From June 2007

Web Trends Map 2007

iA Web Trends Map 2007 2.0

I’ve long been a fan of quasi geographic visualisation and after stumbling across this beautiful rendering of 200 popular sites on the net by Information Architects, a “Strategic Design Agency” in Japan, I felt the need to share and enjoy!

If you’re feeling a sense of déjà vu when looking at the map then that’s because it’s closely based on the Tokyo metro map – mind boggling in itself. Each line has been given a theme (e.g. Technology, News…) and some vague logic has been applied to the placement of each site as well as a “weather” forecast for future prospects. For those who know Tokyo you might spot a few in-jokes here also!

No matter what you make of the utility of the map it’s pretty cool 🙂

Long Haul

I’ve been trying to work out some travel plans for the summer this week but have been stumped by the rather ridiculous cost of flights. Even though I’m looking to book more than two months in advance I’m only left with the option of an £850 11 hour flight or a £350 20 hour flight with a stopover in Dubai. Of course there’s no way I would ever shell out for the former but it seems rather a lot to endure almost a full day of my holiday (each way) sitting in a cattle class coffin for the pleasure of a cheap ticket but I guess that’s the catch. Something tells me my body clock is going to be so messed up by the end of this next adventure.

If anyone has any advice on finding cheap flights I’d love to hear from you… perhaps advice on how to survive flying half way around the world would be more appropriate though!

In other news… I just noticed I’ve been linked to by a blog about Chinese law which not only brought a smile to my face (if you know my views you’ll know why) but is also an interesting read for those in the business of outsourcing 🙂

This Modern Life

It’s been a busy couple of weeks at work and I’m completely exhausted… Friday seems a long way off at this point and there isn’t a definite end in sight! As usual there’s not a lot more I can say about that side of life here which is kind of a pity because some of it’s quite interesting.

This Modern Life

Over the weekend I watched a couple of good movies – Michael Moore’s new documentary SiCKO, about the failings of the American health care system, and Exiled, a old fashion Hong Kong triad film with heavy focus on friendship and brotherhood – nothing special but a good watch all the same. In the former seeing the underhanded way in which the medical insurance companies work in the US really makes me feel how lucky we are to have the NHS in the UK, even with all its failings. I find it quite incredible that America, of all places, could be in such a dire situation with such a big and unfair divide between the rich and poor…

China Cultural Revolution Poster

Elsewhere… I finally got round to framing and putting up one of the Chinese cultural revolution propaganda posters in my bedroom. It’s a nice little reminder of my time in China and a rather ironic statement about everything I detest that this man did to a wonderful country during a completely unnecessary revolution.


Today some spice of a different variety


I’ve not watched much Anime in quite a long time, generally I find there is way too much mediocre stuff out there for me to keep up with, but every now and then the odd gem appears. I first heard of Paprika back when I was in China and had been dying to lay my hands on a copy. Last night I finally had a couple of hours to watch it and… wow… it’s a pretty trippy invasion into the sub-consciousness (quite literally) . As the poster proclaims “This is your brain on Anime“.


Paprika revolves around a group of experimental scientists who have developed a new psychiatric tool. Known as the DC Mini the device allows a treating doctor to enter directly into their patient’s dream, interacting with them to diagnose and treat any issues that the dream may suggest… The project is in danger, however, with the three latest DC Mini devices, just completed and without the proper security protocols installed, stolen from their creator, the absent minded behemoth Dr. Tokita. With security measures removed the thieves can use these devices to force themselves into people’s minds, trapping them in bizarre visions of the criminals’ own choosing and – most disturbing – they are showing an increasing ability to do this even to waking minds. The most likely hope in fighting against this threat is Paprika, the alter ego of Dr. Chiba – the lead treating psychiatrist experimenting with the DC Mini and herself plagued by an extreme split personality…” [Twitch review]


What I like about good Anime, and Asian film in general, is that it doesn’t treat the viewer as a fool and makes you think. Whether that’s just a side effect of having to read subtitles at the same time I don’t know but Paprika can certainly be taken on many different levels – whether it be for its stunning visuals or its questioning of collective unconscious you win either way. Those familiar with director Satoshi Kon’s previous works will undoubtedly see parallels in Paprika and it’s interesting to see further exploration of the duality of reality and dreams explored here, something he also notes in this interview.


Check out the sumptuous trailer in High-Def here. It’s not out on DVD yet but still well worth hunting down!

Mudchute Chilli Farm

Did I mention that I am growing chillies this year?

4 Week Old Chillies

Having found a penchant for hot food a few years back I now put chillies in just about everything I cook so it seemed to make sense to grow my own as well (as being a bit of a distraction from everything else). Luckily most of my family are fairly green-fingered so I’ve had plenty of advice and to be honest it’s not that difficult, at least mine haven’t died yet! You basically plant the seeds at the right time of year, make sure they have enough water and then watch them germinate and grow.

Mudchute Chilli Farm!

The variety I’m growing are called “Demon Red” (Heat Level 10/10) and according to the Royal Horticultural Society are ideal for Thai cooking. Mine have been growing for about month now so their only a couple of cm high but rapidly approaching the time when they’ll need to be transferred to larger pots. I’ve got 7 plants in total (1 was donated to a worthy cause!) which should make for a bumper crop later in the year. Drop me a line if you’d like some home grown organic chillies and your country of residence allows the import of explosive materials 😉


London 2012 Logo

You would have thought that designing the logo for the London Olympics would have been the easy bit but if this is the best they can come up with it’s a bit depressing. London may be a “cool and happening” city but this is just not doing it for me, nor most other people but the sound of things – in the papers, on the tube, and around the blogosphere the consensus seems to be that it’s pretty aweful. Personally I thought that the logo they used for the bid was a lot better, I guess we’ve got another 5 years for it to evolve.

In tenuously related but possibly less high-profile news I’m looking to re-design the look of so expect to see some changes around here. Whilst I think the current site looks good it’s not changed much over the last few years so I think it’s due a refresh.