Having a website and having a good website are hugely different things

If you live in the UK you will have definitely heard about the demise of HMV and those outside of the UK will no doubt be aware of it as well. Whilst they have so far only slipped into administration and not vanished forever it is shocking for some to see such a large long established name in such trouble, even though they aren’t the first big name to go under in the UK in recent years.

I’ve read a lot about the situation and the whole history of it* and a lot of blame, not unjustly, is sitting at the door of internet shopping – most notably Amazon. A lot of people accuse the HMV management of resting on their laurels and being too dismissive of the emergence of online shopping in the late 90s. But one comment that stood out to me amongst everything I read was the rather flippant assertion that this wasn’t the case because in 1997 HMV launched their own website selling online. It was presented as if that was enough – HMV had a website so online shopping can’t be the problem.
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Why having an iPad means I’ll probably never buy a high end computer again

It wasn’t from Santa but over the festive period my coveting of shiny Apple things was satisfied with an iPad. I’ve wanted to get one for a while, not least as a great tool for me to take things around with me in work. I knew I’d use it at home as well and it’s turned out to be brilliant, but it’s certainly lead to some questioning of the value of my full work set up.

I’ve found I use the iPad all of the time at home and my MacBook that I use for work has been turned on only for work, oh and to transfer some DVDs onto my iPad. Now I couldn’t do without a laptop, the iPad isn’t a complete substitute, graphics work, coding etc aren’t really suited to the iPad, my typing speed is so much better with a physical keyboard – I know I could get a bluetooth one for the iPad. There isn’t any proper file structure so doing web work for sites could prove a bit problematic.

I lease my main work machine and it’s got just over a year to go on it, prior to that last year I have the option to upgrade the machine and extend the lease or just continue to the end of the lease at which point I own the machine outright. I’d always assumed I would continue to upgrade and keep abreast of the laptop market however the arrival of the iPad means I’m using it less and less and find it hard to justify the cost of having a top end machine. I rarely do anything too demanding graphically and the occasional frustrations with anything creative suite are just that – occasional. Can I really justify keeping a high end machine just to mostly edit some HTML and occasionally open Fireworks or InDesign? I’m not sure I can – when I was doing everything on my laptop and hauling it around with me I could say yes and if I did website work full time then maybe, but not anymore.

Which means there’s a good chance I might consider a switch back away from Apple, for one big reason, cost, but a few other smallers ones as well.
The other option to mitigate cost is of course is to keep behind the curve and buy second hand MacBooks as other people go after the new bright shiny stuff.
I did consider going for the Nexus 7 prior to getting the iPad, and I was very close to actually buying it. The main reasons I didn’t were that I wasn’t 100% convinced the screen size was right for me, some stuff for the day job was iPad only and lastly my budgetary constraints became a little less restrictive. However I was excited by the Nexus and had really warmed to the little machine. As much as enjoy using Apple’s ecosystem I’m not 100% married to it, yes I have an iPhone, iPad and MacBook, so I’m well and truly in there – we’re seriously dating maybe – but ironically it’s the iPad that has kind of led me to a point where I can see myself walking away from Apple again.

Still we will see where the market is when I come to change my laptop, I imagine I will now have this one until it dies, and whilst I may stick with Apple one thing I’m sure off is that in the absence of a big windfall I really can’t justify the outlay for buying a new top end machine anymore, it simply isn’t needed.

Resolutions, they come and go

Well I managed a grand total of four posts over 2012, not a post since July, hardly wearing out the keyboard with writing there!
So it’s the first of January, resolution time and as a start I’m going to try and post at least once week – 52 posts over the year – not that hard surely?

First post is this, a little update, as I haven’t been quietly sat doing nothing since July. I’ve been busy with the day job and also doing plenty of projects for Armitage online and JDG Media most of which won’t turn up on my portfolio. The last of them was betting website Bets of Mates a site where you bet against your friends on football, it launched late 2012 and is growing quietly at the moment.
Heading into the new year and I have a quieter schedule for web stuff than I’ve had in a while, one small website project to finish off and a few jobs for Love rugby league so I’ll hopefully have a bit of time to work on my music project mumubl.com and hopefully get some more interested people on board.

Outside of web design and writing more posts, possibly some writing for other sites as well if i can think of something interesting enough, I have a few other aims for the year.

  • Get in proper shape, I’m pretty good at keeping fit and going to the gym but this year I want to take control of my diet a bit more and get fitter. I’ve also realised I ran my first and only marathon 10 years ago this year, maybe it’s time to dust off the running shoes for another 26 mile outing.
  • Improve my foreign languages. I speak a little basic French and started learning German at the end of last year. My sister has moved to Berlin so I want to get a fluent level of German before I end up visiting, I’d like to improve my French and hopefully by the end of the year add another language, maybe Spanish.
  • Finally finish reading Don Quixote. I started it ages ago and the book is massive! I’m queuing up loads of other stuff on my kindle and just not getting round to reading them.

Fairly generic stuff there, but putting it down here hopefully makes me a bit more accountable to them, I also have a more personal goal or two that I’m not sharing on here. Getting my finances sorted is one of them. My flying training cost a lot in terms of finance and time not earning and so it’s time to get some of that stuff settled this year. I hit a major milestone towards the end of last year paying off a loan and I plan to get to work getting some credit card balances paid this year.

So there we go post 1 done, 51 to go. I already have a few ideas and some unfinished drafts in the blog so they’ll get me through a few posts.

A new project – Mumubl and portfolio updates

Well it’s been one of those quiet periods on the blog where I’ve been rather busy doing other stuff. Looking through my client / project folder I realised there’s plenty of stuff that isn’t in my portfolio at the moment, admittedly some is done as white labeled so I can’t really shout about it but there is still plenty I need to put into the portfolio – god knows when that’ll happen. Still there is one project I’ve launched that I’ll get in there soon.

Mumubl (http://mumubl.com) is a new project that is part blog part social network. The idea is that people add their favourite tracks onto the site and share them with their friends, telling them and the world why they love the music they love. You can read about it on the Mumubl tumblr blog or just go over there and sign up and try it out and start sharing some tracks.

CSSOff 2012

CSSOff - Triple dare screen shot

For those of you who haven’t heard of it the CSSOff is a mark up competition run by Unmatched style┬áthe essential premise of which is you get a design in the form of a image (a PSD or a PNG as you prefer) and then you take it away and mark it up with HTML and CSS and then submit it, get feedback and scoring on your effort and you’re in with the chance of winning stuff. I’m not certain but I don’t think this is the first time they’ve run the competition but it just so happened that after hearing about it the latest competition it fell during a small gap in work for me and I hadn’t done much front end stuff for a while so I thought what the hell why not give it a try.
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