Category Archives: Uncategorised

InfoVis – World data

Are You Really Tall?

An graph where you can enter your birth date, country of birth and gender to compare your height with similar people. Am I really tall? According to this graph: yes.


Olympics 2016: Some key numbers

You can choose how to measure which country actual won the Olympics (and all the subsequent ranks) by number of competitors, medals, participation, efficiency and talent. The example here shows the number of gold medals each nation has won per 100 competitors they sent. By this count Tajikistan won.


Animated population pyramids

Showing the age distribution of eight countries from 1990-2050.


An odd post this one. Relevant to the next post, which (as this is a blog and posts are presented in reverse order, newest first) is probably the post you read before this one.

There was a “creative” agency that I worked at for some years. Full of designers. Commercial artists.

You would think that these people would see art everywhere they go. Have an appreciation of form and structure. I know I do.

Every now and then I take a picture of a very elaborate piece of scaffolding. The shape of the intersecting pieces they make and the depth I think are very interesting. They remind me of an Escher drawing.

However at this workplace – this graphic design workplace – full of graphic artists – I was mocked for my interest in scaffolding. Which I think says more about their lack of imagination (these so-called designers) than me.





Cubic Space Division by M C Escher


Spam and trolls

Spam and trolls are unfortunately part of life on the internet. Spam is bulk messages (like advertising) sent indiscriminately. Trolling is nasty comments, usually about the recipient, with the express intention of upsetting that recipient. Also seemingly indiscriminate.

They have a lot in common. They are indiscriminate. They are unwanted. There are methods for blocking the sender. Even though spam is generated by a program, that program is set up by a human. So ultimately both spam and trolling are totally uncaring about the recipient.

Recently I think I received a combination of the two – the troll spam.

This website, which is build on a WordPress template, receives spam. It has spam filters, so I’m sure there is much I don’t see. But then there are “comments” I get which the spam filters want my opinion on, my approval. As of this post, I have not approved any of them, as they have all been spam.

Much of these comments have just been quoting a small portion of my own post back at me. Not approved.

Many of them are what seem like people soliciting for business, usually saying they could write better posts for me, to help with my traffic. Usually these are written in really bad English with spelling mistakes. Obviously not to be taken seriously. Not approved.

I suppose these two are just an attempt to get a link appear on this website, back to the original poster. They are attempt to generate back-links for someone, and nothing more.

Then there are the ads for SEO. This is proper advertising spam. They seem like that are genuine SEO generation companies. But it’s still spam. Not approved.

Then the other day I got a comment that required my approval, which I thought was the first piece of trolling this website had received (A rite of passage?). I wasn’t go to approve it, but it had piqued my interest. Who had got so angry with me as to write to me and slate the website? The comment came with various bits of meta data, so I decided to investigate if I could find a bit more about the sender.

Disappointingly, it turned out to come from the same places the other spam had come. It wasn’t a troll, it was just spam. It was another attempt to get some back-links to a totally irrelevant site, onto this website. I must admit it was quite clever, because it appeared to have been written in response to the themes of this website, but I realise I was projecting myself on to it. The angry comments could have fitted with a wide range of blogs. It was just a clever (but nastily written) piece of spam, trying yet another way to see if it could slip through the cracks.

The Business Show (part 4)


At The Business Show I was given a show bag (just like when I went to The Royal Show when I was a kid). There were a pile of flyers in it when I got it and, as the day went by, anything I was given got put into the bag.

Here is a list of what I left with:

  • Buzzbox, telecommunications
  • Cash Plus, business banking
  • The Curry Source Company
  • Dada, mentoring
  • Darwin, business networking
  • Dotsquares, digital development
  • EU Small Business, campaign to remain in the EU
  • Evolution, laywers
  • Experian, business opportunities
  • Fairman Harris, accountants
  • Fudge Animation Studios
  • The Gazette, magazine
  • GB Energy Supply
  • Howl Films, video production
  • IBD Group, business advice
  • Network Freelance, jobs website
  • One Bizz, business software
  • Rocket Marketing Hub, marketing advice
  • Rotaville, business software
  • Start Your Business, magazine
  • Tableau Software
  • Trifle Solution, telemarketing
  • Vistaprint, printers
  • Zinc Group, credit control

I’m not recommending these businesses, one way or the other, it’s just a list.

