to a Macintosh almost 2 years ago, and it was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. I wanted to keep the old Alison “N”, but figured it would be nice to aqua-fy it, in honor of OS X.

Navigation
The site header and navigation in the last design took up too much real estate. I always admired Jason Kottke’s decision to minimize his nav bar in his last redesign:

The yellow-green thing at the top is a tag. Like the red tag on Levi’s jeans or even the red stripe on Prada shoes. It’s small, out of the way, but when you see it on something, you know exactly what you’re holding in your hands.

I decided not to go too small, since I wanted to make it easy to click and navigate, but I combined the site header and navigation in one horizontal green block… the gradient was used, in order to break up the “block-iness”.

Photo Headers
I knew that this time around, I wanted to make the photo header a bit more dynamic, and easily updated. Flickr has become such an important and enjoyable part of my online life, that I decided it would be great to integrate my Flickr Photostream into the site header.

This however posed some difficulty… how to integrate? Sure, Flickr has a great API, but it would be quite daunting for this coding amateur to build the kind of photo header that I envisioned.

So, I looked around for some help. I remembered Bryan Bell mentioned that he was working with Nick Chapman on a kind of site header built using alpha-channel PNGs, and javascript. But, despite some show-and-tell, it seems that they don’t have it worked out yet. And, after spending about an hour trying to figure out how to get a 24-bit PNG to play nice in IE 6 WIN, I decided that I didn’t really need my logo to overlap my photo header…

Still, Bryan and Nick’s idea got me thinking — Todd Dominey’s SlideShowPro would be an excellent match for what I wanted — though, I’d have to deal with the trade-off of having Flash embedded in my site. Having spent the past 2 years learning about and embracing Web Standards and concern for accessibility, I’ve avoided using Flash… but, the more I read about SlideShowPro, the more I thought that it was the perfect fit for what I wanted. It has built-in support for the Flickr API, it’s easily customizable to any dimensions or color palette, and it’s built by a guy that I respect and enjoy reading.

I wasn’t able to get the Flickr functionality implemented yet, (waiting on my request for an API key), so I just threw a couple of photos together for this launch.

Feedback?
Please email me or leave a comment, let me know what you think. I did a bit of testing on IE6 WIN, so hopefully there won’t be many quirks to work out.

Reboot


Well, it’s been a _long_ time since I’ve done a major overhaul of this site’s design… Though this site has looked very much the same for more than 2 years now, a lot has changed “under the hood”. I’ve converted it from a tables-based layout, to a transitional CSS layout, keeping the design mostly intact. I even got close to validation.

But, Nedward.org is long overdue for a _visual_ update — so, I have taken a chance, and thrown my hat into both the May 1st Reboot and CSS Reboot. The design is ready to go, after almost a year of start-and-stop work… but, I have no idea if I can have it live by Friday morning. ::fingers crossed::

Are you redesigning?

*** May 1st Reboot suggests shutting down sites today, April 25th, to manufacture some dramatic effect… However, I’m not comfortable doing this, so I’ll keep this up, at least until I start uploading the new site.

dot org

If the site looks a little goofy right now, (ok, stop laughing if you think it always looks goofy), hit refresh.

I’ve made some changes to the mast/logo, widened the content area to hopefully make the content column more readable, and finally switched everything from a suckahs.org subdomain to the real deal: nedward.org.

I’ve been putting off moving the domain for some time now, but through the miracle of .htaccess files, I’ve hopefully managed to make the move as painless as possible — ned.suckahs.org (and the 500+ archive pages) should still function properly, though I recommend you update your bookmarks!

New Feeds

Some new Atom & RSS feeds added today…

First up, by request, I’m offering feeds of my weblog, without the Del.icio.us links… (some people really could care less about my bookmarks):

Also, I added feeds by Category… so, for instance, you could subscribe to just entries that I tag as Boston/Cambridge:

  • Syndicate boston/cambridge: ATOM RSS

Validation

I decided today to see how well or poorly this site validates, as it’s been ages since I’ve even looked– XHTML CSS 508

Overall, not bad. However, my beloved method for posting “cropped” Flickr photos to my blog is not valid — placing an anchor tag around some divs disses the rule that says “you can’t put a block-level element inside an inline element”.

But I like it.

“Colophon” update

Yet another refresh, I’ve resurrected the colophon. Not much of interest here, but it does get its own place on the main menu…

“About” update

Continuing with the site refreshes, I finally pared down and updated my about page.

Gone are the silly teenage quizes, and links to bands that I no longer enjoy.

No big whoop… just had to do it.

Weighted Category Lists

After a few site tweaks earlier in the week allowed me to implement new categories in this weblog, I decided to add weighted category lists, much like Flickr & Technorati.

I modified an example given by hitormiss, which looks like this:

<?php
$minfont = 1;
$maxfont = 5;
$fontunit = "";
<MTCategories>
$catlinks{"<$MTCategoryLabel$>"} = "<$MTCategoryArchiveLink$>";
$counts{"<$MTCategoryLabel$>"} = <$MTCategoryCount$>;
</MTCategories>

$spread = max($counts) – min($counts); if ($spread <= 0) { $spread = 1; };
$fontspread = $maxfont – $minfont;

$fontstep = $spread / $fontspread; if ($fontstep <= 0) { $fontstep = 1; };
foreach ($counts as $catname => $count)
{
$catlink = $catlinks{$catname};
print "<a href=\"$catlink\" title=\"$count entries\" class=\"cat".
ROUND(($minfont + ($count/$fontstep)))."\">$catname</a> &nbsp;\n";
}
?>

[You can also download it in a text file]

Put it in your Moveable Type archive template, and you’re good to go. It will write 5 CSS classes — cat1, cat2, cat3, cat4, cat5… (of course, you’ll have to define those in your stylesheet!)

You can head over to my archives page, to check out the implementation. (Notice that the 5 largest categories are the original 5… i will be classifying old entries in the next couple of days…)

(I apologize if not all the code is viewable here — I suggest you highlight and copy/paste to a text editor, which should work)

Facelift

It was a long time coming, but I gave this weblog yet another design tweak, converting the horrid image map navigation to CSS-styled unordered lists.

This design has served me well for the past 2+ years… a major re-design has been in planning for more than a year, but I almost enjoy tweaking this one more. There is value in constancy.

The real motive for doing this, is that my category choices for posts have been limited to the same 5: books, music, movies, features, and posts… I couldn’t add new categories, because the image navigation, and complex scripting behind its display wouldn’t allow for it.

Stupid right? Designing with flexibility is something that I am learning… pixel-perfect, heavily-graphical sites can turn out to be a pigeonhole.

Maybe I just needed 2+ years to strip away, and un-design it to the point where the content becomes the most important component.

Anyway, everything is a bit in flux at the moment, so there might be further changes to come.

Welcome CSS Vault Visitors!

Thanks to Andy for submitting this blog for recognition at CSS Vault. I’m honored to be included among the many inspiring sites.

(I hope it doesn’t matter that I’ve more or less had the same layout and design for more than a year now.) But, thank you very much.