Archive for the 'General' Category

That web-geek conference in Brighton

d.Construct 2006

I don’t know about you, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s successfully messed up my body clock but I don’t think I can blame anyone but myself for that…

So, I arrived in Brighton on Thursday night after a surprisingly trouble-free train journey. After checking into the hotel, I wandered up the road to Heist for the pre-conference social gathering. I met some new people, caught up with the usual suspects and generally had a good time. We finished up at a random pub on the sea-front at about 3 a.m.

Just under five hours later, my alarm went off. I staggered downstairs where I self-served myself the biggest breakfast of all time, before wandering up to the Corn Exchange, venue for the conference. A bit of fresh air did me the world of good, so I was feeling surprisingly wide awake by the time I got there. I grabbed the freebies, downed some coffee and got chatting to some more of the peeps before we were called into the auditorium.

The conference itself was ace. We had talks from Jeff Barr, Simon Willison & Paul Hammond, Jeremy Keith (twice!), Aral Balkan, Derek Featherstone, Thomas Vander Wal and Jeff Veen. Various other attendees around the internet have dissected each of the sessions so I won’t go into detail.

Obviously it wasn’t all perfect. Biggest problem for me was the lack of leg-room in the auditorium. Maybe it’s just my bad knees?

The good stuff made up for that though. Aral’s “Mash my Flex up” presented Flash to me in a whole new light. Derek Featherstone came up with a series of gotchas and examples of deeply inaccessible coding on some very high profile sites (hello Google Calendar). Finally, Jeff Veen stole the show (as per usual). It was one of his inspirational tour-de-force talks, leaving most of the audience thinking “Yeah, this stuff is ace! Let’s go and build it, right now!”

Which of course we didn’t. After running off to drop off various laptops, bags and miscellaneous freebies off at numerous hotels around Brighton, we all congregated at The Terraces for the Snipperoo sponsored after-party. Alas, I missed out on the free-bar (which ran out in about ten minutes flat). That place closed somewhat earlier than billed, so a bunch of us went-a-wandering, eventually ending up in Sidewinder. Again, I finally crawled into bed shortly after 3 a.m.

Just under five hours later, my alarm went off. I staggered downstairs where I self-served myself the second-biggest breakfast of all time, before checking out and wandering up to the station. After a surprisingly trouble-free train journey, I got home to find that I’d lost my house-keys and ended up climbing in a window. Utter genius. Where did they turn up? Bottom of my wash-bag. Go figure…

Of course one of the best things about the whole conference was the backnetwork. I didn’t have to collect business cards from everybody I met. Instead I logged on, added them to my network (all done with XFN) et voila! I have their contact details. What’s more, it picks up people’s blog posts that mention , along with any Flickr photos tagged with dconstruct06. Madgex, that was an inspired idea!

“Are you OK?”

I looked up at her with what must have been a look of blind panic across my face. I had absolutely no idea where I was, what the hell was going on, or indeed who she was. Why is everything blurry?

Mr Hodgson? Are you OK?
Erm… wha?

I can see now. Oh, hang on. I know this place. You’re a nurse aren’t you?

Um, I think I must have passed out.

You see, about five minutes earlier, they’d taken that fetching blue plaster off of my hand (mmm, yellow and smelly) and handed me a leaflet explaining what might happen. The first thing in there?

You may find you feel faint or nauseous — don’t be alarmed — this is because your limb has been in a cast for some time.

I wandered out into the waiting room, then almost immediately got called into another room to wait for the doctor to get around to me. So I sat down to wait for a while. Next thing I know, I’m looking up at the nurse, wondering what the hell was happening. They moved me onto the adjacent bed and put an oxygen mask on my face.

I was feeling relatively normal after about ten minutes, so the doctor came back. He said it’d continue to hurt for a while (he’s right, it does) because I haven’t used it for weeks. No bat or raquet sports, pneumatic drills or power-tools for the time being. Jogging or swimming is fine though (boring!). Come back in a couple of weeks for a check-up.

