Category: Actual Blogging (page 1 of 4)

Introducing Waterman’s Fortnightly

Waterman's Fortnightly newsletter

Waterman’s Fortnightly is a new thing I’m doing every, er, fortnight or so. It’s a newsletter covering interesting things, with a slight slant towards digital content and community stuff.

This is a glimpse of the fourth one – if you find it interesting you might want to sign up for future dispatches.

  • Has any work software ever received as much glowing coverage as Slack? You can barely open a browser without encountering an article claiming how it’s set to change workplace culture forever
  • …depending on your workplace. The majority of office workers are more likely to identify with the story of the US government employee who worked from the bathroom in order to bypass his employer’s IT security measures.
  • Slack is supposed to be so compulsive that users are reluctant to leave the office. And while we’re all addicted to web-enabled devices these days, this dispatch from 1982 illustrates computers’ ability to transfix us before you could even do much with them.
  • If smug Slackers’ screenshots are the summit of #LoveMyJob self-satisfaction, what’s the opposite? Toshers are certainly contenders for Quite Likely The Worst Job Ever, having made their living sifting through raw sewage in 19th century London. Pure-finders run them close, though.

Shared recently in Non-Fiction Addiction

The self-castrated hatmaker who killed the guy who killed Abraham Lincoln; why the FBI investigated The Kingsmen and their hit ‘Louie Louie'; what became of the children who survived the Holocaust; and more at Non-Fiction Addiction.

A little suntin suntin for the marketomatons

Links for online content and marketing folk. Skip ahead to Phew glad that bit’s over if that sentence makes you spit chips.

Phew, glad that bit’s over

Stuart Waterman

 

Secrid Miniwallet v. Jimi wallet: woyal wallet wumble

I hate fat wallets, and I cannot lie. And I don’t want to end up like this guy:

This is why, a few years ago, I started using a Jimi wallet. A slim, hard plastic card wallet billed as ‘The wallet for people who hate wallets’, the Jimi wallet won’t be to everyone’s taste. What you gain in svelteness of wallet, you lose in… well, it’s hard plastic. If you’re used to leather, the Jimi wallet could feel a bit tacky. You also lose the compartment where you store your money. That’s not a big deal to me as I tend to carry it loose, but I appreciate that for others this is the raison d’etre for having a wallet.

Anyway, my Jimi boy has been on its last legs for a few months now. The plastic fold that acts as a hinge has half-torn, and I managed to snap off half of a piece of its innards, which means I have a jagged piece of plastic about to slice my fingers every time I open it up.

I got some good usage out of my Jimi wallet, and I was quite prepared to buy another one (albeit perhaps in a snazzier colour than the original, which was black). However, it seems they’re a bit harder to get hold of in the UK these days, and I wasn’t inclined to pay for international shipping. So I started researching alternatives, which is how I encountered the Secrid range – and after one look at the Secrid Miniwallet’s whizzy card release mechanism, I was pretty much sold. At the time of writing I’ve owned it for about three weeks, and am thus far very happy with it.

Secrid is a Dutch brand whose wallets all contain an aluminium RFID card protector (one of the wallets even contains two of them). They call this feature, enigmatically, the Cardprotector. The Cardprotector is intended to prevent your RFID cards – that is, travel passes, chipped debit/credit cards, etc – from being read when they shouldn’t be. The card release mechanism means you can eject your cards and select the one you want to use at any particular time.

For anyone else wondering about the pros and cons of a Secrid Miniwallet versus a Jimi wallet, here are my findlings. I’ve compared them on price, size, style, bouncebackability, durability and capacity.

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Opportunity! Head of Digital Engagement – Latin American Multinational

Head of Digital Engagement (Latin America)

Was approached for this terrific role recently. I’m not too keen on travelling for work, so the recruiter asked me to share it with my ‘network’. Good luck if you apply!

Full job ad: Head of Digital Engagement – Latin American Multinational (PDF)

My first post on Medium.com: ‘Start Failing Immediately’

Success-oriented failure blueprint

Live not ye in fear ye

Complimented by a BAFTA-winner, no biggie

New Star Soccer retirement suggestions by Stuart Waterman

New Star Soccer. To paraphrase Foreigner, I’ve been waiting for a game like this to come into my life.

I won’t bang on about it, but if you’re into football and you haven’t played it, downstall New Star Soccer into your device immediately (but not if you have exams or important stuff coming up – this thing will eat your life). It beat some big guns to win a BAFTA Games award earlier this year, in a victory pleasingly comparable to, say, Rotherham United beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final.

If you’ve played the game you’ll know there are elements of New Star Soccer that could be improved. And, like any good modern-day outfit, the company behind the game tends to ask for opinions/suggestions from users through sozialmedia. I happened to have some time on my hands, so I submitted my suggestions regarding incorporating players’ retirement age into the game on their Facebook page.

