Sunday, September 28, 2014

Twitter in the eye of the beholder

I use Tweetbot (and I am a big fan) to read my twitter stream on the iPad. I've recently started using it on my iPhone. I particularly like the way it synchronises between the two devices (and many other things such as muting).

However I have been surprised by the different reading experience on the two devices. On the iPad one gets to see more of the twitter stream and one is more inclined to follow a link as the iPad is well designed for longer reading.

On the iPhone you get to see less of the twitter stream and while the screen resolution is very good the iPhone isn't really designed for long reads. All as one would expect.

The big surprise to me was the prominence of the tweet pictures in Tweetbot on the iPhone. They are significantly more dominant, as can be seen in my screen shots. Presumably this is a design decision.


As a reader my experience is different. My eye is caught by the picture and I am more inclined to be drawn to read or follow a link. Something to note when composing a tweet. The impact is in the eye of the beholder.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Farewell faithful companion (Nokia 3120)

Until recently I may have been the last person in the civilised world (and certainly in my household) not to possess a smartphone. However I was the proud possessor of a Nokia 3120, a candy bar style silver beauty of a phone.

It held its charge for almost two weeks. It fitted into a small zip pocket on my work trousers, weighed almost nothing and never, ever had a technical problem of any sort. I will admit that I am not a big user of telephony of any sort, preferring txt to voice and when using txt on my Nokia I never used two words when one would do. In fact I often used one word. Usually 'okay' or 'yes'. I never mastered speed texting on a phone with no predictive text and no alphanumeric keypad. It suited my parsimonious use of the language. I was contactable and that was the main thing.

However there were one or two things that I couldn't do (such as check my email, browse the web, look up a map, take a photo or use any form of social media) and they, combined with the deteriorating screen and battery life, pushed me over the edge.

I miss the old phone, constant (and usually silent) companion for over 8 years. All things pass but nostalgia is forever.



Saturday, September 13, 2014


When I celebrated a significant birthday a few years ago I asked the family to contribute towards a bench, which they kindly did. It took me many months to find the right bench but it is now one of the joys of my life.

The bench sits under cover so I can use it all year around. In the winter I will sit on it during the middle of the day. In summer I will take my breakfast out to the bench or sit whilst I barbecue in the evening. At this time of the year it is perfect for an early morning cup of coffee and little bit of writing. The sun changes position as the seasons change and I can sit on different parts of the bench accordingly. It is nice to be made to pay attention to the way each day is a little different to the day before. I can sit and watch the rain fall on the garden. I have somewhere to put my cup. Someone can come and sit next to me. There is a lot to like about a bench. One of the great inventions. Everyone should have one.


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Leaking tap - afterword

When I was struggling with the leaky garden tap I was also struggling with the mains tap.
It was very difficult to turn off and in the end I replaced the old tap with a trickle still coming through the pipes.

However the brains trust encouraged me to report the difficult mains tap to the water authority, which I did using a web form. Imagine my surprise when I came home that same day and it had been replaced with a bright shiny new tap.

I was curious about how it was done. Turning off the water in the street would have to be done from down the road and would inconvenience everyone in the street and take a lot longer for the plumber. My question was answered by examining the evidence. Clearly the plumber had just taken off the tap, water gushing, replaced it with a new one. The job would have taken less than 30 seconds. Neat.



Sunday, September 07, 2014

Fixing a leaking tap

This is not an allegory.

The front garden tap was leaking. I would replace the washer. How hard could that be.

Turn off the mains.

Undo the top of the tap. First problem. The pipe was only loosely fixed to the wall and I had no firm anchor. First solution, use another wrench to hold the tap (against my knee) while I undid the top.

Take out the old washer. Second problem the washer seemed to be very unusual or it had broken in the tap.

Consult the brains trust via email. Suggestion, just get the broken white bit out. That proved too hard.

My sister suggested I just replace the whole tap. Better suggestion.

Go to big warehouse place and buy a new tap. Umm. Is it 15mm or 20mm? Didn't bring old tap (it was busy keeping the reservoir from emptying into our front garden). Make educated guess. Buy 20mm tap. Take off old tap. Realise educated guess was wrong. Back to big warehouse (conveniently open lots of hours on the weekend). Buy new tap.

Second solution, replace whole tap. Success!

Sometimes the smallest jobs can take just the most effort.


Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Moomintroll nanoblock

A colleague brought back a little something for me from Japan, inspired by my recent musings on Tove Jansson and her Moomin masterpieces.

For nanoblocks I needed an expert with skills developed on Lego and honed on Minecraft. And with little fingers. Mr13 was summoned.

Instructions were required.

Coming together from the ground up (looks like Minecraft in the real world!)

The completed Moomintroll.

Complete with a tail! Look closely.

Thank you Matthias.