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Blog posts tagged as 'weeknotes'

Week 416

This week, we’ll take a whistle stop tour around the Berg studio, courtesy of Vine and a low quality smartphone camera.

Let’s begin at the entrance to Epworth House, where we pass through a set of sleek revolving doors.

If you’re on a bike, please feel free to drop it off in our temporary cycle storage facility.

Before we head into the studio, the top floor of the building provides a good view of London’s bustling Tech City.

A lift takes us to the studio.

Inside, the reception area offers people a chance to take the weight off their feet and have a chat about code.

Ahead of us, we find the engineering department. Complete with tools, hacking and hardware.

Through these blinds we can see the numbers and accounts being carefully handled.

In the corner we can see the Little Printer newsletter being written.

At lunch, designers, developers, engineers and business minded folk gather around the red tables to compare food and share stories.

If you want a cup of tea or coffee we have a small kitchen, replete with gentle reminder to wash up when you’re done.

We are lucky to share a studio with the brilliant Newspaper Club

And Luckybite

At the end of the week we present what we’ve been up to at Friday Demos. If it’s particularly good it might even get a round of applause.

And that’s about it. What better way to wrap things up and head to the pub for a quick pint in the evening sun.

See you next week!

Week 413

Very late weeknotes. Alice was on holiday last week but I fear I’d have been told off if she was around. Although, strangely it’s easier to write a summary of the week once it’s finished. So what’s been going on?

Like a tiny army we carried a fair few (read: lots) of wrapped, stickered and sealed Here & There maps to the Post Office across windy Old Street to send on their ways, near and far. (There’s still some available, if you like that sort of thing). Helen wins employee of the week for some extraordinary Post Office endurance.

Loads of Little Printer / BERG Cloud things happening as usual. Tying loose ends for manufacture / Remote edits / Website planning / sales / firmware / hardware / operations / Dev Kit progress / picking and packing (we’re selling paper for Little Printers now if you missed it… it comes in a nice box)… it’s quite exciting selling actual things to actual people, and we’re all learning a lot.

The workshop reminded me of my Grandad’s aviary this week, as Andy and Neil fine tune sounds for #Flock. Unlike ‘Sounds of the Serengeti’ which has become an off-key regular on bergtunes, I quite enjoyed this. I might pinch the sounds from Andy next week.

Aside from all of that business, there’s been a lot of workshop consolidation, Keynote’in, customer service and the other stuff that keeps the office ticking along. Looks like the weather’s turned in typical British fashion, which gives us another week to try and work out how to turn the air conditioning on in the new office.

And because I like inflicting my musical wanderings during my time on this blog, this week I’ve been enjoying the skippy niceties of Kaytranada. Until next time!

Week 412

It feels like a while since I’ve written weeknotes. Partially that’s because last week I was on holiday – watching cricket, soaking in the sun, ambling through crowded markets – and this week I’ve spoken at two conferences with all the attendant prep, etc, that brings. And so I’ve been in a different headspace for a while and even two weeks ago feels like a lifetime away.

^ this is where I was the week before this. Sigh.

The view from the beginning of the week

This was what things looked like at All Hands on Tuesday, if I pick out a single point for each person…

Phil G was drawing graphs for Little Printer publications.

Kari was on Here & There.

Andy had started assembling the new dev boards.

Alex was finalising Little Printer paper sale details.

Denise was reviewing a proposal for Uinta.

Alice was doing everything, but mainly lots of Little Printer shop things. She’s on holiday next week.

Helen has been on Little Printer sales to, helping out with opening the shop to Australia and New Zealand.

Fraser: Newsletter week.

Nick… working on the next version of the firmware and OS for the upcoming batch of BERG Cloud Bridge units.

Neil is restarting Little Printer Hospital.

Jack and Joe were both in a workshop with Hogum, and that’s run all week. (The meeting room is coated in post-its, the funny sharpie sketches on the walls look hilarious, and it sounds like it was a good strategy and invention workshop all round.)

Adam was at Alton Towers. That was just Tuesday. The remainder of the week consisted of fewer roller coasters.

