I’ve been wanting to do a bit of a website makeover for a while, and when my weekend at the Magnetewan cottage got cancelled because not enough of the guys could make it, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. Anyway, you probably won’t notice anything different, but a lot of work went into this.

First of all, I split up my About and News pages. There used to be only an About page, with the news on top, but as more news was added, it became pretty awkward and ugly. The “About” information was getting pushed further and further down the page.

Another thing that was bothering me was that I didn’t have an elegant way to add new news to the site. I had to keep editing the actual PHP files to add new items. The solution to this problem was to install another instance of WordPress, which is what I use to run this blog, and strip it down to the bare essentials. I use it to list the news stories into the News page, and I can add new items just by logging in and writing a blog entry.

The final problem was that I didn’t have a link to the new News page on the side navigation bar. It wasn’t going to be easy to create a new link because it was all fancy tables and Javascript rollover stuff done in Photoshop and then manually squeezed into the web page. I didn’t feel like going through all that trouble again, so as per KPR’s suggestion from about a year ago, I read up on how to do it more elegantly in CSS. I found this page and worked out how to apply it to my specific need. It was a bit difficult to wrap my crusty brain around it, but I got it to work eventually. Now, instead of preloading all kinds of graphics to have things change color when you roll over them with the mouse, I just have one file:

The CSS code I wrote shows just the part of this file that’s necessary, depending on where the mouse is. If you move the mouse over “About” for instance, it shows the part of the graphic where “about” is in orange. I was pretty excited to have figured out how to do this, and have newfound respect for CSS and CSS coders.

After all of this brain work, I decided I needed to ride my bike a bit. It’s been getting dark earlier and earlier these days, so I thought I should take care of a couple of safety issues. I rode down to the bike shop and picked up a tiny LED headlamp and taillamp for $30 including taxes. They’re very bright, and easy to attach/detach because they use these stretchy rubber connector things to hold them to the bike. They’re small, so I can fit them into the saddle bag and carry them with me when I lock the bike up.Ingenious. 😛

Speaking of ingenious, the same company, Topeak, also makes this:

It’s a tent that uses your bike frame as support, so it doesn’t need poles. It weighs about 1300 grams and you carry it in a little bag on your handlebars. Sweet.