Elly Williams' Weblog

Caught Between Industries

When Boredom Sets In

Inspired by a recent comment by someone claiming to have found my site from searching for “Elly” on yahoo I did a quick trawl of various search engines to see how possible it is to find me by searching for my first name. Bearing in mind most people don’t look past the second page of results, being in the top twenty for any given keyword is obviously preferable.

So, how did I do?

Mostly I did quite well. Jeeves and Metacrawler don’t find me with just my first name. Jeeves doesn’t find me with my second name either.

Google, Yahoo, AOL, AltaVista and Lycos’s “search everywhere” sites all put me on the second page. Their “search UK only” searches all put me twice in the top 3 – once as elly thompson.co.uk and once as ellythompson.co.uk/blog.

Which possibly makes me the most prominent Elly in the UK.


If I had an iPod, I’d want an iPod Sock to carry it in too….

Celebrating in Style

As Andy notes, it’s the time of year when, if you’re into that kind of thing, you can spend plenty of time messing around with lots of iterations of you stylesheet.

So, yeah, given that it’s Hallowe’en over the weekend I figured pumpkins and bats might be kind of appropriate as far as going for a subtle Hallowe’en-y style rather than a blood and gore thing – which wouldn’t really suit me or my site and, hey, the site was orange anyway.

There’s a whole load of other variations I’m planning on implementing over the next couple of months and seeing as most of them will only be up for a day or two I’m thinking of creating some form of archive for them. Not entirely sure how I want it yet, but I might sort it in the next week or so…. or I might spend my time creating a Bonfire Night theme instead…

Cambridge Shutdown

A year after they annouce that they’re scrapping one degree Cambridge University are planning on closing down their entire Architecture Department (don’t forget to go to bugmenot first)

This is a scary, scary thing. Cambridge is the top Architecture school in the UK(according to The Times anyway.) Oxford doesn’t have an Architecture course. A number of other architecture schools have closed down recently too.

Basically, the General Board of theUniversity of Cambridge are “recommending closure because the department has failed to meet Cambridge?s high research standards.”

Why? Possibly because there is very little academic research (compared to other departments in Universities) which can be carried out in architecture. Most of it is carried out by specific manufacturers or specialist centres like the Centre for Window and Cladding Technology at Bath Uni.

And if other universities take Cambridge’s lead and close down their schools too who knows where we’ll end up.

3-D Printing

Quite a few people have sent me this link (or similar) along with comments like “look, isn’t this great – you’ll never have to build a model again”

Now I’m not denying that it’s cool, or that it has its uses – product manufacture, prototyping and the like ? but I?m not sure I can see it being used for architectural models. Not just yet anyway.

For a start there are a lot of technophobes and technocynics in and around the construction industry. There are also a lot of control freaks. Add the two together and you get people who know exactly what they want, how they want it and aren?t going to trust a machine to give them that. There are also a large number of architecture students who are quite happy to get model making experience (and staying up all night working experience) for very little more than the cost of the materials ? which is generally less than $100.

And just as CAD programmes (AutoCAD, AutoSketch, Microstation, VectorWorks, 3DStudio etc not to mention all the engineering ones that do all your calcs. for you) have changed how buildings are designed and built I think the use of this technology would too. Imagine if you had to design your buildings so that they could be printed in 3D? everything has to be supported from the bottom or the sides (or the top or sides if you print upside down I suppose.) So you can have ceiling fittings or furniture ? but not both. Stairs and balconies are probably quite hard to model too. And heaven forbid if want a model that comes to pieces so that you can look inside it. Very soon, you have to put as much design effort into building the model as you would into the building the real thing. And it?s not worth the time or the money.

Happy Birthday!!

Taa Daa!!

One year on and still kicking – once in a while anyway

It?s been quite an eventful year for me, what with graduating and getting a job and becoming a ?Valuable Member of Society?TM. And I?m glad to have documented that, even though that?s not what I?ve really been documenting.

So yeah, 78 posts, 110 comments retained, countless spam comments deleted, two colour schemes, a few seasonal variations, lots of gadgets, gizmos and machines that go ?ping??.. and still no sign of a portfolio.


Today, following my little brother’s recommendation, I installed the demo version of Evil Genius.

It’s fantastic.

Most of the first twenty minutes of gameplay were interrupted by either me or Simon exclaiming “How cool is that!” and “Oh, Wow!!” and “Look! Minions!”

After most of the initial excitement had died down and I’d gotten used to the controls (playing Playstation pretty much exclusively for 4 months makes pointing and clicking rather confusing) it’s still a reeeally cool game.

Basically, you’re an Evil Genius bent on world domination who’s been in hiding for the past x years and you’re starting out afresh. It’s Dungeon Keeper meets The Sims meets Austin Powers, without the annoyance of Mike Myers ANYWHERE!!. You get a number 2, ridiculous henchmen, a design-your-own base in the side of a mountain, and many, many minions. Who you can have killed as a morale boost. And you can laugh evilly at prisoners. And that’s just in the demo version!!

So that adds another game to the list of those I’ve sold my soul to recently…

If You Use This Software Your Life Will Be Better

I do not live in America.

I do not intend to live in America within the lifetime of my current PC.

So why (rhetorical question alert) does WeatherBug, which only reports on US weather, seem to think that if I uninstall it I will IMMEADIATELY be hit by a hurricane off the coast of Florida?

Do I want to receive “LIFE SAVING ALERTS” ?- well, if they are going to save my life , yes – but I think the chance of me getting anything remotely useful out of WeatherBug is, for the time being at least, zilch.

Books and Things

I haven’t really been able to get on the internet much recently coz Meri has been reworking our home network and I’ve just moved offices at work so it’s been a bit hectic there (to put it mildly.)

Anyway, I’ve just seen this post on mezzoblue and if anyone is looking for a present to buy me in the new year The Zen of CSS Design is a pretty good bet (hint hint).

In the mean time I will get around to reading Crypto, which I was recommended ages ago, The Cuckoo’s Egg, which Meri has just finished and Steal This Computer Book 3, which I’ve just bought at least in part due to the disclaimer on the back of the book stating

WARNING: This book is not to be used for hacking into government computers, shutting down AOL, cracking software, phone phreaking, spreading viruses or any other illegal activity

Might keep me busy for a while…..

is an Architecture Student and Web Designer based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, (UK)