Global Service Jam Smithfield

Category : Blog, Events

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In early March I took part in yet another event known as the Global Service Jam Smithfield. This was my first ‘Jam’ but the style was very similar to hackathons and bootcamps I have been to before although unlike other events this is the first one that has happened in many places at the same time, the Smithfield Jam was very closely connected to the one in Copenhagen for the whole weekend so we got to bounce ideas off of each other and see challenge them to a Harlem Shake off.

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The theme of the Jam was a picture of a flat box silhouette which in our groups we had to interpret in to a product or a service, after brainstorming for a while my team decided to go with the mystery box theme and we took that as trying to find a solution to the problem of how to discover new experiences and places to go in London. We did some research at Spitalfields market where we discovered that most people find the place they go to via their friends or because it’s an ideal place for tourists to go, we decided to address this issue by making an app.

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After seeing what features would benefit the user we each mocked up different versions of what we thought the app should look like then picked the best bits and made working prototypes using POP and Flinto. As we only had a weekend to complete this project the outcome was made simply to express the concept and a basic UI without going in to the complexity of using APIs and coding the app itself.

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Now that I have done a total of 6 hackathons / jams / bootcamps (4 outside of uni) I know which ones I prefer and the reasons why, this Jam was the best so far as it it had many people from many backgrounds (not all design) collaborating to make something amazing and while there was a sort of competition aspect to it it wasn’t primarily driven by an end prize. It also lasted over an entire weekend (including Friday night) which made it a lot easier to let ideas grow and develop rather than rushing them over 1 day. I am definitely going do this again in 2015 although next time I might try the ‘original’ Jam held at Google campus for a new perspective of how Jams can be held and the new types of solutions people provide.


Festival of Immagination

Category : Blog, Events

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While wondering around near Selfridges I saw some amazing that the festival of imagination was being showcased in the windows for the public to enjoy. Many artists and designers had their work present including Dominic Wlicox, Andrew Friend and Minimaforms.

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Dominic Wilcox showcased his Variations on Normal which are a range of tongue-in-cheek designs that either solve problems, make you thing about something or simply make you smile, my Methods of Madness is heavily inspired by his Variations on Normal so I was very pleased to see these designs in the window of Selfridges.

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Patrick Stevenson Keating & Tom Metacalfe’s Shackleton was an interesting look at how in a potential future humans could make a self-sustaining metropolis on the Moon complete with living quarters, working areas and transportation all built in to the natural craters of the Moon.

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There were many other installations including one by Minimaforms which had a set of pipes that reacted when people passed by as well as a Still Life in Motion by Vitamins.


Webvisions Hackathon for Social Good (London 2014)

Category : Blog, Events

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Last Saturday I attended a hackathon held by Webvisions at the Fjord studio in London. While I have been to 2 design, make, sell bootcamps by UCL I had never been to a hackathon before so at first I was a little wary of what was expected of us as I am a designer and not a developer.

After mingling whilst eating pastries and drinking tea we were introduced to the 3 charities we would be helping over the course of a day. The charity I ended up working with is called Bet for Good which is one of those charities that tells you what it does in it’s title, essentially people can bet on football matches with the chance to win prizes ranging from a signed photo to meeting their football hero all while donating money to charity.

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After contemplating some scenarios such as people getting addicted to the betting aspect of the service as well as how the model could be structured in such a way that it can work with anything not just football matches we decided to simplify the user interface.

Not everyone likes to bet on football matches but people do like to win prizes so we designed the home screen to show both the ‘hot’ matches on soon as well as the ‘hot’ prizes up for grabs in the future. We also considered that people might not like to bet on sports or win prizes but they do like to give to charity so we have made set priced baskets for those that want to easily donate to charity without the hassle of having to pick out individual items representing their bets.

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Social media is also very important when it comes to raising awareness for charities so we made a feature that raises your chances of winning the bets you place depending on how much you share, like, comment, invite friends to join the network and how active of a better you are.

