02 December 2014
Some of these Things are not like the others was a a talk I gave at Web Directions South, in Sydney, in 2014. It’s the last variation of a talk I’ve been developing over 2014, about connected objects and, specifically, about connected objects for shared and civic usage. I gave a version of this, entitled A Lamppost Is A Thing Too at Solid in the summer of 2014. This is the longest, most complete version of it, and so I’ve preserved it here, derived from the script I spoke from.
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.
11 May 2014
Week 82: continued work on Hutton, amidst a bout of illness.
Hutton is taking shape. I put together a short, sixty-second film explaining it this week, which is one of the last components of it prior to decloaking it as part of my talk at Solid. That also meant testing the it out in anger – Hutton is an object – as part of the filming.
It’s definitely functional, and using it has given me some insight into changes that I’d make in future versions. It’s also highlighted some of the compromises in this current version, which is very much an early piece of work, and the compromises were so that I could get it into my hand. It’s enough to understand the problem, confirm my suspicions; it is, after all, an exploration. Still, I was a bit frustrated by some of its jankiness, but right now, that’s not its purpose: its purpose is understanding and communication, and I have to remember that when I’m criticising myself.
I also continued to work on rebuilding and enhancing this website, and that’s almost ready to go. A lot of content work, and some minor WordPress fiddles. Hopefully, I’ll deploy that in Week 83.
A few meetings, along with a few days of illness, and that was a full lid for week 82. Week 83 will consist of writing my talk for Solid, along with some other tidbits, and I’ll be in San Francisco from the 19th May for a bit if you’d like to meet up.
I’m also looking for work opportunities from June, so if any of the work described on the site – software development, IOT prototyping, interaction design, thinking hard about strange problems – feels like a fit, do get in touch.
05 May 2014
Not much to write about this week, but will do anyway.
First, more pushing onwards with Hutton: thinking about filming, working out what I need to bring this phase of the project into land in the next week or so. That included a little planning, testing some filming rigs, and getting ready to shoot next week.
I also started work on overhauling this website. The simple list of posts has been useful, but I’d like to be able to show off projects better now I have a decent number to talk about. And I’ve got time in my schedule. So I spent a few days noodling in Sketch, before cranking out some responsive templates and a pile of WordPress code to handle the display of projects.
I also, most importantly, started overhauling the content. The new site has been definitely designed around the content I’m likely to display, and getting it written (not to mention gathering together media) is probably going to be at least as time-consuming as everything technical.
Still, by the end of the week, the code was 90% done and the content about halfway. Should be on course to launching things in the next week or so.
An interview I did with Glen Martin for O’Reilly went live on the O’Reilly website; I think it captures some of the thinking and discussions Pan, Gyorgyi and I had around Hello Lamp Post whilst we were building it. The interview went up prior to Solid, which I’ll be at in two weeks’ time.
And, with a frustrating chunk of admin to fill out time, that was the week. Hutton is in an interesting place right now, and it might have a life beyond this very first prototype; I’ve chatted it over with several peers and friends and they’ve all provided useful insight. So we’ll see where that goes. But for now, the next thing – and the goal for Week 82 – is filming and documenting it.
28 April 2014
Big leaps forward for Hutton this week.
Firstly, built the final hardware prototype – a custom shield to sit atop the Electric Imp shield, and the appropriate cabling to make it easy to assemble/disassemble. Then, after a trip Maplin and some wandering around hardware stores, acquiring the components for the housing and spending an afternoon in the workshop, drilling, nibbling and filing the housing for the project. By the end of Thursday, it was all boxed up, running off a battery and 3G, and it even appears to be able to be mounted where I hoped it would.
So that’s most of the build for Hutton done. In week 81, I’m going to work on documenting it and preparing the short film about it.
A few more sketches on Wingreen appear to be taking that to an interesting place. I’m going to have to park it soon, but there’s one more thing I’d like to try before I do.
Also, small pieces of maintenance on previous projects for clients – fixing mapping solutions now that Cloudmade is turning down free projects, and dealing with some bugs in Dundry that reared their head as the client started poking it again.
The pace of self-initiated work is proving a little challenging: maintaining momentum when I’m the client, and not feeling guilty that I’m not doing work for a client, is sometimes tough. It’s important to remind myself that the self-initiated work is an important component of my career, and that it’s not “clientless” work – it’s just that I’m the client and there are no invoices. On the flipside, when it’s going well, it’s very satisfying, and I’m looking forward to working out how to present it.