Category Archives: Updates

articles about the website updates

WordPress 2.3.1 Under My Skin • Upgrade Completed

I’m done with the upgrade —actually, I finished it around 4:00 AM this morning— and the bug hunt; everything seems to be where it’s supposed to be and running smoothly, I don’t think I missed anything. In any case, if you come across any error, broken link or shit like that, please let me know.

All the changes were basically under the hood —mostly cleaned-up code and tweaked stuff— so none of it is visible, the site should look as it looked before the uprade. However, I’m planning to redo the design, especially the header graphics and the rest the eye-candy and, hopefully, I’ll have time to rewrite some of the code too; right now, I’m thinking about “downgrading” to HTML —I’ve had enough frustration with the XHTML 1.1 stuff and all sorts of incompatibilities and hussle— but that’s something that’ll take a lot of time and effort and I’m not sure I can afford any of them right now. In any case, the graphics will be redesigned… and, you know what? I’m thinking about making the whole thing black again :)

Off to work right now, so that’s about it for the moment.

WordPress 2.0.7 to 2.3.1 • Upgrading As We Speak…

I’m upgrading the blog as we speak, from its 2.0.7 to its latest —long overdue— 2.3.1. If you happen to see some entrails and errors and all the horrors happening under the hood, please forgive and come back a little later. I’m doing my best to get it done quickly–quickly, it should be back up and running around midnight.

Meanwhile, just for fun —or whatever else— get a load of this:

cp -R /Volumes/My-iPod/iPod_Control/Music ~/"Music Recovered From My-iPod"

I mean, I love the Mac, I love the iPod… but fuck Apple, man, fuck’em :D

Back to Work… and a Little Something

Back to Work…

Yesterday —Friday, November the 2nd— I resumed work, returning to the normal schedule.

The cold hasn’t gone away, I’m still coughing myself inside out and having a little trouble with the running nose, but it’s cool [sum kinda pun :)], I’m not suffering too much… since I’m back to work, back to drawing and inking and computering, which’ll give me lots of energy and will blow the sickness away in no time ;)

I’m planning to give this blog an upgrade —WordPress is already at its 2.3.1 version and my installment is still in its 2.0.7s— which is long past due so I’m going to try to do it as soon as I can and, if everything goes well and I get my hands on some more spare time, I think I’ll do a little redesign for the entire thing, including the main website. Other than that, I’m very late with the more important stuff —including replying to e-mails— so, I guess, it’s all back to normal :D

…And a Little Something

I have a few photos I took while I was in România and I want to share them with you.

Since I quit using flickr and my schedule is not really that loose to allow me to build a new website just for this, I took the easy way out and posted them on my Japanese blog, on 4 annexed pages, as follows:

  1. România 2007 » Photo Gallery » Page 1
  2. Page 2
  3. Page 3
  4. Page 4 (last)

The pages are in Japanese, but there isn’t much text anyway, so go ahead and have a look at the photos, whenever you have a minute (or more, because there are actually 285 photos in total). While on each page, right above and below the thumbnails, there are links to the “previous” and “next” pages (these are in Japanese too, but the arrows and the page numbers will make them easy to see).

That’s it for now, I’ll catch you later ;)

Comments Reopened

The power of WordPress’s built-in comment moderation and blacklist, combined with Mr. Michael Hampton’s Bad Behavior plug-in and the little thing called “application/xhtml+xml”, have done so well in the last couple of months, that I decided to unlock the comments for most of the articles on this blog.

[Dali in the office, flippin’ the birdie]

More than a month has passed since I saw the last comment spam in the moderation queue and I am truly impressed!

Here’s why I believe I can safely reopen comments without being worried about spam anymore:

The Built-in Filters

WordPress (at the time of this writing, version 2.0.7) has these too features, in the “Discutions” menu under the “Options” tab, named “Comment Moderation” and respectively, “Comment Blacklist”, which allow me to add to the default list of most common spam words and create a refined filter against spam comments. The “Comment Moderation” list is the one responsible for holding in the moderation queue any comment that contains keywords defined in it and the “Comment Blacklist” is the one that kills, on sight, any comment containing the predefined keywords. It took a little while to shape them into something that would catch anything remotely spam-ish and, in the same time, let through the legitimate comments, but it seems I have managed to find a good balance, since I haven’t gotten any false positives in these last two months. I’ve been picking words out of regular e-mail spam too, as well as inspiring myself from anyone kind enough to share their spam words lists on the internet.

