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Comet Calling

27th – Mar – 2013

And in completely unrelated web news – there is a comet heading towards the sun. True. It will shine brighter than the moon, be visible to the naked eye during the middle of the day, and may even span across 90 degrees of the sky (that’s a very long tail). It could be very, very WOW. The comet’s full name is C/2012 S1 or ISON, which stands for International Scientific Optical Network – genius. Discovered by a couple of amateur Russian chaps.

ISON?

ISON?

They say (the space people), that it might be the most spectacular event ever witnessed by mankind, ever. More awesome than a Flaming Lips concert. It may also burn out before the party. It is in fact not heading directly at the sun, but damn close. On Nov. 28, 2013, the head of the comet passes 1.2 million kilometers above the sun’s surface. This is closer to the sun’s surface than the sun’s own diameter, which is very close. Like almost getting a bullseye in darts. If it does not burn up while heading towards the sun and fizzle out completely, it will be slung around the sun for a second viewing. If this does happen all the humans will be in awe for all of November and December. Expect live NASA broadcasts, nerds looking skywards a lot, and possibly some head injuries.

Obviously the sun gives off light, so if the comet survives the slingshot, the the comet tail being full of dust and ice might just be super spectacular with all that light behind it. Here’e hoping.

I look forward to this event with much anticipation. Hold it together ISON. Fingers crossed.

ISON gets slung (hopefully)

ISON gets slung (hopefully)

Completely unrelated star chart

Completely unrelated star chart

WordPress and multi language

12th – Mar – 2013

wordpress--wpml

Yes I was a flash guy, it was 2002. We all shared fla’s. We experienced the open sharing nature of the web and felt a warm tingle, and it wasn’t pee. Learning was not just fun, but a refreshing challenge. Well I have that tingle all over again, thank you WordPress community. The swathe of nerds contributing to the platforms extendability is a real wow. So many truly great plugins are available. Plugins can extend WordPress to do whatever you may dream up (most likely).

A client of mine, edgy clothing label, Silent Theory, have a responsive WordPress website, which is used to showcase their latest ranges, stockists, sign-up and brochure. With recent success, comes expansion. So the request came through to make the website available in another four languages (French, German, Italian & Spanish) for the European market. Step right up WPML (WordPress Multilingual Plugin).

Having worked in producing multiple language versions of a software product in the past (many many moons ago), and knowing how much work was involved, I initially baulked. And while you have to pay for the plugin, it is money very well spent. I was able to easily translate pages, posts, custom types, taxonomy, and menus. It’s even possible to change the theme’s texts, should you need to for a frenchy client. On the front end, the language switcher sits neatly in the top right hand side of the website. Allowing the user to switch language at any point. Only translated pages are shown, great feature (notice the stockists only display in English).

I prepared translation documents, had them translated, and simply inserted the multiple versions of pages or posts where applicable. Was honestly very impressed with how easily and well this worked. Not unusual to experience this nice feeling with paid for plugins.

But wait there’s more. Also noticed that integrating with .mo files and having the actual translations handled by computer (look mum no hands), was possible. Super impressive.

The internet allows for your website to be seen by so many, so easily. No doubt, down the track google will probably translate everything on the fly based on the fingerprints of the user, but until then, thank you WPML.

Please visit – www.wpml.org

WPML in use – www.silenttheory.com.au

breathing triangles

4th – Feb – 2013

breathing-triangles

Breathing Triangles is an exercise in curation. A side project undertaken by pixelshifter. To entertain myself.

The internet is awesome, really awesome. None of us could have dreamt that it would become the behemoth that it is today. So so many pages, so much great content. A lot of absolute crap too. I enjoy the challenge in finding the good pages, the often interesting, quirky treats, less sought after, hiding in the corner.

Early last year, I was fortunate to visit the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) in Hobart, Tasmania. The private collection of local, David Walsh. Being a private collection (as opposed to public) the thing that struck me the most was what the collection as a whole said to me. Very powerful. Moving. Overwhelmed. An intense feeling that was clearly greater than the sum of it’s parts. Quite honestly, I found the art to be a bit too “angry man” for me. I prefer playfulness, colour and thought provoking. But maybe it was the confronting nature that hit me.

Well anyway I was left with this feeling, and Breathing Triangles is my reaction. A little corner of the internet where you just browse through a collection of pages, that somehow as a whole may say something. And maybe not. Simple things, colourful things, moving things, playful things, science things, natural things. As a whole, they speak to me. Curious about the art of curation.

I have tried to give credit wherever required via linking. More than happy to remove an entry on request. If no link at all, most likely, the image is mine.

www.breathingtriangles.com

Many thanks to Mark MacKay for help in customising the permalinks.

Pasquale D’Silva

Pasquale D’Silva

Jeremy Geddes

Jeremy Geddes

Darren Henderson – Worldly Creatures

Darren Henderson – Worldly Creatures

Easeback

Easeback

get Responsive

18th – Jan – 2013

pixelshifter-get-responsive

Responsive web design. What is it? Ideally it provides an optimal viewing experience.

Take your mouse (if your on a desktop), grab the bottom right hand corner of your browser window and change it’s size, making it much smaller and very narrow. It may seem more obvious if you move to the folio section. Notice the content re-distributing itself on-screen to best suit the browser width. That’s responsive web design. Obviously on a tablet or smart phone you cannot re-size your browser, and you are already seeing the end result.

I have read much on this. Some say it’s the best thing yet. Some are not big fans. The big argument against seems to be that content (for example the sidebar on a blog) may move to the bottom of the screen at narrow screen sizes. Well that’s ok with me. The incredibly vast range of screen sizes available today (both landscape and portrait) make holding onto that rule seem fairly silly.

What do I think? I think it’s great. Personally I agree with the ideal that the less you need to pinch and zoom whilst browsing on smaller screens (smart phones), the more enjoyable, and most likely legible the experience. So that’s good. A single content source makes a lot of sense too. And with predictions floating around that the majority of people will be browsing on devices long before the end of 2015, responsive makes sense.

So how is it done? Via media queries, which are additions to your CSS stylesheet. Browser detection (yes a browser knows what type or size device you are using), results in a different styling characteristics being set. Simple. Amazing. Way to go Zeldman.

pixelshifter now offering hosting with Ilisys

18th – Dec – 2012

pixelshifter-ilisys-hosting

For years I recommended them to my clients. They are good people. Smart people. Why I did not become a partner earlier on, I don’t know. I think it seemed like a headache. Must have matured, no headache.

pixelshifter is now very happy to be able to offer both hosting solutions and domain name registration and management via the Ilisys partner program. Basically they like me putting people on their servers, so if you need hosting and sign up via pixelshifter, I can give you a better deal.

Ilisys have exceptional up time records, wonderful service, are Australian based, super fast and super reliable.

They’re so good, they host the Big Day Out website!

Feel free to ask about how pixelshifter can help with domain names and hosting for your project or business.

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