Overview

Ask the FortyPoundHead.com started out as a simple repository of registry hacks for Windows computers. I was new to programming web applications back in those days, and didn't have the know-how to build a truly useful website.

There wasn't too much to it, and the design, well, it was horrible. Being a tech geek, all I really wanted in a web site was information, and the site reflect as much. There were no graphics, nothing to break up the monotony of the text. It was a true geek page, and it would put you right to sleep.

As time went by, the content grew. More people started utilizing the site, and they started asking me questions. This was great! Someone actually wanted me to tell them how to solve a problem.

Site layout and functionality

Main Site Layout Diagram

The site is built in such a way as to be uniform across all the pages of the site. The main layout is shown in the large graphic to the left.

The four regions are the header, main content area, sidebar, and the footer.

I'll go over each one in the next few paragraphs.

 

Header

Header Section

The header (highlighted to the left) is where the main menu lives. From the entries there, you can navigate to several various sections of the site. This includes going to pages with yet more menus!

For example, if you click on the Tools link, you'll be taken to the list of tools available for use by anyone.

 

Changeable

One thing to keep in mind about the header, as with other portions of the site, is that it can change slightly. This is changing is based upon your current login status, and to some degree, your security level.

An example of this is the Login/Logout link. If you are currently logged in, you'll be shown the logout link, and vice versa.

Main Content Area

Content Section

This is where the meat of the site shows up. It's pretty self explanatory: Whenever you click a knowledgebase article, forum post, or anything, this is where it shows up.

 

Sidebar

Sidebar Section

This a section that changes frequently, comparative to other secions.

If you are not logged in, with the current site configuration you'll simply see the search box, an advertisement, and shortcut buttons for various code repositories on the site.

BUT if you were to login, the advertisement goes away, and is replaced with your own personal tools, such as: Message Box, Profile Editor, shortcut to articles that you have posted, link to submit an article, and Ophion (time tracking). This sub-section can change as well, depending on your current permissions on the site.

One thing of note: if there is a site-wide alert, for example if updates are under way, etc., A notification box will be shown below the search box.

 

footer

Footer Section

This is pretty much your standard footer, which gives a directory of links to help you use the site, see stats, and more. Links to the Contact Us page, as well as rules, terms, and conditions are down there as well.

 

Post Counts

There is a widevariety of tech-related topics on this site. Over the course the last 11 years, a few posts have been quite active, while others, well, not so much. Take a peek below at the top 10 posts, and the bottom 10 posts.

Ten Most Viewed Posts

Title Views Posted On Posted By
Install VB6 on Windows 7 607,908 2009-06-23 dwirch
Install VB6 on Windows 10 160,182 2014-10-30 dwirch
Disable UAC in Windows 7 110,461 2009-01-18 dwirch
Install VB6 on Windows 8 98,602 2012-03-25 dwirch
Create a zero-byte file 54,354 2011-12-31 dwirch
Manual install of DX7VB.DLL 38,482 2015-01-13 dwirch
How VPN Creates a Secure and Private Tunnel between the Users Device and the Distant Server 27,428 2014-11-26 gloriaphilips
Troubleshooting DNS with NSLookup and dig 24,583 2009-05-27 dwirch
Windows 7 Undock PC Option Missing 22,756 2009-07-18 dwirch
Giant Windows Registry Hacks List 22,303 2012-06-23 dwirch

Ten Least Viewed Posts

Title Views Posted On Posted By
VB6 Tutorial 34: Handy Numeric functions 36 2018-04-18 VB6Boy
VB6 Tutorial 20: Do Loops 37 2018-04-06 VB6Boy
VB6 Tutorial 37: String Functions 37 2018-04-20 VB6Boy
VB6 Tutorial 29: Form Templates 38 2018-04-15 VB6Boy
VB6 Tutorial 27: Other Control Flow Functions 40 2018-04-11 VB6Boy
VB6 Tutorial 30: Lines and Shapes 40 2018-04-15 VB6Boy
VB6 Tutorial 33: The Object Browser 40 2018-04-15 VB6Boy
VB6 Tutorial 18: Nested If/Else 40 2018-04-05 VB6Boy
VB6 Tutorial 31: MouseOver Effects 40 2018-04-15 VB6Boy
VB6 Tutorial 23: The CheckBox Control 40 2018-04-07 VB6Boy

Tools and Design Evolution

The first tool on the site was called (in true minimalist geek fashion) "Questions". I wrote the code for it myself, and for my first attempt at interactivity, was... ok. You can see for yourself that the tool is now gone from the site, which means it ended up not doing too good. Not to worry, though. I hope to bring it back in the future, if there is demand for it.

