a few busy weeks ahead

May 03, 2011

The next few weeks are going to be tough; there is no doubt about it. Firstly, this week I will be beginning to study for what will hopefully be my last exams of my current degree I wont say last ever, you never know I may end up in college again in future years. I will also be preparing a presentation for my Dissertation, which is taking place this coming Friday morning. I cannot express how much I will be “Bricking it” once Thursday Night / Friday approaches.

I am always extremely nervous when it comes to public talking such as presentations; I tend to work myself into a false state of mind where the end of the world will happen if I perform poorly in a presentation. But for the most part I come out fine, I get everything across that I want to. This Fridays presentation will be no exception, I am essentially defending my dissertation by first talking about what it is etc., and then I have to be able to answer some questions and answers from the two people who are reviewing the presentation.

I am a little more at rest since there are only two people watching me. The presentation is taking place in a small room; so small that there is no projector, just a computer screen in the corner, we were told this was so it would be less intimidating than having a larger room. To be honest no matter which room I get stuck in, I am still going to feel the same way.

Up until yesterday night I was not very sure exactly what way to go about structuring the presentation, and what way to be prepared. I know it is a more formal presentation than usual, so that means black tie is essential! I was watching a few videos on YouTube, which have made me understand what exactly is expected. The best video I came across is about 22 minutes long, it is a presentation given by someone who attends these Dissertation presentations, and it is a really useful video. This is the video below.

I took a lot from the video, I can never help myself think that a presentation is just a fancy word for a chance to be grilled, and the funny thing is that in that video the woman explains all about that and how the reviewer is simply asking for a better understanding of something they may have misinterpreted!

Once the presentation is over I will be feeling a lot more relaxed and can really focus on my exams. This year I am approaching my exams differently than I have over the past 3 years. This year I have taken the step to book every day off before each exam from work. I always forget to do this and by the time I think of it, it is too late of notice for work. When it comes down to it, usually I am off the night before an exam anyway. But last Christmas took the biscuit withe exams and work. I was in work until 1am with an exam the next morning, I had intended on going home and getting in a bit more studying at the time I should have, which would of been 10pm!

So this time I have just gone ahead and booked all the days I want off, and I can now rest a bit more knowing I have that little extra time to revise. In total I have 5 exams, they are spaced out nicely across just over a week. I start into the exams wit what is most likely the worst of the lot, and I also finish with what would be a close second to the first in terms of difficulty. That last exam cannot come quick enough, believe me! I am looking forward to feeling a little less burdened from college work.

To be honest, college has finally taken it’s toll. This last year has just been painstakingly slow and boring!



new garden centre site

April 27, 2011

Last Thursday i finally finished up with a site i had been working on for about a month. The timing for getting this job couldn’t of being worse, i had a lot on my plate with work and other personal matters, and this resulted with me having to delay the start of the site for a while.

My initial plan was to have the site ready for Easter week, for a while it didn’t look like i would reach the deadline, but i just about managed after having no internet access for the two days coming up to the deadline, so i had to stay up late to get the site completed.

This site was a new challenge for me in a few ways. The biggest challenge was with a shopping cart feature that was requested. I had never up to this point incorporated a cart on such a large scale. I used a bit of PayPal integration with a previous site, but this was all new to me for this project.

Finnegans Nursery

The site i was building was for a garden centre. The garden centre didn’t have a website previously and they wanted the site to be easily managed by themselves for updating the content along with the future ability of having the full site using the shopping cart. For the initial launch the only thing users are allowed to purchase are gift certificates, anything else on the site will not be purchasable online until the client wishes for it too.

It is always difficult to begin a site, i was unsure if i should go with a small piece of green or just go all out, i decided on the latter. It was difficult to get the right blend of greens, but after a day or so in Photoshop i got the colour and design nailed down.

I decided, as i always do to use WordPress as the CMS, simply because i am really familiar with how it works and it provided useful plugin support along with great SEO functionality. Another feature, which was requested, was a custom email address; this is easy to set up thanks to Google.

I am extremely happy with how the site has turned out. Last Friday i went out to the garden centre to show my client how the site works, and how to update the catalogue, which at the moment is blank, but in future the owner will add in everything they offer!

The garden centre is called: Finnegan’s Nursery & Garden Centre, and you can take a look at it here: https://www.finnegansnursery.com/



January, February…. March?

