An Unexpected Gift…

Just a quick post to say a public thank you to Tia at WhoAteMyCrayons. Not just for an unexpected present that arrived in the post yesterday, but also for being an awesome designer who I’m pleased to be able to work with on occasional projects and wholeheartedly recommend for others.

And also for her amazing efforts with Digital People in Peterborough.

But anyway, ignoring my terrible photography, here’s what I received…


Anything that helps me plan more effectively and become more organised is always appreciated. Especially when it’s personalised, as an extra incentive to use it.

Considering the common ‘January Blues’, and the fact that I’ve returned to work after Christmas both fired up to make lots of progress, and battling a cold, and it’s a very welcome boost to remind me to keep moving forwards. And to finally find a nice office space to be able to put it up in (and take better pictures…)

It’s lovely quality, looks great and makes me smile when I’m trying to sort my life out. And it turns out you can buy your own with free personalisation), from Tia’s store for just £12.95.


Giving More Thanks in 2017:

One thing I definitely plan to do in 2017 is give more thanks to the many, many people who have had an impact on my life and work. It’s something that’s easy to let slip, but it’s definitely going to be a big part of changing my habits in 2017. And I’m reminded that although a quick email or instant message is nice, doing something which involves a little more effort is even better.


The Joy of Exploding Kittens

The chance to praise an enjoyable family card game also gives me an excuse to test the Medium and Amazon Associates plugins I’ve just set up. And what could be a better test than the joy of Exploding Kittens?

For those of you not familiar with famed  web comic The Oatmeal, and creator Matthew Inman, I should probably explain what I’m talking about before you suspect me of animal cruelty. As my son did when I first queued to buy the game at Christmas.

I should point out that after a substantial pre-teen level sulk, he not only enjoyed playing the game but proclaimed it one of the best ever.

Exploding Kittens

As you can tell, Exploding Kittens is a card game for people into kittens, explosions and a certain sense of humour. In that they possess one, in my personal opinion.

I’d say it took a little longer than two minutes to learn how to play. Mainly because I was the only one of three generations in my family to actually read the instructions and attempt to understand them. But no matter how much older relatives try to ignore the actual rules, preferring whatever they’ve made up in their head, you’ll have it pretty much nailed by the time you’ve played a game.

Like all the best games, Exploding Kittens is simple. You have a hand of cards. You play whatever cards you want. And then you take a card at the end of your turn, which may result in an exploding kitten taking you out of the game.

There’s also the chance to irritate other players by using cards to stop them doing what they intend, or by simply using the game to target them again and again.

Obviously I enjoyed both the irritation and being able to constantly target my father in every game we played.

The joy of Exploding Kittens was that it was incredibly simple to get started, the humour worked across a 60-year age gap, and it proved that children will enjoy ‘traditional’ entertainment as much as ‘digital’ fun as long as it’s good.

Compared the price, complexity and frustration of Star Wars Risk, which we also tried playing,  I don’t think I’m overselling it as a joy to play.

Before you rush to buy a copy, I should make clear there’s a child-friendly standard version, and an adult sweary NSFW version, so make sure you get the right one. There’s also an expansion pack out now (Imploding Kittens), which I’m eager to try as it includes a wearable ‘cone of shame’ which is part of the game.

If all goes to plan, there should be a handy Amazon link below for the standard version.

It’s an affiliate link, which means you don’t pay more, but I potentially earn a small commission if you buy something. Which I can then put towards buying the expansion pack.

And it also means that the official Amazon Associates WordPress plugin is working properly, which is good news as it makes linking and managing that content much easier. I definitely recommend it so far, alongside Skimlinks.

It’ll also be interesting to see whether it works when the post is auto-cross posted to Medium.

Here goes, and let’s hope no kittens explode in the process…


Support the Campaign to Repeal Section 40

How do you feel about having your world shaped entirely by the wealthy in a fake news, post truth world? Because Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act makes that very possible – even beyond what we’ve seen in 2016.

Put simply, any small newspaper or multi-author website/blog can write something true, and prove it in court, but in the process be completely bankrupted by having to pay the costs run up by the person who has sued them.

That also includes campaigning groups.

So basically, it won’t matter if you know about wrongdoing or corruption by any wealthy individual. It won’t matter whether or not you have proof which can be shown in court that what you know is true.

All that will matter is that the majority of people and organisations won’t ever be able to publish it without going bankrupt in the process.


You can support the campaign to Repeal The Gagging Clause by signing the Open Rights Group petition. There’s also probably never been a better or more important time to support somethine like ORG by joining or donating.


State of Digital’s Future of Search Google Hangout

I was honored to be part of State of Digital’s Google Hangout earlier today, which was based around the question ‘What is the Future of Search’.

It was a really interesting discussion, and was expertly hosted by Bas van den Beld. In addition to myself, the other invitees were Dixon Jones, Gianluca Fiorelli, Krystian Szastok, Russel McAthy and my old friend Tim Stewart. It eventually ran to 90 minutes which you can watch below.

Beyond the fact my happiness at being involved managed to overwhelm my self-conscious desire to avoid appearing in photos and on video, it also reminded me of a few video and webcam lessons and techniques which I completely forgot to do – so for those who want to look a bit more professional in any Google Hangouts, webcam videos or live chats, I’ll run through my mistakes over on TheWayoftheWeb blog.

But it’s definitely reinforced my aim to be involved in more video and speaking opportunities this year. Just need to get a haircut first…


The joy of typos…

It happens to everyone at some point, including me. And it’s one of those things that the internet can set in stone when there’s no easy way to edit, it’s in Google’s cache, or people have already started commenting.

Still it definitely made me chuckle.


Way to go Brain – from Thunderbirds to Fast & Furious


Back to the Furure?


Typos happen in print and on the web. Always worth a chuckle, and should always be a learning experience for those involved, not a disciplinary one…