Some things I wrote down at Laptops and Looms

Three days in the spectacular Derbyshire countryside with a bunch of clever, skillful doing and making people. Lots to digest, but for now here's what I found in my notebook this morning..."simple single purpose things"learn > sell > make > record > learn >source > scale > repeatthe circus printerArtefact cards + iPad + Gorillapod + projector"do the … Continue reading Some things I wrote down at Laptops and Looms

Annual Report Number One

Exactly 365 days ago I set out on my independent consulting adventure, complete with the de rigueur intent to document my progress in weeknotes. Week one was an intense blur of 5am flights, meetings and bratwurst; it went un-noted. Weeks two and three likewise. For a while, I told myself there’d be “monthnotes” instead. By … Continue reading Annual Report Number One

dConstruct threads: Arrogance, uncertainty and the interconnectedness of (nearly) all things

The web is 21, says Ben Hammersley, it can now legally drink in America. And yet, as it strides out into young adulthood, it has much to learn. At dConstruct we hear some of those lessons - ones about humility, unpredictability and the self-appointed tech community's responsibilities to the rest of humankind. I agree with … Continue reading dConstruct threads: Arrogance, uncertainty and the interconnectedness of (nearly) all things

At dConstruct, the real world is calling. It wants its designers back

Kelly Goto stands on the stage at Brighton's Dome, head down, staring at her palm, a perfect mimic of the modern smartphone user, and issues a simple challenge to the dConstruct audience: "Help people to stay upright." This is the pivotal moment at which digital design finds itself. After decades training people to gaze into … Continue reading At dConstruct, the real world is calling. It wants its designers back

“The bit where the screen went black and you said ‘look up'”: on the irresistible pull of a story in the place where it happened

This is my youngest son, Pascal, when he was two years old. He's looking sheepish because he's just picked an apple. It's an apple from the orchard at Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire, the orchard where Isaac Newton first conceived of gravity. We were drawn to this beautiful, remote farmhouse for a tea break on a long … Continue reading “The bit where the screen went black and you said ‘look up'”: on the irresistible pull of a story in the place where it happened

Small pieces loosely joined: on the way home from the Story

Cornelia Parker got the army to blow up a shed full of stuff and then hung the shards from an art gallery ceiling. It felt like a metaphor for almost all the talks at Matt Locke's brilliant event, The Story: everywhere narratives are fragmenting, and no one seems certain how to put them back together. … Continue reading Small pieces loosely joined: on the way home from the Story

A tale of attention and abundance: Why service design matters on the new mobile web

Over the last few days I've had a chance to reflect on the relationship between the mobile web and service design. The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that the two are tied together, in a way that was not the case with either the PC-based web or pre-internet mobile services. Why? Well … Continue reading A tale of attention and abundance: Why service design matters on the new mobile web

Ten years on, can we stop worrying now?

Ten years ago this month the Sunday Times published an article by Douglas Adams called "How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet". You can read it here. Some starting observations: It's a tragedy that Adams died, aged 49, in 2001, depriving us of more great literature in the vein of the Hitchhiker’s Guide, … Continue reading Ten years on, can we stop worrying now?

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

Play Small: why mobile challenges designers to make a better web

In a single Noisy Decent Graphics post, Ben Terrett effortlessly segues between my two preoccupations of the moment - agonised middle-class parenting, and the superiority of mobile web over fixed. How could I resist? "City kids are not like country kids", he notes, "... the space available to play is smaller... so they learn to play smaller." … Continue reading Play Small: why mobile challenges designers to make a better web

Brushed chrome – the story of Google’s browser in comic book form

What a stroke of genius to commission Scott McCloud to tell the story of Google's new web browser, Chrome, in comic form. McCloud's own books have communicated his enthusiasm for the past, present and future of comics themselves. Now his fluid, conversational style perfectly captures the diverse passions of project team members - passions that … Continue reading Brushed chrome – the story of Google’s browser in comic book form

The mobile web: today, asparagus; tomorrow, the world

Carlo Longino on Mobhappy and Tarek Abu-Esber at Mobile Messaging 2.0 both asked this week "When Will The Mobile Web Be Mass Market?" - a question prompted by the declaration from Nielsen Mobile that we've now reached critical mass. According to Nielsen, 12.9% of the UK population used the mobile internet in Q1 2008. Now … Continue reading The mobile web: today, asparagus; tomorrow, the world

Note to future historians: We know it doesn’t look good, but we weren’t really shallow time-wasters in the Noughties

Greetings from 2008! I'm really pleased you've picked the Early 21st Century Social History module this term. You're going to love it. But before you dive into the wealth of primary evidence we've left on the net, there's something we need you to understand. We know it doesn't look good, but we weren't really shallow … Continue reading Note to future historians: We know it doesn’t look good, but we weren’t really shallow time-wasters in the Noughties

ШITH TШЗИTУ-FIVЗ SФLDIЗЯS ФF LЗДD HЗ HДS CФИQЦЗЯЗD THЗ ШФЯLD

Thus somebody - and nobody quite seems to know whom - said of Johannes Gutenberg. But even with the belated arrival of the "w" to make up the Latin alphabet to 26, this once mighty army now seems barely enough to log into Bebo. There are forces at work. Web-based services demand that users have … Continue reading ШITH TШЗИTУ-FIVЗ SФLDIЗЯS ФF LЗДD HЗ HДS CФИQЦЗЯЗD THЗ ШФЯLD