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Michaël Duerinckx

 

Posts Tagged ‘Meta’

New hosting!

Although you may not see any difference, this site is now hosted elsewhere. It’s taken over a week to get all the administration dealt with, but now it seems to work all okay.

Michhimself.com used to be hosted by one.com, the first web host I ever paid for, which I registered with in 2009. Back then, the simple PHP/MySQL hosting with FTP access was great, but I’ve since moved on.  Since it was so-called ‘shared hosting’, it meant that multiple websites would run on the same server; meaning that the performance of my site would depend on the load caused by others.

Now I’ve moved on to a VPS (Virtual Private Server) at linode.com, where I get full root access over the machine. You know what that means: a LOT more freedom to play with. I got to install the web server software myself, as well as PHP, MySQL and a bunch of other things. I’m even running an IRC bot on the thing. Needless to say, I no longer need to use FTP to access the files on this server; I just use SSH, which is more secure, and seemingly faster as well. Have I mentioned that Linode is fabulous?

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Change

Since I last posted anything, much has changed in my life; so much that it may be more effective to say that little has not changed.

I used to live in Belgium, with my mother and sister. I had finished a bachelor degree in Electronics. Not so long before that point, my prospects for the next year or so were along the lines of finding a job in electronics, and that was it. I’ve been in a long distance relationship for some three years, and with me having a job, we’d get around to see each other more often. (She lived in England; Eurostar tickets are expensive.) However, she then managed to get into a university, quite far away from where her parents live. That’s when the idea of finally moving in together emerged.

Fast forward a number of months, I’m writing this post from our apartment in Hampshire where we have now lived for two months. She’s been doing well in university, and I’ve had my job as a Front-end web developer for a month now. I have gone from spending most of my time in my room living with my mother and sister, to moving out to another country where people don’t speak my native language, where they drive on the other side of the road, where they use a whole range of different units than those I’m used to, to live in an apartment with the person I love and to manage our own household. I’ve converted my web development into a career, so I’m effectively being paid to do what I love, and my employer encourages me to become the best developer I can possibly be.

It’s a change for the better, that’s for sure.

Getting there

Now that may have all sounded like a whole bunch of fortune, moving out and everything just works. When it comes down to it, it all turned out very good, but the road there was not easy. To move all my things to England, I actually used the post. Luckily that worked out fine, after failing to properly find out how to do it through other parcel companies. Once moved in, we had to get used to the little space we had to store our thing; which isn’t that much of a problem, it just makes for a bit of an untidy living room.

We spent the first two weeks in the apartment without an internet connection. Seeing as I had to find work as soon as possible, this was quite a productivity bottleneck. I went out to an internet café a few times, using Internet Explorer 7 on Windows XP to look for work. Once we had internet, I spent a good two weeks full-time job-seeking online. I applied to many electronics-related vacancies, signed up to a lot of websites, and just kept searching the area for any appropriate jobs. After a while I got some calls from job agencies, asking some more info about my electronics knowledge, but most often turning out to be for positions that were located too far away to be reasonable for me. Then, I ran into some web developer vacancies and decided I might as well give it a shot, even though I had no formal education in the field. The third web developer vacancy I found was thanks to someone in an IRC channel I frequent; he recommended a creative job site.

This vacancy was for a job only about 3 miles away from where we live. It was not through a job agency, so I could actually look into the company I was applying to. Boy, the company looked exciting, the first impression I got was that it was a small team of talented individual working smoothly together to create top-notch products. You can imagine how excited I was when I got a phone call from them the day after I sent my application letter. About forty minutes after that first call, I was seated in their office for a quick interview, and an inspection of some code I wrote. They seemed interested enough, for I got a task to complete over the weekend (which I managed to turn in the same evening). The next Tuesday was one of the happiest days I’d had in a long while. I got offered the position.

I like to think I’ve settled in fairly well in my new life. Life is manageable, I like my job, we’re happy.

Website update

And last but not least… actually it is kind of the least change. As you can see I’ve redesigned my website once again. It’s even more minimal than it was before, and I’m happy with that. I like having the focus on the content rather than the packaging, especially since I’m not really a designer, more-so a developer. The website you can see is now all WordPress, rather than just the blog part. It’s far easier to manage the assets/design globally this way.

Some new things I’ve been playing with in this iteration: CSS3 transitions (for the moving menu items on mouse-over), some more advanced CSS3 box-shadow things, better closure on the little JavaScript I wrote.

Also, you may want to try resizing your browser window to be quite narrow, I tried some responsive web design.

Being very much into web development all the time now (it is still my hobby even though I do it all the time at work), I intend to write some more on it here, as well as do some little open source projects. In this work environment, I’m learning a whole lot quicker than I was when developing on my own, as collaborating ‘in real-time’ teaches you so much more than working on your own does.

A fresh new look

It has been far too long since I last updated, and that’s not just because I forgot about it; I’ve been putting it off. Lately, I’ve had quite a couple of ideas to blog about, but I just didn’t want to because I had grown so tired of the dark design I made. I guess it was sort of stylish, in its own way, but I’ve started liking bright colour schemes better.

Therefore, before I wanted to blog again, I wanted to make it look pretty to look at; as you can see, I went for it and finished it; I’ll leave it up to you whether or not I succeeded.

I decided to finally jump on the bandwagon and do it all in HTML5, rather than the good ol’ XHTML. I think browser support for HTML5 is getting big enough to really start using it as the main technology in webpages; besides, it’s easy to set it all up so older browsers display everything all right as well.

My starting point for this custom theme was HTML5Reset‘s ‘empty’ WordPress theme. It’s basically a very basic theme, with minimal styling, so you don’t really need to actually get rid of anything to get it the way you want. It was very easy to work with, and I’m happy with the result.

What’s left

Now as you may have noticed, at the moment of writing, I’ve only redesigned the blog; the rest of my site still bears the dark brown design. I’ll be redo-ing my portfolio as well as the front page in this style, so it all matches. There are a couple of menu options up there in the navigation that don’t work properly yet too (most importantly, the ‘Music’ one), so I’ll be working on that as well.

Either after or before that, I’ll write a bit more about all the things I’ve been up to. It’s quite a bit.

Introduction

Hello there, my name is Michaël, or just Mich if you prefer that (I do).

I actually had a blog before, but I set my standards too high, so eventually I didn’t have anything to write about. That and the fact wordpress somehow failed while updating and I couldn’t be bothered to fix it.

The plan is that on here, I write about things I occupy myself with. These can be posts about programming, music, or even philosophical topics.

I am currently working on a rather big website project, which I plan to release into the public in little over a month; this blog may eventually discuss subjects regarding said site too, as it is becoming a rather big part of my life.

Either way, there’s an ‘About’ page on here too, which I may or may not update in the future.

I’d also like to mention that I chose this wordpress theme because it suits the overall style of the rest of my website. I tweaked around a bit in the style file, added a header etc… I think I like the outcome of it. The picture in the header is one I took when I went wandering yesterday.