Pages Menu
Twitter
Categories Menu

Most recent articles

Book Review : Earth From The Air

Posted on Nov 20, 2011 in Photo Book Review | 0 comments

Description The result of a five-year airborne odyssey across five continents and sixty countries, The Earth From the Air is the bestselling book of aerial photography ever published. This vibrant new edition of the internationally acclaimed original features an updated design and nearly sixty stunning new photographs. All-new captions and the addition of authoritative new texts by experts in various environmental fields illuminate Arthus-Bertrand’s monumental achievement. Review “We’re gonna need a bigger coffee table.” Beware. I really like this book. I may gush a bit. In 2004, I was lucky enough to stumble into an outdoor exhibition of Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s work in a square in Lisbon. I know. I’m...

Would You Use SEO Power To Complain?

Posted on Nov 17, 2011 in Technology, zeitgeist | 3 comments

They often say that the pen is mightier than the sword and, yet, there is very little jail time associated with carrying a biro in your pocket. Recently I was wondering if the same can be said to be true of that which is written online. In the past I’ve written about scale free networks in relation to the Internet and you can see how anything written by a big influencer has big sword power. Similarly, the new voice of the people via Twitter is now a massive influence driven by a bandwagonesque interest from traditional media. Obviously, the Internet is already full of negative reviews but look across...

Book Review : The Complete Maus

Posted on Oct 16, 2011 in Book Reviews | 1 comment

I have a weird conundrum when I fly. I love planes and flying but, having done it so much, familiarly and boredom bring a weird kind of tension. Usually, as I am on approach to Edinburgh airport, I gaze fixedly out the windows for landmarks and make sure we’re heading for some appropriate strip of of tarmac. Not so last Thursday night. As we were turning over Livingston I was coming to the end of The Complete Maus and, entirely unaware of anything going on, I sat failing to fight back tears. I pretended to be a little tired, took off my specs and wiped them away. After my...

Lost Skills of the Ancients

Posted on Sep 30, 2011 in zeitgeist | 2 comments

As we look back in history we interpret the scratches and debris left on the earth to determine as much as we can about their lives, loves and labours. This reveals much about the ingenuity of the people who, before the industrial revolution, devised a myriad of ways to survive in a far harsher world. Most of these skills are already lost to most of us, cosseted as we are in a world where the hard stuff is always someone else’s problem. And yet there must be so much we don’t know about how they lived. After all, their time moved on too, things changed and improved. In short...

On Visiting Auschwitz

Posted on Sep 27, 2011 in zeitgeist | 1 comment

When we looked at the route of our recent drive across Europe we realised that a visit to Krakow created the possibility of a stop at Auschwitz. This was something that we were all very keen to do and, despite a difficult week leading up to that point and a very long drive ahead of us, we committed to making the stop and taking the time. I’m very glad we did. We had a long drive ahead of us that day. We were due to Budapest that night and, with an ailing car, we had to go the long way via Brno. That meant we didn’t have time to...

Smacked in the Pus for @bytenight

Posted on Sep 26, 2011 in zeitgeist | 0 comments

As part of our fundraising for Byte Night, myself and a few colleagues agreed to get pelted in stocks with wet sponges. Please show your appreciation of my bravery in the face of cold water by donating here. Here are a few pictures of me receiving some soggy face treatment from my lovely colleagues. Many thanks to Dave Wright for the...

Software Development Success – With Spanners

Posted on Sep 23, 2011 in Technology | 0 comments

There must be at least 7 other blog posts on the internet claiming to hold the secrets of software development success. Well, here it is, number 8. One of the very few benefits of being an old git is that you’ve been doing the same thing for long enough to know that there is very little different as the software industry fuels itself with faddish changes of language, methodology and the feature porn fetish of the modern web world. (I still find it astonishing that the social media news world gets so excited by the addition of tiny features). There are very few constants in all of this. The...

A Day On/In The Tay

Posted on Sep 14, 2011 in zeitgeist | 0 comments

Had a cracking day team building in a raft on the white waters of the River Tay. Thanks to Hurricane Katia the river was big, fast and a lot of fun. Thanks to the guys at Free Spirits for a great day and looking after us so well. Here are a selection of the photos taken from the dryness of the bank. Great fun, well done...

