Blog redesign

Why Not Actually Finish Something You Have Started?I’ve been planning on a blog redesign for at least 6 months now: probably more.

Not much has happened.

A kick up the bum

I got all excited, I made a design, and then I did about a day’s work on the CSS. And then nothing. In order to nag myself into getting more done, I have decided to launch the unfinished theme. This is it. As you can see, its a little rough round the edges.

Shamed into action

The hope is that I will actually want to have a working site, and will thus push on with, well, finishing it.

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”

Paul J Meyer

Multiple header sizes…

Are an important part of website design

Even though I never…

…use ones this small!

Things I could do

As you may realise, I’m also using this post to throw a variety of elements into the blog, so I can check I have styling for them all. I also need to display some numbered and bulleted lists, but I can’t think of a relevant list to write. So, instead…

My favourite colours:

  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Golden Yellow
  • Black

Least favourite books ever:

  1. Granddad with Snails
  2. The Go Between
  3. Not really got any others.

The end of the post

Thanks for reading! Keep nagging me to finish this!

Introducing: What’s The Storey

Just finished building a new site, for the most talented guitarist I know – Dan Storey. Click the screenshot below to actually check out the site…

Had fun designing this, a pretty minimalist portfolio site, lots of lovely big photos of Dan looking awesome/moronic. Heads up to:

  • JPlayer: the HTML5 mp3 player (with Flash fallback).
  • Cicle: the (free) font for the navigation and titles.
  • Andy Colthart: the great photography (shot in my mate Dave‘s flat)

Anyway, check it out at WhatsTheStorey.com, and if you need a guitarist/producer/dad joke teller, give Dan a shout.

Wireframe me up

Just found an fun new webapp called Wirify. Basically, you save it to your bookmarks, load a page you would like to see in wireframe, and click the link. It then gives you a wireframed version of your site.

Sadly, it doesn’t get it quite right for most of my sites. It’s based on jquery, so there are a few issues in how it sees components placed. For example, http://allaboutchris.co.uk:

Still, its an excellent tool for getting a quick idea, and you can always copy it into Fireworks and add the missing bits. Here’s http://saltandlightsolutions.com:

Wireframe of Salt and Light Solutions

So there you go. Wireframes made easy. Check out wirify at Volkside.com/2010/12/introducing-wirify-the-web-as-wireframes/.

A program is worth a thousand…?

For the last week or so I’ve been following the #JS1K competition. Short for “Javascript 1 kilobyte”, the competition is to see who can create a fully functioning javascript app in 1024 bytes or less.

Its hard to explain to the non geeks why this competition is impressive. Imagine trying to make a working bicycle, spending only 50p. Or building a house, but you are only allowed 27 bricks and a door. Just 1000 bytes As a comparison, this little image on the right is 1000 bytes – but both the apps below have been made with the same amount of space!

Anyway, the results of the competition came out a couple of days ago, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that my favourite entry, “The Legend of the Bouncing Beholder” came first. I have placed it below, especially as I was intrigued to see if wordpress lets me embed javascript code:

[iframe http://allaboutchris.co.uk/js/bouncinggame.htm 800 170]

Just click on it and use the cursor keys to move the bouncing character. It’s not the world’s best game, but absolutely incredible work for such a tight coding challenge. You can read all about how Marijn Haverbeke made it on his blog.

There are lots of other entries on the site – you can browse a huge list of them, but I will leave you with my second favourite: a fully automated living ecosystem:

[iframe http://allaboutchris.co.uk/js/ecosystem.htm 600 430]

Watch it for a bit, and you will see the plants multiplying and growing, then being eaten by the worms and growing again. Check out the explanation and source code on the site.

PS. I eventually managed to include the code within iframes, using the excellent Iframe Embedder plugin. Using this you simply use the code [ifra me http://webaddress.com 200 800] which will put webaddress.com in an iframe with a width of 200px and a height of 800px. Thanks to the guys in the forums for that one!

MedRevise 4.0 is here!

After a month of live beta testing, the time has come to officially launch the new version of MedRevise.co.uk to the world at large. To find out the full story, read on…

Nearly five years ago, I arrived at medical school. And I realised I needed to make some notes. But I also wanted to use my computer, and so keeping them in order was important.

