Category Archives: recognition

2011 in Retrospect

I am Repetitive
In my two previous end of year posts, the first sentence tells that I had a strange year. Mostly due to the transition to freelance and all that entails. This year I was fully prepared for how weird freelancing is and was ready to rock and roll the highs and lows. So suffice it to say, I embrace the “strange”. 2011 was an amazing year!

Witches! …no… sorry… Watches!
Scott Wilk of Wilk Watchworks approached me at the tail end of 2010 about collaborating on some watches. In 2011, the two watches I’d designed came to reality!

On the left is the Tron-inspired watch and on the right, the Rounders-inspired watch. Available from Scott’s Cargoh shop.

Scott’s just ordered cases for my next three watches and I am super excited.

Working in Rarified AIR
At the beginning of the year I was asked by the superb folk at Invivo to build a desktop AIR application that could take communication from an iPad as a sales tool. The answer, of course, was “sure!” To be fair, I’d never built an AIR application before, nor communicated with an iOS device, but whatever, right? With a little finagling and a socket server, we did just that.

Invivo seemed to like the work because shortly after they asked me to make another desktop app. This time, it was a quiz show with two states; one on one moderated and team-play. Once again the ask was to communicate with iOS devices. This time the devices would be 7 iPod touches and an iPad. Using a socket server, the communication was one-sided (the iPods only broadcasting, not listening) Anyway, this was another challenging, super-cool project.

Making a Movie… ?
I spoke at the 10-year FiTC in Toronto. (The Influxis Voodoo Lounge, to be specific). I was announcing my intention of making a documentary about the roots of inspiration in the digital industry. I’d called it, brazenly, Influential – The Age of Digital

Seems that, once again, I think HUGE while having small capabilities. Here’re some observations as I mosey along, slowly.

  • I don’t know how to make a movie/documentary
  • I don’t have money to make a movie/documentary
  • I seriously misjudged my ability to pull contributions
  • In the meantime, check out this awesome doc released recently. AND IT’S FREE! PressPausePlay It’s worth the watch. I promise.

    I am NOT an Activist
    On July 16th, my 4 yr-old son (4 at that time) asked me to write a letter to the Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, to tell him:

    The response was so overwhelmingly positive, I told my pal, John Breton, to register the URL, Dear Mayor Ford and work up a little database and form for people to write letters to the mayor. It took off from there. The super cool Amber MacArthur mentioned us in a Globe and Mail post and John was interviewed on CBC’s Metro Morning! There’s a facebook page with some lively discussion and you can still write a letter to the mayor. It appears he won’t read them although we’ve offered him access to write responses to his taxpaying residents.

    Whatever, it’s been an interesting experience.


    My friend, Michael Morton, is a musician who goes by the name Displacer. He approached me about doing live visuals for his performances. I’ve already blogged about it, but man, it’s been a trip. I cannot wait to do this again with Mike.

    A Ring for September

    I was approached by my good friend, Spencer Saunders, about helping his company, Juice Agency, out on a worthwhile cause: Septembering, an effort to raise funds for Trillium Childhood Cancer Support Center. The project is now offline, but it was a great project and allowed me to play with Box2D a little.

    AIRing out my differences

    My last major project for 2011 was an AIR application for MacLaren McCann and HP. An interactive screensaver that allowed users to get a pretty look at the new notebooks on offer from HP.

    I also renovated my kitchen this year (honestly it’s still in progress, embarrassingly, but it’s almost done.)

    Rhymes with Sleeve

    Most importantly, my wife, Libs gave birth to our beautiful daughter Niamh Ava on October 17th.

    There was a lot more work I did during the year, but I just have no energy to list it all. If you’re a client reading this, I love you. If you’re a potential client reading this, I want to love you. Wait… that sounded wrong… unless, you know, you’re into it… koff…

    10 Best Excuses – Distraction & Recognition

    Now that the rush of speaking at FOTB has lessened, I thought it relevant to expand on some of the things I said on stage. As I write these posts, I’ll be sure to tag them 10Best so you can click on the tag in the post and have all the pertinent posts lined up for you.

    To start with, I’d like to talk a little about recognition. Typically, the most difficult thing to do when you’re avoiding work is realizing you are avoiding work. If you haven’t done any work in a while, it might all of a sudden hit you, “Why am I still not working?”

    I’m here to tell you, recognition is extremely important. Once you can see from outside yourself what you’re up to, you can make the effort to move on. If you’re not avoiding work, per se, but simply taking a break, that’s something else entirely. Let’s pretend you’re not taking a break.

    So how do you do something introspective when it’s not immediately in your nature? This actually requires effort. However, once you’re used to doing it, it’s difficult to stop. Besides that, you might start blaming procrastination on things that really aren’t. LOL.

    Anyway, let’s figure out how to rejig your thinking.

    Look at what you’re doing right now. Maybe not right now, since you’re reading my post. No wait, yes, right now. Are you reading this post because you’re geniunely interested in what you’re reading? Or are you reading it because you don’t feel like working? Either way, thanks for reading my post, but if your reason is the latter, stop reading and go back to work.

    Are they gone? Good. Good for them. If you’re still here, it’s the former. Please read on.

    This applies to everything online. We can get distracted, often, by links that lead to other links that lead to other links. That’s the wonder and the curse of the interweb.

    Turn yourself around, it’s fairly easy. Schedule distraction time. Give yourself a half hour or an hour a day to just tool around looking at links. Copy and paste links into a text file for later perusal. But do not go immediately to the links you’re given. You’ll find you discriminate more in what you look at when you wait to look. Sometimes it helps to even copy whatever the description that your friend or the referrer provided with the link. For instance, “LOL. HILARIOUS. http://randomLink” You know, and I know, that that’s a link that can wait.

    It’s not intentional but getting distracted from what you’re doing and losing your train of thought (or as I started to say “My train of thought’s derailed”) is really, really easy. Since we’re social animals by nature, we don’t like saying “Just give me insert # of minutes minutes and I’ll get back to you.” Even if it’s in IM. I say social and distracted can be two different things. Be polite, but keep your momentum.

    Now, this doesn’t apply only to monkeying around looking at links. Do you get up from your desk to have a smoke? Do you refill your coffee and find yourself standing at the carafe chatting with someone about their weekend, wedding, trip, kids, itch? You need to figure out why you’re not working. If you genuinely need to take a break, take your break. Look at your reasons. More often than not, I left my desk because I simply didn’t want to deal with what was on my screen. Avoidance is procrastination, by the way. Thought I’d share that.

    This mindset has paid off incredibly for me since going freelance. When I stand up from my desk now, I ask “Why am I getting up?” If I look back at my computer and see something that’s been hanging me up, I sit back down. If there isn’t, I get up and take five minutes of free thought, stretching, smoke, coffee, water, bathroom, whatever. But I don’t let myself get in my own way anymore.

    Don’t discount the value of taking a break to reset your head. You can bang your brain against a bug for hours and never get there. Sometimes the only answer for it is to stand up, step back, blink the stupid out of your eyes and breath.