Published in photo diary, photography.

Used a cropped version of this as my online avatar for years.


Screenshot anxiety

Published in tech.

If you’re someone who writes articles about computers for a living, you might recognise a feeling I can only describe as “screenshot anxiety”. It crops up every time I have to file a story which includes a bunch of screenshot illustrations. Before sending to the editor, I have to open each screenshot one more time […]

Why photocopies are called photocopies

Published in notes.

My stepfather was managing the library of South Bank Polytechnic (as it was called then) back in the 1970s, when the college’s first photocopier arrived. It was a huge Xerox machine, and it had quite an impact. Previously, to make a copy of a page in a periodical or book, people had to use a […]

How chess has changed

Published in notes.

Think of a chess board and you think of a place governed by the strictest of rules. Pieces are always laid out in a particular way, and move in particular ways. You simply can’t change the way chess works. Which is odd, because it’s changed a lot in the past. Ancient Arab or Indian chess boards had […]

Talking to Doc Searls about Cluetrain

Published in tech, work.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Doc Searls and David Weinberger about their five-year-old book, The Cluetrain Manifesto. (For the record, I did try to contact Chris Locke too, but got no reply. And as Searls points out below, Rick Levine seems to have disappeared.) As often happens when I interview people for articles, the interview produces far too much material […]

Selected associations from the Directory of British Associations, edition 15

Published in notes.

(Links not tested; I’m offline as I write this) Airship Association – “A forum for those interested in the technology of airships” Equine Behaviour Forum – “To exchange information on the behaviour of horses in all situations” British Temperance Society – “To create a philosophy of total abstinence” British Secondary Metals Association – “To organise, inform and advise companies […]

What other people are doing

Published in life, Uncategorized.

I’m in the library again, trying to bash out some words in an environment where I won’t be distracted, but the distractions here are just as distracting as the ones at home. They’re just different. On machine #25 is a young guy playing Flash games, downloading video clips, and being very impatient. When a clip […]

Exploring Wiltshire’s place names

Published in notes, places.

Attended a talk in the public library last night, on the subject of Wiltshire’s place names. I was the youngest person present by about 20 years, but still found it a fascinating discussion. The speaker, local resident and prolific author Martyn Whittock, spent an hour or so explaining how place names can unlock all sorts […]

What is it about running?

Published in life.

I asked my friend Lawrence about his recent(ish) conversion to the religion of running. Here’s what we talked about: Tell me some things. Sitting comfortably? Tell me what is it about the running. I know what you mean, and I’m still not sure. Do you run to and from work now? No, it’s about 9 […]

The angry archaeologist

Published in life.

In a muddy pit for which I was inappropriately dressed, an archaeologist with shoulder-length curly hair was shouting at me. I was taken aback by this. I’d expected him to be pleased with me. After all, my story about his discovery of crucial evidence about the shape of Roman Cambridge had made the front page […]

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