Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer summer summer-time!

Okay so admittedly it has been AGES since I last posted (or attempted to post more like). Been insanely busy with university work and exams and just general life things. Thankfully it's all over and I managed to finish up my second year with a few bruises and scratches, a couple of nervous breakdowns, and an incredible internship in London, so all in all life is pretty damn good right now.

Also leaving for home in a few days which I'm super excited for, despite the fact that yet another BA strike has left me stranded here for a little longer than I originally planned for. But honestly, when exams/uni is over and the weather is as hot as it is right now I can't be that annoyed.

So I usually put together a playlist of my SOTM (songs of the moment :) ) right before I have to travel, and this year is no exception. So without further ado I give you some picks from my official Summer 2010 mix:

  • 11th Dimension - Julian Casablancas - Great vocals from Strokes frontman as per usual, but with a funky 60s/retro-inspired vibe. Very driving-around-with-the-top-down.  
  • California Gurrls - Katy Perry Ft. Snoop Dogg - Bound to be overplayed on beaches/clubs everywhere this summer, but a good song nonetheless.
  • Miami - Foals - I have this on repeat at the moment, mellow but great melody, good bus/car/train/plane song.
  • NYC Moves to the Sound of LA - Funeral Party - Very energetic, raw vocals and super catchy. Good packing/rocking out in your room song.
  • Animal - Miike Snow - Funky electro pop gone alternative style music. Fun happy mellowish, also a good travel song.
  • Summertime - DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince - The post's namesake. The Fresh Prince needs no justification.
  • Not Following You - Ellie Goulding - Very folkish song, pretty sweet melody and adorable lyrics that remind me of summer crushes. She sort of sounds like acoustic Feist here, if Leslie Feist were British.
  • Closer - Corinne Bailey Rae - Love love love this. Soulful as ever, kind of sassy (yes I just used that word) and coy lyrics and just a great listen. My favourite track off of her new album by far.
  • Tenderoni - Kele - Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke's first single off his upcoming album. Very up-tempo and high energy, good raving-at-club-somewhere-in-spain song. He's definitely established his own unique style which is great since it doesn't just sound like Bloc Party 2.0.
  • 9 to 5 - Dolly Parton - I put this on there in the spirit of what I'll be doing this summer, but such a fun song either way. Makes me want to break out in song like I'm on an episode of Glee. But I won't :).
  • Fixed - Stars - Courtesy of BIRP! May 2010. A little more upbeat and intense than their older stuff but still really good.
  • Fields of Gold (Acoustic Version) - Sting - A little random (and old obviously) but kind of reminds me of lying down in a field/on a beach and staring up at the stars. Beautiful song.

And a few more notable summer-ish/just plain good songs:

  • A Pencil Full of Lead - Paolo Nutini
  • Holiday - Vampire Weekend
  • Crystallised - The xx
  • Guns + Horses - Ellie Goulding
  • Watercolour - Pendulum
  • Little Lion Man - Mumford and Sons

I would post the entire tracklist but I'd never stop talking so I'll leave it at that for now :)

In other news, the WWDC was held today during which Steve Jobs had an "I told you so" moment gloating over how epicly succesful the iPad has become, and more importantly, unveiled the heavenly piece of technology that is the iPhone 4 (as well as iOS4). But more on that in another post.

Happy summer people!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blog Fail.

Just wrote almost an entire post and deleted it with the slip of a button :) Technology is a bitch. Sigh.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tweet tweet.

So it's finally happened. I have at last ventured into the coveted bluebird realm of micro-blogging and have begun my journey to the twitterverse, yes ladies and gentlemen, I have joined twitter. (Alright it's not that big of a deal, I just enjoy being dramatic from time to time.)

Anyways, so now that I'm actually using it I'm kind of starting to question why I didn't join sooner. At first glance it seems pointless, just another way to let millions of people who probably don't care know what you're doing, etc etc. But it's actually a pretty useful networking tool. I haven't even been a member for very long and I'm already making connections with up and coming graphic designers and the like, something I never really thought to do before. Pretty neat!

