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Week 418

Week 418 is muggy. This new office doesn’t have working air con, and so everyone looks a bit shiny like they could do with patting down with some kitchen towel or one of those talcum-laced anti-shine papers that they sell in Boots. Everyone, that is, except Andy Huntington whose complexion is mysteriously matte. Maybe he has a secret stash somewhere in the crowded shelves of his workshop.

This week Denise has gone to Sweden to speak at Creative Summit. I hope she’s having a good time and has figured out how to pronounce Å and Ä.

Helen is on a holiday, she’s in Tunisia. The studio hasn’t quite fallen to pieces in her absence, but I did just have to read a HMRC PDF about VAT so let’s just say I’m excited for her to return next week.

This week, along with his usual responsibilities of making up creative new nicknames for people in the studio and trying to cuddle-monster Mark Cridge and Tom Taylor, Jack is in meetings and doing a lot of R&D.

Adam is back from France, and this week is working on the dev board site for BERGCloud. The first prototype dev boards arrived last week. They have this brilliant map of Old St on the back of them.

Dev Boards for Fabrica

Dev Boards for Fabrica

This week Neil is soldering components onto these using our brand new soldering oven.

Phil G is working on new publications, earlier today he and Alex finished off a new one for kids, you can check it out here. Alex has also been putting the final touches to the new design for the BERGCloud remote site, which we launched yesterday.

Joe is working on Sinawava with Laurence.

Kari is calendar wrangling and doing admin.

Fraser revealed to us at all hands that the spoonerism for his name is almost “Lazer Fury” and I was laughing too much at that to write down what he said his tasks were for this week. I can only imagine that they are writing the newsletter and responding to suport requests as usual.

Nick is helping Phil W, Adam and Joe on their respective pieces of work.

Mark is responding to emails.

Matt Webb is listening to me complain about VAT, writing emails and having meetings.

Andy is keeping an eye on the Little Printer second run assembly, helping Neil to assemble the dev boards, planning for the BERGCloud sandbox at fabrica and getting #Flocks up and running.

I am writing weeknotes, shipping the new remote design and fixing any bugs, boggling about Android Chrome’s weirdness around -webkit-overflow-scrolling: touch and grumbling about VAT.


Friday Links

Disney continue to make me want to work in their research department with this smart light project HideOut.

Hideout board game by Disney Research.

Hideout board game by Disney Research.

I found this excellent page of CSS creatures (make yours and submit via twitter):

Tom Stuart sent this JavaScript ray tracer (, which is pretty lovely but does rather warm up my computer.

Here is a topical animated GIF about football that made me laugh aloud: 81d11910-b12b-41a1-ad67-d0dd9f079930

Week 405

405: Method not allowed.

BERGs collection of objects -people, tools, the furniture, our new kettle…- is moving studio in two weeks, and whilst there are many things we’ll all miss about our current housing, the heating is not one of them. In the middle of another cold snap and we are all freezing. There are some other weird things about this building, yesterday something large and heavy fell onto the roof, it made quite a frightening noise but we have no idea what it was. The office meeting room has sprung a leak as has the window above Alex’s desk. One of the toilet windows has a mesh instead of glass making a trip in there something you really have to summon the courage for.

It was my birthday yesterday, Kari bought a cake and managed to fit 26 candles on it, which was actually quite alarming. Everybody sung happy birthday.

This is what working at BERG is like, celebrations and leaky windows.

Work with Kachina continues. Simon, Mark, Nick, Neil (Usher usher usher), Andy, Matt Jones and Denise are all interacting with it in various ways. Bringing their own special sauce to the table.

Nick is looking quite French these days, I think it’s a new scarf and the fact that the wind is giving his hair considerable volume. He is working on our BERG Cloud developer borad, which will bring BERG Cloud to new products.

Adam is looking down the wrong end of the telescope, implementing an OAuth provider for a new version of the BERG Cloud publications API which publishers will be able to push to. I have been involved in this work as well, roleplaying the developer of such a publication.

Joe is working on Kemp. Tomorrow he is giving a two hour workshop on skecthing and thinking at the RCA with service design students.

Alex is working on an installation for the Design Museum, which Little Printer will be at. He is also finishing a revision of the design for BERG Cloud remote.

This Thursday is BERG Cloud newsletter day, so Fraser is pulling together content for that. I’m always surprised how much changes in a fortnight around here, more than you could put in a news letter, for sure. If you want to subscribe to the mail out, you may do so here:

Kari is planning The Big Move. Doggedly tracking down the people in charge of our new building and demanding answers to hard hitting questions like “Where do we take the bins out to?” and “how do we get our post?”.

Andy is chasing up a the colour additive for Little Printer, as with every part of a supply chain, hussleing is required.

Mark is looking at the way businesses can interact with BERG Cloud.

Matt Webb is in meetings. He is also ████████████ and █████████ ███████ ███████.

