Blog

Taking down Goodreads

2022-04-12

TL;DR I’m switching from Goodreads to Oku. Sign up here (referral code). I got rid of most of my social media accounts. The remaining ones are really services I use to track something I do myself that I share with others: Strava (running and cycling), Duolingo (learning languages), and Goodreads (reading). Of these, the one that I have always been dying to replace is Goodreads. The website and the native app are both terrible, it’s owned by Amazon, and the means to get your reading data out of it and into something else are being made increasingly difficult.

New job, new season

2022-03-14

I left BuzzFeed two weeks ago and started at Kaluza the following Monday. The full implications of that are yet to be seen but for now they include: exciting new problems, lots of new people, nice new office, new cycle to the office through lots of parks, being a bit tired. I’m a really simple creature. When people at the office asked me on Friday how my first week went I kept just talking about how nice the bike ride through Regents Park and Hyde Park was and how I was looking forward to spring.

The layoff business

2022-03-12

When I was growing up I sometimes thought I wanted to be a writer, but I quickly realised that doing it for a job wasn’t going to be fun or rewarding. My position is that I took the coward’s way out in choosing to go into software engineering, for a more financially stable existence, but I went into the world with a respect for the writing staff and a general dread at their constant mistreatment.

A year in ads

2022-03-12

When, from the outside, a collection of people or an institution is doing things I strongly disagree with, it often turns out that from the inside I can see all the mechanisms and incentives that make perfectly normal people works towards bad outcomes. Take online advertising. In my last year at BuzzFeed I finally bit the bullet and started working in the part of the team that makes the money: the ad tech team.

You did your best

2021-12-20

The new pattern for living seems to go like this. Emerge from a lockdown and shake off the careful life you built inside the restrictions imposed on you. Take a few halting steps out to your friend’s house, to the pub garden, walk the streets more and more carelessly. Soon you can forget the bread baking cycle and the little routines you imposed on yourself so you didn’t bang your head off your own four walls.

It can be a village

2021-11-24

We were cycling to work together this morning and my girlfriend bumped into an acquaintance she hadn’t seen in a few weeks in the bike lane. I cycled a little ahead of them down from Ludgate Circus to Blackfriars Bridge and listened to them make smalltalk and catch up. Being in a busy but flowing bike lane on a morning commute usually makes me feel good in a tribal kind of way (us the cyclists vs.

The feeling of away

2021-11-16

I’ve been away from home for just over a week now. I’ve been in France. When I’m not in the UK I feel a lot less claustrophobic; I feel like I have such a wider range of choices to choose for my life. An advantage of this trip has been spending time with people who actually live in not-the-UK. I believe to some extent that people are the same everywhere but it’s been nice to see the variations in the patterns of a life.

The mountains and the beetroots

2021-11-03

When I cycled to work this morning the air felt like the mountains. Maybe once it gets cold and dry enough the smog drops out of the air or something (unlikely). Either way, the sky was blue, the sun was low and golden and blinding. The roads were full of cyclists breathing steam and I didn’t trust any patches of glittering moisture I saw not to be ice. I got to work early; I just didn’t want to squander those hours of sunlight when the night comes on so early.

Drink up

2021-10-26

I can’t stop watching and listening to things again. I’m back in a cycle of cueing up a continuous stream of video content from dawn until dusk. I walk into the bathroom watching TikTok, I come out casting a podcast to the speakers in the living room, where I work from home. I get on my bike and put my headphones in, queue up another podcast episode while I ride through the streets.

Carbohydrate tubes

2021-10-18

I ran out of steam with cooking a little bit this weekend. A lot of that probably has to do with some gargantuan hangovers I inflicted on myself a few days in a row. It also has to do with the fact that I’ve been a victim of my own success in using what’s already in the cupboards. I used up those spices that have been sitting around. I used up those frozen sausages in the freezer.