We have an office custom; on or around one's birthday one brings along cakes, pastries, biscuits or even better (depending on the significance of the number) and shares with immediate colleagues & all-and-sundry. I'm no different; this year I bought 1kg of shortbread biscuits and placed then at the allotted, er… place.

3 hours after arrival they've nearly all gone. I got it right. It feels good.

Thanks to those who wished me a happy birthday, even though my rationale for not bringing stuff in on the day sounded a bit lame. At least the Amazon Prime Now explanation went down well (see yesterday's 'Order' post) - as did the biscuits.

Now, those who just take and walk off are bad enough. There's nothing worse though than someone inquiring whose birthday it is, then walking either away or past one's desk. Eating a biscuit!

Ungrateful, ignorant, self-entitled bast[CARRIER LOST]


There are a lot of things in this life that a good Getting Things Done (GTD) or reminder app will help with when attempting to sustain (or create) a sense or order in one's life.

Order is important.

Quite why I used the Amazon Prime Now delivery service - instead of going to the shop - to order the following escapes me. Necessary, yet…

In order of ordering:

  • A 1kg box of shortbread biscuits,

  • A box of Thorntons chocolates (445g or thereabouts),

  • A squeezy bottle of tomato ketchup (unfortunately Heinz, it's all they have).

Local politics

The local elections roll around again in a month. I'm hoping that the prospective candidates from the party I've voted for all my life will make some form of appearance.

It doesn't need to be physical; I'd settle for each candidate going to the towns's independent local news site and briefly stating a few words; why they're standing for election.

I'd settle for a leaflet hurriedly pushed through the door by ninjas, stealth-delivered at silly o'clock; a document briefly outlining who they are, where they're from, why they consider themselves successful, and why I should vote for them.

Twitter worked for me a few years ago as the campaigning wound down towards its… what's the opposite of climax‽ I simply asked a thus-far silent candidate why, especially when there's the easy publicity from that local news site… and she added her pitch to the electorate.


And, as the number of votes declined each subsequent election, I asked again. And, faced with the inevitable, I gave up asking. They're not worth it. Really.

This year I'm looking at two important opportunities to exercise my right to vote (or to abstain):

  1. Local elections,
  2. The European Union Referendum: Do we stay or do we leave the EU?

Both are important. Important.

The first gives a small voice to us ordinary people at a local level; an opportunity to address concerns like poorly-phased traffic lights, repeated illegal parking on the estate, why we shouldn't have speed humps; important stuff.

Now, these are the sort of issues any party's elected representative should be addressing; it's irrelevant which party I vote for in these instances, as 'my' councillor it matters not how I voted.

The bigger picture is what really matters, but past local level we have no say in political matters. None. So it's pointless voting in National elections.

So, that established…

The second upcoming poll, a referendum, will eventually determine how successful Britain (England at least if everyone else removes themselves) can be when dealing with the rest of the world in trade. And stuff.

Europe seems to be a diminishing force in pretty much everything. Internal political idiocy and a resistance to reason dictates that nothing good will ever appear from the parliaments however many levels of beaurocracy are removed… but to be outside of it, unable to exert even the slightest of pressures to change the system, it's folly. Madness. 'Out' gets us a reduction in dues, a nationalistic feeling of pride (a 'we did it!' hubris) and nothing else - a phyrric victory for those who would…

Ok, I know which way I'm voting in the second poll, but in the first apathy is the order of the day. No not apathy, but it's not anger either…

Why should I vote for someone I don't know? I don't really know any of the people I've voted for in the past so it's an odd one, this. I vote for people who I don't know because they at least make an effort to tell me who they are and what they stand for. Merely belonging to a party I express an allegiance to just does not qualify them to gain my support.

No-one understands the referendum's issues, no-one. Everyone's guessing, dressing it up in hope or doom, analysts adding game theory to it in the hope something good will drop. So what will happen in or out? Everyone's got their own ideas, it'll keep the media busy for months. And we'll all be wrong in the detail.

