31 August 2006

Live like a monk - part the second. Ish.

Well, I did two successful months of living like a monk. Then I met Michelle, and gladly threw all that out of the window, having a most enjoyable month not living like a monk whatsoever (although I did drink more wine than usual, which is a bit monkish I suppose).

Anyway, incredibly fun though it has been, I still need to save more for when I work for myself, and time is ticking away. So I'm reviving live like a monk month.

It'll be an interesting experiment again - I start working part time in the middle of the month and it'll be good to see how that affects cashflow. I have a horrid suspicion it's going to be tough. Still, I can at least start doing local shopping at the butcher and greengrocer's in the village, which should mean less petrol money.

So... off to the bank to get the cash today, pick up the footpump to get the bike tyres inflated, and time to get prudent.

29 August 2006


Well, had an update on the server issues.

Looks like Maltpress.co.uk, JuicyFly.com and Cambridge.IsHome.co.uk will be down for at least a week, as will my email. If you do want to get in touch, eggy_little_man@hotmail.com will be working so you can get me on that. Can't be sure I'll get to stuff particularly quickly, though, so be patient.

Apparently the server's currently in bits - physically rather than just metaphorically for once - while things get fixed.

When it's all back up, though, hopefully there's going to be a spanky new www.maltpress.co.uk in place with all sorts of cleverness going on.

28 August 2006


Maltpress.co.uk has been hacked. Well, the server it resides on has been, so for the moment some of my icons and banners have gone AWOL. Sadly that also means cambridge.ishome.co.uk has gone, as has www.juicyfly.com. Bums.

The very nice man who runs it is - I'm sure - currently at work on it. I hope. My email's down at the moment too.

It's very frustrating because the new-look website is coming along very nicely at the moment and I wanted to show it off to the world. :(

25 August 2006


Originally uploaded by Maltpress.
I've been helping Tracy with her Gimping. We had fun. She made this.

24 August 2006


I need photos of me for my website. I think. I'm not sure - yes, it'll personalise my site, but most of the photos of me I have ever seen are of me looking somewhat rough, drunk, tired, or all of the above. None of which are particularly professional aspects of myself to show the world.

So - do I need a picture of me on the site? I know I need imagery, and I should start taking some snaps here and there to fill it. I feel a little uncomfortable "posing" for a picture for the site, so maybe I could go through my friend Tracy's photos for a decent one, although there are some terrible haircuts in there (and terrible facial hair, and lots of pictures of me bending over... don't ask...)

The other option is to ask my better half to bring her snazzy camera when she comes to see me next. She's a very good photographer. Although sadly it's the last time I'll be seeing her before she leaves for New Zealand for a year (followed by six months travelling) and there are probably better things to do with our time than taking photos.

Stop sniggering, you smutty devils.

Anyway - todays plea for human contact of some form is as follows: do I need a photo of me on my business website? And what should it be like?

16 August 2006

The thank you project

I'm bored. I've being doing something exceedingly dull all day for work and it's really tough. Now there's nothing on TV. So I'm going to start a project I thought of a while ago and never did.

I'm going to email or write (actual postal letters) to people who've made me smile or whose work I've enjoyed over the years. Authors, musicians, comedians... whatever. It's a bit brown-nosey, but I figure these people take a lot of rubbish and rarely do people ever just say thank you.

I'm going to look like a wierdo stalker, I'm sure. I'm not. I don't idolise celebrity. I think the cult of celebrity sucks. I just like talented people who are good at their jobs. When I do something good at work people say thank you. Other people deserve that too.

I'm going to start by thanking Thom Yorke for The Eraser. It's a lovely album and I like it.

14 August 2006

Most enjoyable weekend

I just had a most enjoyable weekend. Friday was spent as tour-guide and sober person for a colleague's night out with some non-Cambridge friends; although there was lots of pressure to find nice places to go, the people were very nice and we ended up having fun. A late, late night though.

Saturday meant a trip to London to see my lady friend for her friend's birthday. I've not done a train trip to London for ages, and it made a really nice change. Also meant there was a chance for a nap on the way. The evening was spent first in a Carribean restaraunt in Camden, and then in the Jazz Cafe; both were incredibly good fun. I even did dancing, which isn't like me at all. Maybe it was the wine.

