Switching from Windows to Mac OS

A Little Background

I’ve been using Windows since 1998 when my father purchased a laptop for me for my college studies which ran Windows 95. I learned a lot on that little machine and as the years went by I progressed through Windows 98, Windows 98SE, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows 7. I skipped Vista because – as we all know – it was terrible.

Fast forward to 2011 when I first started working at the BBC. The first thing I noticed in the office was that most people were using Macs – and not just designers, but management, support staff and developers as well...

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Drives not showing under “This PC” on Windows 10

Due to Windows 8 being possibly the worst operating system that has ever existed, when Windows 10 was released I decided that I would play with it for a while before taking the plunge and migrating from Windows 7. I purchased a brand new drive for the occasion which would allow me to keep my existing Windows 7 installation safe, just in case.

A few days into using Windows 10 (with all the privacy-shattering junk disabled), I decided that I liked it enough (or in some cases, didn’t dislike it too much) to stick with it, given that Windows 7’s support will cease in the not-too-distant future. So I re-connected my Windows 7 drive in order to migrate some application data...

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Visit Dolgellau sold

This is just a quick post to state that I am no longer the owner of Visit Dolgellau as the website has been sold.

I was finding it difficult to balance my time between work, this website, a number of other projects and having a life. With neither project receiving the attention that it deserved, it was clear that something had to change. So I decided to sell some projects in order to free up time for the others and I’m afraid that Visit Dolgellau was among the former.

The new owner, Kyle, is keen to run the website in the same manner so users shouldn’t notice much of a difference. He’s also keen to continue to grow it with more content and a larger directory, making the website even more of a useful resource for visitors.

I’d like to wish Kyle all the best with his endeavour.

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Spa Classic 2015 at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium

My father and I have been to many a racing event including Le Mans, Silverstone, Nürburgring, Mondello Park and the Isle of Man to name but a few.

We’d never been to Spa, but this year that changed: we went to the 2015 Spa Classic in his 1972 BMW 3.0 CSL.

We watched numerous classes, ranging from Minis and Cortinas to historic Le Mans winners. The atmosphere was relaxed and the public were allowed to go pretty much anywhere, so we also got up close and personal with a number of the cars as they were being prepared – and some later repaired – by their respective teams.

A highlight of the visit was being able to take the car for a few laps around the circuit. Although the 1972 CSL was fast for its day, clearly it wasn’t going to be much competition for new Porsches and Vipers...

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The 4 Good Things

The BBC’s Future Media department promotes the use of four key principles across its engineering teams, known as “The 4 Good Things”.

The interpretation of these principles tends to vary a little across each team, but generally speaking they provide a consistent approach to software development across a number of different projects, platforms and languages.

Here are those four principles along with my personal interpretations.

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Why Visit Dolgellau is written in English (and not Welsh)

Around once a month or so I receive an email or a message on Facebook asking me why Visit Dolgellau is written in English and not Welsh. It’s a tourist-focused website that I set up last year to promote my home town and the surrounding area.

Some seem to think that it’s an Assembly-backed website (which I take as a compliment, given the website’s humble background!) and are curious as to why it isn’t bilingual as a matter of course like the others. But others are clearly nationalists who simply hate anything that isn’t Welsh and this post is intended for them.

1) The role of Visit Dolgellau is to promote Dolgellau and the wider area as a tourist destination. In general, people who visit Wales tend not to be Welsh (because Welsh people already live here).

2) The website’s analytics da...

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Visit Dolgellau

Although I live in Manchester now, originally I’m from a little town in Wales called Dolgellau. Dolgellau is a market town in Gwynedd, north-west Wales, and is set in the southern part of
the Snowdonia National Park at the foot of the Cadair Idris mountain range. It’s a beautiful place – a fact that is only made all the more apparent now that I live in a city – and whenever I show anyone any photos I am always told how lucky I was to have grown up with such surroundings.

Back in 2004, a graphic designer colleague and I were asked by the Partnership – a guild of local businesses basically – to develop a website for the town. We enthusiastically accepted the challenge but soon discovered that politics and conflicting ideas within the Partnership made any kind of progress extremely difficult...

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The Pied Piper of JavaScript

For a couple of years now, JavaScript has been encroaching into territory traditionally held by Flash. At the BBC’s TVMP department, news of set top boxes making the switch to JavaScript seems to be an almost daily occurrence as manufacturers fall over themselves to jump onto the JavaScript bandwagon for alleged “faster development” and the mythical “build once, deploy everywhere” utopian ideal.

I’ve witnessed the repetition of such claims myself. “We’ll be switching this product to JavaScript in the near future because – obviously – it’s faster” a product owner once said, followed by the nodding heads and murmurs of agreement of other non-developers.

The reality for those of us who have not succumbed to the merry tune of the JavaScript Pied Piper’s flute is that “build once, deploy e...

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Anthony Humphreys vs. Trespass Swift 200 pop-up tent

Over the weekend I was at the Silverstone Classic event with my father and his close friend Anthony Humphreys. The three of us often go to events like this: we’ve attended events in Ireland, the Isle of Man and even France.

For this event, Anthony had purchased a Trespass 200: a new wonder-tent that he proudly proclaimed could erect itself in seconds which would allow him to sit back with a beer while we were still putting ours up. And that’s pretty much what happened. Two days later though when it was time to go home, it was a very different story.

I had watched videos of people struggling with pop-up tents on YouTube some months before and was quietly confident that Anthony was going to experience the same difficulty...

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The Halo Framework (AS2)

Before work on the BBC Events application could begin, a framework was required that would provide the team with a foundation on which to build a robust, memory-efficient app that could be re-skinned for future events.

I completed the majority of the work in an intensive 3 days which allowed the rest of the team to begin work on the app itself. Embellishments were applied over the remainder of the week.

The core framework is designed around the BBC’s One Service UI which is a drive to use a consistent UX across all current and future products.

It allows for efficient use of specialised components which are created and destroyed at runtime based on what the application requires to render each feed...

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