Thank you. You are too kind

So. Here I sit. On the train. Typing on my traveltop; that’s my netbook, I call it that because I normally only use it when I am away on holiday. I am not on holiday today. Today I just wanted to write. I’ve been wanting to write for some time but just haven’t sat down to do it, until now.

There’s quite a lot I wanted to write about. One of the topics being my adequacy as a developer and the adequacy of myself in general. But… I mostly forgot what it was I wanted to say. I know when I originally thought it, it was stunningly profound.

Something else I wanted to write about was the duality of self, of my self. I read in Stephen King’s book, On Writing, that you should not use language that does not “fit” you. I believe I follow his advice in most cases when I write. What I’ve noticed that the words that “fit” when I write are different to the words that “fit” when I speak. I would never verbally use the word vocation but when writing, talking about my vocation feels natural. It’s interesting that my vocabulary should change depending on the medium of communication. Then again, the more I think about it, considering the little I’ve learned about brain function, it seems perfectly normal that your vocabulary should change when medium of communication changes.

I remember now what it was I wanted to say. I constantly battle with myself and my self, trying to figure out if I am good at what I do or just above average.

I have always thought of myself as being bad at things or at least not good enough. And when I do get complements, I frequently brush it off because “they don’t know what they are talking about as they are laymen” or if they do know what they are talking about, “they don’t have enough specific knowledge on the niche area of the subject that they are somehow misinformed” or even simply “just mistaken”. Take an example, being a developer, Dev Leads, Tech Leads, peers, even a few Technical Directors have told me that my skills are valuable. And the vast majority of every company I have worked for has asked me to come back and work for them again, stay on longer or asked me to come on full time. Some of those companies are even well known for having a really strict hiring policy. Somehow even after all that positive affirmation, I still don’t think I am worth my weight in salt (I wonder what I would do with 80kg [£69.34] of salt).

Anyway, I realised something the other day. I’ve always compared myself to people better than me. I’m not sure if all people do this, but with me, I only compare myself to people better than me, or at least people who I think are better than me or have a skill I want or am envious of. If someone isn’t better, they won’t feature on my personal scale of comparison. I am generalising but do you realise what that means? On my scale, I’m always worse than everyone else. If the scale was based on 1 – 10, I’m always a 1. How crazy is that shit?

I think it’s sad that this is how I choose to define myself. Now that I know about it, I think I can change this. I don’t know if this is normal. Is this normal? I don’t think it can good for the self-esteem. It does explain some aspects about myself though. For a start, it explains is how I am unable to accept a compliment: If in the past I received a complement, in my head I appreciated your kindness anyway and thanked you, almost always in an awkward way.

How do I fix this? How do you change a mindset? Is actively knowing about it and being aware enough?

Update: I saw this online today, looks like it’s a part of the human condition.



The dreams

I had the smoking dream again. I was smoking like a chimney. I usually only have the smoking dreams if I have been drinking. I think this time it’s stress related. The new job is … it’s not kicking my ass… but nobody is listening to me. Or it feels that way… but yeah… I am not here to complain about the job… I am gonna do the best damn job I can do with what I am given. So yeah… I think I am having smoking dreams because I am stressed.

Another dream that happened right after the smoking dream was a continuation of another dream. This was the 3rd instalment of that dream. In the first part, I was synthesising something amazing. A formula that, when ingested, would provide the user with increased strength, increased agility and invulnerability. The penultimate step in the creating the formula is to actually drink the solution and use the body’s natural chemical processes to actually produce the compound. The final step is the filtration and distillation of the urine you get from the ingestion. I know the formula works because you can feel the effects on the first ingestion but they are very short. Ingesting it the second time, increases the effects with respect to how long it lasts and intensity.  Unfortunately it’s still temporary. However if you ingest very large quantities, the effects can be permanent.