An important factor was turning on the “Before a comment appears author must have a previously approved comment” feature which, although requires me to check the dashboard more often, is not a real inconvenience, since I don’t get too many comments anyway. Also, I set the number of allowed hyperlinks to 1, which should trigger the moderation queue on 99% of the cases, since spammers perspire URLs wherever they go ;)

Bad Behavior

By far, the most useful, best written WordPress plug-in! In a nutshell, it denies access to any spam bots trying to sneak in, kicking them back to the originating location. It will let through anything that is not a known spam bot (or behaving like a spam bot) which basically means that is invisible —or insensitive?— to humans… I’m not really good with this sort of technical stuff so, for more information, visit the Bad Behavior website (or just Google for “bad behavior”).

Which leaves only the lo-tech spammers, those who actually visit the blog and attempt to post the comments manually. This is where I believe the little thing called “application/xhtml+xml” shows up and takes care of the rest.

application/xhtml+xml as a Weapon

Let’s face it, 99.9% of the spammers are using Windows and 99.9% of them are using Micro$oft’s piece of shit known as Internet Explorer. Which happens to choke on web pages served as application/xhtml+xml (with whatever flavor of DOCTYPE). Additionally, my websites are presented in Internet Explorer with a very basic, below plain-vanilla CSS, which literally makes them very ugly and difficult to navigate. It takes approximatively three scrolls to find any link that might take you to something along the lines of a comment form and three–four additional scrolls once you reach the respective page. Not only that, but the forms look kinda awkward too (I’m doing it on purpose, actually, since I have no intention to make it easier to the stubborns who persist using that fuck-up so-called browser).

So, after the awesome shield held by Bad Behavior, the equally thorough filters built-in WordPress —helped by the settings I mentioned above— and the usability/accessibility deterrent posed by the MIME type, there is little spammers can do with this website here. “Little” being a way of putting it, since, as I was saying, I haven’t received a single spam comment in the last two months.

Therefore, I decided no more locks are needed and I’ve reopened the comments on pretty much every article posted so far.

I am very optimistic about this and I think I won’t regret this decision, because there is one more weapon I have at my disposal —but haven’t had the need to use so far: Akismet. Which is also built in WordPress and all it takes is a click and a “Save Settings” to be unleashed.

And that’s all. I’m happy, the comment forms are happy too, everybody’s happy and the whole world is a pink, shiny, sweet, carefree, hippy–style happy-go-lucky, fluffy fucking thing.

Or something…

Google Ads Back To The Trench

Yeah, the Google AdSense text ads and their tiny brethren, the link units, are back to the trenches, here and there on every page of this blog and the main website’s, doing their thing —hopefully— the way I expect them to do it.

[***faux screenshot of a Google Ads unit***]

I’ve had this account for more than three years and never really figured out a way to put it to work, first because I just couldn’t bring myself to not hating website advertisment and second, because I simply couldn’t find a way to make Google’s shitty code hum in my application/xhtml+xml web pages…

Stubborn as I am, I ditched from the start the idea of switching back to text/html just to accomodate the way Goggle decided to write their add units (i.e. document.write()–laced Javascript, working only in text/html) so, basically, I ended up gathering a 3–year thick layer of dust on my Google AdSense account…

Which seems to have been an awful fucking shame :)

So, stuck between the impossibility to plant ads on my web pages and the stubborness that kept me from modifying my own markup so I can get it done, I spent the last three years looking for a workaround.

Nowhere to be found, nowhere to be found… Until today.

When, with a little spare time on my hands, I decided to give it another try.

And what do you know, a quick Google on “Google Ads application/xhtml+xml” solved it like it never existed! Right on top of the search results, Stu Nicholls’ “Adding AdSense to application/xhtml+xml pages” and Simon Jessey’s “Why won’t AdSense work with true XHTML?” which, between the two of them, explained every single thing I needed to know and shared a handful of snippets to make it even easier.

