Archive for October, 2010  ⁄ ⁄

Mac App Store: Yeah Or Neah?

Following the announcement last week of the Mac App Store, an upcoming centralised location for downloading new Mac programs, we’ve had a bit of time to analyze what this means for apps as well as software going forward, plus the pros and cons for developers.

The App Store for iOS [iPod, iPhone, iPad] has been a overwhelming success for Apple, with more than 7 billion downloads in little more than two years. The App Store is successful because it makes it easy to discover apps, easy to update apps and easy to get apps on all your iOS devices. This is what Apple will be bringing to the new OS Lion Mac App Store.

So why are Apple bringing Apps to the Mac now? Well the iPod and iPhone is a mass market device, and dominate a large segment of their markets. Mac’s segment isn’t so impressive, with around 3.6% of the world market share according to estimates. So in truth, the Mac has yet to reach its full potential. Can an Mac Apps store help it gain in market share? In launching the store within iTunes, Apple can tease their iOS users with thousands of Mac apps.

Shop window for developers
This shop window will also entice developers, with Apple already encouraging developers to prepare to submit applications in November. There are numerous excellent software applications for Mac that are literally unknown and the Mac App store could work wonders for many a developer.

Developers will receive the same 70/30 split with Apple for their commercial apps, something that may either strike application developers as a good move [Espresso?] or a bad move [Adobe?], depending on their market segment and budgets.

Initially the Mac App store will just be a distribution option. You will still be able to install non Apple-approved software on the Mac.

But will this always stay the case or will the process change? Will Apple eventually lock down the Mac, so the only software allowed to run on the system is Apple approved? Then what? Will other manufacturers such as Dell, HP etc. follow suit? Will App stores pop up across the web?

Or maybe perhaps we’ll all realise that the web is ‘the’ App Store, and revert back to web apps, undermining the whole concept? Apple doesn’t allow plug-ins in the App store. This would channel out mainstream applications such as Firefox and for a vast amount of Mac users, the Adobe Suite. So what would happen to these applications in the long term and how will Apple deal with updates and application backup?

So, Yeah Or Neah?
On the surface at least, it seems a Mac App Store would be good for developers, consumers and, of course, Apple itself. But a negative aspect to it would be that it creates yet another wall that goes against the grain of the open web. It could also spark new conflicts between Apple and the developers with their strict rules and lengthy processes for Apps.

We’ll have to wait and see how this one pans out. Is it all a bit too ‘1984‘? We’re still over two months away from the opening of the store. Many additional details will be heard between now and then, hopefully some clarity will come from this.

Cairde na Cruite

Visit Site

Cairde na Cruite has played a central role in the revival and development of interest in the Irish harp. Established in 1960, the society has made a significant contribution to the development of a vibrant dynamic role for the Irish harp, and its positioning within Irish traditional music.

Show the harp, harpists and the culture involved. Portray it in a fresh, contemporary format appealing to all ages. Build in a simple eCommerce facility for sale of their publications and booking of  festival tickets.

The site was built using a full screen image format that scales with the users browser window size. A series of rotating images under each link showing harpists at events and festivals give some real context to the content. A paypal facility solved the online purchase of books/publications and festival bookings. Video and a gallery of images help support the tone of the annual festival for first time attendees.


oh! ambassador you do spoil us . . .

Dublin Chamber of Commerce : Business After Hours Event
Ambassador’s Residence, American Embassy, “Deerfield”, Phoenix Park

Last night I had the rare privilege of attending an event in none other than the American Ambassador’s residence up in the Phoenix Park. This Georgian mansion, which the Americans have used since 1927, has been redecorated several times . . . chandeliers have been restored, large mirrors placed over the fireplaces, security camera towers moved out of sight, rhododendrons blocking views of the house removed, and White House-style up-lighting has been installed. All in all it is a splendid show piece and a building everybody should see if they ever get a chance.

The event that brought me there in the first place was part of the Business After Hours events that are run by the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. While I have been to a lot of well organised and well run events for similar groupings I have to admit they really roll out the red carpet when it comes to clinching a prestigious venue. As with all the other events that the Dublin Chamber of Commerce have run for the Business After Hours the event began with a number of short brief introductions to fellow business colleagues where we spent an hour broken into slots of five minutes. Each introduction brings with it a variety of possibilities from an insight into other peoples businesses to developing potential sales or indeed finding somebody that can service a need for your own company. Generally not for the shy or faint hearted but once you get over the initial hump you really get into the idea.

The second half of the evening is a little more formal with a brief talk from the Chamber President, followed by Ambassador Daniel Rooney. A quick tour generally ensues while you get to chat more informally to the other attendees.

Sure what else would you be doing of a cold Wednesday evening . . .

