Archive for January, 2014

January 31, 2014

No Feline Diabetes Here

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We had a bit of a scare with Lily recently. She’s getting up their in age (She’ll be ten this summer) and was having some digestive issues this past year. We’ve switched her to a senior cat food which seemed to fix the tummy troubles. With all that had been going on this past year, I forgot about them. That is, until she threw up in the vet’s office during her annual exam. No food, just bile. The vet chalked it up to the stress of being at the veterinary office, but a lump started to form in my throat.

When the vet was taking her history I began to get really nervous. Yes, she was drinking a little more water and using the litter box a little more these days. Since it had been two years since her last blood workup we decided to do another one.

Her blood glucose reading was 221 mg/dl. The normal range is 64-170 mg/dL. How bad is 221? The graph on the diagnostics sheet didn’t even have a spot for 221. She was not just outside the normal range, she was literally “off the chart”. Lily’s creatinine, a marker of kidney disease, was also on the high end of normal and she showed some signs of a possible thyroid issue.

The vet thought the blood glucose and creatinine could also be due to stress of the blood draw, but I was extremely skeptical. If 221 mg/dl could be a typical reading due to stress (and presumably most blood draws are done in a veterinary clinic and thus on animals under similar duress) it didn’t make sense for the scale to end before 221. I was convinced she at least had pre-diabetes.

The next step was a urinary analysis, but Lily was too big for them to extract a sample. Instead we had to wait for her to produce it, and she has all the stubbornness of a senior cat. So we booked another appointment (and then another when that one failed to produce anything.) The second time was the charm, and the results of the urinalysis revealed she was in the clear.

Domingo and I decided to treat this as a wake up call to get her weight in check. Lily had previously been eating a combination of kibble and canned food. From what I read, canned food tends to have more protein and kibble tends to have more carbs, so we’re thinking of switching her to just cans. Perhaps more importantly, no more kibble means no more “free feeding,” something our last vet recommended more than once.

Tonight will be the first night for Lily without 24 access to the food bowl. Wish us luck.

January 26, 2014

Revisiting Girl Toys

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Putting a dozen princess bracelets on her foot. Because, why not?

It’s easy for someone in my position to have a gripe with ‘Girl Toys’. Computer science (my profession) has made great strides, but still remains male dominated. As such, it sometimes attracts people who think the field should remain so. I have been witness to such sexists remarks. Perhaps some people feel comfortable sharing these beliefs with me because I’m not stereotypically girly, and therefore not one of those girls who doesn’t belong. At least, that’s how I internalize those conversations. I’m not a mall crawler who likes to have her hair done and her nails polished, so I still belong. I want Nicki to belong in my world as well. To love math and science as I do.

Yet even though I’m not stereotypically girly in many respects, I am in others. Yes, I am a data scientist, a cross between a mathematician and statistician who never wears makeup, and am more comfortable sporting free t-shirts acquired from tech conferences than in wearing something ‘nice’. I also played with Barbies as a child, and collected model horses as a child. I prefer science fiction, but have been known to enjoy a romantic comedy. We are allowed to like contradictory things. Humans are complex creatures afterall with multiple facets to their personalities. Little humans are no exception. Just because a girl likes ‘girl toys’ doesn’t mean she can’t also like ‘boy toys’. It doesn’t mean she can’t grow up to be a mathematician.

I hate the notion of dumbed down ‘girl’ versions of otherwise gender neutral toys, but there’s nothing wrong in marketing toys specifically to girls. My goal as a parent is to expose Nicki to as many things as possible, and let her decide what she likes. That includes stereotypical ‘girl’ toys and interests.

That’s easy to say, harder to follow through.

This Christmas Nicki got both a baby doll, and a play kitchen. The play kitchen and doll were ideas that came right from day care. I picked her up a little on the early side one day and found Nicki, and her best friend Kai, playing together with the little wooden kitchen. They were mimicking washing dishes together. Last month she came home with a doll because she could not bear to be parted with it. Both toys were easy to justify, as both are great for creative play and role-playing. She feeds her doll (and other toys) constantly, both with baby bottles and spoons from her kitchen. She’s constantly mixing up something in her big sauce pan. She makes a mean headband soup.

