I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

This post from Eddie Hin­kle was what prompt­ed me to explore impl­ment­ing Post Kinds on my blog. This is the first offi­cial like from my own site to anoth­er using Indie Web tech­nolo­gies, it seemed fit­ting that I should give it a try with the post that prompt­ed play­ing around with the tech­nol­o­gy.

About Me ›

For a while now I’ve owned the domain philbowell.me, I bought it while it was cheap and to make sure no one else got hold of it and thus cause con­fu­sion with the domain of this blog. I’ve won­dered what to do with it for most of that time, briefly it act­ed as a micro-blog but I merged that with this site a few months back. This evening while doing a bit of intro­vert­ing I picked up my iPad (where I designed it and set the basic html struc­ture), then my Mac­Book (where I imple­ment­ed the CSS) and end­ed up with a new web page. A small about me should any­one stum­ble upon it. The only thing I’ve yet to do is opti­mise it for an iPhone sized dis­play but it’s work­ing pret­ty well on an iPad sized screen and upwards.

Archives

Back in Octo­ber of 2014 I wiped this blog and start­ed all over again in an attempt at a fresh start and the begin­ning of more reg­u­lar post­ing. The lack of bag­gage was sup­posed to be the cat­a­lyst to help me post, to a degree it has worked and I’ve been post­ing here much more reg­u­lar­ly since the turn of the year. The Week in Links has helped, and is approach­ing it’s six month anniver­sary.
On Mon­day evening I read a post by Paul Sta­ma­tiou about his years of blog­ging. I was struck by a par­tic­u­lar sen­tence half way through:

The era of the per­son­al web­site is over. It’s now just a per­son­al land­ing page with a pho­to, bio and link to a Twit­ter pro­file.

I under­stand exact­ly where he is com­ing from, but I also dis­agree, to a cer­tain extent. It’s true a lot of web­sites have dis­ap­peared over the last few years, but over the last few months I’ve seen a resur­gence in the per­son­al site/blog. Some­thing that I want to be a part of. It got me think­ing about my own per­son­al site, and the changes it’s been through over the last decade. I’ve nev­er binned it to replace it with a per­son­al site, but I did recent­ly delete all my posts and before that I had anoth­er blog that has gone the way of the Dodo.
It struck me how wrong that is. I put a lot of time and effort into writ­ing those posts, and for them to be erased is just plain wrong. For­tu­nate­ly I man­aged to locate a back­up of this site from just before I wiped it, and I’ve now added all the posts back into the archive. There’s still a bit of tidy­ing up to do but for the most part the archives now extend all the way back to Jan­u­ary 2011. I’m also hop­ing to be able to locate an old back­up of my very first blog, the one that exist­ed pri­or to this one. I’ve been writ­ing on the inter­net for near­ly a decade now, it should be pre­served and main­tained in some form or anoth­er not con­signed to obliv­ion.
All of this to say, I’ve added the archives back to this place. If you’re inter­est­ed and have the time, why not have a dig through and see what you can find.

With a new year about to dawn I’ve been mak­ing a few tweaks to this place. I’ve final­ly added a bit of an about page, there’s a new look to the place thanks to the new Twen­ty Fif­teen theme from the Word­Press folks and there will be a new post­ing sched­ule to kick off in the new year.

Site Updates

Any­one would think I’m a bit of a glut­ton for pun­ish­ment. Most peo­ple spend their week­ends relax­ing, I seem to spend mine think­ing about work, my blog and side projects that I want to start. This week­end I final­ly fin­ished one of those lit­tle side projects which I’ve worked on in my spare time. A lit­tle update to the design of this site to replace the last ver­sion which was only ever intend­ed as a bit of a stop gap, even though it was up for the best part of a year.
The design will be famil­iar to most of you, who’ve been before. It’s large­ly an update to the typog­ra­phy of the site, which now uses Adelle Sans for the head­lines and Adelle for the body copy. I’ve also final­ly added a prop­er about page, archives page and a site search which were lack­ing from the pre­vi­ous ver­sion.
Part of the desire to update the look of the site came from me want­i­ng to be able to share more orig­i­nal con­tent. I want­ed to be able to post some pho­tos, and use that as a spring board to begin using my cam­era more reg­u­lar­ly.
I also took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn how to imple­ment some of the respon­sive design tech­niques I’ve been read­ing about and to see how it worked with images. I’m pret­ty pleased with the result and the read­ing expe­ri­ence on the iPhone and iPad.
There may be a few lit­tle tweaks here and there over the next cou­ple of weeks, when is a bog own­er nev­er tweak­ing the design of the site? But for now, I’m pret­ty hap­py with it.

