Monday, June 30, 2008

busy weekend

I am still recovering from the weekend, not on a bad way it was a lovely weekend drove up to sussex for my parents golden wedding anniversary. 50 years of being married, some feat. we drove for just over 5 hours on saturday morning to get near their home around lunch time put up our accommodation (yes a family tent) at the foot of the sussex downs. then drove over to the hall and gardens where the celebrations were being held. people (family & friends) came from all over. as far away as south africa, the usa, italy and even actually next door to the hall where we had the meal. it was a fantastic day, and I felt humbled to be part of a family that for supports each other (for the most part) all the time, with only an occasional falling out! we drove back home to cornwall yesterday evening, through the sunshine and traffic of a west country summer weekend. today I have been so tired that I can hardly remember what day it is or what I have done though I have been at work all day. I will no doubt at sometime put some pictures of the event here to indulge my self even . but until then I am to get back in to things here, and hopefully get some rest.

Friday, June 27, 2008

glastonbury again

I can't believe that its glastonbury weekend again and I still have never been, one of those things I have always meant to do but never done. other festivals yes but probably the best and I have never managed to get it sorted (and its only a couple of hours up the road from me), perhaps next time if the rumours of this being that last one are wrong. I have been to the place more than a few times but at a different time of year from the festival. I have just watched editors on the bbc have to say I really enjoyed them. good coverage as well. I will wave as I drive by on my way up to sussex this weekend and hope that the weather gets better for all the festival goers. pictures courtesy of the bbc.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

the things I do?

I sometimes worry how I get myself in to stuff, not for the first time I have been encouraged by others into doing something a little bit silly. today I volunteered to go in the stocks to raise money by having students throw sponges of cold water at me. well it wasn't too bad until the bucket of cold water was tipped over me, followed by another one, followed by another one. but it did a little to raise some money. I didn't realise so many people would enjoy seeing me getting soaked so much, oh well the fact that I am sitting down a few hours later feeling cold with a lump on my head (from a bucket that hit me as it was swung) is not that bad.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

web usability >> balloons again

a few years ago now (about seven) I was setting up the first website for an academic institution most of my time was spent on the initial design, but a huge amount thinking and testing was done on download speeds as at that time pretty much all of us used used dial up. around that time I first got interested in the work of the now web usability guru jakob neilson ''. I read everything I could find about his way of thinking and largely designed style sheets by mr neilsons rules, didn't use flash or splash pages. I have to say lately things with my web work have got a bit well, lazy. with download speeds much better and broadband the norm it is so easy to get a bit over indulgent. it was good therefore that while chasing my indulgent orange balloon across the interent sky I landed on a site that was championing the cause of mr neilson which led me back to a couple of articles on the bbc about web users are getting more ruthless and selfish when they go online. here and here.
it has made me wonder what mr neilsons take on the (annoying to some) balloons all over the screen would be.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

orange? balloon race?

well I have to sort of agree with davidthedesigner and his reasons for not being part of the balloon race, it is kind of intrusive. I am also an orange customer, have only ever been with orange. obviously the must have been something that made me choose them, apart form the fact they cover cornwall or at least the apart I live better than other mobile company I was a bit sucked in to the balloon race thing (easily influenced as I was always told at my junior school). it seems to have created a massive amount of web publicity, the fact people are writing about it on blogs all over the place can only make the people at orange very happy.
I have a rare chance of an evening out with carol tonight, so I will have a look again later, perhaps even burst my balloon! to be honest a trip ibiza is not motovation for me I just liked the idea. whether it was an original or not.