Anyway, the end result is that I'm getting the work/life balance a bit more on track. Which is jolly nice. And it's mostly down to my friends.

09 August 2006

Breaking my site

Clever me. I managed to truncate my blog post on a link element and break my website layout by effectively removing a div tag. Chances? Low. Rate of occurence? High.

Think I've cracked the navigation though...

Some designs I like

Following on from yesterday's post, I've had a look at the navigation on the site and I think I know what I'm going to do with it now. I thought I'd also point out some nice looking sites which - although they don't have the "oh my god - I've never seen anything like that before" factor which I'm beginning to think I'll never find - are nice looking sites.

This one has navigation which I might "pinch" - I can see how to work it using A List Apart's "sliding doors" technique and some .pngs - and with a little more work can do it with gifs for proper cross-browserness. Anyway, it's a pretty site, if a little busy. Does kind of have that "nothing new under the sun" feel about it though.

This one's a whopper - huge page sizes and very over the top but looks really nice. But one of millions doing that "tattered edges" thing. Again. Yawn. But the photo background really inspired Cambridge.isHome

Very pretty, but photo-led - and it's not a content/text friendly site. Everything's below the fold, which some people claim is no longer an issue, but it winds me up.

It's got the cross-hatching thing going on - but it's got some really stunning elements on it too. The splash page actually has a purpose to it, too, what with needing Flash to make the most of the site, and with the Google Earth KMZ. There's some lovely simple and clean design on the site too. Plus the KMZ and Flash map are really well executed.

Thing is, I've not done anything particularly new on Maltpres.co.uk (coming soon) - and even by looking at other brand new sites I doubt I would be able to. I'd just like to see something new and different.

08 August 2006

Menus and all that

I'm struggling with Maltpress.co.uk re-design stuff. I can't figure out how to get my menus looking good. I've tried A List Apart's Sliding Doors technique and - while it's good looking, easy, surprisingly code-light and generally very good, it doesn't fit with the way the site looks. I've done most of the page without thinking where to put the navigation and now I'm paying the price. I'm sure there's a simple solution, though, which is going to look good.

I'm having a look through CSS Beauty for inspiration at the moment. There's some lovely stuff on there. I always have loved the site, although patterns are obvious - everyone has that same diagonal cross-hatching thing going on. Everyone has soft-look buttons and gentle grads and subtle tints.

Today's plea for some kind of human contact comes in this form: point me at a site which looks incredible, and isn't your bog-standard web 2.0 soft focus, reflecty-picture drop-shadow fest.

One day someone will talk to me.

03 August 2006

Stress and stress relief

I'm not known for being a happy person in general. But at the moment I am. Things are going well for me. As you can see below, I've completed probably the biggest project of my working life so far. I've handed my notice in and all sorts of exciting prospects await me. I'd like to not be stressed for a little while.

Problem is, I'm still wound tighter than a tight thing after that big project. The nervous energy which propelled me into the early morning shouting at IE and Firefox last week now has no-where to go.

So - if there's anyone out there - I'm after suggestions for relaxation. I'd like to come home from work tonight and think about nothing work related whatsoever.

So far I've tried washing, ironing, cleaning the bathroom, and trimming my beard. None of these have helped yet.

Ideas, people! I need ideas!

02 August 2006

The biggest thing I've ever done.

...so far, that is. I've just launched (well, yesterday) a jolly big website, which I've been working on for months. I'd like to say "single-handedly", but the design work was done by Pixelwork, who provided me with some lovely (but empty) HTML pages - about 12 of them I think - which I then built the site from. It took a jolly long time. There was much heartache. I spent many late nights working on it.

But now it's live. There's still loads to do but there's a real - and somewhat nerve-wracking feeling - that I'm entering "the next phase" of my life. What that phase is, and what's involved, I have no idea whatsoever. But it should be interesting.

I'm going to take it a little easier than I have been doing for the next couple of days. There's still stuff to do but there's more time to do it, so I get to have a bit more of a play with things. I want to try adding an ASP RSS parser - something I've done quite a bit in PHP but never in ASP. I've got the code, so it's a copy and paste job - but should get me more used to the ASP syntax when I tweak it.