Site Notes

These are essentially meant to be pseudo-technical notes to self. But if you are interested in this sort of thing, feel free to read on. The number junkies among the audience will probably be interested in this site's hit statistics.

The "console" like CSS [2005-03-18]

I've been meaning to write up random-yet-useful technical documentation and put it up on the site for a while now. In the process of going about determining what this entails, I ended up with the following style to signify console input/output.

[hnarayan@localhost hnarayan]$ dmesg | tail scsi0 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices Vendor: Maxtor Model: OneTouch Rev: 0201 Type: Direct-Access ANSI SCSI revision: 02 USB Mass Storage device found at 2 usbcore: registered new driver usb-storage USB Mass Storage support registered. SCSI device sda: 490232832 512-byte hdwr sectors (250999 MB) sda: assuming drive cache: write through sda: sda1 Attached scsi disk sda at scsi0, channel 0, id 0, lun 0

Personally, I think it looks pretty sweet. Useful or not, isn't really pertinent.

Sharing is a most natural impulse [2005-01-19]

When I first started revamping this site over a year ago, one of my first priorities was to come up with a simple, clean and professional theme. It didn't really take as much time as I had originally imagined to cook up something I like. Since we all know sharing is a good thing, once I'd ironed out the minor kinks, I distributed the design this website uses on, for free (as in "Free Press").

I think it was received quite well, as it has been downloaded thousands of times and has consistently maintained a high rating on the site. At various point, I've been pleasantly surprised with a friendly e-mail from a random stranger thanking me and showing me how they've gone about using it. I don't remember the links to most those sites, but here are a few samples showing the design's use in different places.   

When you see things like this, it makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. Like I started off saying, sharing is a most natural impulse. Go with it.

Site's Hit Statistics Online [2004-08-12]

I've now uploaded and linked to this site's hit statistics on a new section on this page. There is no real reason for you to be interested in any of this. But like I'd said earlier, this is supposedly psedo-technical notes to self. I just figured I'd satiate some primal urges of the number junkie sorts while I was going about my business.

(Now Hidden) Site Articles [2004-07-26]

There comes a time when you've done something so many times you cannot imagine doing it yet again. I'm now referring to answering to graduate school related questions from newbies. I've decided to put up a graduate school FAQ page so that I can direct further queries from people to it.

And so spawns a new class of currently hidden article pages. I refer to them as hidden because they aren't obviously linked to from any of the other pages on the site. If someone comes up to me related topic or query, I'll point them to it. Because I'm lazy, and that's what lazy people do - minimize work.

Testing Rendering of Equations [2004-02-13]

Now for some equation tests, for when I finally decide to populate the research page(s). All of this has been done using TeX to GIF. I have rendered PNGs of some generic equation.

Some trial image

Though that was very clear, it might get a bit messy when the equations are a lot larger. Here is a smaller version. Just to make sure it isn't too teeny to read.

Some trial image

Not bad, if I do say so myself. I wasted a lot of time trying to do this in MathML. But that isn't of great use since our friend IE refuses to evolve.

Design Paradigm and Browser Inconsistencies [2004-01-10]

This is my first real foray into the world of XHTML and CSS. The site style is influenced a great deal by BlueRobot and concepts and code for the navigation menu were derived from Listamatic. There is a rather strict separation of content and style, which can be seen quite easily if you are using Mozilla Firefox. If you are, look for the little crayons icon at the bottom left corner, and change the stylesheet to default.

Switching to the default stylesheet

You will then see something like this,

Plain unstyled content

the plain unstyled content for the page.

Unfortunately, all testing was carried out Gecko based browsers (Mozilla Firefox on MS Windows, Galeon on GNU/Linux). After the style was finalized, testing on Internet Explorer revealed some arbitrary weirdness in rendering.

Weird rendering in IE

I am not quite sure how this can be corrected at the moment, but I will in time.

It does however, render very nicely even with text based browsers like Lynx, and on graphical browsers, scales well with increasing/decreasing font size. There are no pixel based positioning schemes used in the style sheet. All of it is relative to the font size, so as that is changed, so will the relative postioning of the elements.

Rendered with font sizes scaled

There is some level of site dynamism, and consistency between the pages is ensured by coding portions of the pages (header, footer, actual content ...) separately and including common elements through SSI. The navigation menu is generated on the fly for a given page using some rather elementary conditional SSI. Subtle elements such as the page last updated timestamp are automatically handled too.

All design goals revolved around keeping it aesthetically pleasing (and yet accessible), and ease of maintainence. In my mind I have met them both, and I hope that is enough to make sure I keep this up to date.

Site's Hit Statistics

This site's hit statistics are obtained by analysing Apache's access log files using Analog and Report Magic. Remember, number junkies are people too.

January, 2004    January, 2005    January, 2006    January, 2007   
February, 2004    February, 2005    February, 2006    February, 2007   
March, 2004    March, 2005    March, 2006   
April, 2004    April, 2005    April, 2006   
May, 2004    May, 2005    May, 2006   
June, 2004    June, 2005    June, 2006   
July, 2004    July, 2005    July, 2006   
August, 2004    August, 2005    August, 2006   
September, 2004    September, 2005    September, 2006   
October, 2004    October, 2005    October, 2006   
November, 2004    November, 2005    November, 2006   
December, 2004    December, 2005    December, 2006