Metaphorical warehouses

Despite not being in education, or having children in education, I still enjoy the rhythm of the academic year. It seems much better to end a year with a long summer holiday (in the northern hemisphere at least) rather than a brief cold Christmas break. So this end-of-year seems a good opportunity to summarise what I’ve been up to for the past twelve months or so.

Last summer I got some work as a direct result of making Today’s Guardian. “They” all say that you should do things you’re interested in and the work will follow but I think this is the first time it’s happened to me, at least so directly.

I spent a little while working on a demo of a service from Daylife in New York. They were nice, the project went well, it was interesting, and something derived from it might still become public, but not yet.

There was also a while last summer when it looked like I might end up in San Francisco for a bit, at least a few weeks or months, but those possibilities drifted away like the city’s fog (or something).

Maybe the next best thing was to do some work for a company that was in California, and I spent much of the next few months, through to early this year, doing quite a bit of work for Google. I was brainstorming, wireframing and refining user-interface ideas for an in-development service. The work was both difficult and interesting, and working with a team eight hours away was a bit of a challenge (for me) at times. The product was sometimes tricky to pin down, but I think we made good progress. I’m not sure when (or if; I’ve no what percentage of Google’s in-development ideas make it to the wider world) it’ll become public but I hope it does.

Following Google, I’ve spent much of the past few months coding (PHP and JavaScript, geeks) on a project for Hide&Seek. That was finally wrapped up last week and although I’m still too close to the behind-the-scenes details to see it with fresh eyes it should be a lovely, and hopefully thought-provoking, experience when it launches.

During gaps in that project I worked with some of the Really Interesting Group (RIG) chaps on a fun project about which, at this stage, I must remain vague. It concerns archives and the internet and history. It will probably go live at, er, some point.

All these projects have one thing in common: none of them have yet seen the light of day. This is a frustrating variation on the “always be shipping” mantra. I’ve shipped but, currently, everything’s stuck in metaphorical warehouses. When you rely on your work being public to demonstrate what you can do, what you’re interested in or, even, that you’re simply still working, it’s been a trying year in that respect.

Right now I’m part-way through another project with the RIG team, for a nice client who’s doing something interesting. I’ve been putting my slowly-learned Django skills to use and, if all goes well, hopefully everything will come together, publicly, sometime after the start of the next school year.

So that’s been my 2010/11 academic year. I’ve no idea what’s next.

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25 Jul 2011 at Twitter

  • 8:22pm: @alexbalfour2012 Please report back!
  • 4:03pm: @tomcoates @megp But I thought the problem was that they *had* closed accounts by people who were using the names they’re most known by?
  • 2:14pm: @matlock I’m there!
  • 1:25pm: @kevmoss *awkward silence* *embarrassment* *attempt to brush it off as error* *further pause* Thanks!
  • 1:13pm: @badzelda I missed out on #dConstruct tickets too. Thinking of going down on the day for the cafe/pub/beach track instead.
  • 9:56am: I can only assume I’m being added to many, many Google+ circles called “People I don’t know at all”.
  • 6:55am: *giggle* ‘Vince Cable, broke the unwritten rule of non-intervention … by describing diehard Republicans as “nutters”.’