xanghe Makeover

Well, I'm going to miss the old blog, but I need a change. I've been concocting this design for a long time now, and I have much more tweaking to do in the future, but I thought I'd put it up first to see if I can handle leaving the old design behind. I put so much time into that thing... Oh well, times change.

The bumble bee up there was bouncing around that thistle blossom when I walked by. I was at Bryce Canyon with some friends right after I got married and we were heading back to the car. I was a little camera happy (ever since digital cameras came out) and thought this little bee might enjoy a photo shoot since he was working so hard. Several months later, I came across that picture again and the thought hit me that I feel like a bee sometimes, always searching and looking and gathering. I might not even know what I'm looking for, but it feels like I'm constantly seeking for something. Currently it's a new job, but that's because the election is on Tuesday and I'm super sleep-deprived so I'm sure as things calm down I'll relax and go on enjoying my job. At that point, I'll start searching for something else, and so the cycle continues. I guess that's why I put a bee at the top of the old blog - I wanted something that said something about me.

I've put away the old design and I'm going for something totally new. I have a whole stack of lined paper from school that isn't being used, so I'm going to start typing my blog posts on that paper and taping it up to my window. I'll put all the sidebar stuff on different sized post-it notes so I can line it down the side. Feel free to rearrange them if you feel like it. And the title is on a static cling sticker, just in case I feel like moving it once in awhile. Right now, the view from my window is from a mountain lake high in the Uintas, I'm laying on the ground looking up at the night sky framed by towering trees. Ahhh... it's calms me just to think about it.

So there's my new blog. Hope you like it. Now I've got to somehow find a way to get that bee back into this blog...


Triet said...

uh...it's an all white background... but i like the sidebar.

where's the music and the bumblebee?

Sharon Orgill Anderson said...

I love it! Very nice!

xanghe said...

Triet, I think the bakcground takes awhile to load... I'm still working on optimizing it. Music and bumblebee forth coming...

Thanks Sharon, that means a lot coming from a layout/design/editor person. :)

Triet said...

ok, you're getting mixed reviews from my household.

I, for one, don't begrudge people their own stylistic tendencies, yours is interesting.

I DO give you major props on the technical aspects. I'm jealous. How did you get the sidebar and bee to be movable??

xanghe said...

The best part about the internet is that you have everything at your fingertips. It took a little finagling, but I finally got it to work within the blogger layouts. The javascript is here at webtoolkit. Do you still use Opera? Can you test it in there?

This design, like the one before it, will probably last a year before I try something else.

btw, Mẫu is alive. He's staying at my house this weekend.

Triet said...

"Con bò thánh!!"

I thought Mẫu dropped off the face of the earth. Good to see he's still kicking!

So, I've switched totally to Firefox now, because of blogger's incompatibility with Opera. I used some of my cool add-ons to find out that script -- and everything else about your site (mwahahaha!!) but I haven't figured out how you tweak it to work with blogger.

Lemme know the low-down. My wife complains my blog layout is boring.

Coincidentally, before you unveiled this, I had thought about adding certain things in movable boxes floating to the left of my page, but didn't know what to do.

Do you just use an image for the paper background to each post??

Also, do you write the Viet definition yourself, or what? A javascript that put a random word every time the page was loaded would be cool, but might eat up a lot of load time...

xanghe said...

If it wasn't you looking through all my scripts, I'd feel violated.

If you don't already have it, I'd suggest the web developer add-on. That's the add-on I used to figure out how the designing folks at blogger put together their layouts (use Images>Display Image Information).

I use this particular drag-and-drop script because it adds movability to elements by id, which allows me to point the script to which ever widgets I want. The difficult part was getting the widgets to stay the same size while moving and weird stuff like that. Let me know when you have your content ready and we can try it out on yours.

Tell your wife I like your blog layout. Yours has a bunch of pertinent stuff and links and what not, which is actually important for a blog.

The paper picture is actually cut into thirds so that the middle portion can be expandable.

I'm actually writing that definition myself, but a randomizer would be cool. We might be able to work on that, too.

Triet said...

that's an interesting one. maybe it'll be useful. Right now I use the DOM inspector built into Firefox. You have to enable it when you install. It's pretty good. Even better is Firebug. I haven't found anything better than it yet. I can use it on anyone's site and it gives me everything DOM does, but more interactively. I can change things on people's code or java or CSS and immediately see what their website would look like. Finally, I added JS View. Pretty simple add on that gives me all the external files for a page. Firebug does that too...but JSview is nice when I want the quick and dirty.

