WillyWeather for Android

Good things come to those who wait. WillyWeather is at last available on Android 4.0+. The Android version features everything the iOS version does and more:

We’ve designed this app from the ground up to respect Android’s design guidelines and take advantage of the array of screen sizes, aspect ratios and pixel-densities.

Unlike iOS where shipping rapid updates is made difficult by Apple’s review process, we’ll be deploying patches almost daily over the next week or two to fix bugs and polish the UI.

And of course, the app is completely free, with an optional in-app purchase to remove advertising. We think you’ll love it.

Get the App on Google Play

Bose Companion 5 vs Bowers & Wilkins MM-1

I’m not what you’d call an audiophile but I do love many genres of music (some more than others) and listen to my iTunes library of ~24,000 songs for at least ten hours every day.

I recently migrated from a set of Bose Companion 5 speakers to the MM-1 from Bowers & Wilkins, after what was likely my most hesitant purchase in a while. It seems these two models in particular are compared often, perhaps due to the similar price, size and established brand names. In almost every case, the MM-1 apparently claimed victory over the C5 on industrial design and sound quality—the two things I care about most.

I’m publishing this note not as a review, but simply to add my +1 to the MM-1. The only notable loss here is the additional bass provided by the C5 sub-woofer, but in exchange you get:

In hindsight, it was a no-brainer. I highly recommend the MM-1 if you’re after a beautiful set of desktop speakers and don’t mind forking out the slightly-more-than-average sum of cash.

Smart Tools 2

I’ve been working with my friends at ETK for the last couple of years to develop a set of proprietary web-based applications for designing, teaching and studying courses at Charles Sturt University. The platform is collectively known as Smart Tools and consists of four apps, each designed for a different type of user; teachers, accreditors, course-writers and students.

We shipped 1.0 in June, 2013 and have just rolled out the first component of version 2. The interface and front-end code was done by yours truly, while the apps were written in Python on top of Google’s Closure as well as ETK’s own Prestans framework.

Learn more about Smart Tools

Happy Birthday, Web

This month marks the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web:

In March 1989 Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist working at CERN, submitted a proposal to develop a radical new way of linking and sharing information over the internet. The document was entitled Information Management: A Proposal. And so the web was born.

My first experience with the web was in the late ’90s but it wasn’t until the early ’00s that I had my own (dial-up) connection at home. Ever since, I’ve been fascinated with it. Without the web, I have no idea where I’d be today. I’ve worked on it for my entire work life and spend most of my free time connected somehow. And so, happy birthday, World Wide Web.

On CERN: World Wide Web Born at CERN 25 Years Ago

Off the Radar

The other day, a friend mentioned meeting someone who followed my work on the web and missed how often I used to tweet. It’s true; I don’t tweet or write anywhere near as much as I used to. In fact, my overall contribution to the web has dwindled over the last few years. But not so long ago, if you’d searched Google for ‘ui designer sydney’ or anything remotely similar, this domain would be the first result in almost every case.

When I first started working as a contractor roughly 7-8 years ago, I split my hours about 50/50 working on the business and in the business. I’d spend a lot of time fine-tuning markup, writing for my blog, contributing to other sites and doing as much white hat self-marketing as I could.

After a while, I acquired a PageRank of 5, a huge amount of inbound links and a fairly-well established social media presence. It wasn’t long before the project applications and job offers started rolling in. In fact, at one point I’d receive up to a dozen per week, for all kinds of work. There was a time when I was running a part-time agency contract and seven freelance jobs in tandem. It was ridiculous.

I started to notice my “competition” using alternate methods to leap ahead in Google rankings and other areas of the web, like following 30,000 arbitrary folks on Twitter to build a massive audience, only to drop them all shortly after to make it look organic. It was at that point I realised just how much BS was required to maintain the kind of presence I’d built. I also got married and bought a house and a car and a pet and renovated and… It became too much, I realised there were far more important things to focus on and began the process of closure.

I started to close projects, write less, tweet less and work on quality instead of quantity. Eventually I was left with a very basic website and just two ongoing contacts who I still work with to this day. I’ve shipped a handful of fantastic projects with each of them and am working on some really amazing stuff right now. It’s perfect.

The odd job offer still comes in, but these days I have the time to politely decline or help find someone else to take the job. I still write and tweet, but only when I have something valuable to contribute. It’s fair to say that the initial flurry landed me where I am today, but I don’t miss it one bit.

If you search for ‘ui designer sydney’ now, this site can show up as deep as half way down the second page and I’m totally OK with that.