Shit! how did I manage to not find these two gems, only I and my chaotic googleing habits know :D The solution is very elegant and perfectly “legal”, as far as Google’s terms and conditions go. Not getting into (more XHTML–mumbo-jumbo) details, since the workaround is so simple and the time I wasted before finding it is so long that the whole thing is rather embarrassing, but the only trick needed was calling the ad units through an object element —with the type="text/html" specified— from external files served as text/html… And that was it.

Bottom line, the ads work just fine and, to counter laziness with excess, they’re being displayed on all the pages, here and at the main site. New, shiny, little toys… hopefully, close enough to whatever topic on the respective page, because what’s an ad without a click? :)

A very thankful hat tip towards Stu Nicholls and Simon Jessey, a very satisfied big grin on my face and preparations to become a millionaire under way :)

P.S.: If you’re on Safari, you won’t see them. I couldn’t find a way to make Apple’s *teh* stupid browser display the ads without a bunch of ugly scrollbars around the object, so I’m only serving them to Firefox (Mozilla and Camino too, naturally) and Opera. The ads are probably visible in Internet Exploder too, but I didn’t bother to check and who cares anyway? NetNewsWire does what Safari does, but no one wants ads in a feed reader, so I guess it’s not a big deal.

Yep, that’s it. Pheew…

E-mail Form Tweak

A while ago, I got an e-mail from an AOL dude(tte), bringing to my knowledge that the feedback form on the contact page (Edit: not in use anymore) was being used by the scum of the Earth (a.k.a. “spammers”) to send out bulk e-mail (forged headers and all that shit). The dude(tte) was also kind enough to suggest a solution, which was very simple and seems to have been working very well (I did implement it right away, naturally).

[mail form screenshot]

The only drawback being that, in order to thwart the spam bots, the solution consists in adding a “required” field that asks for more than the usual user interaction, namely the action of using the mouse to select an item from a pulldown option list, action which, so far, can’t be simulated by the majority of spam bots out there.

Hence the “Location” field has been added, with a list of countries and Japanese cities, requiring you to use the mouse to select one of the options in that pulldown list and —needless to say— simultaneously thwarting any attempt of a spam bot to send mail through that form.

I am aware that this might be a little bit of an annoyance, especially when not using a mouse or any other pointing device, but believe me, if I had any other choice —as simple and easy to implement as this one— I would’ve picked it.

I don’t really have a need to know wherefrom my clients or readers ar sending mail —most of the time they’re telling me anyway and when they don’t, it’s not very difficult to guess— and I don’t use that information in any way (except, maybe, to mind my spelling of “colo(u)rs” and stuff like that :)) so, basically, the only purpose of that location field is to keep away spammers.

I could’ve used anything else —like, “how’s the weather there?”, “do you believe in Magneto/Jesus/Orcs/Anakin Skywalker?” or any other pick-your-poison–like thing— but, if I do have to bother people with an additional click-scroll-click, I figured that I should at least find something that has some meaning and might come in handy one way or another…

So that’s the story of that new “Location” field; sorry for the inconvenience and thanks for reading this.

WordPress 2.0.7 Under My Skin

Feels Good, Tastes Good, Mmm! Smells Good

Just a security upgrade, they say, so I guess there’s not much to talk about from my point of view, since all I had to do was replacing the old files with the new ones, copy and paste whatever hacks I wrote here and there, check for broken stuff and do the “pheew!” thing when everything went back online nice and smooth. But, as any new toy, it feels good, tastes good, mmm! smells good :)

[decoration]

Again, BBEdit’s “Find Differences…” is the shit and I don’t know if I could’ve gotten any sleep tonight without it! Adding comments wherever I hacked the wp-includes was a good idea too and I’m attaboying myself for that, because it saved me at least a couple of hours of looking at unreadable code :D

So yeah, everything’s back to normal; this one went smooth.

