New Showcase page for you to play with!

The portfolio page looked a little drab. Afterall I am working SOLID completing work left right and center. Not all of this can go into my portfolio page as it’s more University work and stuff built on a personal basis. This then spawned the “Showcase” page. Have a play with the few flash and javascript games on there as well as reading about some of the smaller projects I have been completing to get me through University.

In the next few weeks it’s going to be developed a little more to display more images and information on each project. But for now it’s a start ;-)

Free XHTML Template

The other day I realised I had loads of spare web stuff lying around on my hard drive which included canned designs, unused web pages, old university assignments and old website designs (PSD’s and XHTML/CSS).

Well, today I decided I’d start releasing this spare stuff online. If I’m not using it maybe someone else can get something out of it. That was the idea behind the WordPress Olivia template, it was an old design which morphed into a pretty popular free template.

Anyway, we start this new routine of free downloads with a free XHTML template complete with instructions on how to use and modify it.

You can view a demo of the free XHTML theme or even download it for yourself to dissect, prod and poke.
There is also a tutorial on how to edit the pages, adding paragraphs and headers and also how to edit the CSS. It’s a basic tutorial but it explains the beginner methods.

Unfortunately there won’t be much support for it. You’ll have to work it out for yourself. If you are really really stuck you can drop comments for this post below and I’ll try my damn hardest to answer. Honest.

Download (370kb) | View Demo

How to? Basic website design using Adobe Photoshop

Please note: This tutorial is for beginners. It’s a short vague guide to push you in the right direction. I believe “learn by seeing and doing” is the best approach.

Many developers struggle to use the basic tools in Adobe’s award winning software Photoshop when designing websites. It can help a lot to know some simple techniques and tools when building XHTML pages. You don’t have to use the very awful splicing function at all.

Let’s start with the idea of building a very simple design using a set colour palette and a set width. After these simple tips I will also supply a number of useful links to visit to help you further. Continue reading How to? Basic website design using Adobe Photoshop

Olivia WordPress Theme – V0.9.5

This theme is no longer supported. Sorry!

Theme DemoDownload Now 670kb
I am pleased to announce that you can now download the brand new WordPress theme named “Olivia” direct from our website and soon from the official WordPress themes gallery.

It has been in development for a long time but good things come to those who wait!

Key features of the theme:

  1. Seven brilliant styles including a Grunge style and Magic style!
  2. Beautifully designed
  3. WordPress 2.6.3 compatible
  4. Widget ready!
  5. Built on the famous 960 grid system
  6. FamFamFam Silk Icons
  7. jQuery functions including text size modification
  8. Basic stylesheet for accessibility
  9. Thumbnail generation

To coincide with the release of the theme I have written a quick tutorial explaining how to use the features explained… Continue reading Olivia WordPress Theme – V0.9.5

WordPress Theme “Olivia” on it’s way!

It’s not far off release date! (well within a week hopefully!)

Features of the theme:

  1. Clean fluent design based on the 960 grid system
  2. Beautifully selected colour tones
  3. FamFamFam silk icons (as they are very pretty)
  4. Various stylesheets (colours)
  5. Widget ready, as all new themes usually come
  6. Other neat little features!

Check out the image of the design above and leave us some feedback and request for features!
We will post the download right here next week and will also submit it to the WordPress Gallery.

Check back soon!

Google Chrome


With the release of Google’s new web browser named “Chrome”, will this mean a shift in browser usage?

It’s the same situation as Firefox found itself in nearly four years ago, and it’s only just catching Microsofts browser.

So, is Chrome any good? I downloaded the BETA yesterday and have been playing ever since.
I am pleased to say it’s extremely fast. It features a new open source Javascript Engine named “V8″ as well as multiple tab processing. This means the browser can handle processes from each individual tab rather than processing the lot at the same time, which competitors such as Firefox 3 and IE7 do (IE8 BETA has a similar system to Chrome).

Although it may take up a little more memory and power it ultimately makes for a faster browsing experience and more stability. If one of the processes fail you only lose one tab rather than the whole browser.
Firefox has a similar stability system included where it re-initiates your tabs after a crash. Google Chrome never has to close when a piece of dodgy Javascript breaks the tab. It just closes it.

