cmoullas.net is Back and Better Than Ever!

Back to the FutureWell, this many not be a surprised to anybody who used to follow my blog regularly, but for the most part, this site has been quite dead for nearly a year now. Some wondered why the regular stream of posts stopped, myself included. The only reason I can propose is that I got so busy with working on web design projects that I became largely uninterested in playing around with my own web presence.

My main goal in starting cmoullas.net back in 2009 was to learn much more about web design. I remember the painful experience of messing with CSS styles and the awe that I had when consulting people that could write even just basic PHP code. A the time I could hardly ever read it. In that sense, cmoullas.net has been a huge success: I now work in a field where I work on SEO regularly and design sites on a daily basis. I pushed though and learned everything I needed to know to get into a field that I love.

Other aspects were not quite as successful, however. I also wanted to be able to share all the knowledge I accumulated about technology on a daily basis to be archived somewhere for everyone to be able to reference, myself included. I can easily say that I’m learning new things every single day but that never got reflected here for which I am sorry.

What prompted this re-launch was a couple of things. On one hand, I lost a fair amount of data including family pictures from when I was a kid, among other things. What became very apparent at the time is how fallible memory can be and the importance of writing things down. I intend on this being the place for that.

Secondly, I did feel that from a technological standpoint, not only had the site fallen well behind the times in just 2 and a half very shot years, but I was also losing touch with the latest and greatest web design technologies. Despite working on websites on a daily basis, there is always tremendous pressure to squeeze a project into far too little time. Not only does that mean that testing gets cut (for instance, cross-browser compatibility), but also that implementing the latest and greatest that HTML5 and CSS3 has to offer gets put on the backburner. It’s certainly fastest to stick to what you already know!

I’ve really enjoyed being able to do with web design what originally attracted me to it, which is to be creative and innovative in my own right. I might not be doing something that’s never been done before, but I’m doing things that I’ve never done before. And that’s exciting.

In the past 2 or 3 years, I’ve also launched myself into the world of motorsport and cars which have both become a great hobby of mine. I find it unfortunate that I haven’t been throwing down everything I learn about cars on a daily basis and helping others out with the knowledge I’ve acquired often the hard way. I’m going to do my best to backtrack on as much as I can and piece together as many cool things that I’ve come across in the time I’ve been gone.

So enough of the past, now to the brand spanking new cmoullas.net! I’ve learned a lot just in putting this page together and there will be some great web design articles forthcoming. The SEO (search-engine optimization) on this page is by far the best I’ve ever done on any site in the past, and the most recent standards are employed. I’m really motivated to furiously throw out content and so I strongly believe that this site will grow along with me. I whole-heartedly welcome everybody to come along for the ride and hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Artificial Beauty

The other day I got into an interesting debate with a good friend of mine regarding louche women on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. The first thing that came to mind was of course the “Myspace angle”. In case you’ve never heard of this mystical angle, allow me to help illustrate:

MySpace Angle
Fig. 1: The “MySpace Angle”

Now I went ahead and took this idea a step further – no, not to just women wearing makeup. Me? What? Just a little bronzer, plenty of men use it, I swear! No, but seriously it occurred to me how distorted our perception of reality has become because of the images that appear in fashion magazines and all over the web. I know all too well how much you can distort reality using graphics software like Photoshop in very little time. Now as I was the one who brought this up, my friend of course asked me to prove it. Tack 16 minutes of amateur work onto an image of a girl that honestly looked okay before and this was the end result:

Artificial Beauty
 Fig. 2: Artificial Beauty

Not perfect, but enough to give you a pretty good idea of how much the lines of reality can really be blurred with very little work. I’ll be honest, every time that I go and modify a picture of a person like that it really does pain me in many ways. You really do feel like you’re chopping a person up. What’s more, it’s a total objectification of people – the kinds of thoughts that pass through your mind are of course “Hey, this doesn’t look too good” and “She’d look better this way!”.

I think the message here is awfully clear, as clich√© as it may be: stop aiming to look like people do in magazines and online. You can find thousands if not millions of pictures online that have been touched up to a point that the end result is convincingly good looking but only moderately resembles the person it started as. Now don’t get me wrong and don’t try to misconstrue the message as being “Ignore how you look”. Just do the best you can and don’t beat yourself up over every the little imperfection you see. Nobody is perfect, not even those seemingly perfect models you’ll find online.

