Note to Self

The much-beloved last.fm expose a “top albums” feed (here) that provides amazon URLs to images. It doesn’t change enough to be worth tying directly in to my weekly “top ten” list on ala.sda.ir but it might be a useful data source, to then build a personal weekly top ten albums.

I’m thinking about this because I’ve conculded that tracks doesn’t work well enough to be interesting, since I tend to listen to new albums two or three times in a row per day for several days on the trot, so for example, last weeks top 10 was entirely made up of Dresen Dolls, despite the fact the an album chart would have been a more comprehensive sampler of my listening habits.

(Edit: Damn. Their “top tracks” feed doesn’t carry album data, so matching the two isn’t currently feasibly. Although I note they’ve got a weekly top albums feed on their web services pages, although it doesn’t currently hold data…)

This entry was originally published at my workblog.

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The Value Of Professionals

Blowing the trumpet one last time for work for at Sanctuary, and further proof that anyone going out-of-house there (as happens all too often) is on the bad crack:

Fan response to the new Robert Plant site (and in it’s own thread here) – starts about halfway down the page, and is almost uniformly positive. I take a certain amount of pleasure in the fact that they’re willing to believe that elementary things like the mailing list might actually work now (because I know they will) where they didn’t before.

And as I should have said last time, while I’m personally proud of the functionality (some of it a lot tricker than it looks, since the CMS has to be operable by the barely-skilled), the credit for the thing looking so bastard pretty should of course go to the estimable Mr Clandillon.

So, in summary: we’re bloody great, and should be given all the prizes and the adulation of your women.

This entry was originally published at my workblog.

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Atomic Batteries To Power!

As some of you may know, today is my last day working at [crisis-hit/ailing/beleaguered] (delete as appropriate) Sanctuary Group after 15 months with this. With about 15 minutes to go before I leave, the first website I’ve worked on for them (of any size – I don’t count the wee puff piece three page sites for individual albums and the like) has just gone live.

Robert Plant (Grand Wizardy Bastard and Lord of Elves) has just got a new website. It’s taken 15 months, and in the process has cost him something like 23 grand. It might interest you to know that our quote for it, when we were asked about it, two weeks after I got here, was about 8 grand. But his management went with other people, who did the job badly (and charged for it), then had to come back to us to get it done again. They also hired an outside animator for the flash bits of the new site I’ve just linked to, and hard to pay him almost as much as the rest of the site cost, just for the animated bits, because they didn’t agree an up-front cost with him, and so just got charged at day rate.

Every other major project (about four of them) I have worked on for Sanctuary has got bogged down in the internal politics of the company, and has yet to go live.

So, let’s recap: in a year, I have added one URL to my CV. Everything else was held up by office politics. The one URL I have added cost nearly three times as much as it should have because of management incompetence. I could use my time here to write a “how not to deal with new media” book. This is doubly ironic, as the new media team at Sanctuary are world-class – they’re seriously good and switched on people, who are just hampered by the fact that they’re in service to idiots who fear change, and who won’t take risks or in some cases, decisions.

Thank god I’m going back to agency work, where people actually get things done.

This entry was originally published at my workblog.

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Contact

Where you can find me on-line this year:

Words:
alasdair.biz – my workblog. New media, technology, and general digital culture shit, plus the odd link I just think is funny. Updated most weekdays. LJ feed available at als_workblog. RSS feed at http://www.alasdair.biz/feed.
black-ink.org – short fictions. Only updated a few times a year, when I can’t get a thought to sod off without writing it down. Every so often, I promised myself I’ll do more, but I never seem to. Once I get the LJ feed reconnected, it’ll be at black_ink_feed. RSS feed at http://www.black-ink.org/feed.
alasdair.livejournal.com – personal life, hobbies, random crap, social interaction. RSS feed at http://alasdair.livejournal.com/data/rss.

Pictures:
Electricana – my main photoblog. An image or two most weeks, assuming I’ve had time to take the camera somewhere. RSS feed at http://electricana.livejournal.com/data/rss.
Flickr – the flickr account I use to hold images/power the photoblog. It gets a few more photos, if I’ve put a set up, and generally has a bit more organisation, but lacks the commentary/decent comments functionality of the LJ version. RSS feed at http://www.flickr.com/services/feeds/photos_public.gne?id=19821795@N00&format=rss_200.
Electricana.org – my portfolio site. Cherry picked images (and not many of them) from my photoblog, the ones I really feel represent the best of my photo work. RSS feed at http://www.electricana.org/index.php?x=rss.

Other:
last.fm – my last.fm account. Just in case anyone cares what I’ve been listening to lately.
upcoming.org – (some of) my social diary. Things I am (thinking of) doing. Gigs, shows, general stuff.

I’m in the process of building one website that’ll bring a lot of this together in one place, although I can’t think of a good domain name at the moment. Anyone got any suggestions?

This entry was originally published at my workblog.

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Beaten to it

But I supposed I can feel slightly relieved. I’ve mentioned The Programming Project That Will Not Die a couple of times, I think, but I’ve just found a site that does almost exactly what TPPTWND was planned to do. It’s Upcoming.org.

I still think that TPPTWND I’ve still got the project to complete, but I’m going to scale it back like a bastard now, and focus in some of the other interesting bits about the site, rather than building it as a huge social app for now.

This entry was originally published at my workblog.

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Personal productivity

I’m slowly trying to teach myself to be organised and productive. To those of you who have seen the state of my room, and are now laughing like drains, I can only say a) I said slowly, b) that’s mostly personal detritus, and c) it’s on my to-do list, it’d just not a very high priority.

However, I’ve just turned up 43 Folders, which might be useful.

Following on from this: Workhappy merits looking at later, as does the blog Technology and the Social, I’ve been meaning to link kottke.org up for a bit, despite the fact that you’re all reading it already, and I should spend a bit of time with Lifehacker, and or a purely personal basis I want to take time to read DIY photography on the cheap.

But first, I should probably tidy my room.

This entry was originally published at my workblog.

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Work planning

So, having thought about Mr Coates definition of social software a bit, and had it clatter about in my head with another project, I spent some of the weekend getting started on the resultant idea. Which would be fine, but I seem to be setting myself up for a staggering amount of work.

So, naturally, this seems like a good time to get stuck into a new language. I’m going to build the thing in Ruby, and specifically with this Rails framework all the cool kids are talking about, so I’m just making a note of a few good tutorials for when I get stuck in – Rolling with Rails part 1 and part 2 look like a good place to start. I’ll add the Rails/Ajax tutorial, too.

Oh, and Really Getting Started With Rails, as well. That should give me enough to be going on with…

This entry was originally published at my workblog.

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On social software

Tom Coates writes as concise a definition of good social software as I’ve seen, and one I want to come back to for Londonlist:

*Every individual should derive value from their contributions
*Every contribution should provide value to their peers as well
*The site or organisation that hosts the service should be able to derive value from the aggregate of the data and should be able to expose that value back to individuals

This entry was originally published at my workblog.

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