Casual Hex

Uncertain about goals, impulsive in online activities.

Doing The Unstuck

Hugo will be my new engine of choice for my Casual Hex blog. Pelican is fantastic, but some things about it never felt like the right choice for me, no matter how much I wanted it to be. It felt forced, even if I was the one forcing it. Ghost, which is still the platform for this site, was… well, I have no idea, to be honest.

From the moment I typed brew install hugo to give Hugo a whirl a few months ago I have loved everything about the way it works. Now to port this theme, along with the adjustments I've marked up this afternoon, and get everything going. It's been way too long getting Casual Hex up and running again. So, maybe by July 2016? All joking aside, my goal is to dig in the few free days I have over the coming weeks and have something ready by the end of January. I don't think I'm being unreasonable, but if I miss my mark, so be it. Casual Hex was always a fiddly hobby thing for me, even when I did actually post daily bits.

Site Going Down Temporarily

I put this site back up in a rush last winter to get back into blogging and linking stuff that fascinates me. But I haven't had the time to finish the backend or site layout as I want it. Family and other things have had a higher priority. As it is it is still sitting on DigitalOcean, which is a great company with many great offerings. But even a lost cost fee for something unused is a waste.

I'm planning on putting proper time into the site and a few scripts and other programming ideas this fall. I'll have the time then to do it all right. That's still a good ~8 weeks away so I'm going to disable my DO account in the next few days. It will leave Casual Hex in limbo, but then it isn't like I've been posting anything.

Templating Stage

I am at the templating stage of my new design for the Pelican version of this site. Very rusty with programming logic so it's taking much longer than I would have guessed weeks ago. But it's getting there. Jinja2 is pretty spiffy. Every time I think I'm stuck, the answer ends up making a lot of sense. So I get it, I'm just s-l-o-w.

I also threw in my towel with ZSH early last night. It was a spontaneous decision that took the rest of my evening as I dug into what I could do with it. Wow! I love it. I've got Oh My ZSH installed with it now, but I may switch to Prezto or go it alone. ZSH is awesome, in and of itself.

Google Fonts and Internet Explorer

I've been working on replacing the blogging platform here with Pelican and a new theme for weeks. Yesterday, when I went to test my new site design in different browsers I came across a really freaky, odd issue. My site looked great in Safari, Chrome, Opera, Firefox, and even IE9. However, it was an absolute mess in IE10 and IE11. All text was missing or scrunched up in an ugly mess. I know, I know… Internet Explorer. I may have taken a seven year break from web design and running my own site, but IE issues should never surprise me. I started digging through my style sheets, and to be honest, I was at a complete loss at why it was borked or how to fix it.

I disabled things, removed things, changed things in my stylesheet. I tried modernizr.js. Nothing worked. So I started from the top of my index.html. First thing I tried was to disable the Google Fonts I was using. Tada! Whoa! My site loaded perfectly in IE10 and IE11. Sure, my fonts were defaults, but the site looked great and functioned as it was supposed to, otherwise.

I initally had my fonts loaded something like this:

<script src=""></script>  
            google: {
                families: ['Oswald', 'Anonymous Pro', 'Open Sans']

Then I tried going back to:

<link href='|Open+Sans|Anonymous+Pro' rel='stylesheet' type='text/css'>  

Neither worked in IE10 or IE11. I was stumped, as I have limited knowledge on web fonts in general. So I did some more digging. Turns out some of the fonts that Google hosts don't work right in these two browsers. So while I know little to squat about web fonts, I can share the information I found.

After reading these articles I tried going the @font-face route, serving the fonts myself. I used Font Squirrel to create the web fonts and proper style sheet and all was good. I'd rather not serve my own web fonts, but I have not yet figured out a better way. At the moment I'm trying out Teko, Noto Sans and Anonymous Pro. I rather like the three with the site design. But I've already run through a gamut of fonts already, and may still do so.

On Net Neutrality and Regulation

FCC regulation, or government involvement in "controlling" the internet doesn’t really appeal to me. But the government already does, and has from the very beginning. Net neutrality exists because of laws created by the government, and the issues surfacing over the past few years are that providers have been fighting those laws. FCC regulation of the internet as a utility would hopefully be a Good Thing, stopping the providers from turning net neutrality into a train wreck. That doesn't mean everything will be instantly awesome and right, or that the EFF and other watch groups, will suddenly have nothing to be concerned about.

All I know is that I want true internet freedom. Freedom of choice for customers in providers would be very nice. Isn't it convenient for providers that in most markets customers have little to no choices in which provider to use? That's not open, free market competion. If we had providers competing with each other for customers, maybe a lot of the issues customers complain about wouldn't even exist. This part alone, Libertarians, is my biggest reason for saying "leave it alone, keep the FCC out of it" is hogwash.

I know that internet providers cannot simply spread into new areas overnight. So while they drag their feet in covering new areas to begin competing with each other for customers, it'd be super nice to be free from getting buggered by providers during the process. Maybe some basic, customer respectful rules they have to follow.

Also, freedom from providers injecting tracking and other code into all web page headers, because more providers do this than not and it’s really not cool. When I view a web page it shouldn't be altered in any way by a 3rd party without my permission.

Comcast caps bandwidth for all subscribers, in certain cities, no matter the plan you’re on, like here in Huntsville, AL. My family can’t stay under that cap, I have tried to limit and control what we do to lower our usage and it is just not possible. So our family pays extra every single month. By extra, I mean sometimes 50% above our already expensive bill. That cap1 is way too low with today’s media heavy internet. Comcast charges Netflix for access to Comcast customers then turns around and charges Netflix customers for the bandwidth used to access Netflix. I have no doubt that providers will be doing the same with all media-rich sites and then move on to sites like Facebook, Twitter, any big brand that total bandwidth of all users crosses some X number considered to be enough to charge them for.

Net neutrality is dying, quickly being chipped away by the big internet providers. It’s being replaced by nickel and diming schemes that will make the decades of misery everyone has suffered with cable television look like utopia in comparison. So…

Do I want full on regulation? Heck no. But the way internet providers are allowed to control the market now– that’s not free internet. I'm behind, and in full support, of whatever it takes to get true open market, competitive internet provider choices for everyone.

1. Our cap is 300GB. We have a 100Mbps downstream plan with Comcast. Any guesses how quickly one can hit 300GB at that speed? Comcast is introducing 300Mbps+ plans in some areas. What's the point in signing up for something like that with the bandwidth cap?