My self-inflicted pressure to write a blog post per day for the month of November didn’t quite go as well as I’d hoped. It did, however, confirm something. And that’s fine.

    As a writer and blogger I think we tend to put everyone in the same basket. A writer will write and therefore whatever style of writing is possible he or she is capable of writing. Bloggers blog and blogging is a form that everyone understands and adheres to.

    Not so. I write, but I’m not a novelist and I don’t know how to write daily blog posts on my observations in the day. I tried and I can’t do either of them.

    What I can write, is long reports, long articles explaining the historical context of a subject and informed analysis pieces that demand lots of research.

    I think I’ll stick to what I know best. I’m just not ready or capable of opening up my life as a constant stream of blurb on the Internet.

    10 December 2019 — French West Indies

    Depends where you look

    Although I haven’t been as active as I’d hoped, I’ve not been lazy. Quite the opposite in fact. I’ve written and published over 2000 words this week on my newsletter and written something like 7000 or so on a research report for a client.

    Depends where you look.

    19 November 2019 — French West Indies

    Ouch, 4 days!

    Dear oh dear! 4 days without an update despite me promising myself and anyone who read this, that I would update daily.

    It’s actually quite a hard challenge for someone like me who is actually fairly private and doesn’t share too much of his life, even in the real world. But the idea was to provoke writing, and writing about anything. Perhaps even helping develop some creativity.

    I’m still waiting for the creative juices to start flowing 😢

    19 November 2019 — French West Indies

    Clean Shoes

    I love having clean, freshly polished shoes. It just shows the commitment and effort required to look after objects.

    I just wish I had more time to give them the attention they deserve.

    15 November 2019 — French West Indies

    Social Sewage

    I originally published this nearly a year ago. I still think it holds up and is relevant today, if not more so.

    From The Rise of Populism Is Hurting Journalism : Monday Note

    Just subscribe to some Facebook groups supporting various populist factions and you’ll be appalled by the mixture of fake news and putrid ideologies, in which the claim for a more equitable society is practically anecdotal. Facebook has become the dumpster of free expression with a significant casualty: facts.

    The whole article is depressing reading but worth reading, particularly if you are trying to unravel and understand just what is happening at the moment. It has suddenly — it at least appears that way to me — become more complicated and difficult to understand just what, who, how and why. Just look at the train wreck that is Brexit, none of the existing rules apply when reporting, discussion and debating the subject.

    The consequences are extremely frightening, but I’m trying to avoid attributing causation. We can’t tell for the moment if this media sidelining (to put it mildly) is a symptom or one of the causes.

    I took a conscious decision a couple of years ago to wind down my binge reading through Twitter and read more long form, either in the guise of newspapers/magazines or online publications (like the referenced Monday Note), and I can tell you quite simply, a considered and delayed point of view is almost always better. Real-time news is just that — a live stream of information, mis-information, supposition, cack-handed analysis that eventually leads to a better understanding. But do we need to see the insides and risk wrongly informing people whom are predisposed to not make to the end (TL;DR) ?

    14 November 2019 — French West Indies

    An enjoyable experience without the BS

    I like photos and photography in a casual way. I’d love ot be a better photographer but I’m not sure I have the energy or the time to put in the required work to get there.

    For now I’m content to take a nice photo now and again, but more importantly, to marvel at the wonderful photos being shard online by very talented artists.

    A natural fit, you would think, for me to get an Instagram account. I had one once, when they were independent, but closed it the same day of the Facebook take-over. I’m glad I did. But I missed scrolling through others’ photos, be them filtered to death or badly composed, there was something quite personable about them, and that’s what I enjoyed.

    Instagram today, is just a cesspool of hatred, sneering, judgement and worst of all, ‘influencers’. Not to mention the crossing-the-creepy-line of advertising that doesn’t in any way, share or form bring value to the experience.

    Recently, I’ve gone back to browsing some of the fantastic work being shared on photography platforms. My favourite for grazing is 500px. It’s better than the Instagram experience and it comes without all the BS. You should give it a try, you might find that you’re better off for it.

    13 November 2019 — French West Indies

    My Apple Watch Series 5 quick take

    I treated myself to a new Aluminium (Space Grey) Apple Watch Series 5 a couple of days ago. I’ve been wearing it all the time, just like my just-replaced Series 2.

    I as early on the Apple Watch train, seeing immediately the usefulness, but I have been frustrated by the usage and of the lack of watch faces. Series 5 changes nearly all of this.

    Always-On screen is a real bonus and when it was announced earlier in the year I actually said, “Shut up and take my money” to the screen! The new faces are much better and are going in the right direction, but I ‘d like to see more options, complications and more styles. After 5 years of Apple Watch I think Apple could make more of an effort to add hands that are not a direct rip off of the Patek Philippe Nautilus. I’d say its and opportunity for Apple to add to its Apple Watch Store.

    I bought it with the Nike Sport Loop, and hence the Nike+ Apple Watch, for one reason only. Nike’s Sport Loop is the only one in black. I don’t use the Nike faces no run club so the Nike branding is irrelevant to me.

    I thought I’d like the Sport Loop a lot as I walk, run and cycle regularly. But I find it annoying to put on and take off. It’s just a bit too fiddly to poke your hand through the loop, it needs stretching sometimes for me — big hands? — and I find this uncomfortable. I really like It once it’s on, as it is way softer than I thought it would be. I’d never actually touched one before. Where I live we don’t have an Apple Store so getting to see this stuff is quite difficult.

    Lastly, the usefulness seems to have exceeded my expectations. Things are just that much more fluid and therefore useful. I pared down the interactions on the previous watch to only necessary apps and complications as the load time was intolerable at times, but with the 5 I think I’m going to add more and more (slowly) and then use more of the watch for operations that would hitherto make me reach for my phone.

