Thursday, October 1, 2009

Techqi is currently being redesigned

Update: sorry, I never managed to get back to this. I still hope to someday, but that seems awfully unlikely with every passing moment. Goodbye and good luck.

Hello there! The reason this blog looks so generic right now, and isn't being updated frequently, is because it's being redesigned by yours truly. There aren't really many good Blogger templates out there, and the default ones, well, look like this.
So I'm basically starting from scratch. Unfortunately, this means I'll be losing most of my comments, and I sincerely apologize to everyone who commented for that. But it's a necessary evil, since spammers are clearly out to make my life hell. I have been using Disqus for quite some time now, but it hasn't lived up to my expectations. I'm planning to build my own commenting system. 

Until then, I'm also removing most of the widgets installed.

The good news is, once I'm done I'll even put up the template up for you to download (for free, yes). I should be done by the end of this month. Plus, a great new WordPress blog on web design, and a portfolio site are in the works. Expected launch: Christmas.

If you're a new or returning reader, please sign up for updates via RSS or email. You can also get in touch with me via Twitter. Links are also on your left. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pagerank improvements and on top of Google Search

This is great! I just discovered that my blogs' Google PageRanks have gone up: Techqi (this blog, ahem) now has a PR of 3, and AV Scan, which I discontinued due to insufficient viruses, made me happier - it now has a PR of 4! I used to think PR increases in general with time and decreases for inactive sites, but apparently there's more than meets the eye.
In addition, some of my (edit October 10: alas, relegated to page 2!) posts are still on the first page (and even on the top spot) of Google's search results for certain keywords. I'm blogging for about two years now and I'm really encouraged by all this. The quality of your posts still counts, it seems.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My stand-in portfolio site


Hello there! I'm currently working on my portfolio site, but for the time being this page is going to provide shelter for my writing samples. Comments are welcome.

Published articles
{Please note that these articles maintain their original paragraph structures and were not really meant to be blog posts unless explicitly stated. Moreover, any images in the original articles aren't included, and any links cited might not be relevant right now. Some of these articles have been slightly edited in their present incarnations.}
  • Google gems
    • A short how-to/teaser on Google products. This article was originally published in ‘Portal’, the weekly tech page of Daily New Age, Bangladesh on March 12, 2006 and is available online. 425 words.
  • How to get rid of the Blogger navbar
    • A tutorial aimed at Blogger beginners on how to hide the Blogger navbar that I wrote for this blog.
  • Have a byte!
    • A comprehensive, magazine-style take on a variety of food-related websites in the wake of local food adulteration scares. Originally published in ‘Portal’, Daily New Age on April 3, 2006. 1184 words.
  • Regional Microsoft boss stresses copyright issues
    • A news article for the Business page based on an exclusive interview of Chris Atkinson, president of Microsoft South East Asia Region, during his trip to Bangladesh.This article was first published in the Business section of Daily New Age on November 9, 2006 and is available online. 477 words.
  • A networker's delight
    • A book review.This article was first published in ‘Portal’, Daily New Age on June 12, 2005 and is available online. 818 words.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Working on a new layout for Techqi

Yes, --
1. I am alive, and
2. I am working on a new template.
I'll put the template up for download when I'm done, too.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Having template problems

My Blogger template has been causing me some major headache, and it's only gotten worse. On top of that, I recently discovered some stats regarding sites which look ugly, which has shocked me to the core. Admittedly this blog definitely doesn't fall into the beautiful category, so I guess I shouldn't have been so shocked! All in all, I think the time is right for me now to take a short break from blogging to create a nice template for my blog, from the ground up. Stay tuned, and please subscribe to my feeds via your reader or via email. I promise I won't disappoint.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Using tags to improve speed, convenience of webpages - pt 1


When it comes to designing webpages, be it for a personal blog or for a full-blown commercial website, the web designer is faced with a dilemma:

  • The less code you can have on your webpages, the faster they will load. Hence, even the top websites ignore standards on a regular basis.
  • The more structured your webpages are, the more accessible they will be to screen readers, aggregators, search engines, and even to browsers. This often means more code.

I gleefully call this the Speed vs. Accessibility Paradox. However, there are two good reasons for why you may not have given it conscious thought, or probably hadn't even realized that it exists.

Firstly: the consistent demand for loading web pages and web-based applications faster. Web 2.0 and beyond presents and insists on a fluid, desktop-like online experience. The number of readers who do not use screen readers or scripts to gather information far outweighs the number of those who do. Browsers will ignore most common markup violations anyway, and in addition, web pages are no longer expected to behave as documents per se -- database management systems have evolved enough to handle that department, and some of the great ones are free.

Secondly: history, and practice. It all started when, overwhelmed by the popularity of the World Wide Web in its early days, there was a desperate need to include stylistic markup in HTML pages, e.g. <font>. The browser wars escalated the trend of deviating from HTML specifications, and although CSS eventually kicked in, no browser today is 100% standards compliant yet. Therefore it's no wonder that many web designers continue to ignore web standards; likewise, there seems little chance of deprecated HTML/XHTML tags becoming obsolete overnight.

It goes without saying that the trade-off between reducing code to make web pages load faster and including code to adhere to standards and improve accessibility won't have a significant impact on the site's performance -- unless of course the site in question draws in a large traffic on a daily basis and could do with some optimization (such as search engines, which constantly need to improve), or is seeking to explore a potential audience.It's up to the web designer to choose which factor to compromise on, and how much.

In this series I'll look at some 'foul styling', i.e. using XHTML tags to sidestep CSS when we can, and some ways to make your web pages more accessible to screen readers and regular readers alike:

Using tags to improve speed, convenience in webpages - pt 2
*hang on*
Using tags to improve speed, convenience in webpages - pt 3

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What is the slowest day of the week for your blog?


Generally it's the entire weekend1 for the internet; however, depending on your site it could even be a Wednesday that produces the least traffic.

In my case the weekends are always dry, and especially so if there's something like the Oscars on air (drat...). My stats are too poor to put up for display here, but yes, events of note do woo away your readers, you can take my word for it. I think I'll cut down on my weekend blogging...

1The figures provided in this link are from 2004, but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any recent statistics on this.