Earth Hour 2009: An awesome hour of darkness

Earth Hour 2009 has come and gone. And what an experience.

I was following the Earth Hour proceedings via Twitter on my mobile for the hour. So many people participating and having an awesome relaxing hour with candles, friends or just in the dark having an awesome time. I did read, unfortunately, that a few people noticed lots not participating in their area. Was this a lack of awareness of the Earth Hour, or was it apathy?

I found the hour to be very relaxing. I may just make it a regular feature. It can also be a great time to bond with friends and family. Maybe light some candles and play a few rounds of “30 Seconds”?

All in all, the efforts to participate in the Earth Hour were made well by South Africans, in my opinion. I mean, even Table Mountain turned off it’s lights for the occasion.

Here’s to many more Earth Hours in the future and to the creation of awareness of our global environmental situation at the moment.

What did you do for Earth Hour 2009?


HOW TO: Relax and unwind

OK, so this is kind of a tutorial… well, not really a ‘tutorial’ per say. Lets call it more of a guide.

Relaxing is so important. Working or studying all day can be tiring and stressful… and in many cases, definitely is. Therefore, to create balance, relaxation is required. In preparation for the relaxing weekend ahead, I thought I’d share a few ways that I like to relax.

RNR – Read Nap Read

This is great. It hasn’t really been formalised until now, but here it is. It’s actually really easy. All you need is a good book and a comfortable place to read (for example, a bed or a couch). When I read, I find that I relax and become tired (this could be due to lying down on a bed while doing so). When I feel that I can’t keep my eyes open any longer, I place my bookmark neatly between the pages, put the book down and go to sleep. I read mostly at night, so haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test this theory. The idea is to wake up after the nap, get ones eys fully open again and carry on reading for a bit, maintaining a relaxed state. A page-turner would do wonders with this.


Internet Explorer 8 has been released

So Internet Explorer 8 has been released. It’s been on the cards for a while now, and now it’s here. Boasting several new features including a “Compatibility View” (allowing users to view pages in older versions of the browser) and visual search suggestions in the search box (in a similar fashion to an auto-complete script) amongst others.

Just when you thought browser compatibilty testing was a laborious task, another web browser pops onto the scene. Internet Explorer conditional comments will hopefully adapt to reflect the addition of IE8, allowing users to customise their CSS and XHTML code for the specific browser… as well as possibly notify users of their browser of choice.

I’d love to read your opinions on this release. I look forward to testing IE8 and seeing how it renders my web code.


Kite surfing is pretty extreme!

I’m not much of a sportsman, really. OK, I enjoy watching cricket and all, and knocking a ball around every so often, but I’m not avid sportsfan. Kite surfing is something I must try though! Wow! It looks pretty intense and awesome. I’ve watched kite surfers quite often and have really enjoyed photographing them doing jumps and other tricks.

Check out this footage of Aaron Hadlow shot at Dolphin Beach recently. The man is a machine in the water! Hadlow, a professional kite surfer based in the UK, returns to the Cape regularly for our awesome kiting conditions. Who would have thought, a UK-based kite surfer. They only get two-or-so months of sun a year up there! Anyways, check out this footage. You’ll see what I mean by “intense”.

This footage was shot for an extreme sports movie being filmed at the moment, titled “Unfinished Business”. The above clip was edited by Eddy Wedler. For more on the movie and the extreme sports being documented, visit the “Unfinished Business – The Making Of” blog.


Blogging, blogging, blogging

How do you find the time to blog regularly? When you find the time, what do you write about?

These are two questions I’ve faced regularly since I started this blog. Finding the time to blog can, at times, be the easiest thing in the world. Login, write a post, hit “Publish”. No hassles. Other times, simply finding the time can be a task all on it’s own. Then, once you’ve found the time, what do you write about? I blog part time and, at times, have found that as much as I want to write a cool post, I have very little stamina left to even sit at my computer on an evening, let alone write a blog post.

General Technology

Boys will be boys… when it comes to toys

OK, so I’m a kid at heart. I love cool toys, cartoons and animation. Coupled with my love of gadgetry and cool addons and updates for my gadgetry (eg: mobile phone applications), I’ve stumbled upon some very interesting (and entertaining) gadgets and toys.

While browsing Gizmodo this morning, I came across this awesome toy by Nerf, the Nerf N-Strike Raider CS-35. Having read Dick Tracy comics and watched the cartoon on television as a young kid, this toy took me back a few years. With pump action auto fire, a 35 dart drum machine and a realistic design and feel, Nerf have really raised the bar. Unveiled recently at the Toy Fair, Nerf are becoming renound for their unique approach to the design and manufacturing, as well as for the quality of their product.

Coding Technology

One CMS to rule them all…?

The age old question, discussed by developers for years past…and for years to come.

Is there one CMS to cater to the needs of any and all projects?

CMS stands for Content Management System. This is an application, usually run on the web, that allows end-users to update the content of their website with ease. It can also allow content to be added en mass and worked with by the system (for example, an events guide that only displays upcoming events). For large websites with reams of content, a CMS is invaluable in the organisation, management and authoring of content. In the web industry of today, content management is becoming more and more important, as users with to have as much control over their websites as possible, while minimizing the time spent on the phone or emailing a web developer to update their website for them.

Various options present themselves when faced with the task of selecting a content management option. A variety of pre-made systems exist (WordPress, Expression Engine, Drupal, Joomla, Textpattern, etc) that have been tried, tested and extended by users worldwide. While many of these systems have limitations to their functionality and control from a development perspective, they have been tried, tested and are maintained by users worldwide, which is a huge advantage when developing a system that will grow and flow with the constant change that is the web.

Another option is building your own CMS. While this option is an incredible approach, allowing full control over functionality, integration of a design and extension of the core, it is difficult to keep up a custom CMS with a minimal developer count on the team constructing the system and potential security risks that may have been overlooked. While a these concerns are true, a custom CMS can also be as lightweight as desired, carry only the functionality necessary and be tailored to suit the needs of each website it is used for.

There are pro’s and con’s to each decision. What are your thoughts?


Goodbye 2008…hello 2009

So…2008 has up and left us, folks. Time to get used to dating with “09”. It’s always tough for the first few days, but hey, it gets easier. 🙂

2008 saw many ups and downs in the world and in each of our lives. Marriages, finishing of degrees, making friends, losing friends, economic downturns, discovering new technologies, experiencing new things and making unforgettable memories all happened in 2008.

Here’s to a new year. 2009 is set to be a positive year all ’round, I’d say. 2008 will soon be but a memory. In the hopes of making that memory a beautiful, peaceful one, below are some photographic snippets from my last two days of 2008.

Coding General

The first post

Here it is, at long last. “Lost In Mattyville” is live. 🙂 I have, over the last few months, been experimenting with several ideas for themes, content, an approach, etc…and here it is, version 1.0 of “Lost In Mattyville”.

On this blog, I intend to discuss trends in technology, design, the web, music, WordPress and whatever comes to mind, really. I also would like to share some writing and possibly a few tutorials on things I’ve picked up in either design, code, music or whichever direction this blog takes me in.

Before I move on, some credits and shoutouts I want to put out there.

– Icons used in this theme by Liam McKay of Function Web Design.
– Lifestream widget by Darren Hoyt and Matt Dawson at Category4. Originally created for the Agregado theme.
– Original flickr widget by WooThemes for the Typebased theme.
– Theme inspiration and reference from the BASE theme by FRESH01.

Thanks guys. 🙂

On a last note for this post, this blog is still under development. If you notice anything that could be better or that isn’t working well, please let me know. I hope you enjoy reading my writings. 🙂

Post image courtesy stock.xchng.