Ch-ch-changes


Enhanced Search of torontomike.com

BinocularsThe CGI script I was using for searches within this site never really pleased me. It seemed a little too buggy and unpredictable for my liking, so last night I tapped into the powers of Google and will use their prowess to power torontomike.com searches.

As always, you can search this site from www.torontomike.com/archives.html. A link to this search page is at the bottom of every page. Go ahead and try the new and improved search at torontomike.com.

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Four Subtle Changes

ConstructionI made four changes to the presentation of this website. There's no way you'll be able to spot all four. Sure, you might get a couple, but all four? No way.

The four subtle changes are:

  • That's my left eye up there on top. Now, while you're checking up on me, I'll be keeping my good eye on you. Raging Storm players will be happy to know that my eye on this home page still hyperlinks to our Raging Storm page. It's fun to poke me in the eye, try it and see!
  • The dark blue that has been a fixture on these pages for about two years is now a teal sort of greenish blue. This is indeed a change for change sake.
  • The dotted grey line that separates these entries from the bookmarks to the right is now a solid line. It's also that teal sort of greenish blue, just to make things interesting.
  • The favicon associated with this site has changed. Don't know what a favicon is? This explains all. Basically, in Firefox it's the icon you see next to the URI and in the tab. It's also the icon associated with this page when you bookmark it. You have bookmarked www.torontomike.com, right? Do it now and see my new favicon!

I'm currently fighting an urge to blow up this whole thing and try a completely different look and feel. It will all be hand coded, of course, and will be valid XHTML 1.0 Strict with valid CSS. Accept no substitutes.

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Synergy

FlickrI've changed the way I share pictures from this site. I've always had a Pictures page where I post pictures I want to share, and I'll continue to do just that, but henceforth these pictures will actually be hosted by Flickr.

This alone won't create a noticeable difference to visitors, but since every picture I share is actually hosted by Flickr, I thought I may as well link to my Flickr page where people can access any notes I've added and peruse the various tags. If you go to Pictures now you'll see a new reference above the date in the first row. Clicking that »Flickr« link takes you to the Flickr page for the picture, if you're interested. If not, just click the thumbnail as usual for a larger photo.

I'd post new pictures from Michelle's birthday party yesterday, but she just chewed my USB cable and broke it. That's the second one she's done that to, which means the pictures are stuck on the camera for one more day and I'm moving to an XD card reader.

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Georgia On My Mind

WebIf this site looks a little different today, it's because every font you see is Georgia. Everything had been Verdana for such a long time I felt an itch to switch.

Periodically I change up the font family of my site, but I always end up with Verdana or Georgia. None of the others seem appropriate. I use Courier New throughout Custom's site, but when I tried it here it just seemed wrong. We'll go with Georgia for a while until I get sick of it again.

Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through. Just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind.

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Still Free!

PaypalGood news everyone, the highly entertaining content on this site remains completely free! All of this glorious insight, interesting news, weekly MP3s and cute pictures of my kids continues to cost you absolutely nothing.

I considered putting ads on this site in an attempt to recoup some the costs associated with the domain name and hosting, but I refuse to sell out. This note's for you...completely ad-free.

If you want to throw a quarter in the bucket, I am now accepting donations via Paypal. You certainly don't have to contribute, but if you so desire you can simply click here to make it so. It's Paypal so you know it's secure. I won't bug you with this begging again so if you decide to contribute at a later date you'll find a Paypal button on the very bottom of every page.

Now back to our regularly scheduled blogging.

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XHTML 1.0 Strict

W3C Valid XHTML IconThis site has been hand coded in valid XHTML 1.0 for quite some time now, but it was XHTML 1.0 Transitional. Yesterday I changed my DOCTYPE declaration and tweaked each page so it's now valid XHTML 1.0 Strict. See for yourself!

Because I was already writing in valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional it wasn't that big a leap. Mainly I just had to move my image alignment and hspace into the CSS where it belongs. CSS is a wonderful thing.

In September 2003 I converted these page to XHTML 1.0 Transitional and now I've converted them to XHTML 1.0 Strict so where do I take them next?

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Horizontal Bop

Horizontal BopEarlier this afternoon I glanced at my site and felt an itch I had to scratch. I realized it's been over a year since the last major change to the look and feel of these pages so I started hacking away at the CSS in an attempt to freshen her up a little.

