"He Wears Black and Has a Beard"

2018: A New Hope

Toby Roworth

Jun 18, 2018

Much as I missed blogging, the business of a working life made it hard over the last few years and, like many habits, a break makes it very hard to continue. However, now seems a good time to start again.

Back in October 2016 I left Avolites to start a job at Merlin Entertainments, designing animatronics ("animations") for LEGO models. Examples can be seen in LEGOLAND Discovery Centres in Melbourne (Australia), Birmingham (UK) and Shenyang (China), amoungst others.
In May (2018) I moved to Florida for an 11 month secondment to become Animation Lead for the US Model Shop. Being over 4000 miles from friends and family, what better way to update them on my life than getting the Wears Black Has Beard blog going again!
When asked by a colleague if I was excited about moving to Florida I answered honestly - no! I appreciate the opportunity to travel on someone elses dollar is a priviledge, one I often enjoy. But it doesn't "excite" me. To be honest, the thing that most excited me about moving over here was being able to legitimately buy a pickup truck. And so, once I arrived, it happened:

So after four years in the making, my new blog site is finally here. Technically this site has only been a couple of months work - really just a few weekends.
I've still got some updates for the site planned, such as a tidier (I know the aspect ratio is off for the links - I'm working on that) and more inteligent set of links to other posts at the bottom, but it's now at a state where I can start posting again, after a four-year haitus.
The frontend of the site's built on AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), so should be super-quick to load. The backend is hosted on AWS (Amazon Web Services), so should be super-quick to load. I tried to keep fancy features to a minimum as I've found, much as enjoy writing them, it's a massive pain to get them to work on all the browsers people stil use in real life.

I like to use the bleeding-edge features of JavaScript and the rest of the web platform, which is fine for a one-man project only I will use, or where I can control which borwsers other people will be using. However, in practice people are still using Internet Explorer, iPhones with old versions of Safari, and one friend who will remain nameless refuses to upgrade his computer from XP, and as such is stuck with Chrome 49 for the rest of time. SO this time 'round I decided to stay as vanilla as possible. If you find you're having trouble with the site, let me know - inclusivity is a primary design goal here. I'll probably have a little rant on this in an upcoming post...
In an upcomming post I'll explain why I used AWS instead of Google Cloud, in a little comparison between the two, from a hobbiest web developer's point of view.