She’s also been turning everything into jewelry: the rings on her stacker, headbands, even my work id lanyard. Anything that fits on her wrists or ankles goes on her wrists or ankles. I’m not sure where she learned to do that. Not from me, I don’t were jewelry other than wedding rings. Not that I can complain too much – her love of jewelry did make the pearl necklace photos that much easier. Unlike the kitchen or the doll it’s hard to come up with a good reason to introduce Nicki to custom jewelry. It’s not a role playing toy. It doesn’t help build her spacial awareness or fine motor control, at least no more than stickers and crayons do. The sole function of jewelry is too look pretty. But I knew she would like it. That should be reason enough.

I still want to discourage the idealization of princesses who wait for princes to come fix their problems, but I should let her enjoy playing princess. I don’t want Nicki to feel limited because of her gender, but I don’t want her to feel like she has to hide it either.

January 22, 2014

Luckless with Canvas Prints

I am luckless with canvas prints.

family photo as a canvas print

Back in early November I ordered a voucher for a large canvas print. I decided to go with the 24 x 32 sized canvas since that most closely matched (at least sized wise) our framed wedding photo, whose spot the canvas print would be taking. My goal was to have it, and the accent pieces hung, so our home could feel more lived-in while hosting our families for Christmas.

After some photo ninjaing due to the fact that the resolution of the photo I selected was a hair too small for the 24 x 32, I traded in the voucher on December 1st and ordered the Canvas print. It should have been plenty of time to have the canvas print mounted above the fireplace for Christmas morning.

On December 17th I received a print, a suspiciously small package arrived. A 16 x 20 sized package, which, sure enough, held a 16 x 20 sized canvas print. Domingo was on travel, so I couldn’t deal with it until after Nicki was in bed, which of course was after customer service had gone home for the night. I went to bed frustrated. Frustrated at Cafepress for the slip-up and frustrated at myself for not saving the receipt. Because I had purchased a voucher I could prove that I paid for a large, but I had no evidence that I had actually ordered a large other than the issue with the resolution. I wasn’t sure they would take my word for it.

I called Cafepress the next morning. Since the voucher code showed the price I paid they would order a new print. Phew.

When the 20th rolled around I still hadn’t heard anything about the print. I received a promotional email from them stating that today, the 20th, was the last day to order an item and have garanteed arrival for Christmas. In a panic I called up Customer service to see if there was anyway they could rush the reprint. Alas, there was nothing that they could do, canvas prints take too long to have printed. I was crushed, but I understood.

Three days latter, on the 23rd, I got an email from Customer support. They would not even process my reorder until I sent them a 3 x 5 swatch of the 16 x 20 print. They needed to be sure I wouldn’t benefit from their mistake by having two canvas prints. I was livid. I was not going to have the print I wanted in time for Christmas in part because they were intentionally delaying it. The swatch went out with the mail the very next day, but it wasn’t until January 7th that they began to process my reprint.

When the right size print arrived, well into the new year, I was still left a bit underwhelmed.

Scuff Marks Along the Edges

Despite being suspended inside the box, a 1 inch section along the edge of both the left and the right side of the canvas print had somehow been rubbed to the point of missing ink. It wouldn’t have been noticeable had I ordered a light color background, but white against brown stood out like a sore thumb.

This is where I’m grateful to have had the 16 x 20 print. I really didn’t want to go through the hassle of dealing with customer service and wait another month for a canvas print. Since the 16 x 20 was already destroyed, I thought I would see if I could ‘fix’ the white spots. I used a scissors to scar the canvas, and then drew in on them with Nicki’s crayons. They had about the same amount of ‘sheen’ as the ink, even though the color was slightly off. It made what would have been an eye sore much less noticeable.

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After coloring in the white spots with one of Nicki’s brown crayons

Red Skin Tone

Here’s where having the 16 x 20 hurt me. The 16 x 20 print job was gorgeous. The 32 x 24? Overly red. If I didn’t have the 16 x 20 to compare, the redness would not have been so noticeable.

The red tone is more noticeable when the eyeball light, an Incandescent bulb that produces a yellow light, is on. If it continues to bother me, maybe I’ll see about replacing the yellow light for a natural light. For now, we don’t have a step latter tall enough.

A New Sarah

What makes me so ragey about these experiences is that I’m being forced to jump through hoops to ensure I’m not cheating them. I get that some customers probably do try and scam these companies, but they’re needs to be a better way to handle them then to treat every customer as a would-be-cheat. This delayed my canvas print by two additional weeks.

Old Sarah wouldn’t have stood for these things. Old Sarah didn’t. New Sarah is tired. New Sarah has to get up early in the morning to go to work. New Sarah wants to spend what little energy she has left at the end of the day on baking and bed time stories.

