may updates – new theme

New theme as of Monday, May 12th, 2014.

New theme as of Monday, May 12th, 2014.

It’s time for updates! May has been an exciting time. I’ve done a little bit of housekeeping with 415vince.com in accordance with my new lifestyle habits. Some of you may know me as the local traveler. I don’t get out of my area much, but I do like to explore and have chats with new people in new places. Something I’ve realized when it comes to traveling and even starting a conversation is that simplicity matters, especially in the beginning stages. I’ve switched themes. I’ve moved on from the Pinboard theme, which, being feature-rich, has outlived it’s usefulness to me. I got away with a lot using that theme simply because there was so much going on and the little glaring errors were less obvious. I loved the perpetual scrolling like Pinterest. It made for easy browsing. With that said, it got really cluttered with junk. A great metaphor for this is the cork-board on my wall. Over time it just accumulates with stuff. I’ve had enough. I fell in love with the Syntax theme for its simplicity, even in terms of the color scheme. I started a child theme with a few lines of customization and changed up the plugin list. Talk about spring cleaning! Now I can focus on content. Continue reading

Purchases

I’ve made a couple of major purchases the past couple of weeks, from Otter Wax products, to shave cream, to boots and apparel. Here’s a sneak peak at the two latest items I’ve added to my wardrobe, found and acquired at Wasteland. I’m starting to really like that place. Oh and I’m starting to really like putting things together.

Taylor Stitch

Taylor Stitch

Jacket

Green Jacket

Stay tuned for when I put all these things together!

Shopping

Ever since my sister introduced me to Cotton On and I found a blazer I really liked there, I’ve been slightly obsessed with shopping and grabbing new items. It’s been a while since I’ve felt this desire to acquire things. Most of the time, I like to buy functional items and camera gear, but more recently, it’s turned into a nearly automatic impulse to shop. Granted, I don’t have enough variety in my wardrobe and I need some more classy and stylish garb. I’m okay with paying a bit more for quality items and things that I would use. Here are my latest purchases. I’m still on a roll, so…look out world, Vince is coming to get ya!

I’ve been looking for a good pair of boots and I found them at DSW! Sweet cheeks.  I got a pair of khakis as well and I have a shirt incoming. The shave cream was recommended to me by the friendly folk over at Fellow Barber. I’ve been through a variety of different shave creams and I love the smell of sandalwood. The brand, Geo F. Trumper, has been on my radar for a while, alongside Taylor of Bond. I went ahead and purchased what they had in store – the Geo F. Trumper’s Sandalwood. When I finish this jar, I’ll probably give their almond scent a go. It’s subtle and aromatic too. So far – LOVING IT.

me.415vince.com

It’s been a while since I’ve dabbled in anything site related. I didn’t make any changes to the blog, but I did experiment a little bit with Bootstrap and yes it is pretty fricking amazing. I’m self-learned in terms of CSS and HTML, so it was really fun to mess around with it and see what works and what doesn’t. I didn’t know what to make either, so I decided to go with a little “About Me” page that will serve as a web-based resume. For an early experiment, I think it turned out quite nice.

I’ve decided, after having a whole lot of fun doing this, that I want to learn something for the backend and not just the front-end visual aspect of things. So I’m embarking on another adventure. First I’m going to sit down and go to Codeacademy, brush up on HTML/CSS and then attempt a few other classes and go from there. Wish me luck. Oh right, here’s the finished product.

me.415vince - Vincent Tang

 

Aside

New Toys

I hadn’t ordered anything on Amazon for a while, but just recently I ordered a bunch of accessories for my camera. FLASH! I’m getting into flash photography; how exciting is that? So far, my only experience with an external flash unit has been borrowing other people’s and using my old Minolta flash. I still love that Minolta flash. It hasn’t failed me yet, but for me to use it as an off-camera flash, I have to manually fire/test fire it, so I can only have the flash at arm’s length. It also means my shutter speed it at about .3″, so I have time to react and press the shutter. Having this new flash unit is exciting! I’ll be writing a bit more about it in days to come. It’s my early Christmas right now.

Site Metrics

It’s been a while since I’ve done anything new to improve the functionality of the site or improve user experience. I’ve been focusing on content and posting all sorts of things I find interesting. I went ahead and put the site through a few different tools and looked at some site metrics in order to see how it holds up to the vigorous standards of the Internet.Improve

What’s the one thing that people expect from a website? Speed. Loading times are key if you want visitors to get past the homepage. A spiffy homepage also goes a long way toward drawing audiences and keeping them engaged. I’m content with how my site looks. I just wanted to make a few adjustments and tweaks that would hopefully speed up the site some and make it more user-friendly. Sometimes it’s the little things and the little improvements that all add up and makes a huge impact.

I went off this handy website to change as much as I could. It offers tons of tips for better page speeds and rules to follow so you won’t get on Google’s bad side. Playing by the rules is just the right thing to do.Google Webmaster Guidelines

I also used the Gtmetrix website to get an in-depth analysis of site metrics. Working off the list of recommendations, I made some improvements to get a cool 95%. That’s an A – good ‘nuff for me. My main problem categories were “leverage browser caching”, “specify image dimensions”, “optimize images” and a few others I couldn’t quite fix.

  • Leveraging browser caching was easy to fix with a little addition of code to my .htaccess file.
  • I went through and scaled down a few images and specified their dimensions – problem mostly fixed, at least on the homepage.
  • Using the WP Smush-it tool, I compressed a few photos, mostly the ones on the frontpage. I also downloaded ImageOptim to get this done in the future without using the plugin.WP Smush.itImageOptim

Lastly, I went into W3 Total Cache and set up a self-hosted CDN. All this to make it to a 95% in site metrics. After a slow first load, any other visit will load quickly. Done.

Sleepless Nights

You can’t force a mind to sleep. At this point, my snake is dormant, the bunny isn’t hopping around much, and the iguana is in a state of seep slumber. I’m not asleep though, because I can’t. There are too many things racing through my mind and I know that if I go to sleep, I’ll forget all the things I’m meant to. I haven’t pulled an all-nighter in a while, but I think it’s about time that I do. My sleep schedule has been messed up pretty badly and I suppose this is my way to reset it. Let’s see how it goes. I’ll be lucky if I keep my sanity for the rest of the day. Oh and no coffee for me today.