There isn’t a whole lot of excitement around the kiln recently. I’m making pots slowly as I try to avoid wilting in the recent heatwave to hit the NW corner of Washington State. I know many people live in regions with far higher temperatures, but I’m not acclimated to 83 F (28 C). When it’s this hot, I want to sit very still in front of a fan, as close to naked as seemly, and sip ice cold drinks.
In stark contrast, bees around the kiln are very busy. I should mention that the kiln site is nestled in amongst some berry fields — blueberry and raspberry to be precise. Every year, a bee keeper puts out some hives and the bees merrily do their thing. A couple days ago, a large contingent of the local bee population decided it was time for a change of scenery. They congregated on a small apple tree for a few hours, and then with an eerie atmospheric buzz, headed out for a new home.
Although the website looks almost identical to its old self, I’ve substantially overhauled its gritty underbelly. I still rely on old-school tables to a large extent, but I’ve made the first serious transition into cascading style sheets. This should help give the site a bit more of a consistent look between updates. I’m also working on eliminating static html content — most of the content is now generated dynamically from database content. That too makes it easier to administrate.
The only potential glitch I can foresee is that I may lose some email over the next couple days. Not only did I redesign the website, I switched hosts as well so there may be times when mail sent to me winds up in some black hole never to be seen again. If I fail to answer an email sent to me within a couple days, please send it again.
I switched webhosts because my prior host had a lousy system for making site changes. I could use ftp, which I loathe because the password exchange occurs in clear text, i.e., anyone sitting on the network between me and the server could read my password. The other option was to use ssh (secure shell), but only from the cli (command line). The cli is fine for massive site-wide changes, but a real hassle when updating a handful of files in disparate locations.
From the cli, one must type out each location exactly correctly, with perfect punctuation and typographical elocution, and have no mistakes or errors. … OK, so that was a bit redundant, but so is typing the same 80 character string three times followed by the login password because of a teeny tiny typo.
In contrast, my file browser allows me to make ssh connections and then drag and drop files between my local and remote systems — a very convenient feature for making small changes. When I tried logging in via my browser to my old host, they banned me. I couldn’t even view my site for about a week. I was ______ ______ed off. My trials are over however — my new host gives me all the sweet candy goodness of real ssh access: the power to make massive changes from the cli, and the power to drag and drop little tweaks in my browser window.