Email review #1: FastMail

I’m personally still frustrated with the email services I know about. I’m going to start by reviewing what I use now, which is FastMail. This is for my personal email, which I use for identity on many web services, for notifications and for writing letters to people. I’m working for myself at the moment too, […]

A short walk around Vote Leave’s software VICS

The campaign which won last year’s referendum for the UK to leave the European Union immediately dissolved, and in the process kindly open sourced some of its innovative canvassing software VICS – blog post, github repository. This afternoon, prompted by a chat with Incubator of Change (a Liverpool based think tank working on new ideas […]

Hindu holy mountain #2: Arunachala

In the late 1890s – the story goes – an ordinary boy in southern India heard an uncle mention the name of this holy mountain. Arunchala! Just this, just the name, started pulling him to it. The mountain is meant to be, literally, an incarnation of the deity Shiva. Then, a while later, for no […]

Rant on the failure of news media

Last night I watched Charlie Brooker’s news recap of the year. As I watched, the humour leavened things and left me entertained. But in my sleep, my mind has realised it had made me pretty angry. So a brief change in tone for this blog – a rant! Charlie – both you personally, and you […]

Notes on a meditation

I went on a 10 day silent Vipassana meditation course in the Goenka school, at Bodhgaya in Bihar province in north India.  It was a complex event – my emotions and thoughts about it have often changed dramatically in a day. This blog post is more in note form than a cohesive, final account. 1. Silence For […]

Hindu holy mountain #1: Pavagadh

He took my hand. “Follow me. Move fast. Don’t stop.” I’d spent the early morning looking round the tranquil mosques of ancient Champaner at the bottom of the holy hill. (This is a good guide to them, plus I left a comment on buses which might be useful. It’s in Gujarat, west India, a little north […]

First, do no harm

A two year old draft blog post I just found, which is too good not to publish. Age leavens its earnest attempts to be ahead of trend. New computer technology used to be my relaxation, my hope. As the world has changed, that comfort has gone. We grew up in a digital village. Now we’re […]

In praise of temple elephants

They all seem to be called Lakshmi.  The first one I met at the Virupaksha Temple in Hampi.  You pay a small coin for a blessing, which he takes with his trunk and passes on to his minder. Then he touches your bowed head like this woman in Pondicherry.  That one was at the Sri […]

Scouring pad

I wrote this post two weeks ago before going on a meditation retreat. It felt too negative at the time; it isn’t in that it reflects my mood then. India is like a scouring pad. The dirt the dust. Litter cast uncaringly – except in Pondicherry, as if to show it is deliberate everywhere else. […]