Challenge begins tomorrow

May 31, 2010

I spent some time today looking at various fonts and brushes for Photoshop and now I have a small collection of new tools that I can try out in Photoshop.

As my title suggests, my photo challenge begins tomorrow, I am not sure how it is going to work out. I have no idea what I will be taking pictures of, except for tomorrows one, I already have that one done ;).

I have been thinking of what else I could get out of this challenge, simply pointing the camera at a random image will not suffice I don’t think, it’s a challenge, it should have a more bigger element of challenge!


I have decided to incorporate the Photoshop element into my challenge, I am going to take my photos, then I am going to open up Photoshop and try some new techniques out, bear in mind now, I am no photographer and I am certainly no expert in Photoshop in any way!

Next month has thirty days, that means every day I must have a new picture! That is going to be a lot of pictures. I hope that by the end of next month (June) I will have improved my skills in the areas of photography and image design.

So why did I want to make a challenge for myself? There are a number of reasons for it, the first is now that I am blogging regularly I want to ensure I keep at it, and by creating this challenge it will keep me motivated, hopefully ;)!

The next reason is, shortly after my birthday this year, I invested in a reasonably good camera, and as of yet I have not really used it. So again this challenge will make me use it more!

And the final reason is because I think it is about time I learned more about Photoshop, I am off college for the summer, so I might as well make the most of it!

Now I hope to continue with my regular blog posts each day also, this might be too much work, but I will see how it goes :). I think that the daily photos will have their own separate blog post, meaning I will show the original photo that I took, maybe say what it is and where I took it and then I will show the altered image which is my Photoshop version and what I done to it and how I did it.

Anyway, it all kicks off tomorrow and it is looking like it will be an interesting challenge!, where is it gone!

May 27, 2010

Last June myself and Sean MacEntee launched a website called and in case it’s not obvious to you, it was about movies ;)!

The site was doing alright, but nowhere near how well it should of been doing. On average, each month that website got about 150 unique visits, which is not really a lot. After a while the site ended up being put away on a shelf and forgotten about, every so often a few new movie trailers were added to it but nothing that would get a lot of traffic. Logo

It finally came to renew the domain this year, and Irish domain names are not as cheap as a .com, they are about 4 times more expensive and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to hold onto the domain or not. I ended up deciding that I would go ahead and renew the domain.

Shortly after renewing it I moved most of my websites over to a new server here in Ireland since I was getting rid of my old server. During the move I backed up all of, including its database. I could easily just through it back up now, back with its old publishing software, Joomla! but I think it would be of no benefit.

Joomla! was a learning curve for me, for the first few months or so of using it I wasn’t very sure of where everything was or how to go about editing a file, even one as simple as the front page, eventually I came to terms with it and I am now confident with where most things are within Joomla!.

One of the major drawbacks of using Joomla! was that over time it became very slow, it would take a long time for pages to load, most likely due to the amount of modules/plugins that were being used.

In the end we decided that there was no point putting the site back up using Joomla! since it was slow and it could probably perform better using other publishing platforms such as WordPress, which myself and Sean know virtually inside out by now!

The idea was to basically port the old design over to WordPress and start fresh, new content, new members, new everything!

I am still all for doing this, but I am not sure when it will happen, I would ideally like to have it done before I have to renew it again next year, otherwise it would be a waste of renewing it this year.

So where I am at the moment with it is that I am trying to think of a different approach that could be taken other that directly having movie trailers, there is a way that I can make a simple page that has all the latest trailers, that would automatically update, this is just a matter of copying some code from the people who provide us with the trailers and then adding a bit of style to match the sites layout.

I am thinking of incorporating other features into the site, but just not sure and what to include. So some thought will have to be put into this domain over this summer and I think once I have completed a few of the sites that I want to get done this summer,  if I have time I will come back and get a kick start with this domain!

Clean slate

May 26, 2010
Image representing Windows as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Over the last 24 hours I have been busy with getting my computer into a good performance level for this summer.

