Meandering writings about the web, business, code, design, people, life, the universe and everything. If you're here for a reason, forget it.

Connecting the Dots in 2013

I’d planned to go to Birmingham for a big New Year’s Eve party tonight, but find myself full of a cold and home alone, having just waved my two housemates off on their way to said party. So I’m making myself feel better by writing a list of things I’m going to get done in 2013.

Fieldwork is a new venture with my good friend and new business partner, Loz Ives. We’ve worked on various collaborative projects over the last 12 months, and enjoy working together. We have complimentary skills (designer and developer), and similar ideas about the things we want to make and why we need to make them. We started our experiment in November this year, and it’s just getting going, which feels like ideal timing to make 2013 a big year for Fieldwork.


Why “Why Tesco is Good for Us” is not Good for Us

In this post, Centre for Cities think tank economist Paul Swinney gives two reasons why too high a percentage of independent businesses could undermine a city’s future growth.

Firstly, the number of branch businesses is likely to be an indication of the attractiveness of a city economy to outside businesses. When viewed like this it should come as no surprise to see that cities such as Milton Keynes and Reading are amongst some of our ‘least independent’ city economies – their strong economies are like honey pots for external investment.


Beautiful Things: A Letter From My Great Uncle

My gran discovered this old letter, written from her brother to her sister during World War 2 (she thinks — we can’t actually make out the date). The subdued colours of the stamps, the old print and type, and the texture of the paper are beautiful, so I photographed it for the collection.


Beautiful Things: Typography Sketchbooks

Typography Sketchbooks by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico arrived today. It’s cover-to-cover loveliness, full of mid-process images from the sketchbooks of typographers and designers. The kind of thing you can take in for hours on end.

I’ve posted a few quick photos below (also just discovered that Typetoken have a much better set).


Designers & Developers: Imagine That

I’ve been following the #MakeTime hash tag today, as the Good for Nothings have been doing their thing, making stuff at an incredible rate, and having a blast (I’m more than a little envious). Intoxicated by the photos of a room full of designers and developers, I wrote the following post.

A room full of designers and developers holds so much potential.


This Is How We Reconnect

We should interact with music and film makers, not with marketing departments and distribution systems.

We should interact with those who actually make our food, rather than the conglomerates through which it is distributed. And food makers should interact with the producers of raw ingredients.


A Quick, Personal Guide to Problem Solving

(This is mostly a personal reminder, based on personal observations. I’d be interested to know if your experiences are similar/different.)

We’re all capable of producing brilliant solutions to challenging problems, which is good, because this is exactly what the world needs more of. In my own experience, however, it’s easy to allow the problem solving process to become compromised, and accept solutions that are not as good as they could be.


The Do Lectures

I recently attended the Do Lectures – an annual event held in a stunning location in West Wales, often referred to as a conference, although I don’t think that word describes the experience very well at all. Since then, I’ve been asked numerous times what it was like, and haven’t been able to explain it – there’s a lot to say, and a lot that can’t be said. So, in an attempt to tidy up my thoughts, I’ve written them down here.

One of the things that makes Do special is the intensity of the whole experience. Attendees, speakers and staff all sleep in tents. They drink local brews together in an exceptionally small pub. They gather around the campfire into the early hours, listening to the music of talented local musicians. They get little sleep, yet they enthusiastically attend ten lectures a day, and eagerly launch into conversations with complete strangers – the kind of conversations that many would only dare to have with old friends.


Semantic Markup for a Single Page Web App

PHRASE is our recent entry for 10k Apart. It uses analysis of the characters in user inputted text to generate circular patterns, like these:

Whilst writing the markup for the application’s single page, a few interesting decisions came up regarding semantics and the use of HTML5 elements. Here’s a brief run-down:


Beautiful Things: Painting with Molten Glass

Everything about this beautifully shot short film is wonderful. It’s the work of Filmmaker Alistair Banks Griffin combined with the art of Etsuko Ichikawa. The film was commissioned by The Anthpropologist and you’ll find some very nice still shots along with quotes from Etsuko on their website.