Ideas of March

ideas of march

In a familiarly-named post over at All In The Head, Drew McLellan urges us all to follow his blogging lead:

“ Permanence and findability are important for ideas to spread and grow. Twitter is a fragile and fleeting place. Give your ideas and thoughts the permanent home they deserve. ”

No-one’s a Critic

On Criticism

A couple of days ago, my friend and colleague Gavin Logan wrote a short post which has got me thinking about criticism (or lack thereof) in the local web community:

“ A local web design agency that I used to admire has started to churn out insipid work. It’s made me think about this aversion we have for talking publicly about this kind of thing. I don’t want to name them, and I’d consider it rude if I did, but I don’t know where this politeness comes from. ”

While I don't know which agency he's referring to, I'm more than familiar with this situation, both from my time in the North East and previously. While criticism is a vital element of the design process it's a tricky area even under the best circumstances – for instance, between good friends or long-time associates. As Gavin says, giving polite yet firm feedback to local designers and agencies – and lets face it, we're often talking about competitors here – is next to impossible.

I was a Freelance Teenage Hermit

I was a Teenage Freelance Hermit

A daftly-titled article I wrote for Codeworks' recent freelancers feature. Above (for posterity) is the illustration I did to accompany the post!

Observations on a month spent kind of holding the future

The iPad.

“ I held an iPad in my hands today and it was kind of like holding the future. The future is expensive and has a glass front. ”

As far as first impressions go, these (by Gavin Logan on Friday's Geekest Drink) are pretty much on the money. It might seem a little late in the day to be writing up thoughts on a new device — after a month here and several in the States, some would perhaps feel that the topic is a little stale. But as many initial observations of the device seem to be based on shininess or pricetag, I thought it would be a good idea to hold off until I'd seen how it works in the real world for a non-trivial period of time.



Breaking 'several months' of silence to review a weird little indie game — it's what blogs are for, apparently.

Using the Apple Remote with your browser

The Apple Remote

A couple of days ago I posted an article about creating an offline portfolio, and why you might want to. At the end of that post, I briefly mentioned setting up the Apple remote to allow you to easily navigate through your portfolio during an interview — without getting in the way of the people you're trying to demonstrate to.

Building an Offline Portfolio Site

I had a sudden (and slightly unexpected) job interview last week, which resulted in the usual portfolio-based panic. Over the weekend, I quickly put together an offline portfolio site, built specifically to be shown on my MacBook during the interview. This turned out to be a far more interesting project than I had expected, so I thought I'd share my process, as well as my thoughts on putting this kind of project together. I'm not saying this sort of portfolio will guarantee you the job of your dreams (let's just say I'm still available for freelance work for the foreseeable future) but I certainly found it a great way to show off my screen-based work.

the next generation

semibad. version two. its a bit pink.

Has it really been over a month since my last little flurry of posts? I make a terrible blogger. To be honest, at least I've got a decent reason this time — I've had a whole bunch of great freelance projects that have occupied approximately 92% of my waking time (the other 8% was G&Ts in the sun, and why the hell not).

Jayne Wallace: Digital Jewelry

Jayne Wallace - Faded Cameos

Yesterday I made it to Super Mondays for the first time. Like many of the amazing things going on in this town, I only recently found out about it — I was gutted to find out that I missed a talk on Arduino recently. Not that I was disappointed at all, as there was a load of great stuff to see — students from the Culture Lab were demonstrating their work. This included 'home-made' multitouch computers and their 'ambient kitchen' project, which is aimed at helping sufferers of dementia to retain independence in the kitchen, and features Wiimote-based utensils which are able to sense the action which is being performed. Following the general demonstrations, there were several interesting talks — Patrick Olivier kicked off with an introduction to the work that takes place in the lab, and later Andrew Waite gave a short but informative talk about collecting Malware with the low-interaction honeypot Nepenthes. For me though the highlight of the talks was digital jeweller Jayne Wallace talking about the amazing work she has created with the lab.

Robert Doisneau

Robert Doisneau - Dog on Wheels

I got a chance to hang out in town the other day for the first time in ages, and while we were on our way up the hill Kathryn dragged me into the Side Gallery. Being (relatively) new to the area, I'd not been in there before, but I'll definitely be a regular visitor in the future — it's a magnificent gallery with a great layout for small, characterful exhibitions, and with a great stock of well-picked (and equally well priced) photo prints.

A Woman's Eye, the downstairs exhibition, was decent enough and had a couple of real gems in there, but the real treat was to be found at the top of the (precarious) staircase. Robert Doisneau's impossibly intimate shots of Paris life span sixty years, yet show no real progression in either style or subject — each is a moment as perfectly preserved as the last. A lovely, warm sense of humour runs through all of these images — it's never at the expense of the subject, and the theme almost entirely celebrates life's small victories. I obviously wasn't the only one who thought so — while we were there, three other couples made their way around the exhibition — each pair starting off in quiet discussion and gradually building up to an excited, giggling chatter.

The short short version? I left the gallery several units more happy than when I entered — I'm not sure I can give a better review (of anything) than that. The exhibition runs until Saturday 27th of June — if you're in Newcastle in the meantime, I can't recommend it thoroughly enough.