About

June 30, 2013 – Before this was a blog it was a collection of bookmarks. Thanks to the magic of Pocket, IFTTT and my phone that’s primarily what this has become again. Albeit nicer looking and less organized then the plain text listing it once was. You can filter what you see by selecting categories from the top menu if you want to skip the links but I will warn you that it is pretty sparse without them.

The rest of the about page pretty much stands so we’ll just leave it there.

Seeing how things have changed since I started this site I figure it might be a good time to go over the whys and hows of tariq.ca

How

Originally purchased to give me a nice permanent email address, I got the domain tariq.ca from Canadian Domain Name Services back in December 2000. They’re a bit expensive but the two times I’ve used their customer service they were helpful and fast.

Until 2006 everything was hosted on a computer in my closet in Toronto, but for reasons of ISP suckage I had to get proper hosting so I settled on Dreamhost because they deeply discount your first year of service and have been around for a while. They also give me lots of storage (240 GB and counting) making my account useful for off-site storage of various files I don’t want to lose.

The blog software I use is WordPress. It’s an open source program that kind of grew out of the software I was using previously. There are hundreds of themes that people have made for WordPress, and the one I’m using currently is a version of k2 that I’ve modified slightly to suit my tastes.

One nice thing about WordPress is that it has lots of plugins that let you expand its features and functionality. Here’s what I’m using currently:

The other part of the site is the photo gallery. For that I use the appropriately named Gallery. It’s pretty heavy duty and has way more features than I’ll ever need, but it integrates into the blog a lot nicer than any other solution I’ve tried.

The photo map is created through a module (aka plugin) for Gallery called Google Map Module. I like the map as a way of presenting information and am still trying to get better map integration for the blog. Where I am seems to change every year or so and I think it’s kind of neat to see how where I am affects what I write.

Money constraints meant I couldn’t justify spending on a site I wasn’t updating so I began to use WordPress.com to host the blog and flickr for my photos. The combination doesn’t give me quite the same flexibility as I used to have but I don’t have the time to tinker anyway so it’s a wash. Money’s not such a concern anymore, but I still don’t have the time to tinker so staying away from self-hosting still makes sense. When money becomes even less of a concern I will probably self-host again with a massive amount of online storage from something like Amazon S3.

Why

Originally meant for friends to keep in contact with me while I was away from home (hopefully avoiding the stock questions: “what are you doing now?”, “where are you now?”, “do you have to eat raw fish every day?”, “are you going to bring home a Japanese wife?”) the purpose has remained more intact than anything else about the site. The only real difference is that now some friends (and family) from further afield read it as well. But as long as it reduces the stock questions I have no complaints.

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