First stop on our summer holiday was Sunnyvale. The first thing to do in silicon valley – the Computer History Museum. So much historical computer info and hardware all housed in Silicon Graphics’s old headquarters.
After the CHM we visited ex-colleague Aidan at his new workplace – one of the many Apple campuses dotted around. He’s in Wolfe, where marketing happens, and we also peeked at new, inpenetrable Apple Park. Impressive and inspiring places to work, nice food, and overly carbonated water on tap!
I’ve finally recovered from the Automattic Grand Meetup – took me a while this year, spent a few days in nomad-working in Cocoa Beach, and found myself sick for quite a few days. One reason it took so long to recover was because the meetup was totally amazing!
The keynote speakers this year were consistently fantastic. Each one made me look at the world slightly differently – very thought-provoking. Here are some memorable moments 🙂
Alexander Rose of theLong Now Foundation
I’d heard about the Long Now Foundation, but never really looked past the surface. At face value, it’s a compelling idea – how can we think and operate on timescales larger than our experience?
The work they are actually doing is delightfully idiosyncratic, and generally inspiring engineering (of the mechanical variety). I learned a lot about exactly what they mean by “long now clock”, and lots of fascinating details about what they are building.
Stephen Wolfram was an intense experience! He casually walked us through a bunch of big ideas, noodling in his interactive, natural-language based system for so-called “computational essays”.
His way of working really resonated with me – this seems like an important part of the next wave of computing. It really was like science fiction unfolding on stage. The Wolfram language allows you to jot down questions in a much more precise format. The system has types & semantics so that it really understands the places, concepts and numbers that you type, and it has “knowledge” – it’s connected to many vast data sources.
What I found compelling about this is its expressive and communicative power. When we use natural language, there’s always a “translation gap” – the symbols in the language are an approximation for what we mean. Can we develop a more precise way to communicate? Could such a system provide a common, standard set of tools for white papers or public policy development?
Scott Berkun presented a very a holistic view of design. He’s currently working on a new book – refreshing to have a talk not selling a book, but workshopping a book that’s in progress!
Everything is design, everything is designed, everyone is a designer. Often the nominal “designer” is working within constraints that they don’t control, and the “true” designer might be a producer, a mayor, a lobbyist, etc.
I really appreciated the “call to arms” in Scott’s talk. How can we ask questions and peel the layers back to understand what patterns and agents are really designing the experiences, cities, and products that we all use every day? Get involved here!
I spoke at WordCamp Brisbane last weekend – my first WordCamp! I chose Brisbane as it seems like the strongest community in my part of the world. It didn’t disappoint – the 2019 event broke records as the biggest #WCBNE ever!
For my talk topic, I wanted to shine a light on all the work going into the Gutenberg project. This code base powers the block editor in WordPress, but there’s so much potential here.
A little while ago we had some work done on our house to make it better.
We swapped the windowless, dank bathroom out to the large sun-filled laundry (with a vaulted/angled ceiling), extended the hallway to the back of the house, and added a toothbrush nook.
Next to our kitchen there was a nice chunk of space, with a view out to the back yard (and forthcoming deck). I was really keen on turning this into a dining booth – a bit like a cafe/diner booth, but a bit bigger.
So I borrowed a circular saw, started measuring, and built it!
In 2014 the first Vogel Street Party happened in the warehouse precinct in Dunedin. The reason for the party was to celebrate the local community making things happen & the general rejuvenation of the area.
It was incredible!
From 3pm to 10pm on Saturday the 18th of Oct 2014:
the street was closed to traffic
street food vendors sold delicious wares
a huge range of activities for young and old were held
a HUGE LED wall screen showed animation, video and digital art
musicians performed over the afternoon
there was an upcycled street-fashion show
DJs played into the evening
Also the party coincided with the Dunedin Street Art Festival. Local and international artists transformed walls around the area into vibrant pieces of art.
A strong group of volunteers made this happen. I got myself involved from day one and put a lot of energy into the website, booking the DJs, as well as curating & producing the digital screen content.
I also had the privilege of performing – DJing and triggering custom synchronised animations on the big screen.
A huge thanks to everyone who contributed to the event, and the sponsors who backed us!
This post was originally posted in 2014; since then there have been more Vogel Street Parties every year (with a hiatus in 2018), each one getting bigger and better! See you at the next one 🙂