Mark was away.

I was speaking at Write the Future and Point, both in London. At #WTF13 I spoke about treating products as people, as a response to the alienating complexity of technology, and Meg Jayanth has written a brilliant response: Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Digital. Buses that flirt! Singing cities!

The view from the end of the week

Now I’m finally getting a moment to catch my breath, I’m reviewing what’s been going on over the past couple of weeks – while I’ve been away – and I’m becoming increasingly amazed and proud at what the team have been up to.

Look at what’s launched…

  • New! BERG Cloud Dev Kits — the same platform that we used to build Little Printer is now available for anyone. Develop using Arduino or Raspberry Pi, then snap on the BERG Cloud dev board to get APIs, user management, fleet management, and loads more. This is a huge shift for BERG, a real glimpse of where we’re heading. Let’s connect everything.
  • Our first 3rd party using BERG Cloud is… Twitter! Here’s #Flock, the connected cuckoo clocks that sings when you’re retweeted, followed, or faved. Twitter is giving away these limited edition items to select partners. The first was awarded to O2 (Telefonica).
  • You need more paper for Little Printer? You can buy more paper for Little Printer! BPA-free (BPA is the chemical traditionally used in thermal paper. You wouldn’t put it in food, so we prefer not to put it in paper), with a recycled and recyclable core.
  • Little Printer now on sale in Australia and New Zealand for the first time ever, in addition to the USA, Canada, and EU including UK. So wherever you are, you can get your Little Printer now. You won’t have long to wait.
  • The New York Times on Little Printer! Can I say that again? The New York Times on Little Printer! We’re currently rolling out a major new capability in the API for Little Printer: push content. Where the existing API allows users to receive scheduled content (say, headlines at 7am daily), the Push API allows for notifications at any time — if there’s breaking news, you wanna hear about it right away! I am super, super proud that we have a breaking new push publication from such a high-calibre publisher. I know everyone’s worked very hard to make this happen, so thank you all! There are more terrific new publications too — read more here. Go to your BERG Cloud Remote to subscribe to these publications and many more.

And, in a blast from the past, legendary Schulze & Webb era map-projection-R&D-masquerading-as-art project “Here & There” – now part of the New York MoMA permanent collection – is back on sale! In our recent studio move we found the last remaining 180 pairs of maps (you receive both the uptown and downtown Manhattan maps when you purchase), so up on the shop they go! I think we have only 60 left now – from the original 1,000 – and when they’re gone they’re gone. Get yours now.

I should go away for two weeks more often

In the busy-ness of the past two weeks, it’s easy to concentrate on the hectic rushing around and miss the big picture… that this was when BERG turned hard into the corner. Increasingly we’ll work on Little Printer, and our platform BERG Cloud. On supporting developers and the community, and collaborating with clients to validate their ideas and then bring their connected products to life.

What you can see in these launches is a deepening of our offer — everything from the Dev Kits – as proved with #Flock – to the new publications which really show where Little Printer is going. And this is a challenging and competitive space we’re moving into.

That the team is riding these rapids, negotiating these changes, and launching so much… well, I’m a proud fella. What a great team. Thanks folks!

Week 410

Welcome to week 410. It’s almost like spring outside which means of course, that by the time you read this we’ll all be buried under 6ft of snow.

Oh well. Onwards!

This week, the general plan of action is:

Matt, Jack, Mark

Neil, Andy, Adam
(Hopefully we’ll be able to tell you what this is soon)

BERG Cloud:
Nick, Matt, Alex, Alice, Me

Little Printer & Remote:
Alex, Alice, Fraser, Kari, Helen, Phil, Me

Joe, Jack

Another coming-soon thing that is currently nameless:

Kari, Helen

So if you need us, you know where to find us. See you there.

Week 408

It’s week 408 and the new studio is looking nice. With bunting aplenty and BERG bits occupying all corners of rooms it’s now much less like an office and more like a home.

Here’s a few interesting facts about the new place for you:

– It’s opposite (what looks like) a castle and next to a strip club.

