Tag Archives: web

Redesigned my website

See the new design here: wunchiou.com

As one of my summer projects, I wanted to redesign my personal website. I really had three motivations for doing so:

First, I wanted to make it less of a blog and more of a landing page, like a business card on the web. There are several web services like this: about.me, flavors.me, and etc. The blog component is still there, as well as photos, but they’re not the first thing you see anymore.

Second, I wanted to leverage the advantages of 3rd-party services. I use Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and so on, anyway. So why not just link or embed those in my main website instead of having to maintain something separate for myself. The website used to run on self-hosted WordPress, and I got tired to having to check and update that software (since it’s the most popular blogging software, it’s constantly the target of security attacks). Now, it’s basically a single HTML file. As such, it doesn’t require a database or much storage space. This helps save me a little on the cost of web-hosting.

Third, I wanted to use it as a project to update my knowledge to current web design and programming technologies, namely: HTML5, CSS3, and jQuery. As a result, the website has a lot of cool (but hopefully not overdone) design effects and animations. On the programming side, it now also dynamically pulls blog posts from my (non-self-hosted) WordPress.com account and photos from my Flickr account. None of this requires any special web server technologies like PHP; it’s all done with client-side JavaScript/jQuery (see the code). However, it does require the visitor to have a relatively modern web browser. I probably could have worked on making more compatible with older browsers (if you’re still using Internet Explorer 8 or lower, you have my condolences), but I didn’t think it was worth the effort.

Anyway, hope you like it!

Website Update

I finally got around to updating the look of my main website, wunchiou.com.  Do you like it?  The old version was a modified theme that didn’t support widgets.  So, I chose a more current base theme, and then played around with the CSS until it was more to my liking (as a WordPress child theme).  I actually wanted to do a minimalistic black/white/grayscale color scheme from the beginning, but for some reason the original theme deviated from that.  I also don’t feel any need to show off my CSS / Javascript skills anymore.  So, I stuck with the new theme’s default navigation scheme.  Finally, all of the sub-pages are now all WordPress pages rather than standalone HTML, to make it easier to update them.I’ve also been in the process of offloading my media (photos, videos, etc.) to other hosting sites and then linking to them.  Back in the day, when I started wunchiou.com, sites like Flickr and YouTube were not nearly as mainstream as they are today.  I think we’ve finally gotten to the point where there are some very good, free media hosting options out there.  Here’s what I’m using:

Photos: After debating between it and Flickr, I’ve chosen Picasa Web Albums.  Flickr has better social features, but Picasa wins for simple photo sharing, with 21 GB of storage for $5/year and tight Google integration.  Most of my photo albums are marked private, though; in order to see them, you have to follow the links from my website’s pictures page.  I really like the facial recognition technology in Picasa Web Albums, too: if you check out my albums, you will see a listing of who is in each picture.

Videos: Hosted on both Facebook and YouTube.

Blog Writer: Email via Posterous for general blog postings because of its super easy interface.  Just email your blog post and Posterous autoposts it to your blog, Twitter, Facebook, and etc.  I don’t like the way Posterous handles video attachments, though, so I will probably upload those manually.

Updated some stuff behind the scenes

Don’t worry, I’ll post about Katelyn’s first birthday soon. (I have a lot of grading to catch up on at school.) In the meantime, I tried to give Windows Live Writer a test run. Windows Live Writer is part of the new Windows Live Essentials that doesn’t come pre-installed in Windows 7, but is a nice set of utilities that you can download from Microsoft. The Writer is actually a blog editor that supposedly works pretty well. However, when I tried to connect it to this here blog, it wasn’t working for me and spit out an error. The short story is that through this I discovered that someone had hacked in to my blog and changed some files for some secret nefarious purposes (I believe this happened a while ago though). I think I’ve cleaned it out, and we’re back to our regularly-scheduled programming.

Incidentally, I just checked the comment spam blocker (called Akismet), and so far it has blocked 13,000 spam requests. Crazy!

Testing something. Stupid backslashes.

For some reason, posts to WordPress using XML-RPC are backslash-escaping
the text. It’s annoying. “This is a test to see if this still happens.”

