0       Youtube to iPod in 7 easy steps!

I showed my friend this simple way of putting his favourite Youtube videos onto his iPod and he was pretty impressed!

Hope you now have some fun in downloading and adding the videos you want for your convenience!

1. Open youtube.com in your browser and search for the video you want on your iPod (iPod Touch in my case)

2. Copy the URL of the video for example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWzrVVZ02ok
(YOU MUST WAIT FOR THE VIDEO TO COMPLETELY DOWNLOAD INTO YOUR CACHE BEFORE DOWNLOADING IT !! Waiting for the video to fully play is a great idea to make sure you have completely downloaded the video!)

3. Open in another tab or window the website www.keepvid.com and paste the copied link into the box on the website and click download (When prompted enter the code)

4. Chose the .mp4 filetype and right click the download link and select Save Target As (or simillar)

5. Save in your computer to a movie folder

6. Plug in your iPod and ipen iTunes and locate the video you have downloaded and import it into your library

7. Sync your iPod with the video and you should now have a video on there!


0       Client or Designer?

In some moment of madness I decided that I needed a post to highlight some of the problems/arguments/complications of who does what in making a website… Leading from my post called ‘I Hate Clients, but Love ‘em Too’ I decided that it needed a little bit more extra explanation and just to define exactly what the 2 parties have to do in the partnership when working to complete a project.

I think it is important to set out these ‘guidelines’ so no confusion is made.

1. The Proposal…

You need to spend time with your client in making sure you fully understand what each other requires and what your client wants in content. Take a notebook/pad or even a laptop to write the notesin digital format so you can print copies to give the client and to file for later.

2. Drawing up designs….

This is your job as designer as you need to show what you can sell to the customer and how you can change it to make it a clean site to navigate.

3. Getting photographs or images…

This can be done by either but usually the client will want specific pictures up and they need to find time to do that. If it is a simple site then you may consider using a free site that you dont neet to pay anyone to use images from. If you do use graphical content from other sources dont forget to state where they are from.

4. Timing…

It is your job to keep time on a task as you dont want to be wasting the clients money. Note down the times that you work on each individual project and work out your rates accordingly. The client should not pay for time that you, as designer, have not worked on
the project for. Keep a diary to space work out so you avoid working on one project for too long at a time. That also helps because you can stop falling behind with work.

5. Signing off…

You need to make sure that you have done everything in the proposal, and even made it better than that if you can. Talking to your client at the end of the project about extra things they may want is great and will earn you respect. They may want to pay you to keep the site updated on a regular basis.

6. After the sign off…

So basically much of the planning rests on your head to complete a project but you have to work well with your client to get exactly what you need to know to complete it all on time so they use your company or services again.

0       Lenovo S10e Netbook

I have my mum’s Lenovo Netbook which I was very pleased to have at the start of September.

I have the Lenovo S10e and I love it! I use it quite a bit and find it is useful when I go around mates houses and want to show them something. I play games on it and surf the web, chat to mates and write documents.

However I want to post this up because I feel it is more suited to mostly web use because of the small screen and the fact that it isnt meant for really action packed games. I like to surf on the web on it because it is small and can be carried around (in a pouch to protect it) and it isnt too heavy.

Using it for web design isn’t 100% brilliant as the small screen will limit the space you have to see things, but hook it up to a monitor and you have an ideal website building machine. The purpose of a laptop is for it to be portable and it is… Just not when designing websites. (Most people use a Mac anyway!)

Mine is Windows XP but some have put other operating systems on theirs. I enjoy using my netbook for small tasks and stuff, including writing this blog and of course Tweeting!!

Anyone who has a netbook will know how useful they are.

1       HTML and CSS Learning Resources

This has got to be the hardest post that I have written. Hopefully I will help you all and you will get the answers you need. I get asked if I can help people learn code for making websites, and I am of course eager to help them.

I thought of writing this post to tell people who are interested about making their own sites (or they can drop me a line to make one 😉 ) a few resources I keep to get inspiration and learn how to code.

1. My experience

I am not being big headed in any way at all but it is important because I feel that 1-to-1 teaching is great and there is someone there to ask if you have a problem.

2. Website building magazines/books (online and offline)

There are a range of books and websites to help out with long term design.
For online forum based knowledge I recommend Boagworld. The forum offers loads of things to get people started. There may be answers to your questions there. Also go and pick up a copy of Paul Boag’s book Website Owners Manual for further tips if you have already the HTML basics and you want to learn how to take your website/team to the next level. Why not have a listen to the Boagworld Podcast which often has a special guest they have interviewed.
If you are a young budding web designer check out Scrunchup. Their newly created online magazine recommends and delivers some of the tips from real web experts.

