Archive for category: Personal

One Year & Major Website Upgrade

One Year & Major Website Upgrade

Last week marked the one year “anniversary” of this website. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing on my favourite sport and am very humbled with the support and feedback I’ve gotten from you, the readers. Thank you. To commemorate this, I had three things planned for the week

  1. Great, exclusive content.
  2. Launch of TheTechF1Podcast
  3. Major new design update

I believe I’ve written some of my best material over the last week and launched the podcast, but the website design update slipped to this week. This was mainly to a problem I was having displaying this website on Android phones. I didn’t want to launch it uncooked, just for the sake of launching it. With some help, I managed to fix the problem so I can unveil the update today.

The design strongly follows the style and philosophy behind the the website – minimalism, simplicity and a focus on the content.

I’ve always designed the website with the you, the reader, in mind. The typography and design was set with the aim of producing an ideal “reading environment”. The RSS feed which gives you instant updates to articles being posted is non-truncated, without any annoying “click to visit the site and read more” comments. There are no ads. It’s all about the content.

Whilst I was very happy with the design of the website until now, it had two major shortcomings, which are addressed with this update:

  1. An ineffective homepage
  2. No mobile/tablet interface

Ineffective Homepage

It was an aim of mine to make my website as fluid as possible. So the homepage didn’t contain any show stopping “click to read more”. The article in it’s entirety was presented at the home page and you didn’t even have to click the article title to read.

Such a system is heavily employed since it generates more pageviews out of the readers for the website For me, pageviews are absolutely not important, readers are. I’d much rather have half the page views and double the readers.

So why have I implemented a system that I initially showed a dislike to? Whilst there are no “click to read more” tags, I’ve now moved to show just a pre-defined except from the article on the home page. There are very good reasons for this.

The “home” page is a landing page for the content on a website. It’s effectiveness lies in giving you the best exposure to the content produced. It’s not really a page where all of the content should lie. Why? Because every article you write pushes the one you wrote earlier down. Readers then need to scroll all the way down to access prior content. The longer the article, the worse it is as the more it pushes older content down. I’m sure you’ll agree that I have a habit of writing long, analytical articles. So this meant every long article I wrote pushed the earlier one I did further down the home page. l was showcasing only my most recent work and strongly neglecting all the hard work before hand. I work hard to make every new article better than the one before but it sure feels like I’m shooting the efforts of my past in the metaphorical foot.

So I decided to implement a home page which would showcase gracefully more of my work, at a glace. This new system is much better because now just from the home page you can peruse my articles and chose to read the one that interest you, not just the most recent one presented.

Now that I could kind of break away from that “full post” system, I could make the home page more elegant. Thus I enabled a “featured picture” for every article on the right that gives you a visual representation of it’s content.

In my opinion, the home page has never looked better. I can also say the same about the article reading page, which now has better typography than before, uniform across all platforms. Speaking of platforms…

Mobile & Tablet interface

One of the biggest notes of feedback I got was a lack of a dedicated mobile or iPad view. I personally never liked a gimmicky interface that mimicked faux buttons from an iPhone or iPad. However, my analytics showed that up to 30% of my traffic was from mobile devices. Something better needed to be done.

This new design style utilizes the latest web technologies to be “responsive”. A responsive design is one that scales to the size of the viewing window. Try it yourself, make this window on your computer really tiny and you’ll see the mobile view! It features beautiful typography that looks great on an iPhone or any mobile smartphone. Here’s how it looks on the iPhone. No sideways scrolling at all.

The same goes for any mobile tablets or netbooks. No matter what screen size, you shouldn’t have any sideways scrolling trying to best fit the content.

Other Upgrades

  1. Translation. – there is a dedicated translation button in the sidebar, active for for both navigational elements and content.
  2. Improved Speed – The website loads faster than ever before.
  3. Optimisation for “Retina” displays of the iPhone 4, iPad 3 & the new MacBook Pro.
  4. Much better font rendering on Internet Explorer and upcoming Windows 8 Metro browser.

Hope you all like this new design and the website upgrades. It’s a big change but hopefully you agree, a good one. I’d love to hear your comments on it below.


July 25, 2012 0 comments Read More
Williams HQ

Williams HQ

Characteristically English weather (light drizzle) and green fields welcomed us to Williams HQ. Last year the FOTA Forum was held at McLaren’s ‘Technology Center’ and whilst that was more swashbuckling monument-on-a-lake affair, William’s factory was a lot more somber. That’s not to say it wasn’t impressive, the setting was marked with the flair of perfection every team in F1 desires. Not a single window was unpolished and every blade of grass was identically trimmed to probably the ideal aerodynamic length. Yes, it was factory, but it was a Formula One factory. It was designed to impress. A replica of the Chelsea Flower Show winning topiary depicting a F1 pit stop was situated right outside the conference center and made for an ideal first photo opportunity of the day.

I had arranged to meet some wonderful F1 fans at Didcot Parkway, the closest train station earlier on and we entered the Williams Conference Center concurrently with Lee McKenzie. Last year’s not-so-successful FW33 welcomed us front and center at reception. A glace upwards however revealed the very successful 1997 FW19, last championship winning car produced at this facility neatly suspended from the ceiling.

After a quick ID and guest letter check, we were free to roam around the building and the Williams’ Grand Prix Collection was our first destination. Williams are the third most successful team in F1 history, behind Ferrari and McLaren and it really shows at the collection. Nearly every car they’ve produced; from those driven by Alan Jones to Pastor Maldonado, were present at the collection.

