Posts in Category: web design

New Gallery (again)

Time for another make-over: my old gallery subdomain was fine at the time, but has suffered from 5 years of neglect and has become rather dated and annoying when it comes to trying to navigate or show images to others, so now that I have a WordPress theme which supports both gallery and slideshow modes, I shall be reposting some old images along with newer content, but with added WP tags.

All items will be ‘gallery’ tagged, but collections and other interesting/helpful meta-info will also pop-up in the tags from time-to-time; B+W is certainly going to be making an appearance and I’m currently playing to see if more EXIF info would be helpful or a clutter in the UI.

The old subdomain will redirect to the main tag view, so if you arrived here expecting a totally different view, then now you know why !

CloudFlare: Welcome to the Collective

Home hosting of content is a great idea (I’ve been doing it for over a decade) but at some stage the cons start to outweigh the pros. In particular, the speed of UK ADSL uplinks (448kbps) is a large factor in considering external, commercial, hosting, as is the availability of the line and the amount of SysAdmin time needed to keep ahead of the script kiddies.

Ok, so you don’t have to put in time to beat the scripters: staying on top of security updates is often sufficient, but in the early days of WordPress I found that could loose my outbound bandwidth for half an hour or more as a stream of dumb proxy attacks came in.

The electrical cost of running a home server also varies from the super fast might-as-well-rent-dedicated-server end of the market, down to low power devices that can spend the best part of two days building MySQL.

Now, though, there’s an interesting new twist to the cost/speed spreadsheets from CloudFlare, a start-up from 2010 which is making the idea of low power home serving a much faster and more reliable option. They offer (for free) a distributed CDN (Content Delivery Network) together with a very Borg like security consolidation system, where any recognised attack on any site utilising CloudFlare is instantly blacklisted for every site in the collective.

The basic service is free, supported by a commercial offering with better stats and security offerings. So far it appears to do exactly what they suggest for static content, with one graphics laden WordPress page dropping in load time from 34s to 4.05s – this is for a US site analyser looking at a UK site.

Uptime isn’t perhaps as good as a reliable as the best home host, as they have a very aggressive anti-DoS stance on their website which does attract a lot of DoS attention, but given that they will serve the last known content when your site is entirely off-line and the fact that they do actively monitor and work to mitigate attacks, it’s certainly worth a try.

And no, this domain is currently using them: far too many horrid squirly technicalities with machines right now, but I hope to get there soon.

new theme for mobile viewers

I’m a huge fan of CSS and intelligent use of it such as removing images, background colours and scaling down font sizes for print, but some things need more work. If you’re looking at this site from an iPod Touch, iPhone or Android device, you should now get a much more compact ‘just-the-facts’ style view, courtesy of WPTouch. If you have any problems, or think the layout could still stand to be improved, do let me know in the comments.

Recently I’ve been having some fun with Rapidweaver and have used it to create a web site for Marble Hill Dance Studio which is run by Abigail Cova and is based in St. Margaret’s, London. The main theme was a stock item with customised colours and extended background motifs, but in the end the logo placement and fade turned out to be real issues and so the front page is hand-customised.

Recent enhancements in RW4 do mean that JavaScript email link obfuscation is now native (although common LHS addresses will still be open to dictionary attacks) and the use of standard Hn tags could be improved on the Styled Text pages, but I’m still very happy with the ease of design, style mods and overall usage. The most obvious room for improvement is the number of features the Flash slideshow has that simply aren’t options – the tool manual shows off the true power and so again a post-export tweak to the XML file allows the name of the image to stay on screen even if the mouse isn’t over the image itself.

rapidweaver for free: worth repeating

Realmac Software | Weblog:

The next edition of Mac User will have a full and free version of RapidWeaver 3.5 on the cover disc. If you’re at all interested in publishing more web pages/sites than iWeb lets you, and like the idea of simply using Cut-n-Paste to create a web page (from TextEdit, Nissus, Word, et. al.) with all styles intact, then you really ought to get this software.

No, this site doesn’t use it (almost all my others do) purely because I don’t want to alter the way my WordPress comments are done, and there’s no easy way to bulk import an existing blog. (Seeing the load on my ageing SQL server at times makes me wish I had moved over already, though…)

four free aperture themes

Update 07nov06: Note that the download here is only for Aperture versions up to (and including) 1.1.2 The location of the themes is different for Aperture 1.5, so view the updated post if you’re using 1.5 or 1.5.1.

Well, more variations than true themes, but if you have Aperture I have add a new Stock theme which has a grey background, and also created versions that have a link to a parent directory in the theme itself so it’s a little easier to get at least a one level deep gallery out of the program.

The four are called:

  • Stock Grey
  • StockSub
  • StockSub Black
  • StockSub Grey

(the Sub to show they are used as Subdirectories rather than for the top level)

You can see it in action with a few of my own pictures. For the moment I have resorted to a hand-built top level page, but have a few ideas about how to automate this side of things.

Download the installer.

(Update: a missing / at the start of the download link might have caused problems for some: my apologies if this affected you)

Web 2.1 server-side blink tag demonstration

Web 2.1 server-side blink tag demonstration:

Now here’s something the mainstream fuss over AJAX has missed: real, tangible and downright useful code. No more silly browser intelligence: let the server control everything !

Roll on Web 2.5

AIRTIGHT – PostcardViewer Download

AIRTIGHT – PostcardViewer Download:

I meant to mention this a while ago when I was looking at various galleries and it’s a great non-linear way of presenting images, plus it’s free. It just got a lot better for Photoshop users though, as there’s now a script for automatically generating albums.

No, it doesn’t work in Elements 3 (I tried !) but there is an iPhoto exporter mentioned which I’ve not had a go with yet.