Matt Andrews


Showing all articles published

Five things I've learned being on an innovation team blog • 23 Mar 2017

For just under two years now I've been a "Digital Guerrilla", working as part of a team of six in Birmingham, created by the BBC to "pilot and prototype new storytelling ideas", and help the broadcaster to "engage with its audiences and to deliver unforgettable... keep reading

Debunking Private Eye's "gobsmacking" gender/race accusations blog • 09 Oct 2016

There's a photo doing the rounds on Twitter of an extract from the current edition of Private Eye magazine. The text concerns the recent Forward prize for poetry, and the chaps from the Eye have decided that the gender/racial demographics of the Forward prize panel... keep reading

A resolution on communication blog • 08 Mar 2016

Talking is hard. So's writing. Self-expression is sometimes crushingly futile when we try to reduce the mad, beautiful complexity of the human mind into the crude box we call language. Even with the best will in the world we can still mess up, "misspeak", communicate... keep reading

My Atom setup blog • 20 Dec 2015

I recently decided to switch my main text editor for coding from Sublime Text to Atom by Github (mostly because my old work license expired when I changed jobs, but also because I liked Atom's open-source nature). In the six months I've spent with it,... keep reading

Learnings so far after leaving my old job blog • 10 Sep 2015

It's been three months, give or take a few days, since I left the Guardian—and London—to move to the BBC (I know, how imaginative...) in Birmingham. It's flown by. Tomorrow I'm off for a visit to the capital where I'll be seeing some former colleagues... keep reading

Past, present and future blog • 05 Jun 2015

By the time I press “Publish” on this entry, my employment at the Guardian will be over after just shy of five years working as a developer there. I’m also days away from leaving London, the city I moved to in order to work at... keep reading

Guardian Hack Day February 2015

The Guardian • 27 Feb 2015

It’s that time again – the Guardian’s Digital Development team is having its quarterly Hack Day. Follow along to see... keep reading

An apology blog • 18 Feb 2015

On Monday night I posted a ranty tweet which I followed up on Tuesday. In essence, I was registering my surprise that a digital journalist at an internal event admitted they didn't know what "CMS" stood for. There were a couple of reactions to the... keep reading

Humans and algorithms blog • 05 Feb 2015

Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, has made headlines this week for his admission that "we suck at dealing with abuse and trolls" as part of an internal memo. While Twitter is unclear about how they currently moderate the platform, it seems that much of the... keep reading

MozFest 2014: creative chaos – in the best possible way

The Guardian • 31 Oct 2014

I think the moment I first realised this tech event would be different was when I saw a pile of... keep reading

Book review: JavaScript & jQuery (by Jon Duckett) blog • 01 Oct 2014

I was excited to sit down and read the newly-published JavaScript & jQuery by Jon Duckett, produced by the team behind the hugely well-received HTML & CSS book. It's a large and beautifully-designed tome aimed at newbie developers with familiarity with HTML/CSS but no experience with programming... keep reading

#dareconf 2014 review: people skills for digital workers

The Guardian • 30 Sep 2014

The tech scene is awash with conferences: it seems every other day there’s a new clique of enthusiastic men (and,... keep reading

London, I love you, but you're bringing me down blog • 12 Sep 2014

I turned 28 this week and have begun to find that my life and those of my peers seems to have come to a fork in the road. The ones who live in the general area I'm calling "not London" have taken one fork in the... keep reading

How animated gif selfies fixed our team's morale blog • 15 Aug 2014

Lately I've been thinking a lot about software team morale. I've switched teams a couple of times so far this year at work and have had a fairly different experience on each one. Some were large (10+ people), some small (3 people, one on a... keep reading

Guardian Hack Day July 2014

The Guardian • 15 Jul 2014

The Guardian’s Digital Development teams are out of the office and spending two days trying new ideas, starting things, breaking... keep reading

In defence of reddit blog • 17 Jun 2014

I saw a tweet the other day from Jeremy Keith which piqued my interest: You can see my reply below, which went unanswered. Alexis Ohanian himself, though, co-founder of Reddit, did respond to point out the breadth of the site: This must've been... keep reading

How can Mozilla turn a blind eye to its CEO's support of Prop 8?

