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Updates and Shadowness Version 3

Written by Raymond Santos Estrella on Thursday, 08 April 2004. Posted in 2004

Aristotle raped reason. He implanted in the dominant schools of philosophy, the attractive belief that there can be discrete separation between mind and body. This led quite naturally to corollary delusions such as the one that power can be understood without applying it, or that joy is totally removable from unhappiness, that peace can exist in the total absence of war, or that life can be understood without death.

—Erasmus, Battle of Corrin by Brian Herbert

Finals are finally over! Whew! I haven’t been as idle as I am right now since Christmas break and thank God for it. I’ve got a lot of updates that I’ve promised over the past year and trust me, I am getting to it.

Like I’ve been droning about for the past year, I believe that HTML has just about outlived its usefulness. What with the W3C taking forever to update any of the language’s proposed tags, I see that innovation for HTML has just about come to a dead standstill. Mind you, its almost two years since they’ve approved a tag as part of the standard set of HTML tags. Two years for one tag! The only organization slower than them is probably the Philippine government. Ah, well, I’m digressing again.

Anyway, off the top of my head I can think of half a dozen new markup languages that could very well knock the socks off of HTML and they’re evolving fast. XML, for instance, is taking a skyrocket’s pace ever since Microsoft found its usefulness for database applications. PHP is another language that builds off on hypertext by including a number of keywords which enables it to interconnect with the most popular web database engine, SQL. Alas this means, at least for me, a ton of new work to do in order to keep up.

Again, taking the same cue, static raster images are dying a natural death. I mean, they were indeed useful in their own right. However, there’s a growing trend to keep web pages in motion, with lots of things zipping and zooming by your screen to keep you occupied. Probably the consequence of long term exposure to television and MTV have given our generation exceptionally short attention spans. Short or long, the inherent benefits of vector images have been known for quite some time already. Instead of mapping the color of each and every pixel of, say, a circle, one can simply record the most basic formulas which would suffice to recreate the circle such as midpoint, diameter, radius and such with no loss of quality at all.

So here I am with a huge amount of time on my hands. I’ve finished going over last summer’s old site notes and reviewing the unfinished code I left behind. Judging from these files, I think I’ve just finished less than a quarter of the whole back end work. I haven’t been able to think up a good working Flash frontend yet since I got stuck with all the PHP and SQL code but I’ve been looking around the neighborhood and I’ve spotted some things I’d like to implement.

Yahoo! webhosting sucks. I haven’t been getting any emails from my Business Mail since mid-December. Who knows what kind of important stuff has been bouncing since then. I’ve been looking at a few other hosting services and I’ve yet to settle on one. I haven’t finalized all the plans yet since I have to take into account quite a number of different factors.

Primary amongst these would be whether I’ll be implementing a pure visitor site or an online community. I’m leaning more towards the former but I do have to plan for the future, of course since its quite an incredible hassle to change nameservers and moving domains to a new host. Some webhosts implement Cpanel which makes things a bit simpler but I’m not that familiar with DNS naming conventions and ICANN standards.

My second consideration is space. Building an SQL-PHP driven site means implementing a database and databases are notoriously known for their inflated sizes even with table optimizations which aren’t even that reliable. I’m thinking about 300 to 500 Mb will do for now and probably upgrade if the need arises. I was pretty happy with the 100 Mb I got from Yahoo! but I find it quite constricting, what with the amount of data I plan to incorporate into the new site.

Third is price. Most of the hosts I’ve seen go for 700 bucks and below. Not bad, considering the amount of features they have. They’re mostly webhosts whose names I have never heard which is probably what makes them cheap enough to sell their services at such rock-bottom prices. The quality of service, though, is still doubtful. I’ve tried to do some research on these companies but I’ve yet to find something which actually recommends them. I know that they’re legit and all, after finding that quite a number of sites have already signed up with these guys but I don’t know of anyone who’s really signed up with them, though.

The domain is the last but definitely not the least question I have to answer. I’m not particularly sure whether I wan’t to keep the Ximulacra domain name or get a new one. Two of the hosts I’ve found allow multiple domains to be hosted on the same hosting plan which is a good sign that they’re running relatively advanced software and have enough static IPs to give me dedicated addresses to each of the domains if ever I wanted to keep Ximulacra and get a new domain.

I’ll probably finalize my plans and choose my new webhost around Tuesday next week and pay for the webhosting sometime afterward. After that it’ll probably take me a month to finish all the work if I don’t altogether abandon the project and just leave things as they are.

* * * * *

Like I said, version 3 of this site is definitely coming up. I can’t reveal anything yet as the plans haven’t been finalized but it will definitely be a purely flash-driven frontend with an SQL database backend. I’ve gotten some books on how its done and it is probably the most complicated thing I’ve ever seen. For example, it takes about a fifty lines of code just to input something into a cell and retrieving it.

Contextual Note: When I originally wrote this, my website rested on Yahoo! webhosting (a premium version of Geocities) under the domain. It was a static HTML design composed of Microsoft Frontpage-generated and hand-tweaked markup, JPEGs, animated GIFs, and then-Macromedia Shockwave Flash animations and sound. I’ve since dropped that domain in favor of this one and strayed away from static websites and Flash.

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Raymond Santos Estrella

I guess I should really make a proper writeup here. Something witty or maybe a joke to add some levity. I’ll come back to this when I have time. If you have any suggested copy that I can insert here, drop me a line.

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