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Blog posts from June 2012

Friday links

It’s customary to say ‘thank God it’s Friday’, but I’m not religious, so instead, ‘Thank the internet for Friday links!’

This week’s line-up features an abundance of robots, flying things, invisible stuff and bears, so if you like flying robot stuff (and bears), you’re in for a treat.





Happy weekend-ing all.

Week 368

OK, so I’m still relatively new to week notes (and all this number stuff), so, unlike other folk in the studio, I find the number thing quite interesting, which, is rather annoying, as 368 is bit rubbish. That said, it is a song by Jamie T and a bus route that goes past my old hangout in Chadwell Heath. Do with that what you will.

This week in the studio, things are hotting up. Somewhat because Alice is in shorts, but mainly due to the impending launch of Little Printer, and a whole host of other exciting projects. This is what we’re all up to:

Alice is finishing phase one of our shop which is looking lovely, and more importantly, works. She is also spending time prepping for Saturday’s ‘practice hack day’ which looks to be lots of fun.

Nick is dealing with some firmware and coding, and working with Andy to finish tweaking boards. Andy is also ‘looking at plastics’. I imagine this means he’s at the checkout at Tesco watching people struggle to open the bags, but there’s no way he’d be watching the bags and not eating the food, so one can presume it is to do with Little Printer.

Simon continues to watch over everyone’s activities, ensuring things run smoothly whilst helping Jack finish an epic Silverton proposal. He is also shaping Phase II of Sinawava and reading through lots of legal stuff.

Matt Jones is back in the studio and reacclimatising to life outside a yurt . Conversation on Monday was particularly difficult but now he’s back in the swing of things and using this period of adjustment to get down to writing ‘proposals and things’.

Jack is here, there and everywhere. Where is he? No one knows. We do know however that he is making an important decision today. He is also doing a little bit on Ouray, helping Matt Jones ‘back into the dough like a fine yeast’ and taking some time out with Matt Webb to discuss BERG plans.

Apart from chats with Jack, Matt Webb is out and about at various talks / meetings, and is hoping to spend what little free time he has running through some company admin.

James is refactoring server database structures amongst other things, which, makes a lot of sense if you know what’s going on, but is too complex for me to explain in week notes.

As is the way of Denise, she is being a helper and a guider, and doing a little bit of lots of things, most notably helping Alex with Little Printer stuff and continuing her super cute work on Ouray.

Alex is continuing his Little Printer marathon this week by arranging photoshoots, working on instruction manuals, sticky labels, and an array of UI bits.

Aside from the regulars, we have the continued pleasure of Eddie Shannon and Phil Gyford’s company, with them working on Lamotte and Antero respectively. Eddie has been whittling down a mass of exciting concepts to around 10/11 ‘super solid ones’, aided by Joe who is also doing some video prototyping. Phil is being his usual fantastic self and ‘glueing together stuff from last week’.

I am elbow deep in spreadsheets, working on budgets and end of month/year things. I am also helping Alice with the weekend’s activities and writing week notes on Tuesday. 

Week 367

Under normal circumstances, weeknotes are written up promptly, at the point where we’re poised and ready to throw ourselves enthusiastically into the work at hand. Sometimes there’s so much underbrush to hack your way through that you end up giving a more retrospective view, and right now the studio has that “jungle” feel.

Matt Webb has been touring the globe with Little Printer, giving people a glimpse of the near-final product.

Joe arrived back triumphant in the office after an extremely well recieved presentation of his recent labours on Sinewava. Although I can’t go into specifics, the work is beautiful and inspiring, and embodies exactly what BERG is about. We’re incredibly proud of the whole team that were involved.

Joe is also working with Eddy on the early design phase of work on Lamotte, and next week will see the first designs being built out into working prototypes.

James has been working on our machinery that brings Little Printer to life, refactoring old code and sketching in new connections. Alice is applying her considerable talent to intricate HTML templating work, bespoke code designed to wow audiences shown LP, and organising our developer “materiel”. Alex is working on various aspects of the ever-so-soon-now launch, in addition to the content that MW has been touring with.

Denise and Alex were busy designing and preparing the content of Matt’s demos and other Little Printer artifacts that are part of the Out Of Box Experience.

Andy and I have been down in amongst the wires, oscilloscopes and bench power supplies in order to conquer invisible gremlins that are manifesting in our circuit boards. Andy also returned from his trip to China last week bearing strange exotic foods, and a beautiful set of injection mouldings that capture how the molten plastic flows inside its steel cavity.

Jack, Vanessa and Simon are all working on bringing in fresh work to the studio, and beyond that I can’t add much until the potential becomes more definite.

Phil Gyford and James King are currently in our studio, working on Antero, and have linked to form a Design Voltron of epic proportions. It’s in the early stages of development, but they will be showing off their work at our Friday Demos gathering, and I can’t wait to see how it’s taking shape.

Lastly but not least, Matt Jones is currently off the grid, having a very well deserved break from all his recent efforts.

Friday Links

Dear diary,

Today is Monday. Imagine that! I am starting Friday links a full four days before they are due. This is in part because Friday links have been coming at weird times lately and I’m keen to demonstrate that some people still uphold the Fridayness of Friday links, but also on-timeness is in my nature. A very dear friend once told me I was his ‘on time’ friend. Not exactly the highest of compliments, but I can’t argue with the truthfulness of the statement. I’m rarely late.

Today Helen sent a link to PointerPointer. I’d like to know how they made this. Pattern matching to find things that look like pointing? I really hope it’s that. Write in if you know the answer to the usual address!

Tuesday’s link is this:

Alex writes:

Interesting engineering decisions like having the fuel tank in 3 sections so that when it depletes it doesn’t slosh about around corners and disrupt the centre of gravity.