The Guardian • 27 Mar 2014

Do you agree with everything your boss believes? Is this a requirement for working under them? The challenge issued this... keep reading

Why do we think developers are special? blog • 11 Mar 2014

I teach a Guardian Masterclass as part of their "Digital Journalism Bootcamp" course. Specifically, my part of the month-long class is a 90 minute workshop aimed at journalists, outlining how developers work, what they do, and how they use process to organise work (there's an... keep reading

Lessons learned self-publishing for Kindle and print simultaneously blog • 27 Jan 2014

It was one of those fateful moments where you catch yourself thinking "how difficult could it be?". It's been ten years (almost eleven now) since I started Scene Point Blank, the online music zine which came to define my late teens and the eventual career... keep reading

Guardian Hack Day January 2014

The Guardian • 17 Jan 2014

The Guardian’s Digital Development teams are out of the office and spending two days trying new ideas, starting things, breaking... keep reading

Dennis Rodman is 'having fun' in North Korea at the expense of human rights

The Guardian • 20 Dec 2013

In the history of unlikely friendships, few perhaps have had the freedom of a nation underpinning them. The apparently burgeoning... keep reading

Tech half-life: it's okay to be wrong blog • 08 Dec 2013

Note: this blog entry is taken from the first print issue of the experimental "algorithmic newspaper", The Long Good Read. You can find more about that project on the official site. A developer I work with has been at the company for a decade. His... keep reading

Young Rewired State 2013: mentoring the tech stars of tomorrow

The Guardian • 15 Aug 2013

Young Rewired State (YRS) is a spin-off of the popular hack event group Rewired State, aimed at budding developers and... keep reading

The web: less engine, more gas blog • 16 Jul 2013

Twenty-four hours ago I posted a mildly ranty tweet (I know, I can't believe it either) about the current proliferation of techniques/tools for modern web development. Here's the tweet in question. This was a frustrated summary of something I've been feeling for quite a while... keep reading

Homebrew beer for busy people blog • 03 Jun 2013

After the example set by my friend Andy, a veritable homebrew beer connoisseur, I decided it was about time I took my liking for proper craft beer and real ale to a new level by attempting to make some of my own. Anything that was... keep reading

Google Glass – what is it good for? | Matt Andrews

The Guardian • 01 May 2013

I was tucking into a greasy burger a few weeks ago in Covent Garden's trendy MEATmarket when a crowd of... keep reading

Why journalism is like pro cycling blog • 19 Mar 2013

I'm a cycling geek. I love it: the romance of the road; the century of history; the epic duels; the famous climbs. It's a sport not without its scandals but still markedly different from the world of primadonna footballers with fans shelling out hundreds of... keep reading

Imagine journalism in ten years' time: notes from my talk blog • 08 Mar 2013

A few months ago I was approached by John Mair of the University of Northampton who'd attended my class at the Guardian's Digital Journalism masterclass. He asked me if I'd be up for speaking at a mini-conference for journalism students titled "Imagine journalism in ten years'... keep reading

Parisian vignettes blog • 10 Feb 2013

Here are some things I saw in Paris on a recent trip. I really enjoyed the weekend and found it a beautiful and fascinating place, and these are some of the moments which stood out to me as different or unexpected. Positive or negative, they'll... keep reading

What will the future make of us? blog • 06 Jan 2013

In moments of downtime I think about that Paul Graham post about frighteningly ambitious startup ideas; specifically the part  about generating ideas: One of my tricks for generating startup ideas is to imagine the ways in which we'll seem backward to future generations. And I'm pretty... keep reading

