Open Thinkering


Tag: guide

HOWTO: Create radically smaller images for your minimalist blog

Inspired by Low-tech magazine’s solar powered website, I searched the web to find out how to create a ‘stippled’ effect for images. This reduced the size of an 2.2MB image to a mere 30.6KB, which if I’m not mistaken, is a reduction in filesize of over 95%! Here’s how to do it, using free and open source software.


0. Download and install GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)

1. Open the image you want to convert in GIMP

2. Resize the image to the maximum width of your blog (~600px in my case) by going to the Image menu and then to ‘Scale Image…’

3. Convert the image to greyscale by going back to the Image menu then Mode and selecting ‘Greyscale’

(optional step: wash out the image by going to the Colours menu then Levels and change the number in the box under ‘Output levels’ to 180)

4. Convert the image to indexed colours by again going to the Image menu then Mode and this time selecting ‘Indexed…’

In the box that appears:

  • Under Colourmap choose ‘Use black and white (1-bit) palette’
  • Ensure box ‘Remove unused and duplicate colours from colourmap’ is checked
  • From the drop-down Colour dithering option choose ‘Floyd-Steinberg (normal)’
  • Press the Convert button

5. Export the image by going to the File menu and selecting ‘Export As…’ In the box that appears, type in a filename that ends in ‘png’ (e.g. image.png)

This post is Day 16 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at

A Community Alignment model

TL;DR: I’m working on creating a Community Alignment model (name TBC) that sets out some of the ways I’ve had success working with diverse stakeholders to ship meaningful things. I’ve started work on this on my wiki here.

Just as my continuum of ambiguity is a fundamental part of how I approach life, so I’ve got a default way of working with communities. I’m working with City & Guilds at the moment and realised that it’s actually quite difficult to articulate something I take for granted.

As a result, I’ve started working on a guide to an approach that I’ve found useful for some kinds of initiative. It’s particularly useful if the end product isn’t nailed-down, and if the community is fairly diverse.

I’ve taken a couple of hours today to write the initial text and draft some diagrams for what I’m initially calling a Community Alignment model. Your feedback would be so valuable around this – particularly if you’ve been part of any projects with me recently, or have expertise in the area.

Click here to view the draft guide on my wiki

Thanks in advance for your help! 🙂

Image CC BY-NC Pulpolux !!!

HOWTO: use GitHub Pages to host a bootstrap-themed website

Last week I mentioned in a blog post and my weekly newsletter the pre-launch website of my new (part-time) consultancy Dynamic Skillset. I had an enquiry as to how the site put together, so I put together this screencast:

The great thing about being shown how to do something via video is that, if you get stuck, you can pause, rewind and watch parts again. In this one, I go through the process of downloading a responsive website theme and hosting it for free using GitHub Pages.

Remember, the way to increase your digital and web literacies is to tinker about and try new things. You can’t break anything here and all you have to lose is your GitHub virginity. 😉

PS If you’re interested in using GitHub to ‘fork’ (i.e. remix) someone else’s repository, you may find this video playlist helpful.