    I’m really enjoying it so far.

    12 November 2019 — French West Indies

    Happy Armistice Day

    I hope you had as peaceful a day as I did.


    11 November 2019 — French West Indies

    8 letter word. Abdicate.

    From an interview between Manoush Zomorodi (Note to Self Podcast) and David Hohusen (creator of Two Dots) in Manoush’s book Bored and Briliant.

    I like to think that users are smart enough that when they realize they’ve been tricked into a game with too many push notifications or other sleazy tactics, they will delete it.

    Whenever anyone says “I like to think people are smart and can figure it out for themselves” they are totally abdicating their responsibility. Given the evidence in numerous scientific studies, it is clear that most people are incapable of resisting the temptations cynically preyed upon by these applications and aggregators.

    6 November 2019 — French West Indies

    Birmingham, UK had one of the most vibrant record shop scenes in the country

    During the 70s and 80s, Birmingham became a Mecca for record stores. You could find almost anything, and what you couldn't find someone could import it for you,

    This list of 30 stores in the city brings me find memories of how I used to take the bus every Saturday from my town to Birmingham, for £3.50 return:

    I'd leave on an early bus, the take the last bus home, spending all day at my favourite store that is strangely not on this list — Don Christie’s. It was THE place to get the best Dub, Reggae and Hip Hop imports of the time.

    The base was so loud, the shop windows vibrated almost to breaking point. Warnings were posted to ensure you closed the door when entering the store. What great times I had.

    5 November 2019 — French West Indies

    Intentions to realisations

    In trying out this idea to write and publish something everyday for a month, I inevitably had a look at some of the ideas I've had for articles, blog posts and my newsletter.

    There's a lot of stuff there. A lot of ideas, most of whom will remain that way for good reason,

    And that is what this is all about, practicing and practicing some more, to help me turn my intentions to realisations. Something tangible, something interesting or — who knows — something brilliant.

    4 November 2019 — French West Indies

    Every device

    Every device with a non-user replaceable battery should be available on a subscription bases, with manufacturers and distributers bound to recover and recycle.

    This would allow the insatiable desire for consumerism, and allow sales to continue to grow, whilst preserving as much as possible the environment.

    Sure, some would game the system and some would ignore the incentives by dumping products, I suspect, however, that the numbers would be substantially reduced over time.

    3 November 2019 — French West Indies

    Only day two

    It’s only day two into my self-imposed folly of NaBloPoMo, and it is already difficult to find something to write about that is worth publishing.

    I like writing, I like blogging too, but barfing out whatever in my head just isn’t what I’m wired to do.

    I’ll keep it up though. If nothing else just to prove I can. Who knows, perhaps something of worth might come out if the experience.

    2 November 2019 — French West Indies


    Every November a writing challenge is started, NaNoWriMo. The goal is to write every day for the 30 days of November to complete a novel, hence the name — National Novel Writing Month.

    I’m not a novelist, but I do write and write quite a lot. Some of it is personal and private in my journal, and some is published on my newsletter. A lot just gets written and nothing much done to it.

    I thought I might take on the challenge, but in my own way, by writing and publishing on this blog every day for the 30 days of November.

    29 days to go.

    1 November 2019 — French West Indies

    Quick takes

    I’m always surprised how many pundits and commentators publish comments on as yet unreleased or unavailable products.

    Today is a great example, Apple announces AirPods Pro and those that should know better are already predicting that they fall out of ears, have bad battery life or are otherwise the best thing since the end of the Second World War.

    First post in comments. Oh dear.

    28 October 2019, F.W.I

    The Joy of Tech comic... Zuck, the Champion of Free Speech!

    Zuck, the Champion of Free Speech?

    A better perspective:

    The BBC killed the paragraph

    Is it just me?

    Am I alone?

    The only one that thinks that the way the BBC writes it's articles is awful to read?

    They have taken to writing one sentence per paragraph.

    Perhaps to break up the text.

    But it makes it more difficult to read.

    And mentally, the associated parts of the text that should be in one paragraph, are disconnected.

    Making your brain work harder to rejoin what's related.

    I do hope they stop doing it.

    It's distracting and frankly l, looks awful too.

    My opinion.

    14 October 2019 — French West Indies

    Book recommendation

    I really do think you should take the time to read this book.

    Talking to Strangers

    I get to the heart of why seemingly innocuous encounters can turn into tragic events. It additionally makes you think about yourself and the encounters you have with those strayers around you.

    20 September 2019 — French West Indies


    A wonderful short film worth watching on a big screen.


    A Film by Morgan Cooper

    Feeling better by effort

    I can’t quite put my finger on when exactly I decided to do it, but after more than a month I feel a lot better. Better physically, but better physiologically.

    I’ve been manipulating my life to fit in a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day, logging it using my (don’t laugh) 2nd Gen Apple Watch. I’ve had the watch for a few years now and I still wear it every day. I have a quick vacation at a hotel that was sports oriented — not in the Sports Bar way — and I’ve continued the regime up daily since.

    I’m about to get my bag together, so I can run/walk tonight for 45 mins or so. It sounds cliché and it is in away, but the motivation tools in the Apple Watch do help. I’m not an overly competitive person and motivating me is a lesson patience, but once I get going I tend not to stop easily.

    Real-world results are being noticed. I walk faster and longer for the same time, I ride my bike harder and for longer, my HRV is increasing and I just feel, like I said — better.

    New Series 5 Apple Watch for me as soon as I can get one (it’s not easy where I live).

    12 September 2019 — French West Indies

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