Slow internet makes me sad.

My internet has been sucking on and off for almost three months now. Just really inconsistent speeds and stupidly slow sometimes. Mostly between 7 and 10pm when we sometimes stream some tv shows. I have sent so many emails to Afrihost support and I’m so tired of it so I have decided to make them a little more enjoyable to write. Below is my email from tonight.


Hi,

I just don’t know hey. Honestly I can’t just spend every evening sending you guys support tickets. These ridiculous speeds are starting affect my marriage. My wife streams TV between 8 and 10 in the evening and it’s impossible with these speeds. What more can I do here guys? I can’t sit every evening, when I should be able to relax and watch TV with my wife, doing speed tests and emailing support. It’s damn tiring. And I always get the same response form you guys. Sorry for the inconvenience, we have re-synced your port and stabilised your line at 8mbps – please restart your router and do another speed test. Boring hey? So boring.

I need a long term solution with some stability folks. I use this line for work as well. My livelihood is at stake here. I just had twenty minutes of decent speed and then nothing again. So much fun.

I feel like I have to start getting creative with these emails because they are just so damn boring to write and maybe if one of them is entertaining enough you guys might actually do something about this s#*t. This has been going on for months with no solid solution. I’m at the point where I feel like I should be getting some kind of monetary compensation because I’m really not getting what I pay for at all.
I have a friend who lives like 3 k’s away (I know he’s on a different exchange, but just humour me) and he is with you guys and he consistently gets great speed all the time. It just hurts you know. Like, why me? It was so good in the beginning, but you’ve changed. Why do you like my friend more than me? I’m insecure about stuff like this hey.

Please do something for me nice support technician. And if you can’t please escalate my troubles to a superior because like, I need this.

Until tomorrow night,

Shane (Speed test below)

Speed Test

Slidedeck for WordPress – linking to slides

So after buying Slidedeck Pro for a clients site and shelling out the $99 that they ask I realized, like a lot of other people judging from the support forum, that the WordPress version isn’t nearly as easily customizable as the Slidedeck site leads one to believe. I think it’s really bad form how misleading their advertising is, but that’s another story altogether.

I needed to link to a specific slide on a page from a different page altogether. All the info I could find was on how to do this with the non-WP version and I got no real help on the Slidedeck support forum. I needed to use the WP version because my client will be adding the content and I can’t expect them to add content in the HTML so I needed to make use of WP’s WYSIWYG editor.

I thought I’d share how I managed to get this working since it seemed like a lot of other people have been trying to figure the same thing.

 

What I was trying to achieve

I have custom menus setup in the WP theme I created and I wanted each drop-down menu item to link to the corresponding slide on the correct page.

 

How I got it working

Firstly, I obviously added the slides to Slidedeck for WP.

Next I added the menu items in the WP back-end giving each one an anchor that corresponded to the slide number (ie. …/about/#3)

Then the most difficult part (which turned out not to be that difficult after all) – adding the JavaScript code. I needed to get the anchor from the current page URL, remove the # symbol, and pass the result to the Slidedeck API’s goTo() method and get the code to run when the page loads. You can see the code below:

<script>
$(document).ready(function(){
      jQuery('.slidedeck').slidedeck().goTo(document.location.hash.replace("#",""));
});
</script>
									

I put the code in the head section of my header.php file so it loads on every page. I did try it in an external .js file, but that didn’t work. Remember to use ‘jQuery’ (no quotation marks) instead of the $ symbol because of the way WP calls jQuery.

Linking to the page with the anchor in the URL from an external site will also open Slidedeck to the correct slide which is pretty awesome.

I hope this helps you out if you are trying to do something similar. I have no need to link to vertical slides within horizontal ones yet, but if I do I will post an update or follow-up post. Please note that I am by no means a JavaScript guy so there may well be bad practices employed here and I don’t intend this to be a tutorial of any kind – just merely saying what worked for me. Unfortunately I can’t post a link to the site this is on because it’s not live yet.

John Reid – stupidly good photographer

John is my best friend. I know that can sound really lame coming from a 30 year old man, so you’ll be forgiven for thinking I was a teenage girl dropping the BFF bomb all over the place, but we were best men at each others weddings and we’ve been friends for a long time so I think I can legitimately use the cheesy ‘best-friend’ line. We met through surfing and developed a friendship while we surfed together and spent countless hours in the car, scouring the coastline of our home town, looking for waves.

