Morning coffee

Desperately seeking caffeine

I’m a Monster addict. I typically have one can a day, and often two (occasionally more!). When I travelled to Portland, OR with my wife I was in heaven to discover the 24oz Mega Monster cans.

I know it’s not good for me, and over the last year I’ve been trying hard to wean myself off them – without much success. With four kids, a full time (fantastic) job, two school governorships, and – you know – life I feel like I need a little extra.

As a Brit I also like my tea; when I’m off Monster my tea consumption goes up and vice versa. However I don’t get the same kick from tea (unless I load it up with sugar, which defeats the health benefits); that oft-quoted fact about tea containing more caffeine is before the tea is brewed.

Since I’m a professional coder I feel like I’m letting the side down by not drinking coffee. I’ve tried – repeatedly – but I’ve never really enjoyed coffee. The smell, the taste. I’ve been told this is because I’m drinking the wrong stuff (instant == bad), but on the few occasions I’m somewhere that does decent coffee (or, you know, Starbucks) I typically go for my preferred Chai Tea Latte. It’s a hard habit to break. :-)

Every so often I’ll have another try at coffee; buying a different brand and/or loading it up with sugar & milk, but it never really works and back to the Monster/tea I go.

Last night while picking up a bit of shopping I spotted some Nescafe Azera Latte instant sachets on offer and – having seen one of my coffee drinking friends like the brand – I picked some up on a whim. We’ll see how this attempt goes…

BTW, the awesome handle-less cup in the photo was purchased on another trip with my wife to Copenhagen, Denmark.

Embracing the competition

I’m a sporadic podcast listener, and since I switched back to an iPhone I’ve been worse than usual. Today I remembered about the Overcast app from Marco Arment, so I duly installed it and started playing with it.

This section from the settings screen really resonated with me:



The simple fact that he acknowledges and even encourages you to try out the competition speaks volumes. Well done.

From Novice to Master, and Back Again

David Murphy:

Just like that awkward moment when you realise you’re WTF-ing your own code… :-)

Originally posted on D-Mac's Stuff:

In 1985, I was a freshman at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. The college had a VAX 11/780 running 4.2BSD and a PDP-11/70 running v7 with some Berkeley and local code hacked in. It was my first experience with multi-user systems other than dialing into an MS-DOS BBS or two.

The college’s Academic Computing Center had printouts of the 4.2BSD manuals, plus some home-grown documentation, available for sale so students could learn how to use UNIX. One week I sat in the Science Center terminal room and started going through the alphabetical list of the commands available on the VAX, trying each one and reading its man page to learn what it did.

Eventually I got to “su”. “Become the super-user”? What’s that? Does it involve wearing a cape? Sounds interesting, so I tried it. To my disappointment, it just asked for a password, and wouldn’t do anything.

Shortly thereafter…

View original 188 more words

A Walk in Whinlatter Forest

This weekend my family and I took a walk in Whinlatter Forest, following the Gruffalo’s Child trail. I’m not much of a photographer – I rarely have a camera with me other than my phone – but it’s something I would like to get better at. With a small amount of forethought I remembered to charge batteries for my friend’s Canon EOS 300D (actually, it’s a DS6041) – which he loaned to me in 2007…! – with the intention of getting some half decent shots.

Obviously there were lots of great pictures of the family, but I was quite pleased with how these ones turned out too.

I will never stop learning

Today – after seven-and-a-half years at Canonical – I have started work for Automattic.

What brought me here wasn’t the products – which are awesome – but the company itself.

The more I learned about my new colleagues and how they worked, the more I knew I wanted to – no, had to – work here.

The Automattic creed sums it up far better than I can:

I will never stop learning. I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me. I know there’s no such thing as a status quo. I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers. I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything. I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. I am in a marathon, not a sprint, and no matter how far away the goal is, the only way to get there is by putting one foot in front of another every day. Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable.

Our founder, Matt Mullenweg, introduced the creed in 2011.

Much is written on the hiring process, how we work, and the benefits of a distributed workforce. There’s even a book! I’ll be adding my voice to those over the coming months and years, but from everything I’ve seen so far, and everyone I’ve spoken to, those articles have only scratched the surface.

So if this sounds like the sort of place you’d like to work, come join us.