This is old content! The graveyard is a snapshot of content created from 2002-2005. For new stuff, visit Maniacal Rage.
 

What Happened to You, Maniaca?

4 comments (closed), posted on september 13, 2005, tags: announcement, site

I've wanted to write here so many times in the past month or so, but I just haven't had it in me. It's not that I don't like writing—in fact, the new project I'm getting ready to launch is all about writing. I love writing. The problem is, I'm finding I have a lot less to say to the audience this site has. Way, way, way back in the day, this site was a place where I wrote semi-offensive, often funny things. Stories, short plays, rants, et cetera (hell, even poems), but over time, this place turned into mostly a site about technology and the internet. I love those things too, but so do forty bajillion other people who all have weblogs, 99% of whom are better writers.

Therefore, I find myself in a bit of a pickle.

I love this site, and I don't want to end it. But, at the same time, I don't think I can successfully run it the way it has been for the last few years. I just don't have enough compelling stuff to say about technology any more. It's mostly "I love this," and "I hate that." You don't really need to hear that. Don't get me wrong—no matter how I try to avoid it, technology and the web remain endlessly interesting to me and I will always sneak in commentary on the subject here and there.

But, for the most part, I think this site is going to go back to its roots a little. With the launch of my new project, and with a return to more fiction, this place will change. I hope you'll all stick around.

Status Check

23 comments (closed), posted on july 6, 2005, tags: dev, me, site, summer

The design has gone over ridiculously well. In addition to the great feedback I've been getting from everyone, the new design has also been featured on CSSVault, CSS Thesis, CSS Import and Unmatched Style. I'm very happy with the outcome and I'm glad everyone likes it.

Over the past few days, I've been making modifications to the codebase (now at version 3.0.2) and I've reworked some of the primary classes so the site is now much faster to render. Load times for every section are much faster, including some of the ridiculously long tag-based archives (e.g. the "site" tag), which used to take nearly two seconds to render but which now take well under a quarter of a second. The speed boost is primarily due to a change in the way I handle Markdown processing for my content.

I used to keep everything in the database in pre-processed Markdown mode, but after many conversations with Gruber in the past I finally changed the system to keep two versions of all content: one unrendered, Markdown version and one rendered, XHTML version. While it seems strange to have two versions of everything, it's worth mentioning what John said to me: "disk space is cheap, CPU time is expensive." The total size of the database before this change was 5.1 megabytes, the total now is 7.2. A measly 2MB and my site renders nearly twice, if not three times as fast. Well worth the space. And, since I still have the Markdown version of content, I make changes to that instead of having to write any XHTML. When I post updates to the database, they're converted using Markdown and stored alongside their unrendered brethren.

When I rewrote the quick search feature for this version of the site, I simplified the Ajax component and cleaned up the code so it's now much easier to add functionality (e.g. you can now scroll down and up, left and right (except in IE) and across columns using your keyboard), and I have more in store. The next addition is something I've not seen anywhere, but it's really obvious. I'm also going to expand Ajax use to comments, which I meant to do a long time ago but haven't had a chance until now (and, since the Ajax code is so much cleaner now, it won't be a nightmare).

Aside from all of this, or unrelated, rather, is life outside the website. I started a new job about a month ago (yes, another new job—the second in 5 months), and it's going really well. It's nerve-wracking to move from job to job like that, but it was worth it in the end and I'm happy where I am now. Katia and I have also been spending a lot of time at the pool this summer, and I'm currently healing from a terrible sunburn I received last weekend. Hopefully it will be nearly gone by Saturday so I can go back to the pool. I think the swimming is helping my arm too, so that's a definite plus. I've also started going to the gym again, which feels really nice.

Maniacal Rage Gets a Tan

28 comments (closed), posted on july 1, 2005, tags: announcement, design, site

Well, here it is. The new and (hopefully) improved Maniacal Rage. I had hoped to have it ready when I announced my joining the 9rules network, but it wasn't quite ready. It's still technically not finished, in that the "USDA Approved" seal is really just a place-holder for something else in that area that I haven't finished yet. I dubbed this version "tan" in development (the previous version was "dark"), and I've really been enjoying the lighter look of it the past few days as I finished it up.

The most important thing about this version is the beefed up quick search, which now appears on every page and searches smarter, faster, and includes the see also links. Now you should be able to find just about anything on this site faster and easier than ever before. I also cut out as much of the useless meta content I could (all that crap in the sidebar was just too much) and simplified nearly everything. It feels a lot lighter (both visually and in your hand) and I hope you like it.

I've also changed from categories to tags, and I've included a fun tag "cloud" on the archives page. If you've been to Flickr or any other big site recently, you'll be used to this sort of thing. I really like the idea so I finally incorporated it.

There are a few things left to do, most of which won't be finished until next week. They include ajax comment posting, fixing the RSS/Atom feeds for tags archives, and some other little things here and there. In the mean time, look around the new site and tell me what you think.

9rules

3 comments (closed), posted on june 28, 2005, tags: 9rules, announcement, site

I've joined the 9rules network.

A month ago, when I was talking to Colin about 9rules, I was curious why anyone would want to create a network of weblogs. And, even more important, why would anyone want to join? I assumed it must have been about making money or world domination. But I watched the network over the last month and as they added some really great sites I started to realize what it was actually about: great content. A lot of great content.

That there is actually a cohesive network system in place (e.g. the 9rules website) is almost unimportant. What 9rules is, as far as I'm concerned, is just a formal way of linking to other people you find worth reading. It's a guide, if you will, to a group of great sites full of great content. And, in the 9rules network, content is king.

So I joined.

One extra benefit of joining for me is finally getting to meet Garrett Dimon who is, as far as I'm concerned, my internet doppelganger (although, based on his popularity, I'm definitely his). In the past few months, I've run across more and more instances of people talking about how great this guy Garrett is. Things like, "Garrett is great!" and "Yeah, wow, what a great guy that Garrett is," and "I'm in love with and want to marry Garrett." At first I assumed they were all talking about me. But they weren't—they were talking about Garrett Dimon. Now that we're both in the 9rules network, I'm pretty sure everyone will love me as much as they love him. I mean, for the love of god—two Garretts? This was truly meant to be.

Browser Statistics

8 comments (closed), posted on january 21, 2005, tags: site

Browser Chart

I decided to take a look at some browser statistics today. The last time I did this (about two years ago), Internet Explorer was at 65%, various Mozilla clients at about 15% and Safari at about 2%. Oh, how times have changed.

Looking at the period of January 1 to January 20, 2005, the statistics are pretty favorable. Internet Explorer is still the majority leader, but only because Firefox and all other Mozilla agents are broken down into separate groups. If you add Firefox (27%) and Mozilla compatible agents (6%) together, plus the random agents like Netscape and such, Mozilla actually surpasses IE. That's great news. Also, Safari is at a whopping 14%, which is a significant jump. I'm sure a lot of this is due to xPad, but it's still great to see that many Safari users.

Another surprising number is NetNewsWire and NewsFire users. A total of 10% of people reading this site do so via NNW or NewsFire. That's good to read and makes me feel less crazy about having every page available as a feed.

If things keep going this way, IE will be a significant minority soon. I can't wait!

Two New Features

3 comments (closed), posted on november 16, 2004, tags: site

I finally started to use Del.icio.us a few days ago and instantly realized how much easier it was than putting sidebar items into my own database. So today I whipped up a simple Del.icio.us class that calls their open API. Every hour it downloads new links I've added and drops them into my database (scheduled with a cron job). Simple and effective. Because of this, there will probably be more See Also items in the future (it's so much easier!).

Also because of this (and since there were already nearly 70 items) I've added pagination to the See Also archive. Now you won't see just a giant list of items, they'll be split by the current setting of 10 items per page. My page controls look identical to d's so credit is due. I couldn't figure out any other way to effectively do it, his way seems to be the best. I also increased the number of items appearing in the sidebar to 6 rather than 5.

There are a few more things to implement with this Del.icio.us support, including links to the tags and handling for when I edit a link on the Del site. And since the pagination code is done now (it was crazy simple) I will put it to use in the category archives, where some pages can get very long.

On a related note, my Codebase is really coming together. I'm in the finalizing/commenting code stage at this point and it will be a short while longer, but I've finalized the pricing scheme and it will all be released soon.

Codebase Version 2.0.0

17 comments (closed), posted on october 1, 2004, tags: site

Update: All feeds should work again now. I've temporarily removed the smart HTTP status checking for feeds, so they will be downloaded no matter what each time. This is so people get new versions of feeds that have changed but of which the content has not. I will turn on status checking again in a few days.

It's been a long time since I've updated this site, but for good reason. The past three weeks I've spent the time I would be updating working on the major rewrite of this site's codebase. This evening I made the new code live, and this site is now being served by version 2.0.0 of my codebase.

What's changed? Everything. At least behind the scenes. I rewrote the code completely. I started from scratch, and now I've got a much smarter, much faster, much smaller codebase. I cut the amount of code at least in half, and this new version is about 6-10 times faster than the last. It's also written to take advantage of PHP5's smarter class functionality and is all OOP.

From your perspective, a few important things have changed. The most noticeable is that you must now be registered with TypeKey to post a comment to this site. Recent problems with people commenting rude or obnoxious things finally pushed me to require registration. There are several reasons I chose TypeKey:

  1. It's free.
  2. It's popular—because Moveable Type now includes support for TypeKey, you'll most likely already have an account and if you don't, you'll probably want one in the future anyway.
  3. It was a challenge to hook into the TK API, and I like a challenge.

Starting today, you'll only be able to post a comment with a TypeKey registration. I honestly don't think this is too much to ask for. Sign-up takes a few seconds, and it's simple as pie. The first time you want to comment you'll be asked to log in, which will take you to the TypeKey site, then you'll be sent back here to comment and you'll be remembered in the future until you log out. Hopefully this will make the recent issues with jerky comments go away.

A bonus to requiring registration is that I can add new comment features. The first one is the ability to delete your comments. Since now I know who you are, I can give you the option to delete your comments if you wish. I still retain a copy of them for archival purposes, but they will disappear from the site (you'll see a note that the author deleted the comment). I shameless took this idea from Blogger because I liked it.

Another new feature I've added is a Recent Comments section. This area shows the last ten comments posted to the site and you can subscribe to its feed in your newsreader to be updated whenever a new comment is posted. This feature is primarily for people like Ellie who apparently can't get live without seeing recent comments. I'll admit it, though—I like it.

