In the name of transparency, I thought it would be a good idea for me to put a notice here. This post was written on the morning of April 6th, 2015 - the changes discussed here were published a few minutes before this post.
I was looking at some of my analytics today, and noticed that I have had an extreme increase in the number of UUID collisions. I generate a UUID for every new visitor to WegnerDesign. I pretty much only use this to track if people are new visitors or returning.
I (normally) do not store any user identifying information - to be specific, on a normal day my analytics DO NOT include things like user agent, IP address, window sizes, locations, etc. I do track referrals - that's probably the only user-identificable piece of info I track.
Anyways, in order to figure out the root of this duplicate UUID bug, I have temporarily started tracking user-agents. I know that this is somewhat of a privacy violation, and I apologize for that. As soon as I have some sort of confirmation about which browsers are causing the issue, I will turn the user-agent tracking off. My hope is that I can turn it off by the end of the day, but I have set a reminder to turn it off by the end of this week (April 10th, 2015). I will turn it off on Friday, regardless of if my questions are answered.
Also, once it's turned off, I will reach out to Keen (my analytics service) and see if I can either scrub user-agent info out of those events, or if I can just delete all of the events during that time period. I'm going to start working at Keen in a week anyways, so I'll probably have some pull on that subject :)
As always, you can see my analytics on the WegnerDesign dashboard. If you want to see exactly what I track, my Keen read keys will be in the source of that page.
Please reach out to me on twitter if you're freaked out about this.
Watermelon is awesome. Most everyone will agree with that. It's awesome, primarily, for two reasons. First, it's really freaking delicious - all that sugary watery juicy greatness. Second, it's HUGE. I mean, watermelons are just really big. I don't care how many people you're inviting over for dinner; you only need one watermelon. They're big, and they're delicious.
Watermelons face quite the conundrum, what with them being so big and so delicious. I mean, how are you supposed to eat something that big. Have you ever tried to just straight up eat a watermelon? Like, buy if off the shelf, rub the dirt off on your shirt, and eat it? I haven't. That would be crazy. It only takes an ounce of common sense to say that watermelons are just way too freaking big to eat.
They're really delicious, though. I want my watermelon. The way I see it, there's two solutions to this problem. You could, probably, search around and try to find a really small watermelon. Like, maybe go to the farm, and pick one that's not ripe; or make them gentically engineer one for you. I don't care, just get a small watermelon. Now what are you supposed to do with that watermelon? Can you imagine what someone would do if you gave them a watermelon the size of their hand? Probably throw it at you; they're sure as hell not going to eat it.
Small watermelons aren't going to work. I don't want them to be thrown at me. The other idea - and this is brilliant - is to cut the dang thing into smaller pieces. Yeah, make them bite size, throw them in a huge bowl, and serve them to people. 9 times out of 10, I bet people eat the watermelon instead of throwing them.
My emails are like watermelons. I write really long emails. They're big. They take a long time to read. When you first open an email from me, you're probably going to be annoyed because of how big it is. The trouble is, my emails are delicious. I don't mean literally, of course; what I mean is that my emails contain a lot of good content. We call that a high "signal-to-noise" ratio, in the biz. When I send emails, they generally have pretty complex technical concepts, or complex thoughts that really only make sense in my head.
So, like a watermelon, I could give you these big scary complex technical thoughts all in one go. I could say something like "There's a corrupted block on the hard drive platter, likely due to fluctuating voltage from the power supply." You're probably not going to understand it, though. You're going to start reading that email, and immediately regret putting that giant freaking watermelon in your mouth.
I've got two options again. I could take these really big complex thoughts and turn them into one small swallowable idea. Perhaps like this, "Your hard drive's dead, idiot!". That's not good, though. People want to know why. People want to know how. People want to know everything they can about the subject you're talking about, even if they can't digest the complex thought as easily as you can. I'm not saying I'm smarter, I'm just saying it's a lot easier to write a complex thought than it is to read one.
So I cut my complex thoughts into really small bite size pieces, and serve it to you in one giant email. I'm going to explain every facet of the complex thought in a way that you can digest; not only because you want to understand it, but because I want you to understand it. My emails are freaking delicious - I want you to enjoy them.
The last time I redesigned my website I wrote a blog post called Portfolios: Design for your Goals. The gist of that blog post was that it's important to keep your goals in mind when you're designing. At the time, my goals were to create a wonderful reading experience for people that happened across my blog.
I've redesigned my site again, and that original goal still applies, but there are some additional goals that I've had to design for. The last design worked - WegnerDesign is starting to gain some traction, and I attribute that very much to a great reading experience. As WegnerDesign has grown, I've been examing the types of posts that I write. To be honest, many of them are written in an hour on the train; I read over them once, post them, and hope it goes well. That's not a good formula for creating good content. So I've added this additional goal: Create wonderful content to be enjoyed in the wonderful reading experience.
To encoruage wonderful content creation, I've made two major changes to WegnerDesign. The first is the addition of a Ramblings section. I do a lot of thinking during the day, and sometimes I want to publish those thoughts but they're not good enough for a blog post. Occasionally, these ideas are right on the line of being blog-worth, and have led to less-than-stellar blog posts. The ramblings section will allow me to still write and publish my thoughts without contaminating the blog feed. To separate the idea of a "rambling" from a "blog post" I've removed the RSS feed and social integrations. That content should be intentionally unimportant.
The second large change is that I've added a photography option to my blog posts. I've been doing some [amateur photography] recently, and thing that will be a nice addition to my posts. Not only will this make posts more beautiful and immersive, but it will require me to spend more time considering the themes of my posts before posting them. I won't be able to write the article and immediately post it, because I will need to plan, shoot, and edit the photography. You can see examples of a post with photography here.
As I developed the changes for that goal - and considered some reader feedback I've gotten - I added one additional goal: Simplify Discovery of Wonderful Content. You'll notice that this new redesign has a new - more prominent - navigation bar. In fact, you may not have even know that the old design had a navigation bar. Hopefully this new navigation will make it easier for readers to discover other content on WegnerDesign.
Enjoy the new design, and feel free to give me feedback if you find bugs/ugly things.
I just love this version of spades, and have spent months looking for the instructions. I just found them in an old board game box, and feel that they need to be documented on the internet.
The game is Batty Bridge. It's an alternative version of Spades, in which you have variable trump, different scoring values, and you rotate partners. It's relatively awesome.
Here are the instructions.