.

Although I spend a lot of time on my computer, I've resisted having cybernetic implants installed.

  Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

I'm a self-unemployed interactive designer, Flash developer and owner of the website Neave.com.

I've been immersed in computers for as long as I can remember and have held a life-long fixation with the limitless creative capabilities the digital world has to offer.

  What do you do for inspiration?

I don't think too much. If you feel pressured to come up with new ideas, you won't.

You have to let go, to play about, to have some fun and explore the world outside of your computer, let your mind wander, and only then will you come across something that will inspire you.

  Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

I don't have any favourites, the novelty always wears off. But I do regularly visit BBC News, I use Google all the time (it's more of a tool than a destination), I have a hundreds of RSS feeds, but the best site of all is the vast, white emptiness of opportunity that is about:blank

  What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

Getting up early this morning, going for a jog and doing the washing up. There's nothing bigger than the little things.

  What software couldn't you live without?

I'm sure I could live without any software. Although I spend a lot of time on my computer, I've resisted having cybernetic implants installed. That said, I'd miss not having my old friend Flash around.

  What projects do you have in the pipeline?

I'm going to make a bubble-blowing machine that will allow you to blow at your computer and make bubbles on screen. I don't know why, I just thought it'd be a cool thing to do.

Then I want to make all sorts of mind-boggling improvements to my site Flash Earth when I find the time.

  Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?

I'd have to mention my old Manchester home at magneticNorth, and I've always admired Hi-ReS! and the amazing motion work produced by Psyop.

  What effect on traffic do your new designs have?

It tends to go like this. Launch... nothing, a little interest, steady little interest, BOOM! spike in traffic, site is featured everywhere, then a slow, steady decline back down to somewhere a little better than before the boom.

But I think that's more the nature of my work -- I don't try to create community sites that grow and grow, but sites that have sustained entertainment for new visitors.

  Who is your target audience?

Anyone with a mind. And trust me, that doesn't mean everyone.

A lot of kids on the 'net seem to have had their brain neutered at birth, what with all their OMG Usux LOLWTF??LMAO! fatuous drivel. I'm sure they're all little darlings in the real world, though.

  What area of web design lacks the most?

This current infatuation with giving everything a "web 2.0" look. The gradient reflection is the new bevel.

What happened to a unique style, personality and making something stand out from the crowd?

It all looks the same nowadays. People need to learn to develop their own style instead of following in the wake of everyone else.

  What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?

It was Neave.com in 1999: Comic Sans font, animated GIFs, a page dedicated to kebabs and photos of my mates from school. Check the beauty out on archive.org

  Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?

I've contributed bits of code to Flash books in the past, but never a whole book myself.

Perhaps I will one day when I have something to say and I have a sufficiently over-inflated ego.

  What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?

My toughest project was my planetarium which required so much knowledge of three-dimensional mathematics that for a few weeks I felt like I was Einstein trying to solve the general theory of relativity with ActionScript.

I spent about two months making it overall, but the time went by so quickly I barely noticed. Good fun.

  Do you think Flash is here to stay?

That's a bit like asking if QuickTime is here to stay, or if JavaScript is here to stay. Of course it is. And if you've seen some of the stuff with Flex and on Adobe Labs lately you'll not be in any doubt that Flash has a healthy future.

  What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?

Design is inherently governed by your peers. You have to spend a lot of your design career pleasing other people, which is why I've chosen a more technical path than a design one.

Everyone's a critic, but with code, you're the boss. But if you're an exceptional designer, your talent will always shine through no matter how many qualifications you've got.

You can't teach talent or enthusiasm, but education will always give you that extra leg-up you may need.

  When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?

Being unique, being yourself and standing out from the crowd. Be inspired by other people's creations but don't make a carbon copy of them.

And stick to what you're good at. If you're honest in yourself and in your work, people will respect you for it.

  How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?

There are no rules. There are no short cuts. Don't be intimidated by other people's work and do the best you can.

I've been lucky that I've been around computers so long and have had a head start. The best thing is to get stuck in, create and learn as much stuff as you can and enjoy what you're doing.

I'm only in this business because I enjoy it. You've got to enjoy your work -- that's the most important advice. If I didn't enjoy it I wouldn't do it any more.

  What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?

A hefty travel guide book for South America -- I plan to go backpacking there with some friends in the new year!

  What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?

That question slightly worried me there for a moment. I deliberately don't wear labels/brands specifically for their own sake.

I couldn't care less what brand I wear so long as it fits nicely and looks good on me!

  Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Is it just me or are these questions becoming ever so slightly rude now?

I'm full of wisdom, whether I'm wise or not I don't know.

Turn the computer off and read something new.

Sit on a park bench and gawp aimlessly at the clouds above you.

Smile like an idiot.

Count your blessings.

Don't worry about the future.

Don't think too much.

Don't take life too seriously.

Don't pay attention to a word I say.

  It's been a privilege, thanks very much.

Thank you! Toodle pip.


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