First Post!

Good news, everyone! After a long hiatus, ewerx.ca is back! For those who remember the forums that used to live here, I tried to revive them with little success. So now I’ve repurposed the site into a blog. Yes, just what the world needs, another nerd with a blog!

The old ewerx site was my slice of the Internet for several years. It served as a blog, discussion forum, news aggregator and photo gallery for me and some friends. It had a good run, until Facebook and Google came along and offered better versions of all those services. Everyone, including me, migrated to the shiny new social networks, and the Internet was never the same again.

But recently I started to feel uneasy with large ad-driven corporations controlling (and owning) all of my internet content. I wanted to have my own slice again. So here it is.

I’m going to focus on posts that are helpful in some practical way. When I Google for the solution to some techy problem, I often find the answer on someone’s blog. So I thought I would contribute too. It also helps me to keep a record of useful information I pick up along the way.

As with all things of this nature, it will be an indefinite work in progress. I will try to evolve and adapt this site as time goes on, lest it suffer the same fate as its former incarnation, now doomed to obsolescence.

Let’s get meta-nerdy…

What better way to start off our nerdy adventures than talk about this website itself. I’ve never been a web developer, and I haven’t dabbled in it for several years. By the nature of web development, that means I’m hopelessly out of date. Nevertheless, I want to try to make use of the latest hotness while expending minimum time and effort. It’s interesting to see how far things have progressed in this area.

The site is powered by WordPress, hosted on DreamHost (as ewerx.ca has been for years), with a theme called Ari (and a few tweaks, naturally). Back in the days of ewerx forums, running web apps meant a lot of manual editing of PHP, HTML and JavaScript, and also fiddling in MySQL. Not anymore! Now everything’s done through fancy interfaces inside the browser, and most setup tasks are automated. I hardly ever have to FTP or SSH into my web host account at all. How far we’ve come!

I chose this theme because it features a responsive layout, which means it automatically resizes/re-arranges the content based on screen size, and so it automatically works on tablets and phones. This was important because the future is now, and we can’t keep up if we start behind!

I also redesigned the logo. The old ewerx logo had served me well for over a decade, and has remained surprisingly “timeless”, but I still wanted a fresh take for the new site.

Old logo (circa 2001):

New logo:

I am not an artist or graphic designer. I wanted something minimalistic, and I doodled this on a post-it note at work one day and somehow became obsessed with it. I recreated it by drawing it with the pencil tool in Gimp (an open-source image editor, similar to Photoshop, but not nearly as polished). Since it was drawn pixel-by-pixel to maintain the perfect proportions, it looked very… pixellated. So I used the “Neon” filter, of all things, to smooth out the lines.

This was probably one of the most tedious and incorrect ways to create a logo. I’m guessing a vector drawing program would have been a much better choice. A vector image would also be easier to scale to different sizes. But alas, I did it the only way I knew how. In any case, it’s done and I’m pleased with it. Perhaps one day the old logo will get a refresh and reintroduced as a retro throwback, who knows!

I also changed the favicon to match. I took the “ER” portion out of the logo, since it doubles as my initials. If you still see the old one in your browser you’ll need to clear the cache.

Old favicon:

old favicon

New favicon:

new favicon

Overall, it only took a few (late) evenings to get everything up and running. I spent a lot more time trying different things that I ended up removing than on the parts that you see now. But that’s how it should be…

“Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away.”  – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

 

So there we have it, the new ewerx.ca is born! That was both interesting and educational, was it not?

Stay tuned for more thrilling content…

 

18. September 2011 by ehsan
Categories: misc | Tags: , , , , | 4 comments

  • Erfan

    I want to have the first comment on your new blog. Nice sense of minimalism. No graphics other than the logo. Wonder where this blog is gonna go next. I’m excited!

  • http://www.cegames.ca Roberto Alcantara

    Nice revamp to the site Ehsan. I’ll be watching.

  • Adam

    This first post is getting pretty stale there, E … when is your RSS feed gonna blow up?

  • http://ewerx.ca ehsan

    New posts are “in the pipe”. Soon I will light that pipe up and you can inhale the freshness! But it will be a slow burn, I wouldn’t want to overwhelm you.