Project work


'Starting' to finish a couple of projects that I have been working on. Getting started was slow process but I can finally see the progress coming together.  

Over the next two weeks I should have one new website up and running and another 'over-hauled' allowing my own consulting page to go live on this website, which will also be re-branded. 

It has been over a year now since my good friends at Florence and George launched. Watching their business come together has provided inspiration and ideas of what individuals, small businesses and clubs require from a web designer/coder. My plan is to provide a more personal feel with clients in a 'Jerry Maguire' kind of way.

It has been my experience that many people are intimidated by the internet and talking to designers when they have not had much exposure to this technology. It is my hope to provide a 'safe place' where they can talk over their ideas and to feel that they can ask any question no matter how simple or complicated. 

Sabbatical over? Or is doing what you love not really a job? 


Adaptive Design

I realise it's been over a week since I last posted anything, it has been a busy time. I finished my M.Sc. thesis (Identifying the potential for Glacial Lake Outburst Floods in Eastern Tibet) and have created a 'one pager' webpage that the course requires. It's not entirely finished yet but is getting closer to what I want...

I wanted to create the webpage using Adobe Muse, in general to see how useful it might be in future projects. Muse's central ethos is built around adaptive web design. This allows the site to change depending on the screen size (think "desktop v mobile phone"). It uses breakpoints, the point where the site starts to look broken with text/images overlapping. This means that at each breakpoint the text and images can be re-arranged or moved to fit the breakpoint size (or switched of in a particular breakpoint).

To be honest it's quite fiddly. I am more of a coder when it comes to websites and like having written the code and knowing what's going on and where. Muse, is great in the sense that you just place your assets where you want to see them but the program itself is still buggy. I was never sure that when I previewed the site if it was going to look the same as I had with the Muse display.

Still, for a quick webpage that adapts to different display sizes, even at this point, it fulfils my design brief.

I have a few books on adaptive web design and I don't think that Adobe's Muse will fill the gap for real coders any time soon, particularly as web browsers and code is a living language that continually evolves which makes it an interesting area, for me anyway. This experience has certainly given me something to think about.

I had to laugh when someone in the lab mentioned that this was an area that was "solved" and was "easy", it reminded me of a tumblr site that i used to read a lot; 'Clients from hell'.

Drone Technology

The absolute bleeding edge of drone technology explained by Raffaello D'Andrea at TED (video below). Drone technology is moving at a rapid pace, so much so that the course in near ground earth observation (known as the drone course) that I recently completed feels out of date already.

Having a single rotor drone flying was impressive to see, as was the quad copper that had a failure in two of its rotors but could still fly and be controlled. Raffaello's work is focused on the creation of systems that leverage technological , scientific principles, advanced mathematics, algorithms, and the art of design in unprecedented ways, with an emphasis on advanced motion control. His hope is that these creations inspire us to rethink what role technology should have in shaping our future. The link to his site is above and is well worth checking out, the work he is doing is very impressive.

I also spotted a report on the BBC today about the length of battery times being increased from 20-30 minutes to over an hour using Hydrogen fuel cells. Intelligent Energy's range extender offers several hours of drone flight time and reduces the downtime to a couple of minutes for recharging. The increase in the length of flights will be useful for many industries, however at this point it is cost prohibitive for the hobbyist. Hydrogen is an extremely explosive gas, I worry about the first terrorist attack that uses a drone powered with hydrogen, especially in the wake of the recent attacks in Brussels.

The United States Federal Aviation Authority announced a mandatory registration process for drones in December (2015) that applies to hobbyist drones from 0.25kg and 25kg which basically means that everyone needs to register. It costs $5. and requires you to mark on your drone your unique registration number. Interestingly you have to be 13 to register which I take to mean that you have to be at least 13 now to fly a drone. The registration process only applies to recreational use at this point, but the business rules are forthcoming from the FAA.

Registering your drone with the authorities, another blow for privacy. Am sure Mr Cameron will follow suit shortly, of course the charge for registration in the UK will be about the same cost as the drone.



Stance Socks

I purchased some Stance socks last year after seeing the video about their HQ building in San Clemente, California. If ever there was a way to run a company that we should aspire to it's probably this. I can almost hear the captains of (bygone) industries roll over in the grave right now. Of course 1/3 work 2/3 play sounds amazing and you wonder how they do it, how they are still expanding and growing all without someone with GIS (I checked their careers page).

Who knew socks were so interesting?

Have a look at the video anyway, it's interesting and fairly short and try their socks, they are super comfy.