Posted on May 27, 2011.

Another new site

I've maintained my website to some extent now for quite some time - even longer if you take my blog into account. I decided it was time for a change, and a little while ago I fell in love with Steve Losh's website. This was for a number of reasons; the first is the sheer simplicity - it's super easy to read. The second was for the cool header to the left of the text you see here. Have a little scroll up and down the page. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Pretty great, huh? That said, I did change a few things to make it feel more like my own, like the splash page and the colours (see below).

A third reason I liked it is that it's based on hyde and this allows me to easily unify the appearance of my site. For too long, cool projects like [the Lottery Frustrator][frustrator] or my Qwantz-Twitter mash-up have had inelegant and ugly HTML wrapping them, even thought they deserve much better. Something like Wordpress doesn't really allow for easy unification of such pages, but hyde does, allowing you to build up a page out of building blocks that you already have, compiling it into HTML as a one-time event. My PHP files now just have these blocks in them, and are rendered by hyde upon deployment. I hope that all my old

The colours

I wasn't a huge fan of Steve's colour scheme - I thought that it was a bit pink.I think mine might be a touch too green, but it's good enough to get the site up. For too long I've had it sitting on my hard drive, gently being tweaked while I tried small changes here and there. I've now got it up, facing the world, and I have to deal with it like that. I found Kuler very helpful on the final push to find a colour scheme that I liked.

Top and Tail

I like having defined headers and footers, which Steve didn't have quite so much. My CSS was extremely rusty, so the basic layout you see before you is a) The product of many more hours of work than it should have been and b) not implemented in the most elegant fashion. If you are of a nervous disposition, I don't recommend that you look at the nested elements I've invoked to get it to work.

Splash Page

Upon seeing my first take on the site, my girlfriend announced that it looked 'boring', and I can see where she was coming from. So I've removed the text and thrown in some images of things that I have done or am doing. Hopefully that's much more enticing. I certainly can't see anyone not being intrigued by the Old Spice Guy.

Writing

Part of the reason I was so enthralled by the scrolling header to the left is that it lends itself to a style of writing I'm trying to adopt on the encouragement of my PhD supervisor. Namely, build up from a framework of headers. Pad each of these out slowly, allowing the structure of your writing to build up as you get a better idea for what you want to tell your reader.

I gave it a shot for this post, and I think it worked out okay - but such a sprawling post is not really the best test case. More focussed posts in the future will form a better test, for sure.

Magic

About eighteen months ago, I made a cube out of commons and uncommons I had mostly lying around. My friends and I would occasionally draft from boosters we bought, and I thought this would be a good way to get more use out of the cards we had lying around, and sate our desire for a draft for free when we got the urge.

Unfortunately, this has spectacularly backfired if we are using 'free' as our metric of success. We've started going to prereleases again, and even building constructed decks. Happily, I've held off going completely mad on singles; this Standard season I've been running mono white Signal Quest, which was pleasantly cheap to build.

When the rotation happens, I'll evaluate where I stand on the constructed front. I've always been a fan of Legacy, as it lets me play Enchantress (my all-time favourite constructed deck - drawing cards in green never gets old), which I already had mostly built from back in the day. My main issue with Standard is the cost of chase singles, but I could see myself keeping a cheap Standard deck to hand to be able to go with friends to game days and so forth. The recent announcement of modern has certainly captured my interest though, I must say...

PhD

The PhD can be honestly described as going. Going where, I'm not sure - but going it is. My second year report is due soon, which must include a thesis plan. To say that this is concentrating my mind at the moment is somewhat of an understatement.