What Is New

Not brand new —since I installed it before this upgrade, but new since I forgot to talk about it— but worth mentioning is the addition of “Bad Behavior” to this blog (and the Japanese one, for that matter). Not that I was getting too much spam or anything, but even the few that were getting through the filters daily were enough to annoy me, so why not give it a shot? And it works like a charm; I haven’t gotten a single piece of spam ever since. In the footer of this weblog —right at the bottom— there’s a tiny counter that shows how many spam bots have been blocked from accessing the site in the last seven days. Right now it says “217” and guess what, none of the motherfuckers got through. As a matter of fact, it works so well I’m even considering reopening the comments for all the posts in the archives…

Not one of the under-my-skins, but worth mentioning, is Lightbox JS, which is an amazing piece of software. I love it and I’d love to put it to work here, on the blog, as additional eye-candy, but damn! it doesn’t work in XHTML served us application/xhtml+xml… Which is the sole reason I’m not using it already. There is an alternative, its supple sisterin Litebox which —with a little help— is said to be fixing that shortcoming, but when you’re like me and Javascript looks just like the flowing green Matrix code, doing anything more complex than unzipping—uploading—clicking-on-some-buttons is too much of a hassle and 99% prone to failure, headaches and relentless cursing in the dark :)

Again, not yet one of the under-my-skinies — and again because application/xhtml+xml is too sexy for badly written Javascript— but worth mentioning since I’m thinking about it in a serious fashion ( :D ) is the resurrection of the Google AdSense thingies. They’re already in place on the Japanese sites and I’m looking for solutions to make them work here too. Couple of bucks won’t do much, but it would be more than nil and, with perseverence, it could even turn into something helpful (server fees and shit like that). So, basically, as soon as 1. Google comes up with new Javascript that works in XHTML or 2. I figure out a way to make the old Javascript to work in here, I’ll sport a couple of ads here and there; most likely at the bottom of the pages, out of the way.


That’s about it. The upgrade went well, I have new shiny backups of everything and I’m going to sleep ;)

Blog Upgrade • 2.0.5 to 2.0.7

WordPress 2.0.7 is out and I’m going to upgrade to it right after this message.

It shouldn’t take more than an hour or so but, in case you drop by in mid–flight and the site looks like shiznittle, please come back a tiny little bit later :)

P.S.: Comments on the other posts aren’t closed ;)

Blog Renewal

Done

For now, anyway…

[eye candy : nymph]

Right after the upgrade to WordPress 2.0.5, I started tweaking the look of the site —mostly the color scheme and some alignment issues— but ended up rewriting a lot of the under-the-hood, moved stuff around, nuked the “About” and “Contact” pages —which were only redundant clones of the ones on the main website— and polished a little the “Archives” and “Search” pages. So it took more than those three playlists after midnight, but it came out fine, I guess, so it was worth it… It was worth it nuking the few days I thought I’d spend as, you know, “days off” :)

While at nuking things, I also went with it and removed most of the colors in the color scheme too. As you see, the site is pretty much black and white now and the only colors that will show up are the links (when hovered with the mouse they turn red) and the sporadic color photos inside the articles.

It might not be entirely accessible nor usable —as they say— but I think it’ll work just fine ;) After all, I do have whims and I do indulge them every now and then :D

Now, since I haven’t posted about these site updates in a long while, what’s worth mentioning is that, even though I haven’t announced on the weblog, I did update the galleries, quite a few times, in the last months. In total, I think I uploaded about 50–100 new photos, in all collections.

As usual, the newest are at the top left side of each thumbnail gallery (or section of it).

The calendar, as well, is updated almost daily —or as soon as a schedule change occurs— but I only announce that in the RSS feed so, if you’re keeping an eye on the available openings and haven’t subscribed yet to my feed, here’s the link :http://graphictribe.com/tattoos/xml/ (your browser will know what to do ;))

I guess that’s all… Or I got bored typing, so I make it “all” :D

Upgrade Completed

Done

It only took a couple of hours… A couple of hours sooner than I thought too :) BBEdit’s “Find Differences…” batch comparison tool worked as a charm and, as far as I can tell, I got everything right so far. No broken links, no error messages, no entrails in sight :D

Not gonna be able to get all the tweaking done though; it’s late and I’m tired and “leave it for tomorrow” sounds like a terribly good idea. I’m definitely going to modify the way it looks and maybe add a couple of things I was too lazy to add until now, but that’s gonna have to wait a little.

Phew…:)

Upgrade In Progress

Starting Now…

…I’m upgrading —as we speak— the WordPress software to its most recent version, 2.0.5.

