With Coull's expansion into the US via the purchase of a great local agency, I've had the good fortune to hop over to Santa Barbara a fair few times. I never really find that TripAdvisor does that good a job of highlighting the best spots, so here's my advice if you fancy visiting.
Some of the Best nights I've had out there have been at the James Joyce on state street, great selection of whisky, live music and general atmosphere. Elsie's is well worth a visit, a locals favourite, great drinks selection, a veranda out back, and stays open late.
The local whites are very drinkable, although they are deservedly proud of their Syrah. The beer on the other hand can't be faulted. The Firestone brewery makes easily the best ales I've had anywhere in the states, and if this is your thing then a visit to Union Ale is definitely worth your time. The service is excellent, and the beverages even more so.
California state law prohibits selling alcohol after 2am, and most bars shut around 12. Of the few clubs, the latest closing and worth your time is probably the Savoy. To get into most bars you will need to take your passport out with you no matter your age.
Places to avoid: Any touristy "British pubs" - just as bad as American themed bars are in Britain, except with more Stella Artois and worse than a wetherspoons.
Santa Barbara has some great restaurants, being a sucker for a great steak, then no visit is complete without a trip to Holdrens. The wine list is fantastic, aim for a well aged local Syrah and you won't be disappointed.
I L.O.V.E the local beaches. During the day my Somerset grown fair skin can only take so much of the gorgeous weather, but going for a run along the beach at dawn or dusk is one of my all time favourite things. A short drive down the coast to Refugio Beach will find you a sublimely gorgeous authentic beach, great for camping and spotting the local wildlife like diving birds, dolphins, sealions - all the hits.
It's worth staying in a hotel on the sea front even though they are only 3-4 star. The sun bursting through your blinds inviting you to sit out on the balcony overlooking the sea, morning coffee in hand is worth 5 stars on its own. The harbor view inn next to the pier is perfect for this.
The French press on state street is easily the best, it refreshingly concentrates on the coffee more than the pretension.
I was pleasantly surprised how good the local art galleries were. The local Art Museum is the star of the show, and has some excellent examples of modernism which kept me enthralled for a good hour alone.
So about a week ago i was up far too early trying to shake off a particularly nasty red wine hangover, and feeling pretty sorry for myself. Nothing seemed to be helping so i plugged to term 'Cats' into some snazzy data feed creation code i'd been working on as a proof of concept for Coull. Thousands of funny gifs of Cats came back, putting a pretty big dent in the hangover.
A few Getter & Setter methods later, with a sprinkling of Scaling and Stat code thrown in, i had an API.
No need for API keys and exposing as much of the data as possible, it should be easy for anyone to plug Cat pictures into their website or Apps, and hopefully kick a few more hangovers into touch too. Give it a try here-> http://thecatapi.com
Here it is in action throwing out a random gif:
Go wild and enjoy yourself-> http://thecatapi.com
The idea behind this site was to solve a problem that people have in their everyday lives. Whether it's getting a new haircut, do those sunglasses really work for you, or even can you really pull off a leather jacket?
Friends and family are likely to say something (nice), randoms on the internet forums are likely to say another (mean), neither of which are honest.
What if you could simply upload a photo, safe in the knowledge no-one else would ever see it, apart from people you have never met who are incentivised to give an honest opinion via gamification
An idea for a simple Facebook/Mobile app ensued, hence i bought the domain.
At the moment 'm too busy on other projects and have no chance of devoting enough time to this project to do it justice.
So if you would like to take it on or have a better idea for the domain then just get in contact and it could be yours. Sitting on a domain is just bad karma.
I love QR Codes, every time i see them it sparks ideas of innovative ways of utilizing them. The main draw back is of course - market take up. I would love to see an app come with every phone, or ideally built into the camera app not just on a phone handset, but in consumer point and shoots too.
Barriers in the way of this are the tools to create them, and add them to things like video and images. I was disheartended to learn that most people and agencies pay to have this done. So i've knocked up a quick and dirty way to create a QR code, and add it to an image.
I'll iterate it at some point and plugin some tracking so you can see how many times people have viewed it.
The code is free so do with it what you will, it uses some js from the fantastic jquery drag/drop over at ThreeDubMedia
Very simple really, google does most of the heavy lifting. Simply load this url as you would to load an external image:
Replacing the [YOUR-URL] with a url, i.e. http://bbc.co.uk - and the 120x120 with your own width and height
var myLoader:Loader = new Loader();
Would dynamically load a QR code for bbc.co.uk, with dimensions 150 by 150, and load it into the Loader instance myLoader, and would look like this
Here's a quick demo i knocked up to prototype using the iTunes search API.
N.B. As apple deny the use of flash making a straight call to their API due to their crossdomain.xml restrictions, i have used a php proxy. Once again, i'm making this code freely available to do with as you choose, just put the proxy file referenced on you own server and point your API file to it.