January, 2012

Jan 12

Automagically send tweets to Wunderlist

As a big fan of both Twitter and Wunderlist I’m always on the look out for ways of improving my work flow whilst using them.

By introducing ifttt and Google Mail you can get items out of your twitter timeline into Wunderlist so that they are treated as tasks. This is useful if you want to follow a tweet up later or just keep a record that you can easily access offline.

Here’s a short tutorial which walks you through the process of getting these tools talking to one another.

Continue reading →


Jan 12

What I’ve been reading this week

Here’s what I’ve enjoyed reading this week:

Some top info for getting your blog onto Kindle:


An easy innovation mistake uncovered:


Are you a geek?:


Neo Geo portable:


Cloud computing case study:



Jan 12

Fail Cheaply

Fail quickly is a mantra that is often heard around the internet these days and nobody can deny that coming to a dead end in days is better than taking years…

That said, failing cheaply is often overlooked and is an approach you should consider whilst planning / thinking up your next venture. Whether as a startup or part of an organisation if you fail and don’t waste money; you’ve invested money in your development.

How you fail-cheap is up to you. Free tools, cheap hosting, good books and hacking things together should get you going and are better than investing in others. If you mock something up that does have legs, you stand a better chance of convincing others that you can succeed through creativity and they will want to help take your brain child to the next level.


Jan 12

The art is in the edit

It’s better to get to the point in a few words than ramble around a topic endlessly.


Jan 12

Dumbledore on the most inexhaustible source of magic

I really enjoy this scene in the last Harry Potter film and particularly like the way JK Rowling speaks through Dumbledore – forward the video to about 3:20 to hear:

“Words are in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.”

Worth thinking about.


Jan 12

Turn blog posts into scheduled tweets using @bufferapp & @ifttt

By using BufferApp, your own RSS feed and ifttt you can spread your blog posts throughout the day to avoid the dreaded spam effect. Below is a quick tutorial to walk you through the steps to getting this going.

1. Go to ifttt.com¬†and and sign in / sign up. If you haven’t done so already sign up for bufferapp

2. Click on Create a task

3. Now click on this

4. Select Feed as your trigger channel

5. And then select New feed item

6. Next up, type in the URL of the feed then press Create Trigger

7. With the trigger created you next click on that

8. Click on Buffer

9. Select Add to buffer – you will need to authorise using BufferApp if this is the first time you’re trying to use it with ifttt

10. The complete action field will be pre-populated so just click Create action

11. All’s that is left to do is to give it a meaningful description and click Create task

Jobs a good un’


Jan 12

GLI.TC/H (UK) Organiser Antonio Roberts AKA @hellocatfood talks tools

In this, the first interview for the PioneerToolkit I ask ¬†Antonio Roberts about the tools he’s used to create, collaborate and organise his work as a digital artist.

Tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a digital artist currently based in Birmingham. My artwork focuses on the errors and glitches generated by digital technology.

I recently finished my MA in Digital Arts in Performance at Birmingham City University and now I’m continuing my practice as a digital artist. My solo and collaborative work has been shown locally at events including Leeds International Film Festival, BitJam and ArtsFest and internationally at events including GLI.TC/H in Chicago and the Laptop Meets Musicians Festival in Venice, Italy

The GLI.TC/H festival was quite some achievement, what tools helped you organise such a complicated event?

We mostly have Google and Skype to thank for that! The GLI.TC/H team consisted of Nick Briz, Jon Satrom, Evan Meaney and Rosa Menkman, with myself and Theodore Darst as additional curators/event organisers. Myself and Rosa aren’t based in Chicago like the rest of them so there was a lot of e-mailing. We used Google Docs to plan things like accommodation for artists, equipment, video screening lists and so on. Occasionally we’d have Skype conversations which helped conversations flow more fluidly.

Reading your twitter timeline and hellocatfood website its apparent that you rely heavily on Linux and open source applications. How do you find this influences what you do and how you do it?

It’s the driving force behind everything that I do. I made the decision some years ago to ditch proprietary software and I’ve never looked back. It started out with curiosity at the alternatives but now it’s become quite a politically charged act. I don’t like how nowadays creativity and design skills are so tightly linked to proprietary software that usually comes at a high price. Put simply, I don’t have ¬£500+ to keep up with the latest software from Adobe that is released every few years. I believe that design should be more about the skill than the software.