– It has two front doors and EIGHT windows. Real windows from which I can see birds. Sadly there are no birds outside today because it is snowing, again.

– Yesterday there were 19 pints of milk in the fridge. Today there are only 11. Oh and here’s a not very interesting fact about Old Street for you: Nowhere sells Nesquik.

– There is a very tall building which I can see from my desk that glows lilac in the evening light and has, on top, two very beautiful bright red lights. (Shame my  iPhone camera fails to captcha this).


–  Newspaper Club are here too! (They brought bunting as well). I sit with them. They laugh a lot.


Interesting facts aside. In this week’s All Hands, we discussed Weeknotes. What are Weeknotes? Why do we do them,? Who reads them? Should they continue?

Well, apparently Neil’s Mum reads them and this is as good a reason to continue as any, so here’s what’s happening this week…

– Matt is meeting people in the flesh and on the internet (Skype, not dating).

– Jack has also been in and out of meetings and will be spending the end of the week in Russia.

– Alice is busy with the shop, the remote site, and the future of BERG hack days.

– Kari is Zendesk-ing, emailing and wrapping up bits from the move.

– Fraser is also Zendesk-ing but accompanying it with outreach and writing blogs.

– Adam is making exciting things work for Kachina.

– Joe is Kemp.

– Nick is push publication-ing all over the place whilst tweaking networks and Kachina-ing.

– Neil and Andy are prototyping prototyping prototyping.

– Alex is doing some IA and Little Printer things whilst chasing suppliers about paper.

– Denise is Little Printer all the way.

– I have been doing things I haven’t done for three weeks and, last but not least, we hope Mark is having a wonderful time on a well earned holiday with the fam.

Week 407

Monday was all packing, Today was all unpacking. Welcome to the new BERG, it’s still in a bit of a transitionary state.

still requiring a bit of assembly

In between all this commotion Andy and Neil are hard at work on Kachina but we didn’t get to have an All Hands today so can’t reliably report on everyone else.

This was my first week notes, hopefully I didn’t mess it up too much.

Week 406

It’s moving preparation week here, and the studio is dominated by a cheerfully coloured pile of packing crates, waiting for us to fill them with our accumulated possessions. This coming Tuesday, we’re packing up and moving to our new space across the other side of Old Street roundabout.

In amongst the preliminary packing and new space preparation, it’s business as usual. Andy, Neil and I have been working on Kachina, and as I write this we have some filming happening in the studio, documenting the development process and surfacing the hidden layers of work that go into finished products.

Jack and Joe are continuing their discussions and prototyping around physical interfaces. Joe also flew over to Belfast and ran a short workshop with design students on the University of Ulster’s MFA Multidisciplinary Design course.

Helen and Kari have been working out the studio move logistics, involving the moving company, insurance, locksmiths and all sorts, and Fraser has been working his usual magic with Little Printer customer service and outreach.

On to Little Printer. Alex and Alice have been working on the preparation and running of LP at the Design Museum for the Design of the Year 2013 exhibition. Adam has been putting the final touches to our new Push Publication API which we’ll making some exciting announcements about next week. Denise has also been working hard on the future direction of LP’s interface and interactions, as well as design work for Kachina.

Simon’s been spinning a number of plates, including helping with Kachina and the Design Museum work, scouting the Ideal Home Show and finalising handover plans for next week. Matt Jones has been working on the Hogum workshop plan, and lastly Matt Webb has been overseeing work with the accountants, and has a meeting diary so densely populated that it’s in danger of collapsing in on itself.

This was week 406!

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.

Week 403

This week the room is busy again, following a week of absences due to fungus and bacteria as well as a bunch of traveling around.

There is much talk of afterschool club and Saturday’s hackday. Alice and Simon are preparing the studio for forty people, we’ve been told to defrag our work places, and resolve any complex desk landscapes. Alice is also on the refactoring-dev-tools-for-bergcloud hamster wheel. I am told there are many tools, and much tippy tappy is required in order to refactor them.

Simon is back from holiday and spinning up his brain following a week of sanfranhangovers. Jones is curating a blog post discussing some work from a couple of years back that we’re able to show.

