1. 2011


    Last night I noticed that I’ve posted something on this site every day for 5 days in a row. In comparison to my usual pattern of posting maybe once every two or three weeks, this feels pretty good. It’s nice to see my site looking “dynamic” or whatever.

    As it happens, this streak coincides with the start of National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo. The concept of NaNoWriMo is that you force yourself to write an entire novel between November 1 and November 30. (By the way, NaNoWriMo people: the idea is great, but you seriously picked the worst abbreviation I have ever seen.) Of course, I couldn’t hope to write a novel in a month, but writing is writing, so I’m setting myself a goal of averaging one blog post per day for the entire month of November. National Blog Writing Month, I suppose. If nothing else, it’ll be a good excuse to finish up some of the posts I’ve been meaning to make for ages. Let’s see how this goes!

  2. 2011

    Moved to new server

    Just a quick update as to why this site has been messed up the past few days: I had some problems with Apache crashing after an update late last week, and since I’d been thinking about moving from Slicehost to Linode anyway, I decided to use this as an excuse to make that move. Of course, that meant I had to set up a new server almost from scratch and transfer everything over. I haven’t quite transferred everything yet, but the important stuff should be running.

  3. 2011

    The status of things

    This site hasn’t been very active recently, but I figured I could revitalize it a bit with a story of why I haven’t been making blog posts: for one thing, I’m preparing to spend a week and a half at the CTEQ summer school in Madison. I’m also involved in preparing a paper for publication (wooo getting published), which has involved a fair amount of proofreading and checking references.

    There have been a couple of neat Mythbusters episodes recently which I would have loved to write about, including the one about surviving an underwater explosion. Unfortunately I don’t know enough about fluid dynamics and shockwave physics to say anything useful about it. (That may need to change) I’m also working on something about the older episode where they tested alternative solutions to a flat tire; there’s some interesting physics there, but the details haven’t been coming together as easily as I would have hoped.

    And to top it off, I’ve been investing time in some other hobbies… which I should probably start writing about. So maybe that will provide some material to get this blog going again.

    In the meantime, here …

  4. 2010

    Totally dropping custom scripting and using jQuery

    jQuery, the Javascript framework, is like the ecstasy of web development: everybody’s doin’ it these days. (Well actually ecstasy was big in the 80’s, but a few months is like 25 in internet years. Just go with it.) When no two browsers seem to implement Javascript the same way, a framework is practically a necessity. But for a long time I held out and insisted on writing my own Javascript.

    Why? Well, for starters, most of this site didn’t even use much Javascript, and the parts that did were only really important to one person: me. I used Konqueror as my main web browser, and its admittedly crappy JS support didn’t handle frameworks like jQuery correctly, so if I wanted the pages to work for myself, I had to write my own scripts. Besides, I wanted to support W3C standards. A simple way to do that is just to write code that conforms to the standard — at least, as well as anyone can tell what it means — so if you came to my site with a non-standard-compliant browser (*cough* IE *cough*) and it didn’t work, tough. Maybe it’d convince someone to use a better …

  5. 2010

    Website maintenance with git, the pro way

    Since the beginning of version control, people have been using VCSs to manage websites. It works pretty well, because the process of web development is similar to the process of programming. Heck, with the advent of dynamic websites these days, often half of web development is programming. But web developers have one peculiar requirement that most other programmers do not: they have to maintain one particular copy of the site which gets continuously updated, but not always with the latest changes.

    Typically, when you set up a version control system to handle your website, it works like this: you have a working copy on your computer, a repository on your server, and another “live” working copy on the web server which is the actual website content. Whenever you want to update the website, you push (or commit) changes from your computer to the repository, and have a hook script set up that makes the VCS update the live working copy with the latest changes. That’s the approach I found described in a couple of websites: http://danielmiessler.com/blog/using-git-to-maintain-your-website and http://toroid.org/ams/git-website-howto.

    But once your site turns into a moderately complicated system, this doesn’t …

  6. 2009

    Anonymous comments are here!!

    My little post about how much data weighs has been getting a lot of attention ever since I posted it in a Slashdot comment. Well, not really a lot of attention, but it’s gotten over 100 hits this month, which puts it up in the top 5 pages on the site. In the course of investigating where all this traffic is coming from, I noticed a lot of requests in the logs for /blog/addcomment. Now, perhaps a lot of those are spam, but I figured I’ve held off on anonymous commenting long enough. Since there’s no way I’ll be able to do it properly anytime soon, I put in a bit of a hack that lets people post comments without authentication. This probably means I’ll have to go through the comment table to weed out spam posts, but whatever, at least it should be interesting…

  7. 2009

    RSS yay?

    I’ve been working on this for a while now, and finally my blog has a functional RSS feed. It’s the super-ghetto RSS2 format, rather than the newer, slicker (and more complex) Atom, though, so nice things like, I don’t know, HTML(!!) are a no-go, and it’s not even W3C standard compliant, but it works with my RSS reader which is good enough to start with. Use at your own risk.

    And not to worry, someday I’ll do this properly and set up an Atom feed.

  8. 2009

    Cosmetic changes

    Ellipsix has a new look! I’ve updated to a flashier blue-and-gold theme, with increased use of DHTML and AJAX (Javascript stuff that makes the pages more interactive i.e. cooler). This includes the new 0.5 alpha release of TextWriter, which you can help test on the new access page.

  9. 2008

    New look :-)

    Regular visitors (yeah right, as if I have any) may have noticed that I've updated the site with a new, or at least pseudo-new theme. This grew out of an effort to procrastinate doing real work: I was bored with both the physics problems I was supposed to be working on and the endless Python coding and sysadmin-type-stuff that this web server is needing to become truly production-ready, whatever that means. (Warning: the rest of this is quite possibly boring, I'm mostly writing to test out the new features and so that I can remember what I did)

    So I pulled up Inkscape and the GIMP and went to work creating new images. Most notably, I've gotten rid of that ugly blue/green aura that used to surround the blog posts and replaced it with a clean blue and gold border with pure white on the inside. And in order to make that contrast with the page background, I've got a papery texture created with the GIMP's airbrush tool (that, by the way, was all too easy).

    Also, in the way of changes to the CSS, some of the blog post details have been reduced to a smaller font size …

  10. 2008

    yay it worked! Part 2

    After long sleepless nights of work (really), I finally have the email server up and running on the new host. All emails sent to contact@ellipsix.net and other defined @ellipsix.net addresses should be getting through. Please email me, all I get is spam and that gets boring quickly ;-)

  11. 2008

    yay it worked!

    The new site is finally up and running — mostly... email seems to be a little problematic to set up. If you notice any problems with the site, email contact@ellipsix.net and hopefully it'll get through.

  12. 2008

    Rebooting Ellipsix

    The Ellipsix website is getting its own home! I'm moving the site to a new server and rewriting all the site's backing code from scratch, among other changes hopefully to come.