I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

Instapaper Returns to the EU ›

I’ve been an Instapa­per user since it launched so I’m delighted to see it return to the EU now that it is an inde­pend­ent com­pany once again.
When it dis­ap­peared from the EU when GDPR hit, I tried to find a way of repla­cing it first with Pin­board then with Safari Read­ing List. Neither of which really stuck, so des­pite the slight con­cern over why they could­n’t hit the GDPR dead­line, I’m back using it and we’ll see if I start using as reg­u­larly again.

Pondering on Google I/O

I’ve been think­ing a lot about the things that Google announced at I/O this week. I feel like I’m stuck in a weird camp of being both fas­cin­ated and ter­ri­fied all at once.
The rate at which Google Assist­ant is devel­op­ing is astound­ing and the idea that they are work­ing towards the com­puter from Star Trek is really quite cool. They are clearly get­ting there quite quickly. The video demos of Duplex mak­ing a call on your behalf to make a hair appoint­ment or book a res­taur­ant is frankly amaz­ing. If those video’s are true (why didn’t they do a live demo?) then they’ve cre­ated a com­puter that can pass the Tur­ing Test and fool a human into think­ing they are talk­ing to anoth­er human. This is one of the things that ter­ri­fies me.
I’ve long been uncom­fort­able with the amount of inform­a­tion Google can gath­er on people. Now they are show­ing how a lot of that data has been used to under­stand how humans com­mu­nic­ate in the way they are build­ing Duplex and demon­strat­ing it’s abil­ity to mim­ic that. Like­wise with the new auto­com­plete in Gmail that they demon­strated, these things are impress­ive, as is the poten­tial util­ity of them.
My struggle is that I hate the idea of all this data being col­lec­ted on people, mostly without them real­ising, but at the same time I find that I want to use the new products that Google are cre­at­ing with it all. I hate hav­ing to make phone calls to people I don’t know and the idea that I could just ask a com­puter to do it for me is great, but, it scares me. Just because we can do that begs the ques­tion should we be doing it? When humans are speak­ing in this man­ner, there’s an inher­ent level of trust that is built. It’s a verbal con­tract between two people, with a com­mit­ment from both to ful­fil it. If a com­puter takes over this ele­ment on behalf of one of the parties, do we erode that trust? How far do we let these com­mu­nic­a­tions go? If we are not respons­ible for mak­ing appoint­ments and book­ings, do they start to become dis­pos­able? Will we become less inclined to keep them, and how will this impact small businesses?

The Bulletin Board ›

I’ve been read­ing Aus­tin Kleon’s blog since Janu­ary, I find the way that he speaks about his note­books and how he uses them very inspir­ing. Today’s post is about his bul­let­in board and how he pins images, clip­pings, index cards, and vari­ous oth­er bits to it for inspir­a­tion while he is writ­ing a book.

The ana­log nature of lots of things that Aus­tin does has really caught my atten­tion. I love tech­no­logy, but as a design­er I also love objects and paper. When I was a stu­dent I covered the wall of my room in halls with bits of graph­ics that I liked. The whole thing turned into one giant col­lage of inspir­a­tion. That’s some­thing I would like to get back into my cre­at­ive life, some­thing tact­ile and away from a glow­ing rectangle.

Adobe’s iOS App Failure ›

Over on Six Col­ors Jason Snell speaks of his dis­ap­point­ment with Adobe’s iOS offer­ing. I’ve long been dis­ap­poin­ted with Adobe’s approach to the plat­form and I couldn’t agree more with his comments.

But it’s frus­trat­ing that Adobe has failed its core design cus­tom­ers to such a degree—and it’s also a big risk for Adobe. Pho­toshop com­mands a lot of space in the brains of many cre­at­ive pro­fes­sion­als, but a lot of those people want to use iOS. If Adobe provided them with ful­filling tools for iOS—ones that are as cap­able as what’s avail­able on macOS and Windows—it could keep its cus­tom­ers loyal. 

As a design­er the iPad has always appealed to me as a means of cre­at­ing. It seems like it should be the most intu­it­ive way of lay­ing up designs and draw­ing out ideas. The iPad Pro and Apple Pen­cil only served to enhance this idea for me. Yet Adobe con­tinu­ally fail to acknow­ledge that we could do ser­i­ous work in an iPad. They keep serving up “mobile” apps instead of actu­ally con­sid­er­ing how an app like InDes­ign or Illus­trat­or could function.
It took Microsoft years to bring Office to iOS, and in that time apps arrived to fill the gap they had left caus­ing Office to lose mind­share. That’s now start­ing to hap­pen to the Cre­at­ive Cloud apps, Affin­ity Photo is excel­lent, and more than cap­able of grow­ing in to the gap left by a lack of a fully fledged Pho­toshop. My hope is that oth­er apps will rise up to fill the gaps left by a lack of full ver­sions of Illus­trat­or and InDes­ign or that Adobe gets its fin­ger out and cre­ates them.

Beautility, My Ultimate iPhone Setup ›

For­give me for link­ing to a piece on Medi­um, espe­cially one that requires you to log in to read. But this inter­est­ing approach to using an iPhone com­pelled me to do so.
I’ve been feel­ing a bit of “app fatigue” when it comes to my iPhone lately. So many things on it feel like a bit of a time suck, a way to eas­ily get lost in a world of social media and news. On reflec­tion, maybe I’ve star­ted to fall into too much habitu­al check­ing of apps and not let­ting my mind wander with down time. It could be an inter­est­ing exper­i­ment to try and see what effect this kind of setup might have on my iPhone use.

How Apple Saved My Life ›

If you do only one thing on the inter­net today, please watch this video by James Rath. In a world where so often tech­no­logy can make us feel dis­con­nec­ted and absent from those around us, it’s import­ant to see things from the oth­er end some­thing. In the case of James Rath it’s incred­ible to see how much tech­no­logy has influ­enced his life in such a pos­it­ive way.

Big Screens, Even Bigger Lessons & Learning to Make Tough Calls ›

This is a really insight­ful look into the pro­cess behind mak­ing an iPad app from an estab­lished iPhone app. As a design­er I have some know­ledge of design­ing for dif­fer­ent screen sizes, but the beha­viour of an app is very dif­fer­ent to the beha­viour of a web­site, albeit with some sim­il­ar­it­ies. Before I begin any future web design pro­jects I’ll def­in­itely be giv­ing this piece anoth­er read or two.

Airfoil 5.5: Now Playing on Chromecast! ›

One of my favour­ite Mac util­it­ies has just been updated to add some excel­lent func­tion­al­ity. Air­foil now sup­ports Chromecast and it works very well.
I’ve nev­er under­stood why Air­Play from an iOS device only allows you to send audio to one speak­er at a time, Air­foil is the per­fect way to fix that. My Mac­Book Pro is nor­mally on and so I Air­Play to Air­foils sis­ter app Air­foil Satel­lite and then using the iOS Satel­lite app send the audio to what ever speak­ers I want. Since I have a Chromecast in my little stu­dio I can now eas­ily send Apple Music to my speak­ers without faff­ing around with cables. I put it to good use this morn­ing stream­ing to both my stu­dio speak­ers and kit­chen speak­ers while I moved between the two rooms.