Hello Lincolnshire Echo/County News reader!
If you've stumbled across slickhouse.com by mistake, then you may be looking for the African Dreams site, documenting our trip to Botswana in July:
Those of you that haven't read this week's Echo/County News will have missed the two articles about our trip to Botswana. Take a look at the above sub-domain to learn more about our fund-raising!
Well, it's taken the whole of the bank-holiday weekend, along with this evening too - but it's finally here... version 7 of slickhouse.com
In reality, it's just a new theme for WordPress, but the code has been re-written from the ground up and a few extra images have been painstakingly put together in Photoshop, for good measure.
It should also bring slickhouse.com into the Web 2.0 era, with the shiny footer icons and wallpaper background - which took several hours to create, from an actual off-cut of wallpaper that we picked up in Glynn Web. I knew the texture-tiling technique we were taught in Games Design would come in handy one day!
So, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below - and highlight any bugs you find too.
Posted: Tuesday 29th May 2007, 08:24pm
Over the coming bank holiday weekend I plan to create (yet) another version of slickhouse.com
I've spent the past 3 weeks developing sites for work, that I've neglected my own. There's a list longer than my arm of features and design changes that I hope to make - and the pure XHTML/CSS coding I've been doing over the aforementioned 3 weeks should help.
For a start, the site itself doesn't display correctly in older versions of Internet Explorer - but I've been developing my own technique that I'll reveal soon, which resets browser styles prior to calling your own stylesheet. It appears to be a lesser-known method to ensure that your site works, as intended, in as many browsers as possible. I will also write an article about Microsoft's Virtual PC - which has proved to be a valuable tool in my Web Design toolkit.
I also believe that I've mastered CSS and I can't believe how I managed to code without it. So expect something different, or more of the same - as I attempt to hand-code a WordPress theme from scratch, in a weekend.
Update 1: I've updated WordPress both on my development install and on the live site (which you're viewing now), to version 2.2 and have written up a features list. Before I head to sleep tonight, I aim to have finished a stripped-down theme, ready for creating version 7. I'll update you on the progress as I go...
Update 2: As of Sunday 27th May @ 19:39 I have finished version 7.01 of the slickhouse.com WordPress theme - which will be released to the public, under a Creative Commons license very soon. It should prove to be an ideal starting point for newcomers wishing to create their own WordPress theme.
Update 3: As of Monday 28th May @ 13:11 I've completed the layout and typography - leaving the colour scheme and any additional images/logos for today.
Posted: Saturday 26th May 2007, 08:24pm
Over the past few months there have been a lot of major software releases - such as Windows Vista; Office 2007 and Adobe's Creative Suite 3.
It's the latter of which that I'm having the most troubles with - my copy of Vista Ultimate 64-bit OEM installed without a hitch, within 15 minutes of popping the disc in. Office 2007 was a doddle and Microsoft's latest addition - Expression Web, proved to be even easier. But Adobe CS3 wont budge and I'm not the only one finding it to be a PITA to install...
A brief Google search brought up pages of forum and blog posts, complaining about how bad the CS3 installer is and the numerous bugs people have encountered. For a piece of software that costs more than most computers, you'd expect it to be flawless.
The pick of the bunch is this blog post, that has managed to find the installer log - but once I opened it, I was confronted with 1000's of lines of pretty much crap. Detailed? Yes: very.
The Adobe forums are crammed full of complaints and bug reports - it doesn't appear to just be Vista that is having all the problems (many encounter them on XP). I managed to successfully install CS3 Web Premium onto my IBM laptop, which had just received a fresh install. Everything runs fine on it as far as I'm aware (I've only dabbled in Fireworks to compare it to 8 that we use at work). But, when it came to installing CS3 on Vista the results were less than acceptable. The splash menu appears, giving you the options to install; view some documentation; or browse the DVD. Upon selecting install, the Adobe Setup appears for, well, 5 seconds maybe - and then it disappears before your own eyes. A clever magic trick that Adobe have mastered, though that's where my experiences of CS3 on Vista come to an abrupt end.
I'm not bitter, just disappointed. Adobe's products have been outstanding in the past - and they've now boosted their portfolio of software with Macromedia's lineup.
For those out there that are encountering the same problems, Adobe has recommend that you format your PC and install a fresh copy of the O/S and then CS3 immediately afterwards. Great. So I have to format just to get CS3 to install - and ring Microsoft in the process, to explain why I need a new key?
"Hello, Microsoft? Yeah. I'm trying to install CS3 and Adobe recommend formatting. Can you give me a new key?"
Microsoft could very easily say no, causing even more frustration towards Adobe.
EDIT: One of the most popular search results is cdharrison.com - with a comment I couldn't agree more with:
"It€™s hard to believe a company like Adobe would ship a product with so many problems. CS3 is what makes Adobe who they are so if they€™re not careful they€™ll lose loyal fans to competitors. Too bad their aren€™t more of them. It seems Adobe is a bit arrogant with their own stuff. Not only did they wait around to release updates for the Intel Macs, they seem to be slow with Vista support as well."
EDIT2: Since posting, I've finally managed to get it to work. I revisited the 1000+ line log file and ran a search for 'error' on it - which seems the most logical thing to do in hindsight. This highlighted just the one part, which mentioned my K:\ drive again (mapped Documents) that seemed to halt the installation. This is precisely where Adobe have screwed up - there's no pop-up message box or warning, as on every other installer out there. Instead, Adobe simply closes the installer without any prior notification. Poor. At least it's running now...
Posted: Saturday 26th May 2007, 08:24am
Categories: Computers and Technology
Last night Anneka and I went to see the eagerly anticipated Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
As usual, I wont spoil the plot itself, but I can reveal that I was underwhelmed - not because it was a poor film in anyway, more that it didn't meet my expectations.
At almost 3 hours in length (168 minutes to be exact) the film doesn't bore you, whereas when I went to see LOTR at the cinema, I was fidgeting for over an hour. And you can definitely see every dollar of the (no doubt) huge budget splashed across the huge screen throughout the duration of the film.
The action sequences have been beefed up; the costumes are even more extravagent and the cast is bursting with big names - with a brief appearance of Keith Richards himself. The pace of it all is very fast too - encouraging you to stay awake as you are bombarded with a clever plot full of revelations, which tie the trilogy together.
But I was still underwhelmed by it all. Maybe it's the Matrix effect - the first was insane; ground breaking; unique and original. The second was more of the first - we'd seen it all before, but wanted more. The third became tedious and almost too much. The same could be said of Pirates - but not quite as foot-stabbing.
I've already said that I wont return to the cinema to see it again - but instead, I'll await the DVD release. Whether or not I stick to my word is another matter, considering I saw the original about 6 times in the cinema and the second 2 or 3 times.
Don't let me put you off it - Anneka was really impressed with Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and I enjoyed it, as I was shown new and exciting things. Maybe I'll be eating my hat in a few weeks...
Posted: Friday 25th May 2007, 08:24pm