An overflowing bathtub of creative stuff.

May 12

10 must have tools for the Mac based Web Designer

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Web design. It’s got a lot of names these days. From Information Architects to Usability Experts, it can be hard just knowing what to call yourself if you wrangle pixels for a living! The choice of what tools to use to wrangle said pixels can be even harder. Here is a list of 10 of my favourites. I consider them all to be “best in class” for their prospective jobs, but if you have an alternate suggestion and would like to let us know why you prefer it, don’t keep it to yourself!

Before we get started, an admission: These days I am a total Mac convert, long gone are the days of building my own computers and cursing endlessly at Microsoft’s ineptitude. If you are not running an Intel based Mac system on at least OS X Tiger, you has my condolences but you should know that this list is not for you. Number 1 on any list of useful tools for the web professional that I write would be a Mac. That’s just me, but I thought I’d better explain who this information is aimed at as I’m not sure that all of this software is available for other computing platforms. Right, onwards!

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Apr 20

New Series of Shooting Stars!

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Yes its back! You many have already heard they are filming a new six-part series coming in the autum .

Have you noticed they seem to be bringing all the old comedies back. Its the BBC’s own stupid fault. They decided to drop shooting stars, red dwarf and other great shows choosing other badly written sitcoms to replace the comedy. My Family is a good example with Bafta winning amazingly good actor Robert Lindsay running around like an idiot. OK My Family and other sitcoms are bearable at the start but that’s not what I expect from the BBC. I want to be laughing my ass off and Vic and Bob are just the ticket.

With the success of the Christmas specials they have decided to give a new series the go ahead. Jack Dee will be a new team captain and seems to suit the show perfectly. Ulrikakaka is the other team captain. It would not be the same without baby George Dawes keeping the scores so I am happy to see Matt Lucas join them.

Now all they need to do is a new series of Red Dwarf for Dave (which is a joint venture with UKTV and the BBC) and good quality comedy is back on the TV. A bit older and maybe a bit senile but still quality!

Apr 19

Connect360

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Connect360 is a fab little app that will allow you to stream your music, movies and pictures from your Mac to your Xbox360. The streaming of movies from the computer to the Xbox is smooth with hardly any buffering and no stuttering or jumping. There are some drawbacks, all the media has to live in the default Music, Movie and Pictures folders, the UI on the Xbox compared to using Microsoft Media Center is limited with no album art or rating etc. Due to the wonder that is DRM you will also not be able to play anything brought from the iTunes store and movies may have to be converted into the right codec to play.
However, apart from those drawbacks it does a very good job of getting your media onto your TV for a bargain price of $20 from Nullriver.

Apr 19

Tweak The Leopard Dock

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2D Leopard Dock

If you are looking for a way to remove the 3D dock that comes with Leopard then all you need are a few carefully typed Terminal commands.
First open terminal and enter this command:

$ defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -boolean YES

To change it back simply enter :

$ defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -boolean YES

Then Type:

killall Dock

Don’t fancy buggering about in the Terminal, then just download the DockDoctor app here and it will do it all for you.

Apr 18

Geeky podcast treats

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Here is a list of my favorite geeky podcasts.

1) This Week In Tech – This is great fun with leo and his guests. If you dont listen to this then you cannot call yourself a proper geek. It keeps you up to date with technology and most of all tells the truth.

2) Adam and Joe Show - Great geeky school boy humor  a very funny podcast from life long friends. They make funny songs on garage bands and laugh about the media, peoples habits and technology and the world in general.

3) Dwarfcast – Red dwarf fans review episodes and get drunk on cider. This is a very odd podcast but so much fun any geek should feel at home. They have a very relaxed style but they sure know what they are talking about.

4) Amiga Round Table – Essential listening for any amiga fan or any retro geek. With great guest and chat this is like This Week In Tech for amiga.

Apr 17

Wp-Forum database fix and skinning

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Wp-forum is a great plug in for wordpress that intergrates a forum into wordpress and use a universal account. Its very good but I came across some issues in the installation.
If you are getting database errors when installing or after installation deactive the plug in and do the following:

Database fix:
I found the solution on a forum from a guy called camdagr8

On some hosting accounts you’re not a full admin of the db.
so on line: 1009 of wp.class.php when it checks for the db user level it returns if it’s < 8

Commented out lines ( basically delete the lines and add // ):
1009, 1010, and 1108

Skinning:
Make sure first of all you have copied the css from the wp-forum to your style sheet or linked it. Then just edit the css colors to match your scheme. Then go into wp-forum/skins and select images. If you want to change the new post image then on.gif and off.gif controls them. Play around replace images and soon you will have a custom skin.

Apr 7

Wake Up

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Dear Gordon Brown and the rest of the pigs with their noses in the trough,
If you really want a taste of what life is like for people for people in the NHS, I hope you watched The Hospital on Channel 4 tonight. If you did I’m sure you got a look at what life is really like for people working on the front line of the NHS and I’m sure its nothing like the rose-tinted look you get from hearing reports from managers/management consultants/advisors etc.
I think you can watch it again if you happened to be a bit busy doing your expenses on the Channel 4 site here.
Yours Sincerely
A man who pays your expenses and for your second home.

Apr 2

Google Unveils Once Secret Server

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Continuing on from some of Ian’s earlier posts about the physical side of things which make the internet tick, yesterday Google released once secret information about the make up of their servers and data centers.
Interesting to see how they do things. Read the whole article here.

Mar 29

The F1 in Australia

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For some people watching Formula 1 is like watching paint dry, however, for me its some what more exciting. Thats why I dragged myself out of bed at silly o’clock this morning to watch it live on the BBC. The race in Melbourne is the first of the season and also the first chance to size up the BBCs new coverage, after they finally wrenched it back from ITV.

There have been several changes in the rules and cars for the new season including a new system called KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) which gives 7 seconds of extra power per lap, aerodynamic changes and the return of slick tires. All of these things are designed to make the sport more entertaining to watch by making overtaking easier and the pack run closer together.
I think its still a wee bit early after just one race to say definitively if all of these measures have been a success, but if this race sets the standard for the ones to come then it looks a lot like they have been. The racing was tight, there was lots of overtaking and it wasn’t until the last 3 laps that we knew Button was going to take victory. The race wasn’t decided by fuel loads or pit lane tactics, it was sheer hard work on the track by the drivers battling each other to the end.

The other refreshing change was seeing a top 3 not dominated by Ferrari or McLaren, this time it was Brawn and Toyota (although Hamilton has now been awarded 3rd by the stewards). The Brawn team seem to be going from rags to riches, winning the grand prix only 6 weeks after not knowing if they had the money to even enter a team this year. Good to see that a team with relatively small finances (compared to the big 3 or Ferrari, McLaren and Toyota) can fight with the big boys and win.

The BBC coverage also deserves a mention, with some good punditry (although things did look a little frosty between David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan) and the joy of finally being able to watch a grand prix with no adverts. Good coverage on the TV and as only the BBC can continuing that across on the Red Button, online and on the radio. With all those services they really showed up the failings of the ITV coverage and in my opinion the coverage is worth the cost of the license fee alone. Good old aunty.

Bring on Malaysia in a week.

Mar 28

Now I Know – Demo track

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Just a quick post of a song I’ve been meaning to finish for ages. Hope you like x

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