Wednesday, March 3, 2010
  Working remotely using Windows Live (and Skype)!

Much of the work we do requires people being able to work remotely, communicate and collaborate on ideas.

Working remotely has always been a pretty messy affair.

In our work with i-board, and educational software company, we’re constantly bouncing files back and forth, commenting on bugs, suggesting ideas and going live with versions.  The team, at the time, was around four people, and it’s now around nine or ten. 

Back when it was just four of us, I was appointed “librarian” to simply try and version control all the games and activities we have (which is more than 400 activities).  This is going back two or three years now.

Back then, the only really neat online service was Google Documents, which was great for sharing to-do lists and lists of games, and organising schedules, but that was about it.  So, I set up an FTP folder on a server and began organising the library.  But FTP isn’t the most attractive solution. For example, it’s not great at having a “history” – so nobody’s aware of what was uploaded when, and the feedback remained in a back-and-forth bounce of emails.

Anyway, there’s now a more attractive solution.  We’ve started using Windows Live Groups as a way to work, and it’s been great.  Here’s how we’ve been using the service so far.

Windows Live ID

Everybody has their own Windows Live ID which can either be a Hotmail/Live email address, or thankfully, you can use your own address (either by simply using your own address, or using their custom domains service).  I say, thankfully, because there are still a bunch of online services that force you into using their email services (I’m looking at you Yahoo/Flickr, and you Google Buzz) which is crazy – who wants to have a different email account for each online service?

Windows Live Groups

Probably the most under-rated service for me, Windows Live Groups was such a success for me on a project that I’ve been working on (with three colleagues in Wales, one in France, and another in China), that I adopted the system for my i-board work, and for our app work (A separate group for each team).

Here’s the clever parts:

comments SkyDrive is the online file store integrated into Windows Live Groups.  It’s smart in a few ways…  Firstly, it maintains a version feed on the What’s New Feed so you can have multiple versions and always know which is the latest file.  Secondly, it allows the “uploader” to write a title and description (useful when the filename isn’t entirely descriptive, and you can describe the changes in the latest version).  Thirdly, it allows other group members to comment on each file.  It’s great!  A fantastic way to list bugs and offer suggestions.  There’s a couple of other useful features in there, including a way to download the contents of the folder as a zip – handy when you’ve got 500 sound files in one folder to use as a resource.

excel Windows Live Docs is a new service, and therefore not everybody has it yet, but it integrates into the Group and also into the Office 2010 beta allowing you to save Office Documents straight to the group.  It’s as good as Google’s popular documents service (and is far more compatible with Office than Google’s downloadable versions).  It’s not tremendously better than Google Docs, but it is “as good”, and again it adds to the “What’s New Feed” so you can see what’s been added/removed (and you can have more than one user working on a document at any one time).

whatsnew The What’s New Feed is fantastic.  Being able to see what team members are uploading what, and where to is valuable. And it provides a link straight to that file.  It’s insanely good.



For me, my preference on conferencing is Windows Live Messenger, simply because of it’s integration into the other Windows Live services (for example, I can see new documents being uploaded in real time on the “What’s New” panel and it lets me communicate with my Windows Live Group in real time).

The downside is that the Mac client is still pretty appalling and doesn’t feature nearly as many features as the Windows version (for example, video conferencing is not available).  Hopefully there’ll be a Mac refresh at some point, with groups included.

So, for now, Skype’s still the main way to video conference, at least between myself and Arivind Abraham, who I work with considerably.  However, between other PC users, being able to set up a group, and have that integrated into an IM client as well as a web-based file share, is more valuable than I realised.


So, that’s a little bit about how we manage working remotely.  For us, it’s the most attractive solution.  Sure, Google’s Wave is interesting, but it’s more style over substance and the “What’s New” feed on Windows Live Groups accomplishes much of what we need, with less confusion.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009
  TG Woodware’s Christmas Message

We turned over a quick project early last week for TG Woodware.

