Tag Archives: Sony

#ScreenFrenzy.

I like screens.

Yes, I know. I assume that (well, one or two people notwithstanding) you’re patient with the fact that I like creating images on a variety of touch screens. Occasionally I like to create images on a lot of screens in one day and today? Well. Was one of those days…

So I started in a meeting about all sorts of rubbish and how to deal with it and, after that, I splurged pictures onto a Tesco Hudl using Photoshop Touch app:


After that I found myself in a Carphone Warehouse shop drawing on a Sony Xperia Z with the in-built Note app:

And of course the video won’t embed. Grr. Here it am though:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZyjlAduF_k&feature=youtu.be

Xperias used to be phones and tablets that I avoided, as they normally had not a single drawing or visual note making application installed to play with. Now Sony have both Sketch and Note and both are very good apps to have a test on and the Xperias work very well indeed.

After that I found myself in an o2 shop drawing on a Note 3 until the guy on duty asked if I would draw on his Note 10.1 instead…


(although by this time I think I was beginning to become away I should really be at home, waiting for the school bus and cooking dinner for the evening. So I drew both pics as quickly as I could and dashed back for the bus…)

Which brings me to…

Every so often I tell people I draw on buses. I suspect they think this:


…which I drew on the last bus of the day, on a Nintendo 2DS using the very playful and enjoyable New Art Academy cart.

I don’t draw on the actual bus itself but, as I often say to the students I teach, it’s all about finding your zone. I’m never more happy that when I can sit on a bus with some good music in my ears and a fully charged tablet to draw on. It’s my comfort draw place and that, in many ways, epitomises the magic of this increasingly powerful generation of tablet computer power. To have so many screens to choose from, to have so many marvellous styli, so many awesome apps? At prices that are frequently lower than the 1gb ram upgrade that I put in my first computer?

Amazing. We live in fabulously interesting times.

Videos to come. Processing now. On a laptop that feels slower and cludgier than the tablets I’ve drawn on through the day.

Here’s to computing evolution and the screens that throw data around at the glance of a finger tip.

 

Another screen splurge….

Not that I think this is going to be a weekly thing sadly, but was allowed to pop into a different PC World today – the Woking branch – for a potter about while son boy had his feet measured and so on… Very lucky man, me, to get two slots of free doodling time to myself while others do all the hard work 🙂

So, armed with a pencil case full of styli I went in to see which screens they had to play with. The answer surprised me, more than the other day in Guildford.

Starting off – a Sony Vaio touchscreen laptop:

Didn’t have Fresh Paint installed on it (grr) so I loaded up Paint and had a play. Liked it, although not as much as the Vaio sliders which I think are an excellent design and have one of the best in class integrations of a stylus. The laptop (I really should take a note of model numbers and names when doing this) wasn’t really in the right position for me to draw on – I couldn’t move the screen to an angle I was happy with – but to be fair I don’t think I’m the normal shopper that PC World displays are build around.

Next up – a Lenovo laptop:

Also didn’t have Fresh Paint on it (grr x 2). It also, unusually, refused to connect with any of the styli I’d brought with me except for the Nomad Brush (which is normally one I can’t guarantee a screen will like). It wasn’t unpleasant to draw on but this fact alone confused me… I did like the design of the machine though – very eye catching and, obviously, something that is orange is inherently cooler than something that isn’t.

After that – the Lenovo desktop:

Which I like LOADS having played with it on thursday in Guildford PC World. It’s a good screen to draw on. Again it didn’t have Fresh Paint on (grrr x 3) but it liked working with nearly every stylus except for, again, the Jot stylus. Odd.

Lastly the surprise in store:

Up until now I’ve had a couple of companies that I automatically dismiss for the anticipated (and often proven lack of) quality of their screens. Acer, Asus and HP are all companies that I’ve drawn on screens in the past and found them muddy and laggy so, except for the occasional new machine that I’ve thought – give it a try – I tend to not draw on them in a shop. The HP was next to the Lenovo and it struck me that I’d not drawn on one of them for a while. I also liked the design and the idea of a 20 inch tablet (although lets be honest that’s an unusual and unlikely usecase for a good deal of the time). Even so – since I only had to step to the right by three steps I thought I’d give it a go, expecting very little.

Take it all back – the tablet was speedy, the screen flowed beautifully and they even had Fresh Paint installed so I could test it out with that. Unexpectedly (and yes, I know I spelt it wrong 🙁 ) it turned out to be the machine I enjoyed drawing on the most this morning…

So there you have it. Back to work on Monday (sigh 🙁 which is less an indication of not wanting to go back to work – although I’m unsure what my thoughts are on that one just yet and likely won’t really know what I’m thinking until I unlock the door of my dungeon room but more the fact that I’ve felt much more at home with myself this holiday than I expected or anticipated) so the screen splurge will calm a little. But it’s always lovely to draw on a range of machines, and chat to people as I’m doing so. Not bad for an hour of happy doodling anyhow 🙂

Wonder what’s next?

(Incidentally – the keyboard on the Sony is my favourite. Not that that’s been a huge need for me for a while, although I did have a dream that I’d gone back to writing the other day, and the blogs have been getting a little more and more blathery recently so who knows. But anyhow – the Vaio keyboards are very cool if that’s a pressing need for tablet or laptop purchasers…)

The Frog, The Flamingo and the Gadget Show Live. Behind the scenes and initial thanks.

Oh my golly, oh my goodness.

It’s been a week. I fully intended to blog throughout but… Well, we’ll get to that. This is NOT the blog about the show. That’s to come.