Everything might —and I’m pretty sure it will— be a little upside–down; some entrails might —and most likely will— show through here and there until I’m done adjusting everything and uploading back all the hacks I wrote so no, the site is not down and no, it’s not your browser’s fault. It’s a live upgrade and these things turn a little messy every now and then :) Bear with me for a couple of hours, I’m going to try to do this as quick and smooth as possible ;)

  • database backup – check
  • all files backup – check
  • new software downloaded and unzipped – check
  • telephones turned off and answering machines switched on – check
  • lotsa Slayer, Prodigy and Manson playlists to keep me company – check

Am I forgetting anything? :D

Gallery Update • June 21st, 2006

Took me four months and a little —to tell the truth, I wasn’t expecting to be able to do it before August, so I guess it took me less than I had thought it would— approximately three weeks of photochopping (read: “struggling with Adobe’s piece-of-shit Photoshop, the slowest, most unnerving software ever) and a couple of sleepless nights, but I finally managed to get it done…

This morning I uploaded all the new pics and just minutes ago I finished updating the gallery pages. Together with a few new pics of older tattoos —that I couldn’t show because the photos hadn’t come out right— there are approximately 100 new pics, spread throughout all the sections of the galleries, including portraits, biomechanics, tribals and letterings.

I still have about 150 photos here, but I really couldn’t wait anymore, so I guess they’ll get published later on… Hopefully, before September, since many of them are almost six months old and I’m dying to show them off :)

So, when you have a minute, drop by and have a look! It’s been one of the most inspired periods in my life, there are lots of really nice pieces among the new ones.

While I’m at updating and tweaking, I guess it’s time to update the calendar too and add 2007 to the display, since I’ve already started to make appointments for January and February and the current display falls a little short. Also, WordPress 2.0.3 is out and, although I’m really not in the mood for this, I think I’d better upgrade the blog too… The current version works very well as it is, but whenever I read “security fixes” in the release notes, my tweaking-hacking-chopping fingers get a little itchy :)

P.S.: The Axl Rose portrait is almost done; on June 29th I’ll be able to finish it and upload the photo to the galleries. Meanwhile, the preview shows most of it, since the hair is still incomplete and I haven’t decided yet how the design will fade out at the lower part…

Couple of Announcements

To My Clients in Japan

For the next few months —I don’t know exactly until when, but it’s more like “the end of the autumn”— I don’t have anyone in here to pick up the phone during the day so, if you wish to contact me by telephone, please call between 10:00 and 11:00 AM or between 8:00 and 10:00 PM. Outside these time frames, since I have the gloves on most of the day, I am going to keep the answering machine turned on and I won’t be able to take any calls.

E-mail and FAX are, of course, as usual, any time of the day, seven days a week.

By the way, the answering machine’s message comes in Japanese —and I’m too lazy to start recording a bilingual one right now— so, basically, wait for the voice to end and the beep to beep :)

To Those Who Are Planning to Visit

Especially if you visit from abroad, please try to contact me at least three months prior to your trip to Japan.

The schedule is extremelly busy —at the moment of this writing I’m all booked up until the end of August and I have nothing available for the first three weeks of September— and I might not be able to find any opening to match your schedule during your stay here.

To Those Who Are Expecting Drawings

Give me a couple more days, I’ll get back to you eventually.

Scratch “eventually”. Replace with “as soon as possible” ;)


More like a post scriptum, but

To The Fucking Spammers

You can’t get your shit through. The filters work really well and all the crap you’re trying to smuggle in the comments is kept in the queue, never sees the light of anyone else’ screen. You are wasting your time and you are wasting mine, and it’s becoming a really boring thing to come by everyday and spend those few minutes deleting your stuff…

So stop doing it, you’re pretty lame.

Scratch “pretty lame”. Insert “absolutely fucking lame, you shitheads” :D

This and That

While I’m getting ready to upgrade to 2.0.1, I’m doing a little bit of cleaning up here and there, consisting mostly in locking comments and pings on several older posts, because they were managing to attract those cockroaches we call “spammers” and I was wasting too much time in the admin panel deleting their comments. Besides, no other comments were coming in, so I guess it won’t bother anyone…

As far as I’m concerned, Akismet is not worth neither the fee they ask for, nor going through the hassle of opening a WordPress.com account just to get the key, since I don’t really get so much comment spam (one or two a week is, by far, easily manageable), besides being rather funny to read some of the new type of spam oozing nowadays :)

Other than this, I’ve just replaced a couple of photos — in the tattoo galleries — I had uploaded the other day, with new (better) photos.

