Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

2010, year of the project.

December 29, 2010

Several things came to fruition for me, this year. Lovely. Here are the highlights.

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Christmas Doctor Who

December 27, 2010

I thought this was great. A villian, you say? Who kept cryogenically frozen bodies in his lair, before passing it on to his son, you say? Time travel loops, with visitations from alternative selves? A world frozen in boring perpetuity? An evil kind of ‘insurance’? All sounds A BIT FAMILIAR.

I jest of course. I really did think this one was remarkably creative, especially for Doctor Who. Finally some fucking time travel! I loved the cryogenics and the live time travel projected film thing. I thought Katherine Jenkins was perfect. I didn’t love the flying shark and that stupid crashing spaceship and why does there always have to be a space fish anyway. But imho everything else was spot on, and it looked gorgeous. Bravo.

In praise of petrol stations

December 26, 2010

The other day, over on my work weeknotes blog, I described the history of petrol station offers as ‘endlessly interesting’. I also wrote something else recently about the world being more fun than it strictly needs to be. The two posts have fallen out of my head, not coincidentally, in Christmas week, and it all converges on the humble petrol station.

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Playing with the traffic

December 23, 2010

Very bored of the snow now, but at least – at least – we’ve had the shortest day – the sun starts to come back from now on. My skin is terrible, my face is pale and puffy and my joints ache. And it’s dark, so I can’t go outside for hours on end, which kills me. I’ve said it before: I don’t know where I came from, but I guarantee it’s not this climate. NEXT YEAR I AM GOING SOUTH for the winter. In my triplane.

In the meantime, here’s one for you. I’ve been thinking about the geek attachment to playful things as a sort of social slack picking-up-of.

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General news about stuff I’ve done recently

December 15, 2010

Roo and I have been invited to do a live SRS broadcast on the all-new Radio Roundabout project this Friday. It begins with a Christmas special broadcast from the offices I’ve been spending a lot of time in lately, and by all accounts is likely to be two hours of festive fun. The show will be going out on the internets 3-5 on Friday, and we’re on for about half an hour at 3:30pm-ish. Read the rest of this entry »

My position on zines

December 12, 2010

I sometimes think that if I hadn’t left the world of commercial magazines in 2007, I’d be a group editor by now. I’d be heading up several mags and on a proper salary, or as proper as these jobs go. There would be considerable obvious advantages to all of that, and in many ways I’ve probably pissed away a lot of opportunities by deciding I couldn’t stomach the 9-5, and that I’d rather explore the other things I think I can do. I have made different choices. I left that world because I had different opportunities that let me get on with things on my own. I found it difficult to be face-to-face with so many other people every day.

There have been various risks and various experiments and loads of mistakes, and millions of “what ifs”. But whatever else I’ve tried, it has always come back to magazines, for me. Read the rest of this entry »

Hackers! newspaper – pictures

December 8, 2010

I’ll be sending out the first batch of these today – have sold a terrifying amount already, with people stumping up the cash based entirely on what I’ve told them on the website.

Some people have asked about seeing previews. I deliberately didn’t want to give away too much in the pictures, because it’s only 12 pages long. Turns out 12 pages is not a lot of space. In many cases putting a couple of articles up for free would essentially be giving away a third of the paper.

I know £4 seems expensive, but I’d say – it’s quarterly, we’ve all done it for free, and I’m afraid it really does cost money to print on paper. And it’s not just up to me, there’s a designer to pay – as well printing via the publisher, Newspaper Club. Thanks for understanding, you’re the best… now, who wants to see some pictures?

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Hackers! reserve your copy now

December 2, 2010

The newspaper I produced, published by Newspaper Club has been printed this week. I should see copies tomorrow. I strongly recommend you reserve one by emailing me to editor at if you’re intrigued enough to stump up the £4. It will be a limited run.

It’s fun. It has entertaining inventions and creations in it, and it’s a little bit weird and artisan. I interviewed some people about things like laser-powered bongs and making new games for old 8-bit computers, and some people wrote articles about things like Victorian hackers, and how combination locks (don’t) work. One contributor hacked time, and somebody else asked a spammer to build them a clap-o-meter. I hope we can do these quarterly forever and ever, because I have five hundred more ideas for what I want to include. I need a newspaper if I’m to have a real empire, and quite honestly, I can’t get enough of this stuff.

You should go to the Oxford Geek Night, you’d like it.

December 2, 2010

Had so much fun at the excellent Oxford Geek Night yesterday. Was very kind of Wes West and J P Stacey to ask me to speak but mostly it was just a really, really good event. I’ve been to quite a few of these geeks-in-a-room-with-a-projector gatherings, and they tend to be shambolic at best. But this had sponsors, a free bar, and felt well-organised, lively and fun from the start.

The format helped – keeping talks short and punchy. Even the keynotes were only 15 minutes, so it didn’t kill me to put the slides together over the previous busy week, and most of the other talks were five minute blasts with breaks inbetween. It’s amazing what can be said in five minutes, and when it was about something I didn’t understand I knew there would be less than five minutes to wait until the next one.

JP and Wes were charming comperes, there were some ridiculously lovely Shift Run Stop listeners there, some people on Twitter said nice things about my talk, and Santa even showed up. A night of firsts! And kind of a homecoming; it’s always a treat going back to Oxford.

Making Things Fast

November 29, 2010

Oh, blimey – accidentally on the WIRED website again. I need to get on a retainer. Anyway, this time it’s because I’m talking at the Oxford Geek Night this Wednesday and it’s on their giant calendar of geeky events. As I’m the only non-geek there, it’ll be the least geeky thing they’ve ever seen, but hopefully, possibly, some of it will be new. I’m going to be doing a quick rant about how and why you should make things fast.

I love Oxford, it’s my home town. It’s all a bit familar, and the buildings are cut from the same stone as my first primary school, all very honey-coloured and evocative. It’s a lovely place and it’s probably knee-deep in snow at the moment – just like that winter all those years ago, back in nearby Bicester, when I saw real snow for the first time and honestly thought it was going to keep falling until it reached my bedroom window.

Anyway – I’ll try to keep the reminiscing to a minimum on the actual night, and hope to see some of you there…