Weirdbook.org

A blog experiment by Brad Mills.

Colophon

I've seen several sites with colophons. These typically describe the site's content in greater detail for the curious and delve into the nuts and bolts behind the bits and words. So, here's my attempt.

The Author

All content on this site was created by Brad Mills (that's me). I've been working and playing with computers since 1981, making money at it since 1995, and doing assorted web stuff since about 2002.

Hosting

NearlyFreeSpeech.NET This site is hosted at NearlyFreeSpeech.NET. I've hosted sites with them since 2005. They are an awesome host, and I dig them on multiple levels — price, philosophy, and performance being a few of those. If you're looking for a "no bullshit" hosting company that gives you what you need, assumes you know what you're doing, and then gets out of the way, you can do no better than NearlyFreeSpeech.NET. And since they have no affiliate program, you can be certain of the sincerity behind my recommendation.

Platform

The software running this blog was written by me. All told, it took about four weeks of sporadic work initially. I rewrote a good bit of it near the end of 2011, and new features get added from time to time. You may ask why I didn't just use WordPress or Movable Type or some other ready-made solution. Well, I didn't want to. It's easy to make a dime-a-dozen blog with existing software, and there is definitely a time and place for that. But in the time it would take me to tweak one of these into something minimalist enough for me to focus on the content instead of the platform, I could just as easily roll my own and have it do exactly what I want. So that's what I did.

Besides — I enjoy a good challenge.

Large portions of the site's backend were written with SciTE and Geany under Kubuntu and Linux Mint. Parts were written at various places in Charleston, WV and at Summerhill Cottage in Emerald Isle, NC. As for the content, it could be coming from anywhere.

Standards

World Wide Web Consortium Adherence to web standards is good. This site makes a brave attempt to do so — specifically, XHTML HTML5, CSS, and RSS. Reliance on proprietary browser technologies applies vendor lock-in to the web and forces a dependence upon companies which may not exist in five years. Given the fickleness of the technology industry (anyone remember WordPerfect?), it's best to stick with something backed by a consortium instead of a single vendor.

There is very little JavaScript on this site and I don't use cookies. The pages degrade gracefully for people using text-based browsers and download quickly over old analog modems, and the site remains 100% functional. That means just about anyone anywhere can read this site even with a computer from 2002 and a dial-up connection. This, in my opinion, is a good thing... though you're going to have a much better time using a modern web browser.

Typography and design

I'm telling your browser to use its prettiest (in my opinion) sans-serif font. Sans-serif is cool. I start with FreeSans, working down through Helvetica, Corbel, Nimbus Sans, Arial, and ending with whatever generic sans-serif font you happen to have. If things looks weird, it probably means other sites do too and you'd be wise to check your settings. The site's layout is based on the "Left Menu 2 Column Liquid Layout" by Matthew James Taylor (and was previously based on his "Holy Grail 3 Column Liquid Layout" and "Perfect 3 Column Liquid Layout"). The calendar is based partially upon "PHP Calendar 2.3" by Keith Devens. The email icon and the comments icon come from the famfamfam.com Silk collection by Mark James. With the exception of Twitter, the large and medium social media icons are derived from the Polaroid icon set, and the small ones in the left sidebar were "borrowed" from the site they point to. Twitter's icons came from the Twitter logo and branding guide.

The Golden Ratio is used in some design elements across this site. Artists and architects have used the Golden Ratio in their works since about the 1300s because it's believed to be aesthetically pleasing. Its mathematical properties are rather complex and have been studied since about 500 BC. These two disparate fields combine in a single number. As I, too, have tendencies both mathematical and creative, it was a good choice for me to use as a basis in the design of this site.

Beyond that, you may have noticed there isn't much to the way this site looks. I'm a strong believer in minimalism, form following function, and substance over style — it's only natural that this would carry over onto the web. I've tested this site in Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Opera on Windows, Firefox and Konqueror on Linux, and Safari on a Mac. With the exception of Internet Explorer 6, it looks basically the same on all these, and I'm pretty happy with that result.