Week 43 at work

With the bank holiday it was a four day week in which I mentioned to:

  • Planning how we’ll progress our service delivery strategy with the Arts Council Audience segments at the heart – which of the 13 choices would you be?
  • Contributed to an expression of interest for the Heritage Lottery Fund
  • Reviewed our reporting and evaluation methods with Fay and have a new direction, particularly in light of losing a member of staff to voluntary severance
  • Reviewed our existing Marketing and Branding efforts and began to look at how ‘digital’ will begin to affect our plans
  • Received my six month personal review  which the Council call a PMDS and got twos and threes (three is two thumbs up)
  • Announced that our website phase one soft launch will be Thursday 8th May and the official launch is Thursday 15th May.
  • Planned how we’d achieve going live on the 15th by breaking the tasks into weekly sprints
  • Showed off our beta website prototype to the central design team and web communications. Tony is a great sounding board for my ideas and time will tell if our logo style navigation is right or wrong!

I’d also now like to plug the Museums Get Mobile Conference that I’m hosting – come along on Friday the 16th May AND/OR come out for a drink on the Thursday evening!

Come to Museums Get Mobile

On Friday 16th May I’ll be hosting the Museums Computer Group one day conference ‘Museums Get Mobile’ at our M Shed museum.

Museums Get Mobile! is one of this year’s most important museum events for technology development, exhibition innovation, mobile expertise, multiple platform projects and audience engagement. Curated by the UK Museum Computer Group (MCG), this one day conference is a must for museum curators, managers, consultants, directors, bloggers, novices and experts. Find out what the Natural History Museum knows about how its visitors use their smartphones and tablets before, during and after their museum visit, and what the V&A has learnt about designing sites for different devices.

Speakers include:

  • Andy Budd, Clearleft (I have his CSS Mastery book and it is very well worn!)
  • Andrew Lewis, V & A
  • Léonie Watson
  • fffunction

Book your ticket today for only £45 (membership is free for individuals)

Week 42 at work

A different type of week with a conference out of town and the service getting caught up in the latest banksy story”

  • I spend a few days in Harrogate for the 37th annual UKSG conference. I went to find out where the publishing industry is at the moment, seeing at the museum service is a publisher without even really knowing it. I also had the pleasure of speaking twice about the future of publishing, how it affects the museum and how you can make your own ebook
  • We heard that our application to the Nesta RnD digital arts fund was successful to the next round
  • I met with our funder, Arts Council to explain what the service got up to in the last quarter. The overarching message for me was to show and tell – ship stuff!
  • The new service website has continued to evolve and i’m expecting us to move from alpha to beta in the next few weeks. For now see the mockup and read the GDS service manual details on the beta phase
  • The museum agreed to house the latest Banksy ‘Mobile Lovers’ and I had the slightly out of my remit task of carrying the art work into the building from the police van! I did ask if I could wear a police hat but…

Week 41 at work

This week being able to progress taking online payments continues to be an itch I can’t seemed to scratch.  With that being said I mentioned:

  • Met two UWE students to explain how we currently make use of interaction onsite
  • Discussed how we will approach the AV requirements for our Moved by Conflict exhibition
  • Reviewed our social media guidelines and changed all the passwords!
  • Had a great catch up with most of the team to look at our 2014-2015 plans
  • Contributed to our 2015-2018 service plan
  • Got a request for licensing 214 seconds of video footage – was nice to pop to films at 59 where they work until 2am and turned our recording around super quickly
  • Learned how I’ll need to report official stats back to the Council
  • Some University of Bristol students showed us their improved prototype for interacting with objects in a case. Very clever use of gestures
  • Wrote a one-page business case for dealing with our online revenue (we get money, we pay the council, no?) as there is a large untapped opportunity
  • Sat with our education team to look at their needs on the new website

My computer Setup

Professionally I’m normally referred to as the “IT guy” and people often think i have every new gadget. Yet the truth is that I own relatively few toys, preferring tools that I will use loads and are value for money. I REALLY fear buying a device or tool that proves to be useless and effectively a waste of cash.  I started to list my items and figured I may as well share them here. Interestingly in recent months i’ve been spying on friends and family gadget collection and i’m really average and far behind true nerds!


  • 2.4 GHz macbook with 8GB RAM (secondhand but from 2011? used to replace the below)
  • 2.4 GHz macbook with 4GB RAM (2009) that I now keep at work to get things done when I hit the IT services wall on occasion!
  • Raspberry Pi – affordable computer that I tinker with
  • Kindle Paperwhite – for reading ebooks and looong reports
  • Kobo touch
  • HTC One X mobile phone
  • Nike running watch and heart rate monitor
  • Nexus 7 tablet
  • Apple iPad 1 (secondhand) for testing

Software and tools

  • VLC Media Player – used to watch all videos
  • Mozilla Firefox Browser (my browser of choice for the addons – screengrab, Web developer toolbar, firebug, )
  • Google Chrome Browser – used for testing
  • Filezilla FTP – transfer web content
  • Coda 2 – code editor
  • 1password – for managing all my passwords and serial numbers and ESSENTIAL
  • Spotify – useful for streaming music
  • DoubleTwist – music sync for Android
  • evernote – for writing and storing personal and work notes
  • Trello – used for all my to-do lists

Week 40 at work

This week was I got up to:

  • Explored research collaboration with University of Bath – if anybody has £8,000 kicking around to give us to have a PhD student you know where to find me!
  • Ran a 30min introduction to using twitter for Natural Sciences. It’s important we give the keys to our social efforts to the curators and I look forward to what they cook up
  • Discovered which path of “accountability” I need to tread to use various online services
  • Met with two of our student groups to have a demo of their projects. I was blown away by their progress and both could be used as they are quite nicely
  • Sat with our exhibition designer Simon to see what contribution our team needs to make for Moved by Conflict which opens in October.
  • Gave an update to the wider management team about the new website and using online tools for managing projects
  • Found out i’m very curious about records management
  • I’ll be contributing to a HLF digital bid we hope to put in – funny as I co-wrote the digital guidance back in 2012 and now i’m on the other side of the desk
  • Reviewed some tenders
  • Discussed with two curators about how we can blog and use our tools to build interest for an exhibition next year
  • Started to think aloud about our content strategy