Dublin a World Design Capital?

I was invited to a workshop earlier in the year hosted by Ali Grehan of Dublin City Council along with 79 fellow designers from various disciplines – graphic designers, architects, planners, industrial designers, product designers, policy makers, heads of associations and the list goes on. The event was well facilitated by Aíbhlin McCrann from Communique,  a room filled with questioning creative minds is not an easy audience. The workshop run as ten groups of eight (varied disciplines) all driving to answer the one overall question, ‘should we bid for the 2014 World Design Capital’.

The round-up discussion that followed the afternoon of workshops surmised mixed opinion, Dublin/Ireland as a nation are in their infancy with regard to design history, presence and influence, our Arts education system is around 30 years old, against fellow nations that reach 100 years plus. Design literacy amongst our people is limited due to the lack of good design implementation, whether it be lack of courage by key decision makers or the lack of inter-connectivity within the design disciplines our city/country is not as design friendly as it could be, its all about the coffee cup that does not seem to fit the saucer properly or the handle that is too small to fit your finger, the waitress who is wearing clogs that clip-pity clop on the polished porcelain tile that should be wood, the newspaper that is too large to open without poking the eye of the person sitting at the next table, the consideration for our real environment. Should we be afraid to fail if we do submit, do we have the talent and wherewithal to put a bid together. A stimulating afternoon, that left with the general sense that we could do it, or at least that we would like to start on the road for potential future success.

On 28th September it was announced that we would start the process to put forward a bid for the 2014 World Design Capital. The Pivot Dublin website was launched and the wheel is in motion.

There is undoubtedly a lot of work and collaboration to be done, but if the process manages to harness the varied design disciplines to better understand each other and foster closer working relationships that I believe will be a worthy result to setting us on the right track.

Lastly, good luck to Helsinki the hosts in 2012, we will be watching!

social roundup 04.10 / 08.10

Our weekly social media roundup – the best links from our facebook and twitter feeds.


You Were In My Dream
You Were In My Dream is an interactive installation created by Isobel Knowles and Van Sowerwine. It premiered at Experimenta Utopia Now, Feb 2010 in Melbourne, Australia.

Quick Tour – Google TV
Developers are lining up in droves to announce their apps for Google TV. So far there have been announcements from Twitter, Pandora, CNBC, Vevo and Netflix.

Pano Device (computerless computer)
The Pano Device is a computer with nothing inside it. It contains no CPU, no memory, and no software; all of that stuff resides on a Pano Manager server, which hosts the OS and virtualizes it to the Pano Device. This two-inch tall device is projected to cut business computing costs by 70%.

‘Man Up’ by Ed Barrett
According to, Ed Barrett was told he could never be an animator due to the inaccurate representation of the human form in his drawings. Well, his film ‘Man Up’ begs to differ.

J Mays: What I’ve Learned
While this article is nearly a year old and primarily about automobile design, the words of Ford’s chief designer J. May are relevant to any designer and/or human being.


The Guardian and Observer Film Season
Wieden + Kennedy’s new ad for the Guardian/Observer features references to 26 different films: can you spot them all?

A short film installation by Istanbul based animator Candas Sisman

Creative Review at Offest
Article about offset2010, taking in talks from Farrow, Carson, Dadich & Lance Wyman.

Studio AKA – Love Sport
If you haven’t already seen them, check out the brilliant ‘Love Sport’ adverts

Smartphones OS
Picard prefers Android.

Christopher St. Leger.
Paintings by the man himself.

Bakers Tweet
Even bakers can tweet!

Tilt iPad Case
Rather tasty, but €85??

Also -
Interesting infographic map on the 2010 Social Networking market share.

A bizzare Plastic surgeon’s business card.

10 Redesigned Movie Posters Inspired by Men’s Style.

A Parisian flat containing €2.1 million painting lay untouched for 70 years.

Inside Offset 2010 : Day 1

Friday morning had finally arrived and that only meant one thing. . .OFFSET 2010 ! So we grab a large coffee for ourselves and head into this years impressive venue, The Grand Canal Theatre, for a weekend of design inspiration, read on…

DAY 1 (Highlights)

Illustrator Martin Haake was first up on the Main stage with an animated and inspiring talk to kick of the weekend. While over in the second room, Irish photographer Cliona O’Flaherty, famous for her images used in Vodafone’s christmas adverts, talked about ‘Routes…Into Photography’, very practical for anyone trying to make it as a photographer. We made sure we got a good seat to see Philip Hunt from the BAFTA award winning Studio AKA. Hunt gave us an insight into the progress of an animation job- it’s process from sketches to Key frames to animation tests, lighting & shading, up to the finished product and how a lot of work can end up shelved. He kept what seemed to be his best for last, the film adaptation of Oliver Jeffers’ beautiful picture book ‘Lost & Found‘.

