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100 words 099

This is the penultimate post in my 100 days project.

I’ve had quite a few people tell me how much they’re enjoying reading my hundred word posts. I thank them. Then I check: “You know they’re exactly 100 words long, right?”

“Really?” they respond. “I didn’t realise!”

“But that’s the whole point!” I say. The clue is in the name. It’s not around 100 words—it’s exactly 100 words every day for 100 days.

That’s the real challenge: not just the writing, but the editing, rearranging, and condensing.

After all, it’s not as if I can just stop in the

100 words 098

When I’m grilling outside, I cook on a gas barbecue. There are quite a few people who would take issue with this. Charcoal is clearly better, they claim. And they’re right. But the thing is, I can fire up my gas barbecue quickly and just get down to cooking.

When I’m programming on the server, I code in PHP. There are quite a few people who would take issue with this. Any other language is clearly better, they claim. And they’re right. But the thing is, I can fire up my text editor quickly and just get down to coding.

100 words 097

It’s the weekend …and I got up at the crack of dawn to head to London. Yes, on this beautiful sunny day, I elected to take the commuter train up to the big city to spend the day trapped inside a building where the air conditioning crapped out. Sweaty!

But it was worth it. I was at the Edge conference, which is always an intense dose of condensed nerdery. This year I participated in one of the panels: a discussion on progressive enhancement expertly moderated by Lyza. She also led a break-out session on the same topic later on.

100 word 096

It was another beautiful day in Sussex and the other Clearlefties made full use of it by going on a cross-country hike culminating with a well-earned beer’n’food stop in a pub.

I couldn’t join them though because I had band practice: three hours of hammering out Salter Cane songs. This time though, the hammering was a touch lighter. We’ve got a gig in The Greys pub coming up on Saturday, July 11th—come along!—and it’s not the most spacious of venues (to put it mildly) so we tried practicing a bit quieter than we normally would.

Still sounded great.

100 words 095

I’m not organising dConstruct this year—Andy is—but it’s still an exciting day for everyone when the website launches; we’ve got something of a tradition of having some fun with it.

This year Andy commissioned Paddy Donnelly to come up with a design direction, partly because we were slammed with client work, but mostly because he’s really talented. Graham then took that design and executed it beautifully.

Gorgeous. Responsive. Performant. These qualities don’t need to be mutually exclusive.

There’s room for improvement and there’s plenty more to be done, but I’m still blown away by the dConstruct 2015 site.

100 words 094

On the way into work this morning I listened to the first episode of Motion and Meaning—a new short-run podcast all about animation, hosted by Cennydd and Val.

When I got to work, I had a sneak peak of a site that Graham has been working on. If everything goes according to plan, it will launch tomorrow. It’s a gorgeous piece of work with some very subtle bits of animation.

At the end of the day, I sat in on the weekly roundtable design crit. Richard finished it by soliciting ideas for animation effects on another upcoming site launch.

100 words 093

There are many web-related community events in Brighton. There’s something going on pretty much every evening. One of my favourite events is Codebar. It happens every Tuesday, rotating venues between various agency offices. Tonight it was Clearleft’s turn again.

At the start of the evening, students and teachers get paired up. I was helping some people with HTML and CSS as they worked their way through the tutorials.

It’s a great feeling to watch things “click”; seeing someone making their first web page, style their first element, and write their first hyperlink—the very essence of the World Wide Web.

100 words 092

The weather’s been pretty good lately. That shouldn’t be a surprise seeing as it’s the middle of June but this is England.

Brighton really shows its best side in the sunny weather (once everyone’s done starting fires with unattended barbecues). We get to have picnics out on the deck at the Clearleft office. And sometimes we end the day on the beach having a nice cold beer.

But today it was pissing down.

Cue the usual weather banter about summer being all done.

It cleared up in the afternoon and the sun came out. Makes you appreciate it even more.

100 words 091

It’s the summer solstice, the longest day of the day.

Last year I spent the summer solstice visiting a telescope in the woods outside Riga:

we were inside the observatory getting a tour of the telescope at the precise moment that the astronomical summer began.

Later that evening, when I was back in my hotel room, I fired off a quick DM to Chloe, simply saying “Happy Birthday!” (it’s an easy date to remember).

She responded the next day with a curiously distant message. “Thanks Jeremy. Hope you’re well.”

And that was the last DM I ever got from Chloe.

100 words 090

Responsive Day Out was immensely rewarding but also immensely tiring. So today I’ve been taking it nice and easy, coming down from yesterday’s high.