In the 2nd instalment of the dream. I went back to the clothes cupboard that I was keeping the formula in… because that is where you keep it… obviously. I took a half-swig of the luminous yellow liquid in the test tube only to find it was mostly urine with little to none of the active ingredient in. What’s worse is that, something you’d expect to be able to tell from just looking at it is, it had shit loads of broken glass in it. I’d say a seemingly endless amount of broken glass, because I spent most of the rest of the dream pulling medium sized shards of glass out my mouth trying not to swallow. It seemed as though as soon as I got to half way empty, my mouth would somehow actually still be full with glass. When I finally did get 97% of it out… the dream faded out…or faded in…I am not sure… what ever happened, it faded.

Urine, don't drink! Also... broken fucking glass!

The 3rd instalment found me in front of the clothes cupboard with a test tube of yellow liquid. I realised this was a continuation of the Formula Dream, so I took a swig of the yellow liquid. It had no effect, and it tasted like it was all pretty much urine. And to my surprise because I couldn’t tell by just looking at it, there was fucking glass in it. This was the point where I realised, “That’s right…I have fucking done this before!”… I spent the next long unit of dream time trying to get the glass out my mouth. When I got enough of the glass out, my brother came up and asked me where the blood came from and why there is broken glass in my mouth. At which point I thought I’d tell him the truth. But, how do you tell someone, even your own brother, your mouth is bleeding because you have been drinking your own urine with some broken glass mixed in? That is where the dream faded out with me not yet telling him, but making the decision to tell him about the formula. And at the same time realising “Where was the other test tube? The one with the actual concentrated formula in? Because I know I did some proper distilling in part 1… and this yellow stuff was just being kept to run the filtration again to ensure I have extracted all the active ingredient out”.

Where did it go? Did someone take it? Who could have known about my experiments? Are my dreams being watched? There wasn’t enough to make it permanent why steal it? Who could have taken it?

Job Interviews of 2011

I’ve been getting kicked in the teeth a lot recently. A while ago I went for a few job interviews. I even thought about going permanent for a while. In fact I even applied for a few permanent jobs. I applied for 3 places. One of them,, a gaming social network) I really wanted to work at. Another, Assanka, I thought would have been good for me as it would have been able to shift my career path slightly. And also a 3rd company, Webgains, a good place with a focus on improvement.

Webgains said:~ “No thank you”. They were very nice and respectful, which was nice. Originally I thought that I interviewed really badly that day and would have done better another day. But when started being honest with myself, I played the interview back to myself in my head and realised that I have a surface level knowledge of enough of things to enable me to find the answer rapidly when the technical requirements exceed my current level. So in short, with the knowledge I had then, I probably would have never interviewed well. There is an argument against that level of questioning and that my strategy of “knowledge + Google” should be enough. I would have to disagree, the role was for a senior position where I would be mentoring other. Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough”. If that’s the case, I was in no position to be teaching others. Looking back in it now it not getting the job has only been a blessing, it showed me how I can improve and I think had I gotten the job I think I would have been really by the content and industry.

Assanka was plain shit shit (double shit). When I made the application, I got this automated response:

Thank you for your application to join Assanka. You have now passed the CV review stage and we would like to invite you to complete our online skills assessment.  The test takes at least 2 hours for a strong candidate so, not wishing to waste anybody’s time, we have only extended this invitation to you because we feel you have a good chance of being the right person for the job.

Once you submit the test, it will be scored and you will receive a response within 7 days. If successful, we will invite you to an interview.”

I thought the email rude. I decided I wouldn’t take the job. In my head imagined them offering me the job and me telling them “No, I don’t like the elitist attitude portrayed in your communications. I don’t care how big you are or how many awards you have won, you are dealing with people and I want to work in an environment with decent friendly people and if this email is representative of your culture, NO”. So to make my visions come true I decided to do the test.

The test was terrible. They showed blank boxes you clicked on to view questions. The questions ranged from easy to difficult with headings for multiple disciplines. You choose your own subset of questions to answer. Once you clicked a question, you HAD to answer it, you couldn’t read it and leave it for later. ANSWER NOW or FORFEIT were the options. If I want to show that I have SOME knowledge in other fields so I could be useful in more than one place, no luck. You can’t read a question and say: “Ok too easy, everyone knows this, I will be proving nothing by answering, move to the next” or “Too difficult, answering this now is going to waste time I could use proving I am competent elsewhere”. Forfeit is forfeit. I had 0 human interaction, so I had no idea what skills they valued in their programmers. Did they use this same test for everyone or just programmers? Do they expect me to have knowledge in all the disciplines? So my strategy was to spread myself thinly across all the disciplines. Most of the questions were worded confusingly forcing you to make assumptions about what they were actually asking.