I loved those trips in the car, telling jokes and speculating about ridiculous scenarios like: “If you had to marry a mermaid, would you rather the top or bottom half was a fish?”. My love for surfing and searching for waves was in me for the long haul, but John’s passions were destined to be stolen away by a very different beast altogether.

About 6 or 7 years ago he bought himself a little Lumix camera and started taking photos just for fun. He was pretty good from the outset, but his talent would soon be outweighed by what can only be described as a fervent passion, even an obsession, for photography. When I was waking up early to find waves before the wind picked up, he was waking up even earlier to catch the golden hour, and we got less and less water-time together. I missed having him around to do surf missions with, but it was easy to see that he had really found something that he loved to do and that there wasn’t much, if anything, that would change that.

Honestly, I have never met anyone as passionate about anything as John is about photography. He has spent more hours reading up on the subject and getting his shots critiqued on forums than Oprah has spent being on diet.

About 3 years ago John resigned from his really well-paying job as a Business Analyst (fancy name for an IT slave) to take up a job as a High School teacher. His monthly wage was more than halved, but his plan was to have more time to devote to his craft and his goal of making a living purely from being a photographer. Just over a year ago John moved to London, from our small town in South Africa, so that he could be living in a place that offered more opportunities as a photographer. He and his wife, Tina, sold pretty much everything they owned and moved to a new country where they have no support system to pursue John’s career as a photographer. Tina often jokes that John loves photography more than he loves her, and while that’s definitely not true it would be well within reason to say that it’s a very close second.

I do some video production as part of what I do for a living and I have learned more about lighting, composition and photographic theory from John than I have from any of the books I’ve read or RSS feeds I’m subscribed to. In a way I am forced to learn from him because he just loves to talk about photography and his passion for it is contagious.

I recently bought a 7D to shoot video with, but I have found myself shooting a lot of photos. Something I didn’t expect I would do, but John makes me want to be a better photographer because he’s so into it. It’s like he knows something I don’t and I want to be in on the secret.

Currently John has a job as a teacher in London, but he spends every weekend shooting or editing, or both. He and Tina spend every school holiday, and most of their money, on trips to other countries to shoot. They recently did a trip to Iceland and the shots are ridiculous!

If you need some quality photographic work done or a photographer to collaborate with then definitely check John out – he’s the guy I call on whenever I have a job that requires the kind of work that he produces and if I ever get a really big time job he’ll be on it!

Check him out on Flickr, his portfolio site, his blog and his travel portfolio site.

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Funny music video

Just a quick little post – check out this music video. If you’ve done any kind of motion graphics or After Effects work you’ll find it reall funny. Besides that though, it’s really well done!

Thats it.

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Don’t thank me, pay me.

I get a feed for freelance jobs in the design and video industry and every now and then some job posts come through that I just can’t believe. I read one such post today and I’m pretty shocked to say the least so I thought I would share so that the 3 of you who read this blog could be enlightened.

Hi! we are London based Internet media company. We are launching a new web series uncovering London’s Internet and Technology industry. Over the next three months we will be traveling all around London conducting interviews with startups, entrepreneurs, VC’s, journalists and pretty much everyone involved the London technology industry.

We are looking for an intelligent student or graduate videographer to join our young team as a director, setting the creative tone for the series and helping out with everything from booking interviews, filming and editing and getting the content published within the same day.

This will be a demanding role and you will be expected to be flexible with timings, for example you won’t have to be in the office at 9am every day, but you will be expected to do some evening and weekend events, filming and interviews.

This will be a full time role and you will be paid for your time Approx £800 per month.

You must have your own equipment, HD camera (Digital SLR Cannon D5 welcome) and Macbook Pro with Final Cut, plus pag light.)

You must have green screen and motion graphics experience.

You must want to go the extra mile and get stuck in, we want you to be passionate about all things video and all things Internet.

You must be web savvy and know the ins and outs of YouTube, Vimeo etc.

This will be an incredible experience to meet and work with some of the UK’s top entrepreneurs, you will be exposed to people who are doing amazing things and in return we want you to be amazing!

You will be interviewed over the next few days and ready to start next week.

To apply please send us a paragraph about yourself, a CV and a 30 second video telling us why you think you should get the job.

