SHEX (Synesthetic HEX)

HEX codes for web colours have always been a little tricksy for me. Copy and paste has always been my greatest ally here. I wondered if there was a different way, an easier way. It turns out that there’s not, but Chris Coyier over at CSS Tricks turned me on to the fact that there is a way to make those pesky hex codes slightly easier to remember. He used BADA55 as an example in one of his talks which, unfortunately, I’ve not had the opportunity to use in a project yet. That got me thinking about what other words you could put together using hex. With a little help from some word making tools I’ve put together a page listing all the 6 letter words you can make using hex code. Some are a little tenuous, 1C1C1E is icicle, for example (unsurprisingly quite dark). Cool, right? Check it out here: Synesthetic HEX

Deeper into the rabbit hole…

I decided to delve into the world of recognisable words as colours a little deeper. As it turns out “Chuck Norris” is totally a colour. In fact any word you care to use can be a colour, however the catch here is you need to use HTML to do it. You can see this in action on the fairly simple SHEX Devolved page and, for reference, The Source. It turns out this is a throwback from the Netscape days and there’s a 5 step process that (mostly) works

  1. Change each non-hex character to a 0.
  2. Add 0’s to the string until its length is a multiple of 3.
  3. Divide string into 3 equal parts.
  4. While the length of the sub-strings is greater than 2, and all three of the sub-strings begin with a 0, remove the leading 0s from each string.
  5. If the length of the sub-strings is still greater than 2, then truncate each substring to 2 characters.

I say mostly works as there are exceptions – Radioactive doesn’t appear to follow this rule, nor indeed any word beginning with Ra and no one can really figure out why.

Why I may never take another pen to a meeting…

Going Portable…

Recently I invested in a Microsoft Surface Pro tablet PC. The idea behind this purchase was that I wanted a small enough device to take into meetings but also something with enough grunt & a familiar enough ecosystem to handle most of the tasks associated with web design and work off of in a park, in a cafe, on the beach or up a mountain, etc etc… Whilst I love the Android environment for my phone, when moving a live, in progress project from a desktop machine to another, portable device, familiarity, tool compatibility and as small a transitional period as possible is key, meaning that a Windows based machine was really the only way forward.

The first few meetings I just added the Surface to my usual meeting kit – Project divided notepad with folders for loose paper, pen, spare pen, business cards, phone, wallet, keys, kitchen sink… You know the drill.

One day I had occasion to use OneNote on the Surface to sketch something out using it’s handy bundled pen, which worked pretty well. Using OneNote everything is by default synchronised with my Microsoft Account, much like my Google account is on my Nexus 5. Any notes I make are saved in ‘The Cloud’ as I write without me having to even fire a neuron to remember to hit CTRL+S. However, being a bit slow on the uptake as I am, it did take me a couple more meetings to realise that there was no reason the Surface couldn’t take the place of a notebook & pen entirely.

The Penny Drops…

I’ve used this approach in a couple of meetings now and I’m struggling to find a reason I would go back to having to carry a paper notebook as well. I generally use the pen and essentially use the Surface in place of a notepad in meetings, in portrait mode the blank page will fill the screen and can be used facing up on a table or balanced on my lap, providing less of a barrier, with the added advantage that if I run out of room I can just scroll down rather than disrupting the meeting with noisy page turns.

When out and about brainstorming blog posts or writing emails I will tend towards using the keyboard, typing rather than handwriting does give the added advantage of not having to decipher my scrawl afterwards, although OneNote seems to be pretty good at that too with quite clever built in OCR.

Colloborative web design in Bristol

Working in partnership with the excellent Andy Gardner!

Working Together…

I’ve been working in partnership with Andy Gardner for a little while now and am excited about how well we work together. With our problem solving powers combined I think we will be unstoppable!
Having the two of us to tackle problems has already proved useful in solving some gritty code issues that I think would have driven me insane otherwise.

…In and out of the office

Also taking work out of the office to the park or cafe is a lot more fun when there are two of you 😉

full time professional web designer

Full time, freelance, professional web designer

Professional Web Designer, yay!

As of the beginning of this financial year Sam Tremaine Web Design is up and running as a full time professional web designer. Becoming a full time web designer is something I’ve worked towards for some time now and I’m excited to be able to devote more time to create perfect websites.

What lies ahead

This will mean some changes and adjustments for me but it’s already an exciting journey; working on fun new projects for an established Bristol artist and Gloucestershire charity. Now I have all week to code and design in the office I can start taking on more web design clients and explore some creative, nay experimental, projects of my own. Watch this space!

Freelance Web Designer

Getting out of The Office…

The Office

…is probably a far more grandiose term than it deserves but as a freelance web designer it can be difficult to leave my desk. Sometimes I think my fitness tracker is quite disappointed with me by the end of the week.

Getting out and about

With spring having officially sprung and the ability to tether my tablet to my mobile I have no excuse not to extract myself and get down to the Tobacco Factory for a working lunch. Next week I may even get more adventurous and pop to a local park for some vitamin D. I’m not going to be doing overly complex things on the tablet, but it’s adequate for coding some CSS / PHP or writing the odd blog post.