A week or so later, I got an email. (I can’t find the email so I’m paraphrasing slightly):

“Dear human,

Your test results indicate you would be good at: MOLESTING GOATS.

Unfortunately we don’t currently have a position for: MOLESTING GOATS.

Thank you”

They told me no!? I WAS GOING TO TELL THEM NO! Hmmm… I should have said no before I took the test. No helpful feedback wrapped in a healthy dose of snark for them. It’s no wonder they have the word ass in their name.

Playfire, I’d been eyeing for months and months. The first time I saw they had an opening I wanted it so badly I talked myself out of applying for fear of not getting it – weird logic, I know. Playfire are a cool startup, doing interesting things. If I got the job not only would I would be programming, but also surrounded by content I love. I foresaw much potential and have no doubt (with the correct guidance) they’ll do really well. I talked myself into applying.

I was nervous sending them my CV, nervous doing the tests and nervous waiting feedback. I always found nervosity to be a good thing. It gets me to perform better. That made me confident… or less worried. (Nervosity is ACTUALLY a word!? Here I thought I was being funny by making up words).

I know you can be very thinly spread when running a start-up. So I was surprised and humbled when one of the Co-Founders took time to get into an email conversation with me.

I got sent the test. There was a strong emphasis on performance, something that doesn’t always take precedence in agency work. Even the test questions were mathematically worded. I was never an algorithmic byte jockey, so the test challenging and new to me. It was great.

They very next day after completing the test, I got a reply. Here’s part of it: “you’re clearly a strong developer, but unfortunately not quite what we’re looking for in this role”. I suspect the co-fo was just trying to not hurt my feelings. All-in-all dealing with playfire was most pleasant. I really do hope they do well.

That’s it… I haven’t written in a while… I wanted to write and this came out. The you have it, go about your business.

Argos are not ripping you off

LOL. I wrote this whole article originally thinking that Argos was ripping customer off. My maths was wrong and I thought it was a bum deal. Yes, blindingly simple maths I know, I should be ashamed. I think my only saving quality in this case that I am sceptical enough to check it is what they say it is.

I was just on my way to the store to get Rage. I don’t have a Game near enough to me so my options are Argos or Sainsbury’s. I have bought a few games from Argos and I have seen this deal before. “Get 800 Xbox LIVE points for just £4.99 with selected Xbox 360 games”. Sounds like a good idea. If I’m buying the game anyway I might as well get some cheap points. With all the amazing Xbox live arcade games coming out, you can never have enough points.

Is this a deal? Yes, as in deal with it bitch, I am not ripping you off.

I nearly took the offer on two occasions. On both occasions something said: “Wait, don’t do it, check first”. But I could never remember the actual price for Xbox points. So today I was at home saw the deal and I decided to check if the offer was actually in my favour. On Xbox itself, points cost £8.50 for a 1000. That works out to something like 0.0085 cents per point. With the offer, it works out to 0.0062 cents per point. So as you can see, you are throwing away saving a whole 0.0022 cents per point. That is throwing away saving a whole 1.81 for the 800 points.

Anyways. Off to get Rage I go, and maybe some cheap points too, if Sainsbury’s can’t beat £48.17 (£49.98 minus the saving).  :)

The present is pretty decent too

The world we live in is an amazing place. A lot of the time it’s a really shit place but it’s also an amazing place.

When I was younger, I watched, read and heard about these Ancient civilisations that had these amazing technologies. I speak in general terms but the civilisation the captured my imagination the most was the Ancient Egyptians. I loved those mutherfuckers. I had a pretty decent sceptical mind as a kid so when I was told something along the lines of “We have no idea how the Pyramids were built” or I even think I was told “even with the technology today we would be unable to build the pyramids” I didn’t really know if I should believe it but there may be some truth to it so that added to the mysticism.

