Category Archives: LibDems

20mph wheelie bin

I’ve got into the habbit of checking Google Analytics daily to see which search phrases are used to find my site. Most are related to mobiles, 24 or E4 however this one caught my eye: 20mph wheelie bin.
So I got Google to tell me which search engine was used (Yahoo) went there myself and tried the query. The results showed that I’m fifth 🙂
However what was disapointing was to find a Mr Stephen Tall first!
I’m sure my blatant attempts to use SEO tricks will force me to be top before the end of the year.
ps. if anyone knows exactly what was searched for please let me know.

Blogging at conference

Having finally got a chance to use a real computer instead of my phone, I’ve been looking at the webstats.
On the Monday of Conference last year there were 10 posts appearing on LibDemBlogs, however this year on the Monday there were 84. Whilst I don’t think that there were many more computers available, more people seem to be taking the time out to blog, or even use their mobile phones to post whilst in the conference hall.
Looking at the hits and visitors to the site, last year saw no real increase whilst conference was happening, most likely due to the fact that the regular readers were at conference. However this year I have a nice spike on the graph, with an increase in hits of 38% compared to last week, which is nice.

Why Charles must go

Charles KennedyPosting as a grassroots activist who has been backing Charles to stay as leader, I now say it is time to go.
It’s now obvious that Charles hasn’t had the support of most of his front bench for almost a year, and that he has been ignoring their requests to stand down. It’s a shame that the gang of 11 didn’t have the guts to send their letter before Christmas or call for a vote of confidence before now.
Instead as a party we are left with a leadership election of one, who will have no shadow cabinet.
Hopefully by Monday morning we will see Charles stand down and Ming, Hughes and Oaten put themselves forward to start what we will an exciting leadership contest.

Bird of Liberty Masterclass

Having seen some of the local party websites, I thought that I would give a Libby Masterclass.
I personally use Paint Shop Pro to create my images, and this tutorial will be based on it.
The first problem I come across are people using images which are resized using the height and width attributes, which leads to images like the two on the right.

You should always resize your images in a graphics package, and use those images. Even if it means creating one-offs, it only takes a few seconds to resize an image and you’ll save on bandwidth as people won’t need to download such large images.

The next problem that I come across is people using transparent GIFs.
Whilst the first image works fine on a white background, we come across problems on a purple one (I’ve actually seen this done!)

So here’s how I create my Libbys.

  • Step One: Start with a large 1 bit TIF file (you can download the one I use here).
  • Step Two: Edit the palette (Image -> Palette -> Edit Palette… [Shift+O]) to the background and foreground colours that you want.

    The hex values for the bird I recommend are:
    Black – #00000, Gold – #ffcc33 or Orange – #ff9900.
  • Step Three: Increase the colour depth to 16 million colours (Image -> Increase Color Depth -> 16 Million Colors (24 Bit) [Ctrl+Shift+0])
  • Step Four: Resize your image (Image -> Resize… [Shift+S])

    Ensuring that you’ve got Resample Using: set to Smart Size and Lock Aspect Ratio ticked.
  • Step Five: Decrease your colour depth to 256 colours (Image -> Decrease Color Depth -> 256 Colors (8 Bit) [Ctrl+Shift+3])

    Ensuring that you have the following settings set:
    Palette: Optimized Octree
    Reduction Method: Error diffusion
    Options: Reduce color bleeding
  • Step Six: Set the palette transparency (Image -> Palette -> Set Palette Transparency… [Ctrl+Shift+V])

    To get the right palette entry, just click on the background of the image.
  • Step Seven: Save your file as a GIF (File -> Save As… [F12]) and try to call it something useful either a colour description (libby_mint_transparent.gif) or based on the pixel size (libby_200_157.gif) so that you know what the image is about when looking at your image folder.
  • Step Eight: You now have the perfect transparent Libby
  • Note: If you don’t want a transparent GIF, then stop after step four and save your image as a PNG (Portable Network Graphics), or after step five and save as a GIF.

If you still find this too hard (or don’t have the software), for a small donation I’ll knock one up for you, just let me know where on your website you want it to go, and what size it needs to be. (The same goes for any logo or image that you want).