Did you find the page image online or design it yourself? and if it's the latter, what did you use?

xanghe said...

Oh, I've heard of Firebug before, but haven't tried it out yet. I'll have to give it a shot now.

I designed the page image in Inkscape. I've done several projects at work with Illustrator which got me interested in vector graphics, so I've been goofing around at home with what programs I can get for free. Actually, all of the graphics on the blog were done in Inkscape (need to get a link on there), including the forthcoming background image.

Does it take a ridiculous amount of time for my page to load for you? I'm on my old laptop so I'm not sure if the lag is local or if it's the actual page load that is slow.

Triet said...

I have no clue how to use Illustrator, or Inkscape, so i guess I'm gonna have to learn sometime, or get you to draw for me!

Your page loads generally quick on my comp, so I think it's your connection, not the page. That said, with Firebug I think you can set the javascript to load at different times, so you can get your page to load the HTML and critical javascript first, and let people navigate while the other stuff finishes.

I'll look into it and get back to ya.

xanghe said...

I've yet to experiment with Firebug but it sounds cool. I actually fixed (by accident) the slow load time. I guess I had some old stat script on my page that was pointing to a dead domain or something. It loads pretty quick now so you what that means - more javascript!

haha, it's sad but true...

Triet said...

hmmm...how does my page load?

I use only a couple basic scripts, but I hope it loads quickly. I know even less about javascript then i do about html, so I doubt I could ever ferret out a bad script except using some program that tells me what's bad.

xanghe said...

Your page loads pretty quick. Whatever pictures or scripts are loading in the background don't affect reading your blog, so that's a plus.

travel log
  • 02.13.08 - to the temple with Luan and his mom, good to be back
  • 02.14.08 - Mẫu's alive! and staying for the weekend
  • 02.15.08 - floor hockey and Thái food makes for some strange dreams
  • 02.17.08 - frisbee and swamp monster at the park: fun but I'm pooped!
  • 02.19.08 - just read Triết's response to my last post - game on!
  • 02.20.08 - raining and expected to continue through Sunday - thank goodness!
  • 02.21.08 - 3-hour nap is a bad idea right before bed
  • 02.23.08 - to the beach to watch kites, a baptism @ 5pm, and homemade bulgogi - what a day!
  • 02.25.08 - just gave myself a haircut - woo, cold head!
  • 02.26.08 - 75° and spring cleaning - couldn't feel better
  • 02.27.08 - fed the elders bún đậu tonight - think it's their first time
  • 03.01.08 - working on new background...
  • 03.02.08 - finalized javascript to change background without muffing up my other scripts
  • 03.03.08 - fhe: "In his strength I can do all things" (Alma 26:12)
  • 03.07.08 - some decisions are harder than others, but some are downright excruciating
  • 03.08.08 - there is life after work... i almost forgot
  • 03.11.08 - the distance between good and bad is much shorter than between better and best
  • 03.12.08 - conversion is sometimes a gradual process, so much so that we don't even notice
  • 03.14.08 - for some reason everything was a little harder today, looking forward for bed!
  • 03.15.08 - last night after blog reading, I missed OnlyBlue, today I find she's back
  • 03.16.08 - best day of my life!
  • 03.19.08 - "Pray for the answer that they've been looking for"
release notes v1.0 - FINALLY DONE!
  • 12.07 - first thought of starting a new blog
  • 01.08 - busy with election stuff but blog design still on back burner
  • 01.13.08 - first idea to imitate jk rowling with the "desk" theme
  • 01.28.08 - start sketching current design, breaking down development into phases
  • 02.02.08 - election only days away but still drafting final plans
  • 02.04.08 - v0.6 LAUNCH
    • main components (blog body, sidebar, header, etc) designed and implemented
    • styling for font, links, drop caps, etc. finished
  • 02.07.08 - v0.8 LAUNCH
    • image style to imitate polariod
    • moveability - post-it notes and static clings can be repositioned by drag and drop
    • release notes styled and written
  • 02.16.08 - travel log (beta) added in hopes of catching the mundane
  • 02.22.08 - lightbox 2.03 reinstalled and working fine (hopefully - let me know otherwise)
  • 02.26.08 - v0.9 LAUNCH
    • travel log seems to be working, so I'll keep it
    • lightbox also seems to have passed the test, so it's a keeper
    • some credits/info added to bottom (will expand)
    • keeping old Viet terms in archive for future viewing
  • 03.18.08 - v1.0 LAUNCH
    • installation and testing of time-sensitive background completed (for now)