An amazing ancient race with amazing technology, so many uncovered secrets and awe-inspiring Gods. Even the Gods’ names are awesome (awesome in the true sense of the word): Ra, Amon-Ra, Anubis, Isis – All names fit for a God. Anubis has the head of a jackal. No offence to Jesus or anything but Jesus has a normal boring persony shaped head with, now that I think about it in my later life, stupid looking hair. (If you have hair like that in the depiction of Jesus, you look stupid – I’m not dissing Jesus, I am dissing you. So Christians with a persecutory complex can vent elsewhere). And Ra, Ra had the head of a falcon. Pretty sweet.

Anyway, in my imagination Ancient Egypt was when I wanted to live. This era of Ancient Egypt had mummies and curses, and untold treasure, and hidden traps and sweet Gods, which I mentioned, and loads of other cool stuff. I don’t think I am conveying the idea that well… but Ancient Egypt to me was Tintin and Indiana Jones and Jewel of the Nile and many other things all mixed into one… and all of these ideas were captured in a single symbol, the Pyramids.

The Pyramids symbolised… oh and lets not forget about how the pyramids line up with the stars, so like, mysticism AND science…. I forgot what I was going to say about what the Pyramids symbolised.

Anyway, in my mind that was it. Nothing the human race could ever do architecturally would ever or should ever be considered at the same level as that of Ancient Egypt. In my mind if we died out and a future civilisation discovered the buildings of our era, they would think them ugly and unimpressive.

I no longer believe that to be the case. Look at these fucking amazing pictures. I came across these the other day. Some of which I would consider to be architectural wonders. Now I believe if we all died tomorrow and another civilisation inherited the earth, they would be fucking impressed.

I'm speechless by it's beauty

So yeah, I guess I just wanted to tell you how I came to the conclusion that the world is an amazing place. It’s mostly really shit, but it’s amazing too.

//Image Source


Move along – You can’t Like that here

According to this article the Facebook Like button has been one of the guiding forces of defining how we interact with content on the web today. To be honest I can’t remember what the article said but I thought it was a decent enough lead in, so I went with that. However what I said isn’t really such a bold claim if you take into account all the sites that already have the Like button somewhere on the page. I’m sitting here, trying to think of non-sterotypical hyperbole of how frequently the like button is used on the web as a way of avoiding doing any form of research on what I am writing about. The problem being, I am not really in the most verbally creative states of mind just yet… so lets just say it’s a lot… like really a lot… like over 12.

As much as I want to hate on Facebook, the idea of a Like button is a simple and intuitive concept, it’s difficult to see why it wouldn’t work. Without doing any research or caring about whether I am right or not, the Digg button existed long before the Like button. If things were different and Digg was a little more cautious with it’s version 4 overhaul and it’s users weren’t so whiny, we may have still been Digging stuff. I’d like to think that the Digg button was the precursor to the Like button. The concept is not new by any means, but being in the right place at the right time has seen a huge uptake of the like button.

As an aside I find the corporate Like culture quite weird. It’s used as a form of currency, Like me and you can have this download. Like me and you can enter this competition, you had to make a purchase previously. You have to like me before you can interact with me. What is that shit all about? Companies are collecting them, kind of like XBOX achievement points but for corporates – to see who has the biggest dick. I am not saying that is all it’s good for, as a content provider I can see how it may have value as a feedback system. But… I’m getting sidetracked.

The undeniable success of the Like button has spawned some Like clones. Google’s +1 is an obvious one, while Behance has the Appreciate This seal of approval at the bottom. There is also Flattr, but that’s different. It’s the put your money where you mouth is of Like buttons, the put up or shut up – there are direct real world consequences for clicking a Flattr button. That’s just three examples, I’m sure there are many others and I have no doubt many others will follow suit.

Hmmm... Do I Like this or is it Tits?