There have been some changes to RSS and Atom feeds, mostly in an effort to make them smarter and slimmer. You may notice all of my feeds appearing as new in your newsreader because of it. Sorry about that. It should only happen once, if at all.

I plan on releasing the source of my site in the near future. I haven't set specifics yet, but it is going to happen. After I make sure all the bugs are worked out and finish commenting all the classes and such, I plan to release the whole source for a small fee (still undecided). There seem to be enough people interested in this, so I'm going to do it.

Many people deserve thanks in helping me finish this new version. First and foremost is Courtney Tompos, who literally taught me PHP years ago, and who wrote nearly all the regex functions in action on the site. He also helped a lot with class structure and generally gave me smart ideas. Andre Torrez was essential in helping me get TypeKey implementation working. I begged him for help and, like a true gentlemen, he gave it to me. Also helpful: Anil Dash, for taking my bug reports and being excited that I was using TypeKey and Mathew Hoy for being a nice guy and giving me feedback.

More on Releasing the Source

10 comments (closed), posted on august 18, 2004, tags: site

After I mentioned possibly releasing this site's source code in my entry yesterday, I received a lot of great feedback. Several people sent me very long, well written emails discussing their thoughts on why I should release my code, how it would benefit them and the community, and how I might go about it. I have to say, it made me feel pretty nice. The feedback was good, and I thought I would clear up a few points about the whole deal.

Erik Price asked a good question: Why do I want to release the source? Is it because I want to make some money, or because I want to share the work I've put into making this site? The answer is both. Yes, I'll admit it—I want to make money if it's possible. Let's face facts: For four years, I've put more work into this site than just about anything else I do. It's a huge part of my life and I would love to think that I could make a little bit of money from that work. If anything, have it pay for its own hosting. But I also want to share what I've done. There's a lot of pride that comes from being able to show the world your hard work and get feedback. I enjoy that part of this process, and that's a big part of wanting to release the code. Does wanting to make a little money off my work make me a bad person? I'm asking that honestly because sometimes I feel like I can't tell.

The souce would be just that—source code. It wouldn't be a fully-functioning, drop this in to run package. It probably wouldn't work at all for you unmodified. The goal isn't to give you a CMS. The goal is to give you all my source code so you can see how I do things, learn from it, expand upon it, et cetera. I'm not trying to create another Movable Type.

A few people mentioned that they hope I won't stop writing entries like my "How This Site Works" series (see parts one and two) if/when I release the source of this site. I just want to let you know that I won't—I enjoy writing those kinds of things. Besides, a majority of the people who read this site would probably rather read a plain-English article about something than dig through commented source code.

About the monetary fee: it will be small (if I do it). Something in the neighborhood of $2-$5 US. You'll have the option to give more if you wish, but there will be a minimum to download the code. Since there's really no good way to keep my potential losses down, I'm going to have to end up using the honor system. You'll donate via PayPal or eSellerate and then you'll get a tarball. There will be a license you must agree to (I haven't worked this all out yet) that will state your limitations on the code, and one of them will be that you cannot redistribute it. Obviously, I won't be able to enforce this, but I'd like to think I can put trust in my readers. I'm thinking that maybe for a little bit more, you'll get updates too.

If or when this happens is still up in the air. I'm not quite finished yet with the rewrite, and even when I do finish there will still be a bit of work left to do commenting and setting up all the details, et cetera. Between that, xPad and filmmaking, it's probably not something that will happen within the next month. But it is on the horizon, and if I decide to do it, I'll surely let you know in advance. Thanks for all the feedback so far, and feel free to continue to post your thoughts and comments.

How This Site Works, Part II

13 comments (closed), posted on august 2, 2004, tags: site

One of the great things about CSS is the ability it gives you to separate style from content. By simply changing a single stylesheet you can drastically alter the look and feel of a site without ever having to change any content. To strengthen the separation, one should avoid placing markup in their content as much as possible, only including absolutely necessary tags (like b, blockquote and a href amoung others). By doing this, you make the task of reusing your content much easier and cleaner. The less markup you have in your content, the easier it is to completely change your site by changing only the stylesheet.

But what if you need to reuse your content in a format other than XHTML? What if, on a whim, I wanted to create a mobile version of this site in WML or I wanted to browse my content in an OS X application? In these cases, the separation of style from content does nothing. At least not if your content is in XHTML format. Why should the content of this site—which is not specific to the Internet—be stuck in a format only recognized by the web browsers? It shouldn't. How can we take this separation a step further? How can we separate style from format from content? We use XML.

» Continue reading How This Site Works, Part II

Minor Milestone

posted on july 31, 2004, tags: site

A few weeks ago I posted the 300th entry to this website. While 300 entries is not that large of a milestone, it does feel like an accomplishment. Combined with all the other content and the 150 original entries I removed a few years ago as well as all the designs the site has gone through, I've put a whole lot of work into this place for the past few years. And it's all been worth it.

Your feedback and comments have been great as well and continue to be part of why I like doing this so much. I've made a lot of great friends through this site and continue to all the time.

That's all, really. I just wanted to say thanks for hanging around.

How This Site Works, Part I

9 comments (closed), posted on july 28, 2004, tags: site

Many years ago, while looking for a way to add somewhat useless features to a certain celebrity fan site I was running in my spare time, I noticed Netscape's new "RSS" feature. In a nutshell, you could subscribe to certain "channels" on their site, and thus be notified of updates to those sections of the website. I created a channel for my website and months later only two people had subscribed. Of course, I thought—who would want to do this? If you would have told me then that years later every page on my site would allow subscription and tracking via a newsreader, I wouldn't have believed you. But here we are. RSS (and Atom) are all the rage (excuse the pun) these days, and for good reason.

» Continue reading How This Site Works, Part I

Quick Search Notes

15 comments (closed), posted on july 27, 2004, tags: site

My newly implemented "quick search" is based on the open-source code project LiveSearch, recently started by Christian Stocker. LiveSearch uses JavaScript's XMLHttpRequest functionality to send a GET request to a PHP file, which does the actual searching and returns a formatted list of results, which LiveSearch then places inside an existing (but previously hidden) DIV. Stocker's code is quick and works really well, and the best part is that he leaves it up to you to write the actual search functionality. You just have to return your results in a logical way. I didn't make many changes to LiveSearch, other than some visual tweaks (compare my results box with other sites using LS)—the real difference between my functionality and other sites using it is what my search can do.

How it works

Rather than just searching in entry titles, you'll be searching in titles and content, which yields much more accurate results. Results from my search are also placed in order (descending) of how many hits your query received per result, meaning that the top result will always be the most accurate, the others less and less accurate downward. In addition to this, I've also included very simple quote detection: wrapping your terms in quotes will search for results which contain exactly what you searched for. For example, searching for "apple ipod" without the quotes will return any entry whose title or content contains either "apple" or "ipod" or both. But searching for "apple ipod" with the quotes will return only entries that contain those two words in that order separated by a space. Note that currently there is no support for multiple quotes, so "apple ipod" "is great" will search for "apple ipod is great." I might fix this, but I don't know that it's necessary—most of you would probably never use the search that extensively.

In case you're curious as to how I rank and order the entries, it's very simple. I use PHP's pregmatchall() function to count the number of times your terms appear in each result, then build an array using those numbers. I then sort the array and take the top 6 results from there. It's simple and pretty accurate.

Caveats

The LiveSearch functionality isn't without its quirks. From time to time, it simply won't receive a response from its GET request. When this happens, strange things could happen. You might not see a result box, or you might see an empty one. It doesn't happen very frequently, but when it does you can fix it by simply editing your search results to start the search running again.

Oh, and of course, it doesn't work in older browsers (or Opera). I think that pretty much goes without saying.

I Am Obsessive-Compulsive

13 comments (closed), posted on july 26, 2004, tags: site

Yes, that's right—I've just redesigned. Again. Again. Fifty per-cent of you just shook your heads and asked yourselves out loud whether or not I know how crazy that is. I do. Trust me. But there is a method to my madness.

A few months ago when I began working on the design that eventually became "Sunken" (the last new look), I had a few very specific goals in mind. The biggest one was improving the usability of the site by cutting out or moving metadata around. I also had an idea for the visual effect I wanted to achieve. Eventually, neither of these things happened and out of frustration for having worked so long without finishing something, I quickly wrapped things up and released the Sunken design, even though I wasn't thrilled with it.

As soon as I released Sunken I started working slowly on what I had meant to accomplish the first time around, this time with no timeline or pressure to finish. The release of Sunken went well and I got great feedback, so I figured it would hold its own for long enough. And it did. Turns out all I needed was a month and a half to get things done the right way. So here we are.

The obvious thing is that the sunken masthead and navigation are still here. That was the best part of Sunken and one of the few things I actually wanted to do from the beginning. I haven't really changed it at all in this design, save changing the info icon (mouse over the masthead) and adding a much-needed link to change to another random photo instantly. I have made hundreds of changes around the site and some are significant.

One change worth mentioning is the reorganization of metadata. If you've visited this site with frequency in the past, you'll notice that the familiar breadcrumb navigation ("you are here: weblog," etcetera) that appeared at the top and bottom of the other designs is gone. I've also removed the links to the next and previous entry that appeared under the entry date on the individual entry pages. All of this data—and any other section-sensitive data—will appear in the now-more-fitting "Where am I?" section at the top of the sidebar. This area will contain useful information about your current location in the site and any additional information such as the next entry or the next archive. It also contains tips for better use of certain sections. This change, combined with a lot more white space around content, should make for a much less cluttered, easy to read site.

Another new addition—one that I've been working on for a while now but waited to implement until this new design was finished—is quick search. Available on every page but the index page (this is not necessarily permanent, but for right now I think it clutters the front page), this search box performs an instant search of all weblog entries' titles and content as you type. You'll see instant results that will help you find any entry quickly. Wrap your search query in quotes (") for precise results. I hope this comes in handy for you. The moment I implemented it, I began using it instead of the archives page. Should make it easier to find things from way back when.

Other notable changes are listed below.

General

  • New Films section.
  • All content items now have an optional summary. The summary (if available) will appear underneath the item's title (see this entries title and summary for example).
  • Updated about section a bit.

Sidebar

  • Section-sensitive. Shows specific content based on your location in the site.
  • Links in the sidebar are always red.
  • Now showing 5 "see also" items instead of 3.
  • Showing more elsewhere links than before (only on index page and see also archive). Full list of elsewhere links is still available.
  • Added "most recent entries" section to sidebar in appropriate places.

