Hughes Industries

A blog about the activities of Joel and Hughes Industries Ltd

Updates

Updates are hard to keep up with, I'm busy making stuff and living a life.

I'm constantly updating other digital things, usually on various commercial platforms.

Turning this site into some kind of sketchbook might make more sense. Puling in content from other resources, via (open) protocols, and collating/aggregating them here is a thought...

A Plan

Currently the vast majority (total) of Hughes Industries income comes from consulting on software projects. These projects have recently focused on the design and build of cloud based systems.

However, research and development efforts have been focused on the production and distribution of electronic media. Audio in particular. I'm interested in the creation and distribution of sound on the web.

In the coming weeks, an aim is to begin highlighting the results of this R&D work and to offer products and services related (but not limited) to audio and the web. This will include creating and distributing sounds, creating audio experiences in software and offering services that help others do the same.

Starting with the smallest possible unit, Hughes Industries will be giving away custom made sounds. Most of the posts here will include a wav file. Free to do with as you wish. There will be a spectrum of sounds (from field recorded crunch to synthesized donks) clean and simple for use in music, games, ring tones, whatever... As always: this is a working plan, it will change as it progresses.

To prove the point, here is another kick drum:

What Does Hughes Industries Do?

Hughes Industries does "information technology consultancy activities". Or, more specifically, makes (and helps others make) "electronic media and software".

The majority of consulting work takes the form of coaching, designing and building Internet based software systems. In most cases this is moving, or creating, applications that run "in the cloud". That's where the demand (and therefore: money) is.

So far, not very unusual or unique. Certainly not risky or unconventional.

A company needs income. This company uses the income (from the activities, above) to fund other projects. A core principal is to create/have "fun" and play. Some of the things that fit _my_ definition of "fun" are:
  • Rave Culture
  • Street/Skate Culture
  • Creativity with Web Technologies
An area of research that touches on these is digital audio. The last 3 years have included a lot of learning and research into creating sounds using various electronic tools and techniques.

That research and practice has come to a point where it can be used in some business experiments. Making things for others to interact with. Combining the social and communal aspects of "rave" using the web (with peer-to-peer tools like WebRTC and interactive sound in WebAudio). Whether this leads to specific consulting, building bespoke web-experiences and tools or products (learning materials or samples or instruments, or...) - is yet to be established.

Here's a heavy kick-drum (probaly best used in Drum'n'Bass), it's yours, you can have it:

The Business of Enjoyment

Hughes Industries Ltd is a business, a corporate entity, an artificial person.

I often took the primary goal of a company as the need to make a profit. If it's a person Hughes Industries will die if it doesn't make money. Money being a bit like food or oxygen.

Food and oxygen are essential to a human life but don't feel like the _whole_ point of it. The "point" of life seems to be subjective.

As the director of a company I can decide Hughes Industries' "point". I want it to stay alive and pay me a wage but more than that I want it to be fun. If Hughes Industries is "fun" then I'll have a good time being part of it. Others might too.

In regular employment I struggled to find an employer that really is "fun". A lot seems to depend on your definition. It's a subjective term but I also got the feeling that most of it was "enforced fun" and that you really have to lie to yourself a little bit about what you do for "fun".

I've worked with people who are genuinely hyped on their work, they are having fun. I wished that I was too. So Hughes Industries is a chance to create an environment/context and a definition for a specific flavour of fun.

It centres around some basic principles:

  • honesty;
  • minimalism;
  • steeze.

That's a working list, future posts aim to refine and expand on these ideas.

My (Professional?) History on the Web


It was summer, I'd done my degree, I was moving in with my (then) girlfriend (now wife) and needed a job. I got the Manchester Yellow Pages and found the section on "Web Design" (as I knew some HTML and Flash).

I got two interviews. One was a misunderstanding, they thought that I wanted to sell web hosting on the phone. The interviewer opened with a hypothetical cold call:

Me: hello, this is Joel, from Whatever Web
The Guy: Fuck off.
Me: stunned silence.

I didn't get the job.

The next interview was with Manchester.com. It was great, for the next few years (sometimes alone) I worked on the site: coding, writing articles, designing and occasionally going into the server room, underneath the streets of Manchester (in an old nuclear bunker). I loved it.


When I started it looked like this:



2004: The World Is On Fire (TWIOF)

I then started making web-sites for myself.



Code began to consume my thoughts and I dropped making music and skateboarding.

2009: Good Baad

At this point I was a "LAMP" developer. I made sites for all sorts of people and the start-up hype machine got to me. I wrote my own MVC framework and used it to build "Good Baad". (It did _ok_, even got a mentions on Tech Crunch and abduzeedo - I made something and showed it off).


I could/should try and revive it.



Shortly after this I got a taste for JavaScript. I began to dabble in other languages, I started learning programming languages _for fun_.

2011-2015: The JS Years (and Nokia)

I got a job at Nokia, working (mostly) with JavaScript (for making native mobile apps for Maemo/Meego, remember that?).

At this point I was really into JS and functional programming:


I was really into it. Then I wasn't. I didn't know what to do next. I tried management and started down the automation, CI/CD and DevOps path.

2015-now: Anything Goes (Contracting/Consulting)

I went contracting and consulting. I wanted to go to as many different organisations as I could and use as many tools as were available.

- NodeJS
- Swift and Objective C on IOS
- C# on Windows
- Unikernels and Containers
- Assembly, C, Go and Swift
- DevOps, IOT, AWS, GCP, Azure and K8s

Key learnings: most problems are not solved with "tech"; "tech" isn't much fun if the problem it's pointed at isn't well defined; "problems" are not the only reason for making things.

Meanwhile, I rediscovered skateboarding and audio/Drum and Bass

What next? I'm thinking I'd like to get back to the Web. Looking at those old sites. There was a rough charm that I miss. I'd like to focus on the aesthetics of the web, the properties that run through the tools, techniques and end results. I'd like to make some things. I'd like those things to reflect my tastes and aesthetics, and encourage others to do the same.

I'll try to elaborate in the coming posts.