I’m finishing off a publication that has been in the making since about June last year, more about that in the news letter (hint hint). I’m also doing other things: documentation and tooling for v2 of the publications API, keeping the number of emails flagged in my inbox down at 0, writing the software for the Design Museum installation, and simplifying the publication submission steps for developers.

Jack is on a baby retreat. Presumably for his children. Helen is looking after a sick person but will be back tomorrow.

Friday Links

Good morning citizens of the Internet! My quiet revolution to bring back Friday Links is limping along, inasmuch as some people always remember and some people always forget. My latest idea is maybe what we need is an animated glitter GIF? Also, maybe some confused metaphors? What if that’s what’s missing?

Glitter GIF

SO what hairballs of greatness have the cats that I work with coughed into my litter box this week?

Alex sent us an animated GIF of how a lock works. You’ve likely seen this already being the hip plugged in individuals that you are, but in case you haven’t, behold:Key GIF

If you would like to see inside a key factory (the answer is ‘YES’), there is a video for that too:

Denise went to Design of Understanding last Friday, it sounded excellent. She returned with many stories, chief among them, that of the ex-mayor of Bogota:

“Famous initiatives included hiring 420 mimes to make fun of traffic violators, because he believed Colombians were more afraid of being ridiculed than fined”


Alex shared this video about mechanical principles:

Denise shared Autographer, “the worlds first intelligent, wearable camera”, made by the amazingly named OMG PLC. (Calm down everyone, OMG stands for ‘Oxford Metrics Group’). Autographer combines a bunch of sensors and an camera to take photos at the best moments throughout the day.

Matt Jones sent an article about building moon bases using 3D printing with the materials available on the surface of the planet.

And that concludes Friday Links! Happy Friday everybody. February will be better, I promise.

Week 389

It’s the three hundred and eighty ninth week since BERG began. Simon Pearson is down to do weeknotes but he is away with Matt Webb at Future London demoing Little Printer so I have swapped with him. Matt Jones is still away on paternity leave looking after two tiny humans. Andy is back after his stint of paternity leave and the studio also welcomes Kari who is back after what seems like a very long time away after her case of The Babies.

By project, this week is as follows:

Paiute work continues. Pawel has done some very slick looking graphics for it, Denise even did a weird squeal when she saw them (a pretty good sign). Jack continues to shepherd this project to it’s conclusion which I hope won’t be too soon because that possibly means Pav will have to go on to another contract in another place. And if Pav goes then who is going to get the pardy started?

BERG Cloud and Little Printer are very close to shipping indeed. I am putting the final flourishes to the front-end, James is getting his head into logging for the many bridges that will soon be connecting, Simon is coordinating factories and shipping containers, Helen and Kari are preparing themselves to give the best damned customer service this side of Newspaper Club, Alex is sending me the kind of ‘could this be two pixels lower, please, sorry, thanks’ emails that I know mean our remote site is going to look really good.
Nick is lining up interviewees for the position of The Next James Darling. If you think you fill this spot, head over here for more information.

Neil (now ships with custom BERG shop coat) is working on Auryn with studio friend Greg Borenstein in New York. This involves a lot of waving things at screens, much to my entertainment.

Director of Consulting, Mark Cridge, is taking care of business. He continues to show the office how the big boys do it in an array of shirt jumper combos and the occasional blazer. I keep trying to call his bluff and see if he is wearing a shumper, but as yet his shirts remain gloriously unstitched to his jumpers. What a pro.

Saguaro is beginning to look like a real thing which is lovely to see. Phil is implementing Alex’s design, the writing continues apace, all presided over by Matt Walton.

Sinawava is in the final push. Joe is doing a lot of gleeful dancing which I keep trying to capture a GIF of, but he’s too damn fast. Leo and Nick are finishing off the software, and Paul South continues to astonish with the things he pulls out of the bag.

Matt Thomas, Ollie Wright and Eddie Shannon are still grafting on Lamotte. There is a lot of very charming character design happening at that end of the room, which I enjoy watching evolve.

As always then, a busy studio.

Friday Links


It has been six weeks since the last Friday Links, I googled “friday links” and the top two hits were both BERG. It was then that the gravity of the situation hit me. Many people employ offices full of gap year arts students to write fluff pieces linking to their blog in order to gain the coveted top hit on Google. We got there just by tirelessly posting links every Friday. And then they just slipped away.

Well, this is the relaunch. Friday Links is Britney, and the last six weeks were it’s 2007. I’ll be fighting tooth and nail and bullying who I have to bully to get Friday links on the blog each week from now on.

This post has been all over Twitter and for good reason. In a lengthly but well worth reading essay Bret Victor responds to the Khan Academy’s online environment for learning to program. What results is a brilliant specification for an interactive environment for acquiring the mindset for coding. I hope somebody takes this design and runs with it.

I saw this via @fat on Twitter. Swiping though GIFs! I dare you not to lose 15 minutes just clicking and swiping.