Entries

  • Relative dates (example: "Posted 1 day, 2 hours ago") now only appear on the index page. All other pages will show true dates.
  • If comments are closed for an entry, you'll now be able to see the number of comments (if any), rather than just "Comments closed."
  • Posted on line is now smaller.

Comments & Posting

  • Comments listing is much easier to read now.
  • When I post a comment, it is highlighted.
  • Posting form is simpler, easier to look at, and now has a better error-reporting system (if you try to post without a name, you will receive a specific error and if you're not using Safari, the name field will be highlighted).
  • Full URLs (http://this.com) are now automatically converted to links if not wrapped in anchor tags. Thanks to endless help from Courtney getting lots of regexes written. I owe him lots of booze now.
  • Added support for the <code> tag. Wrap any code examples you post in this tag and you'll see a properly formatted result (example: <code>echo 'test';</code>).

I'm sure there are other things I've changed, but I can't remember everything right now. Needless to say, a lot of effort went into this design and making it not only visually pleasing but also more functional and less cluttered than the last. I think I've succeeded, I hope you do too. I'm sure the site doesn't work in IE5/Mac or Opera—I'll get there as soon as I can. The other styles will be available again shortly; I have to fix them up to add new functionality and such.

As always, I appreciate your feedback.

Little Changes

1 comment (closed), posted on june 30, 2004, tags: site

Update: You may need to empty your cache or at least refresh a few times to see these changes, especially in Safari.

I've made a few little changes to the Sunken theme (default) in the past few days, which you may or may not have noticed.

I added a link to 5 more recent entries at the bottom of the index page (so you can keep reading if you wish, without having to first go to the archives), and I've tweaked the way comments appear. I also lightened up the edges of the style buttons, so they don't stick out so much.

The most important change is something I've been meaning to since I launched this new design and I finally got around to making it happen today:

You can now view a description of the masthead photo. When you hover over the masthead, you'll see a small icon* appear in the upper right-hand corner. Simply mouse over that icon to see a description appear.

This has been requested by lots of people and was an original plan, so I'm glad to see it in place now. Hope it makes the photos even more enjoyable!

The site is in a constant state of tweaking, so I'll be sure to keep you abreast of any other significant tweaks.

* Thanks to Mathew Hoy for creating the original icon for me, which I tweaked to the version you see now. He's good with the pixels.

Two Weeks' Notice, Or: New Design

14 comments (closed), posted on june 11, 2004, tags: site

Sorry about disappearing without warning you. I sort of knew it was going to happen, and I had plenty of opportunities to tell you I was coming back, but I didn't. Fear not—it's not because I don't love you. It's because I've been working on a bunch of different stuff. One thing I've been working on for a very long time now, on and off, is the new design of this website you now see (at least you should).

After 23* different failed redesign attempts, I ended up with something I like that is, sadly, quite similar to the previous design. Since this is the first time I've redesigned since I finished the new back-end, this is the first time I've been able to allow for you to choose between two different designs. I use XSL to transform all my XML content, so creating a new layout was as easy as creating a new XSL sheet. You can now switch between the new design (called "Sunken"), old design (called "Exclaim") and a third design called "Plain" (which is, well, plain). Find the style controls on your right.

The masthead image for "Sunken" will randomly change with each view. There are about 32 images there so far, with plenty more to be added in short order. There are a few you might have seen already, but a majority of them are new. The new design also uses transparent PNGs to place the shadow above the background, and this works in all modern browsers as well as IE for Windows (thanks to the crappy, stupid filter functionality). The design looks best in Safari (doesn't everything?) since it has native support for the text-shadow CSS3 property. In all other browsers, I've faked shadows using some CSS tricks. If you're using Firefox on a Mac, you'll need to download the newest release candidate (0.9 RC) to see these faked shadows. There was a bug with the opacity handling in 0.8, and it was patched in 0.9. I hope you like the new design.

I recently bit the bullet and finally bought an XBOX, so I've been playing a lot of games lately. I whipped up a fun little side-project related the gaming, and I'll release that tomorrow. There are other things I want to do with this idea in other directions, and maybe when I get around to it I'll do so. Anyway, more tomorrow.

In other news, I've been working on a non-computer-related project lately that has me really excited and involves both writing and getting behind a camera again. Eventually this project will involve the web, and when it does you'll be the first to hear about it.

Now I'm off to tweak this new design a little bit. Feedback is appreciated.

* Not kidding. 23 different PSDs.

About the New System

3 comments (closed), posted on april 16, 2004, tags: site

It's ironic that the reason I haven't posted details the site's new back-end is because any time I've come near the site it's been to work on the new back-end. I've spent a lot of time on the new system. Between planning out the new data model, cleaning old entries, changing a few design elements and everything in between, I haven't spent much time lately actually putting content into the new container.

» Continue reading About the New System

A New Beginning

17 comments (closed), posted on april 7, 2004, tags: site

If you're seeing this, the new DNS listing has resolved for you and you're seeing the "new" Maniacal Rage, hosted by Segment Publishing. You're also seeing a Maniacal Rage with a completely new back-end. Movable Type has been replaced with my own system based on XML and XSL. I'll give more details on the whole thing in the near future.

In the mean time, there are plenty of things broken right now. Don't be surprised to see missing images or strange text layout in some entries/pages. There are also some missing sections. I'm getting there, but it will probably take me another day or two.

You can resume emailing me at my default address.

End of an Era

posted on april 6, 2004, tags: site

Update: [04/06] I am changing over the server today, April 06. It might take up to 48 hours for the new server to resolve. During this time, please send all emails to garrettmurray at mac dot com if you need to reach me. See you on the other side!

After three years, I am finally moving hosts. HostRocket was great in the beginning, but over time they got too many clients and things started to get worse. Recently service has been stable, but there was a period for almost four months that my site would be down regularly and email would be completely screwed.

The good thing about HostRocket was how cheap they were. But I've come to the conclusion that paying a bit more for better service is most definitely worth it. So I bid farewell to HostRocket and say hello to Segment Publishing.

I'll be sure to rave in the near future about how great Jeremy Bogan has already been and how eager he is to make sure his customers are getting good service. For now, though, please be aware that the domain change-over will happen some time this evening.

Most of you will see this old site for a few days and then you'll resolve to the new site, which is driven by XML and XSL and all that good stuff. Goodbye HostRocket, goodbye Movable Type.

Google Ads and Failure

9 comments (closed), posted on march 30, 2004, tags: site

Note: Since people seem to think this entry is meant to guilt them into clicking ads, I've edited it to be more clear. This entry is about how my Google Adsense experiment on the site is failing. That is all. See this entry for details.

I've been running Google's Adsense ads on this site for just over 30 days. The ads appear on the archive, plugin, xPad and a few other miscellaneous pages at the bottom of the sidebar. You might not have even noticed them.

The experiment has not been successful. The goal was for the site to pay for its own hosting for one year. I've made a total of $22.05 in 33 days. The unfortunate thing is, if I stop using the ads now, I'll never see the money I've made so far (that is, not until the end of the year). Google only pays out when you reach $100.

I'm going to leave the ads up until they make enough money for a payout. It will probably take a while, so I might end up removing them before that. Since the ads are relatively invisible, this shouldn't be a problem for people visiting the site. It depends on how long I can stand seeing them.

Google Ads Experiment

5 comments (closed), posted on february 26, 2004, tags: site

Way back when AdSense first started becoming popular on weblogs, I applied for the program and was denied. I was told my site what too "personal," and that it didn't conform to Google's requirements. I sent Google an email with a list of about 10 sites I found that were serving AdSense banners that were "personal," or at least as personal as my site was. Their reply was something along the lines of "oh well, your site is still denied."

Shortly after xPad was released, I reapplied for the program with the forwarding domain getxpad.com. The application wouldn't accept a forwarding domain, so I changed it to the actual URL, maniacalrage.net/xpad. I was denied. The reason: Google cannot accept subdomains or non-root paths—a user must be able to place ads on any page in the domain. This pissed me off. After all, I had already applied for the whole domain and been denied, so what did I have to lose? I sent Google this email:

I am capable of running AdSense ads on all pages within the domain, you just won't approve the other sections of my domain because you say they're too "personal."

Meanwhile, I get 38,000+ unique visitors and 500,000+ hits a month and you're losing the opportunity to make money.

The site you just denied [the xPad site] is currently receiving at least 1,000 unique hits a day and is linked on over 40 major websites.

Your loss.

garrett

Suprisingly, a few hours later, I received this reply:

Hello Garrett,

Thank you for your continued interest in Google AdSense.

Our AdSense representatives review all AdSense applications according to our Terms and Conditions ( http://www.google.com/adsense/terms ) and our program policies ( http://www.google.com/adsense/policies ). I apologize if the prior disapproval of your application was made in error.

I have now reviewed and confirmed that your website meets all of our policies. Your application has been approved. Please check for a separate application approval email for your records. The approval email also includes detailed instructions on how to access your new account and get started.

Sincerely,

The Google Team

Now, it seems one of two things happened between the time I sent my email and the time they replied—one, a real human being actually looked at the content of my site, rather than some sort of automated system; two, Google saw the numbers and decided that even if it was too personal, they could make some money off of me. Regardless, at the end of the day we both got what we wanted.

I've placed the ads in several places—all the archive pages (including individual entry pages), the plugin page and the xPad page. They're all very small (two vertical ads) and in the sidebar. You shouldn't really even notice them.

The point here is to see if they generate any income. If you feel like clicking them, go right ahead. I'll probably ad a checkbox in the future that allows you to hide them if you wish (if I decide to keep them at all), but in the mean time let's just see what happens.

Photos Section Added

7 comments (closed), posted on february 17, 2004, tags: site

Massachusetts, February 2004

I've finally added a photos section to this site, after months and months of meaning to but never actually doing it. The first book of photos is from this past weekend when Katia and I drove up to Massachusetts for snowboarding and to visit our friend Shannon from high school.

I didn't take any pictures of snowboarding because I still fall too much to bring my camera with me, but I think next time I might be ready. This book is mostly photos of the drive up and the drive back, and Shannon's house in between.

List of Changes

4 comments (closed), posted on february 16, 2004, tags: site

I made so many changes that I'm having trouble remembering everything, but here's the best list I can provide for myself and for people who have nothing better to do in their lives but read lists. Note that I've still got a few things to change in the sidebar, but they'll have to wait until tomorrow.