Following on from the demonstration videos and Kitchen Factory video, we produced a Christmas Message on their behalf, with some animated tea cosies.

The back story, incidentally, is that T&G have a range of Farmyard Animal tea cosies.  The Cow tea cosy is being discontinued and redesigned as people think it’s actually a monkey…

We recorded this “Creature Comforts” style.  A few of the lines were scripted, the rest of them were made by basically having ordinary people talking in their normal voices answering questions that I asked them about their lives.  The result is quite funny, and I’m hoping we can make some more next year.

It’s a nice little Christmas message!  And a quick, fun project.

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Friday, December 11, 2009
  Chaos Created unveils video channel for T&G Woodware


Chaos Created is pleased to announce the roll-out of a YouTube video channel for Portishead-based company, T&G Woodware.

Filming on a project for T&G Woodware T&G Woodware, a specialist in the housewares industry, recently relaunched its web site at and asked Chaos Created to develop content for a video channel.

The channel, which is now live on YouTube, features mostly product demonstration videos for T&G’s range of products, including chopping boards, cork, CrushGrind Mills and more.   We filmed these last month and featured Patrick Gardner, founder of T&G Woodware, and Jenny Handley, head of marketing.

We’re hoping to bring more videos to the channel next year.

T&G also asked us to produce a couple of “fun” videos too.  We’ll be launching the second of these next week, but the first one is live today.

We asked chef, Grendel Bessell, to knock up a three course meal, to rhythm in a video called Kitchen Factory.  We filmed this down at Rookery Manor last month.

The video is embedded below.

We hope you enjoy.

tgYouTube The rest of the videos can be found on T&G’s YouTube channel at or through the links on their web site at

About T&G Woodware

T&G Woodware was formed in 1975 by Patrick Gardner as a means to provide cash while operating as a Sales Agent in the Housewares Industry, this was to pay day to day expenses as some of the companies represented could take 4 months credit on the due commission.

Patrick spotted a big gap in the market for quality woodware products which we were able to fill. Reliability and imagination paid dividends with many firsts in the industry including care and protection for chopping boards, lifetime guarantee for pepper and salt mills. T&G were also responsible for renaming “rubberwood”, the popular wood for furniture and kitchenware as “Hevea” a shortened version of the latin name hevea braziliensis.

T&G prides itself on well designed, quality products that will stand the test of time. How about a chopping board as an heirloom or a T&G CrushGrind® peppermill.

T&G offers over 650 products within its portfolio with a variety of materials FSC beech, hevea, acacia, ceramic, marble, cork, bamboo and of course the successful CrushGrind® Salt and Pepper Mills.

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Monday, November 9, 2009
  Chaos Created Releases Death Clock App for Windows Phones

FileVendor Our first mobile app has been released.

The Death Clock for Windows Phones is a fun new application.  Simply answer a series of questions and discover how you can cheat death.   It’s a great app for passing around to your friends.

The app is available on the Windows Phone Marketplace on all Windows Mobile 6.5 devices (and coming soon for 6.0 and 6.1 phones) for the price of £1.69 ($1.99).

For more details, check out the Death Clock product page.

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  Chaos Created unveils Fresh New Look

We’re in the middle of a bit of a redesign here at Chaos Created.

We’ve been super-busy over the past few months, as we’ve finished work on two feature films (due for release in early 2010), and we’ve been focussing on app development for mobile devices, as well as working on some fantastic new web-based projects.

So we’ve given the site a fresh lick of paint and we’re in the middle of reorganising our content too.  Apologies if there’s a bit of broken content, that should be sorted within the next few days.

We’re focussing on making the site a lot cleaner and making the content far easier to find.  We’re also adding a focus on our app development…  We’ve unveiled out first Windows Phone application this week, the Death Clock, and we’ll have more to announce shortly!

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Chaos Created based in Portishead, Bristol, offers web site design servces, search engine optimisation, mobile app development, film production and editing services and more.

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