Part of the reason I’m more willing to let this slide is because I know this canvas print won’t be the one up for all perpetuity. I’d prefer the big living room photo should include all family members and our family is bound to grow at some point. When we’re done having kids and all the kids are fairly recognizable (i.e. not still babies) we’ll get a nicer quality print. In the mean time I shall continue to make do with discount prints.

Photo retouching is a fact of life in the professional photography world. Just as an article wouldn’t go to print without being reviewed by an editor, a photograph isn’t published without first passing through Photoshop or equivalent editing tool. Yet, there is single level of photo retouching or manipulation that is universally considered acceptable.

Last year photo forensics experts accused the winner of the world press 2013 photo of doctoring the photo. Experts used error level analysis which led some to believe the image was a composite of multiple images. Even after the photographer later released the RAW file (a file generated directly from the camera’s image sensor), the debate continued on just how much editing was preformed. While the award wasn’t stripped the World Press decided make changes for it’s upcoming competition.  The debate continues, how much is too much manipulation?  What is the landscape of acceptable photo retouchings?

About six months ago I started conducting some unscientific polls to understand public perceptions of photo manipulations better.

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Authentic Vs Idealized
The primary theme that came out of my discussions was that of authenticity or idealization. While photographers generally try to capture both truth and emotion, an authenticity view prioritizes truth over emotion, where idealized prioritizes emotion over truth.

In terms of personal photography, an idealized photo might try and showcase the best of a subject. As any teenager will tell you, some days are good acne days, others are not. An idealized view point may attempt to reduce the acne so that the photo appears as though it was taken on a good day. For those on the idealization side of the axis, this type of action is not altogether dissimilar to finding a flattering angle, removing objects out of the background, or even using makeup. Incidentally, some people on the far end of authentic would agree, and disapprove of these actions as well.

Acceptance vs Privacy
There was a secondary theme that began to emerge throughout the discussions, especially in context with online photo sharing (blogging, facebooking, instagraming, etc): that of acceptance and privacy.

The idea behind acceptance is that by display a photo ‘as is’ you are showing your acceptance of the subject matter. Someone who leans strongly into the acceptance side would argue that by editing the photo, say removing acne, you send the message that acne is bad and needs to be hidden. Such an action could effect the self esteem of not just the subject, but presumably others who may relate to the subject.

On the other side, some argue that editing a photo may allow the subject or the photographer to hide a piece of themselves they want to keep private when posted publicly, or even pseudo-publicly. For example, I can’t fathom caring if a naked baby photo of me ended up on the internet, but I would care if random strangers knew where all the freckles on my body were. For me, the baby photo isn’t an invasion of privacy, per say, but the revealing of such distinguishing marks is.

No One Right Answer:
Almost all individuals surveyed had limits on how much photo retouching was acceptable, however, those limits weren’t uniformly applied. Opinions seem to differ depending on the use case. Like all things, it depends on the context. Acceptable treatment for a photo kept privately differed from those intended for small audiences, and those showcased publicly.

Perhaps related, one key aspect in whether a treatment is considered acceptable appears to be intention behind the retouching. In the world press photo contest, and photo journalism in general, the idea is to inform. In these cases the retouchings were often viewed as deceitful because they can alter the viewer’s perception of world events. Fewer people took issue with whitening teeth, or removing wrinkles from personal photos, than from magazine editorials, even though such edits were perceived as more common in magazine editorials. No one like feeling tricked.

January 14, 2014

Home Data Server, A Sketch

It’s complete! Our data backup to the cloud has finished, and ahead of schedule too. I no longer need to live in fear of data loss.

We’ve been talking about setting up a home data center since before we were married. The idea was to have one computer to act as the central repository for our data files: pictures, movies, music, etc. We’re a mixed operating system household, and having one data store makes it easier to integrate our digital stuff. Until lately, however, we never really had the impetuous forcing us to do it. After nearly four years of marriage, our data is still segregated. Our computers still don’t talk to each other, let alone to the other devices in our home like the TV.

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The Ideal Setup: A central home server with data. Domingo and I can share data with each other, by saving it to one central server, and that server also ensures data is backed to the cloud

Recently the need for a data server is becoming more apparent. Taking a page from the day care, we use music for Nicki’s nap time. Her nap time CD has been burned to my phone. The actual CD is still in a box, somewhere. Hopefully. It wasn’t really a problem that my phone was only device capable of playing her nap time music until recently. My parents were visiting over new years while Nicki’s day care was on holiday, but I didn’t have the time off from work. Trying to get the data moved to another device so Nicki could have her music and I could have my phone was beyond ridiculously complicated for this day and age.

