100WS: 1. what to write?

[Control+A][Backspace]. Another stab at a 100 word story scratched out. It wasn’t an ambitious target, he knew that!

But why no progress – he did have ideas! The one about Zaphod Beeblebrox’s brother, an intergalatic policy advisor who was struggling without the charisma that propelled Zaphod into the limelight. It lacked a plot. Is he jealous? pretentious?

Next he thought of writing about the toils of a computer program, but how is drama and interest injected? Maybe it was a rogue program. Did it know about man?

What about understanding why 100 words is so hard?

How to archive or zip a folder with a command line so you can transfer it

I had to figure this out myself and thought I’d share what I’m doing.

Make an archive:
tar -cf TargetFile.tar Foldername/
The c flag tells it to create an archive.
The f flag tells it that you’re making an archive from files.

Compress it:
gzip TargetFile.tar

And the resulting file is:


If you want real good compression and so on, you’ll need to play around with the flags, but this will do when you simply need to transfer quickly. I tested on a big folder of about 250MB, the .tar file was 285MB and the resulting .tar.gz file was 211MB.

Limerick: Of Auchintoul …

Of Auchintoul there was a young drummer,
who auditioned for bands for a summer,
they all told him to fleet,
cos he couldn’t hold a beat,
and now he’s training to be a plumber.

My limericks may not yet be of the highest standard, but it’s good to be thinking differently. I welcome limerick replies or improvements in the comments.

Limerick: There was a young blogger …

There was a young blogger of Scotland,
whose writing was as boring as sand,
his blog had no locus,
for he lack’d any focus,
and now he’s writing limericks offhand

I intend to clean up, organise and focus this site soon. A post or two in the pipeline looking at the easy mistakes and pitfalls of starting a blog and suchlike.

Stay updated via RSS for more limerick fun 😉

5 quick tips for a consistent image on your website and social media

1. Use similar usernames

2. Turn your face into a signature

  • Use the same profile picture everywhere. You know yourself how quickly you can recognise people on Facebook by the tiny thumbnail next to their comments. Exploit that power.

3. Design scheme

  • At least use the same background color. Check Gareth’s tutorial if you have a logo and want that everywhere.

4. Like #2, have a logo for each project

  • The profile picture identifies you, but you can create logos for every project you hope people might identify. Brains are incredible at remembering images, and what they associate with an image comes to mind – whether that’s a snappy caption or the overall concept (if they’ve read up on it before).

5. Encourage connections across all forms of social media

  • You may have people who subscribe to your RSS feed if you’re a good blogger, or only like your Flickr if you’re a photographer. If you really want people engaging with you, you need to attract them to engage everywhere. Offer contests or unique bonuses (like extra content), but only to those following on a particular stream. Advertise it on the others. I saw one venture capitalist blog that had grasped this idea. He constantly told readers that they would only post to their blog 2-3 times a week, but they tweeted useful links and quotes 2-3 times a day.

I hope you like these, perhaps put one or two into practice now?
Please leave a comment below if you have any to add or to correct :).

Confession and forgiveness – Hugh Martin

“God offers [forgiveness] on the understanding that your sin deserved his wrath and curse, and that even his own Son’s Godhead and holiness and value in his sight could not exempt him, standing in your place, from having to bear that wrath and curse instead of you. Christ, by the sacrifice of his death, puts away sin…. You, while defending and excusing yourself, are labouring to put away the law.”

so then

“True confession is taking guilt to ourselves before God.”

From “Christ for us”, sermons of Hugh Martin, p40-41.

When your life depends on it, you’ll innovate or die

I watched an interesting channel 4 documentary about the development and progression of the use of the plane in the First World War.

The 75 minute documentary has some interesting footage of dogfighting, and explains how this progressed from the skilled amateur pilot to professionals – those who wouldn’t pursue an enemy without being sure of coming away alive.

Having enjoyed time when I was younger playing BF42 where I lost plenty of dogfights, I watched the details with a keen interest. It transpires my whole strategy in gameplay was wrong – I’d dart in quickly hoping to use surprise (when I myself was surprised to see someone in front of me), whereas I wouldn’t manoever and evaluate the situation first (which isn’t necessarily losing the element of surprise). I could only rely then on hoping to bring down the opposing plane with my first burst, or hoping they were scared away if I failed.

Pilots used to practice dogfighting, by cycling around on bikes attempting to get behind one another. Slightly simplistic with only a flat plane (in terms of dimensions), and slightly artificial as the possible variation between minimum and maximum speed is probably out of proportion, but some of the basic principles would have been taught.

A national war did encourage people to develop technologies for the sake of their own lives or the national good. Profiteering was put aside and innovation flourished.

self-illustrating sentences

Illustration and how it enhances understanding and communication is a passive interest of mine. I found the following:

“Craft more pregnant phrases that tend to stick in the mind of the hearer”


Illustration doesn’t mean a story; it could be a single word as in this case. I thought this a particularly good example of a self-illustrating sentence.

I don’t know if I agree with the sentiment expressed, I’m not sure: Is this writer advocating shock tactics?

Visualising speech, in a fun way!

A talk by Dan Pink, an analyst who has studied motivators, has been illustrated along with the talk in the following:

This is fun watching, a great concept, awesome illustration and the talk’s good too!

He discusses how people like to do work for the sake of autonomy, mastery and purpose. He recommends paying people just enough so that the issue of money is out of their thinking and then motivators which encourage creativity and innovation can kick in.