So, do you want to see what the guy who lead the team that invented the Roomba, Rodney Brooks, is up to now? (The answer is a definitive ‘yes’). Since leaving his post as CTO of iRobot in 2008, Brooks has been working on a robot that he hopes will revitalise American manufacturing:

“My aspirations are high for this robot. This is the first mass-produced, slightly sentient humanoid robot”

Here’s the video:

Check out the full article

This article about the cave systems that run under Nottingham has made me want to visit Nottingham quite a lot:

Feel free to tweet about our exciting relaunch using the #fridaylinks hashtag.

Week 377

Week 377 in the studio. There were no week notes last week because nobody reminded Jack. The fault lies with all of us really, and we’re all feeling the consequence of our actions. Jack is well known for writing the best week notes.

Last week, to get you up to speed, saw a great reshuffle of desks. I am now so far away from Alex Javis, who I previously sat opposite, that I can barely see him. Joe’s eyebrows are also now out of my peripheral view. It’s a lot easier to concentrate on my screen down this end of the office, but I sure am going to miss those eyebrows. The reason for this shuffle is that we are taking some new people in to help with a couple of big projects. Our office has three new desks to accommodate all these bodies, which include Phil “Send me back to the BRIG” Gyford, Matt “another Matt” Walton, Saar “Phil’s not the only hardware guy in town” Drimer and Neil Usher (no relation to actual Usher (maybe some relation? (no, not really))).

Aside from acclimatising to our new desks this week goes like this:

Work on BERG Cloud and Little Printer continues, James Darling has done ALL HIS TICKETS. You go, James Darling. This week he embarks on another ‘too secret for week notes’ bit of BERG Cloud. Nick is doing more EMC work on the Bridge. He is also (in his spare time) hacking an absolutely sick iPhone prototype app for Little Printer. We have to wait for him to demo it but there are whispers that it is, as Jack would say, “AMAZEBALLS”. This week Matt Webb is stacking the papes, pressing the flesh, and other glamorous sounding ways of saying “having meetings”. He is also filling in for Simon as best he can whilst Simon is on holiday. I am working on developer tools for publishers and hackers who want to make Little Printer publications. Last week I delivered a Printer to Lanyrd so they can test their publication and have a go with our developer tools alpha. I’m also putting our render stack through it’s paces sending weird and wonderful publications that have been sent in by eager developers around the world. Last week I discovered that Little Printer can speak Hebrew, and at the weekend I tested the SVG->PNG element of Webkit with great results. If you’ve got an idea for a publication, here’s the address

Matt Jones, Joe Malia, Neil Usher (…usher …usher), Saar Drimer and Jack Schulze are working on various Sinawava projects. Tom and Durrell are making regular appearances at the studio for this work too. When BERG week notes jumps the shark, I hope someone has the wherewithal to give those guys a spin-off series. Matt Jones is also going to see some Paralympics on Friday. Saar is getting a lot of fun looking electrical components in the post. It’s good to see someone challenging Andy’s post monopoly finally.

Matt Jones and Jack are also working on an unpronounceable project. It’s spelt Paiute, if anyone would like to do an audioboo of how it’s actually pronounced here is my attempt: You can hear in my inflection that I am not at all sure that I’ve got it right.

Denise, Alex and Phil Gyford are doing design work for Saguaro. This involves a lot of experimenting with code and graphics. Denise and Alex are also doing a bit of design work for BERG Cloud.

Helen is doing numbers, contracts and payroll. She has great nail varnish on today, a ‘very now’ minty green that I reckon is probably made by Barry M. I read a great article about the cosmetics brand Barry M the other day. The guy that founded it is actually called Barry.

Andy is in India this week, he is communicating with us via a Little Printer on his desk though, much to my delight. Timo remains in the wilderness, advancing all of human knowledge with his PhD. Kari is still on maternity leave. I’m hoping she’ll swing by the studio soon, this weekend she was definitely at the Green Belt festival.

That’s your lot. Send me your Audioboos though, for the good of the studio.

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.

Thursday Links

I am going for a bike ride in Kent tomorrow, so this is the state of my inbox as of the end of Thursday.

Timo shares “Warriors of the Net” -a video from the 1990’s that I am pretty sure I watched in an ICT lesson at school. It is probably the root cause of my deep seated fear of sysadmin, and anything lower down the TCP/IP stack than the application layer. Leave that stuff to the neck beards, I say. I do wish BERG videos had more gravel toned voice overs though.

It also has this natty website:

Timo also shared Robin Sloan’s Fish. I had to borrow an iPhone to experience this, but it was well worth it. A lovely and thought provoking thing.

Stamen’s maps were also all over the web this week. Most impressive is the watercolour view, but I also really like the toner view.

Timo (again) shared this video from Nature and MIT about seeing round corners with lazers.

Denise shared these brilliant stereographic drawings:

Denise also shared this story about an author who has written software to automate writing sports reports. This is both pretty impressive AND gives me a great idea for Friday Links…

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