More about the Site’s Look

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I started doing some investigating on what I would like as far as my site’s appearance. This is not going to be something that changes over night. More and more I’m realizing that to capture what I’m looking for is going to take a lot of thought, research, and testing. Ah well.

One of the ideas floating around in my mind is having videos on every page that are ambient. That is stuff automatically playing when the page comes up, little or no sound, and displaying in a subtle way that contributes to the “feeling” I’m trying to capture.

I did a first experiment here and found as I suspected, that the flash video player I used is an actual “window” as far as Microsoft architecture goes. What that means is that I cannot overlap it with a layer… i.e. DIV tags, etc. This rules out allot of concepts (unless I learned to use Flash).

There is still allot to look into. Allot about using color, layout, etc.

The Look of the Site

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In the latest iteration of the look of Chomer.com and it’s blog, I was pretty satisfied. Now I feel a subtle discontent that is steadily growing. For one thing, the blog doesn’t render perfectly (I need to delve deeper into the CSS HTML machinations of WordPress). Even if I did get that straightened out, it’s just not quite what I’m looking for.

For starters, I want something that has a cleaner look. A bit more professional. But I also want it to be beautiful. A site that if someone appreciates beauty, they will come to the site just to look at it regardless of the content. I know, that sounds crazy, but I want something that I would just want to look at. A web site that is Art. Something you might think about putting in an art museum.

Of course that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to have content, and good content at that, but I want to strike that perfect blend of beauty and content.

It would be nice if the site layout/look were COMPLETELY separate from the content. Not just as far as files i.e. CSS, but something more dynamic, something where I can change the look on the fly and see what it will look like before I apply it. No, I’m not talking about canned blog Themes.

In the past I’ve kind of done a random, gut feel build-as-I-go type of design. I’m planning on doing some more thorough research on this subject. I do what to look at allot of blog themes, and allot of different web sites to see their page layouts/styles. I want to note down the ones that I find appealing.

There is a need to focus in on color. I am striving for a calm, relaxed, sort of zen feeling to the site.

Some of the ideas I want to do I’ve not seen anywhere. Many of these ideas I’ve partially proved as technically feasible. What I DON’T want to do is take a great idea and implement it in a sloppy manner.

Allot of thought needs to go into how the navigation works on the site. How the pages are laid out.

I’m also thinking about using my Renegade web framework on my own site. This would give it some credibility as well as improve the overall user experience on Chomer.com.

Do you have any ideas, do you know of any examples I might like? Point them out to me. Any constructive criticism is greatly appreciated.

Robert Scoble Gives Career Tips

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Robert Scoble did a post today addressing what to do if you lost your job in the 2008 recession.  I think allot of these tips are very good. When going over them I thought how many of these could apply even if you still have your job! I mean, it couldn’t hurt to position oneself better career-wise.

The advice about working on one’s blog posting items in their area of expertise. Posting a video a day to You-Tube, again, covering something in their area of expertise. This has set me to thinking about this blog, what I can post here that would be useful, as well has posting one short video a day on You-Tube, again, on some short subject that I really have a handle on.

Just zeroing in on this is a great idea for those of us who still have jobs. I tend to have grand ideas for my web site/blog. I don’t want to throw away those ideas… but I need to think about giving my readers/viewers useful stuff in the near-term that will ultimately better position myself and my career.

So what do you think? Do you have any other ideas?

Tutorial Status

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Well, I spent several hours working on that tutorial I keep talking about. Time flew fast. I said I was 90% done didn’t I… I think I was wrong!

I did alot of work on the tutorial last night… we’re up to 14 steps. Don’t worry! I am doing one step per page and I’m breaking the process down into very small steps that are easy to digest. So, there are alot of pages. There are alot of screen shots. There are two completed videos that are embedded into the tutorial.

There is one video that has been mostly edited but needs some music I think added to it and some titles. This mostly finished video is pretty short and shows taking the AVI file created via the whole process shown and importing it into Windows Moviemaker.

