Site renewal ahead of blog's 20th anniversary

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The first time I logged online was back in 1996, via the then-popular but now-defunct Nownuri online service. Later that year, I was able to connect to the Internet and create my own web page, hosted on another service provider's server. Internet Archives has retained a snapshot from 1999. It was the direct predecessor to this website, and it persisted until 2001 when I registered the domain, changed the blog's name to what it is now, and overhauled the design.

Then in 2005, the website was overhauled once again in order to use the Serendipity Weblog System (s9y), a PHP-based content management system, running on my home Mac mini computer. This system has been able to meet all my needs, so the basic framework has remained the same for the past 11 years. Only the updates to the software and hardware came and went in between.

When the current website was initially designed, I targeted the screen resolution of 800x600, which was more or less the minimum people's computers could do at the time. It has worked okay over the years, but the general horizontal resolution for the desktop computers had increased more than twofold, while the mobile devices often has less than half the targeted resolution even as its usage base skyrocketed. So the website's design could not serve either of the platform all that well.

This meant that I needed to redo the website design. I had considered creating a separate design for the mobile devices, but the existing solutions did not work as well as I hoped. Then I decided to try using a new theme included in the recent versions of s9y called "Next" which used the so-called "responsive web design." The theme automatically and dynamically adjusts the layout of the site content based on the screen size, which meant that I only need to keep a single theme and don't have to fiddle with web browser detection. This was the direction I wanted to take, so I got to work.

Throughout the weekend, I analyzed the ins and outs of the theme, then I made some changes to the style sheets and the template files to create a faithful successor to the original design. The graphics assets were updated or recreated to better work in multiple resolutions. If you accessed this website yesterday or the day before, you'll probably have noticed the ongoing changes. That work is now done.

Going forward, I hope the new design serves the needs of the visitors for the next decade well. The photos and the Toon-Box web toon that I upload will be in a higher resolution starting today to suit the new design, too. I have checked that the website works fine with modern web browsers with HTML5 support, for both desktop and mobile. But if you see any weird problems, feel free to notify me via the comments.
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With iOS 9.3 out, I upgraded to El Capitan

Apple held a big press event yesterday, introducing new products like iPhone SE and iPad Pro 9.7", while releasing new OS updates - iOS 9.3, watchOS 2.2, tvOS 9.2, and OS X El Capitan 10.11.4. While I have updated iOS and watchOS as soon as possible, including the betas, I had been holding my Mac mini and Macbook Air from getting El Capitan (OS X 10.11) updates, and instead kept using Yosemite (10.10). This was mainly to have the server running stable.

But now I felt that any early kinks in El Capitan had been fixed and it was getting increasingly inconvenient to have the previous version of OS X holding back some new features I could enjoy on my iOS devices. So I decided to take the plunge today. After about an hour of installation and fixing any broken server configurations that the new OS installed had caused, everything is running alright again.
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The Toon-Box hits #1000

When I started "The Toon-Box", I thought that I would eventually hit 4 digits in the number of strips, so it started as #0001. Ten years later, it really happened - today, it hit #1000. Wow.
Defined tags for this entry: to be offline on Nov. 25th

Moving to the new home in Naju will be completed on November 25, 2014, and that includes moving the server equipment as well. As such, the website will be offline on that day, but I will try to minimize the downtime if possible. I hope the internet connection will be good.
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Site activity & search visitors

Visitors from search, 2011-05-25 to 2014-03-18

Number of visitors coming from search engines indicate how much information of current interest exist on the website.

Looking back about three years, the search visitors peaked around the end of 2011 and went into a steady decline. Excluding the long-running web comic "The Toon-Box", the site had a new blog post every few months since the current framework went up in 2005 until a product review was posted in August 2011 and stopped altogether. It seems that, with the lack of any new stuff, the visitors naturally dwindled.

By the way, "The Toon-Box" series went into hiatus in July 2009 before returning in December 2013, but it didn't have any tags or indexes, so it was largely invisible to the search engines. To fix this problem, tags were introduced upon its return. I'm planning to add tags to the old comics as time allows.

But the truly interesting thing was the 2-month server downtime between February and March of 2013 caused by the iMac failure. Because the site went away for so long, the search engines probably de-indexed the pages, leading to a significantly reduced number of search visitors for several months following the restoration.

The visitor numbers would once again pick up in November 2013. This was shortly after I posted several pages of detailed review on iPhone 5S a month before. Now the daily number of search visitors is back to the old level again. I guess the search engines finally realized that the site is back in business.
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