Yes, it’s about time I wrote something here. Been busy with the new house, redecorating, DIY, taming the huge garden…. And trying to get on with putting next year’s Elfin Diary together.
Money’s short of course (when is it not?); so I’ve decided to try for more web design work. So, anybody wanna website, go here. Or use the contact form on here. Or tweet me.
OK, commercial over.
At least I’ve got much nicer working space. I’m no longer squeezed into a draughty hallway, fighting for space and wishing I could see some natural daylight; instead I have a big room with a fabulous view. It’s not all mine – I share it with B and his array of mighty laser printers. But it’s big enough for both of us, our books and files and even a sofa.
And I can’t believe how lucky I am to be living in a beautiful place like this.
I’m a big fan of Serif software – I’ve been using their PagePlus DTP program since v2 – which came out sometime in the mid-90s. Since then I’ve also added two other Serif programs, Photoplus and Drawplus. I’m happy with the performance of all three and use them all the time; I do the entire Elfin Diary in PagePlus, for example. But until now, I’ve never bothered with their web design program, WebPlus. That’s because I’m entirely self-taught in web design and consequently learned to code in Notepad and other text editors and never had any need for a WYSIWYG editor like WebPlus. Continue reading Review: Serif WebPlus→
Have spent the whole day designing! Decided this morning that the Elfin Diary site needed a spruce-up before the shop site opens and next year’s Diaries go on sale.
Didn’t ask Caroline about it, and haven’t heard what she thinks of it. But even if she hates it and tells me to put it back as it was before (which I can do it about four clicks – I saved the old site), I’ll still be cheerful.
Cos I’ve been designing! Yay!
Well, it seems to be here at last. A couple of days of sun and warmth.
Spent most of today in the garden, tidying up the grass mowings, then lounging with a book. I have been trying to get more exercise over th e last couple of weeks, mainly by walking up the hill opposite most evenings. I’ve improved quite a lot since I started – I can now get almost to the top before I have to stop for breath. Once I’m over the top, I can explore the woods, or go scrambling down the hill into the valley. Or just sit on a stump and look at the sunset. I must remember to take some pencils and a sketchpad next time – it feels time to get back into drawing. Must also remember to slap on some midge repellent. Normally, midges ignore me, but up on the hill I’m the only warm-blooded mammal within smelling distance; when I sit down I can see them gathering, preparing to dine: “OK lads it’s not much, I know, but it’s all that available. So, who’s going first? Oh come on, don’t be such scaredy-cats…”
Mind you, the trudging and hill-scrambling, small as it has been, seems to be affecting my knees. Last night, they twinged and ached so that I couldn’t get to sleep until about 4 in the morning. And they’ve been twinging this afternoon. So better stay off the hill for a few days. Got to get stuck into some work anyway – I’m doing the 2012 Elfin Diary. Now I have the template laid out, all the rest is dreadfully boring data-entry stuff. I want to do some design – especially web design. I have plans for designing and selling WordPress themes. But I can’t start on any of it until I get through the dammed Elfin stuff.
Just had a look at the website of a local (minor) author – it’s one of the ugliest I’ve seen in a long while. It was produced by a supposedly professional design company. Going to their website and looking through their portfolio I found not only dozens of design-failure horrors – piss-poor in terms of visual design, SEO and coding – but also all of them appear to have been produced from the same basic site template. Their own website doesn’t look to bad on the surface, but underneath, it’s using the same template as all the others, with all the same coding errors. No professional web designer would let a site go live without checking the code in various validators – but this lot do it all the time; they even do it with their own site.
Gah. It actually pains me to see poor web design, with crap HTML, inline styling, tables, depreciated tags and all the rest – not to mention horrible visual appearance. Not from an amateur, mind, somebody who has built their own site; mistakes they make can all be forgiven. But again and again, I see people claiming to be web designers taking money off people for bad work and ugly UGLY sites. It makes me angry, but there’s not much I can do about it; there’s no professional body I can complain to. I can certainly rant about it on forums and blogs but that’s about it.
The internet is ugly sometimes, in more ways than one.