Navigation

  • Switched to horizontal navigation, removed sidebar navigation
  • Moved breadcrumb navigation to main content area, made it smaller
    • BC navigation is now a bit smarter, providing better archive navigation
    • BC navigation is also now on the bottom of pages too

Sidebar

  • Removed statistics from the sidebar
  • Added short description to the sidebar
  • Added/removed some elsewhere links
  • Moved search box from sidebar to archives page.

Archives

  • Changed archives page for better readability
    • Reordered full entry-by-title list into blocks that are alphabetical
    • Monthly archive links are now displayed differently (better hierarchy)
    • Category links now have a bit more space between them
    • All item counts are now in smaller font (less 'in-your-face')

  • Changed URL for archives from /archives.php to just /archives (redirect is in place)

Entries

  • Removed date headlines
  • Enlarged titles, titles now used as headlines
  • Removed left gutter (and dotted line)
  • Removed category links in the byline
  • Modified comments link to be more friendly (4 comments rather than Comments (4))
  • Switched to relative dates for anything younger than a month (Posted 4 days, 3 hours ago, etc)
  • Moved next and previous entry links on individual pages to under the byline
  • Changed blockquote style to solid bordered (see example)
  • Changed footnote style to dotted-blue bordered with blue text (see example)

Comments

  • Changed comments block to look like blockquote
  • Modifications to comment listing
    • Removed 'wrote:'
    • Made author name and date one line

  • Changed comment posting form

    • Rearranged form elements
    • Fixed tab order to include cookie radio buttons
    • Removed note about spell check, since it works in every browser except Mac IE now
    • Slight editing of 'notes'

Miscellaneous

  • Changed the way links work... from now on, no links will pop new windows except the following:
    • The search results window (this is still a remote pop-up window)
    • Links to images and/or photos will pop a new browser window unless you check the box at the bottom of the about page

  • Finally updated all the error pages (404, 500, etc), since they've been the same since 2002
  • Upgraded my RSS feed to 2.0 (and it validates)
  • Added a new section to the about page called 'About the Setup', describing my computers (enough people have asked)

There you have it. As always, comments, thoughts, complains and suggestions are welcome.

Ongoing Changes

6 comments (closed), posted on february 11, 2004, tags: site

As you've no doubt noticed, I've made changes to this website over the past two days. It started with a few simple things and has now bloomed into at least 100 subtle differences and several major changes including the new horizontal main navigation and the removal of date headlines throughout the site.

I'm not done yet, so consider this a work in progress. I'll continue tweaking until I'm good and done and then I'll post a comprehensive list of changes for the curious. In the mean time, let me take a moment to thank Daniel, Phil and Shawn for the help the past few days as I continuously complained about CSS and asked "How does that look?" hundreds of times. Daniel gets double credit for specifically telling me not to use this masthead that I created the other night after I had completely lost my mind, and Shawn gets half-credit for telling me to go with it.

A few things might be screwy from time to time until tomorrow.

Web Standards Award

4 comments (closed), posted on february 10, 2004, tags: site

I'm proud to announce that the xPad product page has won a Web Standards Award.

Web Standards Awards is a new site which "aims to promote web site design using W3C standards by seeking out and highlighting the finest standards-compliant sites on the Internet," and I'm thrilled to be one of the first winners.

I'm Looking for [This]

posted on december 12, 2003, tags: site

Here are the top 15 terms people found Rage with using Google during the month of November.

***********************************************
MULTIPLE-HIT SEARCHES, LISTED BY NUMBER OF HITS
***********************************************
73   marshal mathers
40   stupid shit
23   15gb ipod
23   new ipod review
21   currently hearing
19   ipod review
18   bbedit easter egg
16   i hate verizon
 9   verizon
 8   maniacal rage
 7   best car commercial
 7   i hate ikea
 7   safari cache bug
 6   ikea
 6   mtentrydate

Remind me to write an entry specifically about "stupid shit," since a lot of people seem to be looking for it here. Also, I like how more people hate Verizon (16) than not (9)—the same goes with IKEA (7 to 6).

In the long run, though, I just want to stop getting emails from people who think I'm Eminem (see number one Google search referrer for the past 5 months) and feel it's acceptable to write things like, "Ur so hott!! Will u marry me??! Pleeze!! xoxo," and/or "my friend says your gay but i told him no you aren ot your the best raper in the earth." (Both of those are extracts from actual emails I've received. I especially like "best raper" because only a typo could create a title not a single sane person on this planet would strive for.)

Three Years Old

2 comments (closed), posted on december 1, 2003, tags: site

This site was launched on December 1, 2000—three years ago today. A year ago, I removed 99% of the content and started over, and it's something I've not regretted once. The site has changed a lot in the past 365 days, and has grown even more. Here are some stastics for this site over the past year:

  • ~89,000 Unique Hits
  • ~1,320,000 Visits
  • ~6,000 CurrentlyHearing downloads
  • 170 Entries (or, roughly 1 every 2.14 days)
  • 747 Comments (or, an average of 4.39 comments per entry)
  • Busiest posting month: February 2003 (23 entries)
  • Slowest posting month: November 2003 (6 entries)

There's still a lot of life left in this site, and I don't plan on stopping any time soon. Thanks for all the visits, all the comments, and all the downloads. There's plenty more coming.

Yet Another Version

16 comments (closed), posted on november 16, 2003, tags: site

Boy, if you were to remove all the entries I've written about new designs of this website, there might not be many others to read. But, yet again, here we are.

This new version doesn't change much of anything usability-wise. It's most just a visual change. Although, I did change the sidebar to a new style, using ideas from Douglas Bowman's great ALA article, Sliding Doors of CSS. The sidebar is now built using lists (yes, everyone's favourite old ul and li tags), and I like the new look a lot.

The site is still valid XHTML and CSS, and doesn't use any tables. It wasn't too hard to do, since the last time I rewrote the code for the site I converted it to all dynamic templates, so changing the visual style only required changing a total of 10 lines in three files. That and CSS changes.

You might need to refresh your cache (especially if you use Safari), and it looks iffy in parts in IE for Windows (please, god, download Mozilla people!). Not much else to say. Give me your feedback, if you will.

I Love Myself

posted on october 30, 2003, tags: site

In an effort to blow my own horn and/or entertain you, I've compiled a list of my favourite entries here at ManiacalRage from the past year. As you would expect, most of them are comedic entries, but also populating the list are some MT tutorials and some technology-related digressions. I've listed them in random order by their nature.

Technology
     The [New 15GB] iPod Review
     Why I Bought a G5 (Saturday)
     Free WiFi Not Crazy After All

Humour
     Homeless Man "Not a Doctor"
     More 'Pulling a Jackie Chan'
     Ticker Tape
     In Other News...
     Fast Food, Slow Minds
     Write For the Movies
     Neutered
     Cats Love Lasers
     Today's Ticker Tape
     À La Craig's 'Missed Connections'
     Babelfish, You Bastard
     Some Common Misconceptions

Movable Type, etc
     Sanitize Usage
     Easy Friend Links
     Infrastructure Tutorial
     Graphical Date Tutorial
     Custom Blogshares Portfolio

I'm Looking for [This]

2 comments (closed), posted on september 3, 2003, tags: site

Inspired by Erik's monthly posting of search referrals to his site, NSLog();, I decided to look into what people have been searching for lately to get to ManiacalRage. Unfortunately, I forgot that when I installed the new version of Refer it set an expiration date of 7 days on all referrals by default. I've changed that now, but in the mean time, I took a look at the search referrals from Google over the past 7 days*.

***********************************************
MULTIPLE-HIT SEARCHES, LISTED BY NUMBER OF HITS
***********************************************
17   marshal mathers
12   new ipod review
 7   stupid shit
 7   verizon sucks
 4   ipod review 15gb
 3   15gb ipod review
 3   britney spears
 3   i hate verizon
 3   ipod review 2003
 3   marshal mathers 2
 3   work sucks
 2   aim profile tutorial php
 2   currently hearing
 2   drink piss
 2   free wi-fi connection in my apartment
 2   ibook + tmobile
 2   ipod 2003 review
 2   maniacalrage
 2   "one rate east"
 2   photoblog movable type sprintpcs
 2   verizon
 2   verizon dsl sucks

A full list of all hits in the last 7 days can be viewed by clicking here. It's always fun to browse some of the weird things people search for to get here. I especially love the multiple hits for 'drink piss' and the single hits for 'add back contextual menu safari stupid shit', 'it sucks being a csr', and 'nano liquid metal robot terminator.'

* Due to differences in spelling and spacing, some duplicate searches do not quite match, and because of that I have not grouped them. If I were to be more forgiving of those differences, the number of multiple hits for certain terms would be much higher (specifically 'Marshal Mathers' and 'iPod Review').

Assimilated

4 comments (closed), posted on september 3, 2003, tags: site

You may or may not have noticed that I've folded in all of the entries from CodeBucket here. I've also added the sidebar links from CB. If you posted a comment at that site, it will still exist here. All the entries were moved over except the first entry, which was useless anyway.

As I said the other day, separating my weblog into two parts was a mistake. I've realized that a majority of what I'm interested in writing about is technology-related. I think I decided to open CodeBucket because I felt the over-abundance of tech stuff here at Rage was boring people, but then I realized that that why people read the site. Granted, the random posts help (and being funny never hurts), but I think most people have been reading for the past few years because they enjoy reading about the same stuff I enjoy writing about.

That said, CodeBucket is no more. The domain will still forward to this site, and emails sent to my CB account will still reach me. I'm sorry to have created trouble for anyone who reads this site regularly. You won't have to visit two sites any longer, and hopefully this will make it easier to write again (having to write for two sites was really hard).

In Case You Were Wondering...

2 comments (closed), posted on september 1, 2003, tags: site

Obviously this site has had a lack of content lately. I'm working on remedying that. It was a mistake to break CodeBucket off into its own blog. I've realized, as I was told before I did it, that CodeBucket is what I blog about. Removing that from ManiacalRage has caused a serious lack of writing here, because I usually don't have much to say outside of technology stuff. I'm going to fix it, though, in the near future. I'm working on things, don't you worry.

Custom BlogShares Portfolio

posted on august 6, 2003, tags: site

A long while back I mentioned that I had created a BlogShares-related script that I had planned to release shortly thereafter. Well, here we are a month-and-a-half later, and I'm finally getting around to it.

Custom BlogShares Portfolio

This is a custom BlogShares Portfolio viewer that uses PHP to parse your BS portfolio RSS file. It's pretty quick (assuming BS is up and you don't own shares in a ridiculous number of blogs (remember it has to read that file to parse it)), and best of all—it's pretty. BlogShares is a horribly ugly site, but my custom portfolio script is pretty and XHTML Strict & CSS2 compliant. The script automatically highlights blogs that have a high P/E (in red) or a low P/E (in green), and can be sorted by worth, name, shares held, shares available, current price and p/e.

