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James Rutherford

Web, design, Newcastle, games and fun!

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A while since I’ve updated, but I’ve noticed some traffic due to a recent project, so a quick update…

Binaudios is a collaborative piece with Dominic Wilcox, as a commission by Suzy O’Hara (Thinking Digital Arts) for Thinking Digital.

More on the art side of the piece can be found in Dominic’s portfolio, and I’ve given an interview to the Raspberry Pi Foundation for their Art Showcase to introduce the techie side.

I’m interested in creative technology, open data, visualisations, and work as a ‘gun for hire’ for tech startups. You can find me here on Twitter.

You will need to update the domain’s DNS settings for Google Apps to work properly.

Navigate to Google Apps – Standard Edition (currently here).

Click the ‘Get Started’ button.

You can purchase a domain through Google or use an existing one – the instructions below are for the latter case.

Tick ‘Administrator: I own or control this domain’ and enter the domain (e.g. ‘mydomain.com’) and click ‘Get Started’.

Enter your details- I recommend you enter an email address that is not on the domain you are applying (i.e. not ‘james@mydomain.com’ – you can sign up for a gmail address for free if required).

Set up your Administrator account (I suggest you use admin[@mydomain.com] for your administrative user).

You should receive a welcome email at this point, and will be given some information about Google’s domain verification process.

Click continue and sign in with the administrative user details you supplied them.

Verification – You need to prove to Google that you have ownership of (or at least, privileged access to) the domain. You can do this by altering the DNS settings, adding some code to the HTML of the website or uploading a special file to the webspace. If you have webspace already then the latter two are easy and I’d suggest the file upload option.

You need to upload the file the supply you with to the public HTML root of the FTP area (i.e. the folder that your homepage is in). If you are running a content management system that rewrites URLs then you may need to verify by another method (the verification file should be left where it is, and accessible).

You’re now registered and ready to follow Google’s Help Guide for linking your DNS records up for your email, etc.

Webdurance kicks off on in two days time here in Newcastle.

It’s a 24 hour ‘hack’ event. Six teams (of six people) will be locked in a room, and each will build/repair a website for a charity between noon on Thursday and noon on Friday.

In order to keep us going, I thought I’d put together a music playlist for our volunteers to dip into… and you can help keep us sane by adding your own tracks!

I’d like them all to be (at least, loosely) themed to the event.

Here are some examples of the type of thing I’m thinking of:

Love, Hope and Charity-

  • Thompson Twins – In the Name of Love
  • The Beatles – Help

Motivational tunes-

  • Survivor – Eye of the Tiger
  • Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now

Get a Move On tunes-

  • Europe – The Final Countdown

Tangential References-

  • Corey Hart – Sunglasses at Night
  • Noisettes – 24 Hours

So, please- if you have Spotify, check out the collaborative playlist: Webdurance – Soundtrack to a Web Hack and chuck in some tunes of your own for us to enjoy!

If you don’t have Spotify, then please leave a reply to this post with your suggestion, and I’ll try and find it. (Sadly, I can’t find the Countdown TV show clock music, otherwise we’d have that on repeat all night…).

References:

Webdurance, Webdurance (Ning), @webdurance

We’ve had a couple of last minute drop-outs, so if you know – or are – a designer, or website coder with a fun attitude and a willingness to do some altruistic good, then get in touch with the webdurance team!

Portal is one of my all-time favourite games.

It’s available from the Steam distribution system, and is frequently on offer (recently available for free), or bundled inside the Orange Box deal.

It would be difficult to say exactly why Portal is amazing without spoiling it; suffice to say that it’s a short game (approx 4-6 hours play), incredibly clever, with a great sense of humour and a huge twist halfway through. If you’ve not yet sampled it- avoid any reviews before you do so.

It also features a number of extras, one of which is a ‘director’s commentary’ mode. If you activate this, speech bubbles are scattered around the levels – which, when clicked, explain design decisions.

These demonstrate the attention directed towards user testing and how this shaped the look, structure and progression through the game.

There are very obvious lessons to be learnt for game developers, but they’re also acutely relevant to any field that involves user interaction.

To paraphrase them:

  • Your users won’t necessarily see, mentally connect or react the way you would expect them to.
  • Simplify, deconstruct and semaphore the appropriate interactive elements.