The blog

Only the homepage works on local WordPress site: a fix


A quick last-resort guide to fixing an error on localhost versions of Wordpress sites where only the homepage works. Borne of hours of frustration.

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What makes newsletters pop?


I got a newsletter the other day that was a pleasure to read, even amongst severe GDPR newsletter fatigue. Check it out: Whew! The composition, the colours and the content were well balanced, to the point where I read the whole thing despite having no memory of signing up to the list. (The mystery was […]

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Sun’s out, thumbs out 👍

26/5/2018 | #

Me hitch hiking and Kristian biking worked surprisingly well. I had butterflies while holding my thumb out for the first lift and for the first few minutes in Joe’s car, but after that it was effortless. There was no awkwardness. Miles flew by while conversations flowed, covering everything from ancient Scottish history to decommissioning nuclear […]

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Jock McDonald

24/5/2018 | #

Our first night was spent under the watchful eye of Jock McDonald, the man with the most quintessentially Scottish name and vocation: he was lifetime president of Inverness Caledonian Thistle F.C., and we camped on a spit of land just opposite the stadium. Our plan to arrive without a plan worked out initially. “I’m assuming […]

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How to stop annoying pop-ups in Chrome


Lots of things on the internet like to make demands on our attention. Adverts, spam emails, pop-ups, page overlays asking for money, and so on, endlessly. In my opinion, the world is a better place when the amount of unwanted things vying for my attention is reduced. This is a guide to turning off notification […]

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Life’s belligerent symphonies finally cease


Crushingly sad news this morning. The body of Scott Hutchinson, singer of the wonderful Scottish rock band Frightened Rabbit, was found in Port Edgar. His lyrics to their hauntingly beautiful Floating in the Forth now seem darkly prescient: “Am I ready to leap, is there peace beneath the roar of the Forth Road bridge?” I felt […]

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Email woes


I work with a non-profit organisation. Whilst moving their newsletter operation from their existing provider to Mailchimp, I encountered the following message: “Your list is likely to trigger spam filters, or generate bounces and abuse complaints.” Little did I know that this vague error message would lead to a world of farce, a 66% drop […]

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Use reality as the basis for your plans

27/4/2018 | #

Another important lesson I have learned. In my youth I would always opt for an overnight coach over a daytime coach and a night of paid accommodation. The red-eye coach fare being way cheaper than the alternative, and cost often being the deciding factor. This cultivated a planning style that has been described, fairly, as […]

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We gave our explicit permission


I recently wrote about Facebook’s intentional manipulation of our brain’s reward system, via features on their sites and apps that are designed to trigger the release of dopamine. As the various scandals unfold, the news is awash with articles about the type and extent of data Facebook, Google and other similar services have on us. […]

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We are being manipulated


Brazen violations of data privacy laws and the ability to influence elections may feel like compelling reasons to ditch Facebook completely, but now is a prime moment to look at the hold the platform has over us. One source articulates the basic appeal well: “every time we post, share, ‘like,’ comment or send an invitation […]

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A hammock poem


From a book given as a wedding gift, to a friend of my granddad in some time around 1915. Just delightful: a pair in a hammock, attempted a kiss, and in less than a jiffy, sᴉɥʇ ǝʞᴉl pǝpuɐl ʎǝɥʇ

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The Blue Balls Express: NY to LA in 48 hours

15/3/2018 | #

Other people’s adventures, part 1. Skip rode from NY to LA in 48 hours: this ride teaches that adventures don’t have to be long, & you can have varying levels of disregard for your safety. Now he teaches the merits of slowing down and taking it easy.

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