Mar 13, 2014

On Design as a Service

On Design as a Service

Yesterday, Tom Maslen wrote this piece, on responsive design and how the BBC’s User Experience and Design (UX&D) teams are set up to work with the various BBC ‘product’ teams. It’s good, you should read it, and then come back and read the rest of this.

I agree with almost everything in there, but thought there were a few points that needed fleshing out, perhaps with a slightly different…

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Jan 9, 2014

My Mission for 2014: Writing is Structure

It will come as no surprise to anyone that I’m interested in writing, and specifically the writing of narratives. I’ve always harboured a desire, if not the will or confidence, to write stories – scripts, sketches, that kind of thing. And, in the realm of…

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Dec 22, 2013

History books tells us who we used to be, documentaries tell us who we are now, but heroes tell us who we want to be. And a lot of our heroes depress me.

"But, when they made this particular hero, they didn’t give him a gun, they gave him a screwdriver to fix things; they didn’t give him a tank, or a warship or an X-Wing fighter, they gave him a call box, from which you can call for help.

"And they didn’t give him a super power, or pointy ears, or a heat ray, they gave him an extra heart. They gave him two hearts. And that’s an extraordinary thing. There will never come a time when we don’t need a hero like the Doctor.

Steven Moffat, Doctor Who: A Celebration, 24th November 2013
Aug 14, 2013

In defence of data

Data is only as dry and boring as you allow it to be. It can be powerful, in that it can represent anything you want it to. It can be used creatively, to represent anything in your imagination.

Indeed, it’s a two way process - data is a way of representing real-world, or conceptual, things, in a machine world - the real world, or the world of human ideas, pushing through to, leaving imprints upon, the machine world. But things can go the other way - APIs allow us to use machines to push through from the machine world to the real world - manipulating things from far away. That’s magical. That’s creative. That’s what data can, and should be.

Jun 12, 2013

Whether a frame from an online video, or a screen capture of an online map (remember, digital maps are animations on pause), or fragments of code or spam; all of these are snippets, they are only momentary representations of ongoing processes – as indeed the New Aesthtic is intended to be.

Each image is a link, hardcoded or imaginative, to other aspects of a far greater system, just as every web page and every essay, and every line of text written or quoted therein, is a link to other words, thoughts and ideas. Again, in this the New Aesthetic reproduces the structure and disposition of the network itself, as a form of critique.

James Bridle, The New Aesthetic and its Politics, June 12th 2013
May 28, 2013

The truth is that we often don’t realize the value of what we have until someone else sees it.

By inviting others to see our work in progress, we also open new avenues of interpretation, uncover new linkages between things we would otherwise have persisted in seeing as unconnected, and create new opportunities for collaboration with fellow travelers.

These things might still happen through the sharing of our notebooks after publication, but imagine how our publications might be enriched and improved if we lifted our gems to the sunlight before we decided which ones to set and which ones to discard?

What new flashes in the pan might we find if we sifted through our sources in the company of others?

W Caleb McDaniel, Open Notebook History, May 22nd 2013
Apr 26, 2013
It is not merely enough to…read and understand language/systems/stories. It is also necessary to be able to play with them and subvert them through imitation. Real thought is mercury.
Philip Sandifer, TARDIS Eruditorum, The Curse of Fenric, July 27th, 2012
Apr 26, 2013
The past is valued now not for the idea that it might recur but for the idea that there may have been other futures that could have extended from it.
Philip Sandifer, TARDIS Eruditorum, Marvelman, July 9th 2012
Apr 10, 2013
Aristotle describes a plot as a web of events that make each other likely or necessary. Much of reading a work of fiction is working out that web - trying to figure out what the future implications of something are, or trying to work out why something happened based on what happened previously…Understood this way, the problem with contradictions is that they are likely to be points in which the reader is led to make incorrect interpretive decisions for reasons having nothing to do with misdirection or surprise.
Philip Sandifer, TARDIS Eruditorum - Star Wars, December 7th 2011
Mar 22, 2013
You really need to blog about your work. Anything good that has ever happened in my professional career has been because I blogged. It organises my thoughts, and has gotten me jobs, and got me connected with this amazing community online.
Stijn Debrouwere, Hacks & Hackers, March 2013, as quoted in Martin Belam’s write up of the event
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