This website belongs to Matthew Norconk. It is the most recent iteration of a series of web sites and blogs that have been in existence since my freshman year of college in 1999. The general time line is as follows:
Rev1 (1999-2004): I first created a static web site when learning HTML for a freshman job. I think I put more time into my web site than I did into the job. The pages were entirely HTML table based. If you’ve ever read a page on designing pages that don’t suck, rest assured, I violated as many of those rules as I could find – flashing, scrolling, horrible background patterns, etc. That’s OK though, the site was more a learning experience than a polished presentation of myself. There were various adjustments to this basic site over the next four years. It did have some content, maybe six paragraphs (each nestled in its own table with a different loud background image) pontificating about things I liked.
Rev 2 (2004 – 2007): During my first year of grad school, I was teaching CSE 101. Part of the class, which was new the year I started, was CSS based web design. Once again, I probably spent more time on my own than I did officially working. As a result, I became reasonably good at putting together CSS based web pages. I also ended up knowing CSS far better than average, and thus enjoyed that part of the teaching much more than most. My site gained much along the lines of design, but was still relatively static. The end product was a basic black background with a nice navigation pane on the left side with buttons for each of my various pages.
Rev2b (2004-2008): During this same time, I started messing with a livejournal account. Sacrificing freedom in presentation for ease of adding content. Admittedly, it started as a mockery of all things blog, but slowly morphed into a nice little forum for sharing things with friends who also used livejournal. The website and livejournal efforts went on in parallel for some time. The web site got used for pictures and the livejournal for all written content. The livejournal has now been deleted. It wasn’t held under my actual name, but it still was far from appropriate for pretty much any viewers pre or post college age.
Rev3 (2005 – 2007): In the first few years after graduation it was a hope of mine to make a PHP driven front end to a SQL database. There were two issues to this: the time it would take to custom write all the PHP and my indecisiveness on how I wanted the site to look and how to design the database. I never had any good database organizational training, nor any site design training so both parts were something of an experimental hodge-podge. I did briefly have a page available which pulled posts from a database and parsed directories for pictures, the latter of which was pretty nice because I could just FTP a batch of pictures and they’d show up automatically. The problem was that I still didn’t have a quick and clean way to add content and if anything content addition had become more difficult. I did have a new entry page, but no ability to edit and iterate. That’s all of Rev3 that ever really saw the light of day.
Rev4 (2008 – ): I had been looking at freely available blog packages for some time. Over the last year or so I had installed WordPress and Joomla a couple times only to take issue with some thing or another. Lack of customization options was a big gripe. Lack of picture integration was another. Finally though, I’ve started to follow through on moving to WordPress. Ease of content addition will be on par with any hosted blog (especially since WordPress.com offers hosted blogs), and with plugins, I could keep the livejournal going as well. I later discovered plugins to cross-post to Facebook, which had largely taken over the Livejournal niche.
Rev5 (canceled): This was to be the integration of Gallery2 into my site. It was my understanding that there were ways to blend Gallery and WordPress which made me very hopeful. The only concern I had was trying to maintain a consistent look and feel between the parts of my site. I did this for a while, but the gallery page was always too different from the blog pages and the content addition was not as smooth as I would have liked, which meant it stagnated for a while with one gallery. This was further pushed down by the fact that Facebook was now the defacto standard for quick picture sharing, so hosting my own gallery didn’t mean much.
Rev6 ( – 2012): WordPress is still the content management system in use, and NextGen Gallery which, given that it is a WordPress plugin, seems to blend more easily into posts than Gallery2 (which was on to Gallery3, now with less integration capability). There’s also the ability to make albums and dedicate static pages to them, but that hasn’t materialized quite as expected. I considered, but not very seriously, switching to Zen Photo Gallery which would replace WordPress. It’s more optimized for photo sharing and less for blogging. The only downside to NextGen Gallery was that unlike Facebook or Gallery2, it was all content delivery – no comments on individual pictures are supported. As it turns out, this really wasn’t a loss.
Rev6b (current): At some point, Facebook quit allowing outside posting of “notes” which were longer entries. At this point, there was no reason to continue ensuring that pictures could be hot-linked, so the switch over to NextGen Gallery is complete. As of writing this in July 2013, NextGen Gallery 2.0 is in the works, which will probably be the natural migration. I have also been attempting to seek out and remove any distasteful posts from the livejournal import. I know there were many, and now there are few, but they may still exist. The other half of this is finding posts that I want to keep, but for which the image reference were broken. If I’m going to continue with NextGen Gallery, I should make a legacy gallery to add all these images to and insert them from there, but that seems like a big chunk of work with very little pay off.