And nothing else… except for the fact that I am pretty fucking excited about tomorrow night, when I’m going to see “The Prodigy” live, in Tokyo. I haven’t seen them for about 12 years; I can’t wait!

Oh and yeah, Adobe sucks!
Gimp and Inskcape look like the best alternative, but their UI sucks too, so for now I’m just sighing and cursing and waiting for them to upgrade to something usable…

Gallery Update

I should’ve been able to do this about a week ago, but I found myself in a time crisis like never before, with the additional flavor of some server trouble last night, causing the Japanese blog to go apeshit and hit me with an annoying 403 error (haven’t found the real cause, but I managed to fix the problem, thanks to the magicians at DreamHost) so I ended up uploading everything this morning and editing the gallery pages just a couple of minutes ago, right after I closed the shop for the day.

So the galleries have been updated, some 60 new photos are up and all is back to normal :)

With the exception of the dragons and tribal rings galleries, all other sections have been updated with at least 3–4 pics each; as usual, the latest ones are at the upper-left side of the thumbnail galleries, at the top of each subsection of the collections. Actually, the ones you don’t remember seeing are the new ones, so I’m sure you’ll notice them right away ;)

Some really cool stuff, especially in the biomechanics and kitsch art sections, so whenever you have a minute, please visit. I’m sure you’ll like them!

While I’m at it, the calendar has also been updated (the weekly routine), and so were other few things here and there, mostly under the hood, to keep the site running smooth. WordPress 2.0.1 is out and everybody says I have to upgrade, because it seems that 2.0 has a handful of bugs that needed to be fixed — I’m pretty sure I was hit by one of them last night, when the Japanese blog decided to choke itself to death — so I guess I’m gonna have to find some spare time one day and get to it. It is a pain in the ass, no doubt, because I have customized a lot of files and I will need to port those customizations to the new ones, but I think it’s worth the effort… so if you see the site down these days, no worries, it’ll be back as soon as possible ;)

And that’s it for now, my inbox screams for attention so I guess I’m just gonna have to give it to it :)

P.S.: The Michael Jordan portrait preview in this post is not yet done, I still need to work on it, so it’s not yet in the galleries either. That’s why it’s a preview :) Something like the ”Under way…” page I used to have a couple of years ago, but toned down to one tattoo per post… blog style :)

WordPress 2.0 Under My Skin

Well, not exactly under my skin, since application/xhtml+xml-flavored XHTML 1.1 junkies — like me — still have to go through a lot of grunting and swearing to repair their templates after the one-click-thingies do their job and install the upgrade and that keeps me from loving it with all my heart… but nevertheless, under my blog’ skin… In an under-the-hood way, if you know what I mean ;)

Bottom line, the dudes and dudettes who wrote the detailed step-by-step upgrade tutorial have done a great job. It went exactly as expected, no bumps nor fuck-ups… It took me less than an hour to get the blog back online and the actual upgrade — including database back-ups, FTPing and re-enabling plugins — was as advertised: no longer than ten-fifteen minutes. The rest of the hour was spent exclusively on squashing the fucking bugs these one-click jobs always leave behind; namely, uncalled for tags sticking their noses in my well-formedness :)

No major problems so far, not even minor ones. As soon as I’m done hacking back the files I had to hack when I first installed the monster, the whole thing will be back to normal… hopefully :)

Meanwhile, if you happen to catch any misbehavior at all, please let me know about it so I can fix it right away.

Update:

I’ve posted a couple of comments, tweaked the new kses.php, deleted them, tweaked some more, posted again… Ended up disabling any markup input in the comments, because 2.0 doesn’t seem to be able to deal with incorrectly nested shit and unclosed tags… That’s a bummer, because I really liked the way 1.5.2 was handling them but *sigh*… I guess I’m going to have to do without them.

The rest is good, as I said previously: apart from this bug — ot should I call it “fuck-up”? — with the way 2.0 handles badly-formed markup in the comments, I can see no other problem. An upgrade is an upgrade, too bad it still feels like a downgrade…

And no, I’m not going to give up XHTML 1.1 just because a certain version of the software fails to grasp its subtleties :p

Bottom line again, 2.0 is alright and under my skin, but not very close to my heart. I’m mostly dissapointed. And I’ll stop bitching now:)

Calendar Update • December 2005

Just a quick one, to announce you that I’ve just updated the calendar to display the entire schedule for the next year, up until December 2006…

As a side note — until I figure out how to tweak the time offset in order to show accurately the difference between my server’s and Japan’s time zones — whenever you see the update in progress note, it actually means “the calendar has just been updated a couple of minutes ago”, so you can safely disregard the please come back a little later note.