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The Current Setup: my 9 and a half year old server is still limping along. It’s short on CPU power, low on disk space, and slugish. Domingo backs up by sending critical files to me, and I back them up directly to the cloud. In our current setup, Domingo needs to tell me when there’s a new file to be backed up. This puts him at risk for data loss.

Our first thought was to cobble something together using existing hardware. Alas, my current server is a 9 and a half year old beast I bought when I first started thinking about grad school. It was top of the line back then, but obsolete for the past four years or so. In fact, the computer is so old they stopped patching the operating system years ago. It’s now sitting unplugged, not because it’s dead (it will boot!), but because it’s a security nightmare. All other computers are in various stages of rigor mortis: 1 desktop that suffered a total hard drive crash and no longer boots, a laptop without a working battery or very stable AC adapter, and a laptop that just beeps an error code when booted before turning itself back off.

I run my hardware into the ground.

The next step is to figure out what we need from the data server. The goal is for a computer that’s

  • Multicore I think we can get away with dual core. Maybe if we’re feeling fancy we’ll do quad core. Domingo and I both use virtual machines (VM). I like Paint Shop Pro (PSP) V8 for my graphical editing because I’m familiar with the software. It will be 11 years old this April. Of course with software that old there’s no guarantee that it will continue to work with newer operating systems. A VM with an old opperating system ensures I can continue to use paint shop.
  • At least 16 Gigabytes of Memory. VMs can take up to 4 GBs of ram to run effectively. Graphics programs are notoriously memory hogs, so that VM may even need more. Since we want to be able to run two VMs potentially concurrently, 16 GB seems like the lowest bar we can get away with.
  • At least 3 Terrabytes worth of Disk. Currently Domingo and I share about 2 TBs of data (mostly photos.) The plan is to use crash plan to keep a local backup copy (likely to external drives) in addition to the cloud backup. Like I mentioned before, recovering from cloud will be expensive and painful – the cloud serves as protection against the worst case scenario.

We’re planning on using the server headless, meaning we aren’t expecting to use it directly, so graphics and audio capabilities are irrelevant. Eventually we’d want to broadcast to the TV and a stereo system, but that’s a secondary use case. Especially since we don’t currently have a home stereo. A fast wireless connection would be nice, but that’s fairly ubiquitous.

I’d also like it to be able to function as a media server and stream movies to the TV. We don’t currently have a sound system, but I think it would be nice if the server could stream sound to different sound systems. For example, playing white noise in Nicki’s room and holiday music in the living room. This should be fairly easy to achieve.

So that’s the current game plan. Am I missing anything?

January 10, 2014

Avoiding Camera Envy

Or at least attempting to.

I have always been incredibly curious when it comes to other people’s photography. I have even on occasion perused the old Facebook archives of my photographer friends’ Facebook pages looking for inspiration. What are you capturing? What are you capturing it with?!” I often wonder if the reason I struggle with certain photo ideas is due to equipment or skill. The answer, I suspect, is it depends on the photo.

Recently someone I follow decided to upgrade her camera, and I took the opportunity to compare gear. Here I thought we were shooting using comparable camera bodies. Wow, was I in for a shock. Her old Canon 7D, at 3 times the cost of my Nikon D5100, is far superior. And she was trading in the 7D for the full frame 6D. (Canon numbering makes no sense to this Nikon girl.)

Of course my first impulse was that I had finally found my reason why I struggle so much with indoor photography: inferior gear. I started to wonder how much would it cost to upgrade to a full frame myself. An hour later I had a amazon shopping cart totaling over $3000. That’s because of the three non-kit and two kit lenses I own, only 1 (my 50mm prime lens) is compatible with the full frame sensor camera bodies. I love my prime lenses, but I can’t shoot a toddler with just prime lenses – they’re always on the go! The cheapest full frame body, the D610, is roughly $2000. Even if I stick with the DX crop sensor series, the D7100 – comparable to the Canon 6D, and the camera body I figured I would buy eventually – is $1,200. (Okay, I admit Nikon numbering isn’t exactly clear either.)

Camera envy is bad for the wallet.

