Remembering maps from memory

Today, I found this awesome post on Uncertain Cartographies (via Flowing Data), and it immediately took me back to something I made when I was in college and studying fine art. So check out that link first, as this post will make more sense in relation to it, and it’s pretty fascinating anyway. Then I’ll continue my reminiscence… I used to have a framed print of a map I’d drawn on the wall at home, though when I say “print” it was ~10 bits of A4 photo paper I had carefully cut and glued together. It lasted about 6 years on the wall before the ink faded and the paper peeled and I had to take it down. And I hadn’t thought about this map again until today. Then after reading this paragraph in particular, I really wanted to find … Continue reading »

Available hours in a year for personal projects

While planning ahead to finish my Open University studies, I’ve been testing how well I can study in my available free time; and my recent study with Coursera has provided a pretty good simulation. It’s important to be realistic with yourself about how much time you actually have to do these things, on a sustainable basis, for a significant period of time. Especially with the tuition fees being as expensive as they are and if you’re making a commitment for a whole year of your free time. My thinking has gone like this… First I account for my time being a husband and dad, then my working hours, then sleep, then a few hours for getting/keeping fit and I’m left with around two hours per day, or 14 hours a week of ‘free’ time. For a couple of weeks at … Continue reading »

Degrees of done

With life in a reasonably calm and sensible place right now, it seems like a good time to finish up something I started some time ago. About 10 years ago, when I finished art college I came to the conclusion that going to university would lead to a big old pile of debt, and that I could find a better way to navigate the requirements of professional life. My studies were in fine art which was a useful exercise in creative and critical thinking, but was never going to pay the bills. And I’m not planning to die a starving artist. Alongside my studies, I’d been building websites (and earning a few pounds doing it). I’d learned enough about writing code that I wanted to study computer science (CS) more formally, but even a distinction in fine art wouldn’t get me into any regular … Continue reading »

For a free and open internet, be quick

“On December 3rd, the world’s governments will meet to update a key treaty of a UN agency called the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Some governments are proposing to extend ITU authority to Internet governance in ways that could threaten Internet openness and innovation, increase access costs, and erode human rights online.” – src: protectinternetfreedom.net Here are a couple of places you can show your support for a free and open web right away: http://www.protectinternetfreedom.net https://www.google.com/intl/en/takeaction If you have a bit more time, you can get creative with Mozilla’s Webmaker kit https://webmaker.org/en-US/ITU/kit/ You can see who is speaking on your behalf here: http://files.wcitleaks.org/public/S12-WCIT12-ADM-0004!!PDF-E_18Nov.pdf And this article sums up the transparency issues: https://www.cdt.org/blogs/cynthia-wong/1607…

On 3D printing, and a world unready

With the recent release of the Makerbot Replicator 2, 3D printing tipped into the real world. It moved from a conceptual idea that geeks and tinkerers would try and explain to their doubtful loved ones into something you can have delivered to your door in a matter of working days. It changes everything, and I think the world will be caught off guard. Even now, the ~$2,000 price tag isn’t crazy. It’s more than I would pay, but plenty can afford it. And this time next year the price will halve, the resolution will double and it will print slightly bigger things. Same again the following year. In four or five years’ time, almost anyone who wants one will be able to justify the cost of a 3D printer to themselves. I always imagined playing with Lego with my son when he’s older, … Continue reading »

Interwoven with bits

The Internet, as a malleable collection of bits, responds to and evolves with the cumulative needs of the connected human race. It rewards, condemns or ignores elements of itself in line with our primitive human desires; growing in places and dying in others. So we, as human beings with our natural, non-digital desires, shape the Internet. Simultaneously, the Internet changes how we (cumulatively at least) behave. It creates and destroys jobs, it makes and breaks marriages, and it redefines where, how and with who we live and share our lives. And at the deepest level it rewires the chemical makeup of our brains by changing the way we think, speak and remember. While it divides two generations, it keeps them in touch. We and the Internet are now dependent on one other; we are interwoven with bits. As we shape … Continue reading »

On wanting to conquer the world

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks watching updates come in from my old band as they tour around Europe with some of my teenage heroes. It’s a bittersweet experience. It’s really great to see the band going strong, but I can’t pretend I’m not a little bit jealous. Teenage me would definitely give adult me a hard time about this if I went back to meet him. Especially if I met him as he’s watching Reel Big Fish at Reading Festival. He’d tell adult me that one day he’d support RBF on tour, and he knew it could happen. He was right, damn him. It would just take about eight years longer than he expected, by which time he’d be doing something very different with his life. Now, I’m really not complaining. I was very lucky. I met and … Continue reading »