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My 2007 in Blogs, Music, Events and Apps!

20 Dec 2007

As has been my wont since the early 90’s, I like to write up the things that have tickled my fancy for the past year…


This is should actually be in the singular, as there has been one particular blog that has lit my fire like no others.

Ace Jet 170 seems to have the ability to find objects that trigger the same emotional reactions, like these Routemaster and Underground Signs. A new AceJet post is often followed by a trawl on ebay…

AceJet 170


As usual, not everything in this list was released in 2007, but I couldn’t leave out Midlake’s Trials of Van Occupanther – 2006 be damned! Along with Midlake, the other big discovery for me was Band of Horses, and in particular ‘Cease to Begin’.

So limiting myself to only one song from each of my favourite albums, here is the top 20, in playlist style order:

Song Artist Album
Is There a Ghost Band of Horses Cease to Begin
Blackout Amusement Parks on Fire Out of the Angeles
Time Bomb Goldspot Tally of The Yes Men
Melody Day Caribou Andorra
It Covers the Hillsides Midlake The Trials of Van Occupanther
Intervention Arcade Fire Neon Bible
Isn’t Life Strange The Clientele God Save the Clientele
The Pills Won’t Help You Now The Chemical Brothers (feat. Midlake) We are the night
23 Blonde Redhead 23
Rest My Chemistry Interpol Our Love to Admire
Girl Sailor The Shins
Black Magic Jarvis Cocker Jarvis
You Can Make Him Like You The Hold Steady Girls and Boys in America
The Strangest Secret in the World London Elektricity Power Ballads
Mistaken for Strangers The National Boxer
Mutiny I Promise You The New Pornographers Challengers
Clever girls like clever boys… Pelle Carlberg In a Nutshell
Up Against a Wall Peter Bjorn and John Writer’s Block
Jigsaw falling into place Radiohead In Rainbows
Don’t bother they’re here Stars of the Lid and their Refinement of the Decline

There are few that didn’t quite make the final list, such as Of Montreal and Hammock.

Apps that have changed the way I work

Two apps have changed the way I work in 2007 like no others.


Coda IconSince I first raved about Coda, I’ve met people who have either hated it, or see it as manna from heaven. As I suspected, it doesn’t really suit the hardcore TextMate users, but for me Coda has caused some big shifts in the way I work, and everything I do bar graphics is made in Coda these days.

The biggest change for me is that web development tools in browsers have become less of a necessity. The browser is regaining its position of being ‘pleasure’ while Coda is for everything that’s ‘work’ – like the distinction between home and office. I don’t even use Firefox & Firebug anymore, the revised Web Inspector in Leopard has been incorporated in Coda and that does everything I need and more.

My design process has also been changed by Coda. I’m working on visuals less and less in Fireworks and Illustrator, and starting on the HTML/CSS much much earlier. There are so many things that are hard to convey in a static mockup, and writing the CSS and HTML in Coda is so fast, there seems little point making one. I feel that I can iterate quickly and try out ideas. I still sketch and plan on paper, but a middle man has been cut out.

There’s more to love. The ‘Sites’ view has become more like a project folder or workspace. The saved tabs in a site can include not only the site files, but the remote and local previews, the Textpattern admin panels, phpMyAdmin and the project on Basecamp. I can’t do that in Textmate. The split views in Coda are another favourite feature. Apps like CSS Edit have useful tools, like the ability to override site styles, but the multiple windows for editing and previewing drive me mad.

I could go on, but in short, if I ever see someone from Panic, they’re in danger of getting a big kiss.


Billings IconI mentioned Billings fairly recently, but beyond being a very well thought out time tracking and invoicing application, it’s meant that I have for the first time been aware of just how long I spend doing various different tasks, and how much I spend in terms of expenses and meetings. Having a timer in the menubar wins over a dashboard widget or floating window anyday.

Its also been a great motivator, making me more aware of time I haven’t spent working, without being annoying about it. If I had one request of Marketcircle though, it would be a quicker way of seeing which invoices are unpaid (such as an link in the sidebar), something I need to refer to a lot!


Thanks for letting me get that out of my system – I’m done till next year!

New Design Blogs

16 Aug 2006

With the exception of NetDiver, I don’t go to CSS/‘cool website’ showcases for ideas – I’ve discovered a raft of great design blogs that are providing me with a fresh source of inspiration.

Here are my current favourites:

Plus, from the comments, there’s another gem! A big thanks to Rachel for Prints & Pattern, and awesome supply of colour, shape/pattern ideas. Also, Dan Malls link for Daily Type. Yum!, my iPhoto scrapbook is bulging!!

Live from Dorset

17 Nov 2003

Last weekend I came across a rather nice blog, Dunstans Blog (who also runs 1976Design), via a link at the CSS Vault. Apart from an appealing clean layout, the site has an addictive feature – a ‘live weather image’ from his house in Dorset. This takes the form of a beautiful atmospheric illustration that gets updated, depending on type of the weather and time of day.

It adds real warmth to the site – its one of those ‘good ideas, well executed’ that I wish I’d thought of first (Then again, the view from my window ain’t quite as pretty). I can’t help looking every few hours to see if the weather is any better in Dorset than Oxfordshire.

(Sorry about the weather obsession – its an British thing).

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  • 22 Mar 2018

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    The Clientele with @corinpilling at the Scala last night were mesmerising! It also made me realise how great a guitarist Alasdair MacLean is!

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    Dinner in the Oxford’s. Happy Mother’s Day @hicksleigh! (It was the best one of Dan - honest)

  • 11 Mar 2018

    She didn’t have a clue

  • 10 Mar 2018

    You paint a great mural, and some idiot adds their ugly tag to the little of space you left to balance the composition.

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