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’


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…

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.

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.

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.


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


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:

$min­font = 1;
$max­font = 5;
$fontu­nit = “”;
$catlinks{“<$MTCategoryLabel$>”} = “<$MTCat­e­go­r­yArchiveLink$>”;
$counts{“<$MTCategoryLabel$>”} = <$MTCat­e­go­ryCount$>;

$spread = max($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)


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.