The design of this site has been evolving since 1999. Over the past decade I've introduced a few different looks and feels, but none I liked as much as the one in place at the time of this entry.
Even though I'm a big fan of this design, today I will blow it up and start again. I can't help myself.
For the rest of the day, things might look a little hairy over here while the work is in progress. Mind the mess, as they say. So I can remember the way it was, here's one last picture.
Idle hands are the devil's tools. Whenever I find myself with a little free time, I get overwhelmed with an urge to blow-up and recreate this site. Not the content, but the layout and design.
I just completely re-wrote the xhtml and css and realized I actually like the current layout and code. I'm just bored of it. That's when I got my header idea...
I've got a masthead header image on the top of every page of this site. For the past year it looked like this:
Now, it's more malleable. I'm going to change the image and bi-line frequently, with whatever pops in my head. For example, new visitors would be surprised to learn that I haven't yet seen The Dark Knight. It's a fact.
Speaking of movies, if you had to choose between Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which would you see?
In this entry I mentioned my need to introduce pagination for my category pages. Some categories have many hundreds of entries making the pages very long and painfully slow to load.
MT-Hacks has a slick little pagination plug-in for Movable Type that introduces pagination. I've got it working now. For example, if you visit my Toronto Blue Jays category page, it will only display the 20 entries at a time and you'll have to advance the pages via the menu at the bottom of the page.
This is very small world we live in. The chap behind MT Hacks is the same guy who
works worked with me on SLS. He was also in the passenger seat when I ran my new car into the back of a pickup on he 401 while rocking out to Everlast back in '99, but that's another story.
If you're using Movable Type for your blog or website, you really should check out MT Hacks.
This blog has been powered by Movable Type 3.2 for years, but last night I decided it was time for an upgrade. Movable Type 4.2 was released Tuesday and it's faster, more secure and loaded with tons of new features, especially when you compare it to 3.2.
So far, so good. Let me know if you detect any hiccups.
I'm an RSS guy, but I'm also a realist. I get the fact that most people still don't know what the hell RSS is, how to subscribe to an RSS feed and why somebody would ever want to do that. My RSS feeds are how I read 90% of my daily web content but I understand that most people simply visit sites and blogs in their browsers, you know, the old fashioned way.
For those of you who don't want to dive into the world of RSS but like the idea of having these entries pushed to you, you can now subscribe to Toronto Mike blog entries by email.
Go ahead and give it a shot. You can always unsubscribe later...
I got a request last night to create an RSS feed for my Toronto Blue Jays category. A Blue Jays fan site wants to syndicate the content, but my regular feed is for every entry I post, regardless of category.
I quickly learnt this was pretty easy to do in Movable Type. I now have an RSS feed for each category, if you're interested. Here are the feeds for a few of the more popular categories.
Well, that was frustrating. Yesterday evening, while I watched the Colts and Patriots play a fairly entertaining football game, I decided to multi-task. I figured I could blow up and rebuild this site by the final whistle. This time, I'd go pure CSS.
Everything was going swimmingly. This site is still using Movable Type 3.31 which means there are templates for the permalink, monthly archive and category archive. I modularize the crap out of the code so there ends up being three template modules I pull into each template. A complete rebuild later and I saw what I expected to see... in Firefox.
IE6 has poor CSS support, and I quickly realized that the sidebar would start at the conclusion of the main body on the permalink pages. I started going through the CSS and HTML line by line, and I got everything working on the home page, but the permalink pages would no cooperate. I eventually gave up and started hacking away at it again this morning.
Right now, I believe the structure is sound and working in Firefox and IE. Let me know if I'm wrong. Now that the structure is stable, I'll start tweaking the actual appearance over the next few days. This look and feel is sort of temporary. The header image you see at the top was blatantly stolen from Spacing.ca. I "borrowed" the style because I like it. I'll call it a homage and temporary, which makes stealing A-OK on the web.
Since I can now focus on perfecting the navigation, display styles and formatting of what you see, now is a great time for you to tell me what you'd like to see and what's currently here that you can't stand. Getting a pure-CSS design to work properly in IE is more than half the battle. Now it's time for the fun part.
Yes, I blew up the site and rebuilt it. In Firefox, things look pretty good, although I have a little fine tuning to do here and there. In IE, things are quite wonky, as you might have noticed.
When I get a few minutes, I'm going to repair the damage for you IE lovers, because I know how damn many of you are out there. Can someone with IE7 please tell me if the left sidebar is at the top of the page or way down at the bottom?
Update: I need an IE7 and an IE6 user to email me a screen cap of this home page. There's a width issue I can't reproduce with my flavour of IE6 but with your help I'll know if it persists. My addy is on my contact page.
Some pages on this site must die so others may live. With less and less time in my day for blogging I thought about retiring Toronto Mike, but then I realized how much I enjoy this little hobby. I'd like to continue blogging, thank you very much.
As a compromise, I've decided to stop maintaining some pages that are part of this site but outside the blog. I'm no longer adding recently deceased celebrities to the Dead Pool page. If you want to see who's passed away recently, you'll continue to find that information at https://www.torontomike.com/rest_in_peace/.
I've also decided to stop maintaining my pictures page. I'm still sharing dozens and dozens of pictures, you'll just have to mosey on over to my Flickr account to see them. They're nicely tagged and grouped and everything. I'll let Flickr do the heavy lifting so I can focus on the blog.
That's enough cuts for today. Some gave all so Toronto Mike could live. This is the hardest part of the
Nobody asked for it, but I'm giving it to you regardless. It's The Best of Toronto Mike.
I skimmed the last 6328 entries and tagged 79 that either touched a nerve, touched my soul or was simply significant in a sea of insignificance. You'll find those entries on one page at https://www.torontomike.com/the_best_of_toronto_mike/.
Sometimes you don't even have to ask to receive. Consider it Christmas in August... a really crappy Christmas in August.
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