Tom Vincent

Essays on hacking, travel and self-improvement


Building websites as a hobby since 2005, it was only a matter of time before I made one for myself. It has served as an ongoing experiment ever since. This post details its evolution, in reverse chronological order.

Third iteration

A screenshot of circa May 2011

The third iteration saw a major rewrite from Wordpress to toto. I wanted to see how far I could take minimalism: this iteration runs on toto, a tiny Ruby-based blog engine.

Gone was the bloated MySQL database-PHP combination; replaced with a subtle blend of plain-text files, git and Heroku. Everything is based on open source software, even the site itself.

The design compliments the backend minimalism. Aiming to be as readable as possible, it uses a warm colour pallette and focuses purely on the content.


This iteration uses the following technologies:

  • Ruby (toto, rack)
  • HTML 5 boilerplate
  • CSS 3
  • Javascript (Disqus, hyphenator)
  • Git
  • Heroku

Second iteration

A screenshot of circa July 2007

From humble beginnings of handwritten HTML, I next dived into Wordpress; the PHP-powered blogging engine, using the fantastic Journalist theme by Lucian E. Marin. The purpose of my site changed from less of a programming experiment, more of a blogging experiment.

A screenshot of circa Februrary 2011

For my year in Hong Kong, I updated to the default Twenty Ten theme, with a banner of Victoria Harbour.


This iteration uses the following technologies:

  • Wordpress (PHP)

First iteration

A screenshot of circa Jan 2007 was born circa January, 2007. Initiated from a school interest, this baby was a notepad masterpiece (or so I thought at the time). I was learning CSS, evident by the curious div background colours. I’m not sure it ever worked in the new browser on the block: Firefox 2, but why would anyone click on anything but the “blue e”?


This iteration uses the following technologies:

  • HTML
  • CSS

This post will be updated to include future iterations.