Diversity in tech: still an issue in 2013? blog • 03 Jan 2013

Note: My last blogpost was about my 2013 resolution: avoiding negativity, cynicism and spite. This entry might come across as negative criticism but my rationale here is to highlight what I think is an injustice, and look toward positive improvements that could fix this problem.... keep reading

A resolution: breaking a very British curse blog • 28 Dec 2012

I'm not usually the type for new year's resolutions: generally my attitude for self-improvement (when I can be bothered) is to just get on with it rather than wait around for arbitrary periods. At the end of 2011, though, I decided to make my first... keep reading

Responsive design at the Guardian: an introduction

The Guardian • 18 Oct 2012

The rise of "responsive design", as the technique was coined by Ethan Marcotte in his now-classic A List Apart article... keep reading

A £2-a-month levy on broadband could be the worst idea for journalism ever blog • 24 Sep 2012

Yesterday evening the Guardian (full disclosure: my employer) published an article by the eminent investigative journalist David Leigh, titled "A £2-a-month levy on broadband could save our newspapers". Leigh, a veteran report who worked (amongst other things) on the Wikileaks data and the Jonathan Aitken... keep reading

Menshn v2: reviewed blog • 17 Sep 2012

The dust has now settled on Menshn's recent relaunch, so therefore I'm revisiting the site after my initial write-up about it, written back in July. The headline feature of this new design is a mobile version, so along with my original criticisms, I'll also cover... keep reading

The internet: the world's first true meritocracy blog • 20 Aug 2012

Sometimes it makes me sad that I'll never be the King of England. It's not that I harbour secret desires to dress in ermine, or really feel like my morning routine needs a butler awaiting me with a pre-foamed toothbrush. It's more simple: the fact that... keep reading

Discovery Week Diary: Day Two

The Guardian • 18 Jul 2012

Today is the third full day of our Discovery Week project, so without further ado, here's a summary of the... keep reading

Discovery Week Diary: Day One

The Guardian • 16 Jul 2012

As Monday mornings go, starting work today to the background of multiple sugary snacks, inspirational leadership speeches and gatherings of... keep reading

Talking on Topic: I try Menshn so you don't have to blog • 12 Jul 2012

Menshn is a bold idea. Aiming to replace Twitter is no small thing (I say "replace" because the site doesn't augment existing use of Twitter but offers a new service entirely) and it's a brave move to do. It perhaps goes without saying that the... keep reading

The internet isn't killing journalism - journalists are. blog • 24 Jun 2012

Earlier this week I read a good article in More Intelligent Life titled "Can the Guardian survive?". As a Guardian employee I'm fairly interested in its extended longevity and I read the piece with interest. A single paragraph stood out to me above all of others,... keep reading

Victims of our own design: digital consumption is killing creativity blog • 18 Jun 2012

Note: this blog entry is taken from the third issue of my print zine, "I'm a Pretender". If you'd like to see the original article in print, along with dozens of other pieces of my writing, you can order the zine for free online here, or... keep reading

Applying for a web developer role: CV dos and don'ts blog • 16 Jun 2012

(Editor's note: this piece represents my personal opinions and not those of my employer. Now let's begin) In my day job I frequently look over CVs and applications to join my team as a front-end web developer. Of the batch that we receive each time... keep reading

The medium is not the message blog • 30 May 2012

Note: this blog entry is taken from the third issue of my print zine, "I'm a Pretender". If you'd like to see the original article in print, along with dozens of other pieces of my writing, you can order the zine for free online here, or... keep reading

Policing love: Anti-gay marriage campaign nonsense blog • 06 May 2012

Note: this blog entry is taken from the third issue of my print zine, "I'm a Pretender". I'm publishing it here online because of the recent debate over the British Government's plans to introduce gay marriage. If you'd like to see the original article in... keep reading

Twitter's #ukopenhouse London - my notes blog • 25 Apr 2012

Last night I attended the first of Twitter UK's Open House sessions on their engineering work. It was a free event at LBi's London office and sold out very quickly. I managed to get tickets and went along, with little idea of what to expect,... keep reading

