Welcome to stillbreathing.co.uk 2009

Well, here it is. This new theme for stillbreathing.co.uk has been mainly designed by the great Paul Cook who worked with me for several years in a previous job. I’ve said on a number of occasions he’s the best designer I know, and that’s true. After all, I don’t know any other designers :0)

Anyway, he’s pulled a corker out of the bag with this one. Basically all the bits that look really cool (the very top and very bottom of the page) were done by him, the rest (the rubbish bit in the middle) was done by me. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick Paul’s brains at some point and put some finishing touches to the design.

However, this isn’t just a new design. It’s also the beginnings of a new direction for stillbreathing.co.uk which has been my personal site for *checks archives* ooh, October 2004. Basically I’m keeping this site for more personal things (which of course will include code), but I’ll be creating a Brand New Site for my freelance business.

I’ve mentioned the name of that new site a few times, but as it’s not even nearly ready for previewing I won’t link to it just yet. Still, along with the new PerformerJS.org site I hope to have that finished in the next few weeks.

Lambeth Conference 2008: Unity or bust

Because of the Anglican bigwig conference happening at the moment in Lambeth, I thought I’d post a picture of mine from a couple of years ago…

Unity or Bust by Rowan Williams

My good friend Dave Walker is there, drawing cartoons and generally being Daveish in his tent. If anyone can sort out the current ecclesiastical mess armed with just a pen it’s Dave. More power to your pen, Mr Walker.

Who needs designers

Damn right. Who needs designers? Designing a good advert is as easy as pie. So why waste money getting a so-called “professional” graphic designer to create your website or advertising campaign when you could do it yourself using Microsoft Word or Corel clip-art.

And if that sounds like too much hassle, you need these products:

  • Make My Logo Bigger Cream
  • Whitespace Eliminator
  • Starburst Dust
  • Fluorescentciser
  • The Emotionator

An if you don’t believe me, just check out the website.

(This reminds me of my days working in a recording studio. I remember there was a client who wanted the track to be more ‘funky’. The reply was “Sure, I’ll just press the Funky Button”.)

HotSwap, selling cars online with Web 2.0

There’s a new online second-hand car site called Hotswap.com (hat-tip) which allows account holders to upload videos about their car. The design is good and there are some neat tricks thrown in with nifty AJAX (for instance filtering cars by colour). But there are two points to note which I think are indicative of the way the web is moving.

Firstly is the use of Jeroen’s Flash video player, a free Flash player for video. Just like his Flash MP3 player (which I’ve used all over BeatsBase.com) it makes it easy to provide good-looking media capabilities to a web page. HotSwap have certainly benefited from Jeroen’s generosity.

The second point is that hosting for the videos and images is handled by ,a href=”http://www.amazon.com/s3″>Amazons S3 service, the massively scalable solution I mentioned a few days ago. So HotSwap don’t pay directly for the bandwidth they use, and they also have the technology scalability of one of the worlds largest websites behind them. Good move.

So there’s two ways that a new start-up is harnessing the power of the web: using the high-quality free tools available, and using commercial services designed to scale. This, I believe, will be a model for a lot of new websites to come.