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About andrewhagen.com

Fast Reloading

08/28/09 23:00

Pages should now reload very quickly. It may even appear that nothing happens when you press reload or refresh. Nevertheless, the page displayed has been checked and found to be current.

This is because andrewhagen.com has now implemented "Conditional Get." This means that each time your browser goes to this site, it checks to see if your browser already has the very latest version of the web page in your local storage cache. If it does, your browser will display the page from local storage. That is much faster than getting the same thing from the server. It also reduces the amount of bandwidth used.

You can always force a true, full page reload by pressing the Shift key and clicking the reload/refresh button on your browser. That should not be necessary, however.

Update

08/09/09 23:00

I'm still working on the new blog system, and so I've taken the old blog out of retirement for a little while.

Some thoughts

05/11/09 23:00

The current plan is to continue with XHTML 1.1 for now, as HTML 5 is in drafting. If HTML 5 becomes a specification, and I still like it, I might start using it. HTML 5 represents a break from SGML. This change requires some consideration before adoption.

I plan to use any XHTML/HTML/CSS features that are available in current browsers. I want this web site to be readable 50 years from now, and not necessarily readable with browsers that were created 10 years before today. I anticipate that there will be some archive available of "old" content.

JavaScript will be in use, but sparingly and only when necessary. Ideally, the site should work the same regardless of whether JavaScript is available.

This web site continues to have the same intended audience: people who are intellectually curious. All audience members hold their own views, and often have strongly-held views. Nevertheless, the minds of the intended audience are not closed. Even when they take ardent, partisan stands for a position, they have done so in concert with a willingness and enthusiasm to think critically.

The audience is seeking information and views that they have not heard before. They wish or are willing to hear a different perspective on the world's affairs.

As this is the Internet, the audience has enough skill and the necessary equipment to peruse the web. They have varying degrees of skill and experience in computer technology. Of course, most of the audience is devoted to pursuits other than learning about tech. It is critical that visiting andrewhagen.com is pleasant and easy. The site must be simple to navigate.

Recent developments guide the technical redesign of this site. CSS3 and HTML 5 already have influence on web browser design, and soon will be formal standards. The audience's web browsers support the open standards of the web. A number of them have browsers that partially support CSS3 and as time goes on, that number will increase steadily. They will have browsers that support HTML 5.

Writing to the latest standards while eschewing kludges requires dropping support for older web browsers. Years ago, Netscape users migrated to Firefox or other browsers. On the other hand, a number of audience members are still using, as of today, the quirky, obsolete Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, or earlier versions of IE. It would benefit users of IE 6 to see a special message on the front page and site map of andrewhagen.com to help them upgrade their web browsers.

The users of IE 7 should upgrade to IE 8 for standards support. While IE 7 is not as quirky or as obsolete as IE 6, to be realistic, IE 7 was released in 2006, and lacks support for many key open web standards. Thus, IE 7 users should be given the same message as IE 6 users. This message should be purely informative. There should not be any explicit indication that versions of IE older than 8 will not work. They might work, and this web site is not in the business of hectoring users about what web browser to use. Depending on a computer’s operating system, a newer version of IE might or might not be available. All users of IE 7 or earlier should receive a message that can help them upgrade to a more modern web browser.

The site map is implemented in box-drawing characters. This pays homage to the good old days of text-mode interfaces. I believe, thanks to browsershots.org, that it is not working properly on Mac OS X 10.4 or earlier when browsing with Safari. This is regrettable, but most Mac users browsing with Safari now use, or will soon be using, later versions of the OS.

The web site must keep up with technological trends. An increasing number of page views will come from browsers running on handheld computers, such as mobile phones and mobile Internet devices. Others will access the site on computers with displays that are 24" in size, or larger. Some in the audience do not have 100% of their vision, and might use a screen-reader or other technology. Accessibility is key. Thus, the site will not fix any position on the screen by pixels. Instead, it will use a "liquid" layout that is based in percentages and em sizes. Ideally, browsers on handheld computers, or computers with small screens, will be able to access the same, unchanged pages. Perhaps there needs to be a "handheld" media style sheet. The site is supposed to look similarly across different platforms, even as more people browse the web with handhelds.

One of the features of CSS3, media queries, is likely to make it hard to future-proof this web site. I intend to not use media queries. It is critical, in my mind, to design the site so that it will continue to be viewable in the future.

I want to move this site toward more consistency in its look and feel, including the blog(s).

Generally speaking, I don't like menus that drop down upon the cursor hovering over an element. They are cumbersome, fly out at the wrong time, and get in the way.

I recently downloaded a copy of my posts in Word format from the old blog's Wordpress database, using phpmyadmin. I spell-checked it and found numerous typos and spelling errors. I corrected them, as is my policy. When I change the meaning of content in a blog, I provide an update notice. When I change spelling or fix grammar, that is a silent update. After this humbling experience, I plan to definitely run all blog posts through a word processor's review functions first.

Welcome

04/02/09 23:01

Welcome to the new andrewhagen.com. The old blog is still available at andrewhagen.com/archives.

This blog, located at andrewhagen.com/about will update readers regarding changes that occur on andrewhagen.com.

While the old blog will remain on Wordpress, at least for now, the new blogs will use B2Evolution.

B2Evolution is a PHP4-powered platform that is designed for multiple blogs. On the positive side, B2E can accomplish much without falling into traps like setting permissions on config files to make them group- or world-writable. URLs can be made to look sharp. On the other hand, B2E has a clunky administrative interface. There are more features than I need. While some would call that bloat, I find myself choosing B2E because it has the features I really need, and has the ability to turn off the features I really don't like.

I would prefer a PHP5 blogging platform or CMS. Neither Habari nor Frog CMS are mature enough to conveniently handle multiple blogs, but both platforms look interesting going forward. I intend to launch a new blog soon with Habari.

The future of the web is a choice between XHTML and HTML 5 as proposed by WHATWG. For me the choice is easy. HTML 5 supports in its specification tags like "header" and "footer." It is designed for typical web pages, including those here. On the other hand, XHTML appears now to my eyes to take us further down the unhappy path of turning ideas and human language into mere data points. As a skeptic of the utility of a "semantic web," I will be switching to HTML 5 soon.

I've decided to redesign the site using multiple blogs, with one blog per niche. For example, one blog will concern law and another will concern philosophy. The reasoning for this is that different audiences have different interests. Additionally, any one reader might be interested in what I have to say on one topic, but not on another. The new design will accomodate this added level of flexibility allowing the site to adapt to the wishes of readers. There will be an option to receive all the content together in one feed.

New content and new blogs are on the way.

Change log

04/02/09 23:00

This is the old change log.


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This page last updated: September 25, 2011.

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