Ch-ch-changes


Not Built For IE6?

binocularsThe body of this site is a good old fashioned HTML table. It's simply two columns, but I've always intended to blow away this table and create the same effect with pure CSS.

In my spare time I've been hacking away at this CSS solution, and boy does it look sweet and behave perfectly. It's lean and mean and there's no table required. There's only one problem. When I view the new page in IE6, it's wonky.

According to these guys, 50% of web surfers are using IE6. That's a pretty big chunk of the pie. In order to accommodate this 50% slice I'd have to throw in a whack of work-arounds and hacks and it still won't look and behave quite the way it should. There is, however, another solution. I could build this site for Firefox and other modern browsers and not care about IE6 users.

It would negatively impact traffic, but since it's all about me, do I really care? I'm thinking about it...

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A Break From The Ceeb

constructionI love that retro CBC logo with the orange, yellow and red colour scheme. You may have noticed I played off of it for the header image I threw on this site after FUVC went bust. After a few weeks of the Ceeb, I felt it was time for something a little more summery.

Toronto Mike Header

The new header was inspired by a picture I took this afternoon at James Gardens. As you will see, all I changed was the text.

James Gardens

And finally, I added a neat little widget to the Contact Mike page. If I'm online, you can chat with me in real-time. It's pretty slick, go ahead and give it a whirl.

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Something Different

constructionOriginally I was just going to tweak the way I post an entry time stamp and the category an entry belongs to. Then, once I started tweaking the templates and massaging the CSS, I thought more radical surgery was in order. I wanted something different.

It was a beautiful day during which I ran, went for a long walk with the family and BBQ'd, but I found time to finish phase one of the overhaul. Most of phase two will happen under the covers as I do away with all tables in favour of purely CSS alignment.

If I missed anything, or if you think something should be done differently, let me know in the comments. And to the two people who have written to tell me they hate the change, deal with it.

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Killing The Dead Pool

crossbonesThe Dead Pool began in September of 2000, a full year before the first blog entry. It wasn't really planned, I just thought it might be a fun little competition for me and my brothers. That page has been a part of the main navigation menu for this site ever since.

Lately I've been less comfortable with the premise of The Dead Pool. Maybe it's being a parent or part of the natural maturation process as I age, but I find myself a little embarrassed by it these days. Sure, it's been around for as long as I've been regularly updating this site, but that doesn't mean it has a preordained right to such valuable real estate. Tonight, in the shadow of the Virginia Tech massacre, I removed The Dead Pool link from the main navigation menu.

I'll still maintain the page and you can find it, as well as all other Toronto Mike links, from the sitemap. A link to the sitemap can be found at the bottom of every single page.

Who says you can't teach an old blog new tricks?

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The Promote This! Plugin for MT

constructionI'm trying out a plugin for Movable Type called Promote This!. It makes it easier to add quick links to add entries to Digg, del.icio.us, Furl, Reddit, Google, StumbleUpon and other social bookmarking sites.

I'm now building these links here on the home page, on the permalink page, the monthly archive page and the category page, so I don't know what this extra strain will do to rebuild times. Let me know if you experience any weird delays posting comments or whatever.

While we're discussing delays, the Archive page now gets built once at night instead of every time a new entry or comment is added. That's why the recent posts and comments you see on that page are always from the previous day.

That is all. Remember, if you like an entry, it's now really easy to Digg it, add it to your del.icio.us bookmarks and all that funky web 2.0 jazz.

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Toronto Mike

cntowerI picked up TorontoMike.com yesterday. That domain name now resolves here at torontomike.com. Since I've adopted the moniker, it just made sense to buy it. Now I can act cool and tell people to contact dude@torontomike.com. Or asshat@torontomike.com or pimp@torontomike.com or you get the idea...

Toronto Mike, out!

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Weather Centre

snowflakeWithout failure, whenever there are rumours of a snowstorm, I get the same emails and instant messages from my mom. She wants to know how much snow we're getting and when we're getting it. For my mom, I made a little change to this home page.

Beneath those photos on the right I've got a little Weather Network module that shows the current Toronto weather. My mom now knows that she can click that forecast and get all the details from the Weather Network. They'll tell her how many centimetres are falling and when they're falling.

For the record, we don't expect any precipitation from Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening.

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It's All About Me

notepadAs I enter my fifth year of blogging, I find myself 360° from where I began. In the beginning, I was writing for a few members of my family and a few friends. That was my audience and the stats proved it. I remember when I first saw the number of unique visitors creep into double digits and I recall being surprised when there were returning visitors who weren't friends or family. In the beginning, I didn't care how many people were reading, I was just having a blast writing.

At some point a couple of years ago, I saw the number of daily visitors hit triple digits and I slightly modified my focus. Heading into 2006 I decided to blog less about the completely Mike Boon-centric aspects of my life and more about subjects that would appeal to the average Torontonian or displaced Torontonian. I started focusing on the traffic, I moved to Movable Type, opened all entries up to comments and even added ads to the interior.

In 2006 I saw the number of daily visitors hit quadruple digits but I realized the content of my blog would never have mass appeal. If I wanted more eyeballs and if I actually wanted to make any money from this, I'd have to dramatically modify my entire approach to this blog. It would become less interesting for my family and friends but more interesting to the thousands of new visitors who hit this site after Googling. I'd have to sacrifice the current organic state of my writing for a more manipulative, skewed approach designed to increase returning visitors. I'd also have to add sponsored links to the home page.

Here we are in 2007 and I find myself right back where I started. I'm going to write about what I want to write about, regardless of whether there are 20 people reading or 20,000 people reading. I'll always be naturally curious as to how people get to this site, but I'm not going to care about how many unique visitors there are or how many returning visitors there are. It just doesn't matter.

From now on, it's all about me. This is a hobby, a public display of a passion for writing. It's Mike Boon-centric and you can either visit or not. I'm a regular guy who loves his family, his city, his hockey team, his music and his Simpsons. When something interests me, I'll write about it. Everyone is welcome to follow along, but when I write I'm writing for a few members of my family and a few friends.

It's just like it was in the beginning.

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Pictures x 3

picturesWhenever I update my pictures page, I archive older pictures on that page to a second page. Today, this second page refused to rebuild.

I believe I've hit some sort of Movable Type limitation with regards to file size. That second pictures page was getting awfully big. Being the genius that I am, I've decided the solution is to spread these pictures over three pages instead of two.

I see my Dead Pool page is getting rather long as well. I wonder how long it will be before I hit the same ceiling.

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The Guest Blog, 2003 - 2006

guestblogI launched the Guest Blog service on November 16, 2003. At the time, this site was hand-coded without any CMS, and comments weren't accepted. A Guest Blog was an easy way to promote a sense of interaction. If you had something to say, you could say it.

Now that this site is powered by Movable Type, anyone can comment on anything. For those who enjoy following the comments, a few recent changes have made this much easier. Recent comments are now displayed on the Recent Posts, Recent Comments & Categories page and you can subscribe to the comments RSS feed at http://feeds2.feedburner.com/TorontoMikeComments.

Over the years there were many guest blog entries, and you'll find them all archived right here. Frequent contributions were made by Jill/jewelgurl, twins in bolton, Roshan, James, Vanessa, The Grinch, Kara, Annemarie and Mike H. If you guys or anyone else wants me to write about something in particular, contact me.

If you're looking for one page that lists every page on this site including RSS feeds, the site map is always current. The Guest Blog had three good years, but now it's mainly used by evil doers as a tool for spamming me. She did not go gently into that good night.

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