When it comes to design applications for Linux, I use the usual software, such as GIMP, Inkscape, Scribus, Blender and Synfig. However, I’ve found Linux is better used for design that is heavily influenced by code and self-built tools. For example, for Dataface¬†and I Am Sitting in a Room I built a number of command-line scripts to generate each iteration of the design. Similarly, for my glitch art I’ve built a number of scripts, called the What Glitch? scripts, that simplify the glitching process and save me a lot of time.

What projects / project are you working on at the moment?

The Network Music¬†Festival, which I’m assisting in organising and also playing at,¬†is coming up at the end of January

I’m planning, with some assistance from Pete Ashton, on bringing href=”http://www.byobworldwide.com/”BYOB to Birmingham in a few
months. Few details are available at the moment, but watch the Tumblr and Twitter site for updates.

Aside from that I’m continuing my work with BiLE and learning more about using Processing and Pure Data

What lessons learnt will you employ from the GLI.TC/H festival in future work?

When it comes to organising events GLI.TC/H taught me a lot about working remotely with others. When organising fizzPOP and Birmingham Zine Festival we were lucky as all of the organisers lived relatively near to each other. At first working across time zones was difficult but the internet has helped almost eradicate distance.

I also learnt a lot about working with business partners. The process of receiving support from Arts Council England, Birmingham City University and VIVID revealed to me that there needs to be some sort of value to an artistic practice or event if it is to receiving any kind of support.

In terms of artistic development, seeing the range of work at GLI.TC/H has inspired me greatly. It has mostly taught me to look at my work more critically and see something deeper than what is on screen. I hope to do more critical writing on several subjects such as glitch art and the politics of open source software and it’s link to design

How has the mobile web / always on nature of the internet helped or hindered your ability to get stuff done?

Before I got an Android phone I had to wait till I got home before I could do any sort of computer work, be it serious work or social media. Now, being able to check e-mails and read my RSS feeds on the go means that I can focus on work when I get home instead of all of the social things. On the other side of things I find myself constantly receiving notifications on my phone and desktop of new e-mails, tweets and wall posts, which can get irritating. Ironically my phone spends a lot of time on silent mode

Do you have any tactics for keeping focused?

Turn off the internet! Although it’s ironic to resort to using an application as a method of self control, I highly recommend installing SelfControl (Linux¬†version also available) and using it regularly. Not being at all able to access Facebook, Twitter and other distracting website has really improved my productivity.

Aside from that, make a plan and stick to it. Most nights before I go to sleep I make a list of things I need to do, even the little things. It helps clear my head for the next day

How do you hope developments in 2012 will make your life easier?

I hope the amount of physical devices/possessions I have will dramatically decrease. My phone has already replaced my diary/calendar and a lot of other things, so I’m hoping to do the same with books and films this year. Less dead weight

On a technological side, my coding skills have been getting progressively better, so I hope I’m able to automate more tasks using programs writing by myself and others.


Jan 12

Struggling for desk space? Get a smaller keyboard

I’ve recently purchased an Apple clone bluetooth keyboard to connect to my MacBookPro and was incredibly surprised about how much desk real estate it has given me back. Things were getting pretty tight and a bit annoying with all the shuffling of things around.

With my new keyboard, not only can I comfortably get my wrists on the desk but also have plenty of space for more gadgets, paper and other flotsam and jetsam.

So, if like me you are fighting a losing space battle, don’t get a bigger desk – get smaller peripherals.


Jan 12

Getting stuff done


Getting stuff done is one of my themes for 2012. I have a collection of resolutions that underpin this idea but rather than go into them individually I’m going to briefly look at how I intend to get things done.

Short Sharp Stuff

I find myself getting easily bored and wanting to flit onto something else. Rather than ignore this tendency I’m going to embrace it and focus on breaking things down into smaller tasks.

A Task a Day

As a minimum I intend to complete one 30 minute task a day. Whether this is writing a blog post, learning a new skill or trying a new idea out that time will be used for getting stuff done.

Keep a Record

I’m keeping records of my achievements to keep me focused when I lose my way. I will have a record of how far I’ve come which should give me the boost to continue when things get rough or boring.

I expect these themes will crop up again in the coming months and would be keen to hear from folk whi are living with the intention of getting stuff done.


Jan 12

Links for 5th Jan 2012

Here are a few links to articles that I have been enjoying this week:


Orangutans enjoy using video conferencing tools on the iPad to virtually hang out with their buddys.


Predications for this years Apple line up.


I am one of the 97,000 hoping to brush up their coding skills in 2012.


Office in the Cloud


This finally convinced me to set up some ififttt asks – btw its a great service.