Also Conan O'Brien is hilarious. His tweets are definitely reason enough to join twitter. And if that's not good enough to convince you check out some of these strange/funny twitter apps:

Sort of a Post-Secret meets Twitter kind of thing. Basically you can 'tweet' your secrets anonymously. Like post-secret some are funny, some are embarassing and some just plain disturbing.


This one is perfect for foodies/recipe lovers such as myself. Simply enter the ingredients you want and the database pops out a suitable recipe! And if you want more specific results you can follow twecipe on twitter, send in some ingredients and recieve a recipe by direct message.

Track This

Now here's something I could definitely have used back when I was applying for colleges and had a million and 4 packages to track online.
You can set up text or e-mail alerts to send you live updates to track your package via the tracking id number you usually get from a courier service, or alternatively you can link it to send notifications to your twitter and/or facebook account. Potentially a very useful service, and it currently supports all majour couriers ie. DHL, FedEx, and UPS.


TwitMarks 'marks' your gender by analysing your post stream to determine whether you're male or female.
Let me tell you, not very effective :) But fun to try out.


An affiliate of Amazon, this site uses twitter to post literary teasers twice a day. ie. The first line of a novel without the title of the author's name, but with a link to Amazon so users can see what book it is. Somewhat useless? Perhaps. Addictive and profitable? Definitely.

Check out more bizarre apps at TechXav. Oh and follow me on twitter :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gorgeous Street Headphones by Brian Garret Schuur

As featured by Abduzeedo, these awesome headphones have now moved up to the top of my wishlist. 
A pretty impressive grad thesis on rapid manufactured designs featuring his custom Street Headphones (above), landed industrial designer Brian Garret Shuur a job with  design giants Freedom of Creation, who are now selling those beauties for a whopping 997 Euros. 
Although to be fair, they're worth it. Since they're made to order, you can customize the headband with your own musical taste, ie. names of fabourite artists/songs.

At the moment they're only available to order in black and white, but my dream pair would have to be white and hot pink (Although I'm liking the yellow a lot too) . And the headband would be littered with the likes of Death Cab for Cutie, John Mayer, Florence and the Machine, The Shins etc.

Pretty creative design work. Definitely keeping my eyes open for more of Brian Garret's work. Click here for his portfolio.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

So Little Time, Not Enough Sleep.

It's been a while. Busy doesn't even begin to describe what I've been lately, I've actually found that I'm  now constantly surprised at how few hours there are in a day. It's times like these where one of Hermione's time-turners would be extremely useful. /geek. So basically, my wonderful lecturers/tutors at university have decided to set up about 4 huge consecutive deadlines within the span of 3 weeks which has proven to be just a little bit hectic. It's also rendered my social life non-existent, seeing as I've basically been living in the library/computing building for the past week. That, combined with the stress of having to keep up with job applications and interviews AND trying to come up with an idea for my final year project (read: dissertation) is...flabbergasting. That's what it is. That is the perfect word. <3
On a brighter note, the weather has been surprisingly sunny for a few days now, which always puts me in a better mood, and Easter is almost right around the corner which is awesome because I get to go home where the REAL sunshine is. I miss wearing shorts outside. And open toe shoes.