I only just bought my last DSLR in August 2012, after purchasing my first DSLR in May 2009. Here I am priding myself on saving money by upgrading my TV once a decade. Buying a new camera body every couple of years isn’t good for my bottom line. So the next logical question is: would that $3000 (or alternatively $1200) actually buy me anything let alone $3000/1200 worth of joy?

Full frame sensor camera sensors are supposed to have better contrast, and less ISO noise than their crop sensor counter parts. But is it noticeable? I was finding everything from the internet from “yes, definitely!” to “only if you want a 20 foot print”. Now, I’m a big picture girl. Gallery walls are cool, but I have a hard time making my photos look consistent enough for gallerias. Different lighting causes different color depths, different types of shadows. My photos just look too different. I have exactly 6 photos hung, on 4 different walls, 3 of which have at dimensions over 20 inches on both sides. So I decided to conduct a few experiments of my own. At least as much of an experiment as I can do prior to buying a much more expensive camera.

Lately I’ve been taking photos with higher and higher ISO. Those milk & cookies were taken between ISO 1600 and 2000. I don’t tend to notice the ISO on my monitor unless I zoom in, but my monitor is tiny compared to a 20 x 30 large print. I wanted to know how noticeable the grain was on a large print, without actually paying for a large print. Thus I projected my photos to 50 inch, admittedly cheap and probably not very good quality, flat screen TV using a Google chromecast. I was surprised by the results.

Photos with 2000 ISO were crisp on the large screen. It was hard to even spot noise in many 6400 ISO photos. If there was any texture, the noise tends to disappear into it. Grain was most noticeable on solid dark areas of photos. As such, ISO can be more noticeable in shallow depth of field photos, as areas out of focus tend to be blurry and thus without texture. ISO grain is also more noticeable on slightly out of focus photos for the same reason.

On the other hand, a too shallow depth of field was very noticeable. In many of my photos I noticed one eye was ever so slightly out of focus. My aperture was just a little too open for her entire face to be in focus. I have been really hampering my own photography by trying to step down the ISO too much, when what I should be doing is choosing a higher f-stop. If only I could go back in time…

I think the conclusion for me is that my photography would be better served with more photography practice, rather than better gear.


Tangentially related, as someone who has been criticized for taking too many photos, I absolutely love the xkcd.com comic from a few days ago.

Last month a certain study published in Psychological Science which found taking a photo of an object can impair one’s memory of it made the rounds, usually accompanied with the conclusion that we should all put our cameras down. But the study itself did not reach that conclusion. The study actually found that “when participants zoomed in to photograph a specific part of the object, their subsequent recognition and detail memory was not impaired”. Additionally study was also conducted over two days and numerous other studies confirm memories change over time. A digital file does not change.

I have no doubt that some people feel more ‘in the moment’ without a camera in their hands. For them, the conclusions to put the camera down makes sense. For me taking the photo is part of the adventure. I’m always going back over my old photos, reliving past memories and emotions. I would have forgotten so many little details without it.

January 6, 2014

Full Circle on Off Auto

Or more like 270 degrees (Sorry, lame math joke to fallow)

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Confession: If I am still blogging one day, when I am old and gray, my header image will be Willow Tree Anniversary figurine in front of our first full family photo.

I have learned a lot when it comes to my camera.

I know that I need a shutter speed of at least 1/320 using my 35mm lens to freeze water. That corresponds to about a 1 / (10 x FF).

I know that an F stop of F/2.8 is about as wide open an aperture as I can get when shooting a close up of Nicole and wanting to get her whole face in focus. F/4 is better.

I didn’t know those things back in February when I went off auto. And yet, I find trusting myself with my camera more difficult now than back then. One of the problems with practice is start to get a more critical eye. The more proficient you get with a skill, the more you can spot at amateur. My previous self? Such an amateur.

One of the major mistakes I made was over correcting the lightness meter. I mentioned before in my off auto post that the camera’s metering light is too dark. One step on the light side looks nice, but I have some 2 and 3 steps that look a bit flight. I’m under the impression that as long as they aren’t blown out, I can fix them in post processing – I just have to learn how!

In August I switched from full manual, to aperture priority. Aperture priority is when I set the F-Stop (controlling the aperture) and the camera chooses the optimal shutter speed for that F-Stop. While I’m not setting the shutter speed directly, if the shutter speed is a little too slow, I will up the ISO so the camera selects a better one. I think of it as 3/4s manual since I’m fully controlling the F-Stop, and influencing the shutter speed but not fussing with it much. (Annnd, we’re back to that math joke: 3/4s a Circle = 270 degrees.)

