July 2011 Status - Expressway and Website

Highway Segment I

The month of July largely went to work on the expressway as part of the JNSForum’s 2011 contest, described on my page for the contest. The results so far can be seen in the photo above: one 6-inch segment of what will ultimately be a four-foot section of elevated expressway. Still missing is the guardrail down the median.

This work is temporarily on hold, while I wait for a power saw to arrive. Cutting 2mm styrene by hand proved too much work (and too hard to get even; I did a lot of filing), and I anticipate doing many more streets and sidewalks in a similar fashion. I hadn’t really planned to buy a saw; many other tools were on my to-do list before that, but I decided I wasn’t going to enjoy working on the highway by hand, and I do want to actually complete it, even if it’s not done by the end of the contest (which is looking a bit doubtful at this point). And the saw will get heavily used in the future.

Website Status

The thing that’s really taken a lot of my time is the work to convert the website from iWeb to RapidWeaver I mentioned at the start of the month. I’d honestly thought I could convert all the musings in a week (they’re mostly just text) and a few other pages to form the core, and switch. As it stands, I’ve still six months of Musings to convert, although I’ve converted most of the core pages and photo albums at this point. I expect I have 2-3 weeks yet to go before I’m ready to make the switch.

It’s taking longer because of a few glitches, and some additional customization I ended up doing along the way. I decided I didn’t like the behavior of the included photo album, but after a bit of research discovered I’d actually bought a better one, called Collage 2, as part of the bundle that included Stacks. That took a bit of playing with until I learned how to customize it the way I wanted (I did something wrong the first time, and had an unsightly white rectangle around each photo it took some time to cure). That also led me to restructure the photo albums, making them more focused (and thus having more of them). The same photos are mostly there, although many have had exposure or white balance cleaned up.

One of the glitches is that I can’t just cut and paste text, as that carries over iWeb’s rather quirky fonts and the URLs all need to be corrected in any case. Additionally, I found out that any page containing any Japanese text suffers a font change the moment the first Japanese character is encountered which leaves the remainder of the page in something that looks like Courier. The fix is to make a copy of the page with all Japanese removed, paste that as “plain text” and then paste individual Japanese words into it, also as “plain text”, which doesn’t mess with the fonts, but is a lot of work for some pages.

But I’ve got dozens of pages converted now (a subset of the ~200 I have, but good progress). I’ll probably have around 100 done by the time I make the switch, and convert the rest later.

Still no test site, but I’ve tested with Firefox and Safari on a Mac, and IE8 on an XP machine using local files and it looks good. With IE8 being the standard for XP now, I’ve no intention of trying to support older browsers that are more non-standard. But my CSS is pretty basic, so even older browsers probably won’t fail totally.