On Thursday from the depths of scandoland, Timo sent us this lovely piece of work:

THE MARMALADE Identity from schoenheitsfarm production on Vimeo.

And today Denise linked to the Little Bits Beta, an “open source library of electronic modules that snap together with magnets.”

Week 366

Every time we do our all hands I try and rush us past the bit where we talk about the significance of the number associated with the week. Personally I find it boring. You can all go look at the Wikipedia page for 366 if you like, but since I am in the driving seat this week and I’m feeling scrappy, I’m not going to tell you anything about it.

This week sees the start of a new project, Antero. We have pulled in two superstars to help with it, James King and Phil Gyford. Phil is the reason I have a “Phil 4-eva” sticker on my laptop, I’m very excited to have the BRIG crossword team back together. James, I would say, is in my top 5 all time favourite Jameses. He is surprisingly tall, but has the approachability of a regular height person.

This week Simon is managing the certification for Little Printer, lots of pulling together of technical documents for submission to the Department of Safety First (I made that name up). He is also running planning meetings and chasing parts of the Little Printer component supply chain that are moving a little slowly for our liking.

Nick, CTO to the stars, has been at the front line of weird antenna problems, right down there in the hex dumps with Phil mining for bugs and frying them with his tremendous brain. It’s tough work and I feel for them, but they seem to have found a fix for last week’s problems and came in this week with the gusto of people who know they’re unstoppable.

James King is doing sketching on Antero. I don’t know if anyone has told him about Friday Demos yet, but I am hoping to see some of his work then. He is currently sat in Matt Jones’ chair whilst Jones takes a well earned holiday.

Alex is finishing some graphics for the Bridge. He’s waiting for some new sneakers in the post that he stayed up until midnight to order, I’m quite excited about seeing them. This week he is also helping me with the shop, cutting up assets for me to drop in to various parts of Shopify.

I am writing week notes. HIYAAA! Also chipping away at the shop from which you will be able to buy Little Printer, and putting the documentation for the Publications API in to a sensible and beautiful format.

Helen is doing ‘P11D’ forms. I have no idea what those are. I could google it, but I’m actually not sure it would aid my understanding. She is also putting together the annual return and, ominously, “making sure money comes in on time”.

Denise is working on Ouray. I can see her screen from my desk, there is some extreme cuteness going on for this project. She is also keeping her hand in Little Printer work, slinging out assets like a boss.

James Darling is working on what he describes as “either too secret or too obscure” for week notes.

Joe is wrapping up Sinawava and getting a haircut. Shepherding all the pieces of a project that started in the week I last wrote week notes is no mean feat.

Eddie Shannon continues to work with us on research for Lamotte. He was out last week, but now he’s back and aggressively making tea for everyone in the studio.

Jack is working with Denise on Ouray, watching over the finer points of Little Printer design, and sketching on Vallecito.

Absent form the studio this week are Matt Jones, Matt Webb and Andy. Jones is in a yurt (we think). Webb is in California for Foocamp and a holiday. Andy is in Shenzen visiting the factories making the Little Printer / Bridge casing. He’s also possibly eaten chicken feet.

Tuesday links

From Alex, the new XBox SmartGlass, the context-sensitive second screen app for iPhone / Windows Phone / Android.

‘… the brilliance of SmartGlass isn’t just that it’s capable, it’s that the experience always configures itself passively. “Entertainment is there for people to relax,” maintains Whitten. So SmartGlass isn’t filled with menus and app icons; instead, it just auto-propagates content to correlate with anything on the 360.’

James shared a link to dancer.js – a javascript API which provides real-time audio frequency data, allowing the browser to map it to any arbitrary visualisation. It’s pretty impressive (and unsurprisingly processor-intensive).

Joe shared some incredible photos taken from the International Space Station with a 10-15 minute exposure.

Finally, from Jack – a look at the WiiU Panorama View

Week 365

With the Diamond Jubilee festivities on Monday and Tuesday of this week, it’s a short week here in the studio. Double-concentrated!

Matt Jones is about to go on a well-earned holiday and has been rounding off work on Sinawava with Joe, as well as overseeing the beginning of a couple of new Uinta projects Ouray and Lamotte (part 2).

Matt Webb is also away next week and is taking Little Printer away on a short roadtrip.

Jack has split his time between writing up a new proposal for Silverton and work on Ouray. Last week he made a chocolate and avocado cake which was outstanding and I secretly hope another materialises in the studio soon.

Vanessa is working on a couple of proposals for potential upcoming projects.

Denise has been working on Ouray and continuing with Little Printer publications.

Andy has been managing the detailed production of electronics and is about to go and oversee the very final modifications to our Little Printer housings and dealing with the final parts of the puzzle – assembly, which is edging nearer.

James is working on Little Printer publication deliveries and configuration, adding some slightly more advanced functionality here.

Alice continues to do a sterling job building the shop with help from Alex, who having expertly managed the production design and delivery is now turning his keen eye to some of the finer details of design work of Little Printer, in-package and beyond.

Joe has been overseeing the last stages of Sinawava and beginning Lamotte with Eddie.

Nick and Phil have been closing down last bits of low-level code to do with our Bridge, including tweaking the user experience and fixing a couple of low-level issues.

Helen has been helping get new projects up and running, managing the financials around other projects ending, arranging travel and generally excelling at a host of other things which keep everything running smoothly.

Tuesday Links


The Mechanics and Meaning of That Ol’ Dial-Up Modem Sound. Annotated using Soundcloud comments.

Circuit pens over at Wired.

A stop-frame animations about the expansion of Oslo Airport.

Meshu create jewellery from 4SQ data.

Aga get connected

Sculptural data visualisations

SketchSynth enables people to draw controls onto paper and operate software using them.

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