May 10

Day 6 / A song that reminds you of somewhere / Firmament Vacation – The Soundtrack Of Our Lives

Picture the scene. It’s about 11.30am. standing in front of a flooded, windswept Other stage at Glastonbury in June 1998 (although the weather was closer to November), brain flooded with cheap speed and unknown halucinogens from the night before. This is the first band on, hardly possible and playing before a tiny battered audience mired in mud. And then this hits, the lyrics talking about aliens, and the rest. I remember where I was when my mind was blown, yes sir.

May 10

Day 5 / A song that reminds you of someone / Come On Eileen – Dexys Midnight Runners

This reminds me of my dad. It was released in the summer 1982 (so I’d be 8 years old) and I recall being at my nans and this song being on heavy radio play. I think my mum either hated it or had another favourite at the time and my dad was certain it was going to number one – they may even have had a little wager between them as it going to number one!

It did, and we had the album later that summer – I think bought with the winnings from the bet. Ah, I may have got all that wrong – I’ll have to ask my dad – but even if the story is wrong this song still reminds me of him.

May 10

Day 4 / A song that makes you sad / Breathe Me – Sia

Totally shivers, and I make no apologies for adding this after it was used on the ending on Six Feet Under. I loved that TV show, lots of fun and lots of emotion (for a TV show) and had a great set of characters. This tune swelled on the end sequence showing Claire riding off into the sunset of possible futures. Cheesy, sure, but cheesy magic. Thanks.

(The original is a bit over played (and banned from embedding by record company idiocy so here’s a very lovely Ulrich Schnauss remix)

May 10

Day 3 / A song that makes you happy / Hit – The Wannadies

How can you not smile at this two minute twentytwo second chunk of teenage sunshine? It distills the excitement and anticipation of Friday nights out, when anything can happen and waking up next to someone new and shiny on a Saturday morning is a distinct delicious possibility.

I feel old now.

May 10

Day 2 / Your Least Favourite Song / Touch Me – The Doors

I vaguely like little bits of the Doors (Light My Fire is alright I suppose) and quite enjoyed the film with Val Kilmer, but never really saw the appeal of most of the music. And this in particular – for some reason this song just wrinkles me all wrong, the mixed up bits of tempo – slow, fast, slow, fast just makes me hate the drugged up hippie prince. You’d have to be pretty fucked up to dance to this remotely well at least.

May 10

Day 1 / Your Favourite Song / True Faith – New Order

This changes, and when I was younger was whatever I was into that week. Now with the benefit of time, age and a hint of LastFm I’ve narrowed it down to one.

True Faith – New Order

I remember seeing it, with the video, on the TV in 1987. No doubt it was the Chart Show or maybe even something specifically Granada where Tony Wilson was a regular TV face, presenting the local news. I didn’t know he was also owner of Factory records and all that at the time. I’d liked Blue Monday but this was something else.

It hit me between the eyes stomping along (echoes of glitterbeat?) demanding your complete attention right through the enigmatic verse, throbbing bassline, stardust sprinkled chorus, extended middle eight and fading out with Hooky playing all over the upper ranges. Magnificent, a song that puts a bounce in your step, puffs out your chest and makes you think, just for a few minutes, that anything is possible.

That’s my favourite song.

Apr 10

Week 483

The week just passed in a blur of events. We reviewed our prototype, which may be held in a little too much reverence. I see why – we aren’t a technology company, doing things like this looks risky or weird. It might have been better to spin it in music-speak, something like “working out some riffs” or “cutting a 4 track demo” perhaps. Anyway, it needs some changes, and additions, which will mostly be flat photoshop mockups pasted into ‘dumb’ pages I think. It was quite a chunk of work, and I didn’t finish until Sunday evening.

Meanwhile, a volcano erupted and clogged our skies with ash stopping flights. No problem thought I, not going anywhere. I’d ordered a brand new Macbook Pro on Tuesday but a little dealy wasn’t a problem. And then my current laptop went *poof* and properly died. Arrgh! Suddenly the efficencies of mass transit and globalisation becomes quite important.

It’s now Monday evening finishing this post, still no sign of where UPS may actually have my package (maybe Cologne, maybe Shanghai) and tentative signs of flights resuming. Getting work done if fine (ancient G5 tower to the rescue) but I’m a lot less portable. Work is at a very specific desk.  Laptops, I realise, are ace.

Mar 10

Week 478

I didn’t do a weeknote last week. It got to Friday and I was a blank: weeknote block. Last week we had a big release, the second with an ‘extra feature’ product so I should have plenty to talk about except… except I don’t. Because we didn’t do it. It was a special case, with much more work than usual handled by the artist and their own design agency. We only saw it the day of release and while it wasn’t terrible by any means, it was a bit disappointing. Good album tho, so hey.

This week has been revisiting early work. Recording our process doing a couple of ‘lite’ products with third-parties seemed like a good idea, so I’ve been drawing up wireframes and layout advice for future product teams to shortcut what worked for us.

I’m also revisiting the iconography I quickly put together at the start of the project. We’ve had a little feedback now, and spending a bit longer drawing a better “suite” of icons seems like good time spent ahead of our upcoming dev/fort powered prototype week.

More about that, another time, but I’m quite excited about it.

Mar 10

Week 476

A good week, i think, but this is late posted. Product dev churns onwards, I’m up to other projects too so those took priority this week a bit.

It’s simple wireframing of standardised ‘bricks’ (chunks of content, navigation elements, components, plugins, widgets, whatever) to use on a wide range of websites built using WordPress. Not dull exactly, but just stuff that needs doing.

On Thursday I attended the Music 4.5 conference, which was a mashup of music biz and tech startups. Full coverage here. It was really good, decent line up and well organised. Techcrunch had a Pitch segment there, which was interesting.

One startup in particular caught my eye, Decibel who are aiming to create a metadata service, offering much more depth than the standard Gracenote artist/genre/year/album dataset. A big undertaking, but properly researched, maintained and API’d could be extremely useful to build advanced discovery services and connective tissue for music content.

Feb 10

Week 473

Not the usual weeknote this week, seeing as I’ve only been able to do a couple of days of work. Monday was a hospital visit to check up following my heart valve replacement at the end of 2008. All is good, with dramatic remodeling of my heart so far resulting in a halving of the size of my distorted right ventricle. So yay that.

Wednesday and thursday not so great, some noro-type stomach bug I guess – short but unpleasant, hey ho.

So inbetween those things I’ve been looking at the amazing work and possibilities opened up for us on our future products by Processing.js which by all accounts is a marvel. More here http://processingjs.org

Considering we want to mash up high-end music experiences with all sorts of metadata, this might be a very tasty visual layer to add a degree of richness. Plus being completely open we can have a kind of developer API to all our products right off the bat. Awesome, awesome stuff.

Hoping next week is a bit more normal – I’m actually in London overnight Thursday 18th too, so it might be nice to catch up with some people in the hoxton ‘hood.