Tuesday 24 February 2009

Careers Workshop

Today at uni we have a careers workshop. We're working this term on placement pitches in a bid to create a one-stop shop for prospective employers. The idea is ultimately for each individual to create a video selling themselves, all of which will be uploaded onto the site.

We've been looking at values within ourselves. We took part in an activity in which we were given a pack of little cards with lots of values on them. We all picked out our top five. Here are mine:

I like taking risks.
I like to be independent.
I like challenges.
I need to be in a competitive situation to thrive.
I enjoy being a leader.

So what I have drawn from this, is that I am easily distracted, bossy and a bit of a loner. Great.

Employ me?

Monday 23 February 2009


I'm fairly sure I'm one of the most unproductive people in existence. I realised today I have managed to make it to week six of this semester without doing any work. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

I don't think it helps that I have pretty much no direction in life. I have no long term plans, hell, I don't even have any short term ones. I don't even know what I'm going to have for dinner tonight.

I should probably be doing a lot of work before uni tomorrow but instead I keep getting "distracted". I've managed to waste a fair bit of time today riding my horse, making my Twitter look nice (follow me!) and writing this poor blog entry.

Action brings good fortune. Surfing the net, I'm not so sure.

Saturday 7 February 2009

Microsoft Mosquitoes

Microsoft founder turned philanthropist Bill Gates released a glass full of mosquitoes at an elite technology conference to make a point about the deadly disease malaria.

"Malaria is spread by mosquitoes," Gates said while opening a jar on stage at the Technology, Entertainment, Design Conference in Monterey, California — a gathering known to attract technology kings, politicians, and Hollywood stars.

"I brought some. Here I’ll let them roam around. There is no reason only poor people should be infected."

(Via MailOnline)

Friday 6 February 2009


Today I had a chat with Jonathan Baldwin, my dissertation supervisor, about my progress (or lack of it) regarding my dissertation.

My topic was previously related to attitudes to design. More specifically, I wanted to look at the differences in attitude between designers and non-designers and the way they respectively perceive the design world. I realised very quickly that this is a very broad topic. I wasn't initially put off by the vastness of the subject but unfortunately it was quite hard to research. Usually when one begins researching for an essay, the library is the first port of call; not in this instance. I found the odd research paper or blog post on the internet, but nothing I really felt was concrete.

So today Jonathan suggested that I picked a much more focused topic, something related to an area I am interested in. I like sailing, so he suggested maybe the way technology is used to aid solo navigation around the world in yachts. Naturally I was still indifferent and eventually he "told" me I'm to write about ways in which the 2012 Olympic Sailing Team use technology to aid training.

At first I felt (and looked, apparently) like I'd been slapped around the face with a wet fish. For someone who lacks so much direction in life, I really resent being told what to do. Either way, I thought he was slightly mad. Write a dissertation on something so specific and arguably unrelated to my degree? Sure.

After a grumpy stomp around Tesco, I went to see my horse. He was also in a grumpy mood, so together we both went on a grumpy ride for an hour or so. I thought a lot about my dissertation and design and life in general and, having had time to reflect, I feel a little brighter. If I was the emotionally outrageous, thought-proclaiming type, I would perhaps go as far as to say I had a small epiphany. However I am not, so we'll stick with feeling a little brighter.

I had never, ever thought about writing about something I enjoyed. University seems to have distilled it within me that design is just generic, predictable design. Service design, sustainable design, interaction design, zzzz... I guess that shows how small-minded I am that I couldn't think outside the box. As JB pointed out, any technology a sailing team are likely to use is probably interactive media. Also, any research I do into such an area could lead to contact-making and potentially a future career in a related area. WHY HAVE I NOT THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE?

I would have been a much happier person for the last 2.5 years if I'd stopped long enough to think about all the things I could design. I've been scared about becoming a stereotypical designer, sitting at my desk in my sheltered world, making things in photoshop. Becoming, as my grandad would have put it, a "non-producer of society". Working as an outdoors instructor for six months over the summer made me realise I want to do something that will make a difference and actually help people. I hope this means a change of attitude from now on. I think a little bit more positive thinking will help me realise that I can be a designer and not hate myself.

Still don't know what I'm going to write my dissertation on, though.