Jon Ritman: from Artic to apps

Jon Ritman is one of the best-known programmers for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. With titles such as 3D Combat Zone, the Match Day series, Head over Heels and Batman under his belt, he has a formidable history of gaming development which in fact covers a variety of platforms.

Jon Ritman. Image by courtesy of Jon Ritman

We caught up with Jon to discuss the past, the present, and the future of gaming from his personal perspective.


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In conversation with... Leila Johnston and Professor David Trotter

LJ: I recently caught up with a former Cambridge University lecturer of mine, David Trotter. As well as being an extremely inspiring teacher, David is an expert on literature and cinema between the world wars, and has a particular interest in the social effects of communication technology.

Layers by Janet Ramsden, CC licence

It was fascinating chatting to David – we're looking at the same thing through different lenses and there's clearly so much to be gained, on both sides, from these kind of exchanges. Read on for the surprising origins of social media, what really happens when tech goes head-to-head with nature, and more.

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Into the gap

Recruiting and retaining the best creative talent is tough. Finding them at an early age, nurturing them into agency culture while avoiding dilution of their raw ability is tricky. When there is no such thing as a job for life any more and agency employees jump ship for more than just the salary, there's a lot for HR professionals to think about.

Niko Herzeg, Kidar Iyer. Photo by courtesy of GapJumpers

The problem is exasperated when "traditional" requirements are no longer as appropriate. Copywriters still need to have an excellent command of language and grammar, and designers still need to know the ins and outs of kerning. But, what about those in the middle? Where does the intake of creative technologists come from – the art department, or computer science... or somewhere else?

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The life and death of kernel blimp

The Pirate Bay is taking to the air.

Drone Fly by Sid Mosdell, CC licence

They have announced an intention to take their servers to the sky in drones, theoretically bypassing the risks inherent in land-based infrastructure. 

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More Morozov

The growing disconnect between Silicon Valley's reluctance to accept the social responsibility that comes with the ownership of today's digital public squares and the glowing public admiration these companies receive is one more reason to take a more critical stance and examine the cultural origins of our benevolent attitudes toward these corporate titans.

Evgeny Morozov, image by Fiesta della Scienza, CC licence


The quote is from an updated afterword from Evgeny Morozov's The Net Delusion, published today.

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Plants and politics

"Plant life of the Pacific world" is the latest exhibition from London-based, Portgual-raised artist Carlos Noronha Feio. The works are collages, which assemble plant and flower forms from images of nuclear explosions.

Carlos Noronha Feio. Image by courtesy of Carlos Noronha Feio

Most of the collages have been classified according to E.D. Merrill's book of the same name, published in 1945 for military use. Carlos talked to us about the exhibition, how it was produced, and some of its underlying themes.

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The value of ideas

The Atlantic's Megan Garber has conducted a heinous crime which is almost too unspeakable to mention. She has CRITICISED TED.

Idiot Condensation Piece by CJ Sorg, CC licence

In fact it's a well-constructed argument. Like many virtual services that we now take for granted, TED isn't a public service, it's a commercial enterprise, and should be treated as such.

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World's shortest ad

McCann Digital Israel has launched what it claims to be the world's shortest ad.

OCD clip - YouTube

As you can see from the above still (apologies that we've given the game away), it's a rather neat piece of thinking, as the client is the International Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Foundation.

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Ask Jon Ritman

Jon Ritman is the super-programmer behind many of the most well-known - and well-played - games on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. 

Match Day 2

Most notable for his work with Artic Software and, later, with Ocean, he is responsible for Combat Zone; the Match Day series; Batman, Head over Heels and many others. He was also Programmer of the Year at the 1988 Golden Joystick Awards. 

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Bus-Tops glitches out

Much like the mode of transport that the project is associated with, you wait for a while for some Bus-Tops news and it comes along all at once.


Following the recent announcement of its Open Processing competition winners, Alfie Dennen and the team recently held a mini-season of glitch art submissions.

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In conversation with... Terry O'Neill and friends

World-famous photographer Terry O'Neill has, for the first time, agreed to let his work be manipulated. Collaborating with London gallery Rook & Raven, the exhibition Terry O'Neill reworked brings contemporary artists together with O'Neill to remix and rework his most iconic photographs.

Terry O'Neill. Image provided by courtesy of Canoe

We invited Terry, the project's artists, and the show's curators to tell us their thoughts on the exhibition, and the significance of the remix in contemporary culture.


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Bus-Tops OpenProcessing winners

The Bus-Tops team have announced the winners of their competition, in conjuction with OpenProcessing, to select the 10 best works.


They're all rather nice - animated, bold, and in many cases, rather detailed and elaborate.

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Shift happens

Max Hattler is about to launch his first solo exhibition at Tenderpixel. He has had solo exhibitions around the world, but this is the first in his hometown of London.

Max Hattler. Photo by Akemi Kurosaka.

We chatted to Max just before the exhibition opened.

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Phenomenal People: celebrating women everywhere

Phenomenal People is a new site to support Women Of the World, an annual festival taking place this weekend in London. Here's what Rachel Coldicutt and Katy Beale of Caper, producers of the site, had to say about the campaign, and the festival it helps to promote.

Phenomenal People

The Phenomenal People website, part of the Women Of the World Festival 2012, is an amazing online resource of inspiring women throughout history to the present day. Our Tumblr site shares the incredible stories and achievements from political activists to religious figures, astronauts to opera singers, war reporters to nurses.

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SXSW adventures

During last year's SXSW, Anjali Ramachandran made a photojournal for us, detailing her experience of the super-event from a UK delegate's perspective.

Heather Taylor. Photo by courtesy of Heather Taylor

This year, we're delighted to be repeating the photojournal project again, with Heather Taylor.

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Getting into a Picle

Following their trend set by last year's Hollergram app, the lovely folks at Made by Many are launching Picle at SXSW.

Photo by courtesy of Made by Many / William Roissetter

Tim Malbon, on the agency's website, says that Picle "...preserves moments that matter to you by capturing an audio clip with a photograph. These moments - or Picles - can then be laced together to make stories and shared with the web."

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UK goes to SXSW

South by South West has become absolutely massive for creative industries.

Photo by courtesy of Anjali Ramachandran

If you're from the UK and going to SXSW, then we'd like you to tell us your story.

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Thomson and Craighead: net neutrality

The National Media Museum's Life Online gallery and exhibition space opens on 30/03/12. Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead have been talking about their work for the gallery, a "memorial to the passing of net neutrality".


Life Online


The work features a digitised visual of Tim Berners-Lee, which slowly, continually updates. As Ali says, "When he disintegrates, the Internet as we knew it, has disintegrated".

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Raspberry Pi goes on sale

It's here!

Raspberry Pi

The £22 700MHz ARM-and-Linux-on-a-board machine has been formally launched to UK consumers.

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Phoenix brands: Plessey

Marketing and social history is awash with well-known, well-loved brands that are now defunct. This is certainly the case in British engineering, with conglomerates such as Vickers, GEC, Ferranti, English Electric and Plessey woven into our collective history.

Michael LeGoff. Image provided by courtesy of Plessey Semiconductors

One of these brands has made a bold comeback. Plessey Semiconductors launched in 2010, producing high-technology components from two plants in the south west. We chatted with Group Marketing Manager Derek Rye about the rebirth of the Plessey brand.

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