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Archive for the category “Creativity”


At the moment, I’m getting an absolute shedload of spam for some supposed new wonder-drug product called “Forskolin”

Now surely it can’t just be me that chuckles at the name, and thinks it’s referring to something somewhat ruder? And really? They couldn’t come up with a better name for a slimming product than something that makes you think “Foreskin” every time?


The current place has just launched a new product for their customers. They’re proud of it, and they’re flogging it now.

It’s been called “Alternative Reporting System for Executive Decisions”.

No-one – not one of ‘em, not marketing, not the board, no-one – has realised what the acronym for this product is. And they’re launching it.

I could tell them. I can’t be arsed.

[I so wish I was making this up. But I’m not]

Minimum Viable Product

One of the buzzwords in the current (but please God, not much longer) workplace is “Minimum Viable Product“. It basically means “The customer gets what they’ve asked for, and nothing more”.  In other words, “Yeah, fuck it, that’ll do”.

It’s a good concept when a business is starting, when you’re writing the first versions, where it’s a product idea and you don’t know if it’ll work, and/or what’s going to be the popular or desired features. So you write the minimum to launch it, make things work without bells and whistles, and find out what people want. It stops you from diving down the wrong path (and yes, mixed metaphors, live with it) and wasting time that’s valuable, that could be better spent on creating the things people do want.

It’s great for a startup, for a new product.

It’s NOT great in any other eventuality, and particularly not for an established product with customers paying shedloads. It leads to inconsistencies, weird functionality, and general oddities. Buttons disappear, sections are different, and it’s all a bit amateur.  And that’s exactly what we’ve got.

But can you persuade them? Nope. It’s the buzzword, it’s How Things Must Be.

Which just isn’t healthy.

Breaking Things

Last Friday there was a big(ish) story in the BBC and Media about the convicted paedophile who is requesting his laptop – complete with ‘non-obscene’ images of one of his victims. Dorset Police were quoted in the story as saying it would be ‘unlawful’ to delete/remove those images from the laptop, because they’re not technically obscene or showing nudity.

Now, aside from the fact that there’s something so blatantly wrong with this entire process (and why wasn’t the laptop just removed/destroyed as part of the evidence and ‘proceeds of crime’ bollocks?) then surely this is a perfect opportunity for a tragic IT-related ‘accident’?

Make sure it’s believable, could happen, and is feasible, and it’d be the devil’s own job to prove anything.

For example, a liquid spillage. Or leaving the machine next to – I don’t know – some kind of large magnet. Maybe the metal scanner in a doorway. Or just mis-filed in such a way that a) it can’t be found or b) it got destroyed. Lost property, IT security, avoidance of possibility for divulging person information.

There are many, many ways in which this could’ve never been an issue. The mis-filing and “sorry, can’t find it” would be easiest (and probably hardest to be disproved) but any of them would work nicely.  It’s more of a problem now, because they’ve admitted that a) it exists and b) it’s currently in an OK state. Ooops.

Break Contemplation

When this current contract ends, I’ve already got the next one lined up, which will be another 4-6 weeks of work, taking me through to the start of June. It’s a nice situation, having something already lined up and waiting to start – not all that common, and helped by the knowledge that I have no intention of extending this one at all.

It’s making me think about what’s next (i.e. what’s after that) and I’m actually contemplating taking a week off, disappearing to a cottage somewhere.

It’ll be expensive though. Not the cottage (or whatever) itself, that’s not too bad.  But I’ll still know that it’s costing me a week of work, which is a not-insignificant amount. Mind you, I haven’t actually had a proper break/holiday in more than two years, so it’s something I’m definitely thinking about.

I’ve got some ideas on locations, but also of things I want to do. But mainly just taking a break, and hopefully putting some of what’s in my head onto paper/disk/keyboard.

Right now, that’s sounding like quite the plan.


The Hermit, from the Rider-Waite tarot deckOver the years, I’ve often thought about finding a nice remote cottage, and ending up as a hermit, more or less. Shunning human contact for the most part, and being able to spend the time doing something creative.

Of course, as most of my nature and work is also pretty techie, the idea of a remote cottage in the middle of the moors somewhere is a bit of a stretch, there not being likely to be decent broadband anywhere nearby. If I were primarily doing writing, I could probably do it – but that particular aspect is still very much a pipe dream, albeit one that I’m still working on when I get the chance.

I still like the idea of it though – it’s still something that sticks with me, and even more so when I do travel up to the North-East and North-West, or Somerset/Devon. Maybe one day – depending on how everything else works out.

In the meantime though, it occurs to me that a lot of my current existence is quite hermit-like in many ways. I don’t interact with people around me all that much – I do with colleagues, to a degree, but in general prefer not to – and I’d rather be in my little house and spending time with my own company.

I have enough broadband (although I’d prefer more, but such is life at the moment) so really it’s the best of both worlds. Or at least it is for me – I suspect it would drive most people mental.

Things may change over time – there’s some things I’d like to change, and others I’m not bothered by – but in quite a number of ways, I’m actually really quite content at the moment. It’s a strange state of affairs.


One of the things I’m truly bad at is trying to find a balance in my life. I keep trying, and struggling to do so, and then giving up and falling by the wayside once more. I know that the way I live and work isn’t overly balanced (or settled, but that’s another set of posts – past, present and future).

At the moment I’m in another “trying” phase. (And yes, yes, I know, “I’m always trying”. Blah blah. Pipe down at the back) I’d like things to be a bit more balanced, to have the time and space to do stuff, and to be able to get going on a couple of projects that I keep on not getting round to.

In fairness, I’m (currently) doing better than usual. I’m getting most of the stuff done that I want to – although a couple of things have slipped through the cracks so far – and trying to build up a schedule, or at least a routine, that’ll allow me to deal with most things.

This is mainly being achieved by dint of

  • to-do lists (as written about previously)
  • forcing myself to still do the bits I’m not keen on
  • knowing that if I don’t, I’ll just be annoyed at myself, and have no sodding excuses

But is that balanced? No, not really. I’m still trying to do more stuff for myself as well – or at least recognise the need for some downtime – but as always that’s the bit that sort of fails.  I’ll aim to improve it over the span of the year, but for now there’s things that need to be done. (Or at least started off properly)

All told, it’s been a fairly good start to the year. Let’s see if it continues…

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