Introducing PBcom

The last few months have been very qui­et here at Elec­tric Week­end, there’s been lots going on behind the scenes which have made it hard to write here. I cov­ered some of those in the last post, but now I’m begin­ning to feel the desire to write again.
Unfor­tu­nate­ly I also feel as a per­son I’ve begun to out grow Elec­tric Week­end, par­tic­u­lar­ly as I look to present myself to be avail­able for hire on a free­lance basis. With that said, I’d like to intro­duce you to my new site philbowell.com or PBcom as it’s affec­tion­al­ly known by me. Phase one, the log, has just gone live and phase two, the port­fo­lio, will fol­low suit in the next cou­ple of weeks.
What does this mean for Elec­tric Week­end? It means I’ll no longer be post­ing here, the site will remain as an archive but from now on I’ll be post­ing on the log at PBcom. Please head over there, change your feed read­er to point to the new RSS feed or give me a fol­low. Oh, and enjoy the new site.

Slight Realign

I’ve just put the fin­ish­ing touch­es to a slight realign here on the blog. It’s some­thing I’ve been mean­ing to do for some time but nev­er quite got around to it.

I’ve kept the same basic look and feel around the place but made some bet­ter use of space and added a few usabil­i­ty alter­ations. The body copy is now slight­ly larg­er so hope­ful­ly a bit eas­i­er to read1. Gone is the left mar­gin which con­tained the meta data for the main posts mak­ing for a wider read­ing area and a less wonky look when a link post is at the top of the page.

I’ve revised the head­er sec­tion as well. Nav­i­ga­tion now finds itself at the very top of the page and the search box has moved from the foot­er to the top right. Hope­ful­ly this will make the search more obvi­ous and use­ful to peo­ple. I’ve also fixed my Twit­ter stream, which seemed to have stopped work­ing, and it now finds a new posi­tion below my logo and just above the posts. There’s a bit of bor­der-radius action involved on the search and Twit­ter sec­tions so those of you with Safari 3 or FF3 will be able to enjoy some nice fin­ish­ing touch­es.

Every­thing has now lost the hor­ri­ble back­ground hov­er. I’m not sure what came over me when I decid­ed to add that, but links are now both more sub­tle and nat­ur­al to find.

Those of you with Hel­veti­ca Neue will notice some nice touch­es with the meta data on all the posts. I’ve employed a lit­tle Ultra Light and I think it adds a nice touch. I like to reward those of us on the Mac a lit­tle.

Dis­claimer. I’ve not checked this in Inter­net Explor­er, but aside from the bor­der-radius I can’t think of much that won’t work prop­er­ly. Hav­ing said that please drop me an email if you see any­thing total­ly hor­ri­ble.

  1. I’ve had a few com­ments about the light text on dark being hard to read on some mon­i­tors. I’m think­ing of work­ing up a light ver­sion of the site and pro­vid­ing a theme switch­er. ?

Feedburner to Bird Feeder

As I men­tioned last week I’ve made a change to the way I track the sub­scrip­tion stats here on Elec­tric Week­end. That change seems to have gone well and I want­ed to take this oppor­tu­ni­ty to out­line the sim­ple steps that made it pos­si­ble.

My Feed­burn­er set­up was prob­a­bly a pret­ty stan­dard set­up for a lot of Word­Press (WP) pow­ered blogs. I used the Feed­Smith1 WP plu­g­in to redi­rect my WP feeds to the Feed­burn­er one I had set up. This enabled me to use a nice clean url, rather than the frankly messy url that comes from a Feed­burn­er feed. I also used a Pep­per in Mint to pull in the stats gen­er­at­ed by Feed­burn­er, no need to vis­it anoth­er site to view my stats.

Seems like a good set up right? Well yes, it was work­ing for me and I had near­ly a years worth of stats. So why the change? Well recent­ly I’d got­ten a lit­tle fed up of the delay from Feed­burn­er in pub­lish­ing my stats, but I also felt that there was­n’t enough vari­a­tion in the fig­ures I was receiv­ing. Days where I post­ed received high­er fig­ures, but not sig­nif­i­cant­ly and this felt a lit­tle odd to me. I also felt I should be util­is­ing the stats pack­age I had bought a license to. Mint was work­ing very well at track­ing my vis­i­tors so why would it not work well with my feed sub­scribers?

The Move went very smooth­ly. The first step I took was to vis­it Feed­burn­er and delete the feed I had set up. I made sure to take advan­tage of a very use­ful Feed­burn­er fea­ture. When delet­ing a feed Feed­burn­er offers you the chance to have a 30 day redi­rec­tion ser­vice, so any sub­scribers who got hold of the direct Feed­burn­er feed have time to make the switch.

With my Feed­burn­er feed delet­ed I had no going back so I went about installing the Mint side of things first. The Bird Feed­er pep­per comes in two parts. The first part is the Pep­per itself which installs into the shaunin­man fold­er in the Pep­pers direc­to­ry of your Mint instal­la­tion. The sec­ond part is titled Feed­er and resides in the base lev­el of your site. After upload­ing these two fold­ers I vis­it­ed the Mint pref­er­ences to install the pep­per. After you’ve done this make sure you vis­it yoursite.com/feeder to make sure your Bird Feed­er is active.