At 5pm we presented our idea in front of everyone else and won the ‘hottest idea’ from the jury. There is another hackathon event happening in Barcelona from 19th to 21st June which I am thinking of going to although it’s quite a long time away and i’d need to sort out things like accommodation and flights although If I do go then perhaps I can finally go to Lanjaron for a holiday at my dad’d cortijo. Until June.


Jury Duty

Category : Blog, Events

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Last July I attended Jury Duty at the crown court in Croydon, I was meant to attend in January but I wrote to them and asked if I could defer it as I was still at uni and couldn’t afford to take 2 weeks off during such a major part of my life. They understood that and so I had to attend in July without the option to cancel, not that I would’ve cancelled.

I had to arrive at 8.45am which is insanely early for me but I still got there on time because I live nearby. It was really busy at first but I found myself a seat and quickly found out that despite not having access to the internet I was allowed to use my laptop so I got cracking on some freelance work. I along with the other new Monday Jurors were shortly shown a video of what to expect from jury duty.

Shortly after I was called in as one of the 15 people very quickly and luckily I was also chosen as one of the 12 to deliberate a case. My first case was a robbery. I can’t go into many details for obvious reasons but it was a very emotional case where some people didn’t want to decide whether the defendant was guilty because of the sentence they would get but knew deep down that they had to follow their heart and eventually made our decision.

During the days we were taking notes we had lunch in the canteen with £5.71 to spend daily otherwise during delegations we could request a number of sandwiches, drinks and snacks to be brought in during lunch (1pm – 2pm) which comes off of our £5.71 daily limit. The food was okay, the sandwiches were around the same standard as supermarket ones but with less of a variety and the drinks were expensive (£1.70 for 500ml Coke) but the main cooked meals were nice.

After we finished our first trial we had to wait until the cut off time and 15 of us were called for another trial which I was also chosen to be on. We started on Friday and went on until Tuesday, this time it was a stabbing. This case had a lot more evidence to it so it was easier to deliberate although yet again there were some emotional ties during deliberations but we managed to come to a decision. We didn’t hear the charges as the judge dismissed us since it was late in the day so we went home and came back on Wednesday.

Wednesday was a very boring day as no-one got called for a trial so the majority of people I deliberated with chatted in the cafe or solved jigsaws. Later in the day we were dismissed for the rest of the week which brought my jury duty to a close. We were offered a case but it was for 5 weeks and no-one wanted to take it for many reasons but finally our jury duty was over. Overall it was a great experience which I would definitely do again although hopefully not anytime soon.

I would just like to note that I have permission to have this on my blog from Croydon Crown Court. If for some reason anyone from this or any other government based organisation wants me to remove it then please let me know.


iMakr Christmas party

Category : Blog, Events

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Last Thursday I went to the iMakr Christmas party at the iMakr store in Farringdon it was a night filled with 3D printing talks, an interview with founder Sylvain Preumont (by me) and many glasses of wine in the red, white and pink variety.

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The talks showcased 5 new 3D printers available through iMakr as well as their capabilities while most of them were the traditional 3D printers 1 of them stood out (and it’s not the one in the picture above). The ZMorph is a CNC machine that just happens to be capable of 3D printing in plastic, chocolate, cake and other filaments although the outstanding part is that by simply changing the toolhead you can covert this machine in to a CNC milling machine! Although I have seen this before at the 3D Printshow with the addition of a laser cutter tool it’s amazing that this technology has been condensed in to a desktop printer and not an industrial sized machine.

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Of course no Christmas party is complete without a Christmas tree and decorations and since iMakr is a 3D printing store it’s only right that the decorations were 3D printed. We might have to wait a while until we can 3D print Christmas trees though.


