You can send me messages using the form below. If I go 24 hours without receiving a message, I’ll permanently self-destruct, and everything will be wiped from my database.
Tuesday, May 26th, 2020
Friday, December 13th, 2019
It’s been an absolute pleasure having Holly, Laçin, and Beyza at Clearleft while they’ve been working on this three-month internship project:
Self Treat is a vision piece designed to increase self-management of minor health conditions.
You can also read the blog posts they wrote during the process:
Thursday, December 12th, 2019
Tuesday, April 10th, 2018
It’s so great to see the initial UX work that James and I prototyped in a design sprint come to fruition in the form of a progressive web app!
In the case of this web-app, if the tablets go offline, they will still store all the transactions that are made by customers. Once the tablet comes back online, it will sync it back up to the server. That is, essentially, what a Progressive Web App is — a kind of a website with a few more security and, most importantly, offline features.
Wednesday, October 11th, 2017
James talks about automation and understanding.
Just because a technology – whether it’s autonomous vehicles, satellite communications, or the internet – has been captured by capital and turned against the populace, doesn’t mean it does not retain a seed of utopian possibility.
Monday, July 3rd, 2017
If you feel you are being watched, you change your behavior. Big Data is supercharging this effect.
Some interesting ideas, but the tone is so alarming as to render the message meaningless.
As our weaknesses are mapped, we are becoming too transparent. This is breeding a society where self-censorship and risk-aversion are the new normal.
I stopped reading at the point where the danger was compared to climate change.
Saturday, March 18th, 2017
Monday, February 29th, 2016
Myself and Batesy spent last week in Ipswich doing an intense design sprint with Suffolk Libraries. Leon has written up process from his perspective as the client—I’ll try to get a case study up on the Clearleft website soon.
This is really great write-up; it captures the sense of organised chaos:
I can’t recommend this kind of research sprint enough. We got a report, detailed technical validation of an idea, mock ups and a plan for how to proceed, while getting staff and stakeholders involved in the project — all in the space of 5 days.
Saturday, December 5th, 2015
A fascinating detective story of the Enlightenment, told from a very personal perspective.
Saturday, October 4th, 2014
Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
The first in a series of posts looking at the process behind builfing this “quantified self” site:
As with most decisions in my life, I asked myself: What would Tony Stark do?
Monday, March 18th, 2013
In case you missed it earlier…
Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
Craig writes about the hologram of his quantified self.
Saturday, April 28th, 2012
Dan writes about how data saved his life. That is not an exaggeration.
He describes how, after receiving some very bad news from his doctor, he dived into the whole “quantified self” thing with his health data. Looking back on it, he concludes:
If I were still in the startup game, I have a pretty good idea of which industry I’d want to disrupt.
Thursday, January 26th, 2012
Cool your eyes don’t change
At last November’s Build conference I gave a talk on digital preservation called All Our Yesterdays:
Our communication methods have improved over time, from stone tablets, papyrus, and vellum through to the printing press and the World Wide Web. But while the web has democratised publishing, allowing anyone to share ideas with a global audience, it doesn’t appear to be the best medium for preserving our cultural resources: websites and documents disappear down the digital memory hole every day. This presentation will look at the scale of the problem and propose methods for tackling our collective data loss.
I’ve published a transcription over in the “articles” section.
I blogged a list of relevant links shortly after the presentation.
Sunday, January 1st, 2012
Re-examining Von Neumann probes, reconciling their apparent scarcity with the Fermi paradox.
Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
Speaking, not hacking
I spent last week in Belfast for the Build conference, so I did.
The day of the conference itself was filled with inspiring, uplifting talks full of positive energy …except for mine. My talk—All Our Yesterdays—had an underlying sense of anger, especially when I spoke about the destruction of Geocities. If you heard the talk and you’d like to explore some of the resources I mentioned, here’s a grab-bag of links:
- Stock and Flow by Robin Sloan.
- Archive Fever by Matt Ogle.
- This Place Is Not A Place Of Honor on Damn Interesting.
- The 10,000 Year Clock by The Long Now Foundation.
- Carl Sagan And Ann Druyan’s Ultimate Mix Tape by Radiolab.
- Small Pieces, Loosely Joined by David Weinberger.
- Lest We Forget or Why I chose the World Wide Web as a repository for archival material by Simon Pockley.
- Cool URIs Don’t Change by Tim Berners-Lee.
- “The original URL for this prediction (www.longbets.org/601) will no longer be available in eleven years.” on Long Bets.
- Game Web 2.Over? by Meg Pickard.
- Link Rot by Connor O’Brien.
- Ugly and neglected fragments by Phil Gyford.