They were warmly received by the person behind the feed, who I believe is the game’s creator, Simon Read. I reproduce them here for posterity/royalties should they be taken up in the next update of the game.

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Socks

socks poem

SOCKS
They shield your feet, make you feel real neat
SOCKS
They cushion your shoes, take away the blues
SOCKS
With some buttons and thread, you can give them both heads
SOCKS
Need a holder for your phone? It’s already sewn
SOCKS
If you need to drain rice, a sock will suffice
SOCKS
Having grapes for lunch? A sock can carry a bunch
SOCKS
Put one on each ear, winter holds no fear
SOCKS
Absorb your tears when you weep, as you go to sleep
SOCKS

 

Everything I read in 2012

Everything I read in 2012

Into #longreads? Check out my Google+ community, Non-Fiction Addiction

The best thing about the Christmas/New Year period is All The Lists. Lists lists lists. Lists. (Children may feel otherwise, but what do they know.)

I love browsing end of year lists. It’s a great way to catch up on stuff you missed, and it fills those somnolent post-turkey holiday days like a charm. Whether the lists are in newspapers, mags, blogs… Best books, best gadgets, best songs, worst songs, worst pop-up restaurants where you can’t reserve a table and the queuing system amounts to ‘elbow a fellow aspiring diner in the trachea to get a whiff of hipster-fried chicken’ (Wishbone Chicken Brixton, you are death); yes, I love all the lists.

In bygone years I tended to create sprawling music playlists. A top ten of the year was no good. It always needed to be comprehensive, unwieldy and, ideally, drive me to the brink of insanity while I compiled it (example: my Best Of 2010 Spotify playlist features 192 tracks). You know you’ve made a good fist at a list if the mere thought of trying to fulfil your original vision makes you want to cry.

Which brings me to my 2012 end of year list. As I’ve babbled previously, this year has seen my reading habits change significantly. I didn’t read many books (boo), but I did learn that I could send longform articles to my Kindle (yay). Since sending stuff to my Kindle creates a record of all such articles in my Amazon account, I figured it might be interesting (for me, if nobody else) to put everything I’d read this year into a list.

Sadly this only occurred to me in November, and since Amazon accounts only record text information as opposed to links, it meant I had to (I say ‘had to’):

1. Trawl all the way through my Amazon account

2. Copy the title of each article and/or its author

3. Paste this information into Google

4. Go to the source article link and copy the relevant info & URL

5. Paste this information into my list

Now, it might not sound that arduous. But by the time I’d finished compiling my list of Every Article I Read On My Kindle In 2012, it was 457 items long. That’s a whole lot of copying and pasting, and I’d say it’s easily the most boring way to spend time I’ve yet devised. It really cut into my Christmas shopping efforts, too (this year everyone will get a Keep Calm And Carry On tea towel and be happy with it).

This list may be something people like to browse through. I hope so, given the time I spent on it. But when I got the idea I think my main motivation was this: I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone do this before. Why would they? It’s insane, and people have lives. So while it would almost certainly have been generally more useful to create a ‘Best of 2012′ list, I figured people like Longreads and Longform.org have that covered.

(Update: OK, I caved. Here are my 30 Great Reads Of 2012, compiled for The Electric Typewriter; and here’s a Readlist of all of them, should you wish to export them all to your device in one go.)

So my list is unfocused, wide-ranging and includes articles from before 2012. The oldest was published in 1869, but the majority are from 2000 onwards. It’s all non-fiction, and it paints a picture of a reader who is variously interested in, among other things, Scientology, serial killers, Bill Murray, paperclips, pornstars, Carly Rae Jepson, magic, Reddit, David Sedaris, con artists and the Olympics.

If you take a look at it and find something that piques your interest, I hope you’ll share it with others. It might make my RSI worth it.

Every Article I Read On My Kindle In 2012

A mention for the places where I tended to find all these links, and which I continue to browse regularly:

I’ve also created a longform RSS bundle that collects a bunch of these into a single feed which you can add to Google Reader.

Into #longreads? Check out my Google+ community, Non-Fiction Addiction
Update: Thanks to @hollyjunesmith for sharing the list with one of the Twitter big dogs – and welcome to those who ended up here as a result.

 

Jupiter believe it! WeWood Jupiter watch review

WeWood JupiterMy review of the WeWood Date watch is the post that consistently drives the most traffic to this here domain. Didn’t plan it that way, but there we are. The WeWood folk got in touch recently to ask me to try out another model. This is a quick look at it; for a more in-depth look at WeWood, check out my earlier review.

