Where have I been, you might ask? Well, you probably won’t since most of you will only turn up here when blo.gs says that I’ve updated, but even so when you arrive you might wonder why you haven’t been here in a while and anyway all I have to say is about why I haven’t been about in a bit.

So, yeah. Architecture. Hard course, y’know? Lots of work and work and computer modelling and real-world modelling and stuff. I don’t know how she does it. Makes CompSci look a doddle — and having a real job. So I figured I should help. As you saw previously, I was helping out with some modelling.

Since then I’ve finished off that model:

Seen from the front: Model of a small village (all painted green) with a set of interesting buildings merged into the contoured slope to the South, in brilliant white for contrast

Seen from the side: The same model as above, in the background showing some smaller concept models of the same sort of single aspect contoured housing

This basically just involved a lot of wandering around Homebase going “yes, I really do want this shade of green, don’t worry I won’t paint the nursery this colour or anything, no that brighter one just _won’t_ do” and then spending a lot of time with a newspaper bib on trying not to get green paint all over myself. Oh and a whole lot more intricate, hand-injuring modelling of the little white buildings which are actually Elly’s project — and pretty damn cool.

You can’t really see a lot of the actual little buildings from those photos, so to do it some sort of justice here are some of the visuals from the project:

Four panels of visuals of people in some single aspect housing, looking out over green hills

The whole thing is pretty cool and has had a lot of inspiration and sleeplessness poured into it. I took Monday and Tuesday off last week to help and ended up working Fri & Sat nights on the door at my regular job, then from Sunday 11am all the way through to about 2am Tuesday. Not my record for working hours in a row, but definitely the record for working on someone else’s project. This meant that my shortened week back at work was tired (especially as it included a trip to Newcastle) and manic, since I had 5 days work to complete in about 2 office days. This weekend I’ve not had much to do as it’s all on computer (and we only have one with the necessary software and frankly I don’t have the skillz anyway), but next weekend I’ll be spraymounting things and slicing foamboard with the rest of them. It’s all quite fun, but only if it’s not your degree on the line, I expect.

I realise this post was a bit LiveJournal-esque, but I figured it was better than absolute silence continuing for another couple of weeks … and you have to admit those models are cool 😉

Well, I’m back from Geneva and it was lovely. Sunny, just cool enough to be pleasant to walk around, great ice-cream, mountains that reminded me of home (except for the snow) and a massive jet of water in the lake which appears to be the main attraction. I took photos but unfortunately don’t have a digicam — I’ll try remember to scan in and post at some point

As a result of two days travel after a very busy weekend, I am behind on my reading but I did find the following:

I haven’t blogged in a little while because my offline life sometimes conspires to remove my online presence from the web. Last week it was work being busy, various meetings about where I might want to go once I’ve graduated and having Friday off to help Elly with her final year architecture project.

Fri, Sat and Sun were all spent helping with aforementioned project (with time off in between to go earn money tutoring maths and then working as a doorman), building a little village worth of tiny 1:500 scale models of houses, outbuildings and shops. They didn’t have to be hugely detailed, just showing what was in the area surrounding the main site, to give El’s design a bit of context. So they fell to me.

Here are a couple of pics:
Photo of the model showing a number of small buildings modeled in grey cardboard

Similar photo showing some other buildings evidently from a different angle

I have learnt a few things this weekend:
— scalpels are often sharper than you expect, even when blunt
— my hands are too big for tiny tiny models
— thick cardboard is a bastard to cut
— RSI makes your hands shake

The combination of these means my hands are sore, there are blood specks on some of the buildings, but there is a little carboard village in existence because of me.

Now I am off to sleep, as tomorrow I have to get to London and then to Geneva. Public transport all the way, baby.

  • This is more than mildly disturbing: “Is it because I is Tory?” — an MP keeping his position by doing Ali G impressions. For anyone who doesn’t know Ali G, don’t worry, be happy and enjoy that fact. via MatthewMan
  • Another from MatthewMan is this article about advertising guerrilla Dr D who is defacing/improving billboards around London. Looks like fantastic stuff. Might even make a trip into that smoky hellhole worthwhile
  • Great little tutorial/code examples piece around CSS layouts : Little Boxes, via Anil

And yes, I know I should get around to doing a followup on Because We Are Geeks now that it’s grown legs and run off to be linked and commented all around this here intarweb, but right now more than anything I need to go home and find aspirin. So catch you tomorrow

Most people that are heavily involved in IT, in writing systems, in websites, in development are at least to some extent geeky. We like tech. We think it’s funky. Show us a Devil Duck USB gadget or some precariously stackable lamps and we’ll lust after them until we finally can afford to get them. Similarly, we ache for Powerbooks and similar shiny tech. We love to hack things, to understand how they work to get the most out of them. We treasure little tips and tricks and efficient use of systems (even though they eat away our lives). We all have terminal cases of NADD.

All this makes us perfect for playing with new tech. We want to understand it, to use it, to make the most of it. We live through the frustrations, spend hours making things elegant, efficient, pretty, packing in features as if there’s no tomorrow. If we can have it, we want it all-singing, all-dancing, with bells on. The inventor of the Swiss army knife was definitely one of us.

We are, however, crap “average” users and crap at developing for them and selling to them. We can’t imagine why someone wouldn’t want or need all the extra functionality we can think of. Why they might just want to do the task a simple, easy to learn and remember way (yes, command line whores, I’m looking at you 😉 ). That advances in user-friendliness and usability in those core areas is immensely more important than all the cool things we can think to add to the system. But the worst impact of our very nature is when we are trying to roll a product out, to sell it to the users. Because we are geeks.

Because we are geeks, we assume that people will buy something just because it’s cool, or funky, or has great new features, allows you to calculate how much of your time you spend getting stupid statistics about how you spend your time. Normal people don’t buy things because they’re funky — not systematically anyway. Geeks don’t even buy normal mugs — they all have to have clever slogans.

So why do non-geeks buy things? And how do we adapt to sell to them better? I’d love people’s thoughts on this.