Rumyra's Head

Compressing images

I'm currently doing a Wordpress -> Middleman shuffle for our team blog at work. This came from a review of all our infrastructure and where we could do some cost cutting. We decided to decommission the Wordpress site, as the content was primarily flat, (just blog posts), and we could host that for free on Github pages.

Most of the build was pretty straight forward. As a quick run down I chose to use middleman as I was already familiar with it, I added the middleman-blog and middleman-deploy gems to make my life easier and translated all the posts to markdown using the wp2middleman command line tool. There are plenty of good tutorials out there that run you through this.

When it came to transferring over the media it became important to me to keep the size of the images down to a minimum. Page weights are getting heavier these days (imo) unnecessarily. So when asking in the wonderful Front End London Slack about what I could use for batch image compression I received the following responses:

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Tweet activated rose

To see how to make the rose, please see my blog post over here on my craft blog, (it seemed a more appropriate place for a how to make pattern).

TLDR; I crocheted a rose, a couple of rows of which contained wire, I then sewed LEDs on the rose in a parallel circuit. This post describes how I made it flash when someone tweets with a specified string, head down to the bottom of the post if you don't care about the code, there's a cool video :)

Lit up crocheted rose, with equipment and code running to make it flash

The idea

What I want to happen, now I have a rose which lights up, its to have it flash any time anyone tweets with a string I specify. (The idea came from my workplace, as O2 sponsor the England rugby team, the rose is the English rose and the hash tag to look out for was one O2 was promoting - #WearTheRose).

Along with the rose, I needed an Arduino (I used an Arduino UNO), a script that looked for tweets containing the string I specified and broadcasted them to an Arduino script, which turned the LEDs on when triggered.

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Today I was given a web page design...

This isn't my typical way of working these days. User experience & flow, UI & wireframing, design, mark up, styling and interactivity are all very iterative to me. They don't come in a waterfall sequential order anymore. Working in a lab team, I concentrate on seeing whether an idea, product or technology to solve a problem is useful, before it goes into production, so I usually prioritise content, UX flow and interactivity, before a finished perfectly styled site or app.

Don't get me wrong, I do think styling is important, I just have to weigh up priorities with time constraints. I also built some starter files (more about these later) to help me along the way with styling, so it doesn't fall by the wayside entirely.

Sorry I'm getting side tracked…

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