What’s really nice is that quite a few of the speakers and attendees are still around in Brighton today, also taking it easy and wandering around town. I met up with a bunch of people for breakfast and then spent the day with Emil ostensibly looking for the right kind of herrings to celebrate midsummer. But actually it was just a excuse to go from coffee shop to bar, enjoying a nice lazy Saturday in Brighton.

100 words 089

Today was quite special. The third and final Responsive Day Out was a splendid event. Every single speaker was superb. I know that sounds like a statistical unlikelihood considering there were twelve of them, but it’s true.

The day flew past. It was over before I knew it. Then it was time to stand out in the summer sun, have some pints, and chat about responsive design, accessibility, progressive enhancement, CSS, and all the other topics that were raised during the day.

During the post-conference wind-down, I was presented with two different cards, signed by attendees, thanking me. I’m verklempt.

100 words 088

Tomorrow is the big day—Responsive Day Out 3: The Final Breakpoint.

All the speakers are in town, safely ensconced in their hotel. To welcome them to Brighton and to get them relaxed for tomorrow, we all went out for a magnificent meal this evening. I hired out the pop-up restaurant Isaac At. What better way to welcome people to Sussex than to sample local seasonal food (and drinks) prepared by an immensely talented team. It was really great—great food, great company; just right.

Now I will attempt to get a night’s sleep before tomorrow’s overload of responsive brilliance.

100 words 087

Clearleft is ten years old this year (and yes, we do have some celebrations planned). It’s funny to think back to 2005 when Andy, Richard, and myself joined forces to make a little design agency with no clients and no office.

Here we are in 2015 and we have our own building, we’re working with great clients, and there are 21 of us now …not that growth is any indicator of success—we’ve always stayed cautious in that regard.

Andy, Richard, and myself got together for dinner this evening—a surprisingly rare event these days. It felt like old times.

100 words 086

It’s summertime. Suddenly everything green seems to be growing with amazing fecundity. It’s quite something to see so much life blooming all at once.

Jessica and I have two little patches of earth in raised beds in our back garden. Right now they’re positively overflowing with lettuces: mustard greens, rocket, and a lovely variety called “marvel of four seasons”. Collectively they are the gift that keeps on giving. I can go out in the evening and harvest a great big bowlful of salad, and by the time I go out the next evening, there’s a whole new green feast waiting.

100 words 085

I’m back in Brighton after a thoroughly lovely weekend in Ireland. I must remember to visit Cobh more often in the summertime when there’s quite a lot of fun things to do.

But it’s nice to be back in Brighton too. This is the time of year when a seaside town really comes alive. And this is a particularly good week to be in Brighton—in just a few more days it’ll be time for third and final Responsive Day Out. I know it’s going to be an excellent event, packed with great talks. I’m really looking forward to it.

100 words 084

Cobh really has become quite the tourist town. Today we—myself, Jessica, and my mother—took a boat over to Spike Island and enjoyed strolling around the fort and taking in the magnificent views. Then we went back across to town and had lunch where the White Star Line office used to be, sitting right next to the pier used to load goods and passengers for the Titanic.

We finished the evening in a pub listening to some great tunes (once the bodhrán player got the hint and left). Plenty of sunshine and plenty of pints. A really nice day.

100 words 083

I’m back in my hometown of Cobh this weekend to visit my mother. Usually my trips back here happen at Christmas time so this is the first time in ages that I’ve been here during the Summer time. It turns out that there’s quite a lot to see and do for the Summertime visitor.

Today we went out to Fota House and walked around the gardens. It was all very civilised. Tomorrow we’re planning on taking a boat trip over to Spike island. There we can take in all the history and also get a different perspective on Cobh, literally.

100 words 082

Apple launched the iPad five years ago. A few months after its release, I bought one of those first-generation iPads. I used it for a while before concluding that, much as I had suspected, it wasn’t the right device for me. But it was the perfect device for my mother. So I gave the iPad to my mother.

Sure enough, it worked out great for her. But now it’s getting quite long in the tooth. So now I’ve given her a new iPad for her birthday; one that’s lighter, faster, and—crucially—comes with a camera. It’s a Facetime device.

100 words 081

Dicrocoelium dendriticum is a parasite that infects cattle by manipulating ants.

Once the parasite has been ingested by an ant, it compels the ant to climb to the top of a blade of grass every evening until together, they are ingested by a passing ruminant.

I wonder if the ant thinks that it decided to climb that blade of grass.

Humans are hosts to many microbes. A typical human carries ten times more bacterial DNA than human DNA: about 100 trillion bacteria.

We think that we decide to explore. But perhaps a human being is just a microbe’s space programme.