- Yahoo!locaust by Jason Scott.
- Goodbye Pownce, Hello Six Apart on the Pownce blog.
- Why you should have a website: it’s the law! by Steven Pemberton.
- The Domesday Project by the BBC.
- Preservation and Long-term Access through Networked Services by the Open Planets Foundation.
- Swiss Fort Knox.
- Validation by Owen Briggs.
- [whatwg] several messages about HTML5 by Ian Hickson.
- Accelerando by Charles Stross.
- Microsoft and FairUse4WM by Bruce Schneier.
- Forever by Mandy Brown.
I thought I had delivered the talk reasonably well only to discover that my American friends in the audience misinterpreted my quote from Tim Berners-Lee as “Cool your eyes don’t change.”
Still, it was wonderfully surreal to be introduced by Jesse Thorn.
My appearance at Build was an eleventh hour affair. Ethan was originally set to speak but he had to cancel. Andy asked me to step in. At first I didn’t think it would be possible. Last Thursday—the day of the conference—was the day I was supposed to fly to San Francisco for Science Hack Day. Luckily I was able to change my flight.
That’s why I was up at the crack of dawn the day after Build to catch an early-morning flight to Heathrow where I would have to dash from the lowest to the highest numbered terminal to get on my transatlantic hackrocket.
So you can imagine how my heart sank as I sat in the departure lounge of Belfast International Airport listening to the announcement of a delay to the first flight. First it was one hour. Then two.
When I did finally make it to Heathrow, there was no chance of making the flight to San Francisco. I was hoping that perhaps it too had been delayed by the foggy weather conditions but no, it took off right on time. Without me.
As my flight from Belfast was a completely separate booking rather than a connecting flight, I couldn’t get on a later flight unless I paid the full fare. So I simply accepted my fate.
C’est la vie, c’est it is.
It looks like Science Hack Day San Francisco—to the surprise of absolutely no-one—was a superb event. There’s a write-up on the open.NASA blog outlining some of the amazing hacks, including the cute (and responsive) Space Ipsum and the freakishly brilliant synesthesia mask: syneseizure.
Monday, October 10th, 2011
I never made it to the Build conference in Belfast last year or the year before. I think it clashed with previous commitments every time.
This was going to be the third year in a row that I was going to miss Build. I had already slapped my money down for the excellent Full Frontal conference which is on the very same day as Build but takes place right here in Brighton in the excellent Duke Of York’s cinema.
But fate had other plans for me.
Ethan was going to be speaking at Build but he’s had to pull out for personal reasons …so Andy asked me if I’d like to speak. I may be a poor substitute for Ethan and it’s a shame that I’m going to miss Full Frontal but I jumped at the chance to join the stellar line-up.
As well as speaking at the conference itself on November 10th, I’ll be leading a workshop on responsive design and progressive enhancement on the preceding Tuesday. The conference is sold out but there are places available for the workshop so grab yourself a slot if you fancy spending a day working on a content-first approach to planning and building websites.
That attire would also be suitable for my post-Build plans. The day after the conference I’ll be travelling to San Francisco for Science Hack Day on the weekend of November 12th. If the last one is anything to go by, it’s going to be an unmissable excellent weekend—I highly recommend that you put your name down if you’re going to be in the neighbourhood.
Looking forward to seeing you in Belfast or Düsseldorf or San Francisco …or wherever.
Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
A comprehensive look at some of the problems with taking self-hosting to its logical conclusion: running your own web server.
Friday, December 11th, 2009
I had a thoroughly enjoyable time at Refresh Belfast. I enjoy any opportunity to geek out about building Huffduffer in front of a captive audience. This captive audience seemed to actually enjoy it. It seems like Belfast has a pretty vibrant geek scene.
It was my first time being in Northern Ireland, which is somewhat shameful given that I grew up in Ireland. Belfast felt a little strange to me; an equal split of where I grew up (Ireland) and I where I live now (England). But mostly, it has a character all its own.
Andy took great care of me while I was in town, showing me the sights. We took a black cab tour ‘round the city. The historical part of the tour was informative and the political part was …um… interesting.
Do you want to get out and take pictures? asked the cab driver. Somehow, taking snapshots on Shankhill Road just didn’t sit right with me. It’s not exactly ancient history. It reminded me of when I was last in Berlin where tourists now have the opportunity to have their picture taken with a fake East German border guard. I didn’t take any pictures of the murals.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not waxing nostalgic. I’ll take present-day slightly tacky tourism over the utterly tacky violence of the past.
Still… to the woman sitting next to me on the flight home, carrying a bodhrán emblazoned with the faces of the hunger strikers: lady, that is socially unacceptable on so many levels.