How­ev­er that’s only half of the sto­ry. There are some steps that need to be tak­en on the Word­Press side. As with an install of Mint you need to add some code to the head­er of your site in order for Bird Feed­er to do it’s stuff. For­tu­nate­ly, just like when you are installing Mint, there is no need to go adding code to your themes files, every­thing can be accom­plished with a plu­g­in. I used a plu­g­in called WPBird­Feed­er. Installed like any oth­er WP plu­g­in I then acti­vat­ed it in the WP-Admin pan­el after I had deac­ti­vat­ed the Feed­Smith plu­g­in.

That’s pret­ty much it. Now all you have to do is sit back and let Mint do it’s stuff for you feeds, just as it does it for your hits and search­es. I’ve now been using Bird Feed­er for about week and I’ve found more day to day change, includ­ing a high­er fig­ure than I’ve ever received through Feed­burn­er, but the week­ly aver­age is very close to the dai­ly fig­ures from Feed­burn­er2.

  1. Orig­i­nal­ly cre­at­ed by Steve Smith of Ordered List it was then hand­ed over to Feed­burn­er when Steve moved away from Word­Press and just before Google bought Feed­burn­er.?
  2. As oth­ers have not­ed when they made the switch.?

Switching to Birdfeeder

My feed is mov­ing. Well actu­al­ly the way I mon­i­tor my feed is chang­ing. The last few weeks has seen a very slow response time from Feed­burn­er in deliv­er­ing sta­tis­tics about my feed. As a result I’ve decid­ed to use the Bird­feed­er Pep­per for Mint to do the mon­i­tor­ing. It makes more sense to have all my stats mon­i­tored by the one piece of soft­ware1.

My feed can now be found at http://phil.electricweekend.com/feed so please check your fee­dread­ers are cor­rect. It should be ok, due to the way I was divert­ing my feeds any­way, but please do check to make sure. I’ve acti­vat­ed the Feed­burn­er 30-day redi­rect, so you have that long to make sure you are sub­scribed tot he right feed.

I hope this does­n’t cause you too much trou­ble, but I think it’s a worth­while change, not to men­tion a neater look­ing feed url.

  1. And an excel­lent piece of soft­ware it is!?

New Design

Well guys, thanks to a lit­tle hic­cough when I was upgrad­ing my Word­Press install (which I think failed!) I’ve been forced to acti­vate my new­ly designed theme slight­ly ear­ly. The prob­lem was most like­ly my fault, the update was the first time I had used Trans­mit to upgrade and for what­ev­er rea­son it decid­ed to delete my plu­g­ins and theme direc­to­ries. I’ve quick­ly fixed the issue and we seem to be up and run­ning again.
The focus of this post is to intro­duce you guys to my new look for Elec­tric Week­end. After brief flir­ta­tions with this site try­ing to be my blog, my port­fo­lio, and then a test with Tum­blr the last few months have helped me to focus the pur­pose of EW. So for the first time, I think, I have a design that is not try­ing to be a port­fo­lio site, not try­ing to be a gen­er­al web­site for me, but is just being what it’s meant to be. A blog. It’s also a first for this place in that the theme is a dark one. I’ve always kin­da want­ed to give one a try, but nev­er found one which I liked and nev­er real­ly felt the direc­tion designs went. But this one actu­al­ly feels like it could have some life in it. I like the ini­tial appear­ance and I hope I have the tone of the text on the dark back­ground right. As with pre­vi­ous designs, you will notice two dis­tinct types of post. One for my “links” and one for my main posts. They are defined not only in for­mat, but also with colour. The bor­der­ing line above each post will indi­cate which type of post is com­ing next, so that you can decide to read on!
I feel for the first time I have a theme on the blog which actu­al­ly feels fair­ly refined and to a cer­tain extent, pol­ished. This has been helped by some­thing which I’ve been try­ing to cre­ate for a long while. Elec­tric Week­end now has, what I feel to be a strong iden­ti­ty. As I hint­ed ear­li­er I now feel like I know a lit­tle more of what this place is to be and want­ed to reflect this in a clear iden­ti­ty in the form of a logo. It’s tak­en me a while to arrive at this, and the logo went through a lot of revi­sions before arriv­ing at the form you now see. Some of you may have seen the ear­ly ver­sion I post­ed on Flickr some­time before Christ­mas, so you can see where ear­ly things began.
So if you’ve read this in your feed read­er, come and have a look.
Dis­claimer: Due to the error in the upgrade, and the ear­ly launch, there might be a few funky bits that have yet to be cor­rect­ed but rest assured these will be done in the next day or two.