You can see the script in action (my portfolio) by clicking here.

You can download the source files by clicking here. To run this script on your own server, you'll need PHP 4x installed (3.2x will probably work too). You've most likely got that installed if you're using PHP anyway. All you'll need to do to install it is change 4 lines of code (they're commented and there's a ReadMe in the zip file), and you'll be on your way.

Feel free to post comments or email me with questions, comments or suggestions.

More Summer Reading

posted on july 8, 2003, tags: site

Update: Obviously this is useless now since I have ended CodeBucket and folded it back into Maniacal Rage.

I've finally gotten around to launching CodeBucket, my new, technical weblog. Over the past few months, I've noticed that ManiacalRage tends to get a fair amount of technical entries, and I feel like the combination of my personal weblog and technology haven't worked entirely well for most people. So, from now on, entries related to technology and the like will be posted to CodeBucket. You'll notice both sites look almost identical, so it shouldn't be too uncomfortable to read both* (if you're interested in both topics). ManiacalRage will remain a place for entertainment-based, random, sometimes funny and personal entries.

First real post in the Bucket is a lengthy entry about the code structure of both sites, as well as a tutorial on how to do what I've done with Movable Type.

Infrastructure Tutorial

5 comments (closed), posted on july 7, 2003, tags: site

Since the release of the newest design of this site, I've received several requests for more information on how I structured the code side of the site. Initially I had planned on making the source-code of the website available for viewing, but that became too much of a hassle. Instead, I'm going to describe, with examples, how everything works. If you have specific questions, please feel free to comment on this entry or send me an email (garrett at codebucket dot com).

Let's start with a simple diagram I whipped up when I first decided to re-code the site from the ground up a few months ago. I know you're supposed to use a program like Visio for this sort of thing, but I've always preferred to just create something in Photoshop or Illustrator. Works better for me. Click the image below to see the diagram.

Server Diagram
Maniacal Rage Server Diagram (21KB)

So then. That was the plan, and it ended up working exactly like that. I'm still using MovableType, but I've completely circumvented the templates system (well, almost completely as you'll see), and I've switched all content handling to PHP and Smarty™. Why do this? Well, MT has this annoying feature were it "builds" pages each time something in your content changes (comments, new entries, etcetera), and this building function actually creates hard-coded versions of your files. Why is that bad? Well, it's not, technically, but there's a reason I've decided to use a dynamic system—I want my site to be dynamic. There are also practical reasons for doing this: by not using MT's templates, you significantly cut down on the amount of information that has to be rebuilt when something changes in your content. That means a faster site. Noticeably faster, actually.

But how did I do this? It was actually quite simple. I got the idea from reading one of Brad Choate's entries about Smarty, and put his foundation to use. Basically, everything here starts with Template Modules. One of the great things about MT is its flexibility when it comes to playing with the system. In fact, other than the search template (which has to be in CGI form to work), you can pretty much have MT output your content any way you want. Like, say, into PHP arrays. Obviously, you'll need PHP to do this. You don't, however, need Smarty if you don't want to do that part. Here's how it works:

Start out by creating a basic template (or modifying a current one like Main Index). Only this time, instead of filling this template with a bunch of HTML code, just toss in a few important lines:

<?php
<MTInclude module="Index Array">
$section = 'index';
include_once($_SERVER['DOCUMENT_ROOT'].'/manage.php');
?>

You may be asking yourself how this is going to work with just that many lines of code. Well, it won't. But, what we've done here is just to get the ball rolling. Now when someone hits index.php, MT will run the "Index Array" template module (we've yet to create this), set the section variable to "index" and include a PHP file called "manage." Now we need to create the template module. It's going to do the real work. Create a new TM (bottom of the templates page) and name it Index Array. In the module body, you're going to need to create an array of all the content you need to build your index page. Click here to see my Index Array template module for an example.

So now you've got a multidimensional array called $entries that contains everything you need for each entry to be shown on your index page, and it and the section variable can now be used in the file you included, manage.php. Manage.php is going to do all the legwork now that we have our content. It's really easy—all you need to do is either call template files, or, if you don't want to use Smarty, write XHTML to output, based on the section variable. For instance:

<?php
switch ($section) {
     case 'index':
          // echo HTML here
          break;
}
?>

But remember, since you've stored all your content in a multidimensional array, you'll need to loop through it to utilize each item. If you used my index array example, and wanted to echo the title of each entry in the array, you could use a loop something like this:

for ($i=0;$i<count($entries);$i++) {
     echo 'Title: '.$entries[$i]['title'];
}

Once you've handled all the elements of the index, you can continue to build a new template module for each section of your website. There are special circumstances where you're going to need to get a little trickier using this method, and that's when there are multiple content items within a content item (ie: comments). To handle this, you can simply create multiple arrays. For instance, if we wanted to also get all the comments for each of the entries in the index array example, we could modify the $entries array to contain one additional key whose value was an array of the comments, like this:

<MTComments>
$comment[] = array(
     'author' => '<$MTCommentAuthorLink spam_protect="1" encode_php="q"$>',
     'datetime' => '<$MTCommentDate format="%B %d, %Y at %X"$>',
     'body' => '<$MTCommentBody smart_quotes="2" smart_dashes="1"$>'
     );
</MTComments>

// Then, change your entries array to include the comments array
$entries = array(
     'entryid' => '<$MTEntryID$>',
     ... etcetera ...
     'comments' => $comment
     );

Then later you can do a loop within your loop to get that information. I know this might sound a bit complicated, but it's really not once you get the hang of it. Using this system you can build a very efficient system that still utilizes the power of Movable Type, but allows you to really squeeze in a lot of PHP power as well.

Round Two

2 comments (closed), posted on june 30, 2003, tags: site

I've been tweaking/adding/removing on and off over the past two days since the launch of this new version. I'm sorry to bore you with all the technical details, but I'm going to. Here are the new changes:

  • Removed CSS-based mouse over on the masthead up there, changed it to a simple JavaScript one so that everyone can see it. It's still using PNGs, so if your browser doesn't support them it sucks (also see next item).
  • Fixed masthead image's JavaScript preloader.
  • Added the BlogShares link to the sidebar (very bottom). There's another interesting thing coming up in a day or two related to BlogShares that you might enjoy.
  • Added the search function back in. This time, however, it's different. Now, upon hitting enter, you'll receive a pop-up window that acts as a remote to view results. I rather like this functionality. Tell me if you don't.
  • Realized I forgot to add the breadcrumb navigation to the bottom of the page as well, and did that. Now you can actually move around if you've read to the bottom of the page (without having to scroll back up). I will add a "back to top" link as soon as I figure out how to get it to look right.
  • Changed the external link JavaScript function once more to properly retarget links posted in user comments (this script is almost bullet-proof now, yay!) (also, see next item).
  • Added semi-hidden option (at the bottom of the about page—last FAQ) that allows you, if you wish, to change all link targets (site-wide) to open in the same window. Check the box to retarget all links, uncheck it to restore default link targets (will save your preferrences in a cookie). Note that this will not mis-colour links, so you'll still be able to see which links are "off-site."
  • Fixed Opera 7.01 layout bug (thanks to Daniel for the heads up on this).
  • Reinstated click-counting for the "elsewhere" links in the sidebar. This shouldn't be noticable for the most part, unless you're on dial-up (if your connection is slow, you'll see that the links go to a local page at maniacalrage before forwarding to their actual destination). Broadband users won't notice at all (see more information below).

The reason for bringing back click-counting: I send a lot of referrals to the sites on my sidebar, and I'm just curious how many people are actually clicking them. I'm writing a small pop-up window that will give me stats on how many times each link has been clicked, and when I'm done I'll add a link to the sidebar under statistics.

I think I've also found a way to make the comment preview spell-check work in Safari and Mac IE, but it will take me a few days to get it going (if it works). I'll keep you posted.

Other than that, not much else needs be done with this design. Now I can stop bothering you with long lists and get back to the real stuff. In a day or two I will be releasing two scripts. One is BlogShares related, the other is the statistics script people have requested in the past. And, if there's enough interest, perhaps I will release the PHP spell-check I wrote for comment preview.

Whiteout and Tape

15 comments (closed), posted on june 26, 2003, tags: site

As you can see, I've finally finished the new version of this website. The design is minimal, but took the longest. I couldn't seem to decide on what I wanted (this was concept 14 of 17, most of which were similar but ultimately unlikable).

I've also made significant changes to the site on a whole. This version was created from the ground up, completely rewritten in PHP. I've circumvented the MT template system, and used Template Modules to output all information to PHP, where I have a much smarter, faster system going (I'm also utilizing Smarty this time around). Everything on this site is now dynamic, rather than being "built" by Movable Type. You should see large improvements in speed.

I have also changed the archiving and commenting systems. Instead of keeping all archives on monthly pages only, you can now view an entry on its own page. Comments have been changed from a pop-up window to inline, and appear beneath entries on their individual pages. Monthly and category-based archives are still the same. This system has broken all links to entries from off-site. I am fixing this now using .htaccess and will hopefully have redirects going as soon as possible.

Speaking of comments... you might notice I added a neat little feature to the preview function. Basically, if your browser supports posting a form to a pop-up window (should be everything but Safari and Mac IE right now), you can preview your comments in a pop-up window with a simple spell-check. It's not perfect (by far), but it's neat none the less.

In an effort to keep a running log of what I change on this site, I will again list some significant differences in this version of ManiacalRage.

Layout/Design:

  • Switched to 100% CSS layout. And yes, it validates.
  • Removed graphical dates.
  • Added breadcrumb navigation.
  • Entirely new entry layout with large left margin and large dates. This style is also used for all other sections of the site.
  • Removed a few sidebar items, including the forums link, search box (see next item) and anti-Verizon button (I'm number one on Google for Verizon Sucks already, I don't need the button).
  • Removed the search function. There were a total of 24 searches in 5 months, and only 3 were not expletives.
  • Corrected sidebar items that weren't all lowercase.

Archives:

  • Added individual archives, changed the way you link to/view each entry.
  • Added next/previous links to individual entries (right below title).

Comments:

  • Changed to inline, no longer appear in pop-up windows. Now they appear underneath entries on individual archive pages.
  • Removed comment error page by circumvention of MT. Implemented my own JavaScript based error checking.
  • Removed comment preview page and implemented my own preview page which has a simple spell-check (does not currently work in Safari or Mac IE) in a pop-up window.
  • Added notes to the bottom of the comments form concerning comment content and 'rules for posting.'