PhotoBlog : Animals of @RotterdamZoo – Diergaarde Blijdorp

Posted on Jul 20, 2011 in Photography | 0 comments

My regular reader will know that animals are one of my favourite photography subjects. Since I very rarely make it out into the wild, zoos and safari parks are my most regular source of subjects. Therefore, during my recent holiday in The Netherlands, I couldn’t turn down the chance to pay a visit to Diergaarde Blijdorp – Rotterdam Zoo (especially with a day to kill on the way to the ferry ). I’m not going to do an extensive zoo review but suffice to say that Rotterdam Zoo is truly excellent. Well laid out, some excellent habitats and, above all, from a photographer’s perspective, many great opportunities to get a...

It Was 20 Years Ago Today – Part 2

Posted on Jul 16, 2011 in zeitgeist | 3 comments

It was 20 years ago today I started work. Proper work, not summer jobs – the start of professional life. The 40 odd year journey that fills the gap between youthful exuberance and death. My keen eyed reader will have noticed that I started work precisely 5 days after my graduation. Not exactly a relaxing summer of sun and exploration. Thing was, I had to start work. Couldn’t afford to do anything else, we didn’t have the money for me to go a-wandering or ponce about doing a PhD. It wasn’t all bad news. I got precisely the job I wanted. Working BT’s software centre in Glasgow that was,...

It Was 20 Years Ago Today – Part 1

Posted on Jul 11, 2011 in zeitgeist | 3 comments

It was 20 years ago today that I graduated. 11th July 1991 I wore a silly gown and wandered about the quadrangles of Glasgow University feeling generally pleased with things. For the record (and in case I forget in my dotage), I received a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronic Systems and Microcomputer Engineering. I went to Glasgow as a young, startled 17 year old. Startled, mainly, by the rain but also by the need to feed myself and share a flat with a gang who were a lot older me. In those days, Edinburgh folk lived too near to Glasgow to get any student accommodation so I paid £15 a week...

The Age of Great Powers

Posted on Jun 21, 2011 in Writing | 1 comment

I can’t help but get excited when I see an old book with this kind of traditional font. It doesn’t really matter what it’s about, the very feel of it adds gravitas and a suggestion of learning. It’s a bit like old people being deserving of respect, they may have been useless nutters in their youth, so you should listen to them. I think old books are the same, they come from the age of great powers, when it was proper hard to even make a book. If it was worth the effort to make, maybe it’s worth the effort to read. Reminds me, somewhat incongruously, of a line...

Alphabetically, The Smiths – A Game

Posted on Jun 20, 2011 in zeitgeist | 1 comment

My sharp eyed reader will know that I provide an excellent chauffeur service for @stuartamdouglas for our commute to work. This is usually an entertaining jaunt with hilarity worthy of a wider audience*. Over the last week or so we have taken to entertainment to a whole new level by accidentally tripping over a very fun game. I mentioned recently that my robust yet feature challenged MP3 player is used a lot in the car. I set it up to play everything by The Smiths in alphabetical order (coz playlists are a bit tricky!). By the time we approached ‘M’ in the alphabet we realised there was much fun...

My Big Fat Lovely MP3 Player

Posted on Jun 5, 2011 in Technology | 0 comments

When people look at my Archos 504 these days, it usually gets the same reaction “What on earth is that thing?“. To which I reply “It’s my MP3 player”. At which point they are even more bemused “…but, but… it’s, erm… HUGE.” “Yes” I reply politely “I also use it for self-defence.” They chuckle, sort of, and wander off vaguely bemused. Actually, I should say ‘shuffle off‘ as that has much better pun potential in this regard. It does demonstrate the pace of technology these days. A device that was released in 2006/7 is considered an outlandish freak now. When I think retro, I think of things from the...

The Internet and External Validation Addiction

Posted on May 30, 2011 in Technology | 2 comments

Back in the early 90’s there was much to celebrate. Aside from being thin and having hair, the TV was full of things to keep any self-respecting pseudo-intellectual happy. The ultra-cool obviously watched Twin Peaks. Still a classic and hasn’t aged at all. The more thoughtful and romantic were glued to Northern Exposure. Obviously, being intent on being ultra-cool and thoughtful and romantic, I watched both, avidly. One episode of Northern Exposure that stuck in mind came back to me recently, it contained this quote: Ed, you’re dealing with the demon of external validation. You can’t beat external validation. You want to know why? Because it feels sooo good....