The blog

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


Whilst moving a client’s 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 in the size of the […]

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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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Time drifting gently by


In Bindloss, Alberta, two kids told us the merits of ice poles and myriad other things while we made pancakes and coffee. Then we continued our purgatorial ride through the prairies, before recharging in a wonderful free campsite in Alsask, Saskatoon.

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What makes flies tick?


Little black flies were our constant companions at Buffalo. Instead of the blood the flying nuisances usually thirst for, these just buzz around your face. Forever.

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Trapped in a Hungarian apartment block

9/2/2018 | #

In 2010 I spent a week hanging out with a friend who lived in Budapest. I arrived at his place around 5am and, despite knowing I was coming, he overslept without alarms, leaving me to get embroiled in an unlikely and embarrassing limbo. The same limbo that was considered unlikely and embarrassing enough to be […]

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Firsts and fastests


Books about other people’s adventures make good reading, with ‘adventures’ acting as a pretty broad catch all term. My bookshelf includes treks to Himalayan plateaus, round the world bike rides, solo sailing odysseys, drifting walks with nothing but a violin for company, and many variations on these themes. The thing that appeals in these books […]

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