You may or may not have noticed that I’ve just resized the width of my content div to 500 pixels (from 400). So, the site is now 830 pixels wide, which, while a little wider than I would like, should still suit most monitors just fine. The impetus behind the greater width is that I plan to put pictures up on the weblog a bit more frequently than I have in the past (after all, I didn’t sell my soul for nothing) and the larger the picture I can get away with the better.
Though I wouldn’t go above 500 pixels anyway, two factors restrained me regardless. First, Flickr’s medium file size is 500xYYY and you can’t specify anything different (i.e., 400 isn’t an option). Because, as of this post, I’m using Flickr as the src for the images on my weblog, I’m now constrained by its limitations. Second, I have to have the width of the paragraphs be the same as the width of the photos. It’s an anal-retentive thing that isn’t up for debate; I just don’t like how the page flows (or not) when one is wider than the other. Furthermore, if I started making the paragraphs much wider than 500 pixels they would quickly become annoying to read. Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes me crazier when reading a web page than to have to scroll over to read the end of the sentence. Text should always be confined to narrow, easy-to-read columns; anything else is inefficient and annoying. [I’m now jumping off the soapbox]
Why not a photoblog?
I thought long and hard about maybe doing a separate photoblog kind of thing, but I finally got the good and bad halves of me to agree that that probably wasn’t the best thing for me given all the other shit I have going on for the forseeable future (read: I don’t mind sleeping less than 99% of the population, but at some point I have to pull back a little). I also gave serious consideration to simply splicing certain photos from Flickr into my RSS feed using FeedBurner (you can actually specify which photos should be included in the feed using Flickr tags). The problem with this approach is that while I’ve been on the RSS bandwagon for years, I’m well aware that a lot of the people that visit this site (read: family and real-life friends) don’t have the faintest idea what it is (despite my best efforts to change their lives :P) and that these people are more often than not those that I most want to see the pictures.
I spent the better part of yesterday morning resizing the pictures (sourced from Flickr) in my weblog and linking them to their respective Flickr pages, a process that can only be described as a horrible chore. This involved loading up my archive pages for each year, scrolling through them looking for pictures, finding each particular picture in iPhoto (not too hard because I have them all tagged with weblog), determining whether I’ve already uploaded them to Flickr, and if not, uploading them to Flickr, going to the medium download page on Flickr, pulling the HTML information that Flickr generates (very nice), adding some CSS values to the HTML, and finally inserting this into each post.
While a bit of work, I think the setup should serve me well for at least a few years. Unless they’re subscribed to my photo feed, most people will only look at the pictures (or picture sets) I direct them to from this site, which are usually those that I think are the best. Also, a nice bonus to using Flickr for everything is that it allows people to comment on the photos (separate and apart from the weblog itself) and I think linking to the photos directly from the website will spawn a lot more comments; I’m generally anti-comments, but it hasn’t yet been an issue with my photos. Indeed, I’ve quite enjoyed the interaction.