Born Sleepy

December 14, 2017

I’ve decided that it’s time for a change, and to move on from my work with Bohemian, so from the end of this year I’ll be footloose and fancy-free.

I intend to have a break, take a bit of time to recharge my creative batteries, and then look for new challenges.

It was 2012 when I started contracting (part-time at first) on Sketch, and a lot has happened since. We’ve gone from having just the two original founders, to a staff of 20+ great people.

It’s been intense, rewarding, challenging and fun, and I’ll always be grateful to Pieter and Emanuel for giving me the opportunity to work on such a great product, and to help to build such a great team. I wish them continued success and all the best for the future.

For me personally though - I’m really excited at the prospect of starting a new chapter in 2018. Watch this space!

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February 23, 2017

In these crazy times, people have some seriously messed up ideas about democracy.

Here are some things that are not democracy:

  • winning a vote by lying about what your opponents have done in the past 1 2 3
  • winning a vote by making wild, unsubstantiated claims about what your opponents intend to do 1 2
  • winning a vote by lying about what you have done in the past 1
  • winning a vote by making wild, unsubstantiated promises, and then failing to fulfil any (or many) of them 2 4 5
  • winning a vote by framing the question in a way that doesn’t allow people to choose reasonable alternatives 3 4 5
  • winning a vote by framing the question in such a vague way that nobody can say what the result actually means 4
  • using the result of a vote won using one of these methods to justify never holding a similar vote again 3 4 5

If democracy means anything at all, then it requires informed choice.

Informed choice requires two things: being given an actual meaningful choice, and being given the relevant facts.

When any form of lying, obfuscation or outright fraud is involved in the win, then the winner (and their supporters) do not get to claim the moral high ground.

When any form of incompetent framing is involved, the winner (and their supporters) do not get to claim some sort of finality.


  1. see US presidential election  2 3

  2. see UK general election  2 3

  3. see UK referendum on proportional representation  2 3

  4. see UK referendum on Brexit  2 3 4

  5. see Scottish referendum on independence  2 3

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May 30, 2016

If you follow this blog at all, you’ll probably have noticed by now that the site has been redesigned and simplified.

This coincides with me finally getting round to moving away from Drupal and towards a static design using Jekyll.

There is still quite a lot of the old site waiting to be ported, and quite a bit of cleanup to do on the new one, but hopefully I’ll get there eventually.

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August 30, 2015

Increasingly, we’re running our lives - living our lives - through computers.

This is certainly true for someone like me. I make my living writing software, working online with colleagues scattered across different countries. I need computers to make what I make, and to test what I make, and to communicate with the people that I make it with. The people who buy what I make need a computer to do it, and then a computer to use it.

I also happen to live in a relatively remote part of the UK, far away from many of my friends and family, and from most useful shops, sources of entertainment, etc. So computers are a big part of my non-working life too. I shop online, I communicate online, I get my music, my reading, my news, my entertainment online.

The fact that I can use computers to do so much ought to be a positive thing, and in many ways of course it is. They can do amazing things, and I can’t even count the number of aspects of day to day living that are quicker, easier, more efficient, or just downright saner when done electronically.

And yet…

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December 20, 2014

Having the BBC make its Panorama program all about Apple is tabloid sensationalism, and it sends out completely the wrong message.

It’s saying to companies who attempt, in however ineffectual a way, to do the right thing: “stick your head above the parapet, and we’ll monitor you twice as hard as all of your competitors, even though they are engaged in exactly the same practices”.

The exploitation of labour in poorer countries is a massive problem, but it’s also what the current free trade, free market economies of the richer countries are largely based on.

Our cheap consumer goods don’t appear like magic from nowhere. These things only cost what they do because the people who make them were paid a pittance to work too long in dangerous conditions, and the materials they were made of were sourced in a similarly dubious way.

I’m not saying that it’s somehow easy for us as individual consumers to combat this, but it’s completely hypocritical for anyone who owns a computer, tv, mobile phone etc to single out individual companies without examining the conditions in which their own possesions were produced.

The way to solve this problem is to regulate. We need to raise the burden of proof on manufacturers and sellers that the wares they are peddling have been produced ethically and sustainably. We then need to make it illegal to import and sell things that don’t meet the standard.

That is something that can only be done by governments, and it can only be done if the political will is there to do it.

Which comes back to voters.

Which means you.

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