Colophon ˈkäləfən, ˈkäləˌfän
- An inscription at the end of a book or manuscript usually with facts about its production
- An identifying mark used by a printer or a publisher
- This page
This site launched on July 31, 2002. Let me tell you a little bit about what makes it go.
In the beginning, there was Movable Type, and it was good.
The original blog, which was first hosted on illtron.com (RIP) would have been run on Movable Type 2.21.
In the summer of 2003, I beta tested TypePad, which is when things started to go downhill. After two pretty solid months there, I quit after the beta. By the time I got around to publishing anything new at my own site, I lost the domain to a squatter.
I started fresh in 2004 at illtron.net, never bothering to locate and move my old content. New posts were sporadic after the domain fiasco, but continued more or less through 2005, when things really died down and other projects took most of my time. I never stopped publishing and writing, I just stopped publishing and writing here.
Eventually, I moved to WordPress (again, without actually migrating anything), and I published a few techy posts, mainly aimed at the LinkedIn crowd. I got tired of worrying about updates, databases, and paying for things, so I eventually built an extremely simple stupid static site generator. It scratched the itch I had at the time — to put something up quickly — but wasn’t suited for regular, date-based blog publishing.
These days, this site is powered by the hottest tool around: static HTML.
Remember how I never bothered to migrate my own content when I’d blow my site up? Well, I fixed that. It took some tedious digital forensics, but I’ve recovered just about everything, even the regrettable stuff. These days, the content is all safely version controlled in completely portable Markdown on GitHub. It’s not going anywhere this time.
The site is hosted on Netlify, which costs me zero dollars per month to host there.
I use NetlifyCMS, to help with posting, and to enforce structure. It’s bare-bones, but it stays out of the way.
NetlifyCMS helpful, but I do most of my writing locally using Typora, an excellent Markdown editor.
I made a starter for Eleventy and NetlifyCMS to power this site, but add in Gulp, but even that was overkill. Some recent upgrades to Eleventy allow it to handle Sass compilation without any help from Gulp, so I ditched it in favor of pulling a bunch of spare parts out of Max Böck’s very nice Eleventastic starter.
I’ve put my content through a lot of designs over the years, but I’m particularly proud of this one.
Blog templates have always suffered from serious feature bloat. Things like archives, sidebars, tags lists, and even — shudder — comments, have caused people to expect a simple personal site to be loaded up with sidebars, navigation schemes, and other features.
I’ve done this work long enough professionally to know that nobody cares at all about anything in a sidebar. People are after one thing, and one thing only: content. With that in mind, my goal was to create a nice reading experience.
The layout is built with CSS grid and a sprinkling of flexbox. I should probably add some fallbacks for non-grid browsers, but the likelihood of anybody showing up here with IE 11 is pretty slim. I’m comfortable taking my chances for now.
I’m using three fonts served from Google Fonts:
Knewave, a beautiful handwriting display typeface by Tyler Finck for the League of Movable Type. I don’t know how this one never ended up on my radar before, but when used sparingly, it really brings a site to life. In the months after relaunching this site in early 2018, I started noticing this font, and similar ones, just about everywhere.
Rubik is a sans serif family with slightly rounded corners designed by Philipp Hubert and Sebastian Fischer for Google. Its heavier weights work really well as a fun display typeface, and its lighter weights are distinctive but unobtrusive. This typeface is popping up everywhere on the web these days.
Roboto gets a rap as Google’s Helvetica knockoff, but I find it’s much more readable for long stretches of text. Designed by Christian Robertson at Google, it’s easy on the eyes and unpretentious.
Since 1985, virtually every piece of digital content I’ve ever created was on a Mac. These days, I use a 2018 13" MacBook with the TouchBar. I’ve owned a lot of Macs over the years, but this is one of my favorites.
I do most of my writing with Typora, though I’m always on the lookout for the next great Markdown editor.