Posts made in October, 2010

The November Project: the What and the How

Posted by on 31 Oct, 2010 in Lifenotes | 0 comments

If you read my last post you’ll know I’m taking a break from social media for a month. That post explained the general reasons why.

In this post I’ll add a little more detail on what exactly I’m doing, and how.

Here’s the things I’m doing for November..
  1. Blocking my computers from accessing Facebook or Twitter.
  2. Turning off all Facebook and Twitter alerts on my email and on my phone.
  3. Deleting all Facebook or Twitter-related apps on my iPhone and iPad.
  4. Turning off and putting away my Chumby.
  5. Unlink Twitter from Flipboard, sobeeslite and other news apps