Ch-ch-changes


Firefox & My Static Navigation Menu

Get FirefoxYou're viewing this page in Firefox, right? If that's a little blue "e" in the top left corner, you haven't made the switch yet. Firefox is my web browser of choice and I strongly urge everyone to install and use it.

If you are viewing this page in Firefox, you'll notice the navigation menu to your left is static. (You may need to reload the page - press F5) As you scroll down this page, the navigation menu stays put, making it much easier to visit other pages without having to scroll all the way back up to the top. This is done quite simply with CSS using code that has been blessed by the W3C, yet it won't work in Internet Explorer.

Today, the Mozilla Foundation unleashed its long-awaited Firefox 1.0 web browser. This has resulted in an overwhelming amount of traffic to getfirefox.com as hundreds of thousands of people look to download a better browser. If you're still using Internet Explorer and need to install Firefox, it would probably be best to wait another day or two before trying to access the download site. Then you can enjoy the fixed navigation menu on this site.

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Search Capability

Search CapabilityYou can now search the contents of this website. On every page you'll find a search field beneath the main navigation menu on the far left side. You can't miss it, it's the one labelled "Search torontomike.com".

Search to your heart's content. As a test I just did a search for papal fridge and learned I used the term back in July 2003. That term is highly under used in my humble opinion. A Pope's gotta eat, right?

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New Host and Stuff

New Host and StuffLast night I migrated this site to a new host. All in all it was pretty slick thanks to these guys. Hopefully you didn't even notice.

I'll be making some changes to this site over the next few days, introducing a forum for comments and the ability to search within torontomike.com. It's time to kick this up a notch.

Stay tuned...

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New Picture Page

New PicturesI threatened to change the Pictures page now that I have a digital camera and I've just delivered as promised.

The Pictures page now has a caption beside each image. I've also added a picture taken last night and another taken moments ago. What are you waiting for? Get to it!

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Blogging Tools

Blogging ToolsIn the past I've written about how I hand code every stitch of this website. I use a basic text editor and hand code valid XHTML and CSS. I've been resisting the pressure to start using one of the many blogging tools, especially Movable Type. Mark has been suggesting I do this for well over a year now and I even went to far as to set up a test blog with Movable Type.

Movable Type is what drives our Smells Like Sour page and it's great for easy maintenance, comments and other cool things like that. It's also free...or at least it was free. The new version isn't free any more. You might have read that many a non-commercial blogger is pissed off about this. Once something is free, even if it's great, people don't like to hear it's no longer free. People get used to free and expect it to stay that way forever.

For torontomike.com, I'm going to keep it simple and continue hand coding it without an ounce of help from blogging software. That way, I'm in control and I never have to worry the free service I'm using might suddenly cost me money. Besides, if it ain't broken why fix it?

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My MP3s

My Entire MP3 CollectionIf you glance at the main navigation menu on the left, you'll notice a new link to My MP3s. As promised, I've made this page easier to access.

Since I completed my digitalization project back in December, I've made a few significant changes. First of all, I decided 128kbps wasn't quite good enough for my purposes. I re-ripped every single CD at 160kbps. This time, I pretty well ripped my entire collection, warts and all. A visit to My MP3s lists every CD in my MP3 collection and clicking the CD name will display every track on that CD. As James would say, "All done!".

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What's With The Green?

What's With The Green?You may have noticed a different appearance for torontomike.com. It's been soaked in green. Don't worry, this isn't permanent. The green will only be here through St. Patrick's Day.

The best part is, because all the presentation in this site is driven by a cascading style sheet, it took me all of 13 seconds to make this change. If you haven't gone CSS yet with regards to your site, you're crazy.

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Another Change

ChangeWith 2003 coming to a close, I'm making another minor change to this site. Yesterday I announced that my "Quote of the Week" will be posted here every Sunday and the "Homer's Quote of the Week" will be posted here every Saturday. I'm also making a change to the way I handle additions to the Dead Pool list.

Every time there is a death in the celebrity world, I record it on my Dead Pool page. I'll continue to do so, but I'll also add a note about the death here on this front page.

When the passing is one I feel is very significant and affects me in a personal way, I'll write a few thoughts about the deceased like I did for Johnny Cash. Otherwise, I'll just add a single line explaining who they were and their age at the time of death. I just added a name to the Dead Pool list, so I'll be adding his name here in a moment.

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A Couple of Changes

ChangesI'm making a few minor changes to a couple of weekly features of this site. In the past, I've posted "Mike's Quote of the Week" every Saturday morning. You'll see this morning's quote right below this entry. Starting next weekend, I'm going to be posting "Mike's Quote of the Week" on Sunday mornings instead.

The reason for this minor change is because of what I intend to do with the ever-popular "Homer's Quote of the Week". For those who aren't aware, every Saturday morning I post a quote from Homer Simpson on the "Homer's Quote of the Week" page. I'll still do so every Saturday morning, but I'll also post the same quote on this page. So, if you want one stop shopping to access the current quote as well previous quotes from Homer Jay Simpson, "Homer's Quote" is still accessible from the left navigation menu. If you're a lazy bastard and you just want to check this front page for the latest, you can do that too. It's up to you. I'm posting today's Homer quote here in a moment.

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Hand-Coding

Canadian IdentityAm I crazy to still be hand-coding this site? I edit every stitch of torontomike.com in a basic text editor (good ol' Notepad does the trick nicely) building and maintaining it character by character. I know the XHTML and CSS that make up this site intimately, but am I wasting my time? Sometimes I wonder.

A friend of mine swears by Movable Type. He uses MT to manage a number of sites and has been encouraging me to convert. Others maintain their blog with help from Blogger, Radio UserLand, LiveJournal or another weblog publishing tool. At the very least I should be using software to build this site, like Dreamweaver, Pagemill or Frontpag perhaps. Yet here I am hand-coding this very entry.

I know why I do it. I love the control, I take pride in the accomplishment and I find the entire process to be rather romantic. Allow me to explain. When you hand-code every aspect of a site you have absolute control over how it behaves. If there's an issue or something that needs repairs, you can make the desired change and achieve the desired effect in no time at all. Should you envision an enhancement, you know exactly how to make it so. It's your XHTML and your CSS and nobody will ever know it the way you do. This is where the romantic aspect comes in. You start to feel emotionally attached to the source code. You find yourself staring at it in Notepad and swooning. You're validating each page with the W3C MarkUp Validation Service and beaming with pride when the blue banner proclaims your page is valid XHTML 1.0. You're proud of your creation because nobody helped you. No software saved you time and cluttered up your code and no software managed your blog entries for you. Now if you don't mind, I'd like a moment alone with my code.

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