Unlike the the last FOTA Forum held at McLaren, where photography was prohibited; it was actively encouraged here at Williams. This opportunity was greatly appreciated by myself and no doubt, every single fan who was present. Within minutes of entering the collection, once the euphoric sensation of awe and admiration subsided, my first thought was “I wish I had brought a better camera”. The room was dimly lit to heighten the atmosphere and accentuate the spotlight on the race winning masterpieces of engineering at occupied the room. It looked fantastic but it didn’t make for an ideal photography setting. Nevertheless, I was able to find some good lighting spots and thanks to my iPhone 4S’s more than capable camera, was able to take some good photos which I can share with you all.

After being “wowed” by the collection, I got myself in the queue to meet Pastor Maldonado. Pastor’s a fascinating driver, who seemingly alternates between showcases of brilliance and ludicrousness. He produces dominant showings like Barcelona or pulls out great laps in qualifying only to throw it all way with incidents like Spa ’11 with Lewis, Monaco ’12 with Perez and of course, last year with Lewis again.

In person, I was impressed with Pastor. I shook his hand and said “Really enjoy your aggressive driving style Pastor” to which he smiled and shared a few words with me. We spoke for a while and he even referenced his incident with Lewis, which showed his confidence. We had a picture taken together and he signed an autograph for myself.

The FOTA Forum lent itself to some fascinating and captivating discussion, one that deserves a dedicated article to itself. For now, lets just say it certainly made the long 8 hours roundtrip very worthwhile. I’ll also be posting a gallery of the photographs I took on the day.

I got the opportunity to interact with some great people, both the panel of guests and the many dedicated F1 fans who had made this trip. It was an experience, and a day to remember.

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July 4, 2012 2 comments Read More
Update & Button Canada Wallpaper

Update & Button Canada Wallpaper

Hello everyone, all my readers. These past few days haven’t seen much content on the website and for those of you who don’t follow me on twitter but do regularly visit the website I thought a brief explanation of the reason behind the lack of usual articles.

My ‘day job’ as such isn’t even really a job. I’m a student at university studying medicine, in my second year. Right now I’m going through my final end-of-year exams that cover much of the core knowledge I’ve accumulated in my two years at university – anatomy, pathology, pharmacology and even more medical jargon.

The exams in particular have kept me working hours into the night because I genuinely want to perform well at them. Next year I’ll be in hospital wards starting my clinical training, tackling patients and their problems every day. To me these current exams aren’t simply about passing, it’s learning and doing the very best I can because they test the very core knowledge I’ll have to apply every single day in my future. I’ve been busy working hard for these along with few other projects I’m pursing at university so simply have been stretched for time.

However, that does not mean I’m neglecting Literal F1. I’ve always had a belief to publish quality over quantity so I’m not going to fall into the trap of publishing and writing articles for the sake of writing them to some arbitrary deadlines. I can tell you now I’ve been working on 3 good articles, tackling the DDRS, Pirelli tyres and racing strategy that will be coming up soon. I’m still writing but the amount of time dedicated to do is currently reduced.

Now to the real F1 meat of this post, The Canadian Grand Prix last year was in my view the best Formula One race I’ve ever witnessed for a number of different reasons. One of the biggest was Jenson Button’s feat.

On the last ‘The Flying Lap’, Paddy Lowe ran through his feeling about the incredible grand prix and said this “not direct quote but the gist of it” -

It was unbelievable, he was actually worst than last just a few laps before the end because the safety car came in before he could catch the pack. The was worst than last then somehow won the race. The best race of my career as later I was graciously asked by Martin to then go on the podium.

Button was “worst than last” yet still won. He collided with his team mate, pitted 6 times times and was so far behind even the safety car didn’t wait for him to catch the pack. Yet he sliced through the field with impeccable skill and resilience to take the victory on the last lap.

I use his feat as a simple bit of motivation to not give up and to keep working hard. I’d like to share the picture I have pinned on my wall to remind of of this. It’s high resolution so you can use it as a wallpaper for you monitor, iPad, phone or even pin it on your own wall. It has been tweaked and edited my myself after sourcing it months ago from the internet but unfortunately I’m unable to find the original copyright. I don’t claim the copyright to the original image itself.

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May 28, 2012 0 comments Read More
RIP Ayrton Senna

RIP Ayrton Senna

This is the wallpaper I’ve had on my computer, iPad and iPhone today and I thought I’d share it you, my readers.

21.03.1960 – 01.05.1994.

The greatest racing driver who defined a generation.

As William’s put it today morning on twitter, always remembered.

For those who’d like their memories refreshed, here is the master at work.

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May 1, 2012 0 comments Read More
Design – website update

Design – website update

It’s been two months since I relaunched by website after two months of downtime thanks to a server failure on my web host that nuked everything. In February, I worked hard to recover all the data I had lost & get the website up and running again. My first priority the written content I’d worked hard on and thankfully I had local copies of it saved. I found a new, fast and reliable paid service provider to not go through that arduous experience again which has been great so far.

These two months have been brilliant for the website. I’ve worked on, written and published some of my best work on here. Although in my view not a measure of “success”, the traffic in the last two months greatly eclipses that of half a year before. The interaction & feedback I’ve had from my readers and their kind comments is humbling. My motivation and drive to continue working harder has never been higher.

In my Easter break (I’m a medical student in my second year at university) one of the things on my agenda was redesigning this website. In the state of crisis where getting the site up was key, I used a freely available theme called Yoko). I chose it amongst many others because it was minimalistic, clean and elegant. But it had it’s issues, the biggest of which was it wouldn’t render in the newer Firefox browsers properly. Looking at my analytics, Firefox amounts to 41% of the total traffic on my website. So 4 in 10 people coming to my website would see this:

April 25, 2012 1 comment Read More