So this is the (third? fourth?) latest incarnation
of the digital junk heap I pile words and photos onto. There's really nothing new to report other than I took a year and a half to rebuild it, and pretty much dropped off the radar and stopped writing until I got it done.
For those who've never visited, I say welcome. For those returning driven by morbid curiousity, I say "hah!". The site just will not die... not yet. With luck, the writing might become less annoying, the photos a little sharper, and the subjects for both may get more worthwhile. No promises though.
If you're keeping score at home, my name is Andrew Hughes. Son of David & Claudia Hughes née Lester, brother of Matt & Chris, and Husband to one wife, who is my Sally. Owner of cats & buildings, books & computers, opinions & grimaces. I write software to pay the bills, and spend the rest of my time in a tightening spiral of social isolation from the world outside of my home or office. I'm slow & deliberate, lazy & judgemental, and quick to anger. These are not points of pride, and they hamper my Christian growth, but they make me the crusty, affable curmudgeon that would be almost tolerable were I retired and on oxygen, which I am not.
The site has been rebuilt from the ground up over a 14 month period (heavily over about two months). I learned a lot from scratch in the course of building it, and probably made things harder than they should have been. Our business and myself used to run about 100% off of Microsoft products, and over the last year or so we made a conscious decision to migrate away. This site is a direct result of that re-education program. Nearly everything we do now is based off Open Source software. I shuffle lazily along the shoulders of giants and reap from their efforts. Here's the current state of my art:
- We're spinning out of a big server in Seattle, at a place called SoftLayer. Their boxes have been quite reliable and holding up well under hefty loads (my site is a hefty load, but not in the bandwidth sense...).
- This particular site's box is running Ubuntu for it's OS.
- HTTP work is handled by LigHTTPD running FastCGI.
- The pages you request get passed to Django, which is where I really spent my days and nights learning everything new again. It's a very capable framework built purely out of Python and is a pleasure to use once you learn it. Coming from my time in classic ASP based solutions, that educational process was a bit slow and painful. We're all smiles now.
For further icing on the presentational cake I structure my CSS with 960.gs, a grid-based framework for content positioning. It keeps my chocolate out of my peanut butter,
- To store all of the brilliant things I write and all the threatening comments, I trust my data to PostgreSQL. It's a bloody wonderful RDBMS, and it's a good thing I'm married, because otherwise, I'd be more than friends with it.
- Beyond words, I've got a lot of images to keep track of. This time around I decided to buy rather than build the solution, and so I've tied all the images to Flickr. I signed up a for a Pro account, not because I qualify, but because you get unlimited storage. I make extensive use of Flickr's API to present the images in an organized way and cache various sizes for display. If the honeymoon ends with Flickr, I'll probably migrate storage to Amazon's S3 service.
That's about it. For problems, questions, or whatever just contact
me and I'll totally ignore it as though it were spam.