Web cookies & the E-Privacy Directive: alternatives and workarounds blog • 24 Apr 2012

It hardly sounds like the most stimulating of legal documents. As a title, Directive 2002/58 on Privacy and Electronic Communications lacks the punch of, say, SOPA or PIPA, although its potential impact on European society could be measurably similar. Having gained the dubious privilege of... keep reading

London Mayoral Candidates: their manifestos, critiqued blog • 23 Apr 2012

I've been taking quite an interest in next month's upcoming London Mayoral Elections. I threw together a webapp a couple of weekends ago to see how people in a specific London postcode area voted. Today I got home to find an election leaflet through my... keep reading

How I finally understood the value of "Social" blog • 21 Mar 2012

I'm something of a sceptic of social media at times, as this blog has previously documented. Having built much of the Guardian's Facebook app, I've experienced much of the social giant's promotional guff surrounding how making your products 'social' can impact their success hugely. While... keep reading

One click to achieve absolute apathy blog • 12 Mar 2012

Anyone following the news of late will be familiar with the UK governments' efforts to pass a bill reforming the NHS, apparently in order to save it, but in the minds of sceptics and apparently most health professionals, it's more likely to destroy it. David... keep reading

The love affair of the tech nerd with themselves blog • 23 Jan 2012

We in the technology world are a self-centred bunch of people. I recently attended a training course where we were asked to complete Myers-Briggs tests to figure out our personality types. I'd never previously completed one and was initially sceptical, but after receiving my result I... keep reading

Why Private Eye's scepticism of "new media" is as unreliable as Glenda Slagg blog • 04 Jan 2012

[caption id="attachment_96" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Private Eye the First 50 Years: An A-Z"][/caption] I've been an avid reader of Private Eye since I was a teenager and my dad brought a dog-eared copy home with him after a trip to London. From that point on it... keep reading

Music Hack Day London 2011: a developer's view

The Guardian • 07 Dec 2011

While I wouldn't quite describe myself as a hack day veteran, I've certainly attended a few in my time, mostly... keep reading

My favourite film: The Goonies

The Guardian • 05 Dec 2011

Picture, if you will, a Midlands household circa 1990. Cable TV was still a distant dream and cinema trips were... keep reading


The Guardian • 15 Nov 2011

Bright and early on 4 of November, two members of the Guardian's Digital Development team headed up to Edinburgh to... keep reading

The class struggle, revolution and Alan Sugar blog • 03 Nov 2011

[caption id="attachment_86" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Lewis Roman, Young Apprentice candidate"][/caption] “Are you a glory hunter, Lewis?”, Karen Brady asks a teenage scouser. “Yeah”, he quickly assures her, straightfaced. They sit across from one another in Lord Alan Sugar's televised boardroom, as Lewis takes responsibility for his... keep reading

When celebrities Tweet: a Ricky Gervais special blog • 16 Oct 2011

Ricky Gervais rejoined Twitter in the last few weeks, having sworn it off almost two years ago with the verbal shrug of "I don't see the point". Now he's back, gaining followers, and tweeting with the frequency of an out-of-work student. For me, it's a... keep reading

Facebook F8 2011: because everyone wants to know everything blog • 23 Sep 2011

  [caption id="attachment_74" align="aligncenter" width="570" caption="Mark Zuckerberg at F8 2011"][/caption] Last night I attended Facebook's annual F8 conference – their yearly chance to show off new features that will, in the words of Mark Zuckerberg, “change the world”. I'd already had some exposure to the... keep reading

The only thing mindless about the riots is the response blog • 16 Aug 2011

[caption id="attachment_69" align="alignright" width="428" caption="Boarded-up shop in Clapham High Street"][/caption] I'd just walked out of the cinema in Clapham, South London, on Saturday 6th August at around 11pm, having sat through Spielberg's Super 8 and found it pleasant enough. Idly checking my Twitter feed as... keep reading

