It’s all gone quiet over here

Progress

We’ve not posted much recently have we? It’s because we’ve been biting our nails and watching the internets.* In the middle of last week we sent beta invites to about twenty of our friends giving them access to Newspaper Club and our proprietary ARTHR system.

We’re fortunate enough to know people who know loads about UI, websites etc – they’ve been giving us splendid feedback. We’re also fortunate to know people who know bugger all about that sort of stuff – they’ve been giving us equally valuable feedback. Next week we’re going to incorporate their thoughts, then, with just a few legal and PayPal hurdles to clear we should be able to share it with more of you.

In the meantime we’re still angling for some decent chairs if anyone’s got any going spare. The picture above should indicate the direness of our need.

*Not really. Ben’s gone to the US for holidays, Tom’s cycling round town looking for good kiting spots, Russell’s trying to convince MPs we’re a good thing.

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Paper Science

Last night we sent a newspaper to print for We Are Words + Pictures.

Produced in time for the Thought Bubble comic festival in Leeds, the newspaper is a sampler of the kind of work that We Are Words + Pictures stock at their occasional market stall.

It’s filled with illustrations, short stories, poetry, photography… anything really. The brief was that contributors had to submit something a little different to their regular output, all drawn together into a 12 page, full colour mini-anthology.


Contributions by Tom Humberstone, Dan Hancox and Matt Jones.

500 copies were printed in all, 300 of which will be available this weekend for just £1. Any remaining issues they’ll be offering for sale at their website www.wearewordsandpictures.com


Back cover by Adam Cadwell.

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Gym Class Magazine

Last week we printed the fourth edition of Gym Class Magazine.

Display stand feet

That’s what 200 black and white copies looks like.

I’ll let Steve tell you about the publication,

“Gym Class Magazine is a zine for the guy chosen last. What does that mean? Well, it’s a zine for the underdog, the black sheep. Remember your high school gym class? The bit where two kids were made captain and took turns choosing who they wanted on their team? Well, Gym Class Magazine is a zine for the guy chosen last.

It’s for geeks, nerds and nellys; definitely not for guys into dodgeball. Instead, we like more creative stuff… like drawing and illustration, indie magazines and comics, scary movies and sci-fi, graphic design and typography, electronic music and tall buildings.”

Display stand feet

Great centrefold from the brilliant Andy Gilmore.

Display stand feet

This is the first newspaper we’ve printed that you can buy. Click here to get a copy for £3, including UK postage. Worldwide postage is available. But be quick, there’s only 200.

More pics on Flickr.

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All Donations Gratefully Received

You’ll be pleased to know that after our Investor Crisis midweek our shiny new Skype headsets arrived yesterday. They’re very nice and they came in a clever little postbox friendly cardboard box.

Free Skype headset from Skype's Twitterer in chief

This morning I thought I’d try Skyping the rest of the team.

Trying to Skype Sales & Marketing

I tried Engineering first. No answer. I don’t think they were awake yet.

Trying to Skype Engineering

I tried Sales & Marketing next. No answer. I think they’d gone out for breakfast. They often do that.

Anyway, the headsets are splendid and this has got us wondering if anyone else would like to donate to a teeny start up. We’re particularly after some Aeron chairs right now.

In other news, we’re printed some more newspapers which I’ll blog about later and we’re fine tuning the design of key pages. We’re also getting ready for a very quiet, very private, very Beta launch next week. We’re going to test the site on a handful of people and if that goes well we’ll release the Beta to rest of the 2,000 people currently on our signup list.

(I’m not sure if “release the Beta” is recognised terminology. I was going to ask Engineering but they weren’t awake.)

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Investor relations

We like 4ip. We like that they mock us and we mock them. We don’t think this is the normal investor/start-up relationship. For instance, we had this conversation yesterday (start from the top and read down). Apologies to anyone who thought we were really having a relationship crisis. Though I notice no-one came forward with offers of alternative funding. (Maybe because we take the piss out of our investors.)

Oh, and big thanks to Skype for the headsets. Very kind.

investor crisis

In other news, we’re very close to beta.

Remaining issues – paypal have to send us a letter with a secret code in it. We need to determine our VAT status before we can tell you our prices. We need Ts & Cs and Terms of Trade, so we need to have more meetings with lawyers.

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Send more patience

Engineering

Nearing beta now. Engineering frustrated with PayPal. PayPal convinced we’re fraudsters. Sales & Marketing writing copy. Art redesigning pages. Many enquiries coming in. Phone calls. VAT returns. Emails. More forms. Raised voices. Icons. Meetings. Specs. Meetings. Plans.

Soon, very soon.

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A flip chat towards a flat plan

At last week’s status meeting I presented the flat-plan flip-chart to an attentive Newspaper Club, who had initially been pretty amused by the amount of elbow grease and felt tip pen that had gone into making it.

But it was a success. Having the entire process of making a newspaper, from uploading all of the elements to receiving an order, was actually a lot of use, and provided a nice breather before the closing stage of Alpha testing began.

It’s also hugely useful in constructing the guide. With a sideways glance I can start getting used to the scale of the pages and the space of the layouts, and flipping between sheets to check details and workflow seems the right way to work out how a newspaper comes together.

I’ll be stressing in the guide the importance – and pleasure – of printing a PDF preview of your newspaper. It gets you a little closer to the physical sensation of holding one, a huge benefit when thinking about layout and content. Plus it’s always better to mark mistakes with a big red pen before you’ve ordered 500 copies.

printing

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2Halves

The Rebel Alliance creator of 2Halves

We’ve been waiting for more pictures before writing about this. But I don’t want to let another day slip by, so I’m going to mention it now and we can add more pictures when they arrive.

One of the things we hoped for when we started this foolish quest would be that people would think of things to do with Newspaper Club that we couldn’t have imagined ourselves. 2Halves is a perfect example. It’s a special one-off newspaper, written by Spurs and Arsenal bloggers, 3,500 copies were printed yesterday morning in anticipation of the latest North London Derby and handed out to fans before the game. It’s a lovely looking thing, produced by our friends at The Rebel Alliance, and, if you missed it, you can download a pdf at their website. (Or, if you’re quick request a printed copy.)

As I say, more pictures when we get them. But, in the meantime, congrats to The Rebel Alliance for a splendid idea – which will hopefully inspire others to do something similar.

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