To do this I decided to fully format my computer and start fresh. Since I have a lot of files on my computer, I knew the longest part of this would be backing up what I need. That took a while, I ended up keeping about 90gb of files, this included some programs that I needed.

I also had to backup my iTunes library this was really simple, I just copied my music folder and then exported the iTunes library file and that was it done!

Since I am working on a few websites, some for myself and some for clients I backed up those files into a few different places just in case the hard drive I was using to back up the files managed to fail, it would be just my luck that it would and I would have to work my ass off to recover what I lost!

I backed up all my files onto an internal hard drive which I actually keep outside of my computer, it is just a spare hard drive I have lying around that comes in useful for doing just this S-ATA&IDE USB - Contents thing! To get my files onto it I used a set of cables I bought a while back which provide power to the hard drive and also has a usb cable for transfer!

The next step was just to format the hard drive, I always worry after I just push that format button, in case I forgot to back something up, it would be lost forever, luckily it hasn’t happened to me yet, and hopefully it never will!

I reinstalled Windows 7 onto the computer once the format was complete, it took about 20 minutes which is not a bad time for installing it but usually I would install it from a usb key, which only takes about 10 minutes, that is a much faster way of doing it however I didn’t have a spare usb key to put Windows 7 on so I had to do it using the disc.

I worked on this from 11pm last night to about 2am, in that time I backed up all my files, formatted and reinstalled windows and then once all that was done I started on getting all my files back onto the computer.

Putting the files back onto the computer was actually pretty fast and while the files were copying back on, I installed a few of my programs including my anti-virus suite (Pc-Tools Internet Security), iTunes and Tweetdeck.

Once the files were back on the computer I organised them into a better order than I had them before. I used to have my pictures, videos and documents all mixed together, now I have them in separate locations, that should help me find things quicker in the future!

I decided that was enough for one night, which was actually the bulk of the work complete. Today I just added on the last of the programs I use regularly, such as Microsoft word, FileZilla (ftp program), Gtalk, msn, Photoshop and Dreamweaver.

The reason I wanted to reinstall my operating system was because over time your computer tends to become slower than usual and doesn’t perform to its best abilities, this can happen from parts of programs being left behind when you uninstalled a program, it also frees up space. Also any entries in the registry that are not needed are completely gone now so the registry is smaller now since there is basically nothing on the computer.

Now my computer is working much faster, I do notice the difference. The boot speed has drastically increased, which is great! 🙂

Finished my exams

May 20, 2010

As of today I have finished all my exams for this year and for this degree.

Today’s exam went really well, a lot better than I had expected. Today’s exam was in Database Administration. The results for these exams are out in June so there is not much waiting time to be done.

I think I will definitely be nervous when checking my results as I really hope that I am done with this degree, If I pass them all, which I am confident I did, then the summer will be that much more enjoyable.

It is strange to think that I have completed three years of college, and providing all goes well I should have my very first degree!

Now all I have to do is fill in my electives that I want to do for my honours degree that I am doing next year which is in IT Management. Next year the computing department is moving to a new location in the college, the new IT Department they built is finished and will be ready for us this September.

Setting myself a challenge

May 17, 2010
View from the Window at Le Gras, the first suc...

Image via Wikipedia

In a bid to keep up with my regular blog posts I want to set myself a challenge.

Recently I bought a camera, about a month or two ago, and I want to get more use out of it and learn how all the different functions on it work.

When I was trying to think up a few ideas that I could do for this blog Sean MacEntee suggested that I could do a photo a day type of challenge.

I think that this could be the best way to learn about my new camera and maybe become a better photographer!

So I am going to set a start date for this challenge, the start date is June 1st! I intend to take a picture everyday for the month of June (thats 30 days!) and post it up on my blog. I may even write a little about it.

I think I will either put the picture in a post of its own or as part of the post that I put up for that day.

By setting myself this challenge I hope to keep up with my regular blog posts and get some use out of something I bought a while ago.