Tag Archives: DIY

A Personal WWW Story

From time to time I just can’t resist: My website / blog (whatever it is) has to change. The time has come again and the result is what you are looking at right now. This recent facelift triggered me to dig through my personal archives and old back-ups to take a look at the long way my website(s) has / have come. And truly a long way it is.

1999 – My First Lines of HTML

I found out that I wrote my first couple of HTML and JavaScript lines in 1999, a time when everybody was still using Netscape Navigator to browse the web and Altavista to google – obviously nobody called it “to google” at the time. I had no idea how to use computer graphics software, but paintbrush and my 56k modem – yep one of those that made the funny noises – was all I needed to upload my first piece of HTML art.

1999

Well, lots of typos and not exactly art. Fun fact: I used Labview to generate the buttons. By the way this is the only thing that I’ve ever found Labview to be useful for.

2000 – Flash and HTML

The next thing I discovered was a soon-to-be-dead technology known as Flash, which I used to create Version 2.0 of my personal website in 2000.

2000.1

Please note the cubes, which would stick with me for a couple of years. I did also get my own domain www.chschmid.com around that time. It was a free offer, all you had to accept was ads on your website, which I of course was able to hide via JavaScript. As not every computer supported Flash I also continued with HTML in parallel. The interesting aspect about HTML based websites is that you can always look at the source code. So what I did is I just copy-and-pasted an interesting design that I had found online and modified it to my needs. Yes this is stealing, but I just did not care at the time.

2000.2

Until the time came that I did care and so I designed a new website in 2001.

2001 – HTML Design

This actually was the first time that I did really design something in HTML. I had learned how to use the Corel Graphics Suite by then and the design was centered around icons and styles that remind me very much of the icon design language of the 90s.

2001.1

In the same year I did try to set up a website as joint project with a very good friend of mine. He’s doing a lot of photography these days.

2001: A joint project

2001/2002 – The Rise of PHP

In 2001/2002 I started using PHP and MySQL as server-side technologies to enhance my website. All of my PHP scripts were home-grown and for applications such as guestbooks and calendars. At the same time I also started to work for Fronius as web developer. Looking back it is funny to see how little I knew, and how much that was worth at a time, when it was common knowledge that the Internet is THE big thing yet virtually none of the 35+ knew much about the technologies behind it. So here’s my design from 2001/2002.

2002

There are some note-worthy aspects about this screenshot. First it shows that I ran Windows XP, second I was using IE (Ah!!!), third and most importantly: From the URL and the taskbar one can see that I had Apache running on my local machine for developing PHP scripts.

2002-2006 – PHP Nuke

In 2002 I found out that there were online communities that developed PHP Content Management Systems. Looking back I made a very bad choice and started using php-nuke. I did also code some modules for the system.

2006

I think some time in 2003 the free domain offer expired, and I began using www.chschmid.net.tf instead of www.chschmid.com. From then on I was also forced to be aware of CSS, which I had tried to avoid whenever possible. Interestingly this had worked quite well for a long time! In 2006 I did a minor facelift to account for the facts that screen resolutions were getting higher and that font rendering and anti-aliasing technologies had advanced. At the same time php-nuke had some serious security vulnerabilities and I found that the framework was more than I actually needed.

2006-2008 – HTML + PHP

So I did another redesign, again with almost static HTML and some home-brewed PHP + I did improve the design to be more photo-centric in 2007.

2007-2009

I didn’t change content regularly but uploaded all my music gigs.

2008+ – WordPress

When I went to UCLA in 2008 I needed a more flexible system for pushing information online regularly. With lots of exams and the bureaucracy of going to the US at hand I didn’t have too much time to set up the whole thing, so I went with a blog hosted at wordpress.com and minor default template modifications: chms.wordpress.com.

