Sunday, March 30, 2014

Forget not

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.  - Kahlil Gibran.

Harold Macmillan to Oswald Mosley

“You must be mad. Whenever the British feel strongly about anything, they wear grey flannel trousers and tweed jackets.”

[ Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in the 1930s explaining to Oswald Mosley, on Mosley's proposal to set up the British fascist political party, why British fascism will never catch on if he insists on making his members wear black shirts. ]

Monday, March 17, 2014

Are Websites Getting Messier Again?

A while ago it was all the rage to have clean, stylish websites. Flat design or hamburger menu links, blocks of colour and elegant typography - that was the way to go.

But have you looked at some of the news sites, the viral-videos sites, the 'strange information you didn't know you didn't know' sites? They are getting busier and busier and it's getting harder to scroll down the page. Everything is so 'interesting'.

How Much Is That Weight in the UK and the US?

In the US and the UK, the fundamental unit is the pound (lb), and all other units are fractions or multiples of it. 

The UK imperial system of weight is the same as the United States weight table up to one pound, but above that point the two systems differ.

The imperial system uses a hundredweight of eight stone or 112 lb.

The US uses a hundredweight of 100 lb.

In both systems, 20 hundredweights make a ton. 

In the US, they use long ton to indicate imperial weights (2240 lb.) and short ton (2000 lb.) for US weights.

Metric ton is used to denote a tonne - which is 1000 kg or 2204.622 lb. - which is about 1.6% less than an imperial or long ton.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March 11 - Idealists Connect

Cross posted from Light Reading

Go here to join:

I have joined this. This is a way to connect and do things that respect people and engender freedom and dignity.

It gives me the promise of an opportunity to bring to fruition something I want to do - plant trees with people.

It would give me great pleasure to think that at least one person joined in as a result of this post.



My wife Tamara alerted me to this. She started watching and I joined her..

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Comparison is the thief of joy

Comparison is the thief of joy. 
People will always find something to envy, to be unhappy about. 
Satisfaction does not mean idleness. 
Better a relaxed hand than a clenched gut. 
Creativity makes time.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Cross-Posted From Light Reading

First of all, a photo - because I like to put one in every post. It has nothing to do with what follows.

Here's Looking At Ewe, Kid

It was a post by TimeThief on how to keep your blog safe that go me looking around my WordPress Dashboard.

Timethief explains how you can force an https connection to the WordPress Dashboard. I wasn't aware of that, so it was a useful tip.

As I say, it prompted me to look around my dashboard and from there, I looked at settings (which you can only see if you are logged in to WordPress of course) /settings/account/ and this is what I saw at the bottom of the page:


We use some third party tools to collect data about how users interact with our site. You can find more information about how we use these tools in our privacy policy. If you'd prefer that we not track your interactions you may opt out by using the following links: opt-out | opt-out

I don't know Inspectlet but I do know Kissmetrics because I read their blog articles, get their emails, have attended their webinars, and have spoken on the telephone with them when we were looking into using their service on our ecommerce site.


Kissmetrics is a tracking system that measures what you do and where you go when you leave a site. It identifies you and sees what you do in social media and the route you take to come back to the target site.

This is from their website:

Google Analytics shows what’s happening

KISSmetrics uncovers who’s behind it.

What if… you knew every person and everything they did

Instead of your customers being split into visits and events, track real people.

You could open up a report and get a list of real people that met any criteria you wanted.

Find a specific person and see everything they’re ever done. The first traffic source they used to find you, the features they used right after signing up, and every purchase they’ve ever made.

Every last piece of data gets connected to the person that actually does it. Just like you’d see everything customers did in a store, you’d see everything people do on your site or app.

Finally, you’d know exactly what your customers were looking for so you could give it to them. You’d know what was getting in their way so you could make it even easier for them to become a customer. You’d know how groups of customers differed from one another so you could personalize your business for them....

Get to know individual people

What about looking at an individual person to see what they’ve done? In KISSmetrics reports, click on a person and you’ll be taken to their Person Details report. It includes every piece of data that KISSmetrics has on that person.

You’ll learn where they originally came from, what they bought, what they did after signing up, and every other piece of data they picked up along the way. It’s a complete history of how the person touched your business.

Clicking the Kismetrics opt-out took me to this page on the Kissmetrics site:

User Privacy

At KISSmetrics, we recognize the importance of consumer privacy. KISSmetrics provides tools to companies that allow them to analyze usage of their own websites with the goal of improving their customers' experience.

KISSmetrics treats the data collected on behalf of our customers as our customers' own confidential data. KISSmetrics does not reveal, sell, share, or exchange data between two customers or to any third-party. Our goal at KISSmetrics is to make the online businesses that consumers enjoy even better.

As an analytics tool provider we provide our customers with a variety of tools to align the usage of our product with their own privacy policy.

As a consumer... is important that you read and agree to the privacy policy and terms of use of any site you visit.

As a site owner... is important to make sure that the software you install on your site acts in accordance with these terms and that you disclose the use and operation of KISSmetrics analytics products and tools in your own privacy policy. If you have any questions about how, as a site owner, you can configure KISSmetrics to align with your privacy policy, please see our User Privacy documentation or e-mail us at

As an additional step to respecting consumer privacy and providing additional tools for our customers, consumers can use the controls below to opt-out or opt-in of tracking by KISSmetrics across all KISSmetrics-enabled websites subject to the user's settings or practices regarding third party cookies, as discussed below.

Opt-in/Opt-out of KISSmetrics Tracking

Yes, I would like to opt out of KISSmetrics tracking.

