HongPong5 is rolling!!!!!
On this early snowy Friday morning I have finally decided to start HongPong.com again, now that I can devote some attention to it, and some key software is finally en route. This is the fifth redesign of HongPong.com, by my count. I will have to recount here the many tribulations and evolutions my websites have had since the old days...
I have new server software called MovableType, which replaces the old system, Scoop. My big goals this time:
- More pictures: I have the Casio digital camera for now, and a new iSight desktop camera as well. I always thought that the pictures which this site had back in the day were excellent and one of its best features. Therefore I will try to post pictures and small videos more often. The protest photos from this spring will be back very soon, possibly in a nice new online photo album.
- Open comments: I let the registration system get all fouled up before--so no one could really comment. Now there are anonymous comments very easily available on all stories. I really hope people take an interest. I don't care if you want to use anonymous pseudonyms: it really doesn't matter at all!!
- Cleaner layout: If you knew how scoop worked you could see how lazy I was last time. That software was too tricky to make it lay out pages how I really wanted them. It relied on very complex tables full of Perl code. MovableType, the new system, relies on Style Sheets for layout. This is very easy to fool around with. I got this layout roughly hacked together in only a few hours.
- Faster visits: MovableType doesn't have to do Perl each time someone visits, and it also doesn't require the Apache Perl module installed. This means that you can bounce from one page to another much more quickly without slowing mine down. I may be able to get a dedicated server soon, though.
- TrackBacks: The site is becoming more ordinary and bloggish-rather than its more complex former self. Part of these are Trackbacks- the link you see below next to "comments." A Trackback is simply a way for people with weblogs to reference each other. If someone else writes an entry about my entry, they would "ping" my TrackBack link so it's listed here. This gives the general public an idea of who is interested in my site.
- A richer array of stories:What drove me nuts about Scoop was how i couldn't really write about random things that came my way. Everything had to be in some big category. This software lets me make categories in 10 seconds. Also I clearly made the headline size MUCH too big before, which encouraged these wildly overlong posts. They were interesting but also often boring and unwieldy. Therefore I am reconfiguring to have much smaller posts. The idea is to post at least a couple times a day. (If I am not going to be around, I can even schedule stories to fill future gaps!)
- Searches and easy categories: MovableType helps me set up Keyword searches my website, so you can easily search for all past mentions of, say, "Atmosphere." I WILL import everything from 2003 into this site, so you can search. look back and everything connects nicely, but I haven't yet. (it's frickin hard!). This software also can easily whip up nice pages of all the posts from one category.
- Innovative new idea organization:The site you are looking at now will only be one side of my web project. The other will be where all the political research and such will be channeled and organized. Therefore that site will eventually have much of the news postings, while this site will have more colorful and personal sorts of things.
- Contributors: I always wanted people to write in, but no one did basically. This software also supports many authors, but I suppose over time HongPong.com has come to be my turf. That's no surprise, really, but I am still interested in getting people to write. I know quite a few people who regularly have smart things to say, but they are reluctant to do so on the Web. Perhaps something can be arranged.
- Making new connections: As the time has gone by this past semester I feel that I've gotten isolated from people, in part because living off campus changes everything about social reality at Macalester. Also, a lot of my most reliable friends have been in foreign lands this year. I've fallen out of touch with a lot of good people for no reason that I can adequately explain. I feel (yes debaters we can think OR feel here) that I am more accountable to everyone, and myself, when I am charting out something for the record.
To the amorphous blob representing the audience of this site, everyone that has ever swung through here a couple times, or has been with me for the long ride, thanks for coming around. Your support has always been appreciated!