Saturday, 29 October 2011

Don't Milk Dead Cows (Cashing In On Scottish Culture)

This project is NOT being part-financed by the Scottish government, the European Community, Dumfries and Galloway Leader programme, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, etc.

The last thing visitors should see in Dumfries and Galloway is a herd of dying white elephants roaming around the region. If these "cultural" projects were children, Dumfries and Galloway agencies would be guilty of neglect and for failing to give their offspring the tools and skills required for long-term survival and independence.

Knee-jerk reactionaries chasing the magical mystery funding train in order to stave off the inevitable end of a delusion should not be continually rewarded. Sometimes the harder path is to actually produce something through organised work, and to try and maintain those things for the benefit of the many. Even if it means taking a punch on the nose when it goes wrong. Scotland has a reputation for creative musicians, artists and wordsmiths (and people who punch people on the nose). It also has a recent history of manufacturing and production. What is being added to this today?

There seems to be a new Scottish culture set to stifle the progress of the Scottish person: talking shops, big boards, planning committees and partnership agencies, funding vehicles, quangos, and channels for laundering tax-payers' money to trickle it back down to the public after the Directors' cut.

But only for those who can convince the purse-string holders they can bring visitors to Scotland that will line private pockets. The amount of time, energy, talk and money spent on encouraging people who don't already live here to come here and spend money, or start businesses, is in direct contrast to the growing droves of young people who need to leave to find a life opportunity and whose paths are beset on all sides.

How does this serve the long-term future of the people of Scotland and tomorrow's legacy? Concentrate on building an ongoing legacy today. You don't get good milk from a dead cow.

O to live the lives of others
Hands that quickly seize the day
The greatest clearly move in circles
Oblivious they hurtle
Move out of their way

(M. Campbell, circa 1999)

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Hammocks youtube playlist on website

Handmade Hammocks is still an Actinic ecommerce site so presents its own environment of challenges for maintenance work. Most recently the feature has been updated to dynamically show Actinic content pages in the navigation menu.

This means the client can update content more easily using the Actinic UI without having to edit template files in dreamweaver.

Similarly the embedded video on the website homepage has now been updated to show the Hammocks Youtube playlist by adding the embed code to the Actinic home page template, removing the need to manually edit the template file in e.g. Dreamweaver (or your preferred code editor of choice)

Here's a quick how-to:

1. Create a youtube playlist

Log in to your youtube account
Click on 'my videos' and look for 'playlists' in the left-hand menu
Click on '+ new'
Give the playlist a title, description and some tags, then save.

2. Add videos to youtube playlist

Your list of uploaded videos should show with checkboxes beside them
Check the boxes of the videos you want to appear in your playlist and choose 'add videos'
At the top of your video list, click the 'add to' button and select the new playlist from the list.

3. Embed youtube playlist on website

Click on 'playlist' on the left-hand menu, this will list your playlist(s)
Click on your playlist title
Above your playlist, click on the 'share' button
Copy and paste the code for a straight link to playlist
Click on 'embed' to customise the size, privacy and HD/https options a bit (seems to be a minimum player width of 200px)

4. Paste generated code into the right place.

5. Look at what you've done just to check it's worked ok before doing the next thing on your list