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This year was the longest I’ve spent in Austin. I got there a week early to attend SXSW Edu, and I had already spent much of the week loitering around the Austin Conference Centre attending sessions and I felt ready for what the main festival had in store for me. This year’s SXSW felt different to previous years. Whereas in 2016 I felt SXSW had reached a point where it was becoming too big, this year felt much quieter and more pleasant. The previous week it had been cold during most of SXSW Edu, at times colder than London and the weather throughout the festival wasn’t anything like the temperatures I’ve come to expect. Maybe this put off students on Spring Break? During Music, there also appeared to be less free parties and no real big names and this for me was a good thing. Overall, I think this is…

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I’ve been to SXSW several times and love Austin. Every time I visit, I try to extend my time as much as possible. This year I had asked work if they would cover a few extra days so that I could attend SXSW EDU. In the end, I ended up paying for everything myself, which meant I was actually on holiday while at the conference. Oddly, I didn’t mind this. When work pays for a conference I feel I have to attend everything that will be useful to my work, even sessions that I don’t expect to find interesting. I feel I have to maximise the return on the expense. Without the pressure to attend all sessions, I could attend the sessions that interested me and drop out of the conference whenever I felt like a break. It also meant the evenings were my own with no pressure to start…

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I love my iPad Pro. It’s light, quick and it’s powerful enough to edit photographs on. Lightroom has improved significantly and has most of the features of the desktop application. But there’s still issues mainly related to connectivity that makes me question using it as a replacement for a laptop. Such as the inability to import photographs directly into Lightroom without first importing them into Photos and there’s no obvious way to backup these photos to an external drive.  I’ve got into the habit of throwing my iPad into my camera bag when I’m out shooting a gig in London and it’s quickly becoming my default photo editor as I can start editing photos on the train home. Previously, it used to be frustrating, because it took so long to import the photos, that often I’d be getting off the train before the import had completed. That was until a…

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I seem to regularly posting long opinion pieces to Facebook. I’m not sure why they don’t end up here, but as I’m going to try and resurrect this blog, I thought I’d start by reblogging this….. This isn’t a post about my feelings about Trump. He’s now in office. All I’ll say is, let’s hope the position makes him more Presidential. This post is about the person leaving office, President Obama. In 2009, I was lucky enough to be at a conference in Florida on the 20th January. I was sitting in a presentation when the presenters cleverly segwayed into a live stream. The live stream of the inauguration of President Obama. It was amazing how many US citizens left the presentation, heading for lunch. I guess they were Republicans. But there was also a spark of excitement amongst the greater number of people who stayed. The presenter (who I…

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So I’ve finally got round to writing up my impressions of SXSW 2016 Interactive and Film. This year I mainly went for music and I’ve already blogged about my impressions and why this is likely to be my last SXSW. But I thought I’d briefly cover my Interactive and Film sessions. This year was SXSW’s 30th Anniversary. My first visit was in 2011, SXSW’s 25th and that was big and brash. This year’s festival felt more low key than the 25th. This is an odd thing to say when the keynote was given by President Obama. But I felt there was less of a buzz than previous years, especially during music week. Although I mainly attend for the music, I do go to the occasional Interactive and watch a few of the films and documentaries. As far as interactive is concerned, Obama was the big draw. Attendance was through a…

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This week a new exhibition about the Soviet space program opened at the Science Museum. Offering a different perspective of the well worn space race. Like most modern museum exhibitions, it’s costly weighing in at an astronomical £14. I understand the need for museums to make money. But £14 for one exhibition is a touch expensive in my opinion. Especially when you also can’t take any photos while in the exhibiton with a large shop selling you the photos you could have taken for free (and some pretty great Soviet posters!) The exhibition tells the story of the Soviet space programme up to the fall of the Soviet Union. It starts in an interesting way with science fiction inspired Soviet art and literature. The pieces demonstrate the sociopolitical drive behind the space programme and the national pride it subsequently would generate with a vision of a chance to create the ideal communist…

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I currently use a 2008 Mac Pro as my main development machine at home. The old war horse has been the best computer I’ve ever purchased (even better than my beloved Amiga 1200 that I still have in a cupboard). It’s memory was upgraded to 10GBs not long after I bought it and I’ve gradually filled up the storage bays with extra hard disks to hold my photos. But it’s starting to show it’s age. Mavericks stretched it, but Yosemite really pushed the setup too far with heavy IO and large memory usuage. Startup times were excruciatingly slow as where opening applications. Once open they were okay. But switching to another app, would slow everything down. Clearly both disk and memory were a bottleneck.  I had been thinking about upgrading. I have a new Mac Pro at work and it’s a wonderful machine. But I can’t justify the cost for…

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The last few years I’ve usually had a photo project on the go. Everything from pi – capturing the number sequence of pi, to 365 (and 366) projects. I’ve found the big 365 projects too time consuming. Literally taking over much of my spare time. I think projects work best when you enjoy them and there’s times with the 365-type projects they’re simply not enjoyable. So I’ve been thinking carefully about my next project. I’m a member of the British Museum and regularly photograph the various objects around the museum. At the weekend I photographed one of the rooms I rarely go into and it struck me that maybe I should do a ‘Rooms’ project. Capture the museum and it’s objects, and possibly even it’s visitors, room by room. So that’s this year’s project. Nice and simple and gives me an excuse to visit one of my favourite spaces in…

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A year ago I decide to change things and reduce the amount of work I do. Sounds easy? Not for me. Some background. I was a workaholic. Unable not to work. Even when relaxing ‘watching’ TV I’d be doing some kind of work. I’ve been this way since I was 14 or 15. I chose three GCSEs that featured heavy coursework. Two design subjects and IT and spent ridiculous amounts of time working on these projects taking them beyond what was required for GSCE. At A-level This continued. Two of my four A-levels had a heavy coursework requirement. Doing a Design degree probably sealed my long term fate. So moving into a job that offers a constant stream of project work was never going to end well. I love working on projects and get bored and distracted when not doing project work. I know at times in my time in…

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It’s that time of year when the first main bulk of assessments are happening and as always this throws up some interesting practices. First, exams were last week. But for many students they have only just handed in their first big assessment, so are going into an exam without any real feedback. This unfortunately is a product of the Semesterisation of the curriculum. I won’t go into how pedagogically inappropriate it is to compartmentalise all aspects of a course into equally weighted credit blocks, that’s a blog in it’s own right. But for you to assess anything of any serious weight, you need to have taught enough of the course before you can assess students. So if your subject requires a student to demonstrate some deep knowledge and understanding then small-scale continuous assessment is probably inappropriate and you’re going to have to assess through a project or essay. But for me, it is wrong…

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