The Daily Whim

The Daily Whim

col-o-phon \"ka-le-fen, -'fan\ noun
1 : an inscription placed at the end of a book or manuscript usually with facts relative to its production
2 : an identifying device used by a printer or a publisher

This site is created and maintained by a production team of one; me. My education in web authoring is vast, as vast as the World Wide Web; I never took a single “course,” I got here through a process of self-education that started in early 1996, extracting every piece of new knowledge from While Fox Mulder's mantra was “The Truth Is Out There,” mine is, “It's All Out There.” Whatever knowledge you seek, it's there, waiting, in volumes greater than you can absorb. But waiting for you to try, just the same.

However, don't let me fool you; I'm not exactly an expert. In fact, I don't think anyone is. The world of web authoring is so vast, you've got to pick your spots. Your aptitudes and interests dictate where you specialize, under the influence of "opportunity." Otherwise, you learn enough to be able to do the things you want/need to do, and maybe a little more. And I've also learned to leverage what knowledge I have by using some great tools to do much of the really heavy lifting.

Web Tools

I'll spare you the history of the various web authoring programs I've used, and just say, if you could put it on a PC, I've probably tried it (yes, I'm a PC user ... since 95% of the surfing population is as well, it seems a good web development environment, eh?). Long ago, I settled on Dreamweaver, and hardly know what I'd do without its site management tools. But I'm a hand coder from Day One, and use NoteTab Pro for both HTML and CSS.

My weblog would be far more difficult to maintain if it wasn't for the excellent programs various people have offered up for free. Near impossible, in fact. I started with Blogger, quickly graduated to Greymatter, and then Movable Type. But since 04/04/04, this site has been powered by Textpattern, running off a database that contains all my writing since January of 2001 (over 4400 articles with 8000+ comments, about 31MB of plain text, as of 7/13/2010).

Most of this site attempts to be valid XHTML and CSS, but rarely succeeds 100% due to the odd ampersand in a URL, ad code, etc. Structurally, it is valid, and fairly semantic (though I'm far from a purist). Some other areas of the site tend to look at bit dated by comparison, as I haven't found time to renovate everything placed online in the course of eight years. And the Olympics section looks dated by intent, as it was hand coded in the summer of '96 (and I left it that way to keep me humble)

This site was once hosted on a server about 4 miles from my home. The sign outside the building used to say “Mindspring,” before the Borg assimilated them, but the machines were the same. Unfortunately, they stayed the same for a long long time ... meaning no upgrades for 2.5 years. Since June of 2004 this site has been hosted what was once TextDrive, and is now Joyent. It was orginally created as a pure Apache/PHP/MySQL environment designed expressly for running Textpattern. I've been there ever since.

Image Tools

The images in my “official” sections may have been shot with a view camera, Hasselblad, or my Canon EOS 35mm cameras. The scans are also all over the place, with some from my long dead Polaroid Sprintscan, some from a Minolta Dimage Scan Dual, and some from a borrowed Nikon 4000. As for the digital photos, they were shot with my Nikon Coolpix 990 from September, 2000, until January of 2003, when I began using a Canon D60. Then in June of 2006, I acquired the The Digital Grail, a Canon 5D

Whatever the means of capture, all images are run through Photoshop, providing that digital darkroom magic we sometimes take for granted. And if I could only have one program, Fireworks would be plenty enough reason to own a computer. I use it for all graphics created for this site. And you'll find a few small Flash movies here and there, but not many, as making them kills brain cells and lowers my IQ. All these programs and more are now contained with the mortgage payment also known as Adobe Creative Suite 5 Web Premium.

The list of tools I sometimes use (for sometimes arcane reasons) would be far too lengthy and boring, but the above are the ones I could not do without. I wrote about my software usage at more length in “My Essential Software, 2007.”

There you have it; far more than you ever wanted to know about “how the heck I do this.”

Contact me to find out more