A Showcase for creative projects


Weaving a Web

Turning abstract thought into interaction

From one point of view Software represents the pinnacle of engineering achievement. It is about taking abstract thoughts and concepts and turning them directly into a product that is cheap to produce, easy to distribute, offers fantastic benefits to the end user and causes no pollution when it is finally scrapped at the end of its working life. It's almost the perfect engineering cycle leading to the perfect product.

This idea was the core motivation behind us starting the Ax-yZ creative projects platform in the first place. We wanted 'in' on the satisfaction of creating a perfect product. Obviously, as with everything in life, there really is no such thing as perfection. There is always room for a little bit of improvement. After a while, we realised that that was actually the more important point. It isn't about creating perfection in an instant one-off event. It is about doing the best you can today and then coming back tomorrow to do even better. It was about starting on the road to perfection not arriving.

With this in mind we chose not to wait until we could launch the Ay-yZ creative projects platform as a fully finished and functioning website. We were going to set ourselves a very challenging deadline. Do our very best to get the best website we could manage online on that date AND THEN keep going. Every day we would learn the lessons of the previous one. Whether it was how to work faster to tighter deadlines, how to improve stability, function and speed or even simply what colours go best together it didn't matter. We would feed everything back into the website and make it better each time.

Nevertheless, we also appreciate that a website in a continuous state of flux can be a bit off-putting. It can be a real pain to be confronted with a new layout or a new colour scheme every time you visit. This lead to the creation of the Website section of the project. Just as with Pythagoras developing new formulas on the beach. This is our sandbox. Here we shall grow and farm the new stuff before moving it across to the website proper. This gives everyone the chance to get comfortable with the newest features before they go live. Even more importantly, it gives you all the chance to tell us what you really do and don't like. Never forget, you the visitor are just as important and influential for the future of the website as the team back at base. You really do matter, you really can call in the shots on this one, so please do tell us what you think.

News Letter

If it happened it happened here first

If you want to get a flavour for our newsletter before subscribng or simply want to browse through a few old copies, we have set up this archive of old issues. It doesn't neccessarily include all back issues so if you don't want to miss anything in future join the newsletter to guarantee your place in the loop.


The Blogs

A veritable Blogjam

In case you missed an episode or want to catch up on everythng that has been happening recently, we have set up this back catablog. In comparison to the Newsletter the Blogs tend to be a little more spontaneous so it is worth checking back regularly to find out what has been happening. However, if you join the newsletter you'll also find a section with links to the latest blogs too.

Photo Book

Photo Book

My clan photo archive

I have always been interested in the nature of photography. The idea of being able to capture images for later perusal is intriguing. Humans use two eyes to make 3D sense of the world around them. This is so automatic that we even tend to infer 3D meaning from 2D information. Indeed, we construct all sorts of other information based on abstract visual stimuli. It's one of the many wonderful ways in which humans are fundamentally broken and I love it!

My first forays into photography came with a Canon EOS analogue camera and lens bundle I got at a knock-down price in a clearance sale. I didn't ask anyone for advice or read up about the techniques. I just burnt through a lot of film and learnt as I went along.

When the shutter mechanism on my Canon eventually broke I decided not to get it repaired. Instead, I moved on to digital photography. Finally, I have now gone back and started scanning in the collection of old projector slides that my father took many years ago. All of this is going to be made available as a family photo archive.

At present only verified clan members can view the full archive. If you are a clan member and want to have access, or even contribute, you must get in contact with me in person. Be prepared to verify your identity in multiple ways.

For everyone else we have created a public access version. This contains a subset of pictures from the full archive, all of which have been selected to preserve the dignity of most family members. There is one major exception to this rule. I have include a few embarrassing snaps of myself to show what a good sport I am. If you like the layout and functionality and would like a similar page for your own family archive then, please, get in touch. We can then agree how to give you a private zone on the website.



For when you want to be accommodated

In an earlier part of my life I worked in as an international salesman. I did a lot of intercontinental business travel. It seemed like every week I was jetting off to somewhere else. Asia, Latin America, Europe and North America back and forth up and down. Many people appear to have a quite romantic view of this. I am often asked if it is a wonderful thing seeing so many different countries. I generally explain that it is always fascinating and rewarding to meet new people and interact with other cultures but that it also involves a lot of very early mornings and late nights and a great deal of 'concrete tourism'. They generally look quite puzzled until I offer the following explanation.

To a large extent an international business trip consists of the following visual cues.

  • You see concrete on the motorway as you drive to your home airport.
  • You see concrete at the airport as you check-in and take off.
  • You see concrete at the destination airport as you land and collect your luggage.
  • You see concrete on the motorway as you take a taxi to the customer.
  • You see concrete at the customer all day long as you have your business meeting and perhaps tour the factory.
  • You see concrete on the motorway as you travel back to the airport.
  • You see concrete at the airport as you depart.
  • You see concrete at the airport as you back arrive again.
  • You see concrete on the motorway as you return home.

You see a lot of concrete on an international business trip. Don't get me wrong I think concrete is great stuff and invaluable in the modern world. I just don't find it particularly exciting or romantic.

However, I did leave one stage of the trip out on purpose. If it was a longer trip then I would get to stay overnight in a hotel. After the wonderful people I was always meeting, these hotels were the next biggest highlight. Not that I got to stay in ultra luxurious 5 star gold plated presidential suites all the time. However, after a long day bashing out a new contract with a tough customer, quiet, clean and efficient is really all you need. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, the concrete is usually well hidden.

I began taking photo records to help me remember which hotels to return to for future business trips. I did my best to record each hotel and room thoroughly, not just a few staged shots of the hotel facade or bedroom but as detailed a record of the features and services as I could manage, warts and all. The habit grew and nowadays I also record the places I stay privately as well. Join us on a stop over at a hotel of our choice.