Are these people for real? Did they actually read what they posted? Let me put this into perspective with a little breakdown:

Here’s what these people are looking for in the person they want to hire:

  1. student or graduate videographer (meaning you are spending or have spent thousands on an education)
  2. helping out with everything from booking interviews filming and editing and getting the content published within the same day (film, edit and publish content to the web all on one day – seriously!? Oh, and you’ll see below that this includes keying and motion graphics work.)
  3. you will be expected to do some evening and weekend events filming and interviews (ok, it’s not 9-5, but come on! Film, edit and publish in one day sounds like a lot of evenings to me)
  4. You must have your own equipment Hd camera (Digital Slr Cannon D5 welcome) and Macbook Pro with Final Cut plus pag light (you must have your own equipment that you paid thousands for! Oh, and they don’t even know that it’s a Canon 5D or even how to spell Canon)
  5. You must have green screen and motion graphics experience (I don’t even know what to say)
  6. You must want to go the extra mile and get stuck in (even though they won’t be going the extra mile for you)
  7. You must be web savvy and know the ins and outs of YouTube Vimeo(Ok, this one isn’t such a big deal, but it’s still another thing on their list)
  8. we want you to be amazing! (I think that one was made clear already)

What do these awesome employers think all of this is worth? The princely sum of £800/month! For real!? Oh, and you will also get the massive bonus of “an incredible experience to meet and work with some of the UK’s top entrepreneurs, you will be exposed to people who are doing amazing things…”.

The sad thing is that these guys will probably get someone to do this job at that wage. Admittedly they may not get someone who ticks all the boxes, but they will probably get someone who can pull it off to some extent.

It’s a well known fact that freelancers (and creative industry people in general) are often asked to do work for nothing, or for crazy small sums of money, or for return favours, or recognition, or countless other crazy things. I think the real problem though is that there are those who do it. I am definitely guilty of doing such work in the past, but I don’t do it anymore. ‘Don’t thank me, pay me’ is a little motto that a friend taught me a few years back and I do well to keep it in mind. Does that mean there is no place for free work. No. I don’t think free work is out of the question, but I think exploitation should be. Free work for charities or similar bodies can be pretty rewarding and free work that leads to real paid work or quality networking that in turn leads to paid work can also be good, but it requires real discernment to pick out the right jobs.

Anyway, I guess I’m just venting since that post really irritated me. Think before you work for free (or for stupidly cheap) and remember, ‘Don’t thank me, pay me’.

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Damn Volcanoes!

Our bags are packed and we’re all ready to leave on our big 6 month long trip, only to find out that all flights out of London have been cancelled due to volcanic ash floating over the UK from Iceland. The day we arrived in England they had the most snow they had had in 18 years and the day we plan to leave there is volcanic ash in the sky. Pretty strange. If you’re wondering why planes shouldn’t fly when there is volcanic ash in the sky then you’ve come to the right place – I have created a very technical image to explain.

Apparently we could get a replacement flight on Sunday afternoon, but Monday is more likely.

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My wife’s dad

I just finished a site for my wife’s dad – Terence Archibald. He is a bird and wildlife artist in South Africa and is flippin talented! If you have some time go check out the site. The site was a quick job that I rushed a little, but I’m happy with the result. My girl and I are leaving on a 6 month ’round-the-world’ trip tommorow, provided the volcanic ash flying over the UK from Iceland settles before then, so I needed to get it done before we leave. I will be teaking it over the next while, but it’s pretty much done. Below is my favourite painting from the site – seriously, how good is that!?

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CS5 yo!

So Adobe’s CS5 suite of apps is soon to be released. Some the stuff I’ve seen and heard about seems pretty impressive so it’s kind of exciting – the only problem is if you can’t afford the upgrade… We’ll see what happens in a few weeks time? If I get a few more jobs soon I think I’ll be taking the jump…

Post #1!

So I decided to start this blog to post tutorials and info about random stuff that I learn or hear about. Honestly though I’m not really sure how much time I’ll be able to give to it. In just over a month I’ll be leaving on a 6 month ’round-the-world’ trip with my super-awesome wife. I’ll try to post as much as I can while we’re away, but I’m guessing that at best it will be sporadic.

For now take a look at this: The pros and cons of freelancing.