My server is located in United States and there’s a several hour difference between their time zone and mine so, basically, my current date and time haven’t happened yet (in the first 12 hours from the update) as far as the server’s internal clock is concerned. There must be a PHP “trick” to solve this, but I haven’t figured it out yet :)

Site Renewal

As I was mentioning in the previous post, the tattoos website has undergone a renewal. A little too late for the “November 1st Reboot” and a little too early for the “May 1st Reboot”, but a reboot nevertheless. I call it the “When-I-Have-Time Reboot” :)

It’s actually more than that, because it’s been changed from the inside; not just a “restyling” or a “redesign” and a lot more than just a “realigning”… Everything has been rewritten, starting with the markup itself and ending with brand new style sheets… but more about this later, in the “techie” chapter.

Notable Changes

First of all yes, of course, the looks ;) Less color, a lot more white space, plenty of room to breathe. White, black and gray for everything, a little bit of blue for the links, pastel colors for some of the markers… less hard on the eye as one of my regular readers (Hi, Mike!) told me this morning, more airy and elegant, faster and more gentle on the bandwidth :)

Second, the cruft-free URIs, for simplicity, usability and simply because cool URIs don’t change. That is, the .html, .rss, .jpg and .png file extensions have been removed from all URIs, making them shorter, easier to remember and type and more portable in the long run. Naturally, the old URIs will still function correctly, no link nor bookmark will be broken. I took a great deal of care in making sure that all the old URIs are silently and seamlessly redirected to the new ones… but, if you happen to end up with a “Error 404 • Not Found” page instead of the one you were looking for, please spend a minute and let me know so I can fix it promptly.

Then, as I’ve been “threatening” all along, even less tolerance for Micro$oft Internet Exploder. If you read this you’re, most likely, using a real browser so you won’t even notice but the site looks completely different in M$IE — if “looks” is even the word here. Basically, I haven’t taken any measure to ensure that Internet Exploiter can display the site properly; no layout, no colors, no graphics whatsoever. The site is — with a little patience and a ton of goodwill — usable and it functions “almost” decently, but it’s ugly and unstyled. From many reasons, but I’ll assume that you already know why M$IE is a worthless piece of shit and only mention the fact that I’m sick and tired of defacing my websites just for the sake of a single outdated, broken, obsolete and defective browser. I’ve got better things to do and wasting one more week to rewrite the stylesheets just for M$IE is not one of them.

There have been a few modifications in the site structure and, because they can’t be worked out through redirecting links, I’m going to list them here, so you can re-organize your bookmarks:

  • The entire /i-mode/ section has been removed. For now, I have no plans to put it back online; mobile browsers have become very good at displaying normal web pages, there’s no reason for a standalone “mobile” site. Therefore, all pages under /i-mode/ are no more, you can safely remove them from your “favorites”.
  • The “What is RSS?” page — namely http://graphictribe.com/tattoos/rss.html — has also been removed. Most of you already know what RSS is, the ones who don’t can easily google it… bottom line, a page describing what RSS feeds are is redundant and no longer needed. Until you remove it from your “favorites” the http://graphictribe.com/tattoos/rss.html will be silently redirected to the actual feed containing the calendar updates.
  • Speaking of which, there has been a slight modification in the RSS feed as well. It now displays only the calendar updates and no other items; the update announcements and other news articles have been moved here, at the weblog. The URI of the feed also has been modified; instead of http://graphictribe.com/tattoos/xml/index.rss, it can now be found at http://graphictribe.com/tattoos/xml/ (actually, http://graphictribe.com/tattoos/xml/rss.rss)removed.

With these said, I hope you’ll enjoy the new look of the website and won’t have any trouble finding your old favorites. A little bit for the “techie” curious now ;)

Under-The-Hood Changes

[Stop Internet Explorer icon]

Most important, static html has been rewritten in dynamic PHP. That is, a lot less markup, hands-off self-updating and all the goodies that come from PHP5. Lotsa googling, lotsa reading, but it paid out and worked out very well, so it’s been well worth it.

