MOAR Three.JS

I am going to be writing a lot of articles about code in the coming months, and I’m doing some of one project in Three.JS.

Three.JS is (in my opinion) the first good raw JavaScript 3D rendering library and I find it to be the bomb dot com. It leverages WebGL stuff that’s been around a long time but hasn’t been super duper well kept up with or used in most mainstream web applications to my knowledge, which I find to be an absolute travesty.

Well, you might be interested to know that means I’ll be trying to include some interactive 3D rendering in my articles like this. If it ever stops working I ask that you let me know, but I think it’s going to stick around and be epic.

With thanks to ThreeJSFundamentals.org for this one, I figured I’d demonstrate this as a quick proof of concept for how far you can go with articles. Who needs to stick to flat test or even mere pictures when you can embed an entire videogame in your article if you wanted to?
Let’s GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO (note to self: get DOOM as an embed)

We’re living in a new age where crazy things are becoming possible, and I really want to open people’s minds to the possibilities, and I think this is one way to do it.

This has been a rough year for people’s optimism and I think we all need to be reminded every now and then that we are living in the greatest time in humanity’s history SO FAR. We’re just going crazy stuck at home or bored, or having issues with an unstable job market and tough finances. We’re seeing negative things people of ages past couldn’t see, which wouldn’t have to affect us but that we let make us anxious and depressed. We need to be looking for the good in the world around us because there’s plenty of that present too.

Stuff is cool and technology is awesome if you learn how to leverage it. Who knows, maybe I’ll write articles with the sole purpose to give you mini-games to play with when you’re bored. I’ll have to take a few weeks and make a template first so I can spin them up quickly, but if I can manage such a project, you and I are gonna have a lot of fun together, dear reader. Who knows, maybe I’ll start a trend and be the first blog of many like this?

I think we have a great opportunity ahead of us in coming years where we’ll be able to have another generation of the internet much like the flash-games era of so many years ago. At least some of us like myself miss those days. Those were good times. New technologies are being designed all the time and improvements to make it easier for people to develop.

Again, let me know if you can’t see it rendering. It should be rendering on mobile too. It’s well supported by all the browsers now. If you’re interested in learning more, you can go play with the threejs.org toys. Go have fun! there’s a bunch of them. You can play a french pinball or just go on this acid trip, headphones on.

Into the Bloggerverse

Want to start your own site? I’ve been wanting to put this site together for a while and I just never really got around to it until now, but it’s overdue and definitely time. Here I’ll mention some of the adventures so far.

I expect to focus primarily on my technical adventures in computer wonderland, and this blog is one of them so LET’S GET META.
I’ve only dabbled in WordPress a little bit and I’ve never set up my own instance so the setup is going slower than I like. What’s nice is they use the same exact interface components as wordpress.org/themes on the backend so I’m able to have friends help me dig through the layouts until I find one I like. I want to keep it minimal and user friendly, I don’t want to hit you in the face with massively useless pictures nor walls of text. I want to be helpful.

We’re on Day 4 and so far we have the server up, secured, stylized, and now I’m beginning to add other content pages. I’m going to try and write something every day. Here’s a few technical considerations I’ve encountered:

I owned the domain name I bought from Register.com for a few years, and the one thing that took a few days was realizing to have it work and the HTTPS lock, I needed to update my IP properly on register.com’s site and then change the name servers on that awful site to point to the DigitalOcean ones, in addition to using the letsencrypt.org tools on the command line.

I love DigitalOcean. You can run a website for $5-$10 a month, the cost of a music or TV subscription. Not getting paid to say this but I definitely recommend them, they’ve been reliable for me for years, and they have automatic preset installs like WordPress. I just had to say go and in under a minute I had a new Linux server to log into and fiddle with, that mostly worked as WordPress already. Be sure to update from the WordPress user interface, but if you focus on that side you should be able to get most of the setup happy using WordPress plugins and not worrying about the Linux side too much.

I’ll pick a lesser-known plugin to tell you about since I’m here: take a look at WP Night Mode. I made my site have a Night Mode toggle and set it on by default. Those who know, know. And to the rest who want it light: what’s wrong with you? and also you’re welcome. It takes a little setup of the colors you want it to use and you’ll want to use the shortcode wherever but I can’t recommend it more.

Some “fiddly” items of business you’ll want to deal with:
1) Go into customizing/themes and get to site identity and make sure you have an icon other than the WordPress one. Try to brand yourself a little bit.
2) Get stock images at Pexels, Unsplash, or Pixabay. I recommend searching them all when you’re looking for something specific. I’m traditionally a Pexels user but Unsplash is really coming through this week.
3) Find a plugin (I settled for the Yoast SEO one) that will put the featured image for your article in a link preview on social media. Test that and make sure it works, you want to come off professional and not a data-less link.
4) Find your menu and your sidebar for widgets and get those looking half decent. Get rid of any theme clutter you don’t explicitly want and organize the site so people can get around it easy. Remove any redundancy.
5) I’ll restate what I said above, get that HTTPS and lock icon ASAP so you don’t seem sketchy. You can grade your server at SSL Labs. Use other browsers and incognito to test because caching will make it act up even if it’s fixed. I took SSL Lab’s advice and disabled TLS 1.0/1.1 on my server.
6) Sort out Settings->Permalinks immediately. Once you decide how URLs are done it’s somewhat permanent or you break all your links on the web. I had to install Redirection to fix the ones already out there in the wild.
7) Under users you will find your avatar. Apparently you set it by making an account on Gravatar and it will show up soon once you have that set up.
8) Figure out how you are going to do categories and tags quickly. Don’t be using that stupid “Uncategorized” one. Categories are genres, and you should only have 2 or 3. You might even only have one. All else is a matter of tags. It takes time to figure out what they should be, but once you have a dozen or so posts, you should have more than enough info on what they should be.