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Showing posts from 2012

Core business

The man in the red suit shuffled uncomfortably as I said the words "core business". "I'm not core business?" he exclaimed. "Yes," I said, "and we have to focus on our core business at the moment. Take Lego for example." "I do take a lot of Lego," he said. "No, that's not what I mean. The Lego company used to run Legoland. They made clothing and girls jewellery too. They discontinued those, they sold Legoland to the Madame Tussauds people. They decided to concentrate on their core business. Look at your suit, for example." "What of it?" he asked. "It's red. It used to be green." "Coca cola branding initially. Now everyone thinks it's normal. It's just a colour. Anyway, what is core then?" "A baby," I said. "For this occasion our core business is the baby." "Do you know my other names?" he asked. "Saint Nicholas. Saint as in sa

Someone drew a picture from my suggestion

On the blog of the company 37 signals an artist that they use, Sam Brown, asked for picture title suggestions . I said How about: “all I ever wanted…”. It’s a lyric that pops up from time to time in songs.  and he used it !

This blog is over 10 years old

I'm going to break Rule One  and muse a little on the past 10 years. I've just read someone else  thinking how to celebrate their blogs 10th anniversary and I thought I'd check this blog, and lo and behold, it's over 10 years old. I started my first blog in 1999, but it was on  which has since been taken down. I have all the content though, and if I had more time I'd put it back online . This blog started when wasn't part of Google. My first post was about The Salmon of Doubt by Douglas Adams . Full marks to Bloomsbury for making a 10 year old link still do something useful. I can't remember if I ever did actually read it. I probably did. I toyed for a bit with using it as a place to record comments that I'd put on other people's websites , so I could keep track of them, but I soon tired of that.  Then, in order to make myself blog more often, I tried to blog just 10 words per day . Of course to think of exactly

The Olympic post

Opening Ceremony Wow. Just. Wow. I thought it was one of the best things I'd seen. If the rest of the family hadn't been so entranced too they would have probably told me to stop saying wow all the time. I thought the highlight was when the fifth ring rose up and joined the others. Danny Boyle really pulled off a great show. When he took over after the previous person gave up there was some cynicism about whether he'd be able to do something memorable, but I think he confounded those critics. When I was a teenager my favourite album was Tubular Bells, so I was very pleased to see Mike Oldfield given the stage. It was also good to see a geek - Tim Berners-Lee, get recognition too. The way the prerecorded video was linked in the live stuff worked really well for a TV audience. I liked the music so much I bought the album. Russell Davies wrote a really interesting post about it: I saw a generation realising that it was now Top at Culture. 30/40 somethings w


Yes, really. Knitting. For reasons I can't go into I found myself knitting a couple of weeks ago. I had done a bit when I was a kid. I was pleasantly surprised to find that once I'd cast on my motor memory took over and I was turning out stitches. For more reasons I can't go into it got wider as I went along, but it wasn't a problem as I just turned it into little hat. I can highly recommend the multi-coloured wool for beginners as it means that there's a contrast between previous rows and the current stitches. That's all.

Cardboard seven inch tablet stand

When I got a Playbook I wanted to use it to listen to BBC iPlayer while doing the washing up. So I made a cardboard tablet stand out of the cardboard you get with new shirts. Recently I came across a video by Jude Pullen showing how to make a right angle joint with card and it inspired me to share what I'd done, via a PDF rather than a video though. The PDF below is for a Playbook but I would have thought that any seven inch tablet, like the Kindle Fire or the Google Nexus 7 would fit. If in the unlikely event they are more chunky than the Playbook, you can just cut the slot wider. It's probably more sturdy if you make it out of a corrugated cardboard. Seven inch tablet stand

"Just one thing" project at Utata

Those talented people at Utata  have released their latest "big project" which I've taken part in this time. My photos were taken on our Norfolk Broads boating holiday.

New ways with books - unbound and

I've been following a couple of websites recently that are doing things with books. They look similar, but I don't think bear direct comparison to each other. Unbound lets you pledge money to help fund a book. Patronage is nothing new of course. A pledge of the smallest amount - mostly £10 - gets you a copy of an ebook version and your name printed in it. Higher amounts get you different things, like paper editions, invites to a launch party and so on.  You also get access to the author's "shed". I gave £10 for Robert Llewellyn's book News From Gardenia . He's the guy from Scrapheap Challenge. I hoped to hear about the writing process, but he never put much in his shed, and I got the impression that the book was mostly completed anyway, and just needed money to publish. (Not that the process of publishing is trivial.) I don't think I'll be pledging again. £10 is a lot for an ebook with your name in it. It's a good id

I'm now selling a Kindle case on etsy

I first came across etsy - a site for selling handmade or vintage stuff - when I came across a series of  pictures of boyfriends wearing hand made hats their girlfriends had made (and not looking to pleased about having a hand-knitted hat on their head). Then when I got a Kindle I went looking there to see what sort of cases were available. I was pleasantly surprised to see loads of good stuff. When I got my Kindle I made a cardboard case for it. At Christmas I got a proper case and since then I've been meaning to  offer my cardboard case for sale on etsy , purely for my own amusement. If I sell one, I'll make another. If it really takes off, I might we quite busy fulfilling orders. Unlikely. Feel free to prove me wrong .

Crogs, goodies and mardy - childhood dialect

I was reading a book recently set in the world of the Arthurian legend. It described a cross as a "crog". That reminded me that as a child when we crossed our fingers to get away with lying we called it "crogs". So after you tricked someone you brought out your crossed fingers, said "crogs" and they couldn't complain that you were lying. We had other dialect words that I haven't hear much elsewhere. I was visiting some people in Derbyshire as an adult and a mother called her child "mardy", which means in a cross mood. Down in Surrey where I lived by then I came across the word "strop" as in "to be in a strop" or "being stroppy". Sweets were "goodies". If you had a ball bearing when you were playing marbles they were "bollies". When you greeted someone you'd say "n'en" which was short for "now then". Today I just came across this map of words from the BBC


One of the interesting things about having children is the way that you see cultural artefacts coming out in their speech. One example is the word "pwned" or "pwnage" from the verb "to pwn ". I've been aware of this for a while from the geeky world and then one of my children started using it. Just this evening I heard it on the News Quiz on Radio 4. Many years ago I first heard the word "internet" on the same programme, and I knew that yet another geeky thing was beginning to come into public consciousness.

New years resolutions - John Lewis staffroom

I went to our local John Lewis a couple of days with a couple of the boys on our bikes. The bike rack is outside the staffroom and I could see the following written on the whiteboard: Hope more Chew more Breathe more Say more Love more The internets tell me this is half of a Swedish proverb: Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.