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”

HTML5 <video> – a (very) short trip into real world use

After my last post about HTML5 video and thinking everyone’s getting ahead of themselves, I’d like to point out I’m not that stupid that I was going to ignore it completely, until I’d had a chance to try it out in a real world work environment situation. I can now ignore it. For a few years/implementations, at least.

It had been weighing on my mind that one of clients has a lot of video, and a lot of their audience are Mac users. This will probably mean there’s a high percentage of iPhone users, and in the coming months, iPad users.

So I’d been thinking about wrapping the Flash video player we have with the <video> tag and seeing how we go. A bit of an experiment, being eager to use these HTML5 elements because they show so much promise of doing things “the right way”, without kludgey plug-ins and so forth. So armed with a chapter on multimedia from messers Bruce Lawson and (the real) Remy Sharp from their forthcoming HTML5 book, I embarked on a journey of discovery. Continue reading “HTML5 <video> – a (very) short trip into real world use”

Speak the Web Liverpool — post match reaction

I’m really pleased to say that the whole Liverpool session of Speak The Web went down really well.

I managed to get through 30 minutes without committing social hari kari or making too bigger tit of myself. Pat Lauke was in full on Opera and HTML5 brainwash form, but energetic and interesting enough to be different from Chris Mill’s session at Leeds. The coup de grâce was obviously Simon Collison of Erskine Design, with his In the Pursuit of Magic presentation, and fair play to him for being drugged up but persevering and putting on a really thoughtful and inspiring presentation. Continue reading “Speak the Web Liverpool — post match reaction”

Transmission #3: ‘Device & Conquer: Tales from the front-line of mobile innovation’

A Thursday night out? Drinking? …Again?

But wait, you were out on Monday night too… what gives, Smith?

Ok, I will come clean. Monday’s drinking was less about the drinking (hah!) and more about talking with Chris Mills and Patrick Lauke about presenting, presentation material and subjects around validation and general geekiness. We did not at one point mention any rumour or conjecture about the iPad, which I feel is very important to mention. Leffe and Hoegaarden were order of the evening!

However the Transmission 3 (#tx3) event was different. It was all about the mobile web, the pleasure and the pain of being in this field. There were 3 speaking slots, starting with Chris Mills from Opera giving an overview of mobile to date. Peter-Paul Koch of Quirksmode whose done a ridiculous amount of research on the state of mobile browsing. Finally, two likely lads from down south, Polls and Mills from usTwo, would look at the world of iPhone app dev.

Continue reading “Transmission #3: ‘Device & Conquer: Tales from the front-line of mobile innovation’”

I’ll be at Speak The Web

Speak The WebI’m honoured to have been invited to speak at an upcoming web “gig”, by my two mates Rich Clarke and Dan Donald.

Speak The Web aims to break down the barriers that prevent a lot of people getting to the bigger conferences. Travel, time off work, hotels and the bar bill can all be quite prohibitive, so the lads have started a grass roots collective of local talent and are hitting four venues in the North.

Being a scouser, they asked me if I’d be interested in the Liverpool venue, and of course I said yes.

The tickets are all very reasonably priced, and the whole atmosphere is hoping to be more like a gig than a conference, with speakers hanging round for beers and chat after the shows. I intend to get to the other three, as all the speakers are insightful.

Find out more info at the speaktheweb.org site, or follow them on Twitter, #speaktheweb. See you there!