Please note: Due to technical limitations the only way we can opt you out is to set a cookie on our domain If you clear this cookie you will lose your opt-out status. This cookie only works on your current browser. You will have to visit this page and opt-out each browser you use. When visiting a KISSmetrics-enabled website we will attempt to read this cookie and if we can we will not track any information about you. However, because this cookie will be set on our domain, not the site you are visiting, this will be treated as a third-party cookie. If your browser rejects third-party cookies you will lose your opt-out status

OK, got that. And the fact is that I reset cookies every time I reset Safari, my browser of choice.

Now for Inspectlet:


From their site:

Watch visitors use your website.

Discover where visitors are getting confused on your site and what's getting their attention. See every mouse movement, scrolling, clicks, and typing on your site.

Clicking on the Inspectlet link took me to this page:

Opt-out of Inspectlet

Opting out of Inspectlet will disable screen capture for your browser by any websites using Inspectlet.
How does it work?
We will put a cookie on your site that tells Inspectlet not to record screen captures.

Opt me out Now

I see - same problem as with Kissmetrics. As soon as I clear cookies I am back to square one.

What Do I Think?

I think there ought to be a big sign when a user signs up to WordPress telling them about this. Is there? I don't think there is. There is a link to the privacy policy, but that talks about aggregated data. I think that what Kissmetrics does and the information it provides goes beyond that. As I say, I don't know about Inspectlet because I haven't looked into t

Do I care? I have left a digital footprint the size of seven-league boots, so it really doesn't matter whether I care what is seen about me. I am well past that now. But maybe I would have liked to have been told what WP does.

What do you think?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mac OS Mavericks - Freezes?

It may be some non-Apple application that is causing it, but today my iCal froze. I had to shut down and re-open for it to correct itself.

And for a while now Photoshop CS6 has been freezing. It unfreezes itself after a while.

Yahoo Buys Vizify

As reported by Venture Beat today (as notified in the daily Rabbitgram email) Yahoo has bought Vizify.

Vizify specialises in turning your personal data into visuals.

The Vizify page explains that they are ending their service and closing their doors. Existing paying customers are to get all their payments back and of course, no new signups.

What does it mean for the future? What will Yahoo do with this?

[I made the GIF from the Vizify page and tweaked the wording. I did it earlier this morning as a way of not setting to and working on the brochure we have to finish...]

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Here are some of the things I am have been reading:

Here are some of the things I am have been reading:

Update March 2014:
I have been reading Cialdini's 'Influence' for months and months. The same with Kahneman's 'Thinking Fast and Slow'. Also reading Drayton Bird's 'How to write sales letters that sell.'

It's almost a year since I reviewed 'The Hidden Power Of Advertising' by Robert Heath:

Read 'Habit' by Charles Duhigg, 'The Hidden Power Of Advertising' by Robert Heath, and 'The Guns Of August' by Barbara Tuchman.

Read 'The Heart Of Darkness' by Joseph Conrad and 'The Conquest Of Happiness by Bertrand Russell'.

Russell thinks the Protestant work ethic produces success-oriented people with overdeveloped wills and an underdeveloped intellect and sense of enjoyment of life.

He thinks they will extinguish themselves in time because they have fewer children, and become sterile because by being fixated on success that once attained, leaves ennui and dissolution.

Previously on ER:

'The True Believer' by Eric Hoffer I liked the phrase that he used to describe what happens when societies open up and gave people freedom to escape from tight-knit communities. As he describes it, it gives them freedom to feel inadequate.

I reviewed Hoffer's book a couple of years ago and laid out his views on the character of the person who is attracted to mass movements of all kinds and the nature of mass movements.

Unfortunate Advertisment Placement

From 9to5Mac on Tuesday 4 March 2014

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sun Spits

The article about a giant solar flare is here - with a photo of the sun spitting out a huge flare.

Signs of Spring (from the Quillcards Blog)


When will Spring come?
When will the nights pull back and the days start to get longer?
When will we see the sun?
When will the grey, grey days go away?
When will the wind stop?
When will we be able to walk out without layers of clothing, without thinking of the struggle to get to the post office, to the shops, to the bus?

We've had almost no snow. You can see it on the hills - and you can always see the hills from almost anywhere in Edinburgh, even from the city centre.

But there has been no snow. Just a flurry or two scattered through the winter months. But nothing that has settled.

Snow is an ambivalent creature. It's all white and welcoming, but then it turns to slush. As pure as the driven slush, as the actress Tallulah Bankhead said of herself.

Of course, in some places (I am thinking of the time I spent in Finland) the air is so dry that the snow settles and remains crisp and white for months.

And apparently the snow was knee deep in Edinburgh for months, just four years ago.

But not this year. So it has been a bit of a slog to reach these lighter evenings and some sunny days. But now the crocuses and the snowdrops are out and the sun is shining.

It is so easy to see how epic poetry and drama arose in human consciousness - the struggle through the dark and the bursting into the light - it's all there with the seasons. It's almost all there with each day in the changeable Edinburgh weather...


But now it is here.
Early signs of Spring are here.
It's a gorgeous day and the sun is here.
Longer days are here.
Crocuses are here:


A Reminder Of Snow

So what is snow like? The scene fades from the memory so quickly I can hardly recall what it looks like or feels like. I have to dig into it to remember it.

The crunch of boots and the sudden 'give' as the crystalline structure loses its fight against my weight and I drop, just a fraction, into the snow.

The tiny highlights as the sun (the sun??) glints off the snow.

The sheer brightness as I look up and out and over the blanket of snow. (Who first described thick snow as a 'blanket', I wonder?)

The snow in this photo here isn't Edinburgh snow.

It is a scene from high on the Yorkshire moors a few winters ago. It's one of the ecard photos from the Landscape category at Quillcards.