New Theme for 2016

It’s been 4 years since I worked on the look of TJ Online, and it’s about time that this site got a brand new look. This new theme is based on the Sparkling theme, and it has some elements from the two previous WordPress themes I used for this site. For example the header and footer bars contains a graphic from my first WordPress theme, while the heading font is from the second. Another feature of this new theme is that its accent color changes everyday by cycling through a list of different colors. If you visit this site a day later, the accent color will be different. This is an idea that I incorporated from my now defunct anime/manga blog. In my old anime blog, the color changing, which is the loading of supplementary CSS styles, was done by JavaScript, but now I can do the color changing with PHP as I have full control of this website. Right now there are four accent colors in the cycle (red, blue, orange-yellow, and green), but I might add more in the future.

I haven’t done any web design for a while, so making a new theme was a fun exercise to refresh my memory, and I also learned a few things along the way. For example, I learned that my webserver now caches CSS stylesheets for 5 minutes by default. I didn’t know at the start, and this caused a bit of frustration because I would change the style, upload it to the server, but the changes are not reflected when I refresh the page. I eventually figured out how to turn server side caching off for the time that I was working on the theme. I’m mostly done with the design, but I still have to get some good background images to match each of the accent colors. I’m thinking of creating artwork for the background images as a way to get myself back into drawing once again, but that might take a while :lol: . Hope you all will like the new look.

New Theme

TJ Online has its first new look in 2 years. I finally finished tweaking the new theme today. The theme is a modified version of the Twenty-Twelve default WordPress theme. I went with a simpler look with cursive fonts and some… I suppose, ornate patterns to match. White is the dominant color this time around, and I took the opportunity to play with CSS3’s background color alpha-transparency properties. One element that returns is the random background images, but I opted for a simpler square frame this time to make adding future background images easier. I haven’t worked with web stuff for a while and took a little while to figure things out, but afterwards customizing the theme was simple enough. It’s good to work on my sites once in a while so I don’t completely forget my web design and Photoshop skills. Overall, I’m satisfied with the new look, and hope you guys like it as well. Fourth Year on the Net

I can’t believe it’s been four years already since I set up the domain. Actually, the anniversary is somewhere in August, but I was busy moving to a new place to start grad school so I didn’t have the time to make this post until today. Unlike 2008-2009, there were plenty of big changes to my website this year. Read on if you want to find out the inside scoop about over the last 12 or so months.

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Badminton Portal and Travel Log Rebuilt

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been working on some of my other websites and the work is finally (nearly) complete. Firstly, the main area of Travel Log has been rebuilt using WordPress at the request of its authors. For this redesign, I used a stock theme and didn’t need to do any importing as there wasn’t too much content in that site.

On to the second piece of news, JP’s Badminton Portal has also been rebuilt using WordPress, and what’s more it has been combined with JP’s Badminton Blog and moved to it’s own domain, Formerly, the Badminton Portal was run using a self-wrote PHP content management system and the Badminton Blog ran on Textpattern. I had the Badminton Portal separate because I wanted to make the site truly bilingual (in English and Simplified Chinese), but after thinking about it I decided to combine the two sites to make administration easier. My self-wrote PHP script was buggy at places anyways. Importing from the Badminton Blog to the new Badminton Portal was fairly easy as there is an import script available online, but all the articles from the old Badminton Portal had to be manually moved. I also built a custom theme for the site using Thematic Theme Framework. There are still some minor tweaks for the new Badminton Portal, but it’s ready for visitors.

Hopefully the changes to both websites will improve the visitors’ experiences and draw more traffic.

Moved to a New Server has a new home! These last few days I have been busy moving my websites to a new server. For almost four years, my websites have been hosted by on their Webmaster plan. Over these years, I never encountered any major problems with my old host and I am satisfied with their service. However, their plans appear to be a little outdated with the storage and bandwidth limits (or perhaps they are just being honest), so with my current hosting expiring in a month I started looking for a new web host. I have heard no shortage of shared hosting horror stories out on the net, so I spent a couple of days doing research. After looking around, I decided to go with StableHost, primarily because they had a coupon code that provided a very good lifetime discount on hosting. Their reputation seems to be decent too, so I signed up with them on their Stable Plus plan.

The move to the new host was pretty straight forward. I initiated the domain transfer process which took about a day, and during that time I transferred all my files over and set up the subdomains. Out of all of my websites, the only one that had any issues was this website. First of all, my new host uses the industry standard Cpanel which for some reason cannot point the default domain ( or to a subfolder within the public_html directory, so this WordPress blog didn’t work when I uploaded it as in a folder into public_html. Once I got that sorted out by uploading the WordPress files into public_html, I was met with the infamous White Screen of Death when I tried to access the admin panel. After searching on the web, I disabled all my plug-ins by renaming the plugins directory within WordPress, and my admin panel came back. After some troubleshooting, it seems that WP-Spamfree was the culprit, which is strange since I didn’t have problems with this plug-in on my old host. I killed that plug-in, but that wasn’t the end of my troubles. Afterwards, I tried to find a new anti-spam plug-in, but that caused WordPress to run into my host’s 32MB PHP memory limit. I didn’t want to delete any of my plug-ins, so I sent a support ticket to my new host, and thankfully they promptly replied by increasing the memory limit and everything was alright again.

I have settled into my new host, and everything looks okay so far. Hopefully my decision to move won’t come back and bite me in the behind. Since my websites receive little traffic, bandwidth and server load shouldn’t pose problems. Hopefully there will be no major downtimes or trouble with the host. Now that has found a new home, I’ll probably start working on some of my other websites.

TJ Online Relaunched

I’m on winter vacation right now, and I don’t plan on going anywhere. Therefore, there’s no better things for me to do but to pay some attention to my oft neglected personal website. Over the last four or five days, I have been busy converting TJ Online from Xoops to WordPress, and the website you now see is the finished product of that effort. Xoops is a nice piece of software, but over the years I’ve discovered that it’s a bit overkill for a personal website. I chose to convert to WordPress because… everyone else is running WordPress. It is the most popular blogging platform out there for a reason, so it seems like a good choice. Converting my site into a blog also will help motivate me to write more… or at least I hope ;) . I’ve also chosen to convert this site because it gets very little visitors, so screwing around with this site won’t really affect my total traffic by much.

Since WordPress didn’t have an automatic import tool for Xoops and that I wanted to keep as much of my old data as possible, I manually moved every article, download, and gallery picture from Xoops to WordPress. By manual, I meant manually copying and pasting posts, uploading photos, and modifying the database via PHPMyAdmin. It’s boring and time consuming work, but I am used to doing this stuff. Compared to moving my data, installing WordPress and plug-ins was pretty easy. I really like the fact that WordPress has integrated a plug-in search into the admin panel. It makes finding and installing plug-ins so convenient. Compared to Xoops, WordPress is simpler. There are definitely some areas where Xoops is stronger, but thus far I have found that WordPress is meeting my needs for this website.

Anyways, this is more or less the completed website. I might add some small things here or there, but the look (modified from the understated but elegant “Piano Black” theme from mono-lab) is here to stay. Since the theme itself is primarily black and shades of gray, I will try to use bright backgrounds to liven up this place, and as a start I’ve employed a photo of some of the fuchsia in my family’s backyard. Anyways, hopefully all the changes will make this site more user friendly and attract more visitors.

Lastly, I hope everyone will have a happy holidays.