Books Archive

February 5, 2007

Revish entering testing

@ 1:20 PM

RevishAs previously mentioned, I'm currently working on a new book review and community site, Revish (external link). While the idea has been in my head since @media last year, development proper only started in October, with a 6-week break over the holiday period when I had other things on.

In the last two weeks the site has come on leaps and bounds, and later this week I'll be opening it up to a small number of users for testing, with a target launch date of March.

It's been a great experience so far, and I've thoroughly enjoyed developing something totally unrelated to local government, and something for myself rather than for a private client. I've learned a huge amount, going beyond my comfort zone in many areas and still trying to break out of it in others (like marketing!). It's going to be a little nerve-wracking letting real users loose on it - while 3 close colleagues have been helping out I know I'm far too close to the project to have an objective view!

We're almost full for testers now, but if you sign-up for email updates at the Revish registration page (external link) there will be another opportunity soon.

October 15, 2006

Announcing revish

@ 8:54 PM

revish - read, review, share (external link)As hinted at recently, I'm currently working on a new book-related website as a purely personal project. It's only been in development for a week or two, but the idea has been around since this year's @media, after a particularly good discussion over pizza with Blair (external link), Jim (external link) and Karl (external link), and I've been making notes and spending a good bit of time doing research and refining the idea ever since.

It's now got a name, revish, and a fairly stable planned feature set. It's going to be launched in two parts - part one in early 2007 will be a fully-featured review site. Anyone who wants to can sign up as a reviewer and give the world their opinion on their favourite (and not so favourite) books. Without giving too much away there's a lot more to it than that, and I'm hoping that people will get value from signing up even if they aren't going to post reviews themselves. Part two is still under wraps.

It's been really nice working on something totally unrelated to my day job, or web accessibility, dipping my toes into APIs (using and writing), XML (PHP 5 rocks) and DOM Scripting. I'm not going to post much more about it here - there will be a dedicated revish development blog launched in the next few weeks where I'll post a lot of technical detail and an insight into some design decisions - so if you're interested in learning more, staying up to date with progress and having the opportunity to help out with testing, please register your interest at the revish site (external link).

September 28, 2006

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters

@ 6:34 PM

A book in 10 instalmentsBlether started life as a book review site back in 1999, and stayed that way until the summer of 2005. During that time I established a lot of contacts with publishers, authors and readers, and I still get offered books for review on a regular basis. Although I'm working on a new book related site (details coming soon), I've been politely declining these offers. Until now.

In an unnamed city, an heiress, a killer, and a spy forge an unlikely alliance against a perilous conspiracy employing unnatural science and raw sensuality to colonize the very imaginations of their victims. THE GLASS BOOKS OF THE DREAM EATERS is an epic genre-defying mystery-science-fiction-adventure, an exuberant return to the classic, and classically lurid, penny dreadfuls of the 19th century, but spun with a wickedly modern sensibility. A scrupulously realized Victorian world is the setting for a contemporary rollercoaster of action, suspense, and richly fevered dreams.

A few weeks back I was contacted by Penguin to ask if I was interested in reviewing The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters. When I read the synopsis I was immediately hooked, and knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity. The novelty of receiving a book by instalments, the promise of high Victorian adventure, the beautifully presented website (external link) - all these things promised a unique reading experience.

So I'm signed up, have the first issue in my possession (electronically, I look forward to getting my hands on the real thing in October), and will start reading tonight. There will be ten weekly issues in all, starting on 16th October, and the print run is limited to 5,000, so if you want to subscribe and join Miss Temple, Cardinal Chang, Dr. Svenson and my good self in this adventure head over to the official website (external link) (requires Flash, for more accessible information see the Penguin Books site (external link)) by 6th October and cough up your £25. A full review will follow when we reach the end, and I can't rule out the occasional effusive post here.