Life & much, much more

thinkMoult blog design updated.

It’s come a long way since the original concept redesign back in the July of 2009. The thinkMoult blog has been incrementally updated probably once a month with small tweaks to the layout. The blog has been stripped originally from its (relatively) featureful edition to the bare essentials – ie. a streaming wall of text with emphasis on clear headers and content areas.

To me a blog is a very much a written journal. Social and pictorial blogs aren’t "blogs" in my definition of the word. As a result I’ve decided to condense things a little, cutting out pictures which don’t complement the article, focusing on clear typographical elements (pushing the limits of the beloved Arial font!) and effective use of padding rather than borders. I’m maintaining the simplicity of the previous layout (no sidebar, no link lists or fancy plugins) and sticking to my roots.

The design itself was inspired by the Depo Skinny Theme but with obvious edits here and there on font styles. What this implies is that I’ve also involuntarily drastically improved the semantics behind the blog itself – which is a good thing of course.

Everything should’ve been ported over such as avatar support in comments, asides along with my asides category pagination hack, and the various footer tweaks. There have also been a few edits here and there which add to the overall polish of the design.

Well, I hope you like it, and let me know if there is anything which looks messed up.

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The very best of thinkMoult

Well, a year has passed and it’s a great time to look back over the year and follow the tradition of mentioning the first letter of names who contributed to that awesome year – in alphabetical order of course. Not that these are the only people, but they did definitely add some flavour.

A. B. C. C. C. D. E. G. H. J. J. K. L. R. T. Z.

We notice the entrance of 3 more than last year, with some remaining and some leaving the list, and a new highscore of 13/26 letters. Notably we have a new A, C, G, J, K, and a loss of an F (his fault for not replying) and an M (my fault for somehow magically forgetting he existed).

Now to start looking back at the best posts on thinkMoult ever. Or something like that. In reverse order we have…

Word processing? Real Men use LaTeX!

This little entry marks my discovery of LaTeX – basically a markup language for documents. I still use LaTeX to this day and don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. It’s also an eye-opener for those who think that Microsoft Office is the be-all and end-all. It’s a fun hidden subject to most people on the street and for that it deserves the 8th article of the year.

Sibelius, Finale, Cakewalk? Real men use Lilypond.

Similar to the previous post we continue the theme of "Real Men". This time introducing the markup of music it also represented the creation of Evan, my first music composition in a long time. It’s also opens up the idea of me releasing more compositions in the future as I continue to recalibrate some priorities.

The problem with Gentoo

This charming little post shows my second public displeasure at Linux – in this case a few personal downfalls with the Gentoo Linux distribution. Despite this hiccup I still very much like Gentoo and continue to use it today. In fact, I _just_ got my wireless working :P It also provoked a few comments from the Gentoo crowd (a hocking 16 to be exact) and made me see Gentoo in a different light. Gentoo fills a very interesting set of niches in the Linux market and I’m glad to be in one of them.

Perspective Failure

This was was also a turning point in some ways more than others – it was just after my third Perspective magazine had been released and I insulted my very own handiwork. Or rather it’s printing. I also jabbed at the entire development process for the magazine, complaining about time restraints, inefficiency, and the purpose behind the entire thing. This consequently led to a very interesting "debate" over issues, me refusing to do the next Perspective issue, and a comeback with my final Perspective creation with a completely refreshed design, a revamped workflow and most importantly, my very own article on the front page hoping to instil a little bit of initiative in my fellow students. This initial spark was supported by a whopping 23 responses – and a lot of private emails, too. It continues to influence certain events even today.

Beware of Google

Originally written back in May this definitely overdue post predicted the imminent takeover of Google. Speaking 7 months later with proof that this has started to escalate prooves intuition to be right after all. And no, the web takeover did not begin long before Google – simply because Java isn’t Google. Nor was anybody else that tried to do it. I remain a steadfast opposer to Google services and boycott it as necessary (with the exception of Google Docs, required for working with the KDE promo team). At the same time, it’s a fun thing to watch. This provoked a decent 12 comments.

The Open-Source Market – Limitless and Forever expanding?

This prequel to the 2nd article of the year earns its 3rd article of the year award. It takes a step back at the open-source market and uses Linux as an analogy to observe several of its common problems and mishaps. It takes a few daring jabs at a system to solve it but which will never be realised through raw social inertia. Definitely a wall of text, some brainfart here and there, but a post I like to rereading myself.

Kaizen and Kakushin’s Practicality in Open-Source Business Models

This memorable post was applauded silently through select IRC channels and takes a very simple and small idea about efficiency and extrapolates it throughout many different aspects of open-source business models. A gem of a post, with some lovely diagrams splattered throughout. It also ends with a few open-ended questions and was definitely something I enjoyed writing and reading again. Simple to understand and a good introduction. Yep, that’s the 2nd article of the year.

How to use CodeIgniter’s OpenID library to integrate OpenID in your existing user system.

The Article Of The Year ™ has one hell of a mouthful of a title. It’s one of the few technical posts I have written, in the form of a guide of a problem I tackled myself. It turns out that this is a pretty popular problem and one that hasn’t been answered due to the complexity of answering it. I feel I did a decent job in providing a solution understandable to most people and reports in the comments show that it has worked – boosting my geek cred considerably!

It also wins due to brute force of having 45 comments (and counting!)

’till next year!

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Implemented a new “Asides” feature.

As you might’ve guessed, the thinkMoult blog is not the fanciest WordPress implementation in the neighbourhood. Heck, our sidebar disappeared a while back. The site currently uses three plugins: a related posts feature, one that allows you to subscribe to comments, and finally good ol’ Akismet which likes to delete any comments that mention the word viagra.

WIPUP is gaining momentum and will replace some of my blog posts as the main way I release updates on projects, and as I’ve quit Twitter I have a small hole left inside me for short updates that happen once in a while. Astute readers would’ve noticed just below this post there is a post … without a post! Yes, it’s a tiny update and I shall use it for better means in the future than greeting mother Earth.

For those living under rocks, it’s basically a short sentence update that will not necessarily follow the post-every-2-days schedule I try to stick to. The update can also optionally include a link to another website.

For those curious on how I did this hackery, I followed the instructions from this guide. Well, not fully – I made some modifications and I couldn’t be bothered to style it so I just made it a header. It’s semantically incorrect – so sue me.

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Twit-to-who?

I’ve apparently poked about in the social side of the Interwebs and noticed that a new phenomenon is rising (OK, I’m a bit late) called Microblogging. Apparently it involves using your phone (or other ways) to send messages about yourself, to anybody who’s bothered to check what’s up about you. One popular site that offers this Microblogging system is called Twitter, and I’ve decided it might be fun to try out. Seeing that two-daily posts here don’t actually cover the amazing stuff I do daily, Twitter might be just what is needed to cover that gap.

Click – Check out my “Twitter” page.

If anybody here also uses Twitter and you have an interesting life, I might be inclined to adding you to my Twitter watch list.