The user experience of flathunting blog • 30 Jun 2011

As followers of my London blog will know, I've currently been in the process of moving flat. It's been a fairly lengthy effort and it's well-documented on the other blog. What this entry will cover is the mind-numbing frustration the websites of estate agents caused... keep reading

On student journalism and "digital first" blog • 19 Jun 2011

Since graduating from Leeds University I've followed the path of the student newspaper, Leeds Student, with keen interest - I spent almost two years of my time at Leeds working on the newspaper and owe my current career to the experience gained writing and designing... keep reading

How not to make me download your mobile app blog • 06 Jun 2011

Earlier today I was checking out app recommendations over at reddit's Android community. Someone suggested an app called Glympse, which allows users to share their location, Google Latitude-style, but falling back to SMS when the recipient doesn't use Glympse. Cool, I thought. I checked out... keep reading

Portal 2: Missed opportunities? blog • 16 May 2011

I'm a fairly big Valve nerd, having played even the slightly less good outings in their Black Mesa universe with vigour and enjoyment. It was essentially a foregone conclusion, then, that I'd be checking out the recently-released Portal 2 within a few weeks of its... keep reading

On deleting Facebook and being human again blog • 01 May 2011

The topic of deleting a Facebook account has been written about in depth in various other places, so it's with hesitation that I begin this entry about my own experiences with it. However, in a post-Social Network world, the site may have beefed up its... keep reading

The arrogance of Google and their quest to store everything blog • 11 Apr 2011

At the morning conference in the Guardian's offices last Wednesday we were visited by the Head of Google Europe, Philipp Schindler. He gave an interesting talk about Google's future plans and current achievements, and was asked some tricky questions from the assembled journalists including issues... keep reading

SXSW 2011: Music and hack days - where the girls aren't

The Guardian • 15 Mar 2011

A couple of notes to preface this entry: Firstly: I'm indebted to Jessica Hopper of Punk Planet, whose famous column... keep reading

SXSW 2011: How we made our interactive band tracker

The Guardian • 11 Mar 2011

Last year I attended my second Music Hack Day, a spirited event encouraging geeks who love beats to get together... keep reading

Why Microsoft will never regain developers' trust blog • 06 Mar 2011

In honour of the 10 year anniversary of Internet Explorer 6, Microsoft is promoting a new site they've called IE6 Countdown which lets them highlight the largest culprits still using the crippled software (step forward, China and South Korea) and suggest reasons for upgrading. As... keep reading

Reality TV: escapism from the flaws of, er, reality blog • 02 Feb 2011

In the past few days, British TV has graced our television sets with several distinctly working class-focused reality TV shows: celebrity chef Michel Roux's Service on BBC2, Channel 4's My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, and BBC4's Snog Marry Avoid?. Each one of these programmes featured... keep reading

Apple TV: ...and all that could have been blog • 23 Jan 2011

Towards the end of December last year I won a £500 Amazon voucher and decided to splash out on some TV/audio equipment. Part of that splurge included the newest model of the Apple TV. It's a little box of Apple's curved-edge magic, weighing barely as... keep reading

Broadcast media: dumbing down or catering for demand? blog • 19 Jan 2011

Recently, Britain's Radio 1 performed a kind of broadcasting experiment that got me thinking. They called it the 'daytime takeover' - essentially, their DJs with shows normally relegated to the graveyard shift were given the chance to take over on the primetime slots - breakfast... keep reading

Switching to Google-hosted jQuery

The Guardian • 16 Dec 2010

Like thousands of other sites, the Guardian uses the excellent jQuery framework to power our javascript. Previously, our jQuery build... keep reading

The (new) internet: the death of culture? blog • 28 Jul 2009

Could the digital revolution have exiled individual thought? MICHELLE IS BORED. Andy wants to go out tonight. Jessica is looking forward to seeing "a certain sum1, lol". This is your brain on Facebook. Or Twitter.  "RT @Tehran123: Change your location to Iran NOW to confuse... keep reading