Posts tagged as housedon

  • Week 87

    15 June 2014

    Week 87 brought some much-needed focus to my calendar for the next few months.

    The big news was the confirmation of Lewesdon. This is another project with the Guardian. I’ll be able to talk more about that shortly, but it’s going to be an interesting few months wrangling data and building tools that talk to one another. I’m looking forward to working with the rest of the team, if only for the challenge!

    I also confirmed a few other much smaller projects – workshops and the like. They fit neatly around Lewesdon, and will make for a nice change of pace. I also confirmed a speaking engagement towards the end of the year.

    And I kicked off a new back-burner project, currently for myself, codenamed Abberley. It’s a very tiny poke at an idea for a product, and the main thing that’s interesting is not the functionality but a few design patterns. I’ve shown a tiny draft of it to people and had some encouragement, so I’m going to keep chipping away in a few meetings.

    There was also a final burst of work on Housedon.

    Busy, and a bit scattered, then, but the result of the past couple of weeks since returning from SF is that the next few months are much clearer. That feels like a good result, and I’m looking forward to the first few days of sketching a clearer picture of Lewesdon next week.

  • Week 86

    8 June 2014

    Back into things after two weeks away. Solid seemed successful, and I came away with a fair few new thoughts. I’m also hoping to have a But the focus for Week 86 was pinning down work for the summer.

    That’s edging closer, but it meant a week of meetings, planning, and getting the house in order.

    The meetings were diverse and interesting – focusing on software implementation work and IOT-type work – and a few threads coming in via email mean that plans for the next few months are slowly firming up (albeit not final, if you’re thinking of getting in touch). I always find this tense – it’s the moments before an aircraft comes into land, as it were – and it also makes having several potential plans harder as they all begin to demand more emotional energy. Soon, possibility should resolve into certainty, and we’ll go from there.

    I also spent a short while putting some finishing touches to Housedon, which should be launching very soon.

    Really, though, a quiet week of preparation and thinking whilst my bodyclock returns to BST.

  • Week 83

    16 May 2014

    Busy, busy, lemon busy. Week 83 has involved many spinning plates, several planes coming into land, and a fair few mixed metaphors.

    First: writing a talk for Solid. This is going to be a bit of a rejig of my FutureEverything talk, with a fair bit of new material about a new project I’ll be announcing at the conference. I think it’s in a good place, but it took the first couple of days this week to get there – building slides, writing text, re-editing films.

    I managed to fit in a small amount of maintenance work on Housedon, which should be ready to launch at the beginning of June.

    Wednesday, I spent some time helping Spitalfields Music – on whose Programme Advisory Committee I sit – with some audio production work.

    I spent many free minutes this week putting the finishing touches to the content for the overhaul of this website which is now live – and which you’re looking at! In particular, wrapping up all the content for the Projects section of the site, that will act as an ongoing portfolio. It’s not comprehensive yet, but it’s at least live – and there’ll be something new here next Wednesday.

    And finally, a meeting at the end of the week that ought to set up some work for June – a data-structuring project called Bardon.

    Very busy, squeezing in all the finishing touches to many projects prior to being in the US next week. I’m going to be in San Francisco from the 20th May, and at Solid for both Wednesday and Thursday. Do say hello if you’re there. For now, I’m taking Hutton to show some friends and peers, and then having a well-deserved drink before the travel and speaking ahead.

  • Week 59

    2 December 2013

    Just one day on Haddington, building forms and refining some of the interactions with them.

    I spent a bit over a day on Housedon, rebuilding one page that had caused some issues, adding the last remaining feature, and hopefully bringing that in to land – whilst trying to stop the feedback loop from sprawling too much.

    On Wednesday, I had a meeting with a potential future collaborator; I mainly ruminated about the design of connected objects.

    Otherwise, though, not a lot, owing to being under the weather. It’s hard being ill when you’re freelance – I’ve managed to largely avoid it so far, but the cold weather got me, I think. Fortunately, it was a quiet week, and so not the worst time to fall ill – the only thing that fell by the wayside were my plans for personal projects. Still, hoping to shift the last remnants as I move into Week 60, when there’s less time I can afford to lose.

  • Week 55

    3 November 2013

    A week of writing; I delivered a new talk at Playark on Friday, which needed writing, and as ever, which eluded me until almost the day. However, it found some form by Tuesday night, and came together. It ended up being about a collection of my toys and games built around cities – from Tower Bridge to Hello Lamp Post – and looking at them with a somewhat Situationist lens. I’ll try to get it online soonish – it came out pretty well, and I had some very kind feedback. It was a really good day out, too, and a nice way to finish the week.

    I also poked a little of Housedon, sorting out an issue with rendering Canvas elements on HiDPI screens – which had reared its head on Retina iPhones. I wasn’t sure how solvable this would be, but it was a nice exercise and the results came out rather nice.

    Finally, I also lined a few things up for Haddington – a contract beginning next week. So far, that was just billing details, along with a healthy dose of brew install to get my computer ready for some new tools. I’m looking forward to it a lot.

  • Week 54

    28 October 2013

    Two conferences this week.