The Selfish Post: Wun's Wishlist

If you ever need to get me a gift, what should you get?  I’ve been trying to think of a humble way of posting this, but the bottom line is that this is basically a selfish post.  I suppose some people might spin it as a courtesy to gift-givers, but that’s not the crux.  The crux is this: this is my wishlist.  If I really need something, I usually buy it myself because I’m a bit of a picky shopper.  However, if there’s something that I don’t need right away or is just an indulgence, I usually add it to my wishlist.  I use Amazon’s wishlist feature because you can find just about anything on Amazon, and if you can’t, they have a nifty “Universal Wishlist” tool that allows you to add stuff from other sites to your Amazon wishlist.  Basically, this is like a personal registry.

Anyway, here’s Wun’s Wishlist.

Strangely, this actually shows up in the results (on the second page) if you Google me.  Even if you’re not trying to think what to get me, you may find it interesting to peruse.

By the way, here’s my self-taught philosophy on shopping: in the long run, you’re better off buying “the right thing”, even if there’s an “almost right thing” on sale for cheaper.

Twitter Baby

Go here for all updates: twitter.com/wunch

I’m not sure when the thought crossed my mind, but I realized that Twitter is perfect for posting updates of the sort that people would like during Anny’s labor.  If you’re not familiar with Twitter, it’s basically a microblogging platform, wherein you post text-message-style updates about what you’re doing, and your friends can all subscribe to your message feed.  So, I just set myself up with a Twitter account, installed a Twitter app on my iPhone, and we’re good to go.

The main advantages are that my website won’t get overwhelmed and, if you get your own free Twitter account, you can get notifications sent via SMS, so you don’t have to manually keep checking for updates.  The only downsides to Twitter are the character limit per post and the lack of ability to attach pictures.  Luckily, the iPhone app adds the ability to attach a picture, and if I need to write more, I can post it here on my website anyway.

WordPress.app and The Return of the Self-Heating Can

Something is a bit screwy with the wordpress iPhone app now. It’s bachslash-escaping all special characters, like apostrophes. As a result, pictures are not updating, either. I think it’s either a plugin incompatibility or something in my mod-rewrite. I’m using this post to troubleshoot.

Okay, so updating to the latest version of WordPress seems to have fixed the problem. By the way, the above picture is of some self-heating hot chocolate cans. I used to use the Wolfgang Puck self-heating coffee as a class demo for thermodynamics in chemistry, but they were discontinued due to concerns of the product design and possible chemical leakage. So, I was both happy and surprised to see these on the store shelf recently. I can do that demo again!  Some links for my own reference:

WordPress for iPhone

WordPress (the web software that I use for this blog) now has an app for the iPhone. This is my first post using that app. I think this will come in handy when I’m at the hospital when Anny goes into labor; I’ll be able to update this site with info on what’s going on, so we don’t have to call/email/text everyone we know. Twitter would probably work, too, but this is easier to check.

On another note, I also upgraded to WordPress 2.6 and MySql 5, which took a bit of work. If I have time, I also want to update the look of the site, too.

This plugin also let’s me upload photos from my iPhone. Below is the crib and dresser set that Anny and I bought (the pic was taken in the store, this isn’t how our baby room looks).

Here's the crib set that we bought for the baby room

Here's the crib set that we bought for the baby room

Best. Flash Game. Ever.

Okay, so this is not what I would normally put on my blog, as it has nothing to do with me personally. However, the awesomeness of Monty Python’s Spam-A-Lot Game cannot be overstated or overexposed. I think this might even be better than The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on the Nintendo Wii. Of course, if you’re not a Monty Python fan, you will simply think I’m insane . . . which I’m not. I simply find it endlessly entertaining to defend my castle by launching cows, chickens, and shrubberies at the enemy. Ni!

Updated look for my website

The process of updating my website to make it compatible with WordPress got me on a roll, and I ended up updating the look as well. It’s a little more stylish now, and the windowed-post look is something that I like a lot. I also got a little more experience using Dreamweaver while updating the site. My impression is that while there are probably better plain text and code editors out there, the website management features in DW are excellent. It works really well if you have to FTP your work to and from your website, especially if you’re using something like PHP, which can’t be previewed locally. There’s some heavy use of CSS on this site now, and I even went back and made it a little more cohesive with the Gallery html_wrap. The only thing I didn’t update was my online resume, but I don’t really have a big need for it right now.