About Geoff Rogers

A self-taught internet enthusiast. I have one good eye for design and another good photographer’s eye combined with social media savvy and antisocial tendencies. I speak HTML and CSS to a pretty high standard and can cut and paste pretty fast. I give good Photoshop and know a wide repertoire of other software tricks.

SAEM S7: I found my ideal iPhone 5s case

SAEM S7 iPhone case The best case I found for my iPhone 4 was a simple snap case design from Incase. It had that soft rubberised plastic and left the top and the bottom of the phone almost completely exposed, which looked really nice. While I like to use a case, I don’t like it to be particularly bulky.

When I bought my 5s I just went for Apple’s own case, which I do like a lot. However it’s tricky to take out, which I do fairly often.

Later I saw the ‘Incase Pro Snap Case’ for the 5s and bought one, only to be very disappointed. It feels very cheap, with sharp edges and for some reason it has a larger than necessary hole for the camera. I think they designed it that way to show off the detail which judgmental strangers will be looking for that proves you’re not some schlub using last year’s model. I just think it looks ugly. The worst aspect of this new case though is that the top creeps further up the back, meaning you have to hook your finger over the case to hit the power button. Yeah I know, #firstworldproblems, but it annoyed me enough that I went back to the Apple case.

The SAEM S7 iPhone 5/5s case

Today I found this rather snazzy case made by SAEM:

Yup, it has a small 8GB USB memory card in the back. I’m honestly not entirely sure what I want to use that for, but it’s cool nonetheless. That in itself is a novelty that I could have passed up, but at £20 this case doesn’t cost any more than the other extortinate cases without a USB drive! (Having said that, they seem to have a SRP of £35 on the manufacturer’s site, and I spotted them for even more on Amazon.)

Mostly though I’m happy that I’ve found a case that looks as nice as the old Incase thing I liked so much. Of course, I’ve only had this on my phone for a matter of hours so it may fall apart, scratch the phone, set my flat on fire or something over time, but my initial impressions are very positive.

If you happen to be in Brighton, you can get this case from Zoingimage for £20. They had them in black and white and for the 4/4s and 5/5s iPhone models.

What I want from Netflix

Netflix If Netflix is going to be the future of television, they need to try harder.

This was originally posted on Medium on the 27th of February 2014. I’ve posted it here, on my primary blog, a week later for posterity.

Josh Lee wrote a post elsewhere on Medium titled What I want from Netflix. He asked for offline viewing, the ability to hide certain genres, movie playlists to subscribe to (and presumably the ability to create these playlists), a ‘binge mode’ that would skip opening titles, the return of The Cosby Show and he doesn’t much care for SNL.

I’m not going to respond to any of those suggestions in particular, but I want to see much, much more from Netflix.

Continue reading

My pet monster, by Steven Kraan

Steven Kraan (aka @drawing_daily) has been drawing monsters for people everyone who follows him, and he’s created probably thousands by this point. I followed him a couple of months ago and today I got my pet monster:

I think it looks great! If you want one he’s planning to stop after he reaches 4,444 followers (as I write this he’s at 4,404 followers).

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The internet’s plans for that thing you created

Here’s an example of something I will never understand. A Twitter account called @wallstreetwoif posted this (the ‘i’ in woif is styled in uppercase, as you do) shared this:

And @picpedant (who you should go and follow now) pointed out that this is a copy of a Doghouse Diaries original, with the credit cut off and the captions reformatted:

Doghouse Diaries - Plans

It also looks like it’s been photocopied a few times, had some extra outlines put on. The ponytail on the stick figure has also been removed and the second frame now has a border at the end, weakening the point made in the strip somewhat.

The thing I don’t understand is why any of this?

Why take the effort to remove someone’s credit? Why make their work look like shit? Why edit it to change the meaning? Why share it without giving a thought to who created it?

I find it all very strange.

wales dot tumblr dot com

In 2009 I obtained the tumblr URL wales.tumblr.com and created a site called the ‘Official Tumblelog of Wales’. Here I would post links to irreverent and amusing news stories, curious photographs, memes, odd clippings from the past, pop culture and anything a little offbeat.

“A man who buried a female colleague’s body on farmland put the location of the shallow grave in the “favourites” list on his sat nav, a court has heard”
Grave listed in accused’s sat nav, BBC News

I ran out of steam about two years later after 108 posts. Two years after that, at the end of 2013, I left Wales.

Lately however I’ve noticed a curious uptake in activity around the blog. It’s getting on average one or two new followers per day, and a similar amount of reblogs and likes. As I write this there are 456 followers.

