Thoughts

Site News

New website

August 21st, 2014

I'm officially migrating to a new website and new domain. I hope to someday migrate content from XeoMage over, but for the time being I'll leave the site up for historical posts. I don't anticipate posting anything new here, and just a fair warning: I don't expect my other site to be very busy either.

MatthewJohnson.info

Ruminating on Purpose

February 26th, 2014

I've had a personal website for a damn long time. Going back to Oracle hosted on ExecPC to innumerable and ever more sophisticated redesigns on xeomage.com, the site has existed since 1997 and on this domain since 2000.

Over the years, my focus on the page has waxed and waned, but it's been on the waning side for a while for a few reasons. First, sites like Facebook have come along to provide a way to keep in touch with people and share photos. Second, my interest in staying on top of web technologies isn't matched by the time I have to spend on it, leaving the site perpetually behind the times. I want to employ HTML 5, CSS 3, object-oriented PHP, jQuery, and a whole host of ideas I've been "meaning to do" for years. In the mean time, my code no longer works properly with the current version of PHP so I have to use a database editor to even make this post. Because I don't have the time for it I grow increasingly dissatisfied with the site as it is, which makes me less interested in adding content, particularly when the primary purpose for the site has been largely subsumed.

There's still the Journal, which is mostly for my own benefit but doesn't require a public website, and the Profile page, which could just as easily be LinkedIn, Facebook, or even a static page. Even more, there's the simple fact that I have a wife and kid(s) now, and while I'm still an individual, most of what goes on in my life isn't just about me. Finally, there's the name of the site itself, which over the years seems increasingly juvenile as the Internet and web slowly move away from pseudonyms and usernames in all forms. To be fair, there's no hope of a simple domain based on my name (being as common as it is), but there's a wide space between the two.

I started working on a new layout that would be a simple update, but what I came up with wasn't much different than what I already have. I started thinking about something a bit more radical and realized I don't have the time to do it. In short, I don't know where this goes from here. I can keep adding a Journal entry every few months to keep the site from completely stagnating, I can start over on someone else's platform and maybe even a different domain, or I can just shut it down and abandon the project.

Honestly, abandoning it is probably the best plan, but in the "good money after bad" line of logical fallacies, it seems like I've been doing it for so long that to stop now is somehow failing or giving up. I'm going to think about it some more before making a decision, but for now, don't expect new content.

New Style Sheet

August 15th, 2012

A couple of site changes to report. First, I've updated the site style sheet. I created this style a long time ago but never got around to finishing it. The style is flatter and has fewer colors, eliminating all the subtle gradients. It's simpler, though whether it's better or not is in the eye of the viewer. Maybe I like it because it's new and different. Let me know what you think.

The other change is the new home page, which lists the latest content regardless of section. I may need to tweak this some, but it works well enough for now.

I can't promise there are a ton of other updates in the works, since there aren't but at least this is a tiny refresh.

Regressive

January 18th, 2012

I've removed some sections from my website. Typically, websites are supposed to grow and expand, but every once in a while it becomes necessary to do some pruning. I haven't added to these sections in ages and I'm not likely to do so in the near future. Honestly, I haven't added to several of the sections that I left, but I still have some vague intentions of contributing to them, so I'll leave them for now. I simply haven't found time for the site beyond the occasional Journal update, and until I do I think it's best to focus on some core elements.

I'd like to revamp a few things to take advantage of external resources, but we'll see when I get around to that. It would be nice if the Photos and Projects could bring in data from things like Facebook or Flickr, since that's where I've been putting those things.

Work Begins Anew

March 20th, 2010

I've decided to make some significant changes to XeoMage. As usual this involves a fair amount of new coding, which is already underway. I don't have an immediate forecast of how long this will take, but expect to see something new here in the not-too-distant future.

I've been floating around some vague ideas for a couple of years and a lot of it still needs to take shape. However, I have some broad strokes in mind, and given a little bit of work I think I can bring it about. Some of these changes may see older content fall off. I haven't found the time for some of the section of this site, and there's no use in convincing myself to keep them up if my heart isn't in it.

Instead I think I've come up with a way of making this site work for me instead of the other way around. It can still provide a forum for me to expound and share my thoughts, but it doesn't need to be presented in a way that makes parts of it seem abandoned. It doesn't need to ignore a lot of the things I do online that I'd like to share with everyone. Lastly, it doesn't need to be constrained in ways that prevent me from really using it.

Minor Site Fix

January 31st, 2009

I believe I have corrected a bug where the last post time wasn't updated when I posted something, but would be updated when I modified something. Having this fixed means that anyone relying on the date in the menu to know when I've updated will now see accurate information. This was apparently caused by a line of code getting the last post time that was "less" than "now". I have now set it to update when the post time is less than or equal to now. Programming is really frustrating at times.

Searching, for real

June 24th, 2008

When I launched Search a week or so ago, there were a couple of problems with it. Those have been corrected, along with a number of other bugs, most of which only pertained to me when I'm logged in. Regardless, I wanted to mention that it's fixed now, in case you tried it earlier and didn't get any results.

Digg widget

June 21st, 2008

I finally got around to figuring out how to correct the way the Digg widget on the Profile page displays in IE7, and made some improvements for other browsers as well. Sarah reminded me it was broken, with massive text that overlapped content. I got the DOM snapshot working in Opera 9.5, since their new developer console doesn't show that, and then I was able to comb through the html to find what I could add style to.

So it's looking a bit better, and I even managed to get the digg count to disappear, since that wasn't supposed to be displayed in the first place. It still has the stupid fixed height, leaving a bit of a gap under the text, but I can't make it smaller since a story with a long title will wrap. Oh well, it's definitely an improvement.

Searching

June 15th, 2008

I've gotten a new build of Spark --XeoMage's backend software-- online, bringing with it Search. This long-overdue feature means that if you want to track down a picture from sometime in the summer between 2000 and 2003, or a movie review that was who-knows-when, you can just type in a keyword and get right to it.

There's a number of other things in the new version, but that's the only one I really have implemented. I've got some plans to spend a bit of time enhancing XeoMage style and layout. The templates that make up the site have gotten pretty cluttered and I have a few adjustments that I want to make since the site doesn't render well in certain situations.

Images

May 11th, 2008

After roughly six months I have completed adding image support to Spark, and hence XeoMage. Today I ported all of the pictures in the Photos section into the new image management system. That included generating larger thumbnails (ooh, 70%!), fortunately not a manual process, followed by some cropping of existing photos to standardize all of my image sizes, unfortunately a manual process. However, I'm thrilled to say that after a rather long hiatus I can start adding new photos!

Regular readers may recall that I lost about a half terabyte of data to a raid array configuration problem, and as a result there will be a gap between what's on the site and the new stuff I add. However, I will try to make up for that with quantity. Adding photos was always a pain, involving a tedius process in PhotoShop, file naming, ftp uploading, and then posting to the site. That is now all handled by Spark in one fell swoop.