As far as the actual pages of the tutorial (there are 15 so far … if you include the introduction) go, I am at the point of describing the settings that need to be made when the user is ready to save that AVI file.

Let me see… how many pages left… maybe?

  • One to show the overall save video dialog box and picking Microsoft AVI from the dropdown list. …And telling the user to click the options button…
  • One to show the user how to change the width and height settings to something Moviemaker can handle.
  • One showing how the tool being used converts the HD video clip into an AVI file.
  • One showing the closing up of the tools that were used for the conversion.
  • A page showing opening of Windows MovieMaker and adding the AVI file to a video “collection.”
  • A wrapup page that talks about:
    • The problem with the size of AVI files.
    • The problem with how Moviemaker plays files from the disk.
    • How converting the whole thing into a Windows Media File and editing from that does not work.
    • Why most of the tutorial video footage was editing in iMovie not MovieMaker.
    • Outtakes. —- chances are I will release the tutorial before this part is complete. This is for a little bit of fun.

 That is six new pages that I still have to make yet… whew! In addition I want to create the navigation link thing to add to each of these pages to make it easy to navigate around in this tutorial, so,….. I have some work to do still!

I’m revising the completion amount to 75%.  Hopefully this is more realistic. I plan on working on it tonight again.

Cheers!

Some Resolution with Kyte.tv

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Well I got home last night and tried using Kyte.tv. I had the same problems as before. But fortunately I let other people know and I got a solution to my problem:

  • In Safari, clear the cache.
  • Close Safari.
  • Shut down the computer.
  • Start up the computer.

Stuff started working again. Thanks again for all the help!

Canon HG10 to MovieMaker Tutorial: Status

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I’ve been working on and off on a tutorial for getting video out of a nifty Canon HG10 high-def video camera into Windows Moviemaker. It is about 90% done. It has taken me longer than I expected.

Take last night for example: I was going to work on it, but Apple came out with this update for the iPhone. I spent most of the evening first updating my MacBook, then my iPhone. Then it was time to go to bed… no time to work on the tutorial. Us old folks can’t stay up too late on weeknights!  …Where’s my Geritol?

The night before I was showing a Lean Software Development video to my wife that I found on Google. Alot of good information on process improvement, some which can be used in any area not just programming. We both watched some addition video from some Six Sigma course material I have for a class I’m taking in February. Another night shot!

Tonight I am planning on working on the tutorial though. I am so close to getting this done!

MacWorld and iPhone Updates

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I watched most of the keynote at MacWorld given by Steve Jobs. One of the first things I wanted to do after watching was get the latest update for my iPhone installed (which they released that day).

There were several updates that needed installing when I got to my MacBook yesterday. So I ran them all. It took awhile! And of course I downloaded the latest update to my iPhone.

I tried the locator button in maps. It Rocks! What a great way to help you get unlost! And, what a great geeky thing to show others how cool the iPhone is!

After I installed this though, Kyte.tv’s player seems to be acting squirrelly. I even did a cold boot on my MacBook last night and it still seemed weird. Works ok on my PC but my MacBook has the webcam that I like to use on Kyte.tv.

So what is not working?

  • I post a message in the comments… It doesn’t show up. But if I close the browser and come back, the messages are now there.
  • Posting a video does the same thing.
  • I posted a long video (19 minutes)… no error msg, seemed to happen too fast… I completely lost the video… it never actually got posted (poo)!
  • Caused Safari to close down on it’s own once.

So this is the annoying world of software updates. We all want to cool features, but there is always the risk that something will now be broken (in spite of lots of regression testing).

I’m probably insane, but I hope today when I get home from work, that since my MacBook has been off all day that things will “straighten themselves out.” Probably not. Though if other kyte.tv users with macs experience the same thing, I’m sure Kyte will find out about it and hopefully resolve the issue.

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