#bigSWIG — megadrive.me — Liverpool 24.01.12

My friend Rob has been kickstarting the Liverpool geek talk scene, with the guys at his place of work, organising and hosting SWIG. It’s grown from a small meeting discussing WordPress at InterconnectIT‘s office, to taking the upstairs at Leaf Tea Shop in Bold Street.

Rob had been on at me for a while to do something at a SWIG event, and upping the ante, he said they were doing a bigSWIG, and would I like to talk about one of my projects, MegaDrive.me. I’d asked Rob a hundred questions about WordPress – which MegaDrive.me is built in – so I did feel obliged to return the favour!

MegaDrive.me was a project I’d started to catalogue Japanese Mega Drive games, write reviews and comments, and learn WordPress on the way. I also stressed something which as an employer I think is very important.

The talk went well, I was up after my mate Dan Donald, and it was great to see loads of familiar faces from the Speak the Web event and Naconf the week before. You can find the slides from the talk on SlideShare.net.

Good things are happening in Liverpool, and it makes me proud to be part of it. Keep it going, Rob!

New project: MegaDrive.me

Most of you know I’m a gaming nut. Most of you know I collect Japanese Mega Drive games.

I was browsing through the ace pcengine.co.uk site, watching videos, reading reviews, planning on buying a few more shmups, when I thought “why don’t we have something like this?”. The “we” being Mega Drive gamers.

Obviously, there are a lot of sites out there that details release dates, genres, covers etc. like the great SegaRetro.org, but there was something… complete about the PCE site. It had factual information, it had visual information, it had opinion. You could relate to the authors and what they were saying, and it did make me reassess my opinion on a game or two, and go and physically play R-Type again after browsing.

For me, the Japanese Mega Drive’s biggest charm was the box art. Glorious, explosive, full colour illustrations set the scene before picking up the box and looking at screenshots. Box art is where it’s at! When you stack them all together, there’s something really mesmerising about the colourful spines with Japanese type, topped with the red, green and black MD logo. Continue reading “New project: MegaDrive.me”

I’ve been tagged: here are my 7 things!

Lucky me, I got tagged by heavy metal / web accessibility legend Chris Mills, so I shall enlighten you all, then tag seven friends who can do the same.

The rules

Up in the cloud

My last WordPress update to 3.2 couldn’t happen on one of our older shared servers, as it was running earlier versions of PHP and MySQL. I forget which was the culprit, but it meant I wasn’t getting the new lovely interface and other enhancements. I also run about 7–8 personal projects and friends sites off our company servers, which while they’re not big hitters or bandwidth guzzlers, I have been known to take the server offline while “trying something out”.

Therefore I decided to look at finally getting my very own hosting. Can you believe it? 15 years of making websites and I’ve never had my own hosting! I know a few friends use WebFaction, Melbourne Server Hosting and RackSpace, but I wasn’t convinced I’d need anything too big, or expensive. I run a few blogs, we keep all media on services like YouTube and Vimeo and average page impressions hover in the 30-100 a day per site, with exceptions for houseofninja.com and speaknspell.co.uk.

Amazon Web Services

With this in mind, and already having an Amazon AWS S3 account, I did a bit of googlin’ about Amazon’s EC2 cloud hosting. We’ve all heard the phrase “cloud computing”, even my mum has, and it is very much the buzz at the moment. In brief, it’s about providing resizable, scalable, cheap on-demand computing. In my case, about letting me set up a server that operates on an “as used” basis, upping it’s processing power when called upon, pumping out bandwidth when hammered, and I only pay for those occasions. Continue reading “Up in the cloud”

standards>next — CSS3

Last night, I spoke at the latest Opera back standards>next gig, hosted at MadLab in Manchester.

Chris Mills put the call out months ago, asking if I’d like to take part, and could I herd up anyone else to speak. I recommended my fellow skating (albeit inline-blader!) and Fudge front-ender Mike Byrne as he’s a lively character, and certainly knows his shit, and that made four. Chris kicked off, followed, by myself and Typography Online. Continue reading “standards>next — CSS3”

New Adventures in Web Design


This week Howie and I attended a new conference in Nottingham, New Adventures in Web Design, organised by Simon Collison, or Colly as he’s better known.

Since Colly is possible the nicest guy on the internet and well respected, finding quality speakers wasn’t going to be a tough job, and for the conferences first show, the list was impressive. There were gripes from some quarters that all these speakers have been seen before, it’s the usual industry pundits, but I think that’s just sour grapes and being picky for the sake of it. Out of the ten speakers, I’d only seen five before.

In an effort to make conferences affordable and accessible, the venue was Colly’s hometown of Nottingham, which is in a great location, allowing access to people travelling from all points of the UK, the likes of Cole travelling from near Edinburgh, or Remy from Brighton, plus of course the foreigners who always make it over. Continue reading “New Adventures in Web Design”

Note to future me…

My mate Phil sent me a link to this forum thread, which inspired this post…

My SysErr WP install had been stuck on 2.8.5  for a while, due to a bunch of full dbs and laziness, so finally moved things across and sorted it out. Bringing it kicking and screaming to the WP 3.0.x era wasn’t easy, as I had the Automatic Upgrade problem where an upgrade file starts downloading, but the update screen stalls, giving no further information, and the file stays at 0 bytes. Continue reading “Note to future me…”