Last Spring/Summer, I got re-engaged with the alumni association and started getting a bit more serious about the website. Our participation rate has dwindled over the last few years, and I think that part of it is my fault. I dis-engaged and wasn’t as available to work with the other alumni in keeping an up to date web presence. I was having issues with Joomla (the software powering the site) and all it’s components, and I vowed to at least move to something I knew and everyone could use. Hence the move to WordPress. That took a little longer than planned, but finally pushed that live the first week of March. I have to say that I’m more disappointed with our hosting provider than anything else. I’ve been fighting slow response times on what has basically been a much simpler platform. I’m not sure if it’s just the node we’re hosted on or what, but when I’m seeing site response times of 10s or greater, that’s not good. For comparison sake, I tried a copy of the site on this web server, and it loads blazingly fast… so I have to think it’s the environment. I also noticed that when I was trying to copy a backup file from server to server, I was lucky to pull 1Mb/s, which is indicative to me of a poorly designed hosting environment. That’s either the server itself, or the datacenter’s crappy routers doing that. This site itself is on a 100Mbps connection and loads within 5 seconds. So I’m mulling ditching the shared hosting entirely. I need to make a decision soon, as I think it renews in a few weeks. (For comparison, go to www.nctriadhokies.com, then ww2.nctriadhokies.com)
I also helped my friend Daniel make some upgrades to his site, curveexpert.net. Nothing major, but the theme he was using needed to be upgraded to support some of the newer features of WordPress. He’d made some “in-theme” edits, which has become a no-no these days. Everyone recommends now using “Child Themes” for that kind of modification work, which I whole-heartedly agree with. So I threw one together real fast to help him out.
The other bit of work I did was on a gaming friend’s “site” – pix3l.tv. It’s basically just a “shell” site to showcase his streams of him gaming through twitch.tv. This is something that’s really gained traction in the last couple of years (broadcasting gaming from your end), and he wanted to do it. It’s actually a design that was originally proposed by Mitch Green, but he got busy with school and some higher paying jobs, so Pix3l asked me to take over. Generally speaking, graphics aren’t my strong point… so I’m rather ambivalent about the whole design. Especially because he requested that the main viewing window be that large and still support the chat widget right next to it. He streams in hi-def (1280×720), and wanted his viewer to be pretty close to that. At first he wanted it to encompass a 1920×1080 resolution, but that just wasn’t happening. I explained he had to at least make it reasonable for a smaller laptop resolution of 1360×768, which he finally allowed.
I guess old habits die hard – I much prefer one of the standard “grid” layouts of 940px or 960px.
The next project I’m working on promises to have a much more regional, if not national appeal. Next year is the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang. To celebrate, the Mustang Club of America is sanctioning a “run” from Mustang, Oklahoma to Charlotte, NC via Greensboro. Ed has volunteered to organize the Greensboro stop. There’s potentially 1,000 cars coming from the western leg, and we could pick up another 300 (conservative) to 1,000 (aggressive) cars from the eastern to north-eastern seaboard. The final stop in Charlotte is for the National show, by the way. Those folks pretty much have to come through Greensboro to get to Charlotte anyways. So Ed’s working on big-time sponsors, police escorts, the whole nine yards. Pretty big deal. I’m hoping to have something together in the next few weeks. The biggest problem I have is that I’m short on content.
Probably interspersed with all of that work will be working in some time to update this site. I’m going to need to, as I noticed a lot of stuff is out of date. Heck, I’m not even using Apache to serve my webpages anymore. So I’ll need to document some of that stuff!