Hello, I’m Mark Haynes the founder, editor, writer, designer you name it of Cloud Bite. I created the website back in 2009, wow that long ago, as a place for me to discuss my opinions about Technology and the world around it. This quickly evolved into me having the opportunity to review products for companies, kinda cool eh?
I felt that the blog wasn’t going to get anywhere being at the web address mark-haynes.co.uk and having a name like Mark’s Blog. I wanted to create something you could remember so that’s where I came up with “Cloud Bite”. Why Cloud Bite? Well back in 2009 the idea of “the cloud” was really kicking in and I remember thinking “I want a bite of this cloud everyone is talking about”. So that’s it basically, where it all began, “Cloud Bite – Adding small bites to the big Cloud”.
So what about me, who is Mark Haynes?
Well firstly let me say I’m a really super cool guy, ha even I choked on my coke when typing that!
In all seriousness, I started Cloud Bite in 2009 when I was just starting my Web Multimedia course at Staffordshire University after getting a National Diploma as an ICT Practitioner at Newcastle Under Lyme College. I have loved technology all my life I think. At the age of 4 I was messing with DOS trying to find the games folder my Dads mate had put on for me and when we upgraded to Windows 3.1 I think I started to see what computers could do! Apparently I used to “fix” the VHS (that’s an old tape video thingy kids, don’t worry about it its long gone), player. Ok so I wasn’t fixing it at all, it wasn’t broken but I would pretend I was. See even back when I was 22, ok just kidding, when I was 5-6 I wanted to open the player up and work out what was happening why it happened and how it happened.
Fast forward a few years to 2003 I started my first Website with a couple of friends. It was called Alton Towers Magic, a fan site to the UK’s best theme park. It was my job to run, design and edit the site, in fact what did my other friends actually do, mmm? Anyway I remember one day getting a call from BBC Radio Stoke, they wanted to feature me for website of the week! I was stoked (get it Stoked, BBC Radio Stoke, doesn’t matter :P) Anyway I spoke to a nice lady called Mary who discussed Alton Towers and the website with me, she was shocked Alton Towers didn’t actually provide us with information or photos as we had some “behind the scenes” photos. We got these by basically sneaking into the back of the buildings even walking up the service drives and snapping photos of long retired rides and new unseen ones too! We got a reputation online too for our on-ride videos. We would sneak our poor quality digital cameras (it was 2003/4) on some of the biggest and even wettest rides in the country and film the rides from a first person point of view.
In 2005 I decided to end the site, it was only meant to be a test really to see how we could do, could we get spotted, could we get noticed etc and sadly due to the cost of the website, (website bandwidth was so expensive back then) I couldn’t afford to really keep the site going and my college work was getting in the way more and more.
College was great, probably happiest time in my life, I had mates to have a laugh with, mates I could rely on and for the first time ever I actually felt part of a good group.
I also passed my driving test, first time :P, at college so had the freedom of the open road in a little Yellow Fiat Seicento (even the Great Michael Schumacher had one) then a Punto which I still drive to this day!
After College I went to Staffordshire University and studied for 2 years in Games Design. The less said about this the better, I dropped out. My heart wasn’t in Games Design, I didn’t enjoy the course, didn’t like the people I just wanted to quit. So I went to ask if I could move to the course I always should have gone for, Web Design. After speaking with the head lecturer I went for Web Multimedia, a mix of Programming and Design with elements of Flash and Silverlight too.
So off I went after a year though it was clear Silverlight and Flash weren’t dead but they were on their way out and I was learning more HTML 5, web accessibility, Frameworks, mobile programming etc and I moved from Web Multimedia to Web Development. Luckily I had taken as options all the Web Development core modules so I was up to speed with them anyway. I had a placement year trying to run my own business, Pixel Locker with a friend. We were told we would get business training and some funding to help us set up along with an office. All was well up until May (we were to start in August), the funding for the scheme had fallen through. No office, no training, no support, nothing. It was too late to get a normal placement too, all the good ones had long gone. We were basically in the S##t. So we continued as best we could, learning and finding business as best as possible. We had to document everything we were doing and had to keep the lecturers updated and met with them to discuss our progress. After the year had completed we had done okay, not great but okay it was such a struggle being thrown in the deep end with no rope when you thought you were going in the shallow end with a life guard and a teacher beside you!
Once the placement year was over though it was on to the big one, the Final Year. The year that will make or break you, the year that counted for 70% of your degree. It was struggle I won’t lie but it wasn’t helped by the red tape of the University. You see university is about jumping through hoops and learning along the way. You have to do a lot of stuff that just gets in the way and slows you down, just to be able to jump through these hoops that are required. I had learnt a lot in my last year though and felt the previous years had all been building to this. At the end of it all was relief and worry at the same time, for it would be a few months until I found out my results.
So I’m sitting, relaxing in Morfa Bychan in Wales, sipping on an ice-cold Pepsi with a dash of rum when I receive a text, which is lucky as the signal is rubbish. A friend texts to say the preliminary results for University are up. My heart sank, I wanted to know the results but didn’t too. You see although I had tried my best I never felt I had done particularly well. I felt I could have and should have pushed more. That nights awake until 4am in the morning should have been nights until 5am. I honestly, hand on heart thought I had managed a pass or a 3rd if I was really lucky.
Mark Haynes – 07001228 – 2:1
As you can imagine, I was shocked, confused and over the moon all at the same time. I had not only got a better mark than I thought, it was better than I could have ever dreamt. I was very, very pleased and to be honest other than the “Chippy Tea”, I can’t really remember what happened next.
So here I am a Graduate of Web Development with Enterprise from Staffordshire University!