Direction is important.

Weekly Roundup

I Built A Site With Anchor CMS

I started a new blog on a domain I had sitting around. Actually I already had a WordPress site running on the domain but I deleted it, made a new database and built the site. It’s built on Anchor CMS and the whole thing took about 15 minutes to do.

I did it because I came across Anchor while looking for a non-database CMS but I didn’t find one I liked. I have built…

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An Absence Of Mirrors

An Absence Of Mirrors

This is the suggestion in the Daily Post today:

You wake up one morning to a world without mirrors. How does your life — from your everyday routines to your perception of yourself — change?

I don’t have to imagine this. It happened to me.

I spent a few days in Ofunato, a village on the north-east coast of Japan. I picked wasabi (horseradish) with the people with whom I stayed. It was great fun.


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A Good Year For Books

A Good Year For Books

At the Guardian-sponsored Edinburgh International Book Festival this year, Tamara and I got to listen to among others:

Three authors talking about their illustrated children’s books;

Three political activists and their clandestine experiences in Syria;

A Guardian newspaper journalist telling Edward Snowden’s story;

A South Korean novelist talking about his novel about a North Korean ‘sleeper’ spy…

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SEO You Can Do Now, Right This Minute

SEO You Can Do Now, Right This Minute

Am I the only one watching WordPress TV?

When I scroll down the list of sites I follow in WordPress.Com’s Reader, I see that such-and-such a post has 50 ‘likes’ and comments.

But poor old WordPress TV gets nothing.

It’s a free resource of videos of speakers at WordCamps worldwide explaining how to do things – SEO, e-commerce, design, security, and many other topics.

It’s aimed at self-hosted…

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Dealing With Messy Backgrounds In Photographs

Dealing With Messy Backgrounds In Photographs

dealing with a messy background to a photograph -before

dealing with a messy background to a photograph -after

dealing with a messy background to a photograph - after

dealing with a messy background to a photograph - after

As you scroll up and down these images, notice how the woman in the foreground in the first photo (the one at the top) is less well isolated from the background.

It is as though she is fighting with the background for attention.

The reason that she is not isolated from the background is that both she and the background are in focus.

And the reason for this is that I used a fairly small…

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Gulls and Highland Cows and Dogs

Gulls and Highland Cows and Dogs


I was thinking about animals I associate with Scotland. Before I came here, the animal that sprang straight to mind was the Highland cow with its wonderful spreading horns and shaggy coat.

But now that I have lived in Edinburgh for a while, I also think of gulls.

They are everywhere.


Dogs are everywhere, too.

In fact, Tamara and I think that Edinburgh is the most dog city we have ever seen…

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Shooting Comics In Edinburgh

Shooting Comics In Edinburgh


This is one of the comics that I had the opportunity to photograph last week. They are all appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the article about them and the rest of the photos appeared today on the Comedy Guide – which is the most-visited comedy reference site by some margin.

The focus of the article is the way that comics keep their notes hidden from the audience – written on their…

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Of Birds and Poachers and Life

Of Birds and Poachers and Life

I used to be a regular bird watcher. I would go out with my binoculars to a nature reserve or a local wood. Over time I have stopped going out so much.

This morning I was out delivering a package when I saw a bird on the Links, a grassed area here in Edinburgh.

It was a large bird, as large as a big gull, with a brown-flecked body and a pale head.

It was the pale head that woke me up. My mind…

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Amazon and that George Orwell quote in full

Amazon and that George Orwell quote in full

I got an email today from Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

The email is a cry for help. It asks everyone who has signed up to KDP (I have but I haven’t published anything through KDP) to complain to Hachette.

Here are the opening two paragraphs of the email (I’ve copied the complete email at the end of this article.)

Just ahead of World War II, there was a radical invention that shook the…

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