Blog

Joining Wildbit

I’m joining the Wildbit marketing team so that I can switch to a happier balance of design and coding in my day-to-day work.

The Future of Web Forms

How conversational interfaces are making data collection more human.

Doing Less is a Feature

Many people set out to build products that are simpler than existing solutions but then fall into the trap of trying to keep up with the feature set of their competitors. It’s easy to lose sight of

Forget About Fashion

As humans we're obsessed with the new. The must-have gadget that just hit the market. The latest style paraded down the fashion show catwalks. Every time Apple releases a new iPhone there are queue

Grasping Opportunities

Every once in a while an opportunity arises that will push you out of your comfort zone. That has the power to challenge your understanding of the world, and to inspire you to grow in ways you never t

Why Time Tracking Kills Creativity

Time tracking can be useful. It helps you keep track of billable hours, gives you a detailed overview of what people are working on, and shows you which projects are falling behind schedule. But time

2015: Year in Review

2015 was somewhat of a whirlwind year for me. There were some fantastic highs and a few rather painful lows. Here's some of the highlights: I got engaged to an amazing woman. I left Your Big Pit

2015

(Re)discovering Myself

I hesitated to write this post for a while. I think mainly because I don't consider myself 'fixed'. I don't have a solution to share that will help people in a similar situation to get back on track.

Keep it Simple

I've recently started using an app called TeuxDeux to help me plan my work for the week. It's a brilliantly simple tool. The TeuxDeux website includes a /Purpose that outlines the team's motivation fo

Guidelines for the Human Perception of Speed

It’s important to remember that measured performance and perceived performance do not always align. The brain is a strange organ that has a habit of distorting the reality around us. In his book Hi

On Being 'Unemployable'

Until recently I had spent almost my entire working life doing my own thing. Starting companies, consulting for clients, writing tutorials. I had complete control over what I worked on and how I went

Changing Pace

The past five years have been a rollercoaster of amazing highs and crushing lows. Running your own business is immensely rewarding, but at the same time incredibly stressful. Over the past few mon

2014

Advice to My Teenage Self

An old friend of mine (@ShelleyBear92) wrote an interesting post on her blog yesterday about some of the things she would tell her teenage self. I thought I’d follow her lead and give it a go too.

Dailies

It's easy to fall into a routine of doing the same thing day in, day out without being conscious of making progress either personally or professionally. I combat this by having a list of tasks that

My Favourite Books on Business

We live in a world where you can go online and watch a talk from pretty much any prominent individual from the past two decades. That's pretty amazing, but I still find magic in the written word. I

Choosing the Best Client-Side Storage Technology for Your Project

With all the different client-side storage options available today, it's easy to get confused about which one is best suited for your project. In this post I'm going to take you through the most popul

Registering Protocol Handlers to Intercept Special Links

A cool (and somewhat unknown) browser feature is protocol handlers. These give you the ability to register your web application as a handler for protocols like mailto or webcal. Then whenever a user c

Working with the Page Visibility API

These days it's rare for someone to browse the web with just a single tab open. We tend to switch between tabs consuming the information that is most important to us at that moment. As a developer

Reading Files with FileReader

The FileReader API is really handy if you need to read a file using JavaScript. There's a whole bunch of different methods available that allow you to get a file's content in various formats. rea

Using the Geolocation API

The Geolocation API makes it really easy to get the location of a device using JavaScript. Supporting browsers will expose a geolocation interface on the navigator object. This interface has a getC

Using the Vibration API

Harness the device's vibration motor using the vibrate() method, accessible on the navigator object. Simply pass in the number of milliseconds you want the vibration to last. navigator.vibra

Killing Kojitsu

Let's start with a bit of context. About a year ago I started work on a little web application that could surface the best links shared by the people I follow on twitter. Last February I released

The Democratization of Urban Design

Every now and then I read, hear, or watch something that resonates with me so much I just want to share it with the world. Today that moment came after watching Enrique Peñalosa's TED talk on urban p

Time

Everything has a finite amount of time. All the objects we depend on. All the people we love. If we take away all that surrounds us, all we're really left with is time. Time to enjoy. Time to

Thoughts on Writing

Writing gets talked about these days as one of the most important skills a person can have, and I generally agree. Writing teaches you to think deeply. To care about the work you produce. To consider

Edit Your To-do Lists

My day revolves around what’s on my to-do list. It helps to keep me productive. But to-do lists have a problem. They get bloated. You end up with all sorts of stuff on there that isn’t that important.