General:

  • Updated the plugin page for easier reading.
  • Rewrote the "External Links" JavaScript hi-lighting function—it should now behave quite well on every page (and takes email links into account).
  • Added information about the website and FAQs to the about section (this used to be just about me).
  • The whole site should have ridiculously clean source code, especially in Mozilla when viewed without word-wrap on.
  • Moved RSS link to sidebar (underneath contact link), and switched it to RSS 1.0 by default (those of you using the old 0.91 feed will still get updated content).
  • Switched RSS feeds to include full entries rather than 30 words.

As always, please feel free to post suggestions, questions, comments or anything else to this entry. I'm interested to see what you think. In the meantime, I'm going to keep tweaking here and there to make sure everything is right.

Updates: I have used mod_rewrite to fix old broken links, but they unfortunately cannot be entirely direct. Since there's no way to get the name link out of a requested URL (ie: #000217), I can only send old links to the monthly archive they belong in. That will have to do.

I also found out Mac IE doesn't like my comment spell-check pop-up either, so that feature has been disabled for that browser as well. Doesn't really matter, as it's a dead browser now and there are many better alternatives (thanks Shawn).

Where I've Been

2 comments (closed), posted on june 11, 2003, tags: site

Work has been really busy lately, as I've been trying to tie up a project for the United Nations that has been going on for way, way too long. This project has been an assault on me from multiple fronts, since it involves so many different variables. Most recently, I had to convert the website part of the project from ASP to ColdFusion—a task which sounds worse than it is. Surprisingly, I think I almost like ColdFusion more than ASP from time to time, only because of how much I hate ASP and VBScript (even though I use it every damned day). The hardest part of the transformation was the fact that CF5 (yes, we're not even using MX) has a COM bug built into the server that doesn't allow you to use the Microsoft DOM object to properly use XML and XSLT. Basically, you can't send parameters to the XSL files, which was a serious problem since I had to do that for this project.

I eventually ended up writing my own COM object (a wrapper, really) that allowed me to circumvent CF5 to send parameters, and it worked. Thank god, because we were getting to the point of giving up on the CFML conversion and admitting defeat. Since then, I've been working on a really complicated JavaScript-based form that allows users to get all sorts of statistical information about 173 different countries. I've never pushed multidimensional arrays so hard in JS before. It's actually been kind of fun.

Aside from that, there's been some other personal work I've been trying to get done (not involving this website), so that's the real reason for the dead feeling around here. I finished the code rewrite of this site about two weeks ago—I just haven't found a new design I've liked yet. As soon as I do, I'll try to finally finish the redo here. In the meantime, I'll also attempt to sneak some new entries in.

Hopefully by next week everything will be back to normal. Thanks for your patience.

What Else?

5 comments (closed), posted on may 26, 2003, tags: site

Entries have been few and far between over the past week or two mostly because I've been working on a new version of this website. Based on some things I've read from other weblogs lately, I decided to circumvent the Movable Type template system and go back to PHP (specifically, in this case, the Smarty PHP Template Engine) to create dynamic templates for the new version.

It's a really fantastic way to do it, to be honest. I don't have to worry about rebuilding and have much more control over how things are displayed. For instance, the new version will have the cleanest source code of any version to date. I know that means nothing to 99.9% of visitors, but a few people will appreciate it (Courtney) and for someone like me with an obsessive-compulsive nature it's really nice to see.

I've also added a few new features (breadcrumb navigation, PHP-based spell-check for previewing of comments to name a few) and changed some core functionality to smarter systems. When I'm done (about another week, I think) I'll need to design the front-end, but then it will be all ready to go. I think it's going to be the most functional version of ManiacalRage yet.

Sorry for the Wait

2 comments (closed), posted on may 8, 2003, tags: site

Posting comments to this site should now be significantly faster. I had to remove some MT Macros that were just killing rebuild time here on the site. When you have so many category pages, archives, etcetera, having intensive Macros can slow rebuilding down almost to a hault. That's one of the [few] negative things about MT. But, I've used PHP as a work around for friend links, and for now the acronyms are gone. They'll return (using PHP) soon.

I hope this makes it less painful to post comments. Thanks.

So Where are We Now?

5 comments (closed), posted on may 6, 2003, tags: site

I started this website on December 1, 2000. Well, officially, at least. Before buying the domain maniacalrage.net (and, subsequently, maniacalrage.com), this site was hosted on a subdomain of another website I ran at the time. Also, before becoming ManiacalRage, the site was called Garrett.Online.Org, a name which I'm glad didn't survive. Back then the site was just an about me section and a journal (which I hard-coded in HTML for each entry).

In October of 2000 I began to learn PHP and MySQL. This would forever change things. I purchased the domain and began to write the site from the ground up in PHP. As I learned, I constantly wrote and rewrote the site's back-end, bettering it and adding new features. In the past three years I have written two versions of my own CMS, used one a friend wrote, and now I'm using Movable Type.

As of this writing, there are 132 entries, starting in May of 2002. Before that month, there were roughly 150 other entries which were removed permanently on December 1, 2002. Those entries were old and of a different frame of mind. I tossed them and I've never looked back. There are also currently 416 comments, which means each entry receives an average of 3 comments. Well, that's not entirely true, since most old entries have 1 comment and newer entries tend to average 6 or 7. Either way, reader feedback is much higher than it used to be and that's something I'm really happy with.

There have been eleven visual version of this site (roughly). The current design has been in place since January 12, 2003. Elements of this design, especially the graphical dates, got widespread praise and caused quite a link-trail. I was linked on What Do I Know. Who knew people would like the tutorial so much?

In July of 2002 I wrote and released my Winamp2 plugin, CurrentlyHearing. CH is a simple plugin that allows you to show what you're "currently hearing" in Winamp on your website. Version 2.0 was released on December 21, 2002. To date, there have been over 4,000 downloads of CH. Many people use CH every day on their website.

The average number of unique visits a day to Rage in June of 2002 was 43. Last month, April of 2003, the average was 253. In less than a year, the average has increased nearly 6 times over. Monthly totals are as currently as high as 7,700 unique visits a month, a number which astounds me. I went from 5 unique people reading my website total to this in less than three years. There's something nice about that.

And I'm not done yet. I've felt a resurgence of this place in the last 8 months. I'm enjoying this more than I ever have. I hope you'll stick around to see what happens next.

Cocoa Tastes Great

6 comments (closed), posted on april 19, 2003, tags: site

My only real experience writing a program was CurrentlyHearing, my Winamp 2 plugin, which I wrote on a PC using Delphi (yes, Delphi!). Even that wasn't really a true application for the most part. But still, it was an experience I wouldn't give away. And, in the long run, it ended up being quite fulfilling. Thousands of people are currently (no pun) using CH, and more people download it every day. As of right now, CH is on hold. The reasons are many, though it's mostly due to my current Internet situation, and that fact that I'm just not interested in trying to expand it at this time.

I have been, for the past few weeks, [fucking] obsessed with the personal project I'm currently working on. I'm writing an application for OS X. Compared to writing CH, writing this app has been a godsend. Objective-C and Cocoa are fantastic, and the [free!] Project Builder and Interface Builder are so intuitive and easy to use.

So I've been spending almost every free hour working on this application, hence the slow updating. I just can't pull myself away from it. You'll have to excuse my neglect of the site in the meantime. And, for all of you OS X users, you can look forward to a new app in the near future. Also, please visit Software[.maniacalrage.net] if you would like to become a beta tester.

Whoops

posted on april 12, 2003, tags: site

The forums have been down for several weeks. Originally, it was due to the hacking that took place (and the subsequent server problems), but the extra wait was due to my laziness. A few weeks ago I purchased an Airport Extreme Base Station with a modem, and had yet to connect my PC to it until today. I promptly brought the forums back online thereafter.

I know the forums are absolutely useless to normal viewers of this site (and, for that matter, I don't really wish anyone use them for chit chat), but they are helpful for CurrentlyHearing support/bug fixes/etcetera. Because of that, I will keep them online. If you do feel like posting to one of the other open boards, feel free. I just wouldn't expect much interaction.

SlashWhere?

3 comments (closed), posted on april 12, 2003, tags: site

In the last two days I have been getting intermittent hits from Slashdot.org. The thing is, I don't understand where they're coming from on the site. If someone knows, could you please comment on this entry and provide me with a link? If this is just some sort of glitch, my fault.

Update: This seems to just be some sort of Spam-bot claiming to be Slashdot. I will ban the IP addresses when I get around to it. Oh, well.

Blast

17 comments (closed), posted on april 7, 2003, tags: site

Yeah, for the last day and a half, my site has been broken. You haven't noticed (unless you tried to post a comment), and there was nothing I could do about it. For the second time in less than three weeks, my host, HostRocket, screwed something up on the server and managed to take over 2 days to fix it.

A few years ago, when I signed up with HR, the service was fantastic. A startup company, HostRocket had few customers and great customer service. They would answer questions and fix problems within minutes. They were almost always available by phone or via AOL Instant Messenger. Their prices are great (always have been), and they offer a ton of great features and packages.

But, somewhere along the line, HR made a mistake: they became successfull. Now, years later, they have tons of clients. 50 servers, a data-center, a support staff, et al. The problem is, there are constant problems. Their support system has gone completely down the tube and their constant efforts to expand to deal with new customers causes nothing but problems for their current client base.

I've stuck with HostRocket through thick and thin. I've dealth with the outtages, the [somewhat constant] DOS attacks, the problems, as well as the great prices and services. I think, however, that this is the last time I will deal with their mistakes. If my site goes down again like it did this weekend, I will be moving to a new host.

Does anyone have a suggestion for where I should go (if I do)? I need PHP, MySQL (no less than an 8 db allowance), at least 350MB of space and at least 5GB of bandwidth a month. I don't want to pay more than $10 dollars a month. Unlimited subdomains would be great (or at least 5), as well as the ability to use all the normal things (phpMyAdmin and some sort of web interface for controlling domain stuff). Let me know.

Stupid Shit

3 comments (closed), posted on march 20, 2003, tags: site

You may have noticed that for the past few hours my site has been freaking out. That's mostly due to the fact that some stupid sons of bitches "hacked" it, putting up a message about stopping the terrorism and war. Really? Should I? Because I have anything to do with it? And I like your method—fuck other peoples' shit up to prove your point. You basically just committed web-terrorism you stupid fucks.

