Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

13 Articles Tagged with “website”

  1. New site who dis?

    It has been over five years since the last major redesign of my website! The gap is largely because, as I’ve grown older and become more occupied with adulting and other real-life things, I’ve lost much of my interest in coding. I’m finding it difficult to devote the time required to keep up with advances in technologies like CSS, much less finishing my own designs or tweaking the software needed to keep the lights on.

    Still, I stubbornly refuse to give in and just throw up a WordPress site. Never going to happen.

    That being said, part of me wondered if this update would ever get out the door. It has been a long time coming. The clunkiness of my website has been the major reason I haven’t blogged since January (way more so than available time or even interest), and sometime over the summer, my blog actually broke entirely (no clue why). I reached a point where I realized I finally had the motivation and the need to finish this upgrade. Fortunately, when I opened up Sublime Text and poked around this project, I discovered that the redesign aspect of the project was almost complete. Whew. I hate…

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  2. Code fatigue and an amateur dilemma

    I believe this is what we call an impasse.

    My first forays online were in direct proportion to me learning how to code. I crafted my website in HTML, by hand, on GeoCities, for upwards of three years. Then I learned PHP, and MySQL, and from there the sky was the limit. For a long time, I loved coding for the web.

    This website is currently running a Frankensteined combination of frameworks. this blog is custom-built in Flask, a Python framework. You can learn more about this in a post I wrote back when I switched over to it from the previous software. The rest of the site sits on top of the PHP framework Symphony CMS (not to be confused with Symfony, another framework).

    I really like Symphony CMS. It does so much right, in my amateur’s opinion, as a framework, and it has an active and passionate community of developers. But I have two reasons I want to migrate my site away from it.

    Firstly, my interest in hacking in PHP has dropped to nearly zero over the past several years. The language itself is evolving at a healthy clip, although detractors would point…

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  3. New design

    It’s been over four years since my previous major redesign, and two years since any major tweaks to my website’s layout. This latest redesign began life as a series of minor tweaks designed—it always seems like there are rough edges. As I got a better grasp of what I didn’t like about the design and what I wanted to do with it, the project grew slightly more in scope. Still, I’m pleased with how quickly it all coalesced into the finished product.

    This latest design (version 5.0, I think) has been an opportunity to educate myself and play with some of the latest techniques. CSS3 has been around for a long time now, but cross-browser support has finally reached a point where all those cool new properties and selectors seem feasible! I’ve made liberal use of background-size and box-shadow. I’ve also jumped on the responsive design bandwagon, using media queries to progressively enhance the site design based on the width of the browser (and a few other attributes). I’ve embarked on a similar odyssey of education when it comes to new PHP 5.3 features and coding practices as I work on yet another incarnation of blogging software.

    There isn’t…

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  4. Updated my “About Me” page

    I have rewritten my “About Me” page. It has needed some updates for a while now. I focused on making the page briefer while keeping it informative. Now people who come to my site can know who I am in a few paragraphs. If they need to know me more deeply, they will know where to stalk me.

    Also, the page now includes an excellent photo that portrays my love of math and silliness. The photo comes from back in May. Our mathematics resource room received new carpet, so Aaron, Rachael, Tim, and I were drafted to remove all the books from the room and store them in our office until the carpet was replaced. Then we reshelved all of the books, and posed for some silly photos. I've long wanted to put a photo of myself on that page, but until now I didn’t have any that seemed adequate. I was browsing my Flickr feed in the hope of finding something suitable when this gem appeared; the moment I saw it, I yelled, “Yes!” and laughed maniacally.

  5. Stalk my reading even more intensely!

    On Tuesday I launched reading portal for my site. Basically, this is a one-stop place to learn about what I am reading, what I was reading (and what I thought about it), the best and worst books I've read each year, etc. Although I've got both my current reading and recent reading on the homepage, the reading portal is much more detailed. You can actually read the fifteen most recent reviews I've written, and there are links to my detailed yearly reading stats.

    The coolest feature of the reading section is the one that has been finished and live for a while now: book lists. I can create a list of books, with their associated reviews, based on any criterion I desire. This was motivated by my annual best/worst books of the year list, which in previous years I posted directly to my blog. I am also slowly going through my Goodreads account and creating lists corresponding to series I have read or am reading. This is a nice way to see, in general, what kind of books I like to read (and a nice way for me to track what series I've read).

    I've been using Symphony

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  6. Summer endings, September beginnings

    Hello September. I have missed you. You might be my favourite among all months, but don't tell the others. And no, it's not because my birthday is in September (although that helps). Nor is it because September signals the start of fall television, with new episodes of Castle, Chuck, House, Stargate Universe, etc. More than any other month, even that notorious January, September is a month of changes and new beginnings. For those of us biased in our perceptions by our position in the northern hemisphere, summer will soon be a memory; the leaves will change colour; and I'll be back in school, where I belong.