With everyone wanting to cut out their own little wordy real estate on the web, I was wondering why we can’t reuse. Will I be allowed to like stuff in a non Facebook way? They probably won’t, but why can’t Microsoft, Google or Apple let users Like stuff? I am not saying they would want to either but I sure would like to see someone try. What would happen? Litigation? Even if the button were branded differently so there was no confusion? I don’t know? A Nike Like or something? I mean, people were liking stuff long before the internet. Liking something has always been a natural form of expression. Why can’t we reuse it? Surely you can’t hold a monopoly on liking stuff?

Using this when referencing a member variable

Originally I wrote this whole article using the words “global scrote” instead of “global scope”. My intention was to include a picture of the world inside a scrotum. It was going to be hilarious. Then I had to switch it all back after I started searching for a picture of a scrotum that would be suitable to Photoshop the earth into. I just couldn’t any more. Urgh!

Anyhow, back in 1999 I started learning Object Orientation and Java. I learned that you used the keyword this to denote that you are talking about the class you are currently in. So you could have something like this:

public class bar{
    private Int abc;
    public function foo()
    { = 21;

    public function foobar()
    { = 92;;

It made sense.

Recently I have been playing around with Adobe Flash and Java. I’ve noticed is that there’s no requirement to use the keyword this. I really want to say how this is wrong, and how the language designers have made a poor decision. I have no idea how I can say those things and be taken seriously. Taking into consideration the small fact that I have a total of maybe 6 months experience in both of those languages combined, I can’t help but feel the language designers have a bit more knowledge on the subject than I do. So it probably makes sense in the larger context.

Having said that, I have no idea why this was allowed. I think Java and code written OO in general have large increases in verbosity compared to non-OO. The verbosity allows for readability and maintainability.

Coming from a background where my professional coding has largely been PHP, where PHP allows for (but frowned upon) functions and variables to be defined in a global scope I have learned that you ALWAYS ALWAYS use this. You have no idea whose code you have inherited and you have no idea who will inherit your code. Using this does two things:

  1. In the case of the function,, tells you that the code to be executed is the code defined in the function just in this class. No matter if someone defines a foo() in the global scope outside of the file and includes it into the local scope the function in the class will always be run.
  2. In the case of the variable, it says we are using the variable defined inside the class we are currently in.

In the case of point 2 above you may think: “ok… yeah so?”. Well take a look at the code below. This is an example of the code I have been seeing in the Java examples and tutorials:

public class bar extends kablah{
    private Int abc;
    public function foo()
        abc = 21;

    public function foobar()
        abc = 92;

That just seems confusing to me. Maybe it’s because I come from an environment where global scope was allowed (but frowned upon as the language and its developers matured). If I am looking at function foobar(), I think ok fuck where does this variable come from? What was it’s previous value, should that really get changed. Do I need to worry about it. Let me try find out. Then (in larger classes) you have to go searching to find out it’s a member variable. Same with the function foo(), I spend some mental energy thinking where is that function defined what does it do (this is even more of a problem if the functions don’t have descriptive names)?

Not entirely sure if I should stop here. Basically I answered myself. It is my PHP background that is causing confusion. With Java everything is an object, so if you started on Java and you see foo() you know that it refers to the current object. Where as if you come from maintaining really old PHP4 code as I have, you have seen some really horrible bugs from people using calling functions and variables defined in the global scope. “How the fuck has this variable changed it’s value?!!? This code isn’t even executing!!?!?”

It’s probably just a choice of style and makes no difference (I am not sure if this is always the case and there may be some special cases in more advanced or fringe OO techniques) but I think using this makes it implicit and adds to the readability. So, I’ve come to the conclusion that I will use this and attempt to incorporate what I have just learned into my frame of reference.

Edit: Turns out it does make a difference if you use this or not in java. Which is what I think Jon was trying to tell me in the comments. If you look the example code below


public class bar extends kablah{
    private Int abc;
    public function foo()
        abc = 21;
        Object anObject = new Object();
        anObject.setSomething(new Asdf{
            public void barfunc(){

    public function foobar()
        abc = 92;

In the anonymous inner class defined by new Asdf we call foobar(). If you invoked the function using this.foobar() it only looks for the class inside the anonymous inner class. If you don’t use ‘this’ the scope will start locally and then be expanded until the function is found.

