Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thinking about 3d

I wanted to understand 3D a bit better. I had predicted that the next generation consoles would be 3D; news on the wire is that PS3 will start bringing out 3D games in 2011. How it's going to work I'm not sure, but 3D is here to stay - and it's the future, at least before the inevitable hologram star trek style TV... it doesn't seem so sci-fi at the moment.

Anyway, in September 2010 this is the state of 3D Technology. Both fascinating and amazing.

Inevitable avatar image attached:

Legend of the Guardians

Sometimes they make a film that you've heard nothing about and yet you know it's going to be one of the best films of the year. I saw this advertised at the cinema, with no sound, and I'm obsessed:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bouncing Buoys

Sorry lads; it's spelt "Buoys". Still if you're interested in alternative ways of generating electricity check this article about wave generated buoy power.


A colleague came to me with a problem. The client had asked for a advert to be created, they reviewed it, signed it off, and at the last moment said they didn't like it. So we need to do a new advert for them. My colleague was trying to decide if we should discount the old work, or the new work as we're using a contractor.

I explained that if you built a house for 300K, and at the last moment your client decided not to move in, you wouldn't then charge them 250K just because they aren't going to use what you've made. If they said they wanted another 300K house, you wouldn't then build that for less if it's still worth 300K.

My colleague is still discussing with other people if she should discount the work.

Why is it that people sometimes think web-work doesn't have a value. If you ask for work you should pay for work; if you choose not to use it that is not my problem. I'm of course happy to create something brand new for you.

(Of course in this scenario we are talking about brand new work. I wouldn't be so evil to not offer a discount if there was the possibility of salvaging some of the work from the first house/advert).

File size

This morning I was asked by a third party agency I'm working with to reduce the file size of an image I had supplied. It occurred to me that I haven't thought about file size's in a long time; it's just one of those things I assume happens. The image, a small image in terms of dimension (slightly smaller than the highly relevant larger woman below) was 700kb. It got me wondering in a world where most people have fast broadband on their PC's but slower connections on their mobiles exactly what is a good file size these days? It used to be the smaller the better, but then again there must be a balance between byte saving and quality.

I'm sure designers and site-builders do think about file-sizes. If they don't they should be  Search engine's will penalise slow sites in their rankings so having a 700kb image is just stupid. If you downloaded that on your phone it would practically be indescent (my poor inadequate tarriff).

So what is a good size? What can you do make things smaller (and I don't mean stand in the cold). I thought it was probably just smaller image sizes, good compression, simple design. A quick Google search tells me that, as usual, things have moved on since 1995.

It talks about everything from managing cache, using content delivery networks,  how you code, etc. Optomising images is just a tiny tiny bit of it. 

Anyway check it out and consider if you need to start putting your website on a diet.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


In the film Aliens Lt Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) returns to the planet, LV4-26 where she first encountered the "Alien". In the first film the planet's atmosphere was toxic and they had to wear space suits. In the second they had terraformed the planet using a facility built by Weyland-Utani. Why am I mentioning Aliens? Because it's freaking cool!

The thing is, man hasn't even reached our nearest planet yet leave alone the outer reaches of space. As global warming increases is it possible that the terraforming sci-fi of Aliens could be something we need to apply to our own planet? Some people think so - read more on treehugger.

Built his house out of wood

 Can a wood building be as good as a concrete or steel construction? Answer = yes

UN sustainability campaign wins best website award

I'm very pleased to see that a little website I worked on earlier this year has won an international best website award. 


So the Ipad was launched with lots of sanitary towel jokes, now the playbook will surely attract lots of porn jokes... or is this just me? Anyway take a look at Blackberry's lovely offering. Me likey!

Monday, September 27, 2010

960 Grids

Designing for a website isn't the same as designing for a brochure. Life is easier when you design in grids. This website shows you how simple it can be.

Thank you tutorial9. A great resource for photoshop, photography, blogging and UX.


Mondays are rubbish. My first problem of the day is an accessibility one; our developer is saying "drop downs are bad mmm-kay, drop downs are unaccessible mmm-kay, you need left hand navigation mmm-kay". Do you bollocks, you just need to build the site in the right way. Now I'm not a techy, so maybe I'm wrong - I often am - but I'm certain that you can build accessible navigaition and I'm not alone (clicky).

