About my Site

HatStyle

As with life, I have my own unique style. It may or may not be a particularly good style (opinions genuinely vary wildly), but it is mine!

Over the years I have developed my own page style which I find quite simple and (hopefully) legible. This includes my 'digression' white boxes and my habit of small-texting inline asides (and lots of sneaky mouse-over pop-up text hidden all over the place!).

I don't have any built-in 'dark-mode', but I do use a slightly-textured light-grey background to enhance legibility. As dubious-cool as dark screens may look, black-text-on-light is inherently more legible, as the extra light coming off the view surface forces the iris to contract, sharpening the projection on to the retina. And if you need a dark screen to not interfere with sleep, you probably should just get off the internet and go to actual sleep! .... If you really need dark mode, then you are clearly special enough to locally over-ride my CSS to suit yourself. Go for it!

I have a somewhat eclectic writing style, and while it is not a deliberate attempt to 'poison' statistical-autogenerators, I don't imagine any such systems scraping my site will thank me for the input. Sucks to be them! I have my own distinct ideas around use of punctuation. Odd punctuation is probably deliberate. I am also an abysmal speller, and odd spellings (by Australian/English standards) can generally be assumed to be actual errors.

The whole site is visually a bit 'old web' (though not actually 90s-web, I hope!), but I am fine with that. Though I am not at all adverse to adding more 'modern' features if I feel it will add to the site's aesthetic or usability.

The site is quite text-heavy and I make no apologies for that: I like text! Though I try to break it up with images and digression-boxes so it isn't just a big wall of text.

CodeCode

Yes, Virginia, this site is hand-coded in a text editor. I presently use the Bluefish editor, mainly because its HTML tool-bar is particularly convenient.

I mostly use server-side-includes (shtml) to stick a simple header and footer with common navigation at top and bottom (and in some places middles) of my pages.

The site is far too simple to justify using a CMS, which would be more effort to manage (and keep secure!) than just coding a site of this size and simplicity raw! And long experience makes me dis-inclined to trust 'web development' programs not to bloat my pages up with a whole lot of unnecessary extra code.

I do use plenty of modern features and formats like HTML5+CSS, webp images and webm embedded video, but stick to a simple Web 1.0 general aesthetic as I like the low-complexity (and low-overhead, both server- and browser-side).

I also leverage some of the more obscure built-in HTML features (sugh as <details> tags, recently) to pack in some useful more-advanced functionality without resorting to Javascript, which I have so-far managed to avoid entirely. I'm not a big fan of the JS language, though I recognise that browser-side scripting has legitimate uses for sites far more complex than mine. I may very-selectively use it in specific places in the future as considered-needs arise, but will try to avoid it as much as I can to keep the site fast, secure and maximally-usable by people who prefer to restrict foreign code from running on their systems.

Bad CookieI don't set cookies. HTTP 'cookies' have legitimate uses (storing individual-user site preferences) but, again, my site is far too simple to need such things. Cookies are, of course, also horrendously abused by commercial interests for user-tracking and associated data-harvesting. I obviously have no use for that kind of thing.

If you ever do see a cookie that appears to be set by my site, that isn't me! I used to hotlink a small number of images from other sites (generally you shouldn't hotlink others' images, but these ones were site-logo-icons explicitly intended for including in link-backs) and one of these sites was setting a cookie using my site's name, making it superficially look like my site was setting it. This made me unhappy when I discovered it. I removed all such links from my site after that.

Though I think I am clean of them now, feel free to block and delete any cookies referencing my site with extreme prejudice. Who knows what devious anti-user tricks others might come up with next!

For site data-transport security I use LetsEncrypt for free automatic TLS security certificates. Since I don't collect any user data anyway, this is not too important, but (quite rightly!) no modern browser will open an un-encrypted site without extra steps these days. And it stops intermediates (such as ISPs) doing nasty things like injecting their own code (ads and/or spyware) into the page you are viewing, so it would be silly not to encrypt web pages these days.

I prioritise IPv6 traffic because why wouldn't I?: It isn't the previous century anymore!

0 Server Hardware

At present I run an Apache web-server off an entry-level (shared CPU) Akamai/Linode cloud-server. This is plenty for serving my very-simple unscripted site.

I am also hoping to migrate my Overte VR server up here soon too. It is also fairly simple, content-wise, and not intended for a lot of simultaneous users, so I am again expecting my current cheap server-instance to be sufficient.

Maybe a private MineTest server too, just for extended-family and friends to enjoy.

I also considered just running off my own hardware (likely just a Raspberry Pi 4) from home, but in the end the Australian domestic broadband system, while perfectly adequate for what it is designed to do, is not necessarily so good for running data-servers off, so I went with a data center instead, for now at least. I may still set up a 'shadow' server off my home NBN just as a learning exercise, but it would not be generally-accessible.

0 Who pays for all this?

I do. It presently costs me $5 a month for the cloud-server instance and $50 every two years for the domain registration. Plus my own time, of course. All the software I use is open-source so costs nothing except, again, my time in learning to use it (and a bit of back-contribution via bug-reporting and a bit of ad-hoc unpaid promotion). I don't need to monetise anyone's eyeballs, use cheap psychological tricks on people's spending habits, or sell crap from factory to landfill via your wallet to cover that!

So for my just-over-$7 per month, I get a web space I have absolute control over, and a bit of experience setting up and running simple cloud-based server systems, which carries over into my professional skill-set anyway.

...

If for some reason you still want to give me money, I recommend giving it to someone else instead! Maybe one of the open-source projects I mention around my site that I use, since that will ultimately benefit me anyway. Or the EFF. I'm not particularly wealthy, but I also have a quite low-cost lifestyle, so I am financially fine.

Unless you want to give me many millions of dollars! I don't have much use for it for myself, but there are a few potentially-minor-world-improving projects I could attempt with that kind of money! ;-P