Start using Git fast

Published on May 23rd, 2009 2 Comments

Git branching and merging

In my previous post I said I would do a Git tutorial. It’s been a little while, but here it is. This will be a very brief guide, intended to get you started straight away. So, onwards!

The basics

git config

First of all you should set up your Git installation with your name and email:

git config --global "Your name"
git config --global ""

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Published in categories: Code

Tools for web development

Published on April 5th, 2009 1 Comment

So, I thought it would be useful to give other web developers an idea of the tools I use when building websites:

Firefox Add-ons

I use several add-ons for Firefox to make my life easier:


Undoubtedly the most useful plugin for checking and editing styles on all the elements in the DOM, Firebug is indispensable for quickly discovering problems in your HTML and CSS. If there’s one add-on you download it should be this one.

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Published in categories: CSS, Code, Design, Grids, Internet

The Bacon, Bacon, Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Roll

Published on March 14th, 2009 4 Comments

After reading about Meat Sushi (linked from the wonderful B3ta) I’ve been hankering to make a bacon lattice. The time finally arose and it was decided to make a BLT, but with the bacon on the outside.


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Published in categories: Food

Grid design

Published on February 14th, 2009 4 Comments

Comparison of original advert and my redesign

When I saw the above (left) advert in the student newspaper I was immediately struck by how appalling it was. I knew I had to redesign it (right).

On an informational level, the date of the performance, something a prospective audience member would probably like to know, has been reduced to a subscript. And on the design front, well… there are many, many things wrong. Look at the jaunty angle both the “The View” and the competition info have been placed. It adds a bit of interest but the different angles the two pieces of text have been placed at, falling into weasal words, feels wrong. I can almost believe that the designer may have had some training, as the circle provides some focal point to the piece, but that idea is destroyed as soon as you look at how poorly it intersects the text.

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Published in categories: Design, Grids

Roundup Timelog and Priority Colours

Published on February 13th, 2009 1 Comment

Coloured Priorities

Yesterday’s post is really just a prelude to this bit of code I wanted to release. In the customisation docs of Roundup is a guide to add a time logging. As a freelancer it is important for me to log the time I spend on various tasks, and I’m sure other people would like this feature to. There’s no point many people making the same changes so I’m releasing my modified Roundup templates and schema here.

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Published in categories: CSS, Code, Python

The perfect small issue tracker: Roundup

Published on February 13th, 2009 Leave a Comment

All software products have bugs, and we need a way to keep a track of them.

A couple of months ago I needed one of these “issue trackers”, as I was having trouble remembering all the things that needed fixing in something I was working on. There are a couple of… famous? … trackers, Bugzilla and Trac. And Bugzilla is crap.

Maybe I should qualify that…

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Published in categories: Code, Python

Don’t use

Published on February 9th, 2009 3 Comments

Hi Waterstones employee,

I used your website to order a book yesterday, and I probably won’t be using it again.

Here’s why:

If there’s one good thing about your site then it’s that I could cancel my order easily. The other would be that it looks pretty. But that doesn’t help you much when I’ve just ordered at and vowed never to return to your side. And I’ll probably moan about it to my friends as well because a) How can such a large book chain fail so badly at selling books b) I’m a vindictive bastard.

And now I’ve spent over 45 minutes writing this email. Brilliant. I hope you appreciate this.



Published in categories: General, Internet

A new blog, and how to hide text with CSS

Published on February 8th, 2009 Leave a Comment

What’s this, another blog? Just what the Internet needs! Please forgive me while I create a decent theme.

In the mean time here’s something that’s useful: How to hide text using CSS while maintaining accessibility . This is something I come across quite frequently: a design specifies that there should be a lovely header image with a bit of fantastically inaccessible text. So the text goes in the markup and we use CSS backgrounds to replace it. The words need to go somewhere, and we can’t <span> and display:none it, or screen readers ignore it, leaving us back where we started! We need to use some other CSS properties.

There are several ways to move the text off the bounds of a page (and probably many more than this):

These all push the text outside of the viewing area. The only problem is if used within a link, the browsers’ default styles draw a dotted line all the way around the link element, making the dotted box extend off the page. A small price to pay for accessibility in my opinion.

Published in categories: CSS, Code, General