dConstruct 09

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments

dConstruct is over for another year and after a quiet week off I am finally catching up with myself.

This year’s event focused on “Designing for Tomorrow”, kicking off with a round of workshops ranging from designing for mobile experiences to hardware hacking with arduino sets. As usual, I don’t really get a chance to spend much time in the workshops but was pleased to see how much people were enjoying them.

I think skipping the pre-party this year helped me keep calm for the morning of the conference. Even the Dome staff were impressed with my level of tranquility! The volunteers pulled off a fantastically smooth registration and set the day off without a hitch. With UX London finishing just a few months before this year’s dConstruct, and with other stresses and strains this summer, I feared that there were bound to be things I’d missed. Fortunately if there were, they were so easily dealt with that I didn’t notice. As with all events, there are certain issues you can prepare for and some that you don’t necessarily expect; we had more of the former than the latter which makes my stress load much lighter.

I missed a couple of talks this year, so will eagerly await the podcasts to catch up. It was good to see so much discussion around the topics throughout the day and as I obviously keep an eye on Twitter, to see these discussions progressing after the event. To see attendees inspired and taking experiences home with them shows that the conference achieves what we hope for, to give something back to the community.

Now I have a small conference break and am back to managing the exciting new projects we have coming up, before I start planning for next year’s UX London.


Tuesday, August 11th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Every so often something happens that will change your future; the plans that you had set and the outlook you had.  Sometimes it is a wonderous thing, and sometimes painful and difficult.

Either way, adjustments must be made.  For the past two weeks I have been making several adjustments, slowly; sometimes with careful thought and sometimes trying hard not to think.  There will be many changes to come and new plans to make; new directions to seek out and new adventures.  No matter what has happened, it’s always difficult not to be excited by the future.

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Work in progress

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

On the 5th Jan, what looked to be the coldest night in a long time with temperatures dropping to -4 I think, we bravely welcome the plumbers into our home to rip out the bathroom and central heating.  So began two weeks of the outside toilet, huddling around fan heaters and spending more time at the gym than I have for a while (for the showers, you understand).  Fortunately, four days later we were graced with new central heating, which was nice.  It certainly helped us to cope with the remaining week and a half.

sink Two weeks on and we now finally have a working bathroom.  Although not finished, we have the essentials plumbed in and a particularly splendid bath which makes the entire experience worthwhile.  (It was certainly an *experience*!)  It has been a pretty ghastly couple of weeks.  I expected to find the lack of heating the biggest problem, but being squished into about a square foot of free sofa space and being surrounded by dust, dirt and a bathroom suite really did get to me.

We did the sensible thing and stayed in a hotel for the first weekend.  After a root around we decided on the Lansdowne Place Hotel, over on the Hove side of town.  It was nice (it had a bath!) and fairly reasonable for a mid-range hotel in Brighton.  There were a couple of things which let it down, but to be honest the hot running water put these into perspective for me and breakfast in bed certainly helped.

It’s odd staying in a hotel in your home town.  You’re away from home and yet there you are, bang in the middle of where you spend every day.  Walking into town, I actually looked around me rather than glazing over and wandering on auto pilot.  It was nice to walk “home” along the seafront rather than strolling in the opposite direction as usual.  It made me realise that ever since moving to Brighton eleven years ago, I have always lived in the same area.  It was refreshing to see Brighton from a different angle for a change.

A brief look back

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009 | sophie, Uncategorized | No Comments

I was sitting on a very small area of sofa last night, surrounded by tools and dust and desperately trying to catch all the heat from the fan heater; having a good old think back over 2008.

My main feeling was that 2008 was a year of adjustment.  May was my first Clearleft birthday, and I noticed that I was really starting to feel comfortable in my new career and had adjusted to the new stresses and strains of project management and conference production.  Come August it was time to move and relocate the cats – 2008’s major adjustment.  The amalgamation of stuff has been a long winded affair, there’s still a little of my stuff back at the flat, but the majority has now been integrated into Rosehill.  This means I feel a lot more settled now, rather than a half-guest-hybrid as I did on occasion in the first months. The cats of course, are another matter and one I want to write about more deeply in another post.  A fragile arrangement has come about where Horace & Monty rule the upstairs and Zack & Zeke the sitting room.  There are occasional scuffles and sorties into the opposition’s territory but on the whole they are much more settled now.  My current adjustment is dealing with the dust, lack of hot water and toilet and the general disarray in the house whilst the new bathroom is fitted.  Boy will I be pleased when that’s finished!

I noticed I travelled far less in 2008 – the fantastic Lift in Geneva in February and then off to Greece and Halkidiki in September – was a considerable drop from 2007.  I am looking forward to heading back to the States and SXSW in March though and would love to head back to Black Rock City.  Oddly, I’ve missed airports.  (Yeah, I know, that is weird!)

I don’t really have any resolutions for 2009 but there are things I’d certainly like to do more of.  And of course, there’s that whole “jumping out of a plane before I’m 30!” thing – but more on that another day.


New Year, new conference

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009 | clearleft | No Comments

The Christmas break was lovely, well apart from the flu, but now I’m back in the office and starting to prepare for UXLondon.  We launched the tickets on Friday, and I’ve been happily watching the invoice requests roll into my inbox ever since.

There’s going to be lots to organise in the run up to June, so I’m starting to plan for this now.  Fortunately last year’s dConstruct doesn’t seem too long ago and so I don’t feel there’s a huge amount to remind myself of before I get stuck in.

They are both very different conferences, so I’m looking forward to seeing how UXLondon differs in terms of organisation.  There’s the obvious distance issue – London rather than just around the corner at the Dome.  UXLondon is also aimed at a very different audience, as Andy mentions.  It is really exciting to see it really start to take shape now and I have to say, what a fantastic line up!

On another Clearleft note – we’re looking for an new intern to come and join us.  This will be the third internship we’ve run since summer last year and are finding them really beneficial, as have our interns. Yay!

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