Site Updates

Now with Drupal

So it's been a while since I've updated the site. I'm still getting great traffic on a few of the key tech articles and screencasts. But I haven't done an update in a while because I was running on an old version of Joomla and it felt like a waste of time to be building out new features and adding content. Several times I've started on a migration to Drupal only to fall short as I got busy with other things. There's a great saying that most designers and web developers will appreciate: "The cobbler's children go unshod."

The Wide World of Food

Cow Tongue Pastry

I love to travel, and I love to eat. Just before leaving on a trip to Hong Kong over Thanksgiving week I had the brilliant idea of documenting my travels through food. I quickly regestered a couple of domain names, and setup a WordPress installation with the intent of posting while traveling (it also gives me a great excuse to try out other content management systems). A busy schedule prevented us from making posts during the trip, but my wife and I took pictures of almost everything we ate. Check it out, and whet your jealous appetite:

www.mytravelfoods.com

bugs, bugs, bugs....

I recently found out that my site wasn't working properly in Internet Explorer. I have since rebuilt the background image functionality as a MooTools class (more on that in another post) and have fixed the issues that caused failures in IE. This means that visitors using Internet Explorer 7 and 8 can now properly view my portfolio and switch between the images. Sorry to those of you on Internet Explorer 6, but there are too many issues with IE 6 not supporting standards, so I'm cutting it off (according to my visitor statistics it's less than 6% of you anyways). Upgrade already!

New Photography

Just a few quick updates and I'm off to bed. I've added some more content to my photography portfolio, namely some miscellaneous photographs I wasn't quite sure on how to group (including this incredible night shot of the San Diego skyline) , and some family portraits.

New York Photography

The redirects are now in place for those of you who are searching for the VRay Light Lister or J-AMFPHP.

I've also uploaded the first set of photographs into my portfolio. A small collection of pictures I shot in New York City in 2004. I was shooting with my 35mm SLR at the time, and the film itself probably wasn't in the best of conditions. It adds a nice grain effect to many of the shots that was unintended. Check out the latest addition in the portfolio.

New Site Launch

I've finally gotten around to rebuilding my site, and this time, I have a design that was relatively easy to implement and works well for the nature of my content. There should be quite a few updates in the near future as I fine-tune settings and styles, and add enhancements and features.

I was able to collect and consolidate all the content from several previous iterations of this site. The new site runs on Joomla 1.5, which is much better for the structure and layout I wanted than Joomla 1.0. Unfortuneately, this rebuild does mean that old links are most likely broken, even though the content has not been removed. I'll do my best to get redirects in place for the common requests (like the 3D Studio plugins) as quick as I can.

In the meantime, here are a couple of the most popuplar pages that you may be looking for:

VRay LightLister 1.5 for 3D Studio Max
J-AMFPHP for Joomla

And yes.... I shot all the photography on this site.

Switching Hosting Providers

So I'm quite upset with my webhosting provider, Hostway. Out of the 15 or so clients I have setup with them, at least 7 have been having problems in the past few months. They used to be the best of the best, but their service has drastically degraded, and getting someone on the phone for tech support is a nightmare. This site has had all kinds of outage issues, and I've had open trouble tickets for months now trying to get back-end issues resolved. I'm not wasting any more time with them.

I'm switching to MediaTemple. (If you follow my lead, please put anthonymclin.com as your referrer when you sign up). I have already switched my email to go through MediaTemple's servers, and I'm in the process of setting up my site. I figured while I migrate, I might as well setup Joomla 1.5... so there's some extra work going on in the transition. 

SEO - The Quest For The Holy Google

I've implemented the next level of search engine optimization. Now instead of a long complext URL like

 

http://www.anthonymclin.com/component/option,com_weblinks/catid,2/Itemid,6/

 

You will get a simpler URL like

 

http://www.anthonymclin.com/links/3d-modeling-and-rendering/vray-forums.html

 

 

It's much easier to remember, give to others, and is better for search engines.

 

I'm doing this using the Joomla plugin, ARTIOJoomSEF. I had intended to use OpenSEF, but that project appears to have been discontinued. There are some things about ARTIO's offering that I'm not entirely satisfied with, but until I find a better solution, it will have to do

Scrollwheel functionality

I've added functionality to the custom scrollbar feature so that it accepts input from a scrollwheel mouse. Give it a whirl!

 

Click and drag panning using the middle mousebutton is not supported. Also, IE seems to ignore some of my CSS settings (even though it fully supports them) which means that the margin for this textbox is wrong on IE (something I'll have to look into). But the scrolling deffinitely works. 

Web Links and SEO

I've turned on another feature on this site. A list of links to various outside resources and websites that I frequent regularily. You can get to them from the "links" item on the menu. I also turned on "Search Engine Optimization" (SEO) in Joomla! which makes the addresses of any given page a bit more legible:

 

Previously a URL might look like:

    http://www.anthonymclin.com/index.php?option=com_weblinks&catid=2&Itemid=6

 

Now would look like:

    http://www.anthonymclin.com/component/option,com_weblinks/catid,2/Itemid,6/

 

While to the visitor, it may seem no more comprehensible, it actually is much simpler for search engines to parse, meaning that its more likely that search engines will be able to navigate and index the pages. It also lays the groundwork to be able to later switch out for even easier to understand urls. For example, with some code modification and additional components installed, I could have the URL look like this:

    http://www.anthonymclin.com/weblinks/WebComics.html

 

While I'm not quite to this level of SEO yet, this example should show how much more optimized and user-friendly the result will be. 

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