The URL wales.tumblr.com is a good one and it seems a shame to let a blog stagnate when it could be growing instead, therefore I’m hoping someone who find this post will offer to take it over (either via my secret contact page, on Twitter or by leaving a comment below). I’m not going to ask for a resume or anything, but I’m only going to hand it over to someone who clearly gets Tumblr and doesn’t just want the URL for some marketing nonsense.

If that’s you, please get in touch!

UPDATE: I found a taker, so wales.tumblr.com is now under new management!

Some more pictures →

Flight test

I went up for a flight yesterday in a small two-seater plane. We flew over parts of Cornwall and Devon, starting in Saltash then heading over, Millbrook, Plymouth, by Rame Head and down the coast to Looe and back.

This was filmed on my iPhone 5S, which didn’t handle all the vibrations very well. It was edited together quickly in Final Cut Pro X to a tune called ‘Golden Days’ from YouTube’s free audio library.

I posted these pictures on Instagram.

Zom-B-Girls: Back these zombie pin-up playing cards on Kickstarter

ZOM-B-GIRLS screenshot I’ve backed seven Kickstarter projects at this point, and have been really happy with the experience. I keep an eye on the campaigns running out of Cardiff, but until now I haven’t found anything that I wanted to back.

So, if you like poker, pin-up girls and zombies — and you want to support some local artists — then you should back Zom-B-Girls too!

We believe many will love a unique deck incorporating humour, playful sexiness and of course that current staple of pop culture, the ever lovin’ Zombie! Just because humanity has perished from this alternate post apocalyptic zombie world doesn’t mean they have to miss out on cute girls when they play cards! And neither should you.

There’s another 7 days to go, and at this time the creators have raised almost half of their £4,500 goal. They’ve added a bunch more tiers too, so now you can get multiple decks, a calendar and desktop wallpapers. You only need to pledge £5 to get a deck (if the campaign meets its goal) but if you pledge in the higher tiers you can actually appear in the deck as either a zombie or a survivor!

That link again: “ZOM-B-GIRLS” Zombies Pin-Up Playing Cards

ZOM-B-GIRLS pack design

UPDATE 2013.09.04: With 36 hours to go this project was stalled at <50% funded, and has just been cancelled. I just received a backer update from Timothy Thomas saying that he has lost contact with artist Robert Elsmore who has moved to Canada. He promises that there will be a second campaign in the future with new artists.

The apps that Apple really does not want you to use

The Telegraph’s Richard Gray has compiled a list of ten apps that Apple does not want you to use. In my view, half of these apps are dumb gimmicks that any curated app store wouldn’t want: A game where you throw your phone as high as you can; titillation apps featuring ‘interactive’ girls in bikinis; an app that did literally nothing except cost $1,000.

However, some of the other rejected apps represent far more serious acts of censorship and monopolistic behaviour on the part of Apple, like the Wikileaks app that let users read the Iraq war logs, or Scratch, an MIT project to help teach children programming. I thought it would be worthwhile to compile a more serious list of apps banned by Apple.

Sweatshop HD

These are the apps that Apple really does not want you to use →

Idea for a read-it-later browser extension

Read it later services are nothing new, with Instapaper and Pocket being the two leaders of this particular niche. Apple’s Safari browser even has a built-in ‘Reading List’ feature.

My personal read-it-later strategy is to (1) drag pages I want to read later into a special folder on my bookmarks bar and (2) proceed to forget about them entirely1. The idea outlined in this blog post develops stage 1 in the hopes of turning stage 2 into actually reading articles when I have time for them.

The idea →

Google has a terrible 404 page

Google's 404 robot On the face of it Google has a perfectly decent 404 page. There’s a cute little robot illustration and an amusing page title (‘Error 404 (Not Found)!!1′). Also on the positive side, the page is very light, using only 11 lines of code and two small images.

However, there is absolutely no functionality beyond the Google logo being a link back to the home page. What I think Google should do instead →

Why people online don’t read to the end

Farhad Manjoo has written a condescending article for Slate about how we have short attention spans online:

You Won't Finish This Article

I’m going to keep this brief, because you’re not going to stick around for long. I’ve already lost a bunch of you. For every 161 people who landed on this page, about 61 of you—38 percent—are already gone. You “bounced” in Web traffic jargon, meaning you spent no time “engaging” with this page at all.

I better get on with it. So here’s the story: Only a small number of you are reading all the way through articles on the Web. I’ve long suspected this, because so many smart-alecks jump in to the comments to make points that get mentioned later in the piece. But now I’ve got proof.

You Won’t Finish This Article – slate.com

The article fails to mention sites – like Slate – that arbitrarily split articles into multiple pages. I have to imagine that a huge percentage drop off after page one, which would have had a massive impact on the findings (whether secondary pages were included or ignored in the stats!) so it’s odd not to mention it.

