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2013 Theory of (R)Evolution Conference Releases 50 New Tickets to Meet Exceptional Demand

A raft of new tickets for this year’s Theory of (R)Evolution web conference in Shrewsbury will be released Monday 2nd September after unprecedented demand for Britain’s best event for those working in the web and adjoining digital creative sectors left scores of delegates from across the UK unable to secure a seat this year.

The conference takes place at the Shrewsbury Conference Centre at RSH Shrewsbury on Friday 27th September 2013. Organised by Shropgeek, a community of digital creatives in Shropshire, the conference has rapidly become one of the most significant of its type in the UK with this year’s event attracting international thought leaders from the web industry.

Shrewsbury-based web developer, Kirsty Burgoine, one of the conference organisers believes this year’s exceptional keynote speakers are the reason ticket sales have rocketed as the event draws near. She said: “The fact that Canadian web architect Jonathan Snook is flying over especially to give a keynote address at the conference is what’s exciting people. He’s probably the most respected web professional in the world, so to have someone of his calibre here in Shropshire is frankly, awesome.

“Anecdotal evidence also suggests that Elliot Jay Stocks, the Creative Director of Adobe Typekit, is another leading industry player who has captured the attention of digital creatives in the UK. We’ve agreed to release a further 50 tickets as of Monday to meet the unbelievable demand and fully expect them to be snapped up in a snip.”

High profile sponsors providing integral support to this showcase event include Greenfield IT Recruitment, Heart Internet and Zengenti.

Companies interested in putting their brand in front of a packed conference of web, tech and digital creatives at The Theory of (R)Evolution 2013 conference and at the event’s popular pre and post conference fringe can explore sponsorship opportunities by visiting http://2013.shropgeek-revolution.co.uk/ or email Kirsty Burgoine at revolution@shropgeek.co.uk for details.

Downcast Podcast App

Since Apples Podcast App stopped working I’ve been using Downcast, the £1.49 app is a great app for downloading, managing and listening to podcasts.

Podcasts are my main way of discovering new music and I'm an avid listener to Above & Beyond's Group Therapy as well as Tiesto's Club Life and Andy Moor's Moor Music.

Downcast is one of the most configurable apps I know, with settings for when and where to download podcasts, how many episodes to keep, streaming podcasts, skipping backwards and forwards within podcasts and volume adjustment control.

Podcasts are important part of any audio visual service and the Downcast app helps that experience.

HTC One Mini Review

Continuing the trend of mini smartphones the HTC One Mini is the 4.3” version of the hugely successful 4.7” HTC One.

Supporting Android 4.2.2, a 720p HD display and a 4-megapixel camera the phone crams in a huge amount of tech into its small space.

As with the HTC One the Mini uses the same aluminium case with its ‘zero gap’ design and is available in Glacial Silver and Stealth Black. The build quality feels as high in the Mini as in its larger counterpart and with it weighing 122g, its slightly slighter lighter than the 143g HTC One.

The 4.3” 720p screen puts the phone on a similar level to the Galaxy S4 Mini and Nokia Lumia 900 however its 1,280 x 720 resolution puts it in a league of its own.

The phones software benefits from Android 4.2.2 Jelly Beans’ latest features and the performance feels good when using on a day to day basis.

The HTC One Mini is available from OKMobiles.co.uk and starts from £369.99. 

Call for Shropshire companies to get involved in Britain’s best creative web event

Demand for tickets for this year’s Theory of (R)Evolution web conference to be held in Shrewsbury on 27th September is so high that organisers expect the event to sell out by the end of the month.

To meet the unprecedented demand for places following the sell-out conference last year, this year’s (R)Evolution event will take place at the Shrewsbury Conference Centre at RHS Shrewsbury.

Organised by Shropgeek, a community of digital creatives, the conference has rapidly become one of the most significant of its type in the UK with this year’s event attracting international thought leaders from the web industry. Shropshire will host some of the UK’s most celebrated web professionals for a day of industry-leading discussion and information sharing.

This year’s exceptional keynote speakers include the internationally renowned Canadian web architect Jonathan Snook, James Whittaker from the Twitter Corporation, Dafydd Vaughn from the government’s website UK.gov and Elliot Jay Stocks, Creative Director of Adobe Typekit.