I asked about mountain biking and he said I ought not to for a little while — but my commute on the road ought to be OK. That amused me, given the state of Cheltenham’s roads. I may also have neglected to mention I have a tendency to hoon off speed bumps and and down flights of stairs en-route to work. I might have a spin on the Cove tomorrow and see how it feels.

Oh, I still appear to be operating left-handed. What gives?

A fetching shade of blue

This is what happens when you fall off your mountain bike.

So I went to see the fracture clinic today.

I explained to the doctor how it happened, obviously telling the whole story, because I’m starting to feel a bit silly every time I say “I fell off my mountain bike“. He took a look at the x-rays and frowned. “Hmmm” he said, before going to get the other doctor.

Ooooh-kaaay then. What the hell does that mean? I’ll just sit here and worry for a while then.

They returned and had a short dicussion before deciding that they didn’t need to operate after all. “We’d like to, but only because it’s more fun. These heal up perfectly well in the vast majority of cases.”


So they gave me this shiny blue plaster. I go back in three weeks to have the plaster removed and a bit of physio on my fingers. Hopefully it’ll all be fine…

Later on, at work, Maxine commented that it looked rather festive. Maybe I should have asked for red?

Proper broken!

Well, my busted hand didn’t seem to be getting any better, so I took a trip down to casualty to see what they thought. Obviously I was armed with stories from friends along the lines of Oh, there isn’t much they can do, they’ll just strap your fingers together or something.

Some hours later, I emerged with a cast from my fingers most of the way up to my elbow. Great. Still, the break looked ace on the x-ray. I’ve snapped the outermost metacarpal (I think) good and proper.

It’ll be interesting to see how I cope with work for the next few weeks. I guess I’ll have to become ambidextrous with the mouse…

Sometimes it comes out of nowhere

I’d been fighting with my own imagination all day. I was trying to get my head in the right place to design something and it just wasn’t happening. Photoshop was sat there, wide open, but nothing was happening.

I spent some time answering people’s questions on the SitePoint forums. I doodled for a bit. I looked at the various CSS gallery sites. I even read A List Apart’s stunningly well timed new article, Designing Through the Storm to no avail. I read through some of my RSS feeds but there was nothing that grabbed me.

It just wasn’t happening. My mind was in the wrong place.

I stared at the blank canvas in Photoshop. I stuck our corporate logo on there and suddenly it wasn’t quite so blank anymore. Now, what if I was to run the nav down there this time…?

The next time I looked up it was 7 p.m. and everybody else had left the office. I had the beginnings of a nice mock-up in front of me now though. That icon looks out of place there, though… nope, leave it, the cleaners have started hoovering, time to get out.

I bet when tomorrow rolls around I’ll have lost the thread again.

Happy Birthday to… me!

Today I reach the grand old age of 28. Feel free to buy me cakes and other assorted gifts (mmm, subtle).

Apparently, I share my birthday with John Leguizamo (Spawn, Ice Age), Willem Dafoe (Platoon, Spider Man), Don Henley (The Eagles), Gustav Hertz (Nobel-prize winning physicist) and Rev. William Archibald Spooner (invented “Spoonerisms”). Exciting, huh?

A question for you

What goes Peyow! Duga-duga-duga-duga-duga-duga-duga-duga?


Just a quick note to recommend Arirang. It’s a Korean BBQ restaurant on Barrack Street – complete with the barbecue in the middle of the table. They bring out the meat and you cook it yourself, before eating it out of a lettuce leaf (as if it were a tortilla). Not something you see everyday and as a bonus, the food’s really good aswell. The puddings get a special mention too – my “peach fantasia” was a replica peach made from chocolate, ice cream and a fererro rocher as the stone (I dare you to make the “really spoiling us” gag). Brilliant.

Yes, that means I’m in Perth, Australia and yes, I’m feeling smug. G’night mate.