From Technology

Apple, mobile apps, product management and other nerdy stuff

Makible 3D Printers

Last week I visited the offices of Makible – an interesting hardware startup based in Hong Kong developing affordable 3D printers for people to design and build their own products or prototypes. 3D printing works by laying down successive layers of extruded plastic in a series of cross sections generated by a CAD model until the final shape is created.

The technology has been around in manufacturing since the late 1980’s but it’s only been in recent years that it has become accessible to individuals through projects like the OpenSource RepRap which formed the basis of the original MakerBot and Makible’s upcoming MakiBox A6 (they really need to differentiate the names better!).

The MakiBox A6’s biggest selling point seems to be its price, which at around $300 is considerably cheaper than its competitors.

Responsive Design Is Improving The Web

At the beginning of 2012 there were very few examples of large websites which had adopted responsive layouts, an approach to web design whereby the page is able to automatically scale to provide an optimal view experience for whatever device is being used (desktop, tablet or smartphone). Now as we approach the end of the year its been exciting to see an explosion in the number of big sites employing this technique to great effect. Read more

Unfogging Your World

An app which promises to “Remember everywhere you have been in your whole life journey” immediately makes me skepticism but ‘Fog of World‘ is actually pretty fun even if doesn’t quite live up to the hyperbole. The simple concept is that you start off with a world map which is covered by fog that only clears once you visit a location in person, as tracked by your smartphones GPS.

What you’re left with are inverse contrails criss crossing a map providing a visual record of exactly where you’ve been. The makers of the app have tried to gamify the system by awarding achievements which can be shared on a leader board. In other words, a travel egomaniacs dream.

Made in Taiwan, it’s a cute idea although I dread to imagine what this will do for your battery life.

A Disturbance in The Force at Apple

Having watched Apple closely over the past few years and thoroughly enjoyed using many of their products that enable much of what I do every day, there have been a number of increasingly worrying trends which have emerged and been reported on recently which I think bear looking at as a whole: Read more

Kite Flying at Night in Shanghai

Walk through any park at the weekend in China and you’re more than likely to find groups of people flying wonderfully decorated kites high in the sky. This isn’t a pastime just for kids though, and as I found out in Shanghai a few weeks ago, aficionados of the sport have taken it a step further… Read more

Top 10 Reasons to Upgrade to Drupal 7

Fair warning if you’re only interested in travel related content you might want to turn off now – this is a heavily tech related article!

For those who work with Drupal, the open source content management system, a question of many people’s minds now is whether they should upgrade to Drupal 7 or stay on an earlier version (usually 6). This is an especially tricky decision for larger websites using Drupal since the upgrade process is often far from simple. If you’re interested in upgrading and looking for reasons to persuade decisions makers, below is a list of the top reasons I’ve come across to make the leap: Read more

The (Not So) Secret Truth About Outsourcing

Over the past seven years I have worked on a variety of outsourced software projects with people from the US, Europe, India & China which has led me to one rarely spoken but rather obvious truth: even in well-managed environments outsourcing doesn’t work very well and often leads to less-than-satisfactory outcomes. Read more

Lessons Learnt Designing For Mobile

Since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 the tech world has been solidly focused on mobile and for many publishers having a mobile presence has become a must (often irregardless of users actual needs). Of the thousands of apps available, the average user will probably only use half a dozen with any regularity, so cementing your app in this hallowed position is no easy task. Read more

Product Management Manifesto

When people ask me what I do for a living I often struggle to explain myself – being a ‘Product Manager’ can mean a lot of different things but whether you’re building something physical like a car, or virtual like an app, a Product Manager has to be able to operate on multiple fronts to juggle business, technical, and creative demands. Read more