“Landscapes of Hope”

Recently I have uploaded podcasts from the “Landscape of Hope” symposium held by the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities

Experts in fields ranging from History of Art and English Literature through to Linguistics, Anthropology, Human Geography and other subjects discuss the issues around the broad topics of “hope”, “landscape” and “identity” in the context of deciding what the future may bring for Scotland. They don’t make any explicit political statements but rather draw on their own expertise to see if any relevant parallels can be made.

Detail from 'Vignettes of Cairnsbruck' by Sam Caldwell

Detail from ‘Vignettes of Cairnsbruck’ by Sam Caldwell

The opening address by Doctor Maxim Shadurski begins with an assumption that we all know how hope can change our individual lives, and how hope guides and informs aspirations for our societies.

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Adobe Edge Animate

Edge Animate promises to replace Adobe Flash and (unlike Flash) allow animations to display on mobile devices. You have to subscribe to Adobe cloud in order to use the most up to date version, so I have downloaded a trial version for now.

The interface looks vaguely familiar, except all icons seem much smaller. It doesn’t have the advanced drawing capabilities that Flash use to have, so it is best to use another graphics programme to create individual assets and then import these to the image library. There is a very useful option to make the animation responsive. In terms of scripting the interactions it all still seems rather basic in comparison with Flash but I’m sure this will improve with time.

I have started with an extremely basic diagram below and next hoping to try out the drag and drop functionality….

ECA Degree Show Video

With The Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show 2014 due to open this weekend (24th May) we’ve been chasing the very best students in sculpture, architecture, interior design and textiles looking for their most exciting pieces of work. Using the teams’ DSLR 60D camera we captured ECA’s weirdest and most wonderful creations on film. (Keep a look out for the video next week!)

Calling this year’s show one of ‘The brightest and most joyful’ shows to date, Textiles’ Programme Director Lindy Richardson was keen to show off her students’ finished products. Using everything from jelly to concrete as inspiration for items of clothing fourth year Jennifer Ellery had some particularly stunning textiles in her degree show collection. Despite being exhausted following the run up to the show Jennifer was happy to chat through her ideas and show off some pieces, all of which were designed with texture and ‘feeling’ in mind. Jennifer chatted about how fabrics and sensations can evoke memories and how she wanted to explore this in her collection.

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ECA Degree Show website

The Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show opens on 24th May, and we were tasked with developing a new website for it. In many ways this is a dream project, as there is so much fantastic content! When you have such rich content, the job of the website is simply to showcase it with an unobtrusive design. Nicky Regan at ECA produced attractive designs, based on the new ECA branding, and we brought it to life as a Drupal website.

Home Page

Home Page

Drupal was chosen mainly as it’s what the new ECA website is built on, and will ultimately be the CMS for the new University website. It made sense to give admins a similar interface as the ECA site, and it was also an opportunity to further our own technical knowledge of Drupal.

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Supercharging HTML tables with DataTables

Prototype CPRC DataTables interfaceIn the CHSS web team we have been building web interfaces that work with large amounts of data harvested from the University’s research database (PURE). The crucial thing about these interfaces is that they are ‘display’ interfaces – there is no interactivity with the underlying database as such, no ‘writing’ of the data. The emphasis on the interfaces is on displaying the data in a tabular format, allowing text to be searched and for the display of data to be filtered and sorted by particular fields (or columns).

Using standard methods of creating a web interface that communicates with a database using something like Perl DBI or PHP PDO to build a simple display-only interface has quite a few unneccessary overheads in terms of performance and complexity – and it turns out there is a technology that can be used to construct this sort of web interface in a much more simple and lightweight way, using DataTables.

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