    On Monday, Sam from Pan and I spoke at TwilioCon Europe about Hello Lamp Post. In a brief ten-minute session on the “Inspire” track, we outlined the project and talked a little about the process of designing conversational interactions, and how to use the affordances of the city in the most appropriate manner. We also got to share some of the outcomes of the project – primarily statistical, but still nice to show people the reach of such work, and also the repeat-visitors we managed to generate. It seemed to go down well with the audience.

    Friday was Playful, which served in part as a day out with the tribe, and in part a place to park my brain and let it have new thoughts. My notes from the day are as much notes to myself about ideas I’ve had as notes on the talk. As ever, I particularly enjoyed the talks that focused on craft – a place between exploring, playing, expertise, and knuckling down and doing the hard work. I had a good time, and was pleased with where my thoughts went by the end of the day – some nice new ideas, some confirmation of my own thoughts, and some useful challenges to my own processes.

    On Thursday, I saw Kars for lunch. We catch up about every three months, just to talk about where our thoughts and processes are, what the shape of work for both of us looks like. And of course, we inevitably talk about interaction and game design. It was a great lunch with a good friend, but also valuable to share knowledge with another practitioner – if only to get an external perspective on your own work, to remind you that things aren’t necessarily as they seem inside the bubble. That’s fed well into what I’m loosely describing as Yearnotes, and I’ll hopefully write that up soon.

    The rest of the week was, as a result, fairly scattered. Some more tidying up of Housedon, some small pieces of writing, some sketching and poking. Nothing vast, but not all weeks can be; sometimes, you just keep poking things forward.

  • Week 53

    22 October 2013

    This week was primarily spent on the trickier issues of Housedon – integrating old code that there wasn’t scope to rewrite, primarily, along with more complex pieces of new code such as audio playback.

    I spent Friday at the REACT Objects Sandbox Ideas Lab in Bristol. An interesting workshop – met a lot of new people, did some exploration of a pile of ideas very quickly, and gave my design brain a little workout and some space to play. I haven’t got a group to pitch with yet, and I’m still wondering if I’ll push further on.

    Regardless, it was useful to attend, nontheless, and gave some shape to other ideas around connect objects that I’ve been having. If anything, it’s reminded me I really want to poke Bluetooth Low Energy as a prototyping platform along with Phonegap.

  • Week 52

    14 October 2013

    Week 52’s primary focus was Housedon: a rebuild of a content-driven site for an arts charity.

    The work came in two parts: building up Dean‘s designs in modular, flat HTML, and then building out the WordPress code to back the whole thing.

    The flat HTML went fairly smoothly, but the site build is taking long than planned. This is partly down to the amount of content migration necessary.

    Content migration is a necessary part of any web rebuild: site architectures change, page requirements change, and sometimes copy needs updating to reflect that as well.

    In this case, though it was suggested I could leave that until later, it was clear that wasn’t the case; most of the old site was not stored in a database, but as flat PHP files with inline functions; importing the old content required placing these elements into WordPress, stripping out inline function calls and either replacing them with template elements or shorttags; and so forth. Then, the old content from the small WordPress install that powered part of the site was moved over.

    As the week went on, we kept finding new pages buried in the old site, that would need migrating over – and working out how best to do that.

    The end result is turning out well, though: every content object is now being stored in the CMS, a few necessary pieces of code have been ported over, and Dean’s focus on mobile-first mean the site works well at all screen-sizes. We’ve used SoundManager 2 to make the site’s audio much less of a bother to play, as well.

    WordPress may not seem like an obvious choice for such work in 2013; why not something custom-built, or a flat site generated in something like Jekyll?

    The answer to the former is easy: because the budget, both time- and financial- wouldn’t stretch to it – not to mention the impositions on hosting an application server makes. The latter is a more reasonable suggestion – but whilst the output format is swift and robust, the editing process for a static-site generator makes far more demands on editorial staff. In this case, a web-UI for a CMS they likely know makes sense.

    But there’s still scope to tailor it to our needs. I’m a strong advocate of modelling information appropriately, so as well as Posts and Pages, we have four other Top Level Objects – Events, Texts, and so forth. These can all be templated separately, given appropriated metadata through custom fields in their own areas of the admin site, and as such, the data-model feels much more robust and future-proof (in the way a system built around WordPress’ categories taxonomy wouldn’t be).

    At the end of the week, I was a little behind where I wanted to be, but the work we had done was solid and secure. A few more days next week should wrap things up. It’s been good to keep my hand in in a few particular spaces I hadn’t worked in so much over the past few months – practical front-end development, in particular.

    I also had a lunch this week to discuss the previous week’s work on Hegdon which went well: a tricky project, that often felt like it was slipping through my hands at times, but a good discussion around the work that I hope revealed a few things to the client.

  • Week 49

    28 September 2013

    Week 49 saw the launch of The Literary Operator, previously known as Sore around these parts. I’ve written about the project previously, but since then, it’s been displayed at Brighton Digital Late. It was really pleasing to see just how people engaged with it; some, fascinated by how it might work; some curious or frustrated by its quality of prose; some, still marvelling at its Spooky Action At A Distance. It cranked out prose all night, and made a lot of people smile.

    Other than my trip to Brighton, I spent some time talking to PAN about a few issues around Hello Lamp Post going forward, and also set up a small piece of content-oriented work that’s known as Housedon. To finish the week: a few days off, hacking away on a personal project and seeing the sights in Edinburgh.