02 October 2017
Week 246 and the majority of 247 were spent on holiday. Mid-week 247, I got back to work.
I shipped a new batch of Foxfield products to Thonk – 90 kits in total, to restock some that had sold out entirely and bolster the stock of other. That was a couple of days of bagging and wrangling shipping, at the end of Week 247 and early into week 248, but we got there!
I spent a handful of days in week 248 building out a small software utility for Sensible Object. In the end, slightly tighter timewise than I’d have liked, but we got the key features deployed and running in the time we had.
In week 249, I spent a day in Newcastle running an afternoon workshop on the digital landscape for filmmakers, on behalf of Northern Film + Media – half of it an extension of previous works about promoting and extending your projects online, half of it focused on technology as a material for artists to work with.
I spent some R&D time exploring working with a Silicon Labs Happy Gecko development board, porting a prototype based around Arduino to it. Why? Partly to get a feel for what more serious embedded development looks like; partly because the devtools are surprisingly alright (compared to some other offerings); partly because it offers perhaps a more practical route to market than ancient old Atmega chips. Slow progress, but not no progress – and exciting to see things come to life, as always.
And around all that I brought the big branch of Selworthy I’ve been working on into land. That’s involved some challenging code, and some particularly challenging rebases. But by the end of week 249, it was all lined up and ready to go. I’m looking forward to seeing that in the wild. Selworthy has also acquired a new front-end developer, who’s dragging some of my clunky front-end code kicking and screaming into 2017; it’s becoming more complex, also more organised as a result. More importantly, it’s already feeling better to an end user, and I think we’re going to reap some benefits from that.
25 January 2016
This coming Saturday – the 31st January, 2016 – I’ll be in conversation at the Whitechapel Gallery with James Bridle and Georgina Voss about Systems Literacy. It’s a topic on I’ve spoken a few times, through the lens of design, games, and play, and I’m looking forward to our conversation:
Artist James Bridle brings together speakers across disciplines to discuss the theme of systems literacy, the emerging literacy of the 21st Century: namely the understanding that we inhabit a complex, dynamic world of constantly-shifting relationships, made explicit but not always explained by our technologies.
In the context of the exhibition Electronic Superhighway 2016-1966, which features Bridle’s work, the conversation explores how the ability to see, understand and navigate these systems and the related technology is key to artistic, social and political work in an electronic world.
10 December 2014
I’m giving a talk at this week’s MySociety ‘Data Breakfast’:
Products, tools, and visualisations built on top of data aren’t just thrown together arbitrarily. They take a degree of thought and process to assemble.
This Data Breakfast will examine that process, looking at the forms data can be represented in, and the ways to explore and understand those forms, based on experience gained from real-world examples.
We’ll look at everything from data rendered as physical objects through to a data-gathering tool developed for journalists, and consider how best to build data-driven products.
The talk is called Spreadsheets and Weathervanes. It’s a free event, but there’s limited space, so you’ll need to sign up at Eventbrite. Perhaps see some of you there.
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.
25 November 2014
Weeks 107-109 were spent in Australia.
Firstly, at Web Directions South, delivering a talk about Connected Objects (specifically, how to think about designing them, how to learn lessons from them in the design of other things, and how to consider them as more than just objects for individual consumers to own). I think it went well; it’s probably the final refinement of a talk I’ve been iterating on the past year. I hope to get a transcript up of it before the year’s out, and there should also be a video to come.
Then, I took a vacation, because once you’re on the other side of the world, it seems churlish to head back after four days. That was pretty good. I returned in the middle of week 109, and spent the rest of it waiting for my bodyclock to return, too.