Ben Cotton’s life(stream)

The ‘lifestream’ (his description, not mine) that I’ve been working on for Ben Cotton has gone live

Ben had asked me to develop a 1-page site that pulled together all of his online activity in one place.

The new site uses Simple Pie ( to aggregate the rss feed from Ben’s ‘Social Web Thing’ blog and also uses Twitter’s standard JSON call to display all Ben’s latest Twitter activity (although this script is a little temperamental as it relies a little to heavily on Twitter’s sometimes unreliable servers – i’m looking at alternatives.

The site also links directly to Ben’s LinkedIn, TwitPic, Twitter, Scribd and Flickr accounts as well as using the Google Maps API to produce a location map of Edelman’s London office (where Ben works).

Last but not least I’ve also included the ever-present Google Analytics to give Ben some decent stats.

Phase two of the development will see me combining all of Ben’s rss feeds into one ‘master’ feed and providing Ben with a simple CMS to control certain elements (such as meta data) of the site.

Running, Raining, Writing

Nimes was bloody ace, a very pretty (in a kind of crumbly way) town. Lots of roman architecture and amazing cafés, we just mooched around, went to see Avignon and the Pont Du Gard, repeatedly braved public transport (and didn’t get lost once, although I almost managed to make us miss a bus by waiting on the wrong side of the road) and ate lots of bread and cheese, drank loads of wine and chilled out. In exciting cheese-related news, did you know that in France they have FULL SIZED BABYBELS! I kid you not, try to contain yourselves, and they’re fooking massive. Ace.

Spent a good chunk of yesterday down in Sheffield at the English Institute of Sport where Becca was taking part in a charity heptathlon for Sport Relief along with some celebrities and professional sports people. It was a really fun day, everyone was so nice, had a good chat to olympic diver Nick Robinson-Baker who was a very nice bloke and also spoke briefly to the very nice Jess Ennis (a special mention must also go to, now retired, ice hockey player Ron Shudra – an incredibly lovely man). It was such a rewarding event to be at, everyone had loads of fun, noone took themselves too seriously and were really generous with their time. Becca found it a bit weird that people were asking for her autograph though! I think there will be some highlights of it on Look North tonight, there were lots of cameras around and the whole thing was organised by the Beeb so you’d imagine it was recorded one way or another.

This week I will be cracking on with some structural changes to the Run For All site, finishing off things for Ben Cotton and Aisling Swindells, continuing work on the Pickles and Potter site and also starting work in earnest on the Northern Dales Farmers Markets site – for which I spent a very rainy Saturday in Richmond taking photos.

Marathon training continues, we went to Decathlon in Sheffield yesterday and I stocked up on new shorts – I haven’t run in shorts since I was at school. My oh my, running in shorts is brilliant!

Nimes, Markets, stuff

Had a fairly productive Sunday that involved getting the earliest train to Skipton to take photos at the Skipton Farmers Market. Unfortunately despite the glorious weather it was bloody freezing, the train was late and I had a bit of trouble finding the market so ended up wandering around the entireity of Skipton town centre. Skipton is a bit of an odd place, part- nice, Dales, market town, part- horrible, scummy, crap-shopping-centre-filled- hole.

Anyways, I managed to get a few decent shots, the light was an absolute nightmare to work with – a really low, really bright, winter sun that had everyone squinting.

On Wednesday I’m off on m’holidays, we’re going to Nimes (which is in the South of France), have just tested my schoolboy French to the absolute limit trying to work out if and how we could get trains from Nimes to Avignon and Arles, which are both supposed to be nice. I just want to see the Pont du Gard in all it’s giant, double-aquaduct glory ( To be honest it’ll just be nice to have a bit of a break away from things, work on all fronts has been absolutely manic lately. I’ve not been to that part of France either so it should be interesting on all fronts.

One thing that won’t stop is the marathon training, although it’s annoying (so I’m told) how much space a pair of size 12 running shoes takes up in a suitcase. It’ll be fun to run around somewhere new, although I need to try not to a)get lost or b)forget that traffic is all…on the opposite sides of the road and stuff.

Am currently doing work for; Aisling Swindells (e-portfolio), Ben Cotton (e-portfolio/life stream), Nothern Dales Farmers Markets (complete site redesign and content development), Pickles & Potter (site development), Run For All (site redesign and digital marketing campaign) and have a couple more things in the pipeline.

Oo, also, i made a cheesecake yesterday, was really easy, has about a billion calories in and enough saturated fat to take out an elephant but tastes amazing, will pop up the recipe when i get a chance.