ex-con

So, its about time i publicly announced this. I’m going to be leaving de-construct.
I’ve been with the company since its creation, as one of the founding members, about six and a half years ago. We started the agency as a group of seven who’d just all lost our jobs at previous agency deepend, due to the collapse of the company. We decided we all still wanted to work together, and felt we could create something to be truly proud of – and here we are – a forty person award winning agency doing some amazing work with an amazing team.

So why leave? A good question indeed, and one I’ve been struggling with for a while now, but in essence – i just think its time to move on. I’ve effectively had the same job since I was 19, and whilst I’m still getting the opportunity to work on some really great projects at decon, I’m hankering for other things, new challenges, new horizons, new everything really.

I don’t have any plans as to what i’m going to do when I leave – I don’t have a job lined up, i don’t have any interviews to attend, I think i’ll first just take a bit of a break, watch DVDs and read books, and then see what opportunities arise. I’ve got a list of personal things i’d like to try and achieve, and there are a whole load of people i’d like to try and meet and chat to, but right now – i’m just planning on having a little rest.

I’m going to be at decon for the next several months, working out my notice, and finding a suitable replacement, and then the mammoth task of handing over, but then, the world is my oyster card.

Facebook as judge, jury and executioner

This week’s stock market crash has been levied on a rogue trader in France. An article in today’s metro explained the potential cause of the worldwide slump, and then chose to round up the article with a truly damning inditement of the trader. Not content with explaining how his actions had left Societe Generale with a loss of 4bn euros, the Metro really stuck in the knife by explaining before the scandal dropped, Jerome Kerviel had 11 friends on facebook – but today, after media reports that he was the as yet unnamed trader, he has only four.

Well, he must be guilty then. I’m glad Metro felt it neccessary to point this out. My interest in the story was only passing until they linked it to his facebook popularity. This really is an important piece of news now. I haven’t been too fussed by Mugabe’s dictatorship, but I just found he hasn’t updated his twitter status for over 24 hours, and that really pissed me off. What an evil man.

I must really try and not update my Facebook status the next time I rob a bank, it might come back to haunt me. “Matthew is holding up a branch of Northern Rock. Haven’t managed to fill my bag of loot though.”

OpenID

I’d long wondered what the uptake of OpenID would really be. In principle, the concept of having a ‘single sign on’ concept across the increasing number of online applications one uses as a modern day web user was ideal. Keep your security credentials managed centrally, and authenticate with each service provider when needed. No longer do you need to keep track of all the different username/password combinations, but just a single username, and a password you can change on a regular basis, increasing security across all of your applications.

My worry about OpenID was take up by less-savvy users. One of the strongest commercial arguments for adopting OpenID was that new users would be able to come to your application with lower barriers to entry, no long painful sign up, just drop in your OpenID account, and you’re away – but realistically, is my mum going to be aware of OpenID providers? Probably not. I’d happily implement OpenID in all of our commercial projects at de-construct, but many of the audience members are just not bleeding edge enough to have an existing account, and sending them away to setup an OpenID account seems overkill.

However, with recent news that Yahoo! accounts and Blogger.com blogs will be OpenID accounts also, this barrier is lowered yet again. Suddenly, all those flickr users are OpenID enabled. All those bloggers are OpenID enabled, it can’t be long before Google accounts are OpenID enabled, whether Microsoft consider Passport to be worthy of OpenID is yet to be seen (although mooted). The next step is education and getting users to see the benefits. Most of the benefits for those non bleeding users will be immediate, we don’t need to shout about them, just implement them, and make the user’s life easier. Let’s see if we can get our next authentication system using OpenID, and i’ll let you know how we get on.

got milk?

tea and coffee colours

a new revision of the annual decon ‘tea/coffee’ list came out this week. we’ve always had a poster up in the kitchen to show how people like their hot drinks. this year its all about the pantone. not great for me, as being colour deficient, i can’t match colours for toffee, but i never make people drinks either, so it works out for everyone.

svn.class.php

We’ve pretty much switched over to using SVN for all of our LAMP deployments now, as well as during development. Its quite often useful for our, say, flash development team to be able to check their recent committed changes on the development server, but they don’t always have access via SSH, so i’ve started writing a really basic SVN class for PHP which allows the developer to run an SVN Update without SSHing in.

I’m sure there are PHP bindings somewhere to make this more effecient, but this should work on most machines where exec() is supported. The example below is for Windows machines, as you have to pass the full path to subversion in case your PATH is not setup correctly.


class svn {

var $svn_exe_path;

function svn() {
$this->svn_exe_path = '"\Program Files\Subversion\bin\svn.exe"';
}

function update() {
return `$this->svn_exe_path up`;
}

}

You will need to make sure you have a windows commandline installation of subversion (as i’ve used tortoise for most of my time with svn on windows, i never needed it until now). It is available here: Subversion for Windows including Command Line installation

Sound the death knell

http://urltea.com/2j7s

The Chicago Tribune has stopped printing ‘help wanted’ ads in its weekday editions, preferring to publish them online. I can’t help thinking increasing amounts of ‘functional’ content from newspapers will follow this direction – being higher profit margin and more accessible, searchable, useful, leading to the newspapers concentrating on the editorial and journalistic content. It has long been clear that newspapers are going to have to deliver more than just news reporting, but deeper insight and opinion as the strength of instantly updatable news websites increases, and people turn to digital sources in their thousands, and papers become for the more indepth comment and background to a story.

Harry

Say hello to the newest addition to my household – Harriet Templeton Pearce III (Harry for short). She’s a (almost) three year old girl cat, and seems to love nothing more than hugs, hiding under radiators and using her own body as a duster on our wooden floors. She’s a big fan of Judd Apatow movies, thoroughly disinterested in any form of ‘toy’, and won gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in Curling.