    I spent this summer doing research and quite enjoyed it. We didn't make as much progress toward a solution as I had hoped, but I learned a lot, both about mathematics and research in general. I'm comfortable using LaTeX (which is sexy) and have had some experience with Macaulay2 (also pretty hot). I even went to a conference, something that surprised me.

    With my research finished, I have these two weeks off before school begins on September 13. Next week I return to work at the art gallery. I don't…

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  7. Goodbye, Yahoo!

    When I first purchased paid hosting in October 2005, I needed a domain name. I needed something snazzy, so I chose tachyondecay.net. Then I needed a domain registrar, so I registered tachyondecay.net with Yahoo!, since I already had a Yahoo! ID. Nearly there years later, all is good. I've got two domains registered with Yahoo!, no complaints. Until now....

    Recently I learned that Yahoo! had raised the price of domain renewal to $34.95/year. :| Considering that the average is usually around $9.95/year (which is what it used to be), and some places are cheaper, this move could seem baffling. Of course, Melbourne IT, the company through which Yahoo! actually registers these domains, charges $35/year. So there may be something going on behind the scenes there ... :ermm: Anyway, regardless of the reason, I am not paying $35 when I can pay $10. So I packed my bags.

    I'm not sure if I actually mentioned this, but recently I registered benbabcock.ca (it just points to this site) from Netfirms. I used Netfirms instead of Yahoo! because the latter can't register .ca domains, and Netfirms seemed like a good choice. So I took this opportunity to consolidate all my domains…

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  8. Website redesign

    Those of you not reading this through a feed (that is, if anyone actually subscribes to my feed...) will notice things looking a little ... different.

    This is the long-awaited, long promised redesign! The previous design has been in use since before my site moved to A Small Orange in October 2005. It was time for a change, time for a fresh look, time to update the site to better reflect me. That was a challenge on its own.

    As I began toying with designs, I had to confront the question What reflects my personality? What could I put in my personal site design? After all, that's the only purpose this site has--it's a vanity site. I could incorporate pictures of me, except I don't have many. Maybe some scenes of Thunder Bay. I toyed with various concepts and positioning. Eventually I struck on the idea of using a vertical banner image of my socks-and-sandals photo. It looked nifty and different, plus it is most definitely me. I like socks with sandals. :D

    I chipped away at the rest of the design piece by piece. I found a good stock photo of a tea cup to include in the…

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  9. New Website

    Wow! I've got paid hosting! All thanks to A Small Orange!

    I'm now going to work on rejuvenating it. The database backup is from October 10, so if you posted any comments or such after that date, then they're gone . . . sorry. :-/ It appears this mean the entire guestbook is gone. I should get to bed, but I'll put it back up tomorrow, so sign it again then.

  10. More proof that boredom is dangerous

    I actually did things today, which is scary. Once again, this proves that boredom is dangerous.

    I had the whim to make an alternate style sheet for the site, so you can switch them easily from the View menu using Firefox. If you use the Switch Styles link to switch styles, a nice little cookie will keep track of whichever one you like to use. The waterfalls in the Thunder Bay style are Kakabeka Falls.

    Planet InvisionFree is an aggregate of staff blogs at InvisionFree. Finally! Instead of checking lots of RSS feeds, I can just use the one feed and keep track of the staff. I'm sure those blogstalkers will find it convenient too.

    I've become tired of searching for lost boards, so I wrote the Lost Board Locator that quickly searches all the servers for me. Far easier than typing in the server numbers over and over.

    Watched Cellular tonight. It was better than Phone Booth and I enjoyed some parts of it. The movie got better toward the ending as the corrupt cops were revealed, the beginning was a little slow.

  11. Blog updates

    I've updated my blog as best I can. The RSS feed is hopefully working properly now, and I'm just waiting to iron out a few more bugs before I publicly release version 3.1.

    As for other news . . . there isn't much.

  12. Life moves pretty fast

    Today, it feels like I got a lot accomplished while at the same time I did next to nothing. Or is it that I feel like I did a lot while accomplishing next to nothing?

    I went biking with my brother down to the university and back. It was an interesting experience. I'll probably be biking to university in two years. Cheaper than driving if those gas prices keep on going up.

    This blog now has an RSS feed that I cobbled together, and which I'm still trying to badger to work. I'm also working on setting up a Coppermine photo gallery. I'm working heavily on improving my blog, but now I'm going to take a break, maybe get some writing done.

  13. Mmmaintenance

    Just performing some general clean up of the site. I'm tweaking the design and reconfiguring it to have friendler URIs. The site will soon be XHTML 1.1 valid, rather than XHTML 1.0 Transitional. You may have noticed a few sections disappearing or getting buggy. I'll fix those soon, once 3.0 is out and I have a working archive function, the news archives will be back up. I pulled the Writing section because I thought it was poorly done, I need to redo the content.

    I'm still working on VSNS 3.0, so far all I have left are: the comment system (tweaking it), the skin (not started), the semi-WYSIWYG buttons (not started) and to finish tweaking a few other bugs.