April 04, 2011

Last month there was no activity at all here on this blog from me. This used to be a common occurrence for me, but for over the past year I haven’t missed a month without adding at least one blog post. A lot has happened over the last month including having a lot of work to get though both for college and personal work for clients.

The main thing I have been working on over the last month or so was my Dissertation, at this stage I am completely sick of looking at anything related to my Dissertation title, which is Cloud Computing. Last Friday I submitted my second draft, this week I should get back feedback from my supervisor and with a bit of luck the changes will be minimal and the next step will be to get it leather bound!

Other than my Dissertation, I have been doing a bit of work for clients. A site I am working on at the moment is a large task, it incorporates an online shop and when I am finished it will make a great addition to my portfolio.

I only have a few weeks left in college until I finish up for Easter, but I will be busy over my Easter holidays with studying for my last ever exams in college and putting together a presentation for my dissertation.

Until my exams are over in May my blog will be fairly quiet, whenever I get some time to sit down and put together a post I will. I have a few posts I want to get published and I will be starting an interesting project this summer with some fellow classmates from college.

Toshiba Satellite Pro L300 Screen Issue

February 27, 2011

As I said in a post a while back, I want to help out others by providing information that I found out which might be of benefit to others. So this is one of those posts which hopefully might help one or two.

I was working on two laptops which have multiple things wrong with them, they are both the exact same Toshiba Satellite Pro L300, this was great since I could swaps parts between the two to narrow down what might be wrong.

In this case, one of the laptops happened to have an issue with the video showing up on the screen, when I powered on the laptop the screen would flash then remain black, I then connected the VGA port to my monitor to test if there was video being sent and there was, so that was one issue sorted, there is video there.

Next I thought it must be the screen which has broken, the person who owns the laptop told be she hit the laptop off something, so naturally you would assume the screen was in need of replacement, this is where having the two same laptops came in handy.

I took both laptops apart and took the screens out too, then the screen which would show any picture, I put this into the laptop which would show video and the screen worked no problem, so that was another possible problem I thought it could have been, busted.

Next I started to check the cables connecting to the monitor and they all seemed fine, good and secure. So the next set of cables I wanted to check was under the keyboard, these are the cables that connect from the motherboard / graphics card to the screen. To get to these, simply remove the grey strip, which is shown in the picture below.

Toshiba L300

Next remove the two screws then gently push the tab in the middle to release the keyboard.

Toshiba L300

Gently lift the keyboard up as to not break the cable that is connected underneath. You should now see a cable which runs from the screen to the board under the keyboard, check to make sure this is pushed in fully.

Toshiba L300


Toshiba L300

In my case, this was loose, so I simply pushed it back in, then put everything back together and powered on the laptop and it worked perfectly, no issues, the black screen was gone and I could see the video on screen again.

This was a simple solution, one I should have checked before taking the screens out, but it was also a case of process of elimination, and it paid off!

Hopefully this post helps someone who expierenced this problem too.



KT Tunstall – Olympia Theatre

February 23, 2011

This Monday February 21st i was in Dublin for a KT Tunstall concert. It was a bit of a last minute thing, i happend to come across the tickets for the concert last week and just ordered them there and then.

The venue was the Olympia Theatre, i had never been there before. The place is pretty big, nothing compared to the Point Theatre ( now known as the o2) but it looks like an old fashioned laid back theatre you would expect from years ago.

KT Tunstall - Olympia Theatre 21st February 2011

Before KT Tunstall came on there was a supporting act, his name was Pictish Trail, he was definitely entertaining, he pretended to be a rave artist and then soon introduced himself as an acoustic / techno artist, it was a blend of the two which made him a great supporting act.

KT Tunstall herself was a great entertainer and performer, she really gets the audience involved and since i was on the third tier up, which didn’t have the best viewing vision she still made sure she taked to everyone! She made a witty remark about needing a disclaimer for any tickets that are sold for the top tier due to the height.

I took my camera along with me but it wasn’t much use, in order to get a good photo it is best to be much closer since zooming in from where i was just made the camera very wobbly! I did manage to get a few decent enough pictures and i also recorded a video of a cover song of the cures song which is below!

The gig was excellent and i would definitely go back next time she comes and i would recommend everyone to go if you have the opportunity.

KT Tunstall - Olympia Theatre 21st February 2011

KT Tunstall - Olympia Theatre 21st February 2011

KT Tunstall - Olympia Theatre 21st February 2011

KT Tunstall - Olympia Theatre 21st February 2011

KT Tunstall - Olympia Theatre 21st February 2011