The good thing about the second: were not voting for a person. It's for a system or an ideal, dependent on your views. It should be easy to choose a box to add my cross in. But thought, a process of reasoning, an inability to simply vote as my parents did. Hard, groundbreaking stuff, this.


One thing at a time then…

Dear local election candidates: I'm again ready for disappointment. Make me wrong.

In Betweeners

Elaborating on (or maybe not, it's not my place to say) my 'Between' post yesterday, provided some nicely written (as-ever) insights into a modern curse..

'Curse' is my cruel trick; a word, a hook to drag you in. Oops!

Social burnout.

Most here will have a social networking networking history, may even identify personally with Jason's words… For me it's a case of 'the wrong time of year'.

For you…?

Choice. While I had only IRC and MS Chat, that's all I used. IRC was a one-day thing for me; i can't recall any actual interactions at all. Literally one day. I got online and, within the first month explored every protocol and service available to me as a new Microsoft Network (MSN) customer.

Incidentally, I forgot to mention ICQ in my blog post; a service I used mainly to connect to people I already knew online. In real time. Mine was, probably still is, a 6-digit user ID.

Nowadays though we've dozens of places we can go to express ourselves. There are social networks, forums, niche services… There we can chat about our desires, hopes, dreams… with other like-minded people, hopefully without troublemakers intervening. Most of us want a quiet life when we want a quiet life.

Yes, that.

So, (ADN); it's a place with lots of good memories, good people, but it's been let down by its founders and those in search of a bigger audience.

Now mine's not a massive criticism. I'm hardly there at all, my feeling's more one of a remembrance of the emotional baggage stemming from the SOTN post, the frankly-ridiculous antagonism (I'll never understand why people don't simply block) and the network's inevitable subsequent decline.

And guilt.

I'm not doing #QuoteSunday (always a low-engagement thing) in part due to IFTTT's ADN support shutting down, nor am I running #ThemeMonday (once an entirely different proposition.)

That reminds me, I should really move the #ThemeMonday page at my site and replace it with… Sometime.

I must examine my other social network profiles linking to ADN, to see whether I must move them to where I'm most comfortable calling my social hub.

Or must I?

A perhaps-telling FYI; Last year, despite others not doing, I upgraded my ADN account to 'Developer'. More of a statement of intent, a gesture, an attempt to pay back in… I developed nothing of course but got a vague sense of wellbeing, and a hammer to add to my bio. THIS year I downgraded. To an 'ordinary' paid user account. Not all the way to '40'.


But here I am at 10C, with a Premium account paid-up until 2017 (over the top of Jason's invite) developing an 'app' for 10C. How odd.

So, back to the blog post. Burnout maybe, but I'm happy to call (10C) home.

One thing to bear in mind; I'm crap at publicising stuff; hence the one successful invite. Kinda successful, I'm hoping the guy I invited will spend a bit more time at 10C…

And that others will follow. There's nothing to lose. No ads, no spam. Really.

And here be (more) Adventures! Maybe.



Car insurance: I got home today, opened the insurance company letter, and sat. Quickly.

They think I'll be paying more than £130 per year extra to them.

Ah, no.

A quick price comparison site search shows that, if I'm careful choosing the cover, I could get a policy £500 cheaper than I'd be paying if I allowed inertia to dictate terms.

<Yoda>RAC Insurance: yourselves you can go and fu[CARRIER LOST]


It would be fair to say that I'm between social networks. I don't mean I'm not participating, no. I mean that I'm inhabiting the void between those I used to be active in. Ok, ok, I'm bouncing about in either the Venn diagram voids or the overlaps between services. Or both.

It's an odd sensation.

