More calendars to watch

We’re not the only kid on the block this December so be sure to check out some of these other advent calendars:

24 Ways

If web design is more your thing then you could do worse than following 24 ways for the next few weeks. Variety of well known web folks share their ideas as blog posts… Kind of like the Web Services blog but without the well known bit!

Equally useful is the archive right back to 2005 so you’ll have stuff to read into the new year.

University of Warwick

This will be particularly interesting to watch because I thought about doing an advent calendar for main Edge Hill website a few months ago but it didn’t get off the ground in time.  Ideas for next year though!

Symfony Advent Calendar

The original symfony advent calendar, published in December 2005 was one of the key things in persuading me to adopt symfony for the Education Partnership website.  Symfony now forms the core of the corporate website, GO and Hi – it’s adoption at Edge Hill has radically changed the way we build websites.  This year the symfony project have created a brand new advent calendar and I look forward to following it.

Newby’s Advert Calendar

Binary Calculator from Newby's Advert CalendarIf you like surreal comedy advert calendars satiring local newspapers then there is literally only one advent calendar for you this year! The Framley Examiner created this quite a few years ago but I still love it.

There’s a few I’ve come across – post a comment to tell us about any other cool online advent calendars, or even just to tell us what the one on your wall is like.

Flickring candles

Sep 15 (9) by theloushe.If you’re planning on taking a few snaps this Christmas with that new camera/phone, here’s a little bit of fun you can have with them…

Flickr is probably the best known on line photo managment and sharing site.  It’s free to sign up for an account, and you can start uploading digital photos within minutes.  There are limits for the free account (Only the 200 most recent uploads are shown, with limits on how much can be uploaded per month) but upgrading to the Pro account is only US$24.00 annually.  Whilst primarily for photos, since April 2008 video uloads of not more than 90 seconds are allowed.

Besides being able to upload photos, tagging plays a big part in bringing related photographs and their owners closer together.   Early subscribers also began to use tagging to geolocate their photographs, using longitude and latitude values.  Flickr has made geotagging much easier by offering a “add to your map” link which uses a draggable map to automatically generate your geotags without having to know the longitude and latitude of the location.

Suggestify

A very mature  api has seen some useful third party applications.  Suggestify (currently in Alpha release), uses geotags and flickr‘s api to enable subscribers to suggest the geolocation of a photograph not owned by themselves. 

suggestify

Suggestify then “tries” to post a comment on that photo with a link to the Suggestify site where the suggestion is stored. The owner can either opt out or accept and the photo is geotagged.

Daily Shoot

If you twitter (oh yes), try following @dailyshootdailyshoot posts a daily assignment which is easy enough for anybody to have a go at.  There is a flickr group for assignments – an easy way to view other entries.

Noticings

Noticings is a game based on flicker, geotagging and spotting stuff first. If you notice something out of the ordinary, snap away, upload to flickr, geotag it and then tag with “noticings”. Points are awarded on a number of criteria:

noticings

Noticings keeps a record of your scores so that you can see how you’re getting on. It also has a superfluas twitter account: @noticings. The Flickr code team are particularly excited about this one.

Anybody know any better ones?

Xmas Digital Art Wallpapers

We are very close to the Christmas holidays again and I thought it’s about time to decorate my desktop while counting down the days. I’ve been browsing the web to see what is available and I found some awesome designs from VLADSTUDIO, which offers the usual kind of digital art given away as desktop decorations. Just to keep you and I on the Christmas spirit.

Download instructions are pretty obvious, and there are plenty of resolutions to choose from. The low quality wallpapers are free to download, the quality is good enough, but if you prefer the high quality you will need to register on their site. Unregistered users can download several different resolutions – 800×480, 800×600, 1024×600, 1024×768, 1152×864, 1280×1024, 1600×1200px.

These are for personal use on your desktop only! Do not use for anything else without the authors permission!

Snegovick

Christmas Nights Christmas Nights

Christmas VolcanoChristmas Volcano

Christmas TrainChristmas Train

Waiting For The Miracle
Waiting for the Miracle

Christmas Ice Skating
Ice Skating

Snow Man Snow Child
Snow Man Snow Child

Christmas Bag
Christmas Bag

Siberian Winter
Siberian Winter

A Small Gift For Christmas
A Small Gift for Xmas

Waiting for the Spring
Waiting for Spring

Where Christmas Gifts Are BornWhere Xmas Gifts are Born

Confluence Design Templates

25 by Leo Reynolds.In a previous post How to Skin a Wiki, I was adamant that the Wiki design should be basic: This assertion was based on principle, but furthermore on naivety, as I was a novice when it came to Wiki mark-up. I now have some understanding of the potential for more complex design layouts in Confluence.

Is this it?

I got a sense that clients were underwhelmed by the simplicity of a basic Wiki page, and also that there was no way of presenting familiar content in an interesting way. As Confluence allows you to create templates as a starting point for a page, we decided to create some layouts.

When we began training staff to use the Wiki , we demonstrated the templates and I found that they struck a chord. I felt they accentuated the potential of the Wiki , and helped soften the learning curve.

Homepages

There is a basic image with text layout; one that incorporates RSS feeds; and others that enable departments to emphasise specific sections within their site …

Example 1

lists

Example 2

pictureCards

A-Z lists and FAQs

These are pages that are commonly found on department sites. I expect there will be more examples like this that will also be made into templates.

A-Z Document List

az

FAQs

faqs

Macros

I also created a macro to display contact details, which outputs the same vcard mark-up that we use on the corporate site.

contact

Welcome to 25 days of blogging

Regular readers of the Web Services blog may have noted that post frequency is a little biased towards me… well over the next 25 days, more of us will be blogging about a variety of topics in the run up to the Christmas break.

From my point of view this is a purely selfish measure for a couple of reasons.  Firstly it takes the pressure off me to write posts.  Secondly, for the last couple of years my annual online advent calendar has failed due to lack of motivation – this will solve that by making it everyone’s problem!

So what are we going to cover in the next few weeks?  Well, we don’t know yet as not everything is written but it will probably be like a year’s worth of blog posts compressed into under a month!  Hopefully we’ll cover updates on some of our current projects, future plans, things we’ve been looking at and maybe a few things just for fun.

Much of what we write will be scheduled, so don’t feel sorry us – no one will be logging in on Christmas day to update the blog, but that also means we may not react to comments as quickly as normal.

If you’ve got any ideas for things you’d like to hear about or suggestions for fun and festive things we can post, leave a comment, or if you don’t want to spoil the surprise for others, drop us an email at webteam@edgehill.ac.uk. We may also be joined by some special guest bloggers from outside Web Services, but you’ll have to wait to find out who!

Finally, if you’re unsure whether it’s Christmas yet, check out www.isitchristmas.com – bah, humbug 😉

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