Fresh New Blog Theme

Well the jetlag has allowed me to spend lots of extra time playing around with things I usually wouldn't get around to but enjoy nonetheless. Daniel commented (amongst other things - never short of an opinion is Daniel) that my blog looked a bit dark. I'd looked at other Community Server skins before and was taken with Paperclip (which seems to be very popular) but was put off by how narrow it was. I suspected I could just twiddle a few CSS properties here and there and I could change that. However my experience with CSS suggests that "just changing a few properties here and there" can lead to hours of the mental equivalent of poking your own eyes with a pointy stick. Step forward Guy Burstein who has posted the (as it turns out pretty simple) CSS rules required to make the skin wider.

Guy also posted a link to a Photoshop file for the masthead image template from James Shaw and I was keen to try this out. But I don't have Photoshop, I have Paint.NET. Paint.NET doesn't recognise the .psd Photoshop file and a quick search around located a plug-in psd convertor which worked a treat. This gave me a Paint.NET image with all the layering information etc. After a bit of fiddling around with the background, masks etc I now have a Paint.NET version of the Photoshop file which I'm keen to share - just in the process of checking it's okay to do that.

Having done all that I realised that I don't have any of my images with me so went to Flickr and did a search for Scotland, then Glasgow, Ben Vorlich etc etc. I found one I was particularly taken with but sadly (for me) all rights reserved. In the end I settled (for now at least) with a cropped version of this image by Andrew Holmes. I'm never too sure how to correctly attribute a work (the creative commons license says you do this "in the manner specified by the licensor". But of course, the licensor never seems to specify it. Anyway, I've provided a link to Andrew's profile and thank him for allowing me to re-use his work.

Kevyan Nayyeri has also published a much more detailed description of how to switch out the masthead image as the margins etc are a bit tricky. The good news though is that if you use the Photoshop version (or my Paint.NET version if I can share it) then this pretty much takes care of these issues for you.

There are times when I think I should be a designer. Not that I'm any good at it but I really enjoy messing with this sort of stuff.

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