For offline go to a local library and find the computing section. There is a selection of books to help first time website makers. – I have a book called Build Your Own Web Site (published 1998) that I learned the basics as kid nearly 10 years ago! I don’t know if it is still around but you may find a similar book that may help you get the very basics of what code actually looks like.
Failing that you can go and order one of the many Sitepoint books available. I haven’t myself read one or had one in my hand, however I love the range and I doubt that you won’t find what you are looking for.
In the way of magazines, there are a few but I picked up an issue of Web Designer Mag from WHSmith or buy a subscription from their site. I rate this publication as it has a CD/DVD of extras and the magazine itself has tutorials and general ‘webby’ stuff and goodness.

3. Use online tutorials
Some great tutorial/hands-on resources to help you get the best out of learning how to code.

a. W3Schools is a great ‘testing’ site with tutorials and ‘sandboxes’ to test your newly learned skills.
b. The W3 Consortium is the web standard site for web standards!

4. CSS Zen Garden for ideas and style

Lovely site that shows many designs by many people and is a great way to not only learn some HTML but go one better and learn CSS too. I rate this site highly.

5. Read blogs and other articles of interest
This is where I get to show off my good web friends! I have several sources that I look at regularly and some I have written for in the past.
a. Andy Kinsey has his blog called AK Designs, and regularly writes a great piece about SEO (Search Engine Optimistion). You will also find odd other things on his site that he has written about to express his enjoyment of a service/product in the hope that you too will find it useful.
b. Clair has knowledge of web design in the PHP area. She has a blog that she updates with all kinds of things including hardware tech and software. Some really nice articles that are easy to read and provide an insight to a techie’s life.
c. Jamie Knight is an autistic guy who I started to talk to on Boagworld Forum. Jamie has a great site of really useful web information and Tech stuff.

Finally use my website to gain knowledge and through the posts and tutorials. There is no substitute for just reading and finding all you can really learn.

6. Twitter
Twitter, we all know about, is a great tool for getting help with a coding problem. Go ask some of the top designers your questions and they will be pleased (I’m sure) to help you.

I hope that you have an insight into where you can go for tech and web related articles and help.

URL’s and resources in this post (order as discussed in the post):

GoldChoiceUK: www.goldchoiceuk.co.uk
Boagworld: www.boagworld.com
Scrunchup: www.scrunchup.com
Build Your Own Web Site: (ISBN: 07460 3293 5)
Sitepoint: www.sitepoint.com
Web Designer Mag: www.webdesignermag.co.uk
W3Schools: www.w3schools.com
W3 Consortium: www.w3.org
CSS Zen Garden: www.csszengarden.com
Andy Kinsey: www.andykinsey.co.uk
Clair: http://cds-world.co.uk/blog
Jamie Knight: http://www.jkg3.com

2       I Hate Clients, but Love ’em Too

Just a short post to demonstrate why I have trouble with clients and what they want. On the other hand this post also demonstrates why I love them and how it can make me a better web designer.

I may be able to ask questions and get answers but I think it is how they answer and communicate which can be the problem.

If they dont know exactly what you can do for them, help them by giving a mini CV of the sort of things that you can produce.

I had this sort of a problem with Rayna Disabled Rider where I knew what needed to be done but the client didnt seem to know what she wanted which made me uneasy. I had some people there to help me with it but if they were not there I’d have probably not taken the challenge very easily.

The other thing that annoys me is when little tweaks need to be made to a site and they assume I know exactly what they want in place and I dont unless they tell me.

I also love clients because they help others see what I am capable of and may help me to develop my already learned skills or even learn new ones!

So when you next book time (very precious) with a client, then use it to gain as much knowledge as you can about the task in hand. If you can then ask the same question a million different ways!

2       Farewell Geocities

I have now had an E-mail to say that there is a month to go before the closure of Geocities, the Yahoo website creator.

I have been a loyal Geocities (fan?) for 3 years, updating my website and changing the look etc, but now it is time to put it to bed to rest.

I had my first ever site on Geocities and I’m in some way sad to see it go. Why?

– It was the first website I ever had up. Without Geocities I would not have got this site that you are looking at right now.
– Following on… Geocities was a great starter package for me to get to know what a web server does and how to make sites… I could experiment with it and change the layout as much as I wanted.
– I had a way I could show my friends and family what I was doing with my time and show them my skills and what sort of things I was into.
– I had not got the money for a real address.

But why not also say some bad things about it? Why not?

– I couldnt connect Geocities free to a FTP client which made it useless if I wanted to upload multiple files in one go. I would have to select the files each individually.
– There were adverts.
– There wasnt enough customisation room / space for me to go put up something really snazzy.
– Having my e-mail address in the url stopped me from sharing the website with The Whole World. Thus only close friends and family I could allow to view it.

There may be more things but anyway I enjoyed using Geocities and hope that it has changed some peoples lives in the way it did mine!

1       Usefulness of The Net

Today I read that Teletext was to be killed off in 2010 after so many people have the internet or freeview in their homes. After 2012 this will be the case anyway because analogue will finally be shut down altogether.