The site has had forums in the past (hope to bring those back, too!), and currently has a fine crop of tools for use by anyone who needs them.

New this year is the introduction of Ophion. Ophion (which was named for the aquatic diety who ruled the world before being cast down by Cronus and Rhea) is, simply put, a time tracking application. With the tool, you'll be able to track what you do every day, how many hours you work per day, or month, or year. Bosses love documentation, and you can use this to show them that you actually do something besides bang on a keyboard all day.

The Beat with a stick list is also a new addition for 2011. This fun little tool allows you to throw on a rant against whatever subject you want. Don't like bad drivers? Vent on BWASL! Can't stand software license agreements? Rage on! Not a very useful application, but it gives you the opportunity to blow off some of that geek fury!

So, yeah. You can find some real, low-down, greasy geek stuff here. And you can find some things for noobs, too. I built this site as a reference resource for people of all technical skill levels, and I hope that is what it has become.

Yep, design too. As I become more versed with CSS and (X)HTML, I perform small experiments here and there, and even some larger ones. Heck, I even build full layouts for folks, from time to time. As a result, you'll find some of the fruits of those labors here on the site, under the templates category. All are free for use. Just drop me a note so I can (like a proud daddy) see where my baby is making the world a better place.

Over the last 10+ years, the site has gone through a few design changes, as you can see below.

Layout
(click for bigger)
Year Description
2007 This was the very first iteration of the site, and was actually a part of my home-based computer business. The idea was to give some value-added resources to my clients. This was built long before the advent of CSS, and the layout was table-based.
2007 FortyPoundHead gets its own domain! Still a table-based layout, though. CSS was (to me, anyway) a new technology, and didn't really warrant learning yet. I think at this point I was building my own "styling" system, mainly dealing with the definition of colors and fonts. Kind of a psuedo-CSS.
2010 Now, we skip forward three years, and bypassing much design madness. Unfortunately, I don't have any good screenshots of those intervening three years, and archive.org didn't do a very good job of capturing the site. In this image you can see that I've given in to the CSS bug, and even thrown in a javascript-based accordion for that big recent articles list in the middle. As I mentioned earlier, this site is all about experimenting. And this mess was one of those experiments.
2011 Here is the year that I started really geting in to minimal design. Not visible in this picture is the header picture. Not sure why that didn't show up in the screenshot. This layout actually evolved into one of my first CSS templates available for download, Speedy Blue.
2011 A minor revision of the layout, making it a bit cleaner. I learned how to make a sticky header, and shrunk it down a bit so that more data could be presented on-screen.
2011 Some more changes! Most of the updates on the site in 2011 were focused around cleaning up the existing code, and adding new features to the site. In the design, I moved some things around, and tried to add a bit more color.
2012 Experimentation continues. The main content section of the front page got turned into three columns, rather than a single tall column. The idea was to give it a more magazine or newspaper style look, while still giving a good amount of information on the front page. Each of the front page items was its own "card" and the cards could be formatted individually through code.
2012 I also started getting more into flat-looking elements, and actually removed gradients from the site during this time. I think it was around the time Windows 8 was coming out, and I actually got really into some of the flat design.
2012 More flat design goodness, and started playing around with fonts. Also, gone is the sidebar, giving more room on the page for information. The sidebar eventually came back; I missed it.
2013 Aaaand the sidebar is back, along with some gradients. I was still experimenting with the card concept here, and this layout is based on a calendar I saw on someones wall, somewhere.
2013 Slowly migrating back to a cleaner interface. Still some gradients floating around, though. I have nothing against the use of gradients. If that is your thing, by all means, do it.
2014 Ahhh, an attempt at adding a bit of color to the site. Apparently, I had discovered CSS-based rounder corners about this time.
2014 This is pretty close to where the site is now, as of this writing. A few things have changed around in the last three years, but not much has changed visually. However, what you don't see is the new responsive design that lets you view the site properly on any device.
2018 This is how the site looks as of mid-April, 2018. It's been cleaned up a bit, some new features added, some taken away. Overall, I think it is a hair away from being perfect. Code optimization continues, both on the back-end, and in the front-end html/CSS.

Code Links