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Could You Be A Freak On A Leash?

The Design Days That Now End...

The design gig that's been consuming most of my time since early November last year has finally come to a close!

It's hard to believe it's really over. Is it over? I'm not sure yet. I may be dreaming. This may be a projection of my imagination, something I've dreamed of so long that I've wished it into reality, when really it's not true at all. Maybe I've gone mad. Maybe I'm really typing this in the looney bin, chewing tuna tin, doing things most people would consider... crazy. O_o

On a serious note though... it's not entirely over.

And I haven't actually dreamed of this ending all this time. It's been...
kinda fun.

Albeit a little stressful sometimes.

There's a bug or two we've yet to iron out anyhow.

Nothing serious. Nothing most people will notice. Potentially nothing anyone will notice. Anyone but us, who have so severely and meticulously tested this beast of a site that it now looks good even on devices and resolutions that not a single human will probably ever view it in.

And in the process possibly made it worse on devices people will.

It's so optimized I fear that some of the responsiveness has been scarified for the sake of making it look good on the particular devices we tested it with, more so than look decent on all devices. We tried it on six computers of varying sizes, and two cellphones, in both portrait and landscape mode. We tried an old tablet too but it turned out it was too old, and not only not compatible with our site but also not compatible with the majority of other sites out there. So we let that one be.

Yet on the other ones it's been optimized to the point layout items line up to the pixel... on those devices. I know we're over-optimizing, I know you can't get a website to be perfect for all, and even if you could that there's a certain point where the time required to make further improvements is no longer worthwhile, as the time it takes to make it just a little bit better drastically outweighs the use of what little betterment you get. But my nephew is a perfectionist, so we kept going, and the stylesheet is thus maybe some ~1000 lines longer than it really needed to be.

Yet there were also issues - his meticulousness helped us find some that definitely would've gone unnoticed otherwise. My sense of proficiency with design and coding both soared and tumbled with this project, from rising exponentially in the early learning phases, while we were testing out features I wasn't sure I'd be able to implement properly - like text-to-speech functionality, to plummeting in the latter phases when we were optimizing the site for this plethora of devices, and the four thousand lines of styling were getting increasingly difficult to navigate; changes that impacted one device positively often had an adverse affect on another, and improvements offset previous improvements, and everything just started to feel like a mess...

That's a good lesson too though. Stay organized. Structure your code from the ground up and it'll be easier later on.

The final night - just hours before the launch - we were troubleshooting things like:

  • Why the 'latest blog' blocks - where the entire block had been made clickable via CSS pseudo elements - were suddenly linking to author pages instead of post pages after the 'read more' buttons were removed for mobile devices.
  • Why the 'more blogs' button had such a small hit area, and seemed to be getting covered with padding from the recent blog blocks above it when they scaled past a particular breakpoint.
  • Why the menu shadow disappeared for a moment during the transition from computer to mobile menu, at somewhere around 780-784 pixels of width, though the breakpoint was 786.
  • Why content blocks that switched from float to flexbox on lower resolutions, as a way to re-arrange the order of the blocks to always have image above text on mobile - they were otherwise positioned interchangeably with text either to the right or left of each image - received different amounts of padding on every other block, even though the styles were exactly the same.
  • Why Safari specifically shows a background below a block element when it's been turned into a button, even though it doesn't actually have a background color, and hover states are supposed to override any such changes.
  • How to omit certain text from the speech-to-text engine even though it had to be readable on computers, when it was hidden for mobile specifically.

Except for that final point I managed to solve all of these things just before midnight. I think. One may remain somewhat, but that's our bug for later.

For text-to-speech it was easy to hide duplicate instances - I'd done this before when we had to have duplicate content that styled differently for different devices, but to hide it entirely from just one device eventually proved... impossible. Not without reworking the underlying script, which was a minimized JavaScript, and I'm not good at JavaScript even when it's structured in a way that's actually possible to read.

The other five points were interesting. Maybe I'll delve into those on the blog later on. I'd saved bookmarks for roughly a hundred StackOverflow posts, and CodePens, and other useful bits and pieces of design know-how I've picked up along the way these past three months, that I've been sifting through and clearing out these last few days.

Plan to recap some of these skills later on. If nothing new pops up. It'd be a good way to keep the skills fresh and relevant, and document them for posterity on the one place I know will never disappear.

As long as I live, at least.

But the finality of this design gig? We're almost there. The launch went well. I went through my checklist of items to test after opening the site for the public, optimized the cache a bit, checked links that had to be changed after development, we convened via phone roughly fifteen minutes after launch to celebrate with a glass of cider. At a distance. Cheering sensibly in a somewhat soundproof kitchen. And that was that! That was it. It was over.

They may ask for further updates down the line, and if so I'd be more than happy to step in again and resume this not-very-profitable-and-at-times-very-stressful-and-tiresome-but-at-least-occasionally-also-highly-fun-stimulating-and-personally-beneficial-and-enlightening-with-somewhat-confidence-boosting-and-further-business-meriting-qualities partnership.