Motorola Droid Bionic [pics] – Unlock Hidden Functionality

The Motorola Droid Bionic. The latest feature to be added to the Motorola Droid Bionic, the company’s new flagship smart phone, is the ability to fuck you in the ass. I know some of you may be thinking: “Finally! Smart phones have finally reached the pinnacle of human technology!” The truth is this is nothing new. This feature has been included in many of Motorola’s older products including the original Motorola Droid, the great-great-grandfather of Motorola Droid Bionic. It’s not common knowledge, but this feature can be unlocked on nearly all of Motorola’s mobile products, including the soon-to-be-released Motorola Droid Bionic.

The best part about accessing this functionality is that you don’t have to root your phone, you don’t have to download an app. It already comes standard with the phone and will DEFINITELY be included in the Motorola Droid Bionic.

You may be wondering how you can do this on your phone. Well, I was one of the first people to get hold of and become a proud owner of the original Motorola Droid. I’ve been really happy with it. I shouted its praises at anyone willing to listen. Imagine my joy in finding new abilities on an old piece of hardware that I already thought was amazing.

Anyways enough teasing. In then next few paragraphs I will explain to you how to unlock this functionality so that your own Motorola phone can fuck you in the ass. So without further ado:

Unlock the ability to get fucked in the ass with the Motorola Droid Bionic

Motorola Droid Bionic - The fuck machine
  • Step 1: Use your phone as normal.
  • Step 2: Wait for a fault that you yourself are unable to fix.
  • Step 3: Send it to the repair centre listed on Motorola’s own website.
  • Step 4: Hear nothing. Wait a week.
  • Step 5: Phone the customer centre. Listen to them tell you they have no idea where your phone is… even though it was tracked and you can see that someone has signed for it.
  • Step 6: Send a few emails, wait a week.
  • Step 7: They find your phone and email you to tell you they will send you a quote.
  • Step 8: Wait for the quote, receive nothing.
  • Step 9: Call them up. Get told you’ve already been sent a quote and they have been waiting on you all this time.

That’s it! You’ve been fucked in the ass. As you can see it comes standard with every Motorola phone.

The best part is the feature has lasting effect and with the last few steps probably being:

  • Step 10: Pay through you teeth for this shitty service.
  • Step 11: Maybe get your phone back.

SBE Ltd UK, the company behind Motorola’s customer service, is shit. LG uses them too as does T-Mobile. If you can, avoid these companies at all costs. This is NOT an isolated incident. Support is a big part of the product. If you don’t have good support, you don’t have a good product.

Fuck you, a lot.

Comment Spam

I have been seeing an evolution of comment spam on here. It’s become really interesting watching it. At first it started off as gibberish: “Buy neat watches” with a URL included. Then over the years the content has been increasing in sophistication.

Hmmm… I forgot what I was saying… anyways… so yeah… some of it’s been getting really sophfisty. It’s been really well written with next to no spelling errors and almost even coherent. Something like this: “As a internet resource for organizations and technology enthusiasts to stick to the newest and greatest developments in Unified Communications, IP Telephony, Hosted Communications and VoIP” and of course a URL is included. So stuff like this, if it’s not caught by the spam filter I would spam anyway. I might let it pass if the comment was on topic which in most cases would mean the person was real.

The most recent type I have been getting is this: “It appears that you’ve put a lot of effort and hard work into your article and I require more of these using the net currently. I sincerely got a kick from your post. I don’t really have much to speak about in response, I only wished to comment to reply wonderful work.” A URL is also included. How am I supposed to Spam that? It’s validating my ideas, telling me I’m worth my salt, the spelling and grammar is impeccable (if it’s not, it’s much better than mine). The meaning is not fully there but I understand what they are trying to say. My ego wants me to approve it, it wants me to show you all: “Look, look! Someone thinks I am awesome. Look at my badge of awesomeness given to me by a unknown third party… which makes it more valid than when my mom tells me that I am cool… or when I look at myself in the mirror and say: ‘you are awesome’.”

I spammed it. The URL they included was to a halitosis clinic in Germany.