January 3, 2006

Welcome to Siskiwit

Siskiwit Lake, as seen from the Greenstone Ridge near Mount Siskiwit, Isle Royale

It looks like the DNS mayhem is finally settling down, so perhaps it is time to discuss some of the details of this fine young website. As some may no doubt recall, the last design was known affectionately as Wounded Knee, after the amazing Primus song of the same name. This here design is known as Siskiwit, named after the fine Siskiwit Lake on Isle Royale in Lake Superior.

Yessiree Bob, you read that right. That’s a lake on an island in a lake. What’s more, Siskiwit Lake has an island known as Ryan Island, which is the largest island in the largest lake on the largest island in the largest lake… IN THE WORLD! The recursion alone is enough to make a mind explode, but our fearless group hiked the entire island for eleven days this past summer and suffered no cerebral hemorrhaging!

With Siskiwit we finally jettisoned pixel-based font sizes, in favor of relative sizes that scale with ease. Go ahead and increase or decrease the default font size in your browser, and watch as the design magically scales to accommodate the new sizes! (note: aside from a smattering of elf guts, actual magic use is limited). Props go to Dan Cederholm of SimpleBits for Bulletproof Web Design, a book that is both sexy and informative. Needless to say, all the code for Siskiwit is standards-based XHTML/CSS, with a dash of PHP thrown in to automate task drudgery.

As always, the Weblog, Sundries and Photolog portions of this website purr along with Movable Type, riding atop a MySQL database. With moving to a new webhost and all we had to do a fresh install of MT, but the import/export function seamlessly plopped all our existing content down into the new system.

Oh, and that’s another thing. Brainside Out is now hosted by Dreamhost, a relationship which so far has been delightful and cost-effective to boot. Even their least expensive hosting option is packed with 4.8GB of disk space, 120GB of bandwidth, unlimited MySQL databases, and support for more programming languages than you can shake a stick at. And seriously, any webhost whose home page features a fat kid passed out on a sofa is alright by me. Their blog is quite the riot, too. I swear the people who work there are nuts, which is probably why we get along so well.

A number of months ago we finally installed Shaun Inman’s Shortstat to see what all the fuss was about, and were blown away by the stark (and beautiful!) simplicity of this tiny statistics app. Well, Shortstat spun itself a chrysalis for a long time and recently reemerged as Mint. We installed it here yesterday, and it honestly knocks the socks off Shortstat. Mint is the most elegant analytics package you will find, and one that is immune to referrer spam and other tricks that horribly skew many site statistics. If you want to see it in action, you can dive right into the real-life Mint installation for Designologue.

So anyway, this is what we’ve been doing for the last couple months. We’ve covered a lot of ground and learned a lot of new things, but in all honesty we’re just getting started. We hope that 2006 will see the true emergence of our life philosophy of constantly kicking ass without bothering to take names.

*UPDATE: Dreamhost just quadrupled the amount of disk storage and octupled the amount of bandwidth you get. That means you can have 20GB of disk space and 1000GB of bandwidth for $8 a month. Plus, disk storage for your plan automatically increases 120MB a week, and bandwidth increases by 8GB.


Like the site a lot my man….specially the pics from isle royale. Seems like you got yourself quite the litte operation goin on…..we shuld get together and swap skills (which you have, and i wish to posses)
Talk to you soon

Thanks for the props, man!
We should totally hang, and have one of those fancy dinners where everybody sits around and feasts on eachother’s brains. Everyone knows that eating brains is the quickest way to transfer knowledge.
Mmm. Brains.