Speaking of Bahrain, I recently came accross a series of new TV adverts for Batelco's "Nothing Left to Say Syndrome" campaign. Now, my biggest problem with Batelco (well, maybe not my biggest problem considering their shoddy customer service is probably higher on that list) is that they have no semblance of consistency when it comes to their branding and advertising, which is simply because they switch ad agencies every other week. This week it's FP7, and I have to say I think they might just be heading in the right direction.
Yeah, some of the ads are cheesy/stupid. But they're a world away this atrocity.
Anyways, check them out on youtube, these are my favourites:

Now for some truly genius advertising:

“If one pixel can tell you a story, imagine what millions can.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

God Bless the Triple Espresso

So I am once again blogging from the road (sorry, rail), it seems like these train rides are the only time I can find a moment for myself. Plus there's something so poetic about writing while travelling, Mark Twain and the steamboat etc. Although this blog is hardly comparable to Huckelberry Finn, but still. I feel more inspired writing like this.
Anyways, my departure was a little less hectic this time. I even had time to grab 'breakfast' from the little kiosk at the station. I say breakfast like that because the cheese and tomato panini I'm having hardly constitutes a sandwich. The coffee however, is heavenly. And much needed at this hour, especially since I'm sick, yet again, so I'm feeling a little worse than the usual 6 AM lethargy. I'm not really sure but I'm inclined to believe coffee/caffiene isn't too good for the flu, but oh well.
Moving on, I've been meaning to do a music post for a while so without further ado, I present the
"What's Playing on my iPod" segment (catchy, I know :) )
- The Glee Soundtrack: Yes, I am a self proclaimed Gleek. I admit, it's a cheesy show at times but the characters are hilariously colourful not to mention incredibly talented. Favorites on this album include the ever popular Journey cover 'Don't Stop Believing' and their cover of Queen's 'Somebody to Love'
- Ellie Goulding: Although her album's not out yet, she's already caused quite a buzz, and with good reason. I'd describe her music as Florence and The Machine meets La Roux, sort of like folk-tronica. Favourites so far are 'Starry Eyed' and 'Under the Sheets'.
- 'Hollywood' - Marina and the Diamonds: Another new artist with a pretty unique sound. Catchy, fun song, makes me want to hear more from her.
- 'Won't Go Quietly' - Example: I don't usually like these kind of RnB electronic-ish songs but this one is pretty good. Has kind of a Mr.Hudson vibe. It's more of a party song though.
- 'Pursuit of Happiness' - Kid Cudi ft. MGMT: Genius collaboration. I love it, the video's pretty neat too, kind of trippy.
That's it for now, I'll depart with a picture of my oh so appetizing meal :).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

5:00 AM is not a good hour

To be up. Let alone to be up and have to make it to the train station on time. Anyways all is well, and i'm making my first post on the road as we speak. Or rather on the rail, if you want to get technical.
So another thing about 5 AM is that the lovely people over at east midlands trains aren't particularly thrilled about working the late/early shift and tend to be extremely unsympathetic to frazzled travellers who just happened to forget the credit card they need to collect their tickets. :) needless to say it was pretty frustrating. Despite the fact that i had my printed receipt with my full name and a bar code on it, as well as my rail card (which has my picture on it btw. I'm not sure how that helps exactly but i'm inclined to think that photo id adds some level of credibility), i still had to buy a new ticket. All in the 15 minutes before the train to my future was departing. Stressful? An understatement.
Now, i'd love to be seated next to michael j fox at this moment, but sadly my journey today is not of the time travel variety (besides, who time travels in anything other than a Delorean). I'm actually on my way to a very important job interview in north london. My nerves are okay, for now. The combination of john mayer and a view of the sun rising over a foggy english countryside is helping though. Anyways my phone battery seems to be draining quickly and i have quite the long day ahead of me. So i'll sign off with this: 5 AM is not a good hour to be in a pencil skirt either.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Teacups in Wonderland

Okay since the last two posts have been a little tech heavy I figured I'd write about something a little girlier today. I came accross the most adorable vintage inspired jewllery site, Cutie Pie Jewellery (much love to Luphia for featuring them in her latest giveaway.)
Think the name's cheesy?
Trust me, their one of a kind Alice in Wonderland inspired pieces make up for it. A few of my favourites:

Seriously adorable stuff. Will definitely be ordering from them soon.