Karl Pilkington – The Moaning of Life book signing

Category : Blog, Events

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Friday 13th is supposed to be the most unlucky date that can occur although that wasn’t the case for me as I finally got to meet someone i’ve wanted to meet for ages, Karl Pilkington. Karl was doing a book signing in HMV Oxford Circus so I went with my mum and waited in a surprisingly short line until we were told to go upstairs to a hidden room in HMV and saw just how big the real queue was, we must have waited for at least 3 hours but it was worth it in the end.

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The only other person I have met at a book signing is Michael McIntyre when he brought out his auto-biography and I didn’t even get to properly meet him I was told to hand my book to someone who would then pass it to Michael who would pass it to someone else who would pass it to me. With Karl each person got at least a minute to talk to him, shake his hand, squeeze his head (yes apparently some people actually did that) and that is why it took so long to see 300 people. If I had more time I would’ve told him something I wish I had told him (It’s about design) but I guess that can wait until next time.


After 3D Print Show @ iMakr Store

Category : Blog, Events

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Last Thursday evening after the 3D print show iMakr put on an event at their 3D printing store in Farringdon with special guest speakers from iMaterialise and Autodesk. I had already interviewed people from there last Wednesday and those interview will be online in the near future but none the less it was great to get lots of like minded people in one place and just talk about the awesomeness that is 3D printing.

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As I had been to the store before there wasn’t anything new too see but the combination of sushi, champagne, 3D printing and making new contacts was something that was worth coming for. I may also have the possibility of an interview with the founder of iMakr Sylvain Preumont which would make for an amazing article in the future although that might have to wait until the end of the month. Thanks to Noor for the info-graphic picture below as my camera was a bit shaky that night.

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iMakr @ Selfridges Grand Opening

Category : Blog, Events

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The world largest but still relatively small 3D printing shop iMakr in London has expanded its territory and gotten itself a space in Selfridges. I went along to the grand opening but was pretty disappointed with many things although most notably the size of their pop up shop, it was about the size of a corner space in a regular sized Selfridges shop with the 3D scanning booth taking up nearly 1/4 of the space.

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Most of what was on show are either 3D printers or 3D printed objects which makes sense considering what iMakr is however there were a few unexpected thing like the new Makerbot Digitizer 3D scanner which I had never seen before and was interested in it’s rotary style of scanning a full object. The Makerbot Replicator 2 was printing things from extruded sharks to template bracelets which people were free to have and the staff were very eager to get people in to 3D printing which I guess is the main purpose of the place in the first place.

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As someone that knows a great deal about 3D printing and has seen the iMakr store in Farringdon this was not very impressive however for those new to 3D printing this does provide a nice way to learn about it and maybe even inspire people to use their services. I just wished they lived up to the hype of a Grand Opening and at least had a whole shop to themselves as I had trouble finding the place and there isn’t a sign or anything to point out where it is, if you didn’t stumble upon it by accident or were told exactly where it is it I wouldn’t expect anyone to find this popup store. If you really want to be fascinated by 3D printing you should definitely check out the Farringdon store as for the Selfridges one … maybe I was expecting too much of it.


London Graduate Fair

Category : Blog, Events

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As a recent graduate from Ravensbourne I thought it would be suitable to go to the London Graduate Fair being held at the Business Design Centre. As I thought it was heavily based on marketing, business and technology (programming) so the majority of it wasn’t really for me however I did find quite a few interesting place to apply for including a 3 month placement in New York with Mountbatten.

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I also found quite a few job boards like Milkround, Prospects and Grads in to Careers to check in the future so it wasn’t a complete loss. It seems the majority of design placements and jobs are where I thought they were, in agencies. Companies usually go to agencies to get work done instead of forming an in-house team which is a real shame in some regards but when I working for Barclay’s I noticed they do have an in-house design team as well as collaborating with an outside agency. The point is while I may not have found much I at least have confirmed for myself where not to look.


