My Online Portfolio & Blog

Matt Buckland

Giftwhale - A new web application designed for wishlist creation

Create wonderful wishlists and receive better gifts.

Overview

Giftwhale is a web application designed to make the process of exchanging gifts easier for friends and family. The idea came about in 2014 when my family was discussing the issues surrounding sharing what everyone wanted via email.

Features

In a nutshell Giftwhale allows you to create events, add items to those events and share your wish list with the world. It's designed to be easy, fast and usable for a 10 year old, or a 110 year old.

Technology & History

The application is built on Laravel using a whole host of external and private internal services.

The application has been over 5 iterations now, beginning as Listwhale.

Want to try it out?

Create your first wish list

Grimm - Electrify

If anything's going to bring the sun out it's a track like this. Uplifting, electronic and soulful.

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Johnny Rain - 11

I really can't get enough of this new R&B sound currently coming out (think Weeknd, Jhene Alko etc...). I've just discovered Johnny Rain and am really impressed with what I've heard so far. He's got a similar sound to Frank Ocean but with more electronic arrangements, right up my street! Enjoy.

Listen to the whole album here

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Moonbabies - Bright Deals Throughout The Night

Moonbabies has been added to my portfolio, a project I worked on at the end of last year. The application was a complex project and presented many technical problems which needed to be overcome to make sure it succeeded. From credit card handling to automated, beautifully scripted transactional emails, I had a fantastic time ensuring the success of the project which I managed from start to finish.

A simple lightweight CSS Framework to jumpstart development

Recently, when prototyping applications I've found that to speed up the concepts creation a simple, lightweight CSS framework can go a long way. One I'm a big fan of recently is Pure CSS by Yahoo.

It's got all the usual components you'd expect and some great javascript components to extend functionality when you need it. Pure CSS does a great job of speeding up that initial development and helps proof's of concept come alive even faster. Check it out at http://purecss.io, I highly recommend it.

ListWhale - New portfolio piece

I've added a new project to my portfolio Head over there to have a read and see what I've been up to recently. More to come soon.

Read more in Development

Where can you find me?

mbklnd on TwitterClick the image above to visit my Twitter profile

I've been using Twitter so much for micro updates that there isn't really any great need for my blog lately. Because of this I thought I better post a status with a link to my Twitter profile https://twitter.com/mbklnd

Hope to see you there!

Read more in Personal

Where it all started...

It all started here.

My first leap into the world of computers and programming started back in 1996 when I was just 10, on a very old 386 computer running windows 3.1. Back then there wasn't the huge endless void of the internet to play on and games hadn't come very far (excluding Chips Challenge of corse) and as a result of this I discovered a little program called qbasic. I had a small (very small) amount of exposure to BASIC already from an old ZX Spectrum where my father taught me to draw circles and other fascinating shapes on the screen, but qbasic was much more powerful. Over time I managed to create small games right up to football management sims. There was a beautiful simplicity in the applications and although it took a lot of code to do very little it was a great start and gave me a great foundation in programming which I'm sure is still helping me today.

One of the first programs I ever created in qbasic, pretty advanced stuff!

Read more in Development, Personal

My best snaps of 2013

At the beginning of the year I treated myself to an iPhone 5 and it never ceases to amaze me how great the camera is on this tiny device. Below are some of my favourite shots I took in 2013.

Read more in Personal, Photography

Free Wallpaper 02

A little over a week since I posted the last blurred wallpaper and I thought, why not post another (maybe I'll make a little series of these). So here we are. Wallpaper Numero Due.

Free Wallpaper 01

I'm getting so comfortable with the blurred features in iOS7 that every time I now look at my Mac desktop I feel the wallpaper is too sharp. I'm of corse being a bit overdramatic here but as everyone likes a bit of unison in their lives here is a free blurred desktop wallpaper of a photo I shot, which is now indistinguishable. Enjoy!

Read more in Inspiration, Personal

More portfolio on its way

New Workstation

I've been very busy, especially over the last three years, working on websites from simple holding pages to fully fledged e-commerce sites and over the coming weeks I'll be preparing and uploading many more items for my portfolio. It's a bigger task than I first anticipated and I want it just right with the content looking the best it can be.

Watch this space!

Read more in Blog, Personal

Two weeks of Ruby

After two weeks of Ruby on Rails training I finally finished my first very simple, but bug free, fully functioning social network. It was a tough challenge to say the least, but was well worth the effort.

I have had a very busy two weeks with various family and work related events so was really impressed by the speed (once you know the language) in developing applications in Ruby. I used Bootstrap to speed up the front end which is always a godsend.

I distributed the app on the Heruko platform to test delivering applications to a working cloud platform and in turn learnt even more.

I am looking forward to building upon this application and will undoubtably post a link on here once it's of some interest to other people.

Music to help you work

Whether you're writing code, designing in photoshop or finishing your school work I always find it's a great help to have something on in the background to help stop the distractions and to keep you relaxed.

I stumbled upon this track a couple years ago and was blown away by how good it sounded. It was created using some special software which slows down music without losing quality or pitch. Have a listen and enjoy. Hopefully it'll help you get through that next big project...

Read more in Blog, Inspiration

Exploring Ruby on Rails - The Beginning

Recently I've been really interested in understanding how 'real' web applications are put together, what goes into them and how they're created. Ruby, is a "dynamic ... general-purpose object-oriented programming language" - thanks Wikipedia, and has always been a language I've admired but never known much about.

While browsing on Treehouse (an online training website) I noticed they had a course on building a simple Ruby application. I had never used Treehouse as I usually adopt the scour-youtube-for-hours-looking-for-useful-tutorials method of training, so I thought, why not give it a go.

... Half a day later and I've created my very own working (albeit very simple) 'Social Network', it allows you to post status updates, has authentication for registrations and logins, and loads of other cool little bits!

Needless to say, I'd really recommend Treehouse to anyone looking to learn Ruby or a host of other languages on their site too.

I'll report back once I've finished the course and will hopefully be able to link to a published version of my first Ruby on Rails web application.

German Volume Training (GVT)

I'm always looking for new ways to shake up my training regimes down the gym and recently I found a program that does just that.

The basic practice behind GVT is that you set yourself a target of 10 sets of 10 reps with a short break between sets of 60 seconds. The weight should remain constant throughout the exercise so you want to pick a weight you can do about 20 reps until failure with.

A sample workout (the one I planned for myself) might look like this;

Monday / Chest & Back
Bench Press 10 x 10
Bent Over Row 10 x 10

Wednesday / Legs & Abs
Squats 10 x 10
Leg Press 10 x 10

Friday / Arms & Shoulders
Barbell Curls 10 x 10
Military Press 10 x 10

This type of training is designed to really overload your muscles with a high volume, high intensity workout. It'll probably take you a week or so to get the weight right, as you don't want to pick something too light, but on the flip-side you want to make sure you can complete the 10 sets so you can't go too heavy either.

Overall I've found this workout a great way to shake things up and would recommend it to anyone who needs something new to try in their training.

Why not have a listen to my Spotify playlist while you're working out, it's very bass heavy but it'll help you push through those hard reps like butter.

Favourite Shots of 2011/12

Below is a small collection of some of my favourite shots I took in 2011/12. Some are great for desktop wallpapers, so feel free to download.

Mask - Venice
Parisian Autumn
Bokeh Grass
Beautiful Colours
The Alps from the plane
Autumn Shades
Bark Wallpaper
The Golden Hour

Read more in Blog, Photography

Venice

Here are a small collection of my best photos I took when I visited Venice in 2011.

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Read more in Blog, Photography