A relaunch for 2013

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Welcome to the lab

As you may have noticed, this site has changed. I find it significantly less ugly now, but the changes run much deeper than that.

The whole site is running on Jekyll now, and hosted on my own Mac mini at Macminicolo. It was previously running on WordPress and hosted at Dreamhost. Over the course of building this new site, I’ve realized that I really don’t have many issues with WordPress, and Dreamhost has always been pretty stable for me. I just get antsy and want to try new things, so I’m giving this a shot.

The site is responsive and should work well on iPhone and iPad in addition to desktop browsers. It does some cool things like replacing the menu bar with a dropdown at small sizes, cropping and resizing images for different views, etc. The ultimate goal was speed and stability, but I really wanted to make it more enjoyable to read on mobile devices at the same time.

I’m still fleshing out a download system to replace the previous one, but all existing downloads that weren’t already Github-based should have direct links to the older files. My custom WordPress converter takes care of that for me. It also builds a CSV file with all of the relevant data for each download and translates [download id=xxx] shortcodes to actual links. I need to make it more easily updatable, but it should cover the bases for the time being.

While most of the work I’ve done has been on the back end, there are a few nifty features on the front end. One that stands out is the archive filter. It lets you type a word or two and filters the post list with fuzzy matching on the titles and associated keywords. It should work pretty well for quick searches, although the client-side parsing can bog down sometimes. I’ll be tweaking it as I go. The main site search is running off of Macdrifter’s NerdQuery project. That search feature will be updated to match the site design shortly, but it will provide accurate search results of my site and make it easy to extend the search to some other awesome nerd sites.

Also check out the SuperReadable option, available from the gear menu in the upper right corner. It modifies the fonts and colors a bit to improve readability, and replaces the main font with OpenDyslexic. While OpenDyslexic is designed to aid dyslexic readers, I’ve actually found it increases reading speed for most people. It’s ugly, but it works.

I don’t know yet if I got the RSS feeds redirecting and formatted properly, but we’ll find out soon enough.

I believe I’ve accounted for most of the transitional issues, backlinks, etc. It will take a bit of time to track down and fix remaining bugs, many of which I probably haven’t even thought of yet. If you find something is missing on the current site, you can add “archive.” to the beginning of a url to find the previous site’s contents. Because I switched to using Disqus, all previous comments on the blog are missing. See the archive. page for any post to see the older comments.

I hope you enjoy the new site, and I hope I didn’t screw everything up too badly in this big switch. Let me know what you think!