Other top speakers include Robert Mills from Designing the Invisible, Chris Thorpe from Jaggeree, the specialist web and mobile apps designer Laura Kalbag and Joel Hughes from Port 80 Conference.

Shrewsbury-based web developers, Kirsty Burgoine and Pete White, along with leading London-based web writer and technology evangelist, Zach Beauvais, are the driving force behind the (R)Evolution event.

“Interest in The Theory of (R)Evolution 2013 has rocketed this year.” said Kirsty. “Anyone who is anyone in the digital industry in Britain will be there. It’s awesome to think that in just three years we have created arguably the most compelling ‘must attend’ web event in the country right here in Shropshire.

“Any business delivering digital and web-related services within the Shropshire business community will have unprecedented access to some of the most dynamic web professionals in the UK and beyond.

“We’ve already secured high level support from organisations from beyond our borders but I want to see Shropshire companies getting involved. We have a range of conference sponsorships available as well as pre and post conference social events, with a perfect mix of developers, creatives and business people attending.

“The Theory of (R)Evolution 2013 conference will help Shropshire businesses better understand the impact of the web, digital technologies and the crucial strategic role they play in business-winning,” added Kirsty.

High profile sponsors providing integral support to this showcase event include Greenfield IT Recruitment, Heart Internet and Zengenti. Companies interested in exploring sponsorship opportunities or attending The Theory of (R)Evolution 2013 conference can visit http://2013.shropgeek-revolution.co.uk/ or email Kirsty Burgoine at revolution@shropgeek.co.uk for details.

The Many Faces of Batman

Since the first Batman TV serial in 1943, there have been seven actors to grace our screens as the masked vigilante. Lewis Wilson was only twenty-three, still the youngest actor to ever place an adult Batman, and performed in the fifteen part Columbia serial. Fans complained that he was too “thick around the middle” to look the part, and that his voice was high and he had a Boston accent, and he wasn't to reappear in the role. Instead he was replaced by Robert Lowery for the 1949 Batman & Robin serial, who was thirty-nine and an accomplished actor with Johnny Duncan playing his feathered sidekick.

The franchise was left for nearly twenty years until being revived again by Adam West, of all people. One of the most iconic Batman portrayals ever, West had the trademark drawn-on eyebrows, extensive utility belt and his companion Robin, played by Burt Ward. Rumour has it that West was chosen for the part after playing a James Bond-like spy in an advert, and that the producer William Dozier hated comic books so decided that the film had to be camp and over-the-top to sell well. A TV series lead from the film and was aired for two years before its diving ratings caused the channel to cancel it.

When Michael Keaton was cast in the 1989 Batman film, 50,000 letters were sent to Warner Bros studios to complain; in response, Batman creator Bob Kane was brought on as an adviser for the film. Producer Jon Peters claims that he cast Keaton because he had the right mix of eccentricity, intensity and sadness; previously Batman was commonly seen with Robin, but now he seemed hauntingly lonely. After Batman and Batman Returns, Val Kilmer took over the role of Batman without even reading the script, but the movie met with such negative reviews that he refused to take part in the 1997 Batman & Robin film. That was left to the man with the nipple-suit, who declared that the movie was a waste of money and that he helped to kill the franchise. Thanks George Clooney.

Despite the tragedy that was Batman & Robin, it was only eight years before another film was released – Batman Begins. Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy brought legitimacy back to the masked man and has spun off into console games, tie-in comics, thedarkknightslot.net games and comic conventions filled with Heath Ledger's version of the Joker. Bale was chosen as the new Batman because he had the right balance of darkness and light – this is evident looking at his portrayal of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, and his levity voicing Howl in Howl's Moving Castle.

Kevin Conroy, who has voiced Batman in animated series and games since 1992, criticised Bale's gruff Batman voice as ridiculous, and it has become a commonly mentioned flaw in the series. Despite this, Bale held the role of Batman through three fantastic films, being nominated for dozens of awards (and winning a fair few!). But whose muscular body will fill out the Bat suit next? We'll find out soon enough, as Batman will square up against Superman in the 2015 sequel to Man of Steel.

