Blog Archives

Street Life

Google Earth is a truly epic project.

Yesterday, I stumbled across a fascinating website which got me thinking about how amazing it really is. Jon Rafman’s 9 Eyes website shows a deeply fascinating selection of images from around the world taken by Google’s fleet of Street View camera vehicles.

In their endless quest to photograph every highway and byway in the free world, the nine Street View cameras on each of Google’s cars automatically capture whatever moves through their frame every ten to twenty meters. The resulting photographs are then stitched together to create a detailed panoramic window on the world in which we live.

Back in 2008, Canadian artist Jon Rafman began collecting some of the more interesting and unusual of these views, forming a collection which at times both embraces and defies the detached, automated process of their creation.

Hilarious, poignant, surreal and often quite beautiful, many of the images perfectly capture what Cartier-Bresson described as the “decisive moment”. And occasionally, some of these gritty urban snapshots appear reminiscent of the work of realist painters such as Hopper or Manet .

Here’s a few of my favourites from the collection…

Read more →

All work and no play…

It’s been an extremely busy start to 2011 on the work front, and so little time for blogging. Several exciting new web development projects are underway, including a new constituency website for a well-known ex-cabinet minister, a fairly large website covering the environment and heritage of the South Pennines area, which will be built in Concrete5 and make extensive use of the Google Maps API. There’s also a few Magento based e-commerce projects in the offing, and a handful of smaller makeovers for existing web clients.

On the personal side of things, am looking forward to tidying up the plans for the new house, and getting the planning application done and dusted at last. More importantly though, I’m desperate for some free time to get up to Dumfries and visit my baby niece, Alba. She is totally gorgeous, no?

Alba Dunne

Alba Dunne

Read more →

Big Up Zen Internet!

Myself and several of the clients that I work with use the web hosting services of Zen Internet, based nearby in sunny Rochdale.

I’ve been a Zen customer for around two years now, and cannot fault them on either reliability, customer service, or technical support. PC Pro magazine agrees, awarding them Best ISP for 2010, the seventh consecutive time Zen have won this award. And perhaps this would be a good example of why…

I was recently asked to help migrate several client websites from another hosting company’s dedicated server, over to a new Zen shared hosting account. More often than not, this would be fairly straightforward. However, one of the websites included an application for agents and franchisees to manage projects, and the database for this particular application included a MySQL Trigger. Problem was that the insertion of MySQL Triggers apparently requires the user to have Super privileges, which would be no problem on a dedicated server but understandably Zen could not allow individual users to have Super privileges on a shared hosting environment.

Following a bit of time learning more about MySQL Trigger problems, and considering alternative solutions, I decided to email Zen and ask if they could insert the Trigger into the database on my behalf, also defining Trigger (but not Super) privileges for a specific database user. I didn’t hold out much hope, and their initial response wasn’t too promising but they said they would look into it. Amazingly, after another couple of emails back and forth, Zen say the jobs a goodun!

I’ve had dealings with dozens of hosting providers over the years, and reckon I can safely say that very few if any would have taken this on, or would have resolved it so quickly. Most likely I’d have spent hours on hold or in a queue for technical support, and then ended up trying to explain the issue to someone who knew even less about it than I initially did.

Nice one Zen!

Read more →