Selling Out II: Redemption?

This entry was posted by on Thursday, 25 June, 2009 at

Part I
A popular thing on Facebook recently was to make a “How Well Do You Know Me?” quiz. After taking a couple of those that my friends had made, I facetiously began to wonder if I could create a quiz on which all my friends would get perfect 0’s, thus proving that no one really knows me at all. To that end, I sat down and worked out a list that quickly reached around 40 questions. (I did soften my original stance and included a few things that certain people reasonably ought to know. Heck, if you do not even bother to read the questions, you are statistically likely to get between 20-25% anyway.) Of course, the quizzes that I had seen had all been around 10-12 questions long or so, so 40 seemed a little high.

I tried to throw out the weakest of the lot and then decided to just see how many the application would let me enter. At that point, I very quickly realized that several of my questions and answers themselves were too long for the allotted input space. Yeah, screw Facebook.

But what to do with my pile of questions? It turns out that around this time my two year web hosting contract auto-renewed, forcing me to acknowledge that so far, I have not really done much of anything with my site that could not be accomplished with other free sites. The choice seemed painfully obvious: I will just program my own bloody quiz! Take that Facebook!

Now, there really is no shortage of quiz-making tools and scripts available (…for free…), but I wanted to make use of some of these features in my hosting package that I have already been paying for, and have no idea what they do. Besides, it seemed like the ability to create interactive web content might be a useful skill.Maye I could even make a Facebook app! [timoth has no plans to make a facebook app.] I already knew basic HTML or there would not be a site at all, but I spent the last few weeks learning PHP, MySQL, XML, XHTML… I kept running across references to DOM, but I patently refused to find out what that was, because I felt that I had more than enough acronyms already.

It gradually dawned on me that… how do I put it? I do not know if you have poked around on the non-blog part of my website at all, but it is, in a word, “crappy.” So crappy that I never bothered to put a link from this blog back to the “main” site and merely relied on the extra-curious to manually delete “blog” from the address in their browsers. But now with my new quiz on the way, that junky old site was simply not going to fly. So I broke out my favorite graphics program and set about designing a new look from the ground up. Could I not have just gotten a nice template for free somewhere? Of course… but where is the fun in that? I started out all “Web 2.0” with shiny things and gradients, but quickly realized, “What? …That ain’t me.” So I pushed it in another direction. “Tattered Web 2.0” if you will. Of course, to make a common template for all my pages, I had to add CSS to my list of things to learn. Technically, this is about the third time I have learned it, but I go so long between uses that I always have to start over completely over. So, the rest of the website is still pretty lame, but at least it looks better now (I hope*). The “music” section needs a full re-imagining, and the blog is really a separate animal entirely, but it is a start. So who wants to pay me to build them a website now? Personne?

Oh yeah, who wants to take the quiz? I whittled it down to 32 questions, which is a nice round number (in binary). I hope they are the best of the best. There is one particularlly silly question on there that I had no intention of keeping, it was merely my “filler” question as I built and tested the code, but I spent so much time with it that when I was all done I could not bare to throw it out. So see if you can pick that one out. Even if you get everything wrong, you still get to see the right answers, so it sort of doubles as a “25 Random Things” list that was also popular awhile back… with 7 bonus facts!

*My server logs indicate that a significant percentage of people view my site with Internet Explorer 6. IE6 is a bad browser that does not conform to established web standards. However, due to its popularity, webmasters have been forced to use a number of tricks and hacks to try to get it to work properly. Webmasters hate you. Norway hates you. Me, I am not really one to tell people they need to upgrade. I tried for the better part of a day to get my layout to look the same in IE6 as it does in Firefox and Safari. Eventually I decided to just make the things that did not work invisible to you. There are a number of better browsers available. If you do not care then neither will I. Now if someone is using a real browser and things still look out of whack, I definitely want to know about it. I am still new at this after all.

One Response to “Selling Out II: Redemption?”

  1. Anonymous

    yes, I have wanted to punch my inner monologue in the face, but I've also wanted to punch yours for lying to you all the time.

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