Many of the modifications are subtle but the change I made to the main navigation menu is pretty damn obvious. We were vertical and now we're horizontal. This way I've got more real estate for the body. If you're looking for the search field I had at the left of every page, I've moved it to my new search page and link to it at the bottom of every page, right beside the link to the Site Map.

I'm sincerely interested in whether this is an improvement or not, so if you have a thought or two pass it on.

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This Blog Turns Two

This Blog Turns TwoI've maintained a website at http://torontomike.com since 1999. Over the past five years, there's always been a page for news of sorts or the hot items of the day, but this detail was never archived and would just vanish when I over wrote it with another blurb. Until two years ago today, this front page was divided into four quadrants, each hosting a different item of interest. Then, on November 30, 2002, I started this blog with an entry I called "Grunge Forever". Below, in it's entirety, is that first entry.

November 30, 2002 / 12:27 EST

Nirvana's NevermindGrunge Forever
Music peaked in 1991-1994. Specifically, the days between the release of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit and the moment a self-inflicted gunshot pierced Kurt Cobain's brain. There is little doubt of this fact.

Here we are in the year 2002..almost 2003 and this music from the early 90's "grunge" scene continues to dominate rock charts. Lets take a closer look at the current top 7 from CFNY's (I'm well aware they're now Edge102, but they'll always be CFNY to me) Thursday 30 which I have posted below.

  1. Nirvana - You Know You're Right
  2. Foo Fighters - All My Life
  3. Pearl Jam - I Am Mine
  4. Queens of the Stone Age - No One Knows
  5. U2 - Electrical Storm
  6. Audioslave - Chochise

Notice anything interesting about these bands? Am I stuck in a time-warp? Holy moly Marge...every band represented or at least a part of every band represented is straight outta 1991. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Nirvana - A band straight outta 1991.
Foo Fighters - A band with a lead singer and song writer straight outta Nirvana which is a band straight outta 1991.
Pearl Jam - A band straight outta 1991.
Queens of the Stone Age - A song with a drummer straight outta Nirvana which is a band straight outta 1991.
U2 - A band straight outta 1991.
Audioslave - A band with a lead singer straight outta Soundgarden which is a band straight outta 1991.

Get the picture? Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, Chris Cornell and Dave Grohl have something to do with 6 of the top 7 songs in the current Thursday 30. Further proof that 1991 Seattle was the epitome of rock unquestionably, undeniably and unarguably.

Thanks to the Internet Archive waybackmachine, you can take a look at this site as it appeared on April 5, 2001, October 7, 2001, October 20, 2002, and December 19, 2002.

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CSS & Menu Changes

CSS & Menu ChangesI made several changes to the main navigation menu of this site today. For starters, I completely altered the way the menu is rendered by rewriting the entire CSS. Although it doesn't look that different from the previous menu, the code for this is a great deal cleaner. Less is more when it comes to CSS.

While I was changing the aesthetics of the main navigation menu on the left, I decided to blow away the links to Videos and Hyperlinks and added links to my Tragically Hip and Bill Barilko pages. I noticed I get a great deal of traffic from people Googling one or the other so I promoted them. Homer's Quote of the Week, however, remains the page Google refers to the most. Google Homer's Quote and you'll see why.

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Modify Or Die

Modify or DieA single Pictures page wasn't cutting the mustard any more. I'm adding pictures all the time and the Pictures page keeps getting longer and longer. I've split the page into two so that the Pictures page continues to host the most recent pictures while another page hosts archived pictures and old favourites. It's pretty straight forward, you'll catch on quick.

I've made another change to the two Pictures pages. You may have noticed that next to each thumbnail I posted the date I took the shot. Apparently there was much confusion with the formatting of these dates. Which number represented the year? Which number represented the month? Wonder no more because I'm now using letters to indicate the month. Pictures posted today, for example, will show a date displayed as follows: Nov 19, 2004. I've also reduced the date font to a 6 point because I felt like it.

Finally, I've amended the code of all pages referenced on My MP3s. Previously, visiting the page for a CD in my collection like Neil Young's "Freedom" resulted in a dead end. There was no link to the rest of my site. Every day dozens and dozens of people Google their favourite songs and end up on one of my pages only to go away without experiencing Homer's Quote, the Dead Pool or this exhilarating blog. That won't happen again. I won't let it happen again. All 519 album pages now include the main navigation menu.

My work here is done.

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