Monday, June 23, 2008

not new, but still good >>

in my day job I often see new things or new ways of doing things (sometimes radical) and I know that this flash film that I found via grumpy old teacher blog is not ground breaking new or even breaking any barriers but sometimes simple things only moving ways of thinking a little work well.
I always hope the students I teach could sometimes be motivated to change things (just a little) to make a big difference. any way if you have a moment have a look its here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

napkin notes

the napkin notebook is not a new idea but I do like it as a concept, so many ideas have been formulated in a coffee shop or a restaurant. I even worked out the basis of a design company that took 3 years to go wrong on the paper table cloth from an indian restaurant in frankfurt, germany. well the company didn't last but the ideas still are as valid as they were then. have a look here for more information on the napkin note book

Thursday, June 19, 2008

more surfing stuff

picture courtesy bbc spotlight

I was interested in this story. I was it on local bbc tv this evening it seems that a run of northerly winds, though that is onshore for the beaches in question. I would have thought that off shore winds would have done this but I haven't looked in to the science, but I have seen it at the beach. what ever has caused the sand to blow away from the beaches into the sea, it is certainly making a bit of news. with even the idea that sand should be brought in from other beaches to make the popular surfing beaches sandy again. I have noticed over the years the shape of the beach changes and sometimes it looks good as far as sandy and the waves are less good, whereas sometimes rocky exposed areas create better waves, anyway all it would need would be a storm with a swell from the right direction to put all the sand back anyway. it is strange that the major concern apart that of potential injury to novice surfers is what it looks like. read/watch more

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

surfing >> it's never far away

while having a look at some surfing sites, well more sites extra to the ones I normally check. I found this picture, (from surfcore) and thought that it looked like something I should be doing to raise my surfing fitness, yes I know that I am way too old to be thinking about competing or stuff but I was recently encouraged when hearing that kneeboarder david parkes (a surfing hero of mine) had won a recent competition in 10ft surf in Australia at the age of 49 that's 2 years older than me. not that I could have ever competed at that level but it is inspiring. talking about competitions below is a 'rare' picture of me. judging at the cornish schools championships a couple of years ago, pro-surfer sarah bentley is just in view.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

uniqlock >>

have to say that I found this via davidthedesigner and just liked it. there are many so applications out there, but this I thought was very interesting and sufficiently different, that's why its here.

Monday, June 16, 2008

hacky sac >> just a memory for me

probably because there has been so much football on the TV in my house in the last couple of weeks, not just because I do watch (a bit as it is euro 2008 but I prefer rugby) football but not as much as my sons. anyway as this morning for some reason I woke up thinking about hacky sacs. years ago they where popular as a beach or anywhere sort of thing and i had wondered what had happened to them. you can still buy them in a few places in fact I saw a some in a tourist shop in by the beach (at the weekend) and by the way the colours had faded they had been there for a few years. I hunted about a bit and found some pictures. and web sites footbag and lightenup. any way I would like to get one, I had one years ago but lost it.

Friday, June 13, 2008

oh dear it's a few years ago now >>

today I found my self in the strange position of having to be in charge of a group of students covering a physical education lesson, before I knew it I was running a softball game. something that few people (except those with an extra ordinary memory) but in the late 80's & early 90's I actually played baseball as a serious sideline to work, even playing in three consecutive european club championships in nuenen, in the netherlands. so given the opportunity to revisit that time I had to join in. things went well in the first couple of inning playing at short stop I made a couple of OK outs and a double play. so in the 4th I thought I was back into it, until I tried a normal fly ball double I made the catch while of the ground and thought I would make the throw to 2nd before landing only my body had a different idea my legs just gave way, it must have looked like a large oak being felled, anyway nothing was hurt not even my pride really. simply illustrating to me that time is going by. still great fun though.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

web site as a graph >>

I know that many of you out there have been aware of website as a graph for ages and many of the blogs I read were talking about this last year showing what their sites look like. I have never tried dgthekneelo so I thought I would today & here is the result.
there is something beautiful about this little application.

What do the colors mean?

blue: for links (the A tag)red: for tables (TABLE, TR and TD tags)

green: for the DIV tagviolet: for images (the IMG tag)

yellow: for forms (FORM, INPUT, TEXTAREA, SELECT and OPTION tags)

orange: for linebreaks and blockquotes (BR, P, and BLOCKQUOTE tags)

black: the HTML tag, the root node

grey: all other tags

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

noise 13 >> mint collection >> california

what is it about california, I have never even been there but always end up reading about, looking at companies based there, and of course the surf. I was looking for a specific web designer from sweden (for another day now) and somehow got side tracked by noise 13. I like the way their web site looked and liked the way they work, especially as their site for the mint collection. as it has made me reconsider the way to use flash in a web site. I have been avoiding using flash in websites for years after my initial 'mistaken' over use some years ago. though I still using it for animation projects with students. perhaps it is time to re-think flash web use for me?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

mixd >>

facebook isn't all bad, from nowhere (well I doubt that it was quite from nowhere) I got a friend request from yves drieghe. I had a look and found & he was also behind the web site mixd now I can't pretend that I had known about this site before but am pleased that yves got in touch, as I like the site, and like the ideas behind it, its well worth a look. you see facebook is not all bad?

Monday, June 09, 2008

wiki time

as a teacher it can be very difficult to maintain enthusiasm especially when you have a class full teenagers looking out at a lovely sunny day across to the sea, next to a lovely gentle sandy beach. sounds idyllic and to some degree it is, but when it comes to getting the same students to get interested in spreadsheets its and formulas as well as completing a project. it can be challenging to say the least. however I thought I would try something (not new of course) but new to them. most web 2.0 functions have been accepted and used by pretty much all the students I teach. rather less however have been adopted by my colleagues. no matter. the risk I took in order to at least get them to look away from the beautiful day (after all the evening are light they can enjoy it later), was letting them loose on a wiki that I set up through wetpaint last week. I was amazed at the ease at which most of them adopted that way of working. so bebo, myspace, facebook, et all are not always 'the route of all evil'. as some where focused on there work for the first time in a short while, communicating and working together, creating profiles and new pages with ease as well as learning about spreadsheets along the way. I will remain cautious for the moment but hope that the wiki is a way forward.

Friday, June 06, 2008

I missed thursday completely >>

yesterday (thursday) I was full of good intention. but I got home from my real work had a rest, woke up for a very short time, next thing I was asleep again and I woke up this morning (friday).

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

sorry to stereotype, australia

I for some reason was looking at the australian international design awards website (deep in the back of my mind I am perhaps thinking of spending sometime over there) and was pleased amused and not at all surprise to find that one of the finalists was an electrolux bbq. just had to be didn't it. have a look here australian design awards >> electrolux web site

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


ilectures - it had to happen and whilst I am not completely sure that apple should have the monopoly (perhaps it will be that other audio formats will be available soon). I am sure that giving access to lectures through itunes as university college london, the open university and trinity college dublin are, will be very successful. I can see so many advantages to having information in another format that students (in fact all learners) will be comfortable with. as well as the written word of course. read more on the bbc web site

Monday, June 02, 2008

digital cameras >>

both my knockabout 'everyday' digital camera (benq) and my sons digital camera (canon) went wrong within a week of each other. both when they needed to work, perhaps his loss of images more important than mine as he took the digital as well as my 35mm nikon film camera to london over the weekend when his canon (only 6 months old) stopped working he thought no worries he would simply use the nikon, but could he find anywhere to buy b&w film in the brick lane area. well no so returned from london with no pictures for his every growing studies. different story for my benq I have used it on trips where it was not too valuable to loose, so it has been on beaches and down rivers and done well, until I suggested that it would be a great camera to take to peru when a colleague was off to trek the inca trail. within a couple of days the benq stopped working! so the trek has gone undocumented, such a shame as the idea of the camera was for it to be easily used (and of course carried). I don't remember having such problems with film cameras but now it is very difficult to buy film at the corner store especially b&w, oh well. the good thing is that other people were there to be able to document through their own photos, so it's lucky for flickr!