My daily trawl
Posted in news,random by Mark on the January 25th, 2010

Oh no, a blog post filled with links instead of fresh new exciting content. Well yes, guilty as charged. But it’s unlikely to become a running trend on scrapbook, I just thought I’d share the sites I tend to visit almost every day, or certainly weekly.


designerstalk, or more commonly DT
A passive aggressive wonderful forum for designers, developers and all manner of other creative folks. It’s one of the few forums of it’s ilk which is genuinely honest online. Some forums are full of people saying it looks lovely regardless of quality, which whilst feeling fuzzy inside, won’t help you much. DT will make you a better designer/developer etc. if you can withstand the very blunt criticism and take suggestions onboard. I frequent the board as Maerk, and generally try to be helpful, though I’m not beyond pointing and laughing at the people who register with the sole intention of asking for designers to work for free. It is primarily for creative folks, so don’t expect a no-swear zone of political correctness talking as if they’re pitching for business.
I’ve mentioned NOTCOT in passing quite a few times on scrapbook, as I do repost various things I find there, it’s a lovely resource for all manner of creative wonderful and weird, not just design related, but interesting photography, weird products, generally very refreshing.

siteInspire – inspiring web design
Not just because a few of my sites have been featured either, but it is a lovely resource – in a world of dozens/hundreds of website collections, it lets you sift through the contents (1,423 sites and counting at this time) by styles, types and themes which is great if you’re looking for specific inspiration, many sites have no real quality control and no way to browse the gallery very easily.

Yes, really. Sorry. It is what you make of it, and I’ve turned mine into a pool of designers, authors and comedians, which often gives me information apps and inspiration I wouldn’t have found any other way. (Incidentally I could put Twitter in all of the following sections except comics.)

Useful sites

Which generates Lorem Ipsum, the dummy text used in designs as it lets the eye naturally read the page better than saying DUMMY COPY DUMMY COPY ten thousand times.

Teux Deux
A site which is a very straight forward and effective to-do list by Swiss Miss. Very simple, minimal and useful. I was using post-its on my mac’s dashboard until this(!).

Upload Pie
Ok yes, me and Rick created this, but I do use it on a daily basis as it’s that darn useful, which is why we created it. It’s ace for quickly showing people images that you don’t have to remember to delete later, or take the time to upload using FTP blah blah. Great for getting feedback and fresh eyes on designs, or just sharing pictures of cats… which is honestly the only real reason for the internet.


Observant types will have noticed this link on scrapbook for a long time. It’s a wonderful world of robots romance and pixel art. I even own three t-shirts. (Pixelsaurus, hammer & sickle and Mr. Monocle Moon) It’s lovely.

Questionable Content
Is wonderful. Erm how to describe it… the lives of an odd collection of people, has very surreal moments. Also sentient mobile PCs with disturbing personalities. A yelling swearing bird when Jeph has a day off. Lovely.

Gaming themed comic surrounding the life of a social incompetent, makes me giggle.

Penny Arcade
Gaming themed comic, very surreal, needs very little describing. I imagine most people will have at least heard of it. Generally surreal comments relating to specific games/game companies, but they do some lovely original arcs unrelated to anything but their own wonderfully warped minds.

Sarcasm maths and language. A wonderfully dry comic. Also a fair bit of dinosaur obsession which goes down a treat. Which is handy as I really struggle with a few of the maths gags.


BBC News
Whilst I do think the quality has dropped in some areas, I still find myself checking it most frequently for my news needs.

Admittedly I mostly find myself reading David Mitchell’s Sunday Observer column and anything by Charlie Brooker, but I do wander elsewhere occasionally.

Daily Mash
English satire news site, needs little explanation, very wonderfully done.

And in other news, I have started redesigning my portfolio site, honest.

Posted in news,random by Mark on the January 5th, 2010

Happy New Year people :D

TwentyTen, after years of having to say two thousand and **** we’re finally in the future, a wonderful world in which Helen Mirren is Russian.

Hope you all had a great Christmas and aren’t finding the return to work too horrific :) (Those of you that can make it in to work that is.) I keep talking, hinting, probably outright promising to update my site and blog with a new design, and well, erm, yes. That’s not likely to happen just yet, but I’ll try to fit it in sometime 2010.

In the mean time, lights! Gorgeous colour changing lights. (yes I already have something a little similar but still…)

More pictures + video over the leap (more…)

New post shocker
Posted in news,random by Mark on the November 2nd, 2009

Last post in June eh, well that’s rather a lapse.

Well, I’m planning on reviving scrapbook, along with maybe giving it a fresh lick of paint and forcing myself into the habit of scanning my doodles and posting my random odds and ends.

I’ve just had my 28th birthday, yikes. But it’s been a busy year, lots of wonderful new clients and some brilliant new friends and experiences along the way.

Along with scrapbook, I’ll be updating Sreski with new content over the coming few weeks. In the mean time check out Rihards’ brand new site designed by yours truly, and of course developed by himself – check his news section which incorporates his old blog, and is frequently updated.

For day to day babblings my twitter is here it is mostly gibberish I assure you.

That’s all for now – Mark.

Humble pie.
Posted in design,random by Mark on the April 16th, 2009

I came across the rather wonderful piece by Adrian Shaughnessy on design paradoxes over on Design Observer. (One of my favourite authors on design, yes sometimes I look at more than the pretty pictures.)

And on reading these 10 (11 actually) points I found myself guilty of one or two of them, I’d blame a few of these hiccups on stress and pressure, and thankfully I’ve never actually used some of these statements on clients, but I’ve more than once made the “doctor’s aren’t questioned, why are designer’s opinions so disrespected?” case amongst friends. Apparently my comparison was out of date, in the day where Google and Wikipedia reign supreme, doctors are indeed challenged every day by people who think they know better. In fact my gran pre-dated the internet with her belief that all doctors know less than her, so it was a bit blinkered of me to really presume no one questions a doctor.

So, humble pie really. I think I came through the list relatively unscathed, and in the areas I didn’t well, shall just have to do better. Tut tut.

Number eleven of the ten points (yes) was lovely to read just because it’s nice to see it confirmed.

11. When a client says the words — “you have complete creative freedom,” they never mean complete creative freedom. Whatever you show them, they will find a problem with. Happens every time.

DO – 10 Design Paradoxes

SGN 09 Site & Forum style
Posted in design,news,random by Mark on the April 10th, 2009

The lovely geeky blog myself and Rihards have been working on now has matching and fully upgraded forums ! As ever, design and about nine million gazillion icons for vbulletin done by myself, and the arduous task of making it all actually work, was Rihards so a huge thanks to him.

sgncore new design
sgncore new design
sgncore new design
sgncore new design
sgncore new design

sgn – geekery & goodness
sgn – geekery & goodness – forums

Geekery & goodness – new site
Posted in design,news,random by Mark on the January 11th, 2009
sgncore new design
sgncore new design

As mentioned briefly in my last post, the new geeky site/blog me and Rihards have been working on is live – hurray! So head over and take a peek, the design is my shenanigans, and all development and coding is done by Rihards.

(The new style still has to be transferred over to the forums however.)

sgn – geekery & goodness

“…nothing’s more simple than a single giant button…”
Posted in random by Mark on the January 7th, 2009

Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard

I don’t visit The Onion nearly enough but I loved this :D

“It remains to be seen whether the wheel will catch on in the business world where people use computers for actual work and not just dicking around.”

In other news me and Rihards have been polishing off the finishing touches to a new site which will be something of a sister site to scrapbook, where I’ll be posting geekier items of interest, and less random non-design posts will crop up on scrapbook.

Two Thousand & Nine
Posted in news,random by Mark on the January 1st, 2009

2008 was actually a great year, it got a bit rubbish the last few months but that doesn’t really counter how amazing the rest was. My freelance work has continued successfully – I got to work with a lot of wonderful people, work on some varied and nice projects, all my worries regarding my apartment have vanished (have now been in over a year!), had a chance to visit Vienna again to see my good friend Rihards. All in all, it was an incredible year where I got to catch up with a lot of friends and realise just how great they are.

So basically this is just a big thank you, to everyone that has been in my life in 2008, for giving me a great year, and for helping me through the last few months when it’s been a little more pear-shaped.

Hopefully 2009 will pick up and become as good a year and maybe better than 2008 was for me :) And I’m aware I’ve not been posting any of my own design work or doodles on scrapbook lately, will change that over the next few months :)

So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone :)

“God hates fangs”
Posted in random by Mark on the December 29th, 2008

I’ve been recently completely addicted to a new TV show – True Blood.

Another vampire tv show, you would think the well was pretty dry after so many attempts to keep milking a bloody teet. (Blade films and tv show, Buffy film and tv show, Buffy’s spin off show Angel, Anne Rice’s two film adaptions, oh and countless other films, oh and that teeny stuff Twilight which looks quite cringeworthy)

But no, it’s rather awesome. The premise is a world in which vampires have come out to the world as there’s this synthetic Japanese alternative to human blood named – you guessed it, Tru Blood. (I guess after Tru Calling someone thankfully decided they couldn’t stomach naming another TV show with illiterate word use.) And the show takes place in the deep south of America, and with that loving and caring locale it contrasts all kinds of intolerance, “fangs” themselves, fang-bangers (take a guess), racism, homophobia. And it’s just surprisingly quality. Full of blood, death, sex, substance abuse. It’s all kinds of win.

The intro sequence is rather twisted, reminds me of one of my favourite movies – Natural Born Killers, and I suppose at a push, Se7en’s intro too.

Free legal instant music? Really?
Posted in news,random by Mark on the December 26th, 2008

I’m not entirely sold on the name (reminds me of a scene from Futurama about the selection of untrademarked names) but Coxy invited me to the rather funky service Spotify. You download the program and it allows you to stream a huge amount of music for free quickly and simply. No piracy, no legal qualms, quite refreshing.

The interface is relatively intuitive, although I find it easy to overlook the fact you need to scroll to see albums when you search for individual artists. And I’ve been enjoying listening to albums I’d always meant to check out but didn’t really want to buy or thieve them.

So, it is quite lovely. The free account is paid for by ads which do appear infrequently between tracks. A minor annoyance but still a mile away from the average advertising tedium of radio. If it bothers you too much you can subscribe for an ad free experience. Sounds good so far, but: it does crash relentlessly on my mac when left to it’s own devices, it’s fine for quite a while but if I leave it on in the background paused it tends to crash, and sometimes when it goes between ads and back to the music.

Hopefully as it develops the builds will get more stable though. Another nice touch is that it already has scrobbling built in.

And a Happy Christmas to everyone :) I had a spare minute after being overfed on Christmas Day to fix the sIFR (fancy fonts) on scrapbook, and swapped the fonts used too.


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