(The big spike at 100% on the ‘percent of article content viewed’ chart is for photo stories – most visitors will scroll through an entire photo essay.)

It’s also worth pointing out that Slate’s multi-page article design actively encourages readers to leave a comment before reading the whole article by effectively placing them in the middle of the article.

Sites are partly to blame for making their own content the least interesting thing on the page

The blame for the flighty behaviour of readers can also be at least partly attributed to design choices made by Slate and similar blogs. In addition to the main navigation, the top of the page is overloaded with calls to action to other stories, Facebook, videos to watch, distracting ads etc. Later in the article Manjoo complains that people share an article before reading it, but the sharing icons are right there at the start of the article.

Meanwhile, the Slate article itself is visually unappealing. The photograph at the top is both unnecessary and entirely uninteresting while the article is small text, thankfully broken up by colourful charts.

Of course, people are fickle and easily distracted, including myself. I follow many links only to decide when I arrive that I’m not that interested. Perhaps as readers we should be more disciplined – some of these uninteresting stories we click on are important – but these sites are partly to blame too for making their own precious content the least interesting thing on the page.

First look at the new WordPress dashboard

From today WordPress.com users can get a working preview the look and feel of the next admin interface.

New WordPress admin design

Preview the Future Design of the WordPress Dashboard

We’ve drawn new icons, increased contrast and font size, and generally modernized the design from top to bottom. We’re still working on it, but you can preview it starting today! To step into the future, head over to Users → Personal Settings in your blog’s dashboard and check “Enable experimental admin design (MP6),” then Save Changes.

It looks very nice, but so far it’s just a cosmetic change. I reminds me a little of services like Squarespace and Virb, so I fear there’s a slight danger of WordPress losing its character.

Designers and developers can get involved on the Make WordPress UI blog.

Sir, You Are Being Hunted: New gameplay footage

Sir, You Are Being Hunted was the first Kickstarter campaign I backed, and I’m excited to get my hands on the game (and other goodies) in a month or so. The makers have just released a video showing off the current state of the game. I think it looks great.

If you didn’t back the Kickstarter campaign, you can preorder the game on the Big Robot website.


Other Kickstarter campaigns I’ve backed

New blog: Rapid Notes

Rapid Notes Yesterday I launched a new blog: Rapid Notes. It’s just hosted on a free WordPress.com account for now, and will probably stay that way.

I created this new outlet because I wanted a place to store and share the fascinating things I find online every day. I’m not going to put just any old thing up there, but it’ll be a busier blog than many of my others. Much busier. The idea is to help me identify what my real passions are by looking at the common themes of the items I post. I’ll be spending time getting the tags and categories — the taxonomy — just right. Then as the blog grows I’ll be able to look at my archives determine… well… something hopefully.

Follow the @foobot →

Visibility settings: Make your WordPress widgets context-aware

One of the things I like about using WordPress.com is getting an early look at features destined for the self-hosted version, WordPress.org.

For example, today I noticed new ‘visibility’ button on the bottom of each of my widgets. Clicking it expands these filtering options:

Widget visibility settings

Playing with these settings will make any widget you add determine whether it should be shown or hidden based on the page it appears on. For example, you could create a Recent Posts widget that only appears on posts, or a Top Posts & Pages widget that only appears on archive pages.

Some ideas for context-aware widgets →

Commandments 2.0

For this recent Palm Sunday Erika Hall published a single-serving Tumblr blog proposing an update to the Decalogue she titled ‘The Fresh Ten Commandments’:

Since the original ten commandments seem somewhat narrow and obsolete (too much focus on livestock, servants, and jealous god issues), here is a modest first draft of a fresh set.

Erika isn’t (by far!) the first to attempt to update these guidelines from on high, so I thought it would be interesting to collect a few here, starting with ‘The Fresh Ten’:

The Fresh Ten

  1. You shall treat all people with respect regardless of race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, or national origin.
  2. You shall not kill, assault, nor intimidate with threats of physical violence.
  3. You shall not rape, sexually coerce, nor intimidate with threats of sexual violence.
  4. You shall cultivate intellectual curiosity, be open to new ideas, and respect the scientific method.
  5. You shall not cheat, nor cheat others out of what is rightfully theirs.
  6. You shall not lie, deceive, nor spread lies about others.
  7. You shall not steal, that is to say take or use what rightfully belongs to another person in a manner that causes harm. (Stealing is a trickier concept than it once was. How do you say yes to Fair Use and no to software patents?)
  8. You shall keep your promises.
  9. You shall not waste natural resources nor pollute the shared environment.
  10. You shall take responsibility for your actions and their consequences.

Thou shalt read more →