I’m a heavy consumer of RSS feeds. I still find them the best way to organise and consume news. Twitter’s great for many things. But I find I miss too much. RSS acts like a net. It catches all the news that’s I’ve missed during the day. Like many Mac users, I’m a big fan of Reeder. I have it on all my devices. Unfortunately, it’s not yet compatible with alternatives to Google Reeder. So I’m left without a desktop app for my RSS consumption. Feedly’s posted a interesting workaround – create an app from their webpage.

For a change of pace and to see more of the US, for the final leg of my travels around the US, I decided to catch the Amtrak from Austin to Chicago. Train travel in the UK, despite being expensive and occasionally unreliable, is convenient and extensive. Most major towns have a railway station and you can simply walk up on the day and buy a ticket. Train travel doesn’t feel like a luxury and neither does it feel like you’re a second class citizen for not traveling by car or plane. That’s not the case in the US. Train travel is definitely has the air of being a second class form of transport. I find this especially odd as the railroad built the USA. Arriving at Austin’s Amtrak station you could be confused into thinking that you were at the wrong place. A tiny little building next to a…

Read more

It’s fine writing a review of something afterwards. But what did I really thing of Austin and SXSW? My SXSW Storified. [View the story “My SXSW 2013” on Storify]

I wrote a blog article on my music blog about my first visit to a record shop on ‘Record Store Day‘

This month I’ve sponsored two projects, Daniel Greaves’ ‘Mr Plastimime‘ and ‘The Library Cafe, Hackney‘. One’s likely to get funding, the other may miss the target. I really liked the concept of Hackney Cafe as it’s very much a community based project. To put an arts cafe in a deprived area like Hackney with an open library and spaces for small arts events is a worthwhile experiment, especially as much needed local services are cut back due to the recession. Sadly, I think this will miss it’s target. ‘Mr Plastimime‘ indulges one of my guilt pleasures, stop motion animation. Something I’ve loved since I was a child and continue to enjoy. The director’s previous short films have been well received, so I’m sure this new film will be as good. There were two other project that almost got funding. The Vamp, a Bluetooth based speaker amp that allows you to…

Read more

After seeing all the 3D printing stuff at SXSW I want one of these.

I love music and I work in web development so SXSW seems like an ideal mix and two years ago I attended SXSW2011 thinking this would be the case. But as I blogged shortly after I returned, SXSW Interactive left a lot to be desired. It has long stopped being a technical event and now is more concerned with ‘social business’. As I was paying my own way. This left me disappointed with the Interactive strand. But I did enjoy SXSW2011. SXSW Music was good and I discovered that I enjoyed SXSW Film. But one really important factor in my enjoyment was Austin. It’s such a lovely city. So it had to be done again. But this time, I would approach it differently. The plan was to only go to SXSW Interactive sessions if they really looked interesting. I selected the same hotel as in 2011, the Holiday Inn at…

Read more

[View the story “Vegas & San Francisco” on Storify]

For March, I’ve funded ‘This Stool Rocks‘. I think in a decade’s time, it may be possible to buy many of the simple plastic products we use now, (products without electronics in them that don’t need fantastic finishes) as 3D artefacts that are printed at home on 3D printers. The technology is really starting to advance and I think by the end of the decade they will start to reach consumer prices. This will need companies to think of new business models as their simple manufacturing requirements can be met by home users, or at the very least local ‘printing’ companies. So I was struck with this project’s concept of sending the design of the model to a manufacturing company, local to the consumer. Who would then cut out the stool’s pieces. I’m not particularly taken by the stool, but I’m interested to see if they can make a success…

Read more

At University I studied Industrial Design. I loved developing solutions to physical problems. In our final year, we all had to develop a big final year project. Unlike many Industrial Design courses, we produced working prototypes, not just pretty renderings and a mockup. Some of the products developed on our course had the potential to be turned into commercial products (not mine by the way). But for a newly graduated student to exploit their design. To take the step to turn the product into commercial reality, it’s difficult to find the necessary funds. Even taking out patents cost money. So I think that’s why I’m drawn to crowd funding websites such as Kickstarter. It could provide the next generation of young designers with the opportunity to turn some of these ideas in reality. Last year, I funded a number of bands who were trying to get their albums made. I…

Read more