Greatest Hits (so far) From The Treehouse Blog

After finishing HTML5 Foundations I was asked if I’d like to start writing for the Treehouse blog. Naturally I jumped at the opportunity and started formulating ideas for blog posts. That was November

2013

Review of the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard

I've been looking for an ergonomic keyboard for a while but have always been put off by the design of most of the keyboards on the market. They usually look more like a medical instrument than somethi

Thoughts on Freelancing

This week I wrote an article for the Treehouse blog that aims to pass on some of the lessons I’ve learned over my freelancing career. If you’re a freelancer, or are thinking about going freelance,

Time is Currency

Yesterday I finished reading The Last Lecture. The book is based around a talk given by Randy Pausch (The Last lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams). Randy was a professor at Carnegie Mello

Education is an Adventure

I think it's sad that a lot of people view three or four years at university as the end of their education. The truth is we never stop learning. Education is a lifelong endeavour for all those that wi

The Permanence of Data

I recently started keeping a journal again, it helps me to think through the things that are on my mind. I thought about purchasing a nice leather journal to write in. The idea of having something phy

Notifications Are Killing Email

Email has become one of the primary ways that web applications send us notifications, but email wasn’t built for this. Email was built for communication, not for sending people notifications about eve

Explore the Unknowables

I say explore because true unknowables cannot always be solved. There's not always an answer to find. Instead we explore them. We experiment in order to learn. Unknowables are things that nobody kn

Book Review: Instant Markdown by Arturo Herrero

I was recently fortunate enough to get my hands on a copy of Instant Markdown by Arturo Herrero. I'm a big fan of Markdown (in fact, I'm using it to write this post) so I was interested to see what th

Explorers

As I gaze at the dark night sky I am filled with such excitement. Excitement for the future generations that will visit distant worlds. The generations that will experience other lifeforms, cizi

Content Discovery Still Sucks

We've spent years entering intricate details about ourselves into various places on the web and yet we still can't get a truly great recommendation out of a machine. Don't get me wrong, recommendat

Intelligence

Being smart isn't about knowing all the answers, it's about asking the right questions.

Startups are like overgrown trails

Startups are like overgrown trails. You can sort of see the path that you need to take to get to where you want to go, but you're sure to get stung along the way. Perhaps you'll get stuck on a b

The Power of Simplicity

In his book Insanely Simple, Ken Segall shares many of the experiences he gained working whilst with Apple on numerous marketing campaigns, including the infamous Think Different campaign. One

Notifications Rule Our Lives

No matter where we go these days our phones are always with us. They keep us in touch with the wider world. I feel like my brain has an invisible connection to the internet. In a way the internet i

Treehouse Launches an iPad App

Treehouse recently released their brand new iPad app into the world. I’ve been using it for a few days and I have to say, it’s totally changed the learning experience. I can now sit back and watch

The Story of My First Business

Image Source: Ivan Lian When I was 17 I started my first ”˜real’ business. I was in my first year of sixth form and was working part-time in a computer store fixing virus-infected PCs. The store so

The Best Business Advice I've Ever Received

Today I wanted to share with you some advice that I received when I was 17. It was given to me by Edd Smith. At the time Edd was running a company called Dreadworx that was one of the countries larges

Book: HTML5 Geolocation How-to

I was recently honored to be asked to act as a technical reviewer for Ben Werdmuller’s new book HTML5 Geolocation How-to. The book takes an in-depth look into the Geolocation API and shows you how

Measuring The Value of Online Education

For the past few years I have been watching the revolution that is going on in education with much excitement. A traditional college education is rapidly becoming obsolete as the standard of online co

There's No Script

Yesterday I watched Dick Costolo's commencement speech that he gave to graduating students at the University of Michigan. Aside from being very entertaining (mainly due to Dick's style of comic delive

New Adventures: The Final Chapter

The past two years I have been lucky enough to attend New Adventures in Web Design at the Albert Hall in Nottingham. It's my favourite conference (sorry Andy, Build is a close second). The atmosphere

Protecting Our Freedom

As I was reading through the latest edition of Businessweek yesterday morning I came across an Obituary on Aaron Swartz. I never knew Aaron, but like millions of others I felt the effects of his work.

