St Teilo's Church - the blog
We had a fabulous event at St Fagans yesterday. The weather wasn't quite with us - damp and overcast - but luckily lots of people were, and very many of them bought copies of the book!
I didn't catch the whole service as I was flitting around with boxes of books, but what I saw was very moving, and it felt intimate and totally natural.
Then a whole load more people arrived for the actual launch. People crowded into the Church and the two main speakers, Garry Owen and Eurwyn Wiliam, both did excellent jobs. Eurwyn spoke about the project from its beginnings, and as he's been involved with the project since its beginning 25 years ago it was a great overview. But, as always, humorous too! Then Garry Owen brought a lovely personal note, as he's a local boy who remembers the Church when it was still by the river Loughour at Pontarddulais. He really emphasised just how iconic the Church was - and still is - to the local community.
Finally everyone came over to Oakdale, the Workmen's Instititute, for refreshments and we were flooded with people queuing up to buy the book. It was like when you first arrive at a car boot sale! It was also great for me to finally meet some of the book's contributors, people I've only emailed up til now. I guess everybody was enjoying themselves as by 5.30pm some people didn't seem to want to leave!
The rest of the work for me is now to make sure all the relevant bookshops and retail outlets know about it. And making sure it's on the relevant websites. And sending out review copies... In a way, producing the book is only half the job: now we've got to sell it!
It has been a successful week, with the birds showing well for the museum visitors. The most spectacular moment came on Friday morning when the adult male peregrine (Gavin to his friends!) returned to the Clock Tower with a tasty seagull to eat! As you can imagine, this didn't go down too well with the local gulls, who attempted to mob Gavin as he arrived home. Luckily, he made it to a nice comfortable ledge where he was able to enjoy his meal in peace.
For the lucky people down below watching through scopes, it really was a WOW moment. And there will be more to come! Our eggs are due to hatch very soon (last year the first chick appeared on the 1st of May) which means more action on the nest ledge, more hunting trips for the adults and lots many more gory feeds to watch!
So why not come along and have your own RSPB WOW moment?! We will be at the Museum Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-4pm.
Egg-static for Cardiff Peregrines
Peregrines on the Clocktower 2009 is up and running! The birds are back and were observed mating around City Hall in late March.
It was on the opening day of the project (4th April) that volunteer Peter Elkington noticed that the birds had chosen a nest site for 2009-the same spot as last year! For those of you new to PoCT, the eyrie (nest) is located in an old raven's nest on the north-facing side of City Hall Clock Tower, just above the clock face.
Since early April, the birds have barely left the nest unattended, which suggests that they are incubating eggs. Unfortunately, due to the height of the tower, we can't see in to count them. It will be another 2 weeks before we see the chicks appear and the mystery is revealed!
At the moment, the adult birds are taking turns incubating the eggs. If you are lucky you may see a change over at the nest site. Occasionally, one of the birds will return to the tower with prey and give us a gory treat as they devour their hard earned meal.
We estimate that hatching will occur in the first week of May (last year the first egg hatched on 1st May) and then the real fun will start! Rearing hungry chicks is demanding and both mum and dad will have to work really hard to keep the food coming. Until then, however, it's a waiting game...
I am an Intranet & Web Developer working for Amgueddfa Cymru and this blog entry is about The Next Web Conference held in Amsterdam 15th - 17th April.
If you avoid the tourist areas after 9pm, Amsterdam is a calm and laid back city. People are friendly and the only dangers are the thousands of cyclists criss-crossing pavements and over-enthusiastic refuse collection trucks spinning three-sixty at road junctions – I believe the trams are there to provide safe passage over longer distances.
Anyhow, the first “unConference” day was a little loose in how it was arranged, but intentionally so. I ventured to the Mobile DevCamp and Music & Bits sessions:
Steve Jang, CMO of social music service iMeem gave away one of his insights: despite Apple’s current dominance in the market, Google’s Android shouldn’t be underestimated and would provide decent mobile development/financial opportunities - I should clarify that this conference had money iconography and business models roaming all over it.
Continuing with the music theme, Lucas Gonze presented one of the infrequent talks of the three days that tried to avoid direct business model chatter. His main reference point was Fresh Hot Radio, which allows people to propagate musical playlists and tracks in a sympathetic manor. Most of his selections appeared to be demos, third drafts found on web forums and such (all good); but his point was that the original author information was not lost through web propagation (embeds and share links). The website pages were simple, but they always tried to use the sometimes-scarce sources of artwork from the actual musician - it’s about the music after all. Jolly good.
Other sessions discussed and demonstrated musical ideas using mobile phones to aid interaction between the user and music. One example used an accelerometer as part of a university project, Mustick (PDF) - interesting because the development time was short.
There were Sun Microsystem start-up presentations intermittently throughout the next couple of days. The Mendeley pitch was engaging in that it approached the research world: organise your research papers across multiple computers and help find trends within your particular research field (museum's are full of curators and researchers). It is built on Adobe Air, I believe - the proliferation continues.
