Cross-browser transparent backgrounds

September 30th, 2011

I had some trouble getting transparent backgrounds to work in ‘all’ browsers, so here’s how I accomplished it. Read the rest of this entry »

Using AJAX with WordPress

September 28th, 2011

There’s already lots of places to learn about AJAX, and probably lots of plugins for WordPress to enable AJAXy features. I’ve been working on adding some AJAX to‘s home page, to pull in summaries and links for different movies without interrupting the showreel video. I did it by customising the site’s template. The least documented part of the puzzle was getting plain HTML snippets and post lists from WordPress. Read the rest of this entry »


May 23rd, 2011

I’m trying out MarsEdit, after seeing Shawn Blanc’s post ‘An Ode to Software’.

Read the rest of this entry »

Simpler comments system

August 20th, 2010

I was watching the most recent TWIT special, which is a collection of young adults talking about entrepreneurship. Most of them entrepreneurs themselves. It was a good, inspiring watch, so check it out at

One of the young entrepreneurs is Joey Primiani, and he’s made a simpler commenting system, that I’m trying out on my blog.

I was using Disqus, but it adds a big blob of busy-ness at the bottom of each post, so I wasn’t too keen on it. Joey’s comment system is clean and simple, but only ties in to twitter. You put your twitter name in, and your comment. It pulls all your details, including your avatar, from Twitter.

Caching content for iPhone webapp

January 29th, 2010

This post is still in progress; I haven’t gotten caching to work well yet. Loading...Every time I load my iPhone webapp I have to wait for it to download ~100 images and buttons. I’ll be closing and opening this app lots, so I’m trying to turn local caching on for all these images.

This article has gotten me started.

First of all I generated a cache.manifest file. Ideally, I want to cache anything within specific folders (images folders) but I couldn’t see anything that lets you use wildcards in the manifest. I’ll come back to trying this once I get a basic cache working, so for the time being I used a string of UNIX commands to generated a list of the files in my image directories, and stick it in my base manifest file. Read the rest of this entry »

Building an iPhone webapp

January 28th, 2010

This post is in progress.

Making updates and retrieving data after the initial load needs to be done using ajax. If you try to load another web page from a webapp, the iPhone takes the user into safari.

Apple have good details of the meta tags you can use to customize how iPhone handles your webapp. Read the rest of this entry »

First steps of building an online database

January 26th, 2010

I’ve been working on a database for BYP to help me keep track of the people involved with Cinders. I have email distribution lists and release forms to keep track of. It will also be helpful when producing the credits for the film.

I wanted to put the database online so it’s easily accessible (by authorised users). I started with DaDaBik to quickly build a PHP frontend to a mySQL database. Read the rest of this entry »

Setting up my blog

September 6th, 2009

Getting my blog online has provided a few interesting challenges. I’d been thinking about registering a domain to have a personalised email address for a while. This itself is a challenge – email addresses have two personalised parts, but we only really have one name. Fred Sherbet is a name I made up for myself years ago, since there are already so many Matthew Russells on the Internet. So far I’ve not met a single other Fred Sherbet.

Anyway, after registering my domains with Go Daddy I found they give free hosting with domains. I got it all set up and found it’s supported by a bar of ads. They aren’t too obtrusive so I enjoyed having a play and publishing using iWeb. ( is still powered by iWeb but I’m not sure what to do with that yet.)

The trouble with the advertising was the way they get ‘injected’. They get applied to iframes, so embedding and widgets got ruined by ads. Also, wordpress didn’t just work – the ads broke certain functionality.

I run Backyard Productions’ website, and we have lots of spare space and bandwidth. I was sure there must be a way to forward a domain to shared hosting account, but it’s something Id tried with websites before and not got very far. Forwarding the domain means the user ends up with a different URL in the address bar. Forwarding with masking makes links to other pages look weird, and there’s no nice way to link directly to pages on the site.

I was sure there must be a solution and found that Go Daddy do allow hosting of multiple web sites on a single hosting account, if you have a deluxe account. This isn’t much more expensive than an economy account, so I paid the cash and we had even more spare space and bandwidth, but more importantly access to this multi-site feature.

Setting up was fairly straightforward. Although Go Daddys instructions missed out pointing the domain at the right IP address, they were quick to reply toy support request.

I had trouble getting online. It came online intermittently for a while then disappeared again. It took a couple more emails to go daddy, but they were helpful and we found that my DNS settings weren’t quite right – the first CNAME needs to be www and point to the top level domain.

Once I’d gotten that right came online :D

Next on the list is customizing the look and feel, and also I’m setting up Fever RSS Reader (, which allows you to give it lots of feeds and the most talked about stories get promoted to the top of the feed. I’m hoping it’ll help me keep up with the ‘important’ stuff without getting overhelmed with the dull stuff. Also I hop it’ll help mr discover other good sites. I’ll update the blog with my experiences once i’ve figured it out!