Latest Entries

Fuel-Careful F1 Less of a Guilty Pleasure

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John Leicester provides a considered view on the new energy-conscious regulations governing Formula 1:

F1 wouldn’t be F1 without excess. Fans worldwide wouldn’t tune in for world champion Sebastian Vettel driving a Prius. F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone got fabulously rich with the sales pitch of bigger, faster, costlier, noisier equals vroooom… But as road cars become more fuel efficient, with electric and hybrid-engine technology making increasing inroads, F1 needed to reconnect with its time or risk becoming an anachronism, racing on regardless the costs to the environment.

I’m loving the new-look Formula 1! Last season had become too predictable, not helped by the leading team favouring one driver. This year we have midfield teams challenging for podiums, and Mercedes allowing its two drivers to battle for the top step. As for the loudness, the squeal of locking wheels and the roar of expectant crowds more than makes up for the lack of growling V8s, however much the new engines sound like a dentist’s drill.

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Cennydd Bowles on the Ethical Designer

Possibly the most important design talk you’ll hear this year:

For decades, the spaces we live in have been built by consensus. Planners, architects, councils, consultation; and always the watchful eye of the regulators and elected officials. But the world’s favourite digital spaces are largely in the hands of people like you and me. We have to oversee ourselves – and it’s not going very well.

Are we focusing on the right problems? Or just aggrandising the mundane? How do we know what the right problems are? How can we guide ourselves to appreciate the cultural and personal impact of the decisions we make?

It’s time for our industry to become ethically aware, if we’re to have a chance of doing the right thing.

British Government Identity, Revisited

With the British government now able to count itself among the few countries sporting a coherent identity programme, a follow up to my 2009 post on the subject.

Landmark Olympic Websites, Where Art Thou?

Whereas the world’s foremost architects, graphic artists, typographers, iconographers and illustrators are asked to create their best work to celebrate each Olympic Games, still we wait for the Olympic movement to give equal consideration to the design of its websites.

net Awards 2014

The net Awards return for their fifteenth year, and I’m more than a little surprised to be a nominated for Designer of the Year.

Classic Web Articles

Vasilis van Gemert asked me to curate a list of classic articles for the Daily Nerd, but what constitutes a classic?

My Intention Is This

Goals, resolutions, call you what you will, here are a few ways I intend to become a better, more productive person this year.

Why I Want Bitcoin to Die in a Fire

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More on Bitcoin from Charlie Stross:

BitCoin looks like it was designed as a weapon intended to damage central banking and money issuing banks, with a Libertarian political agenda in mind – to damage states ability to collect tax and monitor their citizens financial transactions.

Bitcoin, Magical Thinking, and Political Ideology

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Alex Payne on Bitcoin:

Most charitably, Bitcoin is regarded as a flawed but nonetheless worthwhile experiment, one that has unfortunately attracted outsized attention and investment before correcting any number of glaring security issues.

To those less kind, Bitcoin has become synonymous with everything wrong with Silicon Valley: a marriage of dubious technology and questionable economics wrapped up in a crypto-libertarian political agenda that smacks of nerds-do-it-better paternalism.

Such criticism – that of the selfish logic behind the libertarian ideology prevalent in the Valley – will only grow louder in the coming year. Time to disrupt the disrupters, I say.

Redesigning 24 ways

The tail end of this year has been rather hectic. If moving house and changing jobs weren’t enough to be getting on with, I was also busy redesigning 24 ways.

Moving In, Moving On

This weekend I will move into a new flat, the first I’ve owned rather than rented. While I’m trying not to see buying a property as an act of settling down, that I’ve bought somewhere in Brighton suggests I’ve found a city I’m happy to call home. This is partly thanks to Clearleft, the design agency I joined in 2009.

Keep Up!

Last month I spoke at the UK launch of Aquent Gymnasium – an online learning platform that offers free courses for designers looking to improve their web development skills. This is a rough transcript of my talk.

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The Pixel Painter

Hal Lasko is a 97-year-old man who uses Microsoft Paint from Windows 95 to create artwork that has been described as ‘a collision of pointillism and 8-Bit art’.

Andy Higgs: Journey into Africa

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Although it’s easy to feel envious of Andy’s travels around the world, his writing is vivid enough to make you believe you had joined him. His latest series of posts, detailing a trip trough Africa, are no different. It sounds like an amazing continent, one that offers the intrepid traveller some incredible sights:

Great rich earthy trails of red, amber and ochre form streaks across huge plains of deep green foliage and scrubland. Huge white outcrops soar up through groves of yellow-pocked acacia trees, chunky bare-trunked baobabs and the fluttering sprouts of the banana plants…

Blade-like roads slice directly through villages where bright white eyes peer out from under the leafy shade of communal trees, and terracotta coloured, tin-roofed houses are lined up like matchboxes to each side of the varying qualities of tarmac – which range from rough to barely present.

Yet this beauty is threatened by a persistent danger, be it from wild game circling your isolated camp, or from fellow humans in a crime-ridden city:

It was repeated to me a few times that you don’t stop at red lights after dark in Johannesburg, nor do you drive with your windows fully up (it stiffens the glass which makes it an easier task to smash with a crowbar at an intersection). Security is a massive concern of daily life, and every brick built house squats in a concrete or iron-fenced compound, and comes with a big board showing which particular company will provide the armed response. It’s quite a strange sight for European eyes.

What an experience.

The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’

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Julian Assange reviews Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen’s new book, ‘The New Digital Age’:

Google, which started out as an expression of independent Californian graduate student culture – a decent, humane and playful culture – has, as it encountered the big, bad world, thrown its lot in with traditional Washington power elements, from the State Department to the National Security Agency.

Exhibit A: PRISM.