The Making of The Web Orchard Video

Back in January the team at Shrewsbury based Information Solutions Limited started thinking about how to grow their web company, The Web Orchard. With over seven years of experience in building websites the company knew they were doing something right, but wanted a new way to spotlight their services and philosophy.

The use of short videos on websites has exploded in recent years, and have become a powerful way to engage with visitors. The Web Orchard wanted a video that could not only be used their own website, but as part of advertising on other sites; such as LoveShrewsbury.com.

After a chance meeting in the Shrewsbury Coffee House between Information Solutions Director Pete White and Aaron Child from Painted Life Productions, a meeting was setup to brainstorm ideas.

The Web Orchard were keen to keep their green, organic brand that had worked well for them on the website and in print. A number of concepts flourished, until the idea of a camera panning around a tree, with vines interacting with a laptop was formed as a way to bridge the gap between technical and organic.

The concept was developed further by introducing stop motion, a technique involving taking thousands of single frame shots, and combining together to form a realistic animation; the same method used in the production of films such as Wallace and Gromit.

With the storyboard for the video taking shape, Aaron and his team hand-built the set; including a custom turntable, and a tree trunk formed from real tree bark. They started the task of filming the tree and the vines, the 60 second video took over twelve hours to film. Each frame needed carefully setting and checking against the previous to ensure continuity.

Once filming was complete, it was over to the CGI animator to insert the background and setup the tracking required to overlay text and The Web Orchard logo on to the laptop screen. A custom soundtrack was produced, and final edits were made to allow the video to be used as both an advert, and as a website introduction.

Aaron from Painted Life Productions commented, "The success to this production was down to the intricate planning and precise implementation. The unique challenge introduced some interesting problems to overcome, however I felt the end result surpassed expectations."

The video can now been seen on the sidebar of the Love Shrewsbury website and the front page of The Web Orchard’s website. There are also plans to use the video as part of a range of promotional activities over the coming months.

Pete from The Web Orchard added, "We're thrilled with the video Aaron has created, we feel it really sets the scene for the philosophy of our web company."

To find out more about Painted Life Productions please email aaronchild@hotmail.co.uk or call 07753 417473.

To find out how The Web Orchard can develop your online presence please call 01743 343411 or visit www.theweborchard.com

Award for Shropshire Web Company

A website developed by Shropshire based The Web Orchard has won second place in the May website of the month awards. The award given out by internet giant Heart Internet celebrates the best new websites.

The award went to the website for Shropshire business Pied Pipers Childrens Clothes for its new ecommerce website.

Robert Mathers from Heart Internet commented: ‘Pied Piper Children’s Clothing is a fantastic site that really deserved its success in our May Website of the Month competition. The site has a consistent look and feel across its design, imagery and messaging that clearly shows the caring and fun nature of the brand. The options to shop by both brand and category and the layout of the site’s product pages also help to make the customer journey much easier.’

Pied Piper are based in Milk Street in Shrewsbury and sell a range of Childrens Clothes from brands including Joules, Sarah Louise, Mayoral, Hatley, Lego, Petit Bateau, Bobux, Franck & Fischer and Happy Horse.

The Web Orchard specialise in Drupal and Wordpress based Content Management Systems, find out more on their website or call 01743 343411 to see how they can help your online presence.

Green Guide Launched in Square

A website we've been building over the past couple of months had its official launch in the square last weekend. The website helps local residents by providing a directory of organisations and services that promote a green life style. 

Shrewsbury Friends of the Earth used the Square to promote the new guide by demoing the site to visitors and shoppers.

Judy Coleridge, the editor, says ‘We’ve had some Lottery funding, and with lots of informative volunteers, we’ve put together, with the help of The Web Orchard,  a comprehensive guide of organisations and companies. Some are local and some are further afield, but all of them can help us in Shrewsbury to become greener in the way we live. We can also get inspiration from what others are doing, locally and nationally."

Visit the Shrewsbury Green Guide website. 

