Mobile Gothic: a flight of fancy

I've always found it strange that Eric S. Raymond chose the cathedral as his metaphor for closed development in free software, because the construction of our great medieval cathedrals must have been a very open process. Passing peasants were doubtless discouraged from picking up a chisel to hack at the nearest stone, but Gothic buildings … Continue reading Mobile Gothic: a flight of fancy

Temple Works 3.0 Alpha

In December I blogged about the perilous state of Leeds' Temple Works. Neglected for several years, this Grade I-listed building had suffered a partial collapse, blocking the road outside with shattered masonry and opening up a gaping hole in the roof where sheep once grazed on a covering of grass. Six months on, I'm pleased to report … Continue reading Temple Works 3.0 Alpha

The history of Leeds: What every geek should know

It was a privilege to present at this week's GeekUp Leeds on a topic close to my heart, the amazing industrial heritage of Leeds and why it should be an inspiration to those working in the technology sectors today. Thanks to Deb and Rob for organising another great event, and to the GeekUp participants for putting … Continue reading The history of Leeds: What every geek should know

Help, our industrial heritage is falling down!

Temple Works is a one-off. Its construction as a flax mill in 1840 must have made a powerful statement about Leeds' status as global pioneer of industry. At the time it was said to be the "largest single room in the world," with innovative air conditioning under the floor and sheep grazing on a grass-covered … Continue reading Help, our industrial heritage is falling down!

O₂MG, what have they done to the Dome?

Love it or loathe it, Richard Rogers' Dome was the architectural icon of of Britain's new millennium. The hubristic creation of Michael Heseltine and Peter Mandelson, it was meant to symbolise our country's post-Thatcher renaissance, all Britpop and Cool Britannia. It didn't work out quite like that. Along with millions of other Britons, we didn't … Continue reading O₂MG, what have they done to the Dome?

On User-Centred Design and the Wrong Kind of Penguin

A delightful letter to today's Guardian contradicts the fashionable received wisdom of modernist architects as purists riding roughshod over the interests of users. Defending Berthold Lubetkin's 1934 Penguin Pool at London Zoo, his daughter Sacha writes: I was astonished to read that "nobody thought to ask the penguins" about the design. My father steeped himself … Continue reading On User-Centred Design and the Wrong Kind of Penguin