Startup Relationships

There are endless blog posts out there that talk about life in a startup but a topic that rarely gets coverage is the impact that the startup life has on relationships. I ultimately think this is beca

Lessons Learned: Teams and Failure

In late December I left a company that I had spent over a year helping to build. It wasn't easy to leave but the whole experience has taught me a lot. I thought I would note down some of the lesso

Creating Physical Products

Almost everything that I work on is a digital product. No matter how much time I spend pondering over the finer details of a design or planning out complex data structures I can never physically t

2012

The Ben & Fitz Show: Essential Viewing for Web Developers

When I was first learning to program I submersed myself in Open Source as a way to improve my coding chops whilst at the same time learning how to work effectively with other programmers. This was mai

Introducing HTML5 Foundations

Back in March I was incredibly lucky to get the chance to pitch a book to one of world's largest publishers, John Wiley & Sons (For Dummies, Wrox, Blackwell), and one of the leading online edu

The Impact of Fledgling Designers and Developers on The Web Industry

There is a thread in the Treehouse group on Facebook at the moment that is discussing the impact that fledgling (or 'inexperienced') web designers/developers have on the industry. My response started

Don't Try To Be The Next Steve Jobs

I was watching an episode of Charlie Rose the other day in which an idea was presented that really resonated with me, so I thought I would pass it on. In the episode, Bill Maris and Kevin Rose (bot

Agile Development with Sprint.ly

At the end of August I blogged about some of the tools I use when freelancing. In this post I am going to go into a little more depth on how I use Sprint.ly to manage my projects. If you haven'

Tools for Freelancers

I've been a freelancer for nearly 3 years now. (Regardless of the fact that I often hide behind the persona of my company Developer City, I am a freelancer none the less.) Freelancing gives you an awf

Ryan Carson's Keynote at Creative Bath

Ryan Carson gave a really great talk at Creative Bath a fortnight ago and it's turned up on Vimeo so I thought that I would share it with you all. Ryan talks about his experiences in business and how

The Golden Circle

I just finished reading 'Start With Why' by Simon Sinek and thought I would just summarise the main idea presented in the book which is called The Golden Circle. The Golden Circle is an idea

Building Dens

It's easy to think that with all the technology that is available today, kids will have a very different experience growing up. This is true. However, there is a view that kids spend all their time

Don't Lose The Hustle

When you've been running a business for a while it's sometimes easy for people to settle down and merge into the general day-to-day routine of dealing with email and plodding through the task list

State of The Browser 2012

Credit: Steve Workman Yesterday I got up early and headed down to London for State of The Browser 2012. The event was really great and I thought I would just summarise some of the thoughts from the

Hybrid People

Society has always felt the need to categorize people, usually by a person’s occupation, social ”˜status’ (man I hate that crap) or their hobbies. We are no different in the web industry, we seem to h

Sustaining vs Disruptive Innovation

The difference between sustaining and disruptive innovation is commonly misunderstood by many in business. The main differentiation that I make is that sustaining innovation comes from listening to th

2011

Live every day as if it's your first

I just read this really awesome article on TechCrunch by James Altucher about how you can filter out negative thoughts so that you are more productive. The article is tailored towards entreprenuers wi

Treehouse Autoplay Chrome Extension

Since Treehouse was launched earlier this week I have been watching a lot of the videos and working my way through the badges. I often have the videos playing in the background whilst I'm working

Treehouse is here!

The online 'webucation’ site Treehouse was launched today at FOWD New York. I've been eagerly anticipating the launch for the last few months ever since I heard Ryan Carson speaking about it on Th

Inspirational People

It's that time of year again when flocks of nervous 17 and 18 year olds open up an envelope that will define the next 3 years of their life. I am of course talking about A-Level results. I'm glad to s

Onward by Howard Schultz

I finished reading this earlier this week and thought that I would just write a few words about the book. This book is a very detailed account of Starbucks’ journey back to greatness. How

Latest Book Reviews

I’ve recently completed my stereotypical geek persona by rediscovering my love for books. I used to read quite a lot when I was younger but I was always a really slow reader (Harry Pot

Chrome to Phone Concept

A Google engineer created the original chrometophone android app whilst on a plane. The app allows you to send the web page that you are viewing in your Chrome browser to the browser of you

Speed up browsing with Google Public DNS

A little while ago Google released an experimental response to the security and performance issues that plague DNS services today. Google Public DNS leverages the power o

Data Liberation for the masses

Today you can find software to meet your every need from a task list app to keep track of what groceries you need to pick up to a business management system that is going to keep track of what your cu

Look after your customers and they will look after you - The long term theory

I don’t claim to be an expert in business, but in my relatively short adventure into the wonders of the business world I have noticed something that scares me. Existing and previous customers are seve