Which after reading that I thought I’d write a blog post. So, have a think for a minute: How much of your world is actually controlled by a computer? Where do you use it? What do you look for on the internet? Why has computing become such an important way of finding out news etc? Who uses it in their jobs? When is all our lives only going to be controlled by using a computer?

It is very frightening to think that almost all of our lives are already controlled by a computer. The alarm you woke up with this morning, the coffee machine, the CD player.

Losing Teletext isnt a huge issue really is it? Think how much better the internet is for finding information: it is fast, more reliable (?), easier to read, and finally you can get so much more information on a web page. I know what I’d go for if I wanted to find out the latest chart number 1 or the TV program listing for a later date.

So when you next read a news article think: we’re so fortunate that the internet was invented so that we can carry out complex tasks that Telexext wouldnt be able to manage!

Changes to be made

So far we have looked at ways to get feedback and the feedback you may experience.

In this final part I would like to go through how you can approach changes and how to maintain a healthy site.

With all the feedback you have (if a large amount) it may be a good idea to put it into one document to pick over.

I submit my sites for review on Twitter as I have followers that specailise in design reading my feed there. The more places, and people, you submit the url to the more views you will get from different people thus helping your design skills.

My tip: The feedback I get I could do what I described above but in Windows Vista I like to use the Snipping Tool. With that I don’t have to worry about the ‘have I copied/pasted that’ problem because I’ll have the data in .jpg format. Then I can disregard all of the pointless comments. If they are major changes they will need to be done first. Small tweeks wont be as noticable so they can be done later on.

You may like to thank your friends for helping you as they are a good second-eye for spotting mistakes, and I know I miss them occasionally.

Finally when all the hard work is done you can relax and let visitors come to your page. However… one slight catch… to maintain a healthy site you should update it often. Maybe you could have a set day in the month where you check for broken links or you may want to add new features… all to keep people interested!

You could add:
A blog – assuming current site is only a showcase
A forum – depending on type of site
You come up with something more fantastic than I can? Tell Me!

I hope you have enjoyed my 3 part blog post topic- I hope to do one again sometime.

2       Site Feedback Strikes: (part 2)

Types of feedback

So now you have made your site and you have hopefully used a method of getting some feedback that I described in my last article.

Now I want to tell you about types of feedback and how you may view them.

I’ve already made a few sites and submitted them for public review. I was amazed by the views that people had of them. They did like them and a few were giving me quite a bit of useful info. For example on one site they mentioned how spacing could make it look better.

Just accepting feedback is good but if all you are getting is ‘your site is good/bad’ then maybe you need to select more carefully who exactly you show the site to and who you market it for. You may need to do major tweeking.

All the marketing can be decided before you make the site as long as you get it out there and show the world how good your new site is!

If you are being criticised then always have an open mind and be ready to make site changes. That will be covered in the third and final installment of this series.

With positive comments coming your way there is nothing to worry about and you can pat yourself on the back!
However dont get too down if you have negative comments because they may help you to become a better designer.
No responses lead to a feeling of rejection so choose tthe best feedback method for you!

In the final part: Making change

1       Site Feedback Strikes: (part 1)

It’s A Fact!

Getting website feedback is a tough job if it is one of the first websites you have designed. I learned all about this in the last few websites I have created, and even using my own site as a dummy to get feedback.

I think it is good to know when you are going wrong, or where you think the site could be improved or indeed the next one. Alas you won’t stop learning new and better techniques.

Making mistakes is good practice to improve on future sites. When you make your first site for a client mistakes can be solved then at the first website rather than the second, third, or tenth when it might have been made ‘wrong’ for years… When I say ‘wrong’, wrong in the sense of ‘it should not be done that way’ to ‘you shouldn’t ever do it like that’. That is kind of a big extreme so learning from mistakes early on can be positive. Many different scales of mistakes can be made on these levels, so it is not surprising that the first time you test a site’s SEO that things go wrong. They may go wrong for the better, which is not a problem.

How to get feedback is the first point I want to make really clear. If you feel isolated and worried that you may be told that your site design sucks, (Video provided by Paul Boag of web design company Headscape) you may want to post your link on many of the great web design forums, where some lovely people will kindly look at your site and review it in the kindest possible way.

The other way to get attention is through Twitter.com by posting a tweet to some friends, or one in general for everyone. It’s up to you. However when I did that I got only 1 comment despite the fact I had many followers. You may need to think if this is how you want to get your link out there. Again a sign-up is required to post on Twitter.com.

Finally you may have your own site (or indeed know of another forum with a special area to leave web links), where you may decide to post a blog or something to mark the release/relaunch of a site.

So there are many ways to go about getting feedback, so don’t be put off by it. I think that it is very useful to have feedback that one day will prove very valuable to you.

In part two: types of feedback you may get.