As of February 2002, all the code outside of Mason itself was written by me. Although I have considered using some components written by others, I haven't found any that would be more useful than those I've written myself.
Probably the most notable components are
provides a shortcut for adding links, and
provides a short way of inserting images (with or without links).
Both components replace similar functionality in UserLand Frontier, which I
used to generate earlier versions of my site (ca. 1997–1999).
HTML::Mason is a complicated beast, but with the complexity
comes the full power of Perl. Anything that can be done
in Perl (which is pretty much anything) can be done in Mason with a
bit of coding and stick-to-it-ivness. I miss some of the simplicity
of using Frontier (for example, typing
"foo" instead of
<& /gr, 'foo' &>), but I have much more
control over everything that goes on in the site (because I wrote all
the code, and I know there isn't any weird magic happening in some
mysterious script being called as part of the rendering process) and
that's worth it. (Being free from Dave's closed source, expensive
products, and weird idea of “support” are icing on the cake.)
All the PDF documents on this site were created using LaTeX and processed into PDF files using ps2pdf. By and large, the typefaces used are Robert Slimbach's Adobe Kepler MM (serif) and Adobe Cronos MM (sans-serif).
As of this writing, my weblog consists of several Mason components that provide the page layout and the content of the sidebar.
The blog content (current page and archives) consists of several Mason components that are assembled by a Perl script (currently not part of the Mason site) from a series of files stored in a hierarchical directory structure. Using files instead of a database gives me all the benefits of a database without actually having to waste time and energy getting a complex database server up and running for what is, after all, a rather modest job. (Jamie Zawinkski would be proud (notice the last feature).)
I care a lot about standards and
accessibility. The most recent retrofit of this site (February, 2002)
involved tearing out the old
(inherited from older tools) and replacing it with a clean CSS-based layout.
I'm also looking at moving the site to use XHTML, as well, making it easier to move to XML when the time is right. In the meantime, the site uses the HTML 4.01 Transitional DTD.
If you're seeing exceptionally plain pages, and you're not using a text browser, you're probably using an older browser that isn't completely standards-compliant. If you can, I recommend that you upgrade your browser to one that is standards-compliant—you'll see benefits immediately.
If you can't upgrade your browser, I apologize. I'm stuck with an
old, buggy version of Netscape on
diziet myself, but I'm
running Mozilla on
perosteck, and it's
great. Newer versions of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser also
work pretty well.
I'm currently running two computers. Mason is running on my main
diziet, a PowerComputing
PowerCenter 132. That's a Macintosh clone (from the brief reign
of Mac clones) with a 132 MHz PowerPC 604e processor. Diziet has
300 MB of RAM, and a variety of hard drives, one of which holds
my primary operating system, Debian GNU/Linux. I also have a cool
monitor, the Portrait
Display Labs Pivot 1700, whose coolest feature—pivoting between
landscape and portrait mode—I can't actually use under Linux.
The new machine,
perosteck, is a shiny Apple Quicksilver G4 running Mac OS X. I'm using that machine
more and more for web browsing and, of course, any image editing I
need to do.
diziet is still my main machine, however, as
the text-editing and mail-reading options available for Mac OS X don't
suit my needs and preferences just yet.
It's also fair to say that I would feel guilty abandoning
diziet outright, and also that I feel much more
comfortable with the power and flexibility offered by Debian's
file-system layout and packaging system, for which there is no truly
viable alternative for Mac OS X at this time.
I'm a thirty-something generalist. My degree is in anthropology, but I've worked at archaeological sites, museums, nonprofit associations, computer startups, and as a freelance book editor. I love to read and listen to music; my other interests (really on-again–off-again obsessions) vary widely and include (but are hardly limited to) archaeology, computers, folklore, geography, geology, history, modern art, particle physics, typography, and writing.
I'm lucky enough to have found Melissa (AKA “M”), an amazingly cool individual with whom I joyously duel verbally, mentally, and emotionally every day.
Questions? Problems? Complaints?
Please e-mail questions, complaints, or corrections to email@example.com.