Blog

  • GoggleQuest 2004

    September 20, 2004

    awesome gogglesWhen I first saw these goggles, I immediately felt the urge of become a properly-accessorized mad scientist. With these goggles, surely I could rule the world! But I was with friends and was self-conscious about admitting this publically. So I passed them up.

    That was a big mistake. Re-introduced to them by my sister (who’s so much cooler than I), I was again consumed with consumer desire, only to find that they’re sold out online and at every store we’ve tried. My sister suggested that the harry potter quidditch goggles might be OK, but both she and I knew that they were a poor substitute for fine german engineering (I may be assuming too much here…they’re probably all made in the same factory in China). The store people say there will be more goggles in December in time for Christmas, but I wanted them for Halloween! And right away! Now!

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  • Optimizing WordPress Performance

    September 18, 2004

    I’ve noticed that certain plugins seem to cause WordPress (WP) to run slower. PictPress, for example, seemed to slow down page generation by quite a bit. However, it might just be that the server load on the weekend is lower.

    Still, I’m curious how to optimize WP, or to find out what’s slow. A couple of tips to speed up performance I found:

    • limit # of posts shown per page
    • don’t use posts-per-category counting
    • hardcode links
    • use xcode or some other profiler to find out where all the execution time is goin
    • don’t use the cgi version of PHP. Though my host’s customer support said it shouldn’t be slower when I asked before. lies?

    The gist of this seems to be: limit the number of database queries and text processing as much as possible.

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  • Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day!

    September 18, 2004

    Today is, of course, Talk Like A Pirate Day! It’s a great excuse to run around saying pirate words like ARRRR and AVAST. My vocabulary in this regard is pretty limited, so I’m cribbing from the glossary posted on TLAPD’s translators page. You can also translate entire web pages, if you want to make your Sunday browsing extra special.

    Completely awesome is this WordPress 1.2 plugin by Dougal Campbell. The automatic pirate text translation is via that plugin. It even automatically activates on TLAPD, which is September 19.

    animated gif of pirate flag UPDATE: The filter has been turned off. Sorry!

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  • Toward Better Inline Images

    September 18, 2004

    ACHTUNG!

    The Markdown Image Hack has been retired. Please check out Lazy Image Layout instead!

    The code has been separated from Markdown, and is now a stand-alone plugin called LazyImages.

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  • Real Designers

    September 18, 2004

    As I’ve been whippin’ this website in shape, I’ve had to deal with labels. What do I call myself? How do I organize my posts? What is it that I do? “New Media Designer” seemed like a good label. It’s been around for a while, and it rolls off the tongue easier than “dij-it-tahl mee-dee-uh”.

    On the other hand, I take labels pretty seriously. New Media doesn’t seem to entirely capture what it is that I do. Or rather, what I ultimately want to do (whatever that is). Confounding this further are people like Hillman Curtis, who is (are?) so good that I’m embarassed to put myself in the same semantic namespace. I was just looking at their site, and was struck by the moment of having video on the home page using very minimal motion. Brilliant. Not only does it add an eerie immediacy, but because it’s relatively still it also compresses really well. The result: a fast loading, high quality experience. It’s even immune to slow loads, because the subtle motions of the video stream can kick in later. As jaded users, we have no expectation of movement, so we are surprised and delighted when it happens.

    I wish I’d thought of it. I had better start thinking harder if I want to keep swimming in the New Media pond.

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