View from the Shard

Category : Blog, Events

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Yesterday I finally took advantage of my Christmas present from my mum and went to the Shard with my dad and step mum. I remember mum asking me if I was interested in the Shard and I said I was but wouldn’t likely go as the tickets were expensive so I think thats what made her think to get me the tickets in the first place.

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I was a bit surprised that the security was equivalent to airport standards making you go through a metal detector and scan your bags although it’s sort of understandable in retrospect after all this is a tourist attraction and probably a likely target for terrorism like the o2 and apparently Ravensbourne.

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To get to the viewing gallery you have to get two elevators up the building although at speeds of 6 meters per second it barely takes any time and their is quite a bit of history, interesting information and above your head videos to fascinate you while making your ascent to the top.

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When you finally get up to the viewing gallery you have free range to look down on any part of London and there are special machines that have live feeds as well as pre-recorded sunrise, day and night view of the city. If you aim the device at a building of interest you can select it and get a brief history on it although it should be noted some buildings don’t exist in the pre-recorded demos such as the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building.

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There are actually two floors to view from and each one has the viewing machines pointing at different parts of London. One thing I would have loved is if there was the ability to send the pictures you took with the viewing machines to your phone via bluetooth or email them to yourself as the glass while necessary does reduce the quality of pictures you can take. That being said nothing can beat seeing these view with your own eyes and it’s fun to try and find places you know unfortunately the o2 was hidden behind Canary Wharf’s big buildings but my favourite view was perhaps the one of four tall buildings all very close together including the Gherkin and the Walkie Talkie.

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On the second floor it is even possible to find sections where there is no glass making for perfect picture opportunities and being able to feel the cold but not too cold atmosphere that is at the 69th floor. I only just found out while doing some research on the Shard that there is actually a 72nd floor the public can visit but we didn’t know about it as there were barriers around the stairs going up so maybe it was closed or maybe we were just stupid either way the experience was amazing and definitely better than other views I have seen before.

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The views from the Emirates cable cars, Millennium Wheel and the Twin Towers were no match against the ones from the Shard. Yes I went up the twin towers before 9/11, a few months before it happened interestingly and while that view was amazing and not one I can ever see again the Shard beats it by miles.


MOO.COM Tech Networking

Category : Blog, Events

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For a while I have been meaning to go to the Moo pop up shop in Shoreditch Boxpark so I thought this tech networking event they were putting on would be the perfect time to see it. I did see it for about a minute but was then told the event was not in the shop instead it was upstairs by a caribbean bar known as Cottons Rhum Shack. We were each given 2 drink tickets in the form of MiniCards so I took this opportunity to try some cocktails I had never had before while networking.

I met quite a few interesting people including 2 guys from UCL one of which is going to be involved in the 2nd design, make, sell challenge I will be taking part in. I also got some great advice on not under selling myself to clients and some websites I found useful for freelancing. O desk, E lance, People per hour. This was without a doubt the most successful networking event I have been to and will definitely go to more in the future especially the ones hosted by Moo.


General Assembly: User Experience immersive info session

Category : Blog, Events

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Last week I went to General Assembly to learn about the user experience course they run at the HQ in Farringdon. I arrived to find that GA only takes up one floor of the building and the event consisted of 3 people behind 3 desks although I was able to find out quite a bit about GA as well as the course in general.

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There are two user experience courses they offer with the most popular one being the immersive 9am – 5pm, all week for 8 weeks which can take you from knowing very little UX to being a sought after junior designer with 4 great portfolio pieces. The less popular course but the one I would do if I had the money is the user experience design course which has one session every week and lasts 12 weeks, this course is designed to teach you the basic of UX where by the end you have 1 portfolio project and understand the field of UX well enough to collaborate with and understand UX designers, developers and do personal projects in your own time.

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With both courses GA aims to get people understanding UX by meeting and talking with current designers as well as previous graduates and providing weekly talks / lectures to keep you inspired. You do have to work in your spare time to keep up with the course but that is expected from most high level university and industry courses.


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