This time I tried the WeWood Jupiter. It’s a dual dial affair with a more modern feel than the Date. It’s probably the WeWood that would appeal to the kind of folk who like things like Tokyoflash watches, although the Jupiter does have the slight advantage of actually allowing you to tell the time without making your brain jump through hoops.

The Jupiter flaunts the WeWood brand a little more than my other watch. It’s in a nice subtle way though, with the brand name below the face and a little ‘WW’ logo above it.

Over to my official photographer now, who I shall be firing imminently.

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How to send articles from your Android phone to your Kindle

Send to Kindle AndroidThis is just a quick follow-up to my post about sending articles from Longform.org to your Kindle. While I’d sussed out how to do this with just one click from my laptop, I hadn’t found a reliable way to do so from my Android phone. Or at least not a way that didn’t require lots of annoying tapping around to get it done.

What I wanted was a way to use the ‘Share via’ function in the Android browser, and have ‘Send to Kindle’ be one of the options presented (alongside the usual suspects like Facebook, Twitter, etc).

After trying a couple of apps that didn’t consistently do the trick (nor offer much guidance on how to fix the glitches), and plus not really wanting to have the Amazon Kindle app taking up space on my phone, I tried the Push to Kindle app by FiveFilters.org.

Hey presto! It works really well and I found the instructions on how to set it up straightforward, which means it’s worth paying the £1.50 they charge. And even better, it uses Readability‘s early open source code – which means the article that reaches your Kindle is all cleaned-up and easy to read.

The developers even made a little video to show you how to use it:

(Tip: In the ‘Send from’ section of the set-up screen I just used my personal email address, because I’ve already set that up to be one of the email addresses from which my Kindle will accept articles.)

Download Push to Kindle from Google Play

By the way, if you’re looking for good longform stuff to send to your Kindle, some other sources I’ve been using recently in addition to Longform.org are:

And a few recent favourite articles I’ve encountered:

What sport taught me by the age of 12

Monchengladbach map

It’s difficult to justify eschewing social engagements just because 22 strangers are kicking a ball around on a field thousands of miles away, or because an array of non-British women are about to jump over a collection of hurdles (literal hurdles mind, not puny figurative ones).

It’s irrational, really. But if you’ve looked forward to the big sporting tournaments for your whole life, it’s a difficult thing to just turn off. That’s why I virtually disappeared during Euro 2012 and have gone to ground during the Olympics.

Sport was a huge part of my childhood. I played football, but my obsession was about more than the thrill of scoring the odd goal, and it was about more than just watching. To me, it presented an alternate universe as compelling as the likes of Star Wars.

I read and re-read books full of football statistics. I read and re-read and re-read an ITV Sport-produced tome about the history of the Olympics (football and athletics were – and remain – my favourites).

I drew pictures of goals being scored. You know those playbook-style diagrams you see in newspapers, where they illustrate the movement of the ball leading up to a goal? I was drawing those – loads of them, uselessly illustrated using colouring pencils and felt-tips – on a daily basis. I used Star Wars figures as footballers, kicking a Subbuteo ball around on the carpet and trying to score past my brother who would be holding Darth Vader as a goalkeeper (Subbuteo itself was always too frustrating for us, so we invented our own, more free-flowing variation).

I watched and re-watched videos of league goals and, in the absence of any other useful information filling up my brain, knew the home and away score for every match, for every team, throughout the season. You could have asked me what the score was for, say, Everton v. Derby 6 months ago, and I would know. I would also know who scored all the goals.

When I think about the time I now spend commuting, ironing, washing dishes, cooking, socialising… all of this time, when I was a kid, was spent obsessing over sport. There was nothing, nothing more exciting than the prospect of a new World Cup, European Championships, FA Cup or Olympic Games. So actually, I think I’ve done pretty well to emerge from such an all-consuming obsession a relatively well-rounded human being. Sure, I spent, cumulatively, a full 24 hours watching football during the opening week of Euro 2012 – but at least I still made it into work and somehow managed to feed myself (with awful, unnaturally-hued food – but no matter).

Of late I’ve been thinking about what sport taught me during my formative years. I’m not talking about ‘teamwork’ and ‘determination’, or any of that life-lesson pishposh. I’m talking about practical, tangible, how-do-you-spell-Mönchengladbach general knowledge. Because following football means more than just watching a ball being kicked around, and the Olympics is about more than chucking a stick into a field.

There’s always a context there, and it’s from these contexts that I think my childhood education was actually improved by sport. I’m not saying I learned more than I did in school, but my awareness and knowledge of the world was definitely enhanced. Not with semi-ironic stuff like the fact that, ha ha, the Germans never miss penalties – I mean actual, semi-useful facts and figures.

I’ve had a bit of a think about this, and here’s some of the stuff I learned as a result of being a sports-nerdlinger child.

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