And if you don't believe me switch your CSS off and check out or - mega-drop downs which as far as I can see will work fine with a screen reader.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Social suicide

Ever fancied committing social suicide? (We're talking social networks, not turning up to a party in the buff). Clicky


I found this a useful 15 minute insight into SEO... basically it tells me what I knew anyway; but it's easily digestible. Probably a bit old now, but still helpful.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cold war

Floating Russian Nuclear powerstations, an uneasy alliance over borders, polar bears, oil, unrelenting nighttime, the northwest passage... the plot for a spy novel or current affairs? It's the latter! Will we end up in a war for the Arctic (and one the Antarctic?) - to be honest, probably.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Looking forward to project canvas, now named YouView.  Ok, new name is shit and really unoriginal - but still very exciting.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Quote of the day (re: Ikea viral)

"But if the internet has proved anything, it is that the whole human race can be divided into just two powerful constituencies: those who like looking at pornography, and those who like looking at cats."

Very good guardian article about latest ikea viral.

HTML e-mails

I was writing a brief for producing an HTML e-mail design this morning; thought I'd share my thoughts:

When designing HTML e-mails it needs to be kept fairly simple. Because it’s hardcoded in HTML (not CSS) you can’t do fancy things such as transparencies, in the same way as you could do with a web design. You can’t overlap stuff in the same way either, you can’t layer it, everything has to be absolutely positioned. Basically you're not designing a webpage, so throw that book out the window and start reading the HTML newsletter design book (i.e. search for some tips on Google).

For accessibility reasons consider body copy to be a web-font. Headings can be a corporate font rendered as an image as we can assign alt tags to those images but it is preferable to have these as web fonts also.

Consider the end user; people read HTML e-mails on mobiles, or in a reader like Outlook, Hotmail, Google… in all cases consider that even on a 1024 screen or above the space the e-mail is viewed in is rather small. People don't always open the e-mails, they view in the preview area which can be half the screen right aligned or about a quarter of the screen bottom aligned.

A lot of your audience are going to be looking at the e-mail in the bottom preview window.You don’t want to give too much space to imagery; you want the headline and copy to be right at the top (as well as some imagery of course) to grab their attention. Imagery can of course be used further down the e-mail too (and you can do drivers, and links, and share buttons, and all that jazz).

Another reason to render copy as webfonts is because of the way browsers behave. Most browsers don’t automatically download the images; so HTML e-mails have lots of X’s where the images should be. If your grabbing headline is an image then it’s not doing it’s purpose (because the user sees a bunch of X’s and deletes the e-mail). If all copy is a web-font then the user can read it, know the content of the e-mail, and choose if they wish to download the images.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Looking like an adonis

What does your profile picture say about you? Read this article for more.The gist = people want to appeal, but do so in different ways. Generally I try and find the hottest picture of me; due to a lack of self-confidence I don't change my profile picture often instead favouring to keep the one people have said "you look nice" in most often.

Back in the day I'll admit I used to re-touch my pictures in Photoshop, but thanks to tagging in Facebook I now think what's the point. I can't control where photos of me exist, so if I want to look good in my photos I need to look good all the time not edit them. That's a lot of hard work, and when alcohol is involved even harder! Not to mention many of my friends are terrible photographers; there are so many of me with my eyes closed. I can't schmise all the time.

Perhaps with time we'll find a trend towards more realistic expectations about our bodies because we'll look at others on Facebook more than in magazines and realise real people are... well real! Or we'll find people worry more about looking good because they are must look good constantly in case someone whips their phone out and uploads a photograph straight to Facebook/Flickr etc.

We'll see.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Herding cats

Well done Ikea they seem to be experts at creating viral content (I was chatting to a friend about this, who cynically said it's because "they have lots of money"). I tweeted this on Friday and have had many many re-tweets.

Live TV

I noticed the other day that YouTube is starting to show on demand content from Channel 4 and 5. I think this is great as YouTube is well established channel to use although I wonder if fantastic programming from these companies (Misfits, Inbetweeners, Shameless, Teachers, IT Crowd, etc) will get lost to the likes of "ninja cat" and "cat playing piano"... ha ha hilarious. Goodtimes!

Now I hear YouTube is trialing live streaming content. Again great.

I think at the moment, as a medium for watching clips, YouTube is near on perfect. In the future if it's to also be a hub for regular TV (which I hope it could be), as well as live content (surely this will only lead to smut?) I think they'll need to rethink how you find content. But generally - quite excited about YouTube's future and what it means to me.


I'm pleased to say I acchieved my goal of learning to dive last week. Now my new goal, continueing to dive!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The great click debate

I recently had a debate with some colleagues about the effictiveness of banner advertising (which personally I hate - but I also understand they are the means to a free internet).

Here's an interesting article on the great click debate one of them just forwarded to me.

I think my conclusion was these ads are fine if they aren't invasive and are relevant. By invasive I mean in two ways, 1) not in my face - if it sits there being an ad then fine, if an exploding helicopter flies across my screen or a pop up is produced then it can cock off! 2) It respects my privacy, I don't mind if the ads served to me are done so due to my surfing behaviour - just as long as I'm not being tracked or havin bots and malare installed to do so.