Naturally, XHTML 1.1 served as application/xhtml+xml to all browsers (HTML 4.01 Strict served as text/html tag soup to M$IE) accomplished through the usual HTTP_ACCEPT sniffing, and a slightly different approach with the CSS, consisting in serving CSS 2.1 and 3 — via the ?xml-stylesheet processing instruction — to all browsers and giving M$IE a few lines of CSS 1 via the usual link rel="stylesheet" relation link. It’s all done in PHP so, basically, all browsers will get only the ?xml-stylesheet processing instruction pointing to the stylesheet they need and M$IE will only get the link rel="stylesheet" relation link pointing to the stylesheet it can comprehend.

Naturally, valid all over the place, as it’s always been :)

Lastly, in case you are wondering what’s with the big black “stop IE!” icon, it is the background image for all pages of the website, as it appears in all flavors of Windows Internet Exploder. Actually, it is the background image of a paragraph — served only to M$IE through the use of conditional comments — appearing at the top of every page of the website, asking Internet Exploited users to switch or suffer >:) If you really are curious and can take a few minutes of excruciating sorrow, pop IE and visit the site, you’ll see right away what I’m talking about ;)

“To Do”s

Right at the top of the list, finding a couple of CSS workarounds to deal with Opera’s stubborness in straying from the web standards in the name of “originality”. Although the site is displayed fine, there are a few shortcomings in the way Opera implements (or fails to implement) some of the positioning rules — not mentioning total failure to deal with multiple direct and adjacent selectors — and I’m not pleased. The top bar holding the search field gets a little screwed and the link to the Japanese site is not displayed correctly.

Following, a few tweaks to the aesthetic aspects, consisting in adding some more icons — like the little “home” you see in the upper left side, inside the header — on every page, to improve usability, and some more background images. No worries, the sexy nymphs will be back as soon as I have better photos ;)

Tiny modifications, here and there, mostly under the hood, as soon as I figure out some more of the PHP tools and tricks. My webhost, Dreamhost, has already installed PHP5 and it would be a shame not to use some of the new functions that came with it… unfortunately, the manuals take time to read and, to tell the truth, I’m not really good at it :)

And I guess this is all. Again, if you happen to find any broken links or weird behaviors here and there, please send me an e-mail and tell me about it, so I can tie all loose ends. So far, all my browsers (Firefox, Mozilla, Flock, Camino, Safari, Shiira and Opera) displayed properly and whatever hints I could get from taking screenshots on BrowserCam showed no problems either, so I guess it all worked out fine.

Thanks for reading this!

Site Renewal Forecast… and a Request

In the next couple of days — around Thursday, November 17th–Friday, November 18th — I’m planning to online the new version — v. 6.0 — of the tattoos website. It is already written, the design is almost complete, I still have to check for loose ends and finish up the so-called “styles” for M$IE and it’s all done.

Details about the whole renewal after I’ll have it up online and running smooth, but there’s one thing I’d like to say beforehand.

Exactly as the current version does, the new one will also work properly only in real broswers; that is, Windows Internet Exploder users will have to put up with a stripped down, unstyled version which, most likely, will not function properly… because I haven’t taken any steps to ensure it would. The story is too long to be told here, but you’ll read about it in the post-renewal article — if you don’t already know how much I hate this stupid excuse of a browser… Bottom line, the next version of the site will only be accessible in modern browsers (Firefox, Mozilla, Flock, Camino, Safari or Opera) and totally out of reach for Micro$haft Internet Exploiter.

This being the forecast, here’s my request: please dump Internet Explorer now, go download any of the aforementioned modern browsers, install it and start using it. Now.

I’ve rewritten the website in a very nice manner, I have increased its usability and accessibility, I’ve even made it a little nicer… Internet Exploder is not capable of showing you half the stuff I put in it and you will loose a bunch of good stuff — besides keeping your computer open wide to viruses and malware — and that’s a shame, because any other browser — freeware, mind you! — is able both to give you a very pleasant experience and protect your computer from the shit floating on the internet thanks to the spammers.

So dump Internet Exploiter! Now. Please!

Of course, also keep an eye on this space for the renewal announcement due in a couple of days :)