Next up was Image Now‘s Aiden Grennelle. An Irish graphic designer, Grenelle began by discussing his influences and heroes, including Josef Brockman for whom he created the 2004 anthology of works. Grennelle is also a talented story teller, getting lots of gasps and laughs as his talk progressed, especially his tale of a big mistake made after a heavy bout of raving. As a favour, a colleague created a print-ready club flyer on Grennelle’s behalf, but not knowing the DJ’s surname he put in a placeholder so glaringly silly he was sure Grennelle would spot it and change it before sending it to print. Grennelle was so hungover/broken that he didn’t see the joke and simply sent it off to print.

After a quick lunch we headed in to see the edgy and whimsical Daniel Eatock, the London-based graphic designer responsible for the Big Brother identity. Eatock showcased his work and thought process through photographs which highlighted his alert sensitivity to coincidence and contradiction. Steve ‘Espo’ Powers was up next, showing how his street art can really give something back to a community, turning dreary, rundown spaces into something beautiful. Espo was also responsible for the best dig of the weekend, when referring to artist Maser “you’ll know his work around Dublin, ‘cos it looks just like mine”.

So on to the last speaker of the day, the very energetic (and powerful looking) Scott Dadich from Wired Magazine, spoke to us about his time at Texas Monthly magazine before moving to Wired. He has overseen widely praised re-designs of the magazine and website and recently launched Wired’s new iPad app.

OMR Art Exhibition eMail Marketing

How’s this for a mouthful
The Ormond Meeting Rooms based in the Ormond Building down on Ormond Quay wanted to hold an OMR Art Exhibition. They wanted us to design an invitation that would go out via post and also through an email marketing campaign. The illustration chosen was part of the exhibition by John Ryan and the piece was created in the format of a postcard.

What is RSS and how do I subscribe to an RSS feed?

Since the launch of this blog a few months back we have received a few emails and phone calls from people asking what is an RSS feed and how do I use it? So firstly, I’ll explain what an RSS feed is; the second part [using one] can be a little less straightforward. Are you sitting comfortably? Let’s begin.

RSS (Rich Site Summary) is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it.

RSS solves a problem for people who regularly use the web. It allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in. You save time by not needing to visit each site individually. You ensure your privacy, by not needing to join each site’s email newsletter.

What do I need to do to read an RSS Feed? RSS Feed Readers and News Aggregators
Feed Reader or News Aggregator software allow you to grab the RSS feeds from various sites and display them for you to read and use.

A variety of RSS Readers are available for different platforms. Some popular feed readers include FeedReader (Windows), NewsGator (Windows – integrates with Outlook) and FeedMyInbox. There are also a number of web-based feed readers available. My Yahoo, Bloglines, and Google Reader are popular web-based feed readers.

The majority of browsers also allow you to add RSS feeds to your bookmarks [Firefox, Safari etc.].

Once you have your Feed Reader, it is a matter of finding sites that syndicate content [like our blog!] and adding their RSS feed to the list of feeds your Feed Reader checks. Many sites display a small icon with the acronyms RSS, XML, or RDF to let you know a feed is available.

social roundup 27.09 / 01.10

Our weekly social media roundup – the best links from our facebook and twitter feeds.


Where Good Ideas Come From
With Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson pairs the insight of his bestselling Everything Bad Is Good for You and the dazzling erudition of The Ghost Map and The Invention of Air to address an urgent and universal question: What sparks the flash of brilliance? How does groundbreaking innovation happen?

Bernardos Installation
Charity uses innovation to get your money. Giant magnet installed to collect your coin donations to charity.

Illustrator Tomek Karelus
Cool and morbid illustrations by Tomek Karelus, a young illustrator from Poland.

Fancy some grass?
We just laid the new floor in the ‘RevolveR’ snug and it certainly brings the outdoors indoor. Pop in anytime to see it, or mow it if you like.

Harry Hill
Here’s a surprise for most: Comedian Harry Hill is an artist. The biggest surprise was that his stuff is actually funny!

The White Rabbit is an interesting motion project directed by Alex Trochut & Physalia Studio for MTV 55DSL.


Boys & Girls
Rory Hamilton of Boys & Girls rightfully wishing he didn’t contribute to a recent edition of IMJ magazine.

Creating the most tagged photo – ever!

Pivot Dublin | World Design Capital 2014 Launch Day.

Ted Vasin
Drawings by Ted Vasin – the attention to detail is amazing

BlackBerry PlayBook Revealed
RIM’s Answer to the Tablet Boom.

What is the Tipping Point?
How close is science and its thinkings to what we create as a designer?