Also in the spirit of mad hatter fun, I stumbled upon The Walk Cafe around two weeks ago with a friend and can't believe I've lived here for almost two years and have never heard of it before, it's heavenly!
It's a small little cafe near Bridlesmith Gate with the quirkiest decor, the most extensive selection of herbal teas, and the creamiest scones you've ever tasted. Seriously, anyone living in Nottingham or the surrounding areas should go check it out. I'm definitely bringing the mother here next time she comes to visit.
Oh and apparently it's one of Sir Paul Smith's favourite places in Notts, as featured by Vogue magazine (which explains why we had to wait almost half an hour to be seated, but it was honestly worth it).

I fell in love with the mismatched teacups and pots <3 and sadly ended up breaking this one :)

Bad shot, but I couldn't resist including this one. I have a weakness for all things Alice :)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

iPad = Meh: The Other Side of the Story

As with any new product (Apple, or otherwise), it didn't take long for the "Top Ten Reasons why the iPad Sucks"-esque lists to surface. In fact, just minutes after the liveblog on Gizmodo had covered the keynote, this article made its way to their home page. And while some claims are valid, most are just people hating on the fact that the iPad doesn't have the same capabilities that the average netbook would.

Newsflash: The Apple iPad is NOT a netbook! It's not trying to BE a netbook. If you want a netbook go down to your nearest PC World and buy yourself an Asus N10, otherwise stuff it.
I mean logically, it almost immediately follows that a tablet device would be used more for entertainment purposes, rather than communications purposes, and while the iPad can cater to both of those things, it's probably more of a threat to e-readers like Amazon's Kindle than it is to any Netbook manufacturer.

Now to address some of the more legitimate downfalls of the iPad:

1. No Cameras
Many critics seem to think that the iPad's lack of a front-facing camera and/or one on the back is a terrible thing. Now as a design student, I sort of agree in the sense that the iPad seems to be more about media consumption than it is creation, and pre-release, there was much speculation about how an Apple tablet could greatly contribute to the creative industry. But that being said, it is what it is. Sure the absence of a camera is disappointing to a lot of people, but it's also part of Apple's Marketing Department's Master Plan (AMDMP), which is: "Hey! Let's release a version that's absolute crap so that we can release another one in 6 months time with only a fraction more of the originally intended awesome features so we can do it all over again and make billions of dollars!"
Planned obsolescence people, there's a reason Apple are number 1; they're not stupid.

2. No Multitasking
Yeah, it's a deal-breaker. But again, this is mostly based on the fact that no netbook would lack something as vital as multitasking. And as we've already covered, the iPad is not a netbook.
Also, this is another possible result of AMDMP. Who knows, the iPad 2.0 might let you take pictures with two cameras while you update your account via your Twitter App and read your latest iBook. :)

3. No Widescreen, HDMI Output, and lots of adapters:
Having to use adapters to connect even a USB to the iPad is undoubtedly annoying. As is the fact that widescreen movies do not fare well on the 4:3 screen.
Even more frustrating is the inability to watch any media downloaded on the iPad anywhere else (ie. your HD tv).
And to all of that, I say one thing: AMDMP.

Now to get to the REAL shortcomings of the device:

4. No Flash Support, Again
Now this is a somewhat sensetive issue, especially to the iPhone community who have been whining about this since the dawn of time.
It's essentially rooted in some sort of a childish feud between Steve Jobs and ex Adobe CEO and co-founder, John Warnock. The sad thing is that they've collaborated together countless times over the years and have basically made OSX what it is today through said collaborations. But according to this interview, Warnock is hesitant to approach Jobs about restarting the partnership again, because he thinks Jobs won't agree to incorporating anything Adobe related, unless he owns it:
He has never been great at hitting that middle ground [between] openness and proprietary [products]. He has always seemed to lean to the proprietary side, to want to own everything. I think this is one case where he probably would do better if he didn’t do that.
Makes sense, right? Here's what our good friend Mr. Jobs had to say about the matter:
About Adobe: They are lazy, Jobs says. They have all this potential to do interesting things but they just refuse to do it. They don’t do anything with the approaches that Apple is taking, like Carbon. Apple does not support Flash because it is so buggy, he says. Whenever a Mac crashes more often than not it’s because of Flash. No one will be using Flash, he says. The world is moving to HTML5. 
Um, Steve? Hate to break it to you but the world hasn't moved on to HTML5 just quite yet, and there are still a countless number of websites using Flash.
So, as an employee of The Flash Blog put it: Get used to the blue legos.