House Returns Tomorrow!

I don’t know about you, but I”m incredibly excited about House returning tomorrow on Fox in all its glory with a 2 hour premiere! As you may or may not have noticed, the show’s time slot has moved from its old time on Tuesday (that us fans affectionately called Hughsday) back to Monday at 8/7 central. All that to say don’t forget to set your DVRs and to tune in at the right time. In all honestly, that’s more than fine with me because it just means I get to watch House a day earlier!

House Returns

For anyone who doesn’t remember where we left off, Chase and Cameron finally just got married, but more importantly House was left in the loony bin for having hallucinations of Wilson’s dead girlfriend and Cutner. There was also the whole story of how House thought he’d come clean with Cuddy’s help, then it turned out his mind was making up the whole thing on him. Oh yeah, and he slept with Cuddy in his mind too, which was kind of a buzzkill. In all fairness, we want some real “Huddy” action, none of this made up stuff!

So there we have it. Don’t forget to tune into House tomorrow, and enjoy!

Here’s the official FOX page for House

Canadian Broadband Wiki Launched!

If anybody was wondering why there have been so few updates as of late, it’s because I’ve spent the last few weeks working on a new website that I’m launching today called InternetWiki. The focus of the site is mainly to to provide a resource that people can use to become informed on the debate surrounding Canadian broadband networks and net neutrality. It’s taken some time to learn MediaWiki and get everything set-up and running correctly, but the site is finally ready for public consumption.

I am absolutely looking for contributors to the new site and the goal is for it to be mostly community-driven so if anybody feels that they want to add something to the site, then certainly feel free to do so; no registration is required to edit existing pages.

Perhaps of interest to the more technically-minded of you, the new website is hosted on my home server and is fully accessible over IPv6 which is a first. It also leaves InternetWiki.ca among only a small handful of sites worldwide which have succeeded in providing reliable IPv6 access to date.

Finally, the official URL of the page is http://www.InternetWiki.ca/

InternetWiki Logo

The official mission statement of the site is as follows:

InternetWiki.ca was created as a reference manual to be used by the general public, enthusiasts and industry experts alike to help them better understand technical terms, legislation and other issues surrounding Canadian telecommunication infrastructure and net neutrality. This page is not intended to be a place to attack individuals, organizations, companies or government; it is instead intended to present a neutral point of view on all topics covered.

It has traditionally been a near impossibility to find purely objective information on such topics and so it is InternetWiki.ca’s hope that this will become the largest repository of objective information covering such topics through community support and free, open exchange of information.

While intended to provide a specific focus on Canada, IntetnetWiki.ca will certainly not discourage the creation of topics which relate to telecommunications infrastructure from abroad.

NHL Draft 2009

I’m heading back down to Montreal from Ottawa in a couple of hours for the 2009 NHL draft at the Bell Center. Now I’m not really into hockey, but I’m staying with my aunt, uncle and cousins and they so are! In fact, we are hoping that my cousin will be heading off to be a first round pick in the 2010 draft so I will dutifully attend. In all fairness, it’s kind of cool to have a connection to some sporting event. Being somebody who has always been so into technology, I don’t generally have much contact with sporty people as you might expect and it does make for a nice change.

NHL Logo
NHL Logo

 

Now I actually went with them to the 2008 draft at Scotiabank place in Ottawa which was pretty interesting. I’d have to check, but I think that they get the tickets through my cousin’s agent. I guess I’m truly showing how little I really follow this stuff. But hey, at least I know that the Penguins beat Detroit this year in the playoffs – and I actually saw that game! In any case, hopefully I get some real news to you guys eventually. Peace out!

Michael Jackson is Dead!

Michael Jackson, the king of pop, died this afternoon at the age of 50. The cause is said to be heart failure for which he was rushed to the hospital in Los Angeles, California at 12:26 PDT. There was nothing that the paramedics could do as he was found dead on the scene.

