Week N+2

    Avantgardening.org: One of the websites I put live this week

    Avantgardening.org: One of the websites I put live this week

    It's Saturday evening, and time to quickly review my week. I've noticed my weeknotes have been picked up elsewhere, which is sort of embarrassing. I hope my ramblings are useful - it's certainly interesting for me reading how other people progress with projects.

    This week started with a bang, digging into the numerous projects that I've got on and spending some time on each pushing forward, one of them pushed forward quicker than the others, and the new Avant Gardening website was put live - after some fun getting control of the domains back from Microsoft Live Office (which involves killing email for the domain a short while... nice...). I'm happy with the cut and paste asthetic of the website, though there are still a couple of tweaks to do and two more sections. One is waiting on a bug I've found with Calameo to be sorted out - we resolved the bug but I'm waiting for them to roll it out to their site (Though I've just checked and they have now. Great!)

    Further work was done on Rossi & Rossi, rebuilding the site based upon their new logo. Fortunately my design wasn't too heavily reliant on the styling from their old logo, but it was still a bit of a pain to get all the alterations done on the site and get it back up and running nicely. Having done this I'm also not as happy with it as I was, and I've started refining the layouts, which is not speeding things up.

    On Tuesday I dug into some of the mapping work I'm doing on Spatial Agency, just playing around with Google Maps and trying some visualisations of location based data. Alas the information we have on each of the practises just specifies countries, so any spatial representation here is going to be minimal, but I think there are some worthwhile outcomes in it.

    I also got on with some of the more intensive mapping for the Rhyzom project with AAA and working through the complex interactions of different levels of contributors, events, projects, workshops, fieldtrips and locations. Painting a picture of this is intereting, but challenging. I think part of the challenge is coming from my desire to always approach the visualisation as much as a website as as a picture, and so I'm trying to build it in some form of semantic HTML structure. Rod for my own back. There was a quick meet with Donia from AAA yesterday evening to look at progress on this. It's not moved as quickly as I'd have liked it to, partially because of commitments elsewhere, and partially down to my focus on really understanding the structures before I start building.

    On Thursday I met up with the team at Afterall to review how they were feeling about their website, and what could do with being refined and improved. Overall they are happy with the site, but there are a few refinements to make, nothing to groundbreaking, but nice to really look at the usability and communication of this site rather than data structures and interactions of entities like a lot of the other projects.

    After than meeting I was staring into another with Paul Hetherington, former colleague and (soon-to-be-ex) Creative Director at SHOWstudio, to talk through his upcoming project. This project is going to be more commercial, but the underlying ideas behind it also give a lot of interesting possiblities. Don't want to give too much away at the moment - client confidentiality an all that - but looking forward to working on this in the New Year.

    Today has been spent working on the Lawson Park Electronic Library website, trying to get the first phase of this launched as soon as possible. I met up with Maria Benjamin (one half of collaborators on the project Guestroom ) and they like where I'm going with it. I hope to get the basic site up this week, and then we can really start extending the contents on the site.

    (As a side note I'm struck by the coincidence of collaborating with Guestroom on a project that contains a Reading Room, when another ex-collaborator is setting up guest rooms at a space called The Reading Rooms - perhaps I should suggest we join the libraries up...)

    I've also started building the framework for the website(s) for Abigail Hunt and Kieren Reed I mentioned last week.

    in other related updates, I've updated the Grizedale Arts with some design refinements and with a job opening, internship offers, and available residencies and commissions, and a job opening - one I'd be tempted to apply for if I was more qualified. These will start feeding back into the work that I'm developing as part for the Lawson Park website and as part of my ongoing work with Grizedale Arts.

    This week has also started me really thinking that the decade is turning, and it's become apparent 2010 is going to be an even busier year. Looking my updates over the last few weeks I've realised that I need to become more foccused on each project to fulfil things quicker, so that's my plan for next year.

    Another reflection this week was not being able to contextualise the speed at which I do things. In some ways it seems slow (I imagine from the outside) but in other ways I feel it's fast. I think this is an issue to do with not working in a space with people who do the same as me - and also the time-sharing aspect of the way I approach my work. I also think it's externally people don't see the details going into things (code optimisation, structural tweeks, cross platform testing) which start to be a drain.

    Week N+13

    New workspace.

    New workspace.

    Time-lapse of me at work in my previous office.

    It's been a long time. Somehow the weeks have run away with me, and 10 weeks later I find myself updating what's supposed to be a week note. Weak notes more like.

    In between then and now I've worked on a number of projects, taking some time of for christmas + new year (and being ill) and moved home + home office, and I'm gradually settling into a new working space. Having spent over 7 years building up my last working space it's quite hard to get used to the new space - making the desk right for my working habits and dealing with a smaller desk space.

    The new 'office' space allows Angie and I to share a room for working, when she's not elsewhere which keeps our work space out of the rest of our livening space, but also stops me from listening to so much weird music when Angie is here.

    Ergonomics have become quite a thing to work towards having been suffering from an increasing amount of RSI and back/neck pain in the last months - a combination of stress, DIY, lifting and moving and too many hours in front of the computer I'm sure. The RSI seems to be better over the last few days (touch wood) so I think the ergonomical adjustments might be working out.

    Moving house was supposed to take a week out from work, but it feels more like it took out four, which means a lot of catching up. This week I've had my head down inside Lawson Park Electronic Library, Rhyzom, Spatial Agency as well as a catch up meeting on Rossi and Rossi, some fixing bits on Colchester Inn, Grizedale Arts, and some work on on-line look books for jewellery designer Florian. The Colchester Inn site is being displayed from today at First Site in Colchester, as part of the overall project and development of the next phase, and in similar news an off-line version of DIY Regeneration is current being shown in the Camden Arts Center. First Site is a blast from the past as it's where some very early work I did with Julie Myers, Peeping Tom was exhibited in 1996, and I have fond memories of going to install it.

    I've been really enjoying the work this week, playing around with visualising information in different ways for each of the projects, and to get across the wealth of details and create a different experience with each project. Each of Lawson Park Electronic Library (LPEL), Rhyzom and Spatial Agency have a wealth of information in their own way, and I'm looking at ways of representing that and allowing it to grow over time from various sources, be it user contributions, a network updaters, or curated content.

    I've also really been enjoing playing with RaphaelJS this week, primarily for Spatial Agency but I can see it getting used in a lot of other places. I had a play with ProcessingJS and it also looks good, but it seemed to be a philosophical step - you were creating processing objects, rather than extending existing code. It also didn't work so well cross browser, whereas Raphael just seemed to integrate better with the current code base and what I was doing. Raphael is quite simple, but also powerful once you get into the SVG parts of it, and it's reasonably responsive so far (though I've yet to start dealign with Internet Explorer Issues).

    Hopefully this post will get me over my fear of weeknotes I've been suffering from for the last 4 weeks, and I'll get back into posting them now. I find it useful to reflect, and really useful to come back and look at these as well. A log of where my time drains to, as February turns into March and spring starts.

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