5. DRM
This to me, is hands down the worst thing about the iPad. For those of you who are unsure on what exactly DRM, or Digital Restriction Management, is, it basically means that any and all content that can be made available on the iPad, will be exclusive to Apple's platform. Apple have already exercised the on all media on the iTunes store (with the exception of music) which basically takes away your right to share. Additionally, all applications must be approved by Apple to run, which also means that they can push updates to said applications over the iPad's wireless connection, meaning they can add or remove capabilities at any given time.
Why is this such a bad thing? Revisionism.
For one thing, if every publisher needs permission from Apple, they can basically manipulate the distribution of news media. If a story published in the New York Times paints them in a bad light, they can delete it. Even after it's been published.
By making a computer where every application is under total, centralized control, Apple is endangering freedom to increase profits.source
Apple says they won't abuse this privellege, but if that's the case why have it there in the first place? Plus they've been known to reject and remove competitor applications off the App Store for absolutely no reason whatsoever in the past,so who's to say they won't do it again?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sore Throat + Dreamweaver = Temporary Insanity. Steve Jobs's latest brainchild = Epic.

So I'm pretty sure I'm about to set the world record for "crappiest immune system ever". Okay that sounds stupid and is probably a little insensetive given all the pain and suffering people with serious ilnesses actually go through so I retract my former statement.Point is, having a flu/throat infection for the third time in under a month is not normal. I mean, technically speaking it's probably the same infection that's been plaguing me all along but the fact that it insists on deceptively disappearing for a few days and then resurfacing once I think I'm home free, is annoying.

Anyways. Spent most of today pulling my hair out working on a website for my course that's making me like Dreamweaver less and less. I've also developed a strong dislike for Internet Explorer as a result of CSS compatibility issues and would like to take a moment to say how wonderful it is that Mozilla Firefox exists.

In other news, Apple has finally released the coveted tablet! (Check out Gizmodo's live coverage of the event here.) As expected it's basically an iPhone on crack, which, lets face it, is freaking awesome. Observe:

It's actually pretty impressive. Multi-touch screen, custom apps like iWork and the iBook e-reader which you can now fuel from the brand new iBookstore :). Also, if you're an iPhone user, you can sync all your existing apps to it without paying a dime. Wi-fi and 3G models, your basic MacBook capabilities, e-mail, Safari, calendar, contacts and the sort.
Oh and have I mentioned, prices start at499 USD? Steve Jobs is calling it "Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price."
Unbelievable is right. I honestly do think it's a revolutionary product. It's not a MacBook, but it's no netbook either. It's in a class of its own which is oddly unsettling but still undeniably impressive. Needless to say, I'm a fan.

My only contentions however, are with the name. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the iPad.
Yep. I mean out of ALL the possible names out there, the iSlate, the iTablet, even freaking iPhone XXL would have been better than iPad.
I mean I don't necessarily want to be thinking of female hygiene products when meandering around an Apple store but with a name like that I don't possibly see how not to.
Think I'm making too big a deal out of this?

All I can say is, MadTV had it right back in '06:

Monday, January 25, 2010

First Post Ever.

Testing testing 1-2-3.

So the first thing I've discovered from this experience is that custom layouts can be quite frustrating, hence the default template. In the process of designing my own layout/setting up the rest of the page after which I will actually start to blog.
Stay tuned for further updates :)