And then I realised I could use a wiki. For those of you who don’t know, a wiki is “A collaborative website which can be directly edited using only a web browser, often by anyone with access to it“. So I bought a domain, www.medrevise.co.uk, which I started to use for my revision.

As time went on, there were more and more notes online, and soon I met my friend Raj, who found that note making on MedRevise was his ideal revision technique too. Over the years the site has grown, and gets quite a lot of visitors: according to our hosting stats, last month (May) we had more than 13,000 visitors, and 112,000 page views. Needless to say, that makes me feel pretty happy!

MedRevise ScreenshotAnyway, this weekend, MedRevise Version 4.0 is launched, notable changes including:

  • Appearance: A new colourful theme. My first foray into Mediawiki theming, which was a pain in the bum, but worth it in the end.
  • About: A sexy new “About” page, and a few tweaks to the front page.
  • Twitter: A link to our twitter feed.
  • Adverts: For the first time, adverts – hopefully to pay some of the costs of the hosting, time maintaining it, etc.
  • See it now, in the screenshot on the right!

So yes, some exciting changes. Find out more for yourself at http://www.medrevise.co.uk.

Photo Twenty Four – Inside our church

The following post is from a series of emails I wrote to my girlfriend at the time, whilst on a trip to Africa. She is now my wife, so I did something right.

Taking photos for the Freedom website – unfortunately, my camera changed its settings, and I didn’t realise. So I have a load of photos in the smallest size, on the worst quality settings. Looks okay though, I suppose….

Day Thirteen – Unlucky For Some Teeth

The following post is from a series of emails I wrote to my girlfriend at the time, whilst on a trip to Africa. She is now my wife, so I did something right.

Had a dream where all my teeth fell out! I was talking to you, and about 10 fell out. You were talking to me, and one of yours fell out too. I woke up with such a start, and felt my teeth, such a relief when they were really solid, and stuck in my gums lol.

Today was mostly spent doing the website – you can check current progress at www.tshwaranang.org. I also finished off DIY, leaving just one song to do.

My day was spoiled slightly by you dumping me, but I recovered hehe.

In the evening I went to a cell group, on a farm. Mohau’s car ran out of gas right at the end of a long, long dirt road. It was pretty funny, but also not good.

One of the chaps at the meeting who was telling us that they had a vision, that God wants them to get together every Friday, to be together, and to worship him. They were talking about the practicalities of converting a barn, and buying benches, and chairs, and I was just thinking – why are you planning so much, where is your faith? Just get together, and start now! Don’t talk about getting ready – God has told you to get together every Friday, so start this Friday. And if you need stuff, work it out as you go along! If you need chairs, bring them next week, maybe a kettle the next week, after that maybe start doing food between you, but be guided by your prayer during those weekly get togethers. Don’t try to guess where God is going to lead you!

Unlike some people I know, who are much more polite than me, and don’t say the things they want to, to people, I said all this. Their reaction was infuriating, they agreed, and were like “Yes, that does sound interesting…” then just went back to planning. I had just read “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1Ti 4:12), which seemed very relevant, since it seemed they weren’t respecting my wisdom. Sounds petty, but I’m not meaning it like that.

I actually felt very inspired tonight; when another member of the group was talking about a youth camp they felt they had to run, based on the armour of God verses.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”
Ephesians 6:11-18

His feeling is to run it pseudo military camp style, with exercises, and the kids called them captain, and sir, and the kids being called privates, etc. I felt very Spirit led here, that the camp should be leading to a culmination where the kids are told “So now we have explained how to be a soldier. You know that you have to choose to put on this armour! If your Dad is a soldier, if you have grown up as a soldier’s son, does that make you a soldier too? No! You have to join the army to be a soldier. In the same way, it doesn’t matter if your parent’s are Christians or not. It doesn’t matter how you were raised, it matters if YOU decide to serve God! You have a choice! Do you want to sign up to join the army of God?!”

And then the kids have to physically sign the list. A military altar call, if you will, but I think it will be very powerful.

And I think everyone felt the power of what I’d said, and it was cool, people who hadn’t spoken previously chimed in to agree with me. Yet I still felt the gravity of what God was saying wasn’t coming across. When he asked how he should prepare, I was adamant that he should obey those verse, live it, put on the armour fully and intently; and the guys just sort of agreed, then were like, “…anyway”.

So that was annoying, but it was nice to hear from God.

Much love,
Chris