A few short weeks ago, in the middle of February, the idea was mooted that the event co-ordination we did for the World Skills Festival could be replicated at the Gadget Show live. It seemed a HUGE amount of work at one of the busiest times of year (academically) but one that would be far too cool to turn down.

So I did. Exams and time and pressure and money won. But fortunately for me (and, hopefully, others) the Gadget Show Live team were persistent and somehow we managed to find a happy middle ground that saw me saying yes to 64 square m of space in one of the coolest tech hubs in Europe.

So far so good. Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

Then, at one point, we were ROYALLY done over by Travelodge (quoted just under £3k final bill nearly £5k. Long post about that to come) and, despite support from Microsoft, SMART board, Autodesk, ArtRage, Sampli, Wise and others it all seemed like it would all come crashing down. On one of the planning days – the worst planning day – I managed to catch a glorious 3 hours sleep – mainly because I fell asleep within ten seconds of sitting at the laptop with a coffee perched in my hand. Fortunately I didn’t move I was so deep asleep and the coffee was removed from my hand as soon as my wife realised I was solid gone. This has been a month of 18 hour days and, ironically, it told during the Gadget Show week itself, although hopefully no-one but me noticed…

Somewhere along the line (I’m looking at you Sally) I received an email that, I quote, asked us to take on a “small bump” in space. From 64 sq m to 84 sq m. And then, somehow, it turned into 119 sq m. I should learn to say no. But my inner egozilla believes I can do anything so I didn’t.

It was pride – my pride – that caused some of the issues we had in the final two weeks… I was so determined to make it not cost any money for the College I work at that I should have asked for money earlier. As it was I didn’t and tried all other avenues but time, by this point (far) less than a month away, and Travelodge seemed the enemy. Well. Travelodge mainly, but the clock was certainly ticking.

And then, somehow, despite all worries to the contrary, it all came together. The College I work at put in £2.5k which means, on a budget on less that £8k we managed to run, very successfully, the 10th largest stand at the show (if you exclude the speaking stages, 18th if you include them…) You can check out the floorplan here: http://www.gadgetshowlive.net/birmingham/files/gadget_show_final_201327.032.pdf

I absolutely could not have done it without the staff who helped on the stand and looked after the students as I did my thang: Dave, Kath, Helen, Terry (stand and minibus) and Chris (also a fabulous minibus driver who’s also a new dad, hurrah Team Chris).

Nikki was, of course, fabulous. She did all of the risk assessments as a: she’s one of those strange people that likes paperwork (sorry, still doesn’t compute) and had an interest in doing so as 5 of the students we took were Aspergers or Autistic and she is the ASD specialist in the college. She was on the stand every day an ASD student was in need of her skills but also ran everything brilliantly as I ran from one side of the NEC to the other when we needed a camera or similar.

Nick Thatcher was, of course, (cue the A Team soundtrack) the person behind the Tablet Eye Stand, the easel security system and much more and, sadly, the only thanks I could give him was a 15 sq m stand for him to show off his AMAZING one wheeled Raptor arduino controlled “Segway” like device. He is amazing, you should check him out.

The visiting artists were brilliant: Kyle Lambert rocked every screen he came into contact with and Stefan Marjoram – who I found out a couple of years ago that I went to college with – was as awesome as he is modest. It turns out I was also at college with is wife who is as lovely and generous as Stefan is. They’re a good match.

Paul A was a brilliant in house film maker and I can’t wait to see what he puts together of the week.

Fiona from (cough: the Marmaraiti :cough) was a brilliant visitor as was Ewen Rankin from the British Tech Network.

Sally, Helen and Anne were fantasticaly helpful, patient and kind. I spoke to some of the other exhibitors and their teams, and their 10 x my paltry budget, were, I’m sure, far less bother than I was. But we all managed to come together with something magical in the heart of the show and loads of people started their questions to me with ‘yes, but what are you selling…?’

We were joined brilliantly by the lovely Lumilyon. If you don’t know her name you should – she is one of, if not the, most prominent and fabulous phone photographers I can think of. No-one shoots more diverse images and cleverness than she does and integrating her into the mix was one of my dreams come true. And, of course, when you have a world famous Phoneographer in the house, a Lumen Prize Finalist, a world exhibited artisan of high regard, you can’t not have her on the stage, so, on the Saturday and the Sunday, without fanfare or prior notice, hundreds of people were given an explanation of her artwork and working process. Lucky people! I was so busy I only caught a quarter of an hour of the two 45 min sessions 🙁 But if I could afford her for every event I would do so – she is a star and, in this case, I was lucky.

But the biggest thanks goes to the students. Without them it would not have worked. 40 of them spent 3 – 7 days holed up in a Travelodge (more on that later*) and the Birmingham NEC without complaint, without pause, without hassle.

DO NOT DISS STUDENTS. Some can be, yes, moany alcohol fuelled brats I’m sure. We all were weren’t we? But  I took 40 to the Gadget Show for a week and they were awe inspiringly amazing. I shall write more of them later I think. But to spend a weeks residential, working 12 -15 hour days, walking around 8 miles a day or so, showing them off as possible work experience stars? Never anything less than a pleasure. I like my students a HUGE amount and if you need digitally literate IT or graphics work exp kids give me a shout..

Only at one point did I have to tell anyone off for noise past the 11pm curfew and, it turned out that it was a non-College Travelodge user. Still, after I gave him my patented death stare

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. But… not just yet ok? I’ve honestly never been so tired.

More to come – pics, vids etc… but for the moment – that was the College at the Gadget Show Live 🙂