New category

I’ve added a new category to this blog called “Talks”. It’s not actually new, but was previously called TEDx. But I’ve been going to other talks as well. Perhaps the category should be called “Conferences”, but I like “Talks” better.

I’ve changed this as the new few posts will all be going into this category.

Geek MeetUp

As part of the Live Your Legend course I’m doing, it has many suggestions of things to do, especially to go out and meet an expanding sphere of people. One the suggestions is to go to TED conferences, which I have done. I’ve been to four now, and I’ve another coming up later this month.

Another suggestion was to join MeetUp groups. MeetUp is an international website, to create local groups with specific interests. I was already a member of a couple of MeetUps, although these had effectively died, so I hadn’t been to any meetings through these recently. But in the last month I have joined eight new ones. Although with one or two it became immediately apparent that maybe they are not what I’m looking for. But there are a few more that I have bookmarked and will re-visit and probably join one or two more.

Yesterday, I actually went to my first MeetUp. It was one of the ‘Geek’ MeetUps that I had joined. Now, I had in my mind what a ‘geek’ is. A geek is someone into technology and science-y stuff, but not as far down the rabbit hole as a nerd. Geeks are now cool. Geeks are ruling the business world these days (Facebook, Google, Apple etc).

However, although this MeetUp was labelled ‘Geeks’, it was actually full of nerds. Way further down the rabbit hole than advertised. Not that I found anything wrong with this. A more accepting, friendly group of people you are not likely to find. But nerds are somewhat socially awkward. And somewhat less successful than geeks. But it did remind me of ‘the Rubble’, which I will now explain.

I have done three degrees (Maths Science, Communication Studies, Digital Media) at three different universities. The first of these was at the University of Adelaide and I was still a teenager. At uni I joined many clubs. The Clubs & Societies Association had club rooms. These had the nickname ‘The Rubble’ by those who used them. And this is where I ended up hanging around most of the time.

‘The Rubble Rabble’ as we called ourselves consisted of what I called the ‘none of the aboves’. These fell into two categories. The university had lots of prestigious clubs, like ones for law students or medical student. They were exclusive. The Rubble was inclusive. It was full of people who either were shunned (for reasons logistical or social) from these clubs (generally quite nerdy people). But it was also full of people who hated the clique-iness of these exclusive clubs. They were sort of above this. They hated exclusiveness. These people were quite often very cool, fashionable, intelligent, socially sorted. And so the nerds and the very cool mixed very easily and formed The Rubble. And from here is where I formed many of my greatest friendships.

So although yesterday’s MeetUp wasn’t exactly what was advertised (imho), I think I might return. Although I could pigeonhole a lot of these people, that would be unfair, as I know from experience that groups like these contain some very remarkable people.


Look, three posts in one day.

I have just added categories to each post. This was chiefly for my own benefit when looking for a specific post. Each post now should be posted in at least one category of Development, InfoVis, TEDx or Uncategorized [sic].

Mars Spiders

Another break from the 7 day challenge.

Yesterday I visited a start-up company called Mars Spiders, which is run by an ex-class mate of mine from London Met, David Olsan.

He has a small team creating apps for phones. There don’t have a permanent space, per se, but divide their time between space at Geovation in Farringdon and the Google Campus in King’s Cross. As well as that he has lots of off site talent that he able to draw on, as and when, such as copy writers, animators etc.

It really opened my eyes about how mobile a business truly can be, while still having the opportunity to have a face-to-face team.

David also gave me a whole lot of tips of interesting things to investigate, such as tools for app creation, business finance, SEO and online fonts. As well as tips on WordPress* (which I started using for this site) and Google Campus events.

In return I offered my thoughts on his website and proofreading.

All in all a very productive visit.

Zeroth post

OK, I’ve started this blog. The aim is to write for 10 minutes everyday.

However this first post has taken literally hours. I could probably have set up a custom web site faster than this WordPress site. Lots of things that weren’t obvious. And then when I did work it out, I couldn’t customise it easily. I completely change ‘themes’ after being frustrated with the first one I chose. Still not happy with this theme.

I am hoping in the long run it will quicker that I just use WordPress to write, click and post. And after a while I’m sure I can tinker with the back end workings to get it to what I want. But in the first case, just writing…

So, I’m going to make myself a cup of coffee and then do my official first post.