We have an ongoing service plan with the client that'll give me an extra work day (at least - possibly more if there are issues and/or other requests) at the start of every quarter, and next week... well then I'm heading off to Östersund again. :)

I've been in Stockholm a little over a week since last time now. We kept going via video link the last few days, as things were not as finished and finalized as we'd planned them to be when I left, but this time it'll be more pleasure than business. I plan to hang out and have a good time mainly, work a little from a distance, blog a little maybe, squash our last lasting bugs, have a few walks with my big bro and their dog and then... back to Stockholm again! And whatever new thing awaits here next.

For now I'm catching up on other things, there really is a bundle, whatever the dues that are due... they never end.

But that's okay! Keep on going. Have a good day.

Or play pretend. :P

Later.

Watch Your Thoughts...

Watch your thoughts, they become your words.
Watch your words, they become your actions.
Watch your actions, they become a habit.
Watch your habits, they become your character.

Off A Non

And be someone, huh!

I'm heading off again, final week of design work up East, be on again soon...

2024

Let's start it right!

Happy 2024!

Happy 2024!

This one finna have a lot in store for sure! Peep last New Year post here.

I read through it again just now, as I tend to do when the fireworks start cackling and the current session of life and times starts coming to a close... think my grammar's getting a bit Theo Von-like. Been listening to a bunch of his podcasts lately. If you're ever in need of motivation or a quick mood change you'd best tune in. This Past Weekend.

Blogs like this? They may be becoming dated, but I'll keep going anyway, for myself or for others, whichever take precedence here.

Busy times precede this year... I sped up in the blogging department last year. The archive page count jumped thirty-two pages, which is a 33% increase! More than the previous year. And more than the year before that, and before that... all the way back to 2016. No doubt thanks in large part to the ongoing challenge of putting out one movie review per day.

Thirty-two pages is an extra 192 posts, which makes up for... almost exactly the surplus of reviews I've posted this year compared to the previous - give or take a few. So without extra reviews, it seems I'm keeping the pace almost exactly the same. Slightly slower than it was before but... with reviews included way way more! Next year? It'll amount a bit for sure.

I have plans. And leftovers...

Movie reviews may still account for a large part of those numbers - though I plan to watch less movies overall.

We're also closing in on two million words on the blog, which seems a pretty cool accomplishment. To give you an idea of the scale: A full book's generally in the range between 70,000 and 120,000 words.

Y'all have posted more than twice that in comments alone. 2-4 full-on books in CDB commentary.

In the real world? The wars rage since last... old and new.

I read about a pit of fire called the Devil's Door in Turkmenistan. It seems pretty cool - Yes Theory have the best travel vlogs/documentary-type-video-things if you want to learn more about that candid country.

The news is full of darkness, but if you want a speck of light delve there, or to Vsauce and his tale of the man who wanted to kill us all, or Çenet's crazy but informative trips to for example the hottest desert in the world, that's literally covered in scorched black sand... I'm not linking to any of these videos because I've been spending waaay too much time on YT again, and I need to stop! And I'd better not lead you down the same path as I've gone!! But there's so much good content out there!!!

When the mainstream media's bleak and dystopian, know there are plenty of better sources for both sight-seeing and science out there, so don't succumb to that angst and apathy, go search. Or better yet go live! Take a trip yourself. Take the train preferably. Or take a walk. It's cost-effective, though potentially a bit more co2 emission-heavy if you're in bad shape.

Anyway just get out there. I'm planning to do that a lot more too.

There's a lot of bad juju out there in the world right now but... never mind that today. This is the optimism post. I don't live in a dream world, and I don't live in a bubble, but right now doesn't seem like the right time to delve into these things, I did that plenty last year. Those same issues still persist, and escalate no less, yes...

I've had no cold this Christmas at least - and not for some time now! *knock on wood* The design gig's in it's final phase and I have no time to get one now either - though my nephew did - he just kicked the fever. We're headed into a final optimization phase next next week.

Maybe there'll be time for a meditation trip after that.

So far I do have a one-day one booked to Motala - random Swedish city I've yet to be in. And Dublin in March, Åre in April, and good buddy Andreas is coming over next weekend... 2024's shaping up nicely so far.

I started this and my resolution post in good time today, but as always I'm finishing it up as the fireworks start streaking across the sky, typing frantically, late to the party - good thing it's just my parents - but we shall cheer in a moment and air in the New Year... and I shall hit the publish button here right after.

We have cider and chocolate and a sense of hope and anticipation that somehow keeps coming back to us even in these darker times as soon as the loud noises kick in, the sulfur aroma sifts through the air, and the bleak upper expanse of darkness lights up with radiant plumes of green and blue, burning red, and silver and gold in a confetti-like sparkle...

This life's not so bad after all y'all. The lights feel like community.

2024! Let's make it true indeed.

You can find that recent resolutions post here.

Happy New Year!

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