Brain Training Session

Online gaming is all very well, and hours can certainly pass by playing versions of Bejewelled or Angry Birds, but sometimes you want to give your brain more of a workout. Keeping the grey matter in top condition means treating it like any other muscle - training it regularly! A lot of our entertainment these days is in the form of passively staring at a screen, whether that’s your TV, tablet or a cinema screen, which is why online games like Scrabble, Words With Friends and Brain Training games have never lost their popularity.

We used to be stuck with Microsoft’s Mah Jong and the rather simplistic games of Patience that are available by default on Windows, but these days we have countless options to give our brain a bit of a workout.

Games, apps and websites that claim to help you increase concentration, verbal reasoning skills and mental dexterity are huge business these days. According to Lumosity, a company that ha devised many brain training games and exercises for the internet, just a few minutes of these games every day can make you ‘smarter, sharper and brighter’.

Developers including Nintendo, Cognifit and Jungle Memory have come up with a huge range of different puzzle apps and games over the last few years to fulfil the need customers have to sharpen their mental skills - but still have fun. Lumosity’s mobile app is downloaded around 50,000 times every single day and it has made more than £16 million.

In America, brain training games are even used in schools and all of this despite there being no scientific proof that brain training has any particular effect on your intelligence at all. But it certainly can be fun and it’s clear that these apps and games appeal to millions and millions of people.

We’ve had a think about some apps and online games that could keep you on your toes if you fancy giving your brain a workout and gathered a few choice ones here. See what you think - they’re not all based on Mensa style spatial awareness tests, we’ve actually found some that offer some fun and will definitely get your brain working.

As described above, Lumosity promises to improve your brain health and performance by enhancing your memory and attention using an online personalised ‘training’ programme. You log in and create a profile and then track your brain performance and improvement.

Memory Trainer app by Urbian
This Android app is designed to improve your memory by working on your spatial and working memory, as well as your concentration skills and is highly rated by users. Its games are designed to be a fun way of working out the brain.

Online casinos
It’s another great way to give your brain a workout, while enjoying the kinds of games you like to play. Online casinos allow you to play everything from Texas Hold ‘Em to Roulette, all the while making sure you learn how to improve. There is nothing like a game of poker for a financial reward to sharpen your mental skills, after all! Online gaming sites such as Intertops Online Slots are a great way to train your brain whilst also having some fun.

Words With Friends Facebook app
What’s better to give your brain a mental shake up then a good old-fashioned game of scrabble? WWF lets you play online through Facebook and on your phone, and means you can play against your friends or random partners from anywhere. It’s based on traditional scrabble and means you are constantly working out ways to beat your friends and get those words in the right places to score maximum points. It’s a game of skill - not luck.


One Year of Love Shrewsbury

One year ago today the Love Shrewsbury website was revealed after months of hard work and development. The aim was simple, to portray all the towns positive offerings, from community stories, business success, local events to towns people who wanted a voice.

The companies behind the project met when Michael Tinkler commissioned The Web Orchard to build the website for Severn Magazine. With over a decade of experience in Blogging The Web Orchard knew how to make online publishing work, partnering with Severn Magazines’ editorial experience seemed an obvious match. 

Love Shrewsbury's development was an interesting process, the county has well established media outlets and we wanted something bold and unique to stand out. We chose a vibrant and energetic colour scheme and based the logo on the towns popular Darwin monument.

The result was a resounding success and went way beyond our expectations. Over the coming months Love Shrewsbury quickly became the most visited site dedicated to Shrewsbury.

Key to the sites initial growth was the work that was put into growing social media channels. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to be able to read our content hence our Facebook, Twitter, RSS and weekly newsletter have been incredibly popular. Features such as our trending page allow users to see whats currently popular with the sites visitors.

Another big success has been our integrated image galleries, coverage of the Shrewsbury Flower Show, Minsterley Show, Fields Forever Festival, Street Festival and Shrewsbury Prison Tour have been some of the most popular articles.

For all the success we’ve had in the past year the one day that stands out the most has been 1st April when we reported that Shrewsbury was to get an Airport. The story went viral around the town and it was a key moment where we won over many casual readers to become regulars.

We’re looking forward to the next 12 months and have some great articles, competitions and bloggers lined up.

The Web Orchard

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