AdamChamberlin.info

Welcome to the online playground of Adam Chamberlin. Head of digital development for Mackman Group.

The Day I Met James Toseland

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James Toseland is the current World Super Bike Champion, and now the best British bet at winning the MotoGP. Think of him as the motorbike version of Lewis Hamilton. Now I will level and say I have not always been up to date with my knowledge of motorcycling, so put me up against a die hard fan of Mr. Toseland and honestly could not answer questions about his beginning’s in trial bike riding. Or how he got signed into the 125cc class and worked his way up to his current Tech3 Yamaha MotoGP deal. But I do follow the sport and I know a good rider when I see one, you can also tell that James has a stand up personality. So when I heard that he was going to be visiting Bowers Motorcycles in Bury St. Edmunds I decided to go along and have a nose. When we first got there the first shock was the crowd. Queues for autographs went three times the length of the store. Second was the fact that after seeing JT Lucy had a bit of a overwhelming feeling. I was slightly put off by the queue so decided to head back into town to grab some food and plan my offensive. Whilst sitting in Burger King I used the internet to find out some details, trying to come up with a useful titbit of information I could use as a question. Then behind us two workers of Bowers appeared. Turned out there was going to be a piano set and then a second round of autographs. I now knew my plan, go back to the shop, when the crowd disperses as James takes a break, pick my spot and wait for the crowds to return. Sure enough JT went off for a break and like Moses the crowds separated and I was able to find a location just feet away from the grand piano they had set up for him. Having waiting for a while people started appearing again, soon I was surrounded yet my view was perfect. James returned and set about a 4 piece musical set, containing songs he had written himself. If being able to ride a motorbike was not enough, the boy can really tickle the ivories! After the applause had finally died the security went about trying to form a ‘reasonable’ queue again. This is where I noticed a complete change in Lucy. She was now all 'girly’ and going a bit week knee’d. She actually tried sweet talking the security guard into starting the queue behind her. It worked!

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We were actually second in line and my awesome question was fresh in my head. I was ready to walk up with Lucy and obtain a handshake and a signed poster. Yet when the time arrived it did not quite go as planned. That part of the female brain that makes women go a little bit crazy suddenly took over Lucy. She instantly stepped up to the plate, almost pushing me aside. Realising I was no competition for the 27 year old Superbike rider I opted to take advantage of the situation and took some more photos of Lucy with him. Finally Lucy’s feet touched back on tera firmer and she introduced me, now I got my handshake. I thanked him for the set and taking the time to meet the supporters, wished him all the best in 2008 and let the next in line take their turn. Strange how even though you think your fine, sometimes you just end up being polite and wishing people well. My question was discarded but I got to met a legend, one which will hopefully go onto bigger and better achievements. If not I’m sure he will be in the music scene very soon. Full Photo Set

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So WordPress 2.5 Is Out?

Version 2.4 was skipped and the WordPress development team jumped straight from 2.3 to 2.5, and what a move it was. They have even updated the WordPress site to match. To be honest this feels more like a full digit upgrade than a point improvement. But this could be down to the visuals more than anything. The admin panel has had a complete make over, and whilst it is getting some stick and personally I still think Habari still has it trumped (I love that clean grey interface), it is far better than the previous versions of WP. Included in this new release is a new ‘Media Manager’ which will make finding your included media files a lot easier. Apparently there is also a Media Gallery which I hear can be used as a photo gallery of sorts. So far I’ve not had enough time to really test all the new features and take it for a full test drive but so it looks and feels a lot better than 2.3. Yep shibbyonline is now running 2.5 so time to update some plugins and fine tune some template tags.

