Posts Tagged "blog"

Website Email Headaches

Published on April 7, 2010

I’ve recently had a perfect storm of email woes here at this site. Last month, my email servers changed at DreamHost (for reasons I still don’t fully understand), breaking all of my approved SSL certificates (not to mention my SMTP settings). Around the same time, I updated to Thunderbird 3.0 from 2.x. The new interface is bizarre, and I’ve only had problems from day one of the upgrade. As such, I am now actively working towards moving all of Born Geek’s email (including this website) to GMail.

Unfortunately, someone is apparently squatting on my domain over at Google Apps. I attempted to reset the account password there, but no secondary email address is on record, making things much more difficult for me. I have started a manual password reset process (via proving to Google that I do indeed own the domain), and hope to have things up and running by this weekend.

Long story short, any direct emails sent to me through the contact form at this website may not be answered for a while. Please bear with me during this painful process.

Drop Shadows With CSS

Published on January 11, 2010

Over the holiday break, I stumbled upon a wonderful article describing several CSS tricks to add eye-candy without images. I’ve been using rounded corners here at the site since the last theme update, and thanks to this article, I’m now employing drop shadows. The effect is subtle, but adds a lot to the design; in short, I like it.

The style rules for adding drop shadows are very simple, though proprietary; it’s a shame this stuff can’t be standardized properly. Here’s the code to use a drop shadow (the values shown are the ones I’m using on the site):

#myelement {
    -moz-box-shadow: 1px 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.5); /* Firefox */
    -webkit-box-shadow: 1px 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.5); /* Webkit */
    box-shadow: 1px 1px 3px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.5); /* Standards way */
}

The article even details the appropriate style code for Internet Explorer, but I haven’t included it here, mainly because it’s ugly. Other effects that the article explains are glow (the opposite of drop shadow, essentially), gradients, rotating images with CSS, transparency, and a few more advanced tricks. It’s great that this support is built-in to most standards compliant browsers. So long to those annoying images that try so desperately to do the same thing!

Update: So it turns out that adding this eye candy significantly reduces scrolling performance in Firefox (quite an annoyance). Chrome doesn’t have this issue, so it’s clearly a Firefox problem. Should I keep the shadows and suffer the performance hit? Or should I chuck them and keep things snappy?

Also, Webkit browsers don’t support the inset modifier for shadows, which means you see even less eye candy in Chrome, et al.

Update 2: I’ve removed the drop shadows for the time being. After all, this stuff is experimental.

October’s Popular Posts

Published on October 31, 2009

I’ve been looking at my visitor statistics for this website (as I always do), and I thought I’d share some interesting information. The most popular posts at this website are surprising to me, and I’m not sure I could have guessed which ones were at the top. Here are the top five posts for the month of October:

  1. Batch File Exit Codes – 741 views
  2. Using NTP on a Private Network – 260 views
  3. Fixing Broken HTML Document Icons – 169 views
  4. Firefox 3.5 Slow to Start – 162 views
  5. Thoughts on Mint.com – 151 views

I find it quite bizarre that my article on batch file exit codes is at the top of the list; and by quite a large margin! Apparently, there are a lot of people out there confused about this subject (and rightly so). Also, I never would have guessed that setting up NTP was popular enough to even register. But there it is coming in at number 2! Some of the other articles are less surprising: Firefox 3.5 being slow is an obvious search (since it is indeed slow … though it’s gotten better with subsequent releases). And Mint.com seems to be gaining in popularity around the web, so I can understand people looking for reviews on the service.

I’ve always enjoyed looking at site stats and, while this website doesn’t see near the traffic that its sister Born Geek does, it’s enjoyable to see that my articles are indeed being read.

Improved Search Engine Indexing

Published on October 21, 2007

I’ve tweaked this site to use an improved means of search engine indexing. WordPress ships with a less than perfect SEO setup. As such, many incoming search queries were hitting pages that no longer included the requested terms: stuff like archive pages, category pages, etc. This duplicate content problem was easily solved by using the following snippet of code in my header.php file:

if(is_home() || is_single() || is_page())
    echo "\t<meta name=\"robots\" content=\"index,follow\" />\n";
else
    echo "\t<meta name=\"robots\" content=\"noindex,follow\" />\n";

I now ask search engines to only index those pages that are either a single post, page, or the home page itself (my photo album also gets indexed, but that’s handled by the photo album software itself). Nothing else gets indexed, but all page links are followed, so that the target pages can be indexed as necessary. This should lead to improved search engine hits, leading people directly to the content they were looking for. Win-win for the user and for me.

The Bandwagon

Published on June 18, 2005

I’m going to try my hand at blogging. Everyone else is doing it; why shouldn’t I? Over the past few days I’ve been looking at a number of blogging solutions thanks to an excellent blog software breakdown. The software I have settled on for now is the surprisingly robust WordPress. Having never done this before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in the software interface department, but WordPress has surprised me in a number of ways. Adding and managing posts is very easy, and installation was a snap. Best of all, it’s completely free.

As usual, I will be tweaking lots of things here and there over the next few weeks. The default theme, ‘Kubrick’, isn’t quite my taste, so I’ll either shop for another one or make my own (I prefer the former, since it involves less work). The sidebar clearly needs to be beefed up, and other jots and tiddles need to be dealt with. Stay tuned – I have lots of interesting things to discuss.

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