When Apple (or Anyone Else) Really Gets a Product Right

Being British, I have a story about tea. It goes like this: For my entire life, it had tasted wrong. Not bad, exactly, but not quite right. I tried all different kinds, and just about every brand I could find. I drank it without milk which made it taste a little better1, and sometimes added lemon which pushed it a little more in the right direction. But still: tea tasted wrong and I had no idea why. Then one evening, my flatmate at the time asked me if I'd like a cup. I politely declined, explaining that it would

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The Lady Who Lives in the Tube on Top of The Fridge

In our kitchen is a short white cylinder. Inside is an array of microphones, always listening passively. Whenever someone says the magic word it starts actively listening for instructions. This might be to start a timer, it might be to add something to our shopping list, or perhaps to turn a smart light or socket on or off. Within moments a feminine voice informs that the instructions have been carried out. This is really, really convenient.

You might be thinking: "So what? My phone does the exact same thing," but you'd only be about half right about that. Your phone

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My Gymnastic Bodies Review

Previously I talked about getting back on the exercise horse, and how this lead my to following Gymnastic Bodies as my program. At the end of that post I promised a review of it, and so here it is. I also promised to talk about my nerdy system of tracking it, but this piece ran long so I'll come back to that in a later post.

The short version is this: I bought Fundamentals, since it seemed like the best place to start. It's not great. I don't recommend it. Still, I heard good things about Foundation, so I picked

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International Women's Day

I'm going to interrupt the regularly scheduled (ish) programming in order to talk about something topical. If you're reading this on the day it's published, today is International Women's Day. In the grander scheme of things, we shouldn't really need to explicitly devote a day to recognising people who make up a little over half of the world's population. Regretfully it very much seems that we do, however. That being the case, I'd like to talk about three women who've had a huge influence on my life. Which is to say: people who've had as big an influence on my

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Getting Back on the Exercise Horse

When I resolved to start training again, I had a problem: what sort of program should I follow? After a good eight or nine months of not going to the gym I was pretty damn out of shape. When I wrote my previous posts on workout programs I was following the Greyskull Linear Progression program. Linear progression programs are great for beginners because you can safely and quickly increase the amount you lift. As the naming suggests, you can increase it more or less linearly over time.

After a while these gains begin to tail off, and at the time

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Building My Shiny New Website Part 3: Tech Stack

This will be my last post on building the new implementation of this site. Having previously talked about the choice of platform and the theme, I’m now going on a quick dive into all of the other tech which keeps the site running the way I like it.

Excitingly (for me), this means I get to make diagrams. Let’s start with this monster, which covers every element in the tech stack (or at least every element I can think of):

Now that looks cool and all, and was a lot of fun1 to make, but it’s

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Goals for 2017

I don’t really do new years resolutions. They just don’t seem to work for me. I don’t see that there’s anything that special about January 1st. It isn’t even the first day of the year for a reasonable portion of the planet. Expecting to make sudden and positive life changes on that day just seems to silly and destined to fail. Especially given that I’m probably hungover. That said, setting goals for the year ahead does work for me, though I realise it’s a fairly arbitrary distinction.

Previously I’ve set vague goals,

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Building my Shiny New Website Part 2: Theme

I built the theme of the previous Jekyll based incarnation of this site myself. If I’m entirely honest I made a bit of hash of it. I just hacked the default Jekyll layout around a bit and slotted in some colours I though might look reasonable. They did not, in practice, look reasonable. Neither did the fonts, the vertical rhythm or just about any other part of it.

This time I resolved that if I was going to build my own theme I was going to start from scratch. If you’re going to fail, you might as well

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My Procedural Landscape Generation Project

A while ago I started working on a procedural landscape generation project and then... I stopped. I didn't stop because I was no longer interested in the subject (I assure you I very much am), but because a) my free time got a lot more limited; and b) I'd bitten off more than I could chew and didn't know where to go next.

Some of the ideas original ideas from that project have become an entirely new (and very non-obviously linked) side project. Which has actual clear goals. I plan on writing about it soon.

There are a couple of

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Building my Shiny New Website Part 1: Platform

This is a post which has been a long time coming. I’ve been planning it since I started building the new version of this site, which is coming up on over a year ago now. Step one was to choose the platform.

Having used Wordpress before, I knew I didn’t want to use it again. Whilst “old, popular and boring” is probably a pretty good metric for what you should use when it comes to any sort of backend technology, Wordpress feels like the past. At this point it’s an unfocussed and generic website engine, and a

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