Michael Jackson / credit: FOX News
Credit: FOX News

So yeah, that’s pretty much all I had to say. It’s kind of crazy that he died so young, though not completely unexpected as he did live an incredibly unhealthy and stressful life… Here’s to the king of pop!

Sometimes Amazing Things Happen: Susan Boyle

The title says it all… Sometimes really amazing things just happen. There is of course more to life than just technology, and this is one of those cool things worth a mention. I don’t frequently watch Britain’s Got Talent, in fact I’ve only ever seen one episode. One recent contestant has been taking the internets by storm though: Susan Boyle. It is simply a case of a truly amazing performance that you really don’t see coming from 10 miles away.

If a picture is worth a thousand words then a video must be worth 24,000 words a second – don’t worry if you don’t know why, it’s probably a good thing. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, Susan Boyle:

Introduction to this Site

Unfortunately,¬† alt tags aren’t working so very well on the gallery images below, which is not so great. That leaves me with inserting full-size images, which may slow browsing speeds for visitors. In addition to that, the nice little Ajax application I have going also looks pretty damn cool and allows for any given article to have thumbnails in it, giving greater continuity to everything. For example, watch what happens if I insert a fullsize image right below this paragraph. We’ll end up with a very clear jump, and despite the fact that scrolling is hardly a strenuous activity, it may be difficult to maintain concentration. In all fairness, though, losing your concentration is sort of an expected side-effect in this case anyways ;- )

megan fox

Alright, so welcome back to reality! I’ll lorem ipsum this as much as possible so that I don’t have to spend too much time writing random crap.

The Joomla! Community Portal is now online. There, you will find a constant source of information about the activities of contributors powering the Joomla! Project. Learn about Joomla! Events worldwide, and see if there is a Joomla! User Group nearby. Notice that the next jumps is coming up below, and that actually contains three full images in it, versus the single image I had placed above.

On this end of the jump, you probably noticed that continuity was maintained. Now imagine if there were four fullsize images there. That would have sucked miserably. In any case, we’ll see how this article turns out in the end since I’m writing this in the WYSIWYG editor right now and while it isn’t bad, it does not show everything – namely the images in the gallery. The need for further research is clearly indicated in this case. I’m thinking that maybe if I only write one or two articles a day maximum, I can simply generate the required thumbnails myself and maintain two copies of each image. It wouldn’t scale to a particularly large scale site because of the time it would take to do it and the fact that I can’t expect user-generated content to require the same thing. But since right now I’m only planning on myself and maybe one other person writing articles, so it may be alright to go with a simplified model like that. I suppose that as long as I follow best practices and create the appropriate directory structure for images and stored content all will be well. In any case, I’ll figure that out later…

For the time being, I think it is best if I concentrate on getting the background stuff working exactly as I need, as well as wrapping the content in a new div container so that I can put a neat little, background on that. I think that somehow, when you make the page look like it’s contained, it makes it feel less cramped even though you technically have less space. Not sure why that is, but I’ll leave that to the local psychologists. Now it’s time to see how the page handles articles which are longer than a single page!


Welcome to page 2 everyone! Hopefully you made it here okay and without too much effort. I’m not sure what the Content Management System (CMS) will do in order to handle this, but I guess that I’ll soon find out. It’s sort of a funny thing, though. I’m here typing my ass off, full well knowing that the more I type the more realistic the final product will be with regards to the production site. The upshot of that is that I really want to stop and take a look at the result of my “work”. Alright, I’ve had enough of this. A single paragraph will have to be enough for now. In addition to this paragraph, I think I’ll add an image below. Note that I’ll use the same gallery as before.

Wow, it sure is a damn good thing that I checked to see how my CSS code would handle all this stuff! As it turns out, I have a few corrections to make in order to make the article index stand out more. Aside from that, it seems semi-broken. I’m actually glad to know that Joomla automatically generates an article index, which is really great. That said, it is, as they say, one more thing that can go wrong! And, oops! It also turns out that the “read more” button is slightly broken. That should be a quick fix, but at the moment a border gets added on mouseover which causes it to grow slightly larger, pushing all content below it down a bit. Really distracting to say the least! In any case, hopefully this was comprehensive enough to simulate an actual article…

Oh, and one last thing – a warm welcome to all those visiting cmoullas.net for the first time!

–Corey