2008

I did get back “my domain” in 2009 and set up a self-hosted wordpress blog in 2010. I again used a pre-defined wordpress template with some individual modifications. Actually I did come to the decision that I wanted a new blog while on a plane from Hawaii to LA and set the whole thing up during my first night in LA. – You gotta fight jet lag somehow, right. In 2012 I did read and play around a lot with fonts, and so some font changes became inevitable.

2010-2012

What is interesting to see in all screenshots from 2006-2013 is that fonts have become more important, more beautiful and that there were a lot of pseudo-realistic design elements: Textures, shadows, lots of boxes – something that more and more designers are avoiding these days, e.g., if you think about the iOS 7 resign, or the bold and beautiful move that Microsoft has made with Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 a few years back.

2013 – The Time is Now

This brings me to what you have in front of you today: A novel, minimalistic, content-centered approach. It’s a new theme for the same self-hosted wordpress system, that I have been using since 2010 (with all the latest updates of course)

2013

And so here come the most important questions: What do you think about it? What would you change? And maybe: What’s your personal Web story?
PS. My template can of course be downloaded from my github site.

Maintenance and Repairs

Today was all about maintenance and repair. It started with me mounting the winter tires. Austrian laws require your car to be equipped with winter tires from November 1st in case of ice or snow, which starting with November is to be expected any time.

And lo and behold, we saw our first snow just hours after I had mounted the winter tires! – The perfect weather to go swimming and do some body maintenance.

That’s just one of the good things about visiting my parents on weekends: They have this great but underrated resort nearby: The Welldorado. Well it’s not as big or luxurious as the huge ones, but on Saturdays there is always enough space in the sports pool for doing some lanes. An hour later or so, I was heading back to Linz. At first I wanted to practice piano, but then I decided to stick to the day’s main theme.

My electric piano is a Yamaha S90 ES, which I really like for it’s great piano voices and all the other things that you can do with it. However it is 7 years old now and some keys started to get sticky and the key response began to become uneven. So I decided to open it up and do some cleaning.

You can actually take out every single key to clean or replace it. What is interesting is that the keys did not get sticky because of me or anybody else pouring something over the keyboard (although not aware of me doing so, I had thought that this was the reason). The real source was exuberant grease that Yamaha had used and that had started to creep between the keys. Anyway now the piano plays as smooth as on the very first day!

All in all not much revolutionary happened today. I mainly spent with maintaining and repairing some of my tools. – But this is important, because they are the things that might help me do more exciting stuff someday!

I am the Master of my own …

bladder – that’s what Sheldon want’s to be

PC – me. That’s why I started playing again with Linux. I have to admit, the whole Linux thing is with me for more than 10 years now. I have installed at least one Linux distribution every year and after some time found it: unusable to put it mildly. Most importantly: it never really supported my hardware. I should mention that I am talking about the two laptop computers that I’ve owned.

Which were both bulky 15 inch machines and I decided to go for a smaller computer about a month ago. So here I was with my brand new Lenovo ThinkPad x121e (AMD-450 Version), no operating system. In other words: Another round of Linux tryouts. I decided to try Ubuntu.

It was a lot of work and it involved things that my mother would totally not be capable off, but shit, I gotta say: It has convinced me this time!!! I got everything working!!!

Home Improvement – or – Welcome!

Long time no see! Sorry, I was pretty busy. I still am, but hey once in a while you gotta take a break!

This week was home improvement week,  some repairs here and there, new glass walls in my kitchen, and because Andrea always reminds me that my apartment looks to much like a guy’s place (no decoration and stuff) we decided what to do with the big plain wall in the entrance area. We ended up painting the German word “Willkommen!”  and the English translation “Welcome!” onto the  wall in big, orange letters (1 m=3.5 feet length!). Here’s photo of the result

… and another one with my sister, her boyfriend, another friend of hers and Richard. Notice of the self-made fruits picture in the back!

Lots of decoration work is still to come! Hope that we can “Welcome!” some of you soon, so that you can take a real life look at our pieces of art!