Things I like in Chrome:

  1. The truely awesome Chrome Inspector
    A great debugging tool is built right into Chrome. Want to know what’s making your page load slowly? Not sure how long your page takes to load? Want to know which elements load first? This shows you the lot. You can see which order elements load, how long they take to load, how long it takes for each element to load after the previous as well as file information and the built in debugger and property inspector. You have to use it to truly understand it’s complexity. Simply click the control button, then down to Developer>Javascript console and click away!
  2. Incognito Browsing (and the awesome logo)
    It’s basically a porn mode. Very much like IE8’s new privacy feature. Upon opening this new “Incognito Window” all your history and web cookies won’t be stored meaning your basically invisible on the internet. It also means your mom/mum won’t find that dirty website you have been visiting over the past few days…
    I also love the “spy” logo very similar to Gamespys logo. It looks very cool for a Google graphic! (I also love the Chrome logo).
  3. The iGoogle like welcome page
    When opening a new tab you have the option of showing a “New Tab page”. It shows your most visited websites in order and also shows your full browser history with time and date. Clicking show full history actually allows you to see your online travel path. The new tab page also shows new bookmarks and recently closed tabs. A feature I like very much as losing closed tabs can be easy.
  4. Organised tabs
    When you have several tabs opened, keeping track can be difficult. And when Firefox adds your tab onto the end of the list it can be hard to find again. Google Chrome adds the tab next to the currently opened one, which helps keep them organised. The more tabs you have open at any one time, the harder it becomes to sort, and the more valuable this feature becomes.
    Click on the image to see a better example.
  5. Unobtrusive status bar
    This is a personal preference. The more browser space is available, the better. This means you can see more of the page at any one time. Even if it is 10px worth of space, every little bit helps.
    When hovering over links the status bar pops up in the lower left corner, then fades away when you move away from the link. Simple and effective.

To be honest I could write about the new Chrome all day, but I know that it’s already been well documented. Maybe I got a little carried away.

To download Google Chrome simply head over to their website.

Microsoft releases IE8 Beta II, try harder!

This week sees Microsoft leave behind the IE7 which had lasted for two years, and announces the second beta of IE8, but does more effort need to be placed on getting users to actually upgrade, rather than adding another version number to the mix?

According to there are more or less the same amount of users toddling along with IE6 as there are IE7. IE6 is seven years old yesterday (27th) and still holds a market share of around 25% while IE7 holds 26%.

Firefox is steadily climbing up the browser tree holding 42%, and nearly all of those users are on the latest version (or there about). Why is this? Do Internet Explorer users not bother? Is it too complicated? Or is it even due to piracy? After all, if you have an illegal key, you won’t be able to upgrade. Let’s make a few points and ask some questions… Continue reading Microsoft releases IE8 Beta II, try harder!

10 Web Design NO NO’s

The web has changed a lot and web designers (of all people) know about the need to keep up to date with the latest design “trends”.

This short 10 point guide will hopefully help some people understand the minor problems website design (and content) brings when being viewed by a potential customer.

  1. Pointless Flash Animation
    I’m all up for interactive flash in websites, but only use it if it’s necessary. Many a web developer will say “try doing the same in javascript, it’s better”, which is usually true, but animations which have no purpose other than to distract the user are pointless, bandwidth consuming and damn irritating.
    Check out Avistar’s Globe Animation. It’s awful to look at, and awfully slow. Continue reading 10 Web Design NO NO’s

Playing with light in photography

Starting off in digital photography can be a very unrewarding and unsatisfactory time.

Many beginners try photographing normal subjects without actually playing with the settings on their camera. We hope to quash any questions you may have with what your settings mean and what you can do with them as a beginner.

For this article we will be using light trails as a starting point as you can produce beautiful looking images while at the same time working out what each setting does. Please also note that each image used in this article will also display the settings used. Every image is taken using a Canon EOS 400D (aka RebelĀ  XTi). Please also note this is an article for digital beginners. Continue reading Playing with light in photography