written by john lewis

Life Category Archive

Honestly, it is

Girl: Hey, where is the Southern Cross?

Boy 1: On Abel Smith street

Girl: No…

Boy 1: Oh, maybe Wigan then?

Girl: No, no…

Boy 2: Yes it is! Abel Smith!

Girl: No, the Southern Cross. Y’know… the stars…

Boy 1: Oh, it’s that one up there. *points*

 - New Years Eve, Mt Vic

Posted in: Overheard in Welly

Channeling TUANZ

tuanz1.gif The TUANZ Business Internet Awards are on tonight and I have the pleasure (?) of seeing two sites I’ve worked on reach finalist stage.

The DoC site is a finalist in the Information Architecture category and Ponoko (with Origin) are finalists in the User Generated Content category.

Poor old Sal (who, funnily enough, also worked on DoC) had an unmovable appointment with our public health care system yesterday. So it was up to Jase and myself to try and convince the 5 judges we are the generalissimos of the user-generated content generation. We’ll know later tonight if we were successful… wish me luck.

Update: We didn’t win our category but we did pick up the Craft Award!


Posted in: Design, Presentations, Web, Work

So, so true


Found at

If you need a spiffy Ajax loader, like this… ajax-loader.gif …then it’s a very handy site.

Posted in: Design, Web

Take off


Neat idea, beautifully shot. Can you spot Air NZ’s koru?

Posted in: Design, Images

The pesky nature of expectations

For the first half of this year when I was still at Intergen one of the major projects I was working on was ActionThis. It was a load of fun and I learnt a tonne from working on it. Indeed, the most popular post on my blog at the time of writing is the post where I introduced ActionThis for the first time.

I visited the website today and got excited to see the site had changed – including this groovy looking button on the right of the homepage above the fold:


Cool! It’s a free trial and I can sign up now. I clicked on the link and was led to:


Hang on, you said I could sign up now. You didn’t say I’d have to wait for a few weeks!

People are ruthlessly brutal with their expectations these days and you really only get one chance (if you’re even that lucky) to make the impression you want. Any mistake you make, and remember this is purely in the eyes of your potential users, will be paid for.

You can’t really afford to do anything expect put your best foot forward… and then do better.

Posted in: Design, Web

I’ve been Schmap’d

A couple of my photos on Flickr have been picked up by the online travel guide, Schmap. I feel famous already…

One at the Imperial War Museum in London. And the other of the Beehive here in Wellington.

I guess that makes me a published photographer… right Rowan?

Posted in: Images, Wellington

Save our sports shed (or f*** the Hilton)

One of things I really love about living in Wellington is the indoor sports centre on the waterfront. Two things are truly great about the sports centre; the building itself is really accessible and the network of organisers, players, referees, etc, is actually quite an organised network of people.

It will be a big loss to city workers if we lose the indoor sports facilities with the general redevelopment and focus on Wellington’s waterfront. If you care about it, you have until 5pm, Friday the 10th of August to let the Council know your views.

Here is my submission below, do feel free to plagiarise from it if you need! WellUrban has a great article on this as well.

There are many reasons that make Wellington a great place to live and work. A lot of the factors that created this environment we enjoy, funnily enough, are not the result of careful planning or human action.

Thanks to our geography we have numerous fault lines and gorgeous scenery, but also narrow corridors of population and a compact city centre. This means we enjoy the best public transport as well as the most walkable and vibrant CBD in New Zealand.

Wellington’s indoor sports centre is really a continuation of this story. Thanks to our densely packed city, we have a centrally located facility the use of which would be the envy of cities the world over. It’s location on the waterfront so close to our CBD means it is accessible to a huge percentage of our CBD workers.

The eco-system that surrounds the sports centre is organised and holds huge intangible benefits to the people who compete there as well as the workplaces and teams they come together from.

This eco-system could be sustained by the use of the ground floor of Site 10 for an indoor sports stadium, an ideal location that would be just as convenient to inner city workers as the current site. The benefits for a society that is steadily becoming fatter, disconnected and less healthy really shouldn’t be understated.

If the sports centre were to go it would be a loss to workers and the sports people of Wellington, but it will also be a loss to our city’s teams and workplaces. Wellington’s indoor sports is a major asset for us and we should work to ensure it survives.

Remember you have until 5pm tomorrow!

Posted in: Life, Wellington

Gadgets, Games, and Geeks

From the “Skinny twisted my arm and made me do it” department, here’s a quick plug for Unlimited Potential’s Gadgets, Games, and Geeks event on tonight. It should be great fun and there are a stack of interesting speakers and exhibitionists exhibitors. I’m most looking forward to the Apple stand – especially if they’ve got the new iMac on display.

What: Gadgets, Games, and Geeks
When: 4.30pm today (August 8th)
Where: Renouf Foyer, first floor of the Michael Fowler Centre
How much: FREE
Register here

Posted in: Wellington

Kind of puts it in perspective doesn’t it

A person who drives 10 miles to buy a lottery ticket is 3 times more likely to be killed in a car accident while driving to buy the ticket… than… he is to win the jackpot.

41 Weird Money Facts You’ve Never Heard About

Posted in: Life

Social commentary for the week

$92,000 per prisoner per year
That title appeared outside most corner stores this morning with the Dom Post running an article on the soaring cost of prisoner upkeep. This shows perfectly, to me, one of the fundamental problems with our justice system and our thinking on justice. We never focus on victims of crime (unless it will sell newspapers), we only focus on the offenders.

How much money do we spend each year on victims of crime? I would love to see some figures… my guess is that it’s less than 1% of that total. If that.

For your reading: Restorative Justice

Maori leaders standing up
At the risk of offending every single New Zealander, I’m extremely heartened to see Maori community leaders stand up and say recent stories of horrific child abuse in Rotorua are a “national scandal”. It is. We have to stop feeling sick when reading stories like that of Lillybing or Nia Glassie and get off our collective proverbial and take responsibility. All we seem to be able to do is debate Section 59

Our nation’s child abuse record is shocking and is one of many factors that indicate we’re losing our first-world status. What are we going to do about it?

These two stories are probably more closely connected than we think.

- JohnL (born: Rotorua)

Posted in: Life, Rants

Kiwisaver, a quick poll

ks-kiwisaver-logo.gifHow many of you have signed up for Kiwisaver? If yes and you’re willing to divulge, what contribution rate did you opt for and which fund provider did you choose?

If no, why not?

Posted in: Life

Mythbusting above the fold

I wish I had this article on blasting the myth of the fold earlier. I think it’ll be useful to anyone working in services and gets that common request from clients to cram all the “important” stuff on the page above the fold.

The next great frontier in web page design has to be bottom of the page. You’ve done your job and the user scrolled all the way to the bottom of the page because they were so engaged with your content. Now what? Is a footer really all we can offer them?
- Milissa Tarquini on Blasting the Myth of the Fold

Now I just need a similar article for why you don’t want a liquid design for your website. (No, its not wasted space, it’s called design.)

Posted in: Design, Rants, Web, Work