New Sword!

Posted 2009.07.25 18.57 in Spiritual, Swords by Stephanie

I recently received a new sword to add to my collection! This one was a custom project that I designed – well I designed / specced the hilt arrangement, the guard and grip, and pommel decoration.

My Type XIII Hilt DesignThe piece was based around a medieval sword of the Oakeshott Type XIII design. (The true XIII, not a variant.) Of all the various sword makers that I know of, there’s only one who has any Type XIII blades in his catalogue and that is Angus Trim. His new Makers Mark line includes a pair of Type XIIIs, and while they both look great, the one with the tripple fullered blade was the one I liked best. I own a number of ATrim swords already and I’m very pleased with his work. Angus sells his swords through Christian Fletcher, and Christian not only handles the retail sales but also does a fine job of customization, fitting, custom scabards, belts, the works. He’s a true craftsman.

Type_XIII_Blade

So once I had my design and a blade chosen, I contacted Christian Fletcher and commissioned him to to the job. The grip would be a custom piece based on other grips he’s done, the guard would be completely custom based on my own original design, and the pommel would be fairly standard but with my designs etched into it. There would be a fairly basic scabard and a baldric (sort of a belt, worn over one shoulder.)

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Mobilizing the Site

Posted 2009.07.25 16.06 in Computers/Internet/Technology by Stephanie

With mobile / handheld internet-enabled devices becoming more and more common, it makes sense to be able to offer one’s content in an alternative format that is geared towards serving the mobile devices. The small screen and alternative interface (i.e. no mouse etc.) can make browsing normal sites more of a challenge.

Mobile Version Screenshot

There is already at least one rather popular and very powerful WordPress plugin that creates a mobile version and serves it automatically to any browsers that it recognizes as belonging to the handheld class of devices. I’ve used it for a while, but there were some aspects of it that I did not like. First and formost was the theme – it was styled to look rather similar to an iPhone application I believe, and while that would be familiar to iPhone users, it meant that my unique scheme of colours and appearance were completely lost on the mobile platforms.

Then there were functional issues as well – I didn’t like how the posts were formatted, how the pages were handled, or that there did not appear to be any way to incorporate other unique content the way I wanted. I looked at the code and theme directories a few times but it seemed very complicated and like a lot of work to customize it. So in the end, I started from scratch and made my own mobile theme, based very much on my normal theme of course.

It remains optomized for handhelds, no graphics are served up on the home page, just text, which allows for quick loading and minimizes data transfer charges. It does include brief excerpts for the posts, and I have created a customized form of ‘sidebar’ which resides at the bottom of each page. I then created my own super-simplified plugin to drive the mobile version of the theme – the plugin code is based somewhat on the package I mentioned earlier, though my version has almost no features other than the barest minimum.

When I had finished it, I then created mobile-friendly but customized themes for my work’s web site, and my friend Lezley’s site. Lezley’s was a tough one, as she’s using ComicPress which makes some significant changes to how WordPress works, and building a new theme to be compatible with ComicPress as well as being mobile-friendly was a challenge.

To view the mobile versions, just head on over with your mobile device. Or if you’d like a preview, follow the links below. (It will look super-huge on a full size monitor, but that’s why it works on a mobile device.)

If  you have visited my site or one of these others with a mobile device but found either the mobile version does not appear for you, or it appears but the style is broken or aspects do not work, please contact me via the comments and let me know so I can fix it.

Ham Radio Pages Updated

Posted 2009.07.25 12.04 in Computers/Internet/Technology, Hobbies by Stephanie

At long last, I have finally updated all the ‘coming soon’ pages under the Radio Stuff section of this site.

It’s about 3 months since I had intended to get them finished, and about 6 months since I actually started in the first place. So, sorry about the delay everyone. Things are gradually falling into place. I’ll have to take time at some point to review all the pages and make sure there aren’t any dangling ‘coming soon’ or ‘under construction’ things, or dead links.

The site has grown to (as of this writing) 63 pages, nearly 400 posts, and almost 100 comments. If I remember correctly, it serves three separate domain names, and contains about 5 megabytes of data — not including the photos, videos, and other uploaded media / attachments. There are a dozen plugins, including a couple of my own creation, and many of the others modified or customized to my requirements, a number of widgets, again including a couple of my own creation, and two customized themes – a normal version and a mobile version.

Zowie.

rightnow

Consolidation Part 2

Posted 2009.07.25 8.16 in Computers/Internet/Technology, iPhone by Stephanie

Recently I folded my Artwork website into my blog/CMS/site here. After some contemplation and thinking it over, I’ve decided to also fold my iPhone Software site into here as well.

There are a few reasons for doing this.

Primarily, it is to get everything into one place with regards to administration and site management. Certainly it’s easier to manage when all the related pages are under one roof so to speak.

Second, is the fact that having everything running under the same CMS / site provides a consistant look / feel / style to all the related content. In other words, instead of each separate site / sub-site having a different style and set-up, they all now share a common appearance, common menu navigation, and common search setup.

Finally, it makes things easier in the sense of not having to remember / maintain a bunch of different domains or sub-directories. The various domains can continue to exist but redirect to the new location under the primary domain, which makes overall navigation and cross-promotion within my various interests much easier, for readers and for myself.

Insomnia Still Sucks

Posted 2009.07.25 0.36 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

Half past midnight. Tossing and turning for an hour, trying to sleep. Not even a little bit tired.

What to do in situations like these?

Get up, do chores.

Insomnia sucks.