New MacBook Pro!

I’ve been rocking a white plastic 2009 model MacBook for a few years, it was my first ever Mac but the poor thing has slowly degraded into being a useless device after upgrading to the latest OSX and has never been really great for doing graphic work on.

New MacBook

A couple of weeks ago I bagged a semi-new MacBook Pro which was pre-loved by my good mate Tony who did an awesome job upgrading it from it’s basic form to a beast that sports 8GB RAM and a 128GB SSD drive alongside the stock 320GB HDD (CD drive has been removed).

The upgrade has totally changed my working model. Before I used Mac for coding/dev and my workstation PC for graphic work. Now I can do everything on one portable machine leaner and faster than before.

I’ll still keep my workstation PC (a beastly Windows machine with an SSD/6GB RAM/1TB HHD) for home media storage, backups and testing but not much else. I’m sad to move away from being totally platform agnostic but as I have no desire to upgrade to Windows 8 I’d have probably ended up using my PC less and less anyway.

And now, the important part:

Essential Apps

  • Path Finder – because OSX’s default Finder sucks
  • Skype – obviously
  • Dropbox – obviously
  • SkyDrive – a new addition, I use this for design resources/assets rather than clog up my Dropbox
  • CrashPlan – backs up my Mac to my PC server, this is then uploaded to the cloud
  • VLC – runs any video
  • CCleaner – because I still like the felling of ‘uninstalling’ apps (doesn’t actually work in OSX Mavericks yet!)
  • FileZilla – because FTP still exists
  • Photoshop & Illustrator – obviously
  • CodeKit, PrePros, Compass.app – for LESS/Sass/Comppass-ing in the GUI
  • DesktopServer – Simplest way to spin up test WordPress sites in minutes
  • Sublime Text – best text editor around (I also have Coda2 floating around)
  • SourceTree – for GUI Git-ing, makes complex branches a lot more easy on the eye
  • Spotify – for cloud music-ing

The rest of my apps for writing/email/productivity are all in the browser (mainly Google powered). I run these in Chrome and run Firefox for general browsing. I swap between Chrome/Firefox for dev.

Make Do website design iteration and challenges

I just pushed out a small update to the Make Do website with the intention of:

  1. Cleaning up some redundant elements
  2. Implemented a brighter colour scheme
  3. New page/navigation structure
  4. Simpler event listings
  5. ‘Event card’ element hacking

‘Event cards’ colour variations

One aspect that needed work on the new site was the use of the ‘event cards’ which were introduced back in the first version. The colurs and contrasts just weren’t right on a plain white background so I played around with a few variations and shared with a few people for feedback:

Make Do - grey on white

Make Do – grey on white

Make Do - off-black on white

Make Do – off-black on white

Make Do - white on white

Make Do – white on white

Make Do - 'pink' on white

Make Do – ‘pink’ on white

Make Do - 'sand' on white with new grid

Make Do – ‘sand’ on white with new grid

What I went with

In the end the darker design won out – this was actually launched as this:

The launched version, no more 'cards'

The launched version, no more ‘cards’

General feedback for this design is a lot more positive. It still needs work and playing around with but it’s on the right track. One thing that I feel is missing is the ‘card’ element, where each event is given more focus in it’s own box, this will eventually come back – just watch.

For now, check out the new changes over at Make Do.

I’m running a theme workshop at WordCamp London

My profile for WordCamp London 2013

My profile for WordCamp London 2013

Going to WordCamp London? Check out my WordPress Theme Fundamentals workshop at 9:30am on Saturday 23rd November.

Who is this workshop for?

I’ve designed this workshop for complete newbies and theme hackers. Maybe you’ve looked into theme building and been overwhelmed by the number of tutorials online, or you opened TwentyWhatever and saw 30+ PHP files and decided it was just too much?

This workshop will give anyone who attends a quick fire introduction to how to make WordPress themes from scratch. We’ll also be building a very basic ‘page driven’ CMS theme (just pages, no posts/comments etc…).

Sign up

You can sign up here for the workshop, but please bear in mind that you’ll miss the first half of the day’s conference talks.

More info can be found on the WordCamp London site and if you have questions just drop me an email.