I suspect as time goes on I will continue to bounce back from Auto to Manual. Auto (or at least semi-auto) is a useful crutch for learning by letting me focus on one element of Photography at a time.

I feel like a broken record with regards to ISO. I know high ISO is not that bad, yet, I still fear the high ISO. I wish there was a ISO anti-priorty mode on my camera. Let me set the F-stop I need to get the right depth of field, and the shutter speed to get the right amount of freeze. The camera can figure out which ISO is needed to make it work. Maybe then I can finally get over my mental block.

The highlight of 2011 was undoubtedly finding out that we were expecting. I didn’t think 2012 could be topped with the birth of our first child, but 2013 brought graduation, moving and starting a new job. I think I’m ready for a quite year to just enjoy this next stage of life. While we aren’t making big plans for 2014, I am setting some small goals for myself, to get back into the hobbies I enjoy and haven’t had much time for since.

Crafting Goals
Let’s face it, I haven’t done very many crafts the past couple of years. I miss making things.

Use my sewing machine We bought it as a Mother’s Day’s gift last year, and since then we haven’t taken it out of the box. No matter how good a deal it was, it’s a waste of money if I never use it! I have a few project ideas in mind. I haven’t touched a sewing machine in 15 years so my goal is to just use the machine. If I finish one of these crafts, all the better!

The first (and the reason I wanted the machine) is to make toddler bibs. Nicki has always had a large head – 90th percent tile! – so most pull over bibs are a tight fit. She has so much hair it’s inevitably getting caught in the snaps. The Velcro bibs have been our best bet, but the Velcro inevitably detaches from itself and reattaches to other clothes in the wash. My favorite backdrop, the one I used for her baby book, was such a casualty. I want to make custom pull over bibs from a more absorbent material, and have larger head openings. I’ve seen a few ideas on pinterest for making them out of old dish towels. Brilliant!

I’ve also been considering making a tree skirt. I’m leaning in this direction, but with more of a heavy textured fabric. Maybe something that almost looks knit? I’m also thinking of a different fabric for the poinsettias but not sure what yet. I like the idea of cream and gold colors to match our new fireplace.

Finish a Craft Project At least the kind that take more than a day to complete. Since Nicki has been born I really haven’t done much in the way of crafting, and it’s not for lack of ideas.

I’d like to finish our third anniversary project before our forth anniversary. For our first anniversary I combined the traditional anniversary gift (paper) with the modern gift (clocks) for our family travel map. I skipped our second anniversary gift when I couldn’t come up with an idea for combining cotton and china, despite having visited China that year. The idea for our third anniversary gift (crystal and leather) has been bouncing in my head since we first said ‘I do’: to bedazzle Domingo’s leather coat with our wedding monogram! Kidding.

I’ve also been meaning to do custom stockings for a while now. I want to embroider our names using silver lined seed beads on old fashioned knit stockings. I think it will look awesome – if I can pull it off!

Website Goals
I’ve written my own search engine from scratch, my own blogging platform, my own image server, my own logging system and my own authentication software. This was all a few years ago. I’ve done a little web coding since then for my thesis, but crazy pending deadlines took a lot of the joy out of it. My web developer itch is so far largely unscratched.

Update my blog to have a responsive design.
When I stared this blog in 2011 I picked a blog design that was pretty, but not very responsive. The layout really didn’t work as well if you were using an atypical screen size. Blog posts were hard to read on my phone, and took up very little screen real estate on big monitors. Given that 42% of my visitors last year (up from 22% in 2012) have stumbled upon my blog using a mobile device, this feels like a giant oversight.

This week I took the first step to improving my blog design by installed a word press plug-in to automatically detect what type of device visitors are using (mobile vs laptop/desktop). I’m working on a mobile version of my blog that has a similar feel, but more readable for the small screen. When that’s finished, the next step will be to fix the desktop version.

Update my sorely out of date websites.
I took down my consulting webpage, and game webpage because they were sorely outdated. The most recent photos to my photography portfolio website are from shortly after I purchased my first DSLR in 2009. The primary reason I’ve held off on uploading more, however, is that the flash intro I wrote needs to be overhauled. My family website still lists me as a graduate student and while I’ve had Nicole’s “skin” of our family website finished for months now, but haven’t gotten around to setting it up. (It’s viewable at http://nicolecolon.com if you’re curious.)

The sad truth for web developers: your websites are always out of date.