So, my past:

  • MSN Chat, from early 1997 until autumn 1998 was my entry point into online chat. It was easy. I fell into the What's Cooking Online (WCOL) room entirely by accident and stayed there for a while,
  • Facebook appeared in my life around 2008. It's still there, though you wouldn't know I'd been around since then were you to look at my 'Friends' list. They're pretty-much all people I know, see?
  • btinternet.chatter grabbed me in 1998 as a BT phone customer with the related btinternet ISP, once I'd spread my wings away from the cosy MSN. Though it was shut down some time ago, I occasionally attempt to keep in touch with the lovely people who inhabited it. Closure notwithstanding it's been around 11 years since I was last active there anyway,
  • Twitter, we all know about Twitter; it was my home from 2010 until…
  • I discovered, early in April 2013. A great community, lovely people, an ad-free and owner-meddling-free environment; I can't quite figure out why I'm not there right now…
  • is where I 'am' right now though, more of a dipper than prolific. Great people (a number\* from ADN) and a comfortable, spam and ad-free environment. The network, as I'm sure you've heard me say, is in an invite-only phase right now. I have some.

Well ok, I do know why I'm not active. I've spent more time programming/developing/attempting to fix and evolve my 10C client - and avoiding talking about it online - than being 'social'. Weird.



Last year, amidst a mood of indecision, I decided to move my expired phone contract to the UK's budget MVNO 'Giffgaff'. It's cheap, user-friendly, 4G, and cheap.

Then, eventually, I started to compare my data speeds with others on different 4G networks, and the rot set in. 'Slow' is the order of the day.

The company I work for grabbed a very tempting mobile discount scheme from their new provider, but I looked around for a more customer-(wallet)-friendly alternative.

My deliberations bear fruit tomorrow; my new contract SIM arrived at the weekend, my current number will be ported between networks sometime during Wednesday.

I had a test of course. The uploads are 3 times my current network's, the downloads 10 times faster.

And I'm getting 3 times the data for the same price.

Which is nice.


"Developing an application is not easy."

So I said earlier today, at a time I really couldn't see an end to the failures cascading through my application. It's the weirdest feeling, knowing there's nothing wrong with code; code that resolutely fails to work. And when it does work despite a total absence of things that should make it work, it's the weirdest feeling.

It feels like that scene in 'Men In Black', the one where we're shown to be an utterly-insignificant part of a hopefully more-advanced-than-us civilisation…

For providing the opportunity to exercise my brain, thanks must go to Jason Irwin - creator of the 10Centuries social network! My life would be a lot simpler right now without 10C. Incidentally, I have invites available if you want to have a social change!


My application.

I am .


Yes, it's that time of year again; we're decorating!

Paint, paper (the big bedroom), mild peril.


During winter the darker hours bring out the worst in people. I'm not talking about death, mayhem, increased criminality; it's a simple as a disregard for child and personal safety.

Every morning I've been seeing see cyclists ride along busy roads, black clothing, black bags, black bikes. Even on the wrong side of the road. Lights? None. Adults don't seem to care, and children… Well, surely parents and schoolteachers should be monitoring departures and arrivals?

There's a phrase. Most don't seem to know what it means, don't seem to care:

&gt; "Personal resonsibility"
&gt; noun,
&gt; modern, ambitious, ambiguous:
&gt; 1. An overwhelming reliance on state initiatives to promote a sense of wellbeing in self.

Yesterday evening around 5pm, as I was driving home, I spotted a young man walking past a high hedge above a low wall. That is I eventually spotted him; his clothing (not camo) hid him very effectively. Though visibility was reduced by that time of day, by no means everyone had side- or headlights on…

And don't get me started on drivers of black cars - overwhelmingly the most common group to avoid side- and headlights entirely, Is it a part of the mindset involved in the purchasing decision?

Modern LED car sidelights are annoying too. Daytime running lights at the front, but absent entirely from the rear, bypass common sense entirely. Drivers get in the car safe in the knowledge that people in front can see them…

A stealth, Darwin-Awards-winning society, that's what we have.