Andy, Neil and Mark are all working hard on Kachina

Nick and Joe are doing some fun wrangling with Unity for Kemp, and some hardware experiments with the iPhone.

Matthew is prepping for big meetings next week and working with lawyers.

I have spent twenty minutes trying to sign into WordPress and will now be doing the same for other web based workplaces.

Other people have other things to do, mostly on computers.

Week 402

Mount Lushan

In 402 AD The Pure Land school of Buddhism founds a monastery upon the top of Mount Lushan, from the beautiful slopes of which they contemplated timeless mysteries of existence – including perhaps why the HTTP Status code 402 ‘ Payment Required’ is as yet so underused.

Week 402 in the BERG studio sees a number of folk on holiday – Simon and Mark are missed, while Helen has subjected herself to Wildfire Protocol and as a result is home fighting a cold.

Joe is in Belgium as I type, giving a talk about some of the studio’s processes, habits and approaches to work. I had a sneak preview yesterday and it’s a cracking presentation – hope it makes it online.

So, to business.

Jack lectured at the RCA Design Products course yesterday, and for the rest of week will be occupied with thoughts and writing about future BERG Cloud products, pursuing some sales proposals, and working on Chevelon.

Nick’s finishing some work on Saguaro, then the rest of the week is devoted to all things BERG Cloud: bolstering our monitoring capabilities, working with phil wright on some revisions to new electronics for Chelly, and some software revisions to the infrastructure of BERG Cloud so it’s more able to accommodate things other than Little Printer in the near-future… He’ll also be leading chats with the team around improving the BERG Cloud API.

Andy’s working on Kachina, nudging the Chelly dev board along, and pursuing purchase orders for the next round of LP manufacturing with the attendent international supply chain  and sourcing fun. He also informs me of a PB he scored on his bike this morning, coming over Highgate Hill…

Adam’s making servers in BERG Cloud better, paying special attention to scaling; and participating in the BotWorld design thinking.

Alice is making some important changes to our shop, to be able to sell new rolls of paper to people!

Neil’s working with Andy on Kachina, and spending some quality time in Little Printer Hospital fixing people’s LPs to send back to them.

Denise is working on Chevelon, Saguaro’s final-final-final tweaks, and then devoting the rest of her time to some new Little Printer stuff coming your way soon…

Alex is doing some work on the next iteration of the BERG Cloud Remote UI, thinking and designing how we organise and present the panoply of LP publications we are starting to get,  getting prepped for the next LP hack day, and excitingly, helping to design the Little Printer exhibit for the upcoming Designs Of The Year show at the Design Museum.

The Olympic Cauldron vs Little Printer. Which would you rather have in your kitchen?

The Olympic Cauldron vs Little Printer. Which would you rather have in your kitchen?

We’re up against the London Olympic Cauldron by Thomas Heatherwick in the product design category, so to make sure we’re not upstaged I’m imagining he’ll be bringing his best Danny-Boyle-showman-instincts into play and we’ll be getting LP to abseil into the museum from Tower Bridge or something.

Kari’s doing her usual awesome job of BERG Cloud and Little Printer customer service, particularly at the moment sending out paper rolls to keen folk who have been printing like the clappers since they got their Little Printer.

Fraser’s talking to prospective Little Printer publishers, and dealing with some upcoming public appearances for the little fella at some exhibitions and events, including we think, SxSW…

Matt Webb in his own words, is “on the hustle” this week, which constitutes – amongst other things – property negotiations (we have to move out of our current studio building soon as it’s being demolished!), interviews (with him), sales, and deputising for Simon on projects.

Charlatan/Martyr/Hustler by Joey Roth – sits in the entrance to our studio…

It’s also his birthday week – he’s a spritely 35!

I’m working remotely with Timo, to document some past project work we hope to put public soon, writing weeknotes and pursuing some sales opportunities for future studio work.

We really want to line-up some exciting projects in the domain of connected products, services and hardware for the summer, so if you have something you’d like to work with us on, please get in touch.


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