String? Washing powder? What’s the difference?

15 04 2015

I’m a Product Manager. I Like To Capitalise Words for no good reason whatsoever, though I think that partly comes from learning German (which capitalises all nouns, not just proper ones) as a kid and then becoming a software engineer where camelCaseNaming recently became popular for long variable names. I say recently, because when I first started, X1 was considered long and it was a struggle to get people to understand that “index” or “count” was easier to understand and the computer didn’t really mind after all.

I’ve long had a love of word play, puzzles, hidden meanings etc., and this has sometimes helped in my current role. Of late I’ve been contemplating names for a software consultancy, and was reminded of the mad extremes that marketing can get to when sight is lost of the goal. If it becomes an end in itself, you can end up with Simpson’s Individual Emperor Stringettes in the blink of an eye… as only Monty Python can truly illustrate.

Bart’s Blackboard

14 04 2015

Ever wondered if someone collected all those different things Bart was forced to write on the blackboard?

Well they did…

Bart’s Blackboard.

Bart's Blackboard


14 04 2015

What an interesting concept. A great conversation starter too!

In Pittsburgh, women are paid 76c on average to a man’s $1. To raise awareness of this built in discrimination, this little arts and crafts shop discounts its prices for women by the same amount.  Called Less Than 100, it sells gifts like ceramics, paper crafts and art by independent makers.

Read more at Mashable: Women pay 76 cents to men’s $1 at shop promoting wage equality.



Cards Against Humanity for women in STEM

31 03 2015

BuzzFeed tells me that the sly wits over at Cards Against Humanity are producing a new add-on pack to help them generate funds for a new scholarship.

If you’ve never played CAH, you really should. It’s a great way to break down barriers between parents and teenagers. Or random strangers at a party. They even do different packs to cater for cultural differences – UK and Canadian variants are available as well as the US one. The insults are the same, but you get a different selection of political and TV personalities to aim them at.

This new scholarship will help fund women in STEM courses. A good thing in itself, but personally I’m not convinced funding is the major reason women are under-represented in the sciences.

Cards Against Humanity’s New Pack Will Pay For Women To Study Science – BuzzFeed News.

Art meets… well, art!

24 03 2015

This Richard Wilson piece was inspired by the last line of “The Italian Job” (The 1969 original, not the travesty of a remake.) Installation Art Sees A Bus Precariously Hanging Off The Edge Of A Building –

I guess Kowloon is probably relieved it wasn’t inspired by that other great quote from the film…

Don’t regret regret

24 03 2015

Personally, I find TED talks a bit hit and miss. That’s not to say they’re not a great vehicle for spreading ideas. Not all ideas are great in any case. Others depend on your perspective as a recipient of that idea.

This one came to me via a LinkedIn page. I’m not familiar with Kathryn Schulz as a writer, but I found her presentation style a little staid. All that said, I thought her piece was quite thought-provoking. Her message, ultimately is this:

Regret doesn’t remind us that we did badly; it reminds us that we could do better.

I can buy that.

Kathryn Schulz: Don’t regret regret | Talk Video |


19 03 2015

The best thing about parenthood (apart from all the practice beforehand) is that you get to boast about all the achievements your kids have. They’re not your own, for sure. Though biologically the children are “half you”, the input they receive from education, society in general and who knows what other stimuli more than outweighs the input you have into who they become. The achievements are theirs alone. Their mistakes you can take blame for though. ;)

I am very proud of all three of our offspring. They’re all very different, and way more rounded individuals than I could possibly have hoped for. They’re each very broad-minded, caring, sensitive and thoughtful. In short – all the things I am not.

Number one offspring is just finishing off her Life Sciences degree at Waterloo University out in still-frigid Ontario.

Wikipedia: University of Waterloo


It is a co-op course which meant it ran long, but she will graduate with some real-world work experience as well as a degree. (Useful things like dissecting rats and quality testing factory made pasta. Not at the same job, I hasten to say.) Plus a string of Dean’s Roll certificates to-boot. She’d skipped a grade when we moved from the UK, so the course running long was kind of absorbed in that. To say she’s focused would be like calling the sun “a bit bright”. She’s the type of personality that is gutted by a 99% mark… for getting one wrong. Again, nothing like me.

Anyway, today’s a great day. She’s finally heard that she’s been accepted into Waterloo’s school of optometry. They have an inhuman application process that culminates in announcing the results “some time in March”. This forces all the candidates to fret all day every day in March until the school deigns to publish the results online. Couple that with “the system” being down for hours on end here and there. Stress on a stick, I think you’d agree. And normal studies are still on-going during this. You’ve still not quite finished your degree.

Today she finally breathed again. And I get to be even more proud of the achievements she’s attained. Oh, and my promised fishing lodge – when she makes her first million – is one step closer…

Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science


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