Two of the better talks I’ve attended at SXSW this year have been about games. No real surprise that it seems so hot right now, but as Duncan said on Twitter the other day, what does our future with games hold? What is it going to involve into and will it change our day-to-day lives?


Arduino or: How I learned to stop worrying and fell in love with coding again

As programmers today, the code we write sits atop an enormous stack of abstractions. There are so many excellent frameworks, libraries and how-tos out there that it sometimes feels as though there's almost nothing that we have to work out for ourselves, and that the focus now is on execution rather than the intellectual challenge of working out how to make something work. For non-programmers this is all good, but for programmers it's tinged with a little sadness.

An Arduino Uno board wired up to display an animated pattern on an LED array.

Today, the process of writing code is that of creating and chaining abstractions together. The apparently simple act of writing, proof reading and publishing this blog post probably involves making use of several thousand of them.

When I'm asked what I like best about being a programmer, I talk about how satisfying it is to see someone else using and enjoying the software I help to build. Today, it's human factors rather than technical ones that make achieving this difficult because, although the technical underpinnings exist to make great software, it still takes talent and care to shape these together into things that users like using, even if there are no complicating factors like politics or hobby-horses. But, this leaves us with an intellectual hole to fill.


SXSW takes over Made by Many (2011 edition)

As I write this, ten twelve of the Many are packed into economy-class seating on their way to Austin, Texas for South by Southwest.

I’m not. I wasn’t invited. On the downside, I miss out on drinking my liver into a foie-gras-like state and eating burritos the size of Wales for breakfast1. On the upside, I get to avoid the charmless shopping-mall ambiance of Heathrow airport2, the legendarily unwelcoming demeanour of US immigration officials, and the scrotum-groping attentions of TSA goons, and I get to write snide blog posts about it. So it’s not all bad! And, in fact, despite the fact that I’m not going, I’ve ended up being involved with one rather fun aspect of the trip.

If you go to right now, you’ll see something a little different from usual.

What it looks like (if you’re not using Internet Explorer)


Introducing Made by Many in Sweden

We're very pleased to be able to announce the launch of Made by Many in Sweden, where we are  developing a special practice focus on mobile products and services. It's a very natural extension of what we're doing in London and there's a short deck below to explain a little of the rationale. Stockholm is a great place with a deep pool of talent, and we love Swedes and all things Swedish (apart from chewing tobacco and salty liquorish).

Say "hej" to Patrik Falk who's coming out to Austin for SXSWi with us tomorrow - find out more below.


Healthcare and technology

Like any other industry that reveals shiny nuggets of information once you start digging into the recesses, there’s a lot of stuff going on in the healthcare industry that people in the digital industry would do well to note, simply because in social media terms it is still more or less in its infancy – and by that I mean it isn’t as developed, and there isn’t as much public data available about the use of healthcare services on the web. That presents both an opportunity and a challenge: an opportunity because we can use lessons learnt in other areas and avoid making those mistakes here, and a challenge because healthcare has a direct impact on people’s well-being, and therefore more liable to criticism and monitoring, which could potentially hamper innovation.

This post will focus specifically on recent examples of the use of technology in the healthcare sector. I covered a few new startups in this post; here I will look at key issues in the light of the advances made by specific organisations. 


Simple Animations on iOS

Anyone who has used iOS will be familiar with the way Apple uses animation in their apps. It's one of the most delightful features of the platform and users loved it, even before there was an App Store. If you use apps that don't employ judicious animation, you get a sense of something missing, of an undefinable lack of quality.