Andrew Keen conceptualised the state/ideal state of the web using both flamboyant and succinct language. I enjoyed his enthusiastic approach, even if certain conclusions appeared to be driven by the need for a good sound bite, rather than firm logic - "web 2.0 is dead, long live Twitter".
A Dave sidetrack: Andrew Keen used a Johannes Vermeer painting to demonstrate a particular intensity of human interaction: Woman reading a letter. I couldn’t recall the artist Jonathan Janson at the time, a fact that you wouldn't have known, but he created a humorous painting influenced by Vermeer: A young girl writing an email.
Turn on the radio, read a web article, visit the next web conference, Twitter is doing the rounds - that is fine and dandy. It can be used for good (twestival.com), it has an open API - aggregate this source into your website/application. A conference recommendation to help control your Twitter action appeared to be: Tweet Deck, another Adobe Air application.
Another Dave sidetrack: since leaving the conference I have wandered through the saveIE6 website. My web developer love of IE6 has been restored, I have seen the light - I shouldn’t fight it.
Michael J. Brown, an architectural theorist and practitioner (nice), completed the conference. He pointed out that current 3D environments have a little too much benzoic sulfinide (artificial sweetener) [Mr. Brown didn't use this kind of language] - they fail because they are merely trying to replicate the real world. Who needs hardware? He finished with the cocoon concept, a learning pod.
A scaled back research project of the cocoon: It would involve three back-projected screens, a touch screen and/or blue-toothed mobile phone with an accelerometer (you’re missing the point Dave - my head is in my hands) - Minority Report on a shoe-string.
Based on the MiNiBar in Amsterdam, where you have a key to your own fridge, create an installation where you have key to a locked cabinet and people are only allowed to explore the particular contents of their chosen cabinet.
Yes, I think I’ve been affected.
- The world of APIs and data aggregation wont stop tomorrow - disparate sources are being published somewhere as one
- You can’t create communities, they already exist
- The world wide web is the social network
St Teilo's Church - the book
No blogs for a while now - but mostly because we've been working full tilt on the book (also because I've been off for a week...).
So, it's now at the printers, and there's nothing - well, hardly anything - more we can do now. If all is well the books will be in Cardiff this Friday, and we'll all be at St Fagans launching it on Sunday. If the weather is anywhere as good as it has been this last week or so then it'll be a truly lovely afternoon.
As exciting as it is to look forward to seeing the actual book (no matter how many proofs, dummies etc you've seen - the real thing always looks different!) this bit always makes me a bit nervous too. After it arrives, and I spot the inevitable typo that got away, or something I wish we'd changed when we had the chance, or... and after the launch event, I'll be able to reflect on what a pleasure it was to work on and how lovely everybody was to work with. It's a real privilege to have been able to learn so much about the whole project - one of the very best bits of my job is being able to get involved with such a variety of different projects that might otherwise have passed me by. But with this one in particular, I think, the depth of people's knowledge and skills, and their committment, is inspiring.
Anyway, look out for it, available in all good bookshops - soon!
Muddy knees, bumblebees and anemones!
After a prolonged and cold winter I am sure that many of you are as relieved as I am that spring is finally here! Although it is now the start of April, the early signs of spring have been with us for a while. This March was the driest in Wales since 2002 and almost everywhere in the UK had higher than average levels of sunshine. This resulted in an explosion of colour as the woods have blossomed with flowers such as lesser celandines, wood anemones and primroses. Bumblebees too have woken up from their winter sleep and emerged from burrows below ground to begin collecting pollen and nectar to feed the colony.
Throughout March we ran activities at St Fagans encouraging you to get involved in bee conservation. Over 400 visitors planted native British wildflowers to attract bees and butterflies and I am happy to report that they are doing very well! If you want to know more about bee conservation why not visit the Save Our Bees website?
A quick trip down to the local park or wood will tell you that the birds are in full swing at the moment. Our songbirds are all pairing up and nesting at this time of year. Most have struggled through the harsh British winter but not all. Chiffchaff arrive on our shores in early March from Southern Europe and North Africa. Their distinctive two-note 'chiff-chaff' call can be heard echoing around woodlands, parks and gardens as males compete for females and territory. Next time you're out and about why not see if you can hear one or why not come along to our Dawn Chorus Walk on May the 3rd?
We have plenty of activities coming up this spring, with Compost Awareness Week taking centre stage in early May and signs of spring during the May half term. Visit the events page for more details. In the meantime feel free to let me know what spring wonders you've seen recently in the comments box below - any bluebells yet?
Durga, Creating a Goddess: the project is complete!
On Saturday the 4th of April the completion ceremony was held. It was a lovely afternoon, with speeches, performances, a chance to look at the finished work and refreshments. I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures on the blog, and if you want to see the real thing, the figures will be in St Fagans:National History Museum until September.
Durga - the details
Here are some more detailed images...
Tomorrow (Saturday 4th April) is the closing ceremony, and the figures are almost done!
Painting the eye
Today (April 1st) the painting of the eye ceremony was held at 2pm. Now the eyes of the Goddess Durga have been opened, she is enlivened and has the ability of sight.
The artists will only be here until Saturday when the closing ceremony will be held at 2pm. Please try and come and visit!