Anyway, it's fixed. The forums are down for a little while longer, and there might be little problems here and there. I'm working them out. Sorry.

Update: Even better! After I fix the problems, my host deletes Perl modules like they're going out of style! MT broken! Stupid broken site for hours! Lovely! At least things are fixed now. Whew. Bleh.

External Links

14 comments (closed), posted on march 9, 2003, tags: site

A few days ago, I made a change to my link colours. Now, every link that will take you to another domain or site is green, while all internal links are the same familiar blue. A few people have asked me how I did it. To put you at ease—I didn't do it by hand. Rather, I used Javascript. It's actually much simpler than you might think. Here's how you do it:

Make sure you have at least two link styles in your style sheet. The blue colour on my site is the default link style (a), and the green colour is called 'ext' (a.ext). Here's the Javascript function you need to put in the head of your document:

function makeExLinks () {
     for (var i=0; i<=(document.links.length-1); i++)
     if ((document.links[i].target == '_blank') || (document.links[i].target == '_new')) {
          if ((document.links[i].className != 'nav') && (document.links[i].className != 'int')) {
               document.links[i].className = 'ext';
          }
     }
}

Okay, here's what the javascript does: It loops through all the links on your page and checks their target values. If it sees a target equals _blank or _new, it changes the link's class to your ext class. Notice this will only work if you have your external links set to open in a new window. If you don't, you can tweak this to work for you, but you won't be able to use it as is.

Notice also that this will change all links with _blank or _new targets to the external colour. If you have internal links (like, say, images that open in a new window), you'll need to add another style to your sheet called 'int' (a.int) that matches your default colour. Then, each time you create one of these links, you'll need to specify the int class. That will keep your internal new window links the proper colour. As you can see in the function, I've also included a check for links with a class of 'nav.' That's because a few of my links in the sidebar open in a new window, but I don't want them to be coloured for ext (and they also can't take on the int colour). Feel free to add more exceptions.

Now, to get this all working, you need to add some code to your body tag, as such:

<body onload="makeExLinks();">

That's it. I know this isn't something for everyone, but I think it adds a little bit of user-friendliness to your links.

Referrers

9 comments (closed), posted on march 9, 2003, tags: site

I've been noticing a few common search queries on this site lately are "refer," "last 50," "where came from" and "statistics." I guess that means people want to see something like, oh I don't know, a list of the last 50 referrers. Up until today, I've used my own custom-written statistics script (see image). I will continue to use that script, but for the visitors of this site who are curious, I've also installed Dean Allen's Refer script. From now on, you can find a link to the last fifty referrers at the bottom of the side bar. Feel free to look and click and whatever else you want to do.

More Changes

10 comments (closed), posted on february 20, 2003, tags: site

In a constant effort to make things better around here, I've made some more adjustments to the site today. Two days ago I upgraded to Movable Type 2.62—a quick and painless process with no problems whatsoever—and today I spent a bit of time bettering the comments popup window.

Changes:

  • Added a "post yours" link to the top of the window. Clicking this will send you down to the post form. This will be especially handy if there are lots of comments you don't want to scroll through.
  • Text input fields have been widened to fit the width of the comment background boxes. Looks better now.
  • Changed the "Remember Info" option from a single checkbox to two radio buttons (idea credit goes to Jeremy Hedley), which now function much friendlier. Select Yes if you want to be remembered, No if you don't. Simple.
  • Tab order for input fields has been properly ordered, skipping over the remember radios.
  • I've added a list of allowed HTML tags just above the comments text area. Currently, you can use a href, b, i and u. If you think I should include something else, let me know. Note that URLs are not auto-converted to links with HTML turned on, so you do have to write HTML for all of your links. You do not have to include a target tag (see next item).
  • All links posted in comments will be automatically* assigned a target tag value of _blank. You don't have to specify this tag, and this will allow for links to be viewed free from the small comment window.
  • I've removed the "FORGET ME" button (because of the new remember me method), and changed the label of the post button from "POST" to "Post Your Comment". I mention this because from now on, if you want to be forgotten, just select the "No" radio next to "Remember Me" (as noted above). I've also centered this button (as well as the note below it).
  • Added a close window link, center-bottom.
  • Added a "Preview" button, allowing you to preview your comments before posting them

* Using a simple JavaScript function, you can make every link on a page open with the target of your choice. The drawback to this, of course, is that every link will get this value if it doesn't already have one of its own. To avoid problems, set any links you don't want to open in a new window to have a target of _self, and then place this in the HEAD of your document:

function reTargetLinks () {
     for (var i=0; i<=(document.links.length-1); i++)
     if ((document.links[i].target == '') || (document.links[i].target == null)) {
          document.links[i].target = 'blank';
     }
}

Then, in the BODY tag of your document, invoke this function when loading:

<body onload="reTargetLinks()">

This will make every link without a target tag open in a new window. Thanks to Ben Trott for the idea. Works well.

Little Tip

2 comments (closed), posted on february 15, 2003, tags: site

As I was making the changes here I came across a few little problems with CSS layout techniques that caused little glitches in Safari and Internet Explorer for the PC. One of the most annoying was finding a way to make certain layout styles show up properly so that a 100% of the vertical width of the comment popup contained the proper white area with its correct borders.

I use several nested DIVs to lay out the comment popup. The first specifies the width of the content area (in this case, 360 pixels), and inside of this DIV I have four others. One is only used to make sure the contents don't have extra margin space and the other three make up the two 8px borders (left and right) and the center column that contains the content.

If the content does not contain enough copy to fill the popup vertically (the window is 440px high), there's a problem. Because CSS won't just fill to the bottom of the window, if there are no comments for a specific entry, it's possible you'll see the white background of the three columns ending prematurely on the page. This is no good. In an effort to fix this, I assigned the main DIV (that holds all others) a margin-bottom of -5 pixels. In theory, this would tell that DIV to be 5 pixels longer than the bottom of the page, and hopefully that would mean even if there isn't enough content, the background would fill the whole window.

This works in Mozilla, but not in IE or Safari. Looking for a solution, I tried assigning the main DIV a position of fixed, and giving it a specified height of 442 pixels (roughly two pixels taller than the window itself). This worked in IE, but not in Safari. Always looking for the complete solution, I began to dig through the CSS2 Specification, looking for something that could help me. I hoped there might be something like minimum height, and I was happy to find there was. Min-height did exactly what I needed. I set the minimum height of the content column DIV to 460px, which is 20 pixels more than the height of the window (Safari pads its popups, so this makes up for that), and now the background is flush to the bottom of the window even if there isn't any copy in the content column. The DIV style looks like this:

#ccontent {
     background-color: #fff;
     margin-left: 8px;
     width: 342px;
     text-align: left;
     border-left: 1px solid #d1d1d1;
     border-right: 1px solid #d1d1d1;
     min-height: 460px;
}

Note that I add two lines for people using IE on a PC. I do this using PHP, as I have my CSS files set to be parsed by the PHP engine in Apache. The IE style looks like this:

#ccontent {
     background-color: #fff;
     margin-left: 8px;
     width: 342px;
     text-align: left;
     border-left: 1px solid #d1d1d1;
     border-right: 1px solid #d1d1d1;
     min-height: 460px;
     height: 460px;
     position: fixed;
}

I thought I would post this because I don't think very many people know about the min-height property, and it really came in handy for me. There have been plenty of times in the past when this information would have helped me out quite a bit, and maybe it will help one of you out in the future.

Also, related to design, Steve is finally back online.

Slight Adjustments

11 comments (closed), posted on february 13, 2003, tags: site

Over the past few days I have made a ton of small adjustments, improvements and additions to this site. In case you didn't notice, I'll give you a short list. Please feel free to post comments/questions or suggestions.

General:

  • Select menus on the right hand side, replacing former textual monthly archive links. This is a much tighter way to give you access to not only all of the monthly archives, but the category archives as well.
  • Addition of a "Font Type" menu at the bottom right. This allows you to choose either Serif (Georgia) or Sans-Serif (Lucida) font face display. This will set a cookie and be remembered. I added this primarily because this site looks amazing in Lucida Grande in OS X.
  • Slight change to link styles. Links are now underlined with a dotted line rather than a solid one. Also, gray links (as well as gray text in general) has been made darker.
  • Reorganization of page bottom—looks better and from now on that block of stuff down there will actually stay flush to the bottom like it should have been before
  • Changed vertical dividing line between content and navigation columns to a dotted line rather than a solid one.
  • Widened navigation column, narrowed content column (slightly).
  • Changed "Permalink" to "Link" in entry footers, also added entry's category (which is a link to that category archive) between link and comments.
  • Cleaned up comments pop-up for all browsers and made the "Remember Me" box show as checked if your information is already remembered.

Archives:

  • Better construction of the inter-monthly-archive navigation. Now, at the top of all montly archives, there's a clearer way to navigate back and forth.
  • Added descriptions for each category on main archives page.
  • Added ability to show/hide a list of all entries by title on main archives page.

That's all I can think of right now, but I'm sure there are more changes. I think the tweaking has paid off, and I feel the site is a bit tighter than it was a week ago.

Note: If you're using the web browser Safari (OS X), please download the new beta that came out yesterday. It fixes a lot of problems and CSS issues, and will make your experience here much better.

Also: If you're using Mozilla on a PC, you should upgrade to a build at least as new as 1.3a {2002121215} or the newest build, 1.3b {2003021008} (both be found here). These builds will fix some CSS layout issues that affect this site.

Newest New

7 comments (closed), posted on january 12, 2003, tags: site

If I had a dollar for every time I redesigned this site over the last 3 years, I would have at least twelve dollars. This version goes back to (ugh) tables, rather than a 100% CSS layout. I just didn't want to deal with that this time, and I wanted this layout to work the same in Mozilla and IE. And it does (almost 100%). It looks best in Chimera (OS X) and IE 6 (Win). Besides, those are the best browsers for each platform anyway. It looks damn near right in almost every other browser too, though. That's a good thing. And I figure, if it's standards compliant (and it is: XHTML, CSS), the all-CSS thing isn't necessary.

Also note that Shawn has also just redesigned. This is the second time we've both redesigned within days of each other... scary.

Curly Quotes

8 comments (closed), posted on december 7, 2002, tags: site

Shawn managed to get me interested in changing all quotes in the content on this site to the proper curly quotes rather than plain quotes ("), as well as single quotes. It didn't take too long to find a function already written by Matthew Mullenweg. This function worked well for PHP, and with some simple tweaks, I created a function that will do exactly what both Shawn and I wanted. If you're using PHP, feel free to use the function below (note that due to content spacing here, lines wrap... but if you copy and paste this code, it will be formatted correctly as far as spacing is concerned):

function prettyUp($ugly) {
     // Credit due to Matthew Mullenweg (www.photomatt.net)
     // First do ampersands, as the following regexes will need real ones
     $ugly = str_replace('&',"&#38;",$ugly);
     // Now make single quotes pretty
     $ugly = preg_replace("/'([dmst])([ .,?!)\/<])/i","&#8217;$1$2",$ugly);
     $ugly = preg_replace("/'([lrv])([el])([ .,?!)\/<])/i","&#8217;$1$2$3",$ugly);
     $ugly = preg_replace("/([^=])'([^ >].*)'/U","$1&#8216;$2&#8217;",$ugly);
     // Double quotes now
     $ugly = preg_replace('/([^=])"([^ >].*)"/U',"$1&#8220;$2&#8221;",$ugly);
     // If the quotes span Ps, make them pretty too
     $ugly = preg_replace('/<p>"(.*)<\/p>/U',"<p>&#8220;$1</p>",$ugly);
     // True EM dashes
     $ugly = str_replace('--',"&#151;",$ugly);
     // All done
     return $ugly;
}

To use this, simply run the function on your content just before using it, as such:

// Assuming your content is in the $content variable
$content = prettyUp($content);
// Then you can echo or print to your heart's content
echo $content;

If you're a Movable Type user, as I am, you should check out John Gruber's excellent plugin for MT, called SmartyPants. It works perfectly. Rage is using a combination of both and is now a little bit prettier.

Right, Okay

6 comments (closed), posted on december 1, 2002, tags: site

Rage turns two today.

I got tired of the old design, and of almost all of the old content, so I trashed it. Rage is now simple and fast, and about 80% lighter than yesterday. I got rid of the first 150 entries, as they were useless and terrible, and I'm starting fresh.

The new "design" is done completely in CSS (no tables), so of course there are little problems here and there. For instance, if there's only one or two entries on a page, you might notice the sidebar hanging off the bottom. I know about this problem, and I'm hoping to find a fix soon.

Also, this layout was designed with only two browsers in mind: Internet Explorer 6 (PC) and Chimera (OSX). Respectively, each is the best browser for it's operating system, and therefore I say fuck-all to the rest of them (although anyone using Mozilla 5+ will see it just fine too). Get one of these two browsers. They are both free. I don't want to hear complaints. Oh, and Mac users—if you're using IE5 and visiting, this site won't be all that pretty. Don't use IE5.

So, then... that's that. Content is down to almost nothing, design is overly simple, and I will no longer be using my own CMS for this site. It's now powered by Movable Type. It's a great system, and makes my life easier. Also, due to that, I will no longer be using the forums for entry comments. Simply click the "Comments" link after each entry. Simple. The forums will stick around for a while just for random chit-chat.

No More Slow

posted on november 26, 2002, tags: site

These pages should load noticeably faster now, thanks to a nice GZIP tip from Dean Allen. Even on my 2.26 P4 and cable I can see a big change in speed. Fantastic. And just one line of PHP code!

I Fixed It, Give Me Money

posted on november 14, 2002, tags: site

Since the release of the current version of this website, there has been a problem with the donate button in any Mozilla browser. I had forgotten about this problem until yesterday, when I received a donation (thank you!). Today I fixed it, it was extremely simple to do so, and now that button should allow you to donate from any browser, PC or Mac.

Behind the Scenes

posted on september 12, 2002, tags: site

I'm still alive.

A few things have changed in my personal life lately, and I've been trying really hard to get my business stuff headed the right way. Also, I've been putting a lot of effort into some changes around here that won't be noticeable for a few more days. All in time, all in time.

Many thanks to Reid at Exploding Fist for his kind words about this site. I'd been noticing a lot of referrals from his domain, and when I visited his site, I was greeted by compliments and a link. Give him the same respect, and go check out Exploding Fist—it's jam-packed full of goodies and fun.

Weirdest Result

posted on august 18, 2002, tags: site

This has got to be the strangest thing I have ever seen. Someone got to my website via AltaVista, by searching for:

ululant OR rabanna OR taunting OR proctoelytroplastic OR pharyngoglossus

What the fuck? Something about that really frightens me, and I don't understand it at all. Why was I listed in that search? What in the hell does any of that have to do with me?

Magic the Gay-ening

posted on july 22, 2002, tags: site

That's Right!That's right, fuckers, I'm magic. And I'm not just magic once. No, no. I'm magic twice, bitch! In your face.

Actually, I think Magic the Gathering is some of the gayest shit I have ever seen. Never once did I play, and never once will I. But if I did, I would drop Maniacal Rage on your ass!

Thanks to Courtney for pointing out this extremely gay coincidence.

ManiacalRage Version 239865

posted on july 18, 2002, tags: site

Well, one of the things I've been working on the past few days is now done. This new version of the site. Hope you like it. It's gotta a lot of little tweaks to sections that will hopefully make a few things better, and you should definitely play with the coloured buttons in the bottom left corner.

Sorry to Netscape 4 users, but you're getting the boot this time. You'll experience a plain-text version of this site from now on. I know that a web developer should be able to make his site work in every browser, but I don't want to anymore. People using Netscape 4 don't deserve the time and effort. At least you could upgrade to NS6. This site looks perfect in 6.

There are still a few little visual glitches in Opera 6, which I can't seem to get rid of. They aren't that noticeable, though, except to me. Also, I haven't tested this site in the Apple environment yet, so feel free to email me if you're looking at this in OSX. Let me know how it looks. Send me a screenshot, even.

Winamp plugin is next on the list of things to get accomplished this week. I hope to get it ready for testing tonight and then release it to the world by next Monday.

That's that. Let me know what you think of the new design.

Welcome Jack

posted on june 14, 2002, tags: site

Say Hello to JackTwo months, three weeks. Gray tabby. Male. And just about the cutest damned thing you'll ever see. Say hello to Jack. He's running around his new home acting crazy, pouncing on his scratching post's spring-and-ball.

He also has his own website, jack.maniacalrage.net, where you can see pictures and videos of the little guy. It will be regularly updated. Watch him grow and play.

Note: I just realized the first slide-show of pictures on jack.maniacalrage.net doesn't seem to work exactly right in Netscape browsers. You guys will have to use the drop down list to switch pictures. Sorry.

Getting Ready

posted on june 14, 2002, tags: site

Preparations are made. The house is clean. We are ready.

One Two Three

Not much time now...

Feeding the Info

posted on june 11, 2002, tags: site

I have a pretty good idea of who reads this site regularly. I know there probably at least a few of you who I don't know, though. And perhaps, just perhaps, some of you have websites that I would be interested in.

Over the past few days, I have been asking for more sites to add to my list of 'elsewhere' links you see on the right over there. I haven't gotten to great a response. But I am interested in my visitors' sites. If you have one, please let me know.

On a note partially related to this, I would like to know how many of you come here on a regular basis to read my entries. The reason I crave this knowledge: I'm thinking about having an RSS feed available on the site. This would allow for anyone to get the last few entries from an XML file and place them in their site or something of the like. I would be willing to swap RSS feeds with others, as well, hence my wishes to see others' sites. Just a thought.

And Another Thing

posted on june 3, 2002, tags: site

Oh, I forgot to say: after many months of NameZero holding maniacalrage.com, it was finally released last week and became available. I quickly snatched it. Now, if you type www.maniacalrage.com into your browser, you will get this site as well. Please note that the main URL is still maniacalrage.net, and only email sent to the .net address will be receieved. The .com version is simply a parked domain.

On this subject, I've been informed lately that my site's name is hard to remember how to spell, and therefore sometimes impossible to visit because people can't remember the address. I am open to purchasing a shortened version of the domain name (www.mrage.net is available) if that would help... let me know what you think, please!

Mission(s) Complete

posted on june 3, 2002, tags: site

Well, for once in the history of this website, I actually did what I said I was going to do. I fixed the problem mentioned two days ago and it was implemented yesterday. You can't see it because the conditions causing the error are not present right now (there's an entry for this month). But it is fixed. Come next month, if I don't have an entry up right away, you'll still see this month's content. Yay.

Another amazing thing is that I finished the search yesterday as well. Holy crapo—two things accomplished! The search is currently in beta, but I really like it. I actually wrote a full search with the help of Courtney over the period of 3 days, but scrapped it last night at about 9pm. I just didn't like the way it worked. Then, in about 4 hours, I wrote a new version and it works quite well. If there are features you would like to see, or you have comments or questions, please either reply to this entry on the forums or email me.

Stupid Error

posted on june 1, 2002, tags: site

Ugh. Another problem with the current setup of Rage—if there isn't an entry for the current month, it errors. Like, for instance, on the first of each month. I never get an entry up at 12:01am, obviously, so there's always an error until I remember this problem. This is a definite 'need-to-fix-immediately' issue that hasn't been fixed yet (and it's been months). Tomorrow is the day.

Also, I've been building a search feature for the site which should (I hope) be finished tomorrow as well.

New System

posted on may 28, 2002, tags: site

I've been doing some reorganizing around Rage, and I've changed the weblog layout a bit. Instead of the date being used as a link to view an entry individually, I've now begun (thanks to Linus' idea) using the actual entry title as each item's permalink. From now on, if you want to view an entry on its own, click the italicized (and underlined) title at the top of each entry. This facilitates my ability to post multiple entries per day. Yay!


See Also

View the archive

Original iPod Introduction
How far we've come in just a few short years. Here's where it all started.

Front Row on Non-iMacs
Going to try this tonight!

WriAShorStorWe!
DY starts a one-week short story writing event for people to lazy to enty NaNoWriMo. VerCooIdea.

Lost Rhapsody
Funny Flash movie using Weird Al music and Lost stuff. Lyrics make a surprising amount of sense!

Jed's Other Poem
Unsolicited music video made on an Apple ][. Fantastic!

Printers Output Secret Barcode
The government is keeping tabs on what you print, with the help of major printer companies.

Dreamhost Promo Codes
DH already has very cheap, very good hosting—this just sweetens the deal.

Photos of the new iPod
Just received my new iPod and I put a few photos up.

PEZ MP3 Player
Funny idea that actually looks kind of neat. I like that it comes pre-loaded with "indie" music.

HD Easter Egg
"My Name is Earl" on NBC gives viewers with HD TVs a little easter egg. Cute, but weird.