Archive for August, 2009

Pride of Reading nomination18
Aug

This week I was pleasantly surprised to discover that some of my colleagues and I had been nominated for a Pride of Reading award. The nomination was for a community project which I organised in the Summer of last year.

On the 15th of August 2008 myself and about twenty others from Yell spent a hard, but enjoyable day at the Albert Road Day Centre in Caversham. Whilst there we stormed our way through a seemingly endless list of jobs including; redecorating the reading room, painting the external pillars, pagodas and trellis, landscaping the car park, building a rockery, trimming the hedges, mowing the lawn and weeding the gardens.

My personal highlight of the day was the installation of a chicken coop kindly donated by Graham Barnard of Happy Hutch. Well… that and the BBQ lunch cooked by yours truly!

You can read more about the project and the nomination on the Get Reading website.

Geek in the park 200916
Aug

Yesterday I spent an enjoyable afternoon in Jephson Gardens, Royal Leamington Spa, for this year’s Geek in the Park event. The afternoon consisted of lounging in the sun, feasting on our picnic and drinking rather a lot of red wine. This was interspersed with several somewhat amateur rounds of ‘keepy uppy’ none of which lasted very long because of the glorious heat. Later on in the afternoon we were lucky enough to get ringside seats for a drunken brawl between two of Leamington’s finest skinhead cider connoisseurs. This incredibly one-sided fight disbanded after the three rounds of pummeling and was then cleaned up by the local police.

Jephson Garden's band stand, geek in the park 2009

As seven o’clock approached the geeks gathered in the south east corner of the park, between the bandstand and the Royal Pump Rooms, our home for the evening. The conference room was smaller than I had expected but was very pleasant. I decided to get the beers in before the first talk, however this turned out to be a lot harder than I had expected. Both Carlsberg and John Smiths had run dry and then the barkeep proceeded to tell me that the single bottle of corona was only in the fridge ‘just in case’. Eventually, armed with a bottle of Bud I settled in my seat ready for the first talk.

Simon Collison - ‘Nailing your own projects’

Simon Collison, nailing your own projects

First up was Simon Collison (@colly) who was talking about project management and process. Particular focus was given to the strategies used at Erskine Design when redesigning their own portfolio website. Simon sung the praises of several project management/planning tools including basecamp, codebase and some hexagonal magnets for team brainstorming from logo visual. Simon then went on to share some of the tools he likes to use to collect inspirational materials and share them with his team online. Using LittleSnapper and Dropbox Erskine are able to create communal, collaborative mood boards. The talk was an interesting insight into how Erskine design approach a project as a team and I found it quite motivating.

Remy Sharp - ‘HTML5 and friends’

Remy Sharp, HTML5 and Friends

After a short interval and more amusement from the barkeep pooring coke all over his hand instead of in the glass I returned to my seat for the second half of the evening. Next up was Remy Sharp (@rem) who was here to talk about ‘HTML5 and Friends’. I had already read a fair amount of Remy’s HTML 5 work on his blog and on the HTML 5 Doctor website so I was familiar with a lot of his material. Despite this it was great to have these ideas reinforced and demonstrated in person. It was also nice to see the personality behind the pages of words that had filled my screen over the previous weeks. The take home message from the talk was HTML 5 is ready to start implementing now and with minimal effort the core features can be made to work in all major browsers.

All in all it was a great day and I will definitely keep an eye open for more geek in the park events. You can see the rest of my photos on flickr. Big thanks to @doodlemoonch for driving to Leamington Spa and back.

Slides from the presentations

Simon Collison - ‘Nailing your own projects’
Remy Sharp - ‘HTML5 and friends’