Update: Shibbyonline is now hosted on Tumblr

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No Longer Lost

How long has this show been running? I remember I first started watching series 2 a few years ago. In fact the first episode I saw was the beginning of series 2, with Desmond going about his life in the hatch. At the time I had Sky television and so could watch the show, yet I feltlost confused as there were references to the first series I did not get, there were also too many questions needing answers and I lost interest. Then when we moved we had to scarifice Sky; the joys of listed buildings. But Lucy had a friend that lent us weekly installments until he left and we missed out on series 3. But now thanks to the wonders of borrowed dvd’s, iTunes and the odd visit to the ABC website I am fully up to date. From the very first opening of the eye in the pilot, right up to Meeting Kevin Johnson. Deep down I was hoping it would answer some questions I had, like the reference to the Polar Bear, but no, in fact I’m now more confused; why was there a Polar Bear in the jungle. But that it the key to Lost, the story is just so intense that you can’t help but be totally sucked in. It is the reason that on some days I was watching 4 episodes in one sitting. I don’t mind that with each episode now you are left with more thoughts in your head, conspiracy theories left right and centre and the deflated thought that it will be another week until you get some answers.

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Great Notification Dreamhost

I woke this morning with the plan on spending some time updating mine and a few other sites I have hosted on my Dreamhost account. But after firing up Coda it reported it could not connect via ftp. So I decided to try standard http, only to find my (and others) down. Off to the Dreamhost site where I find a support blog with this message. Turns out they are moving the cluster my site is hosted on and t will be down for 12+ hours! WTF! 12 hours and you could not be bothered to actually let me know, you posted it on a blog that I’m not subscribed too, nor did I know I needed to visit. Now I know that my site is not mission critical, in fact the interwebs might not even notice it missing but what about all those people who run a business on their site. You owe it to them to give them advance warning of downtime of this scale. I mean come on I’m sure you can guess our email address!

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Nice one IE

Over the last few days I having been bringing back my old Vaio laptop from the dead. I purchased the laptop many moons ago, before my adventure into the world of Apple. But once I had found utopia with OSX the little Sony got put away some where and forgotten about. Meanwhile Microsoft have seen sense and 180’d on their views and IE8 will be the first fully functional standards aware MS web browser. The beta landed at the beginning of March and I’ve been keen to try it out. So what better chance to format, install and rebuild the once forgotten machine. So off I went, install XP, service pack, updates, more updates. Now onto web browsers, update to IE7, then find the IE8 beta page. Right install. Whilst I was watching the bar as it checks for web updates I thought to myself will this install over IE7? Or will I have to versions of IE I can play with? It was the first, installed over version 7, so all I have is IE8 beta. Not a problem as also installed on there is Firefox, Opera and Flock (got me some browser love going on). Thinking nothing about it went about my routine. Ahh rumours of Service Pack 3 for XP are running through the vines, lets do an update and see what is about. As most people know, windows updates are just web pages with activeX magic that update your system, but they need to be run from Internet Explorer. But here is the kicker, not from IE8! On firing up the update screen I was greeted with an error screen to say my browser was not supported and that I should be using IE5.5 or higher. Clever that I always though that 8 was higher than 5. Panic set in as I thought I have now upgraded the only web browser that will work with Windows Update to a browser that it not know by Windows Update! But to my saving IE8 has a clever little feature ’Emulate IE7’ this not only makes pages look like they would in IE7 but also convinces Windows Update that you can update your installation.

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Lazy Sunday Afternoons

It feels like ages since I’ve put together one of those more personal posts were I go on about stuff that no one else really understands. But today has been one of those crazy lazy Sundays that has left me feeling quite content. Which is strange for tomorrow morning Lucy is once again off on business, this time she is only heading over to France and only for a week. But in light of that we decided to have a day of just chilling out and sorting out. Strange how I have not completed any of those ‘things’ that I think I should be doing, maybe they are just not that important after all? I’ve not worried about if I should be doing this or being somewhere, instead I’ve just let go and enjoyed some spare time. Think I need to try this more often as there is more to life than worrying about deadlines and keeping up with the Jones. Plenty of time next week for that…

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I Only Wanted The New NIN Album

Yesterday saw the release of Ghosts I-IV from NIN. Not only was this release not really publicised but it was also following in a similar track of Radio head and their In Rainbows album. Not quite a ‘pay what you feel’ option but some seriously price reduced DRM free chunage. Being quite a closet NIN fan I wanted to download this, but I decided to go with the free 9 track starter pack and if impressed I would payz my wayz and invest further. But due to the popularity of the event my download was bumming out all over the place. I must have tried 30 times and not got further than 700kb of the 82mb download. Frustrated I turned to the only service I knew could help; sure enough Twitter came through. Turns out that Trent had released an official copy of the album and it was on The Pirate Bay. So a torrent file later I’m enjoying the new NIN album. But it got me thinking, I’ve just downloaded music from a p2p service, will the feds be knock my door down tonight? With all the talk in the news of British ISP’s planning on cutting down and banning offenders of sharing music and files via peer sharing, where does this all end? Of course p2p software uses certain ports which is where your ISP is looking, plus your excessively high bandwidth! I opened up those ports and joined the millions of users out there sharing files; legal or otherwise. Yet there was nothing illegal about my actions. I was following a free download, by the artist themselves, to a known torrent tracking website to download music in the most frowned upon manor. How will this all turn out? How will ISP’s know what is legal p2p sharing versus the illegal side?

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How Many Fonts...

Jon Hicks has been ’fiddling’ with his site; his words not mine. If you take a visit over there you might notice some good looking heading tags. Or you might not. Why is that? Jon has decided to target specific fonts in the CSS. Normally when declaring fonts in a tag you would go some thing along the lines of a couple of system fonts and then a font family: body { font-family: “Arial Black”, “Helvectica Bold”, sans-serif } But Jon has broken the mold (again) and selected some fonts that are not present on your standard OS installation. Have a look (sorry Jon I’ve just copied your code)

body { font-family: "P22 Underground Pro", "P22 Johnston Underground", "P22 Underground", "Gill Sans", "Gill Sans MT", GillSans, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; }

As you can see the first three fonts are definitely not an OS standard. This in my mind is a brilliant substitute to font replacement hacks and tricks. But how far do you go to catch everyone and every font type. Luckily for me I got to view the site from a machine with P22 Underground installed. But after a quick trip to Font Explorer I de-activated the font and presto; Gill Sans! Whilst you could get carried away with this and apply different fonts to all manor of tags and elements, what effect will it have on your page loading and the load on the CSS file?

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Are You html 5 or xhtml 2.0

I spent my lunch hour reading through Mike’s brilliantly well written article about the differences between the proposals for both html 5 and xhtml 2.0. Normally something like this would not have engaged my full attention but recently I have really been trying to touch up on my standards; for reasons that will get explained later. But reading through this I found myself already seeing the code and putting ideas into place. I’m not going to re-trace the points; your better off reading the original. Whilst some of the ideas are stunning and a complete piece of ‘why was that that not thought of earlier’ such as nl list’s for navigation. I can not see it being a mass migration to new methods. Lets be honest even now we can not get all browsers to play friendly and support the elements we have got. Add some more new clever bits in there and I can only see a mess of broken sites; I’m looking at you Internet Explorer! That said there is definitely some interesting times ahead and they will both have their set purpose on and in the interwebs. The development of these two standards is something to keep an eye on.

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Graphic Design Poster Competition

Veerle started a competition last week with the goal to sum up what you thought graphic design is all about. I started off enjoying looking through the Flickr pool for the submissions until at the week end whilst sitting with young Oscar I had a quick idea, the result was not really graphic design per say but it was creative.Graphic Design Is...

Then sitting there the other evening I thought more about what I thought graphic design is all about. Graphic design can take on a lot of elements from typography to colour schemes, but because I do not know my kern from my glyph I had to think deeper. To which got me to thinking about the graphic in graphic design. But what does make a good design? When it suddenly hit, the best designs are the ones that are instantly recognizable, designs that can work across countries and break language barriers without any need for an explanation or description. To which in my view graphic design is the ability to create something that lasts longer than the initial viewing, a design that can speak without saying and is understood by all viewing it. Graphic Design Is...

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