Crackunit gets a tidy up

It was time for a tidy-up. My blog template was starting to break in places. And I’ve found that I was writing longer posts. Which may or may not be a good thing depending on your point of view. But it meant that the big type was getting a bit tiresome. So it was time for a redesign. Plus I’ve added a ‘recent posts’ and ‘recent comments’ bit in the sidebar.

Hope you like it.


Oh yes, I’m on holiday. Sorry forgot to say.

I’m in Thailand and I vowed I wouldn’t go near a computer for 2 weeks, but there was just one little tiny thing that I needed to use the internet for… That’s my resolution blown then.

Back soon x

One thousand paintings

1000 paintings screengrabI reckon this will be big…

Appears incredibly simple at first but makes an interesting statement about both supply and demand and the nature of limited edition things. You might have to have a play in order to see the simplicity and beauty of it.

One thousand paintings ( 1000 numbers = 1000 paintings )

I got 879 (my favourite number, almost) for a bargain price ;-)

Google Nostalgia Maps

I had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon coffee with Russell Davies on Friday. We talked about lots of really interesting things.

Strangely the thing that I came away with most was a weird kind of nostalgia for the village where I grew up.

I’ve only met a couple of people in my adult life who actually know where I grew up. I normally have to say, do you know Birmingham? Do you know Nottingham? (Most people sort of say yes to both, but you can tell they don’t really know where either of them are – and why should they). Anyway, I grew up in a tiny village called Barton-under-Needwood, and it’s not really very close to anything.

But, not only did Russell know the exact village where I grew up, he’d been to one of the pubs there. And being an fellow East Midlander was familiiar with being called ‘duck’ and all those other strange things I’d not considered for ages. I’ve not been back there for nearly 15 years.

So yesterday I thought I’d go back there. Not in reality, but via the teleportational qualities of Google Maps. So I put in the name of the village. And got a nice map. Then I refined it down to the last postcode I could remember living at.

On the satelite view I could see my house at the end of the row of terraced houses. And I could see the cow field where me and my brother used to play. Then I started playing around, zooming out, looking at street names. And I started to remember other things, like the route of my morning paper round.

Then I remembered something I’d seen on Flickr a while ago: Memorymaps.

Memorymaps are an interesting mash-up between Google Maps and Flickr. People screengrab a meaningful map on Google, then they annotate them with memories, so when you move your mouse over the map you can see points of personal interest. OK, so it’s quite self indulgent. But at the same time I quite liked it as an idea: so I made my own.

Barton Under Needwood Memory Map

Click to view.

Bridging Real and Virtual Money

MAKE: Blog: The Future of Credit Cards – Earning virtual currency for spending in the real world & other world bridging. (Now there’s a snappy link!)

Interesting article on the rise of virtual currencies and the ways that the lines between virtual and real money may soon start to blur.

Busy not blogging

I’m faced with a daily paradox at the moment: the busier I get (sometimes doing quite interesting stuff) the less time I find that I have to blog about it. I need to get better at putting aside a few minutes a day to keep the site up to date. Or maybe I need to consider a slightly new format for the blog where I can say more in less words? Here’s a few things I’ve done in the last 2 weeks of quiet blog time:

  1. Been working with Zopa. Professionally I’m working with Zopa which is one of the most interesting projects I’ve ever had the pleasure to work on. I’m finding it fascinating and incredibly taxing in equal measures. Taking a inherently simple proposition (which has very very complex underpinnings) and making it work from both a product and a communication point of view. It’s one of the first things I’ve done recently where our work touches so much of their business. If you’ve not heard of Zopa, go check it out.
  2. Been taking swimming lessons. I’ve never been a good swimmer, but always wanted to be better. I read about a method of teaching swimming that uses principles from the Alexander Technique, so I resolved that I’d find out more about The Art of Swimming using the Shaw Method. I did. I signed up, and I’m finding it absolutely amazing. I’ll talk more when I’m finished my lessons.
  3. Had a very interesting meeting with MySpace. I’ve talked a lot on here about MySpace, and I’m going to talk some more in the next day or two, but it was great to meet some people who are actually involved in the business. I still have some reservations about what they’re doing, but there’s undoubtedly some very interesting things we can all learn…
  4. Had a long weekend of going out to parties with old friends. Behaved like an idiot 10 years younger than I am (and had a great time). Feel like an old man now. Interesting to see how 24-hour licensing now means that you can essentially go clubbing around the clock in parts of London now, and people do, and they quite often look like a mess. I’ll say no more.

Anyone got any tips on how to stay blogging during times of stress and heavy workload?

NSPCC – Dream Auction

NSPCC Dream AuctionHere’s a little (in size) project Poke have done for the NSPCC. The NSPCC Dream Auction is aiming to raise a huge amount of money to help to end cruelty to children. There’s a number of ways to get involved, from a huge gala auction at the Royal Albert Hall (that I’m sure I won’t get an invite to), 1000s of eBay lots (which I’m sure I can bid on) through to the sale of rather fetching mobile phone lanyards.

I’m going to the US of A

I might not post for a day or two (like that’s unusual!), because I’m going to New York to help judge the OneShow awards. It’s all a bit exciting for me. TTFN.