Open Thinkering


Tag: shoffice

Weeknote 09/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Preparing for the session I’m running with Kate Stokes (Nesta) at SXSWedu.
  • Calculating my expenses.
  • Explaining to quite a few people that Mozilla doesn’t usually ‘partner’ with other organisations on bids (but that I’m happy to be listed as an advisor).
  • Playing lots of games as part of the nomination committee for Mozilla’s Game On competition.
  • Writing a book chapter overview for Dave White about the philosophical implications of simultaneously inhabiting physical and virtual worlds.
  • Adding descriptions to the articles, blog posts and books in the Web Literacy standard ‘library’.
  • Collaborating with my colleagues Carla Casilli and Erin Knight on a vision document for the Web Literacy standard work.
  • Discovering Firefox tab groups, courtesy of Laura Hilliger.
  • Meeting with builders to discuss my shoffice.
  • Responding to conference organisers asking for titles for presentation, preferences for food, accommodation, etc.
  • Updating my Lanyrd profile and adding conferences I’m attending over the next few months.
  • Sorting out my corporation tax for the now-defunct Synechism Ltd.
  • Leading a webinar on Open Badges for the Centre for Recording Achievement. Slides here.
  • Hosting the inaugural Mozilla Web Literacy standard community call.
  • Speaking to people thinking of using Open Badges for various projects.

Next week I’ll be in Austin, Texas for SXSW 2013. I’m flying out on Sunday and arrive back on Friday. So next week’s update is likely to be a bit shorter…

Weeknote 08/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Taking PTO (Paid Time Off or ‘holiday’ as we call it over here). I took Monday off work as it was the first day of the half-term holidays. We went to Belsay.
  • Writing the first draft of a vision document for Mozilla’s Web Literacy standard work.
  • Leading an #etmooc session. I blogged about T3S1: Digital Literacies with Dr. Doug Belshaw (#etmooc) and linked to the recording.
  • Responding to comments on my DMLcentral blog post Why We Need a Learning Standard for Web Literacy
  • Advising how to make your blog posts last forever in the wake of Posterous announcing it’s closing down.
  • Planning more activity around the Web Literacy standard work I’m leading for Mozilla
  • Celebrating being granted planning permission for the ‘shoffice’ we’re going to build at the bottom of the garden.
  • Travelling to London for a couple of days’ work (Thursday/Friday).
  • Speaking at the University of West London about Open Badges. The lecture theatre was packed (standing-room only!) with over 90% students. Slides here.
  • Contributing to the repeated Web Literacy standard kick-off online gathering. You can access the recording via the Mozilla wiki page.
  • Posting to the Mozilla Webmaker Google Group.
  • Planning a presentation and creating a video for the SXSWedu session that Kate Stokes (Nesta) and I are running.
  • Booking flights for the next Mozilla All Hands in Toronto (week beginning 20th May)

Next week it’s nose to the grindstone. I’m at home all week spending a couple of days helping judge the Mozilla Game On competition and planning the start of the Web Literacy standard weekly calls. However, as I’m at SXSWedu (Austin, Texas) and then the DML Conference (Chicago) with only a few days inbetween, I need to get planning! Not only do I need to have the whole ‘arc’ in place for the Web Literacy standard work before DML, I also need to start getting ready for my OER13 keynote and the Nesta One Day Digital (Edinburgh) session that are coming up before the end of March. šŸ™‚

Planning permission approved for my #shoffice!

I said I’d keep you all apprised of progress on my shed/office/shoffice project. Happily, this week Northumberland County Council gave the go-ahead:

Planning permission

Our architect, Mark Starford, is now liaising with a structural engineer to ensure the plans (which I’ve posted here) are suitable for the amount of snow we get up here, etc.

Exciting times! šŸ™‚

A #shoffice update (October 2012)

Back in August I posted about how working from home with my new job for the Mozilla Foundation means I needed a dedicated office. It’s just too distracting working in the main house when we’ve got two young children! I’m calling it a ‘shoffice’ as it’s a shed as far as planning regulations go (no-one’s sleeping in there) but an office as far as I’m concerned. šŸ™‚

Since August local architect Mark Starford has been drawing up draft plans from the detailed measurements he took on that sunny day. I’m delighted Mark’s agreed to allow me to share the drawings here (and on Flickr) under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. I’ve also introduced him to the delights of Pinterest via my Architecture & Design board. It’s useful to have a ‘mood board’ as it allows others to see the kinds of things you like by referencing extant things!

Below are the options Hannah, my wife, and I like so far. Mark gave us three options for the path and way down to the office. I’ve included the ‘dogleg’ version. We’re not so keen on the protruding skylight but are definitely in favour of getting as much north-facing light in as possible. Mark informed us that artists tend to favour this kind of light as it’s more constant and avoids the ‘hard light’ that distracts me when I work.

We definitely like the freestanding canopy-style protruding roof to shelter the stairs and we’re also thinking about potentially including an additional way to get down to the decking area. Hannah doesn’t want the decking to be my ‘outside office space’ and I can see her point. We’re also still thinking about the placement and shape of the windows to the west side (we don’t want any on the south side).

You can click on any of the images to enlarge them or the set is here:
Birds-eye view

West and North elevations

West and South elevations

Cutaway view of shoffice

If you’re struggling to understand how this works, it might help to know that our garden would be pretty much on a 45-degree slope if it wasn’t for a concrete ‘bunker’ under the patio. Also, the fence to the rear of our property drops down dramatically to a much lower garden level for our neighbours.

The images below may help:

Garden showing concrete bunker entry

Concrete bunker entry

Concrete bunker

And, finally, we’re absolutely going to invite our neighbours (to the side and the back) to look at the final drawings. We’re trying to make it so they hardly notice it’s there!

Doug’s new #shoffice

I was going to create a new blog for this but I thought if there’s one thing I don’t need in my life it’s another blog. So it’s stopping here. For the time being, anyway. šŸ˜‰

Mark measuring for shoffice (notice awesome cardboard fort)

The secret underground bunker (3)

The concrete bunker (3)

The concrete bunker (2)

The concrete bunker

Access to the secret underground bunker (2)

Access to the secret underground bunker

Ben (our five year-old) photographing Doug helping Mark measure the garden

Measuring the garden

Doug helping Mark measure the garden

I’ve created a Flickr set to chart progress.

Yesterday local architect Mark Starford stopped by Chez Belshaw for initial discussions and measurements for my shed office (shoffice). As you can see from the photos above the previous owners of our house had built a bizarre (but awesome) underground concrete bunker, complete with power.

We’re going to use that existing structure as a basis to build upon. Mark’s very much into sustainable structures and I’m very into getting as much light in there given that we’re located in the North East of England!

The backstory

Last month I started work as Badges & Skills Lead for the Mozilla Foundation. It’s a great job that allows me to work from home. Whilst that means I’ve had to sell my awesome Ford Puma, it also means that I’m completely in control of my working environment.

After some discussions with my wife, Hannah, we decided that my existing study (which is a garage conversion) doesn’t quite do the trick. The conversion was done well – to such an extent it’s very much part of the main house. And therein lies the problem when you’ve got a five year-old and an eighteen month-old.

So we decided to look outside for a solution. Initially we were looking at shed-like structures. Hence the ‘shoffice’ moniker (which has stuck). However, we thought it would be a waste not to use the existing foundations under the patio to build something more permanent, comfortable and which would ultimately add value to our house.

You’ll not be surprised to hear that I made contact with Mark Starford, the architect we’ve asked to work with us, through Twitter. I think it was this map that alerted us to his proximity. I checked out his website and then made contact on Twitter. That moved to email, he came around for a cup of tea and chat, and we got the ball rolling.

In turn, Mark’s recommended a structural engineer who in turn is going to recommend a builder. Yes, we could have got tenders and vetted people and all that sort of thing. But in reality, I want to work with people who want to work with me and each other. So it’s all good.

Mark spent a couple of hours at our house yesterday chatting and measuring and asking questions. He’s going to go away and make some drawings. I can’t wait to see them.

And, of course, I’ll share them here when he does (IĀ think I’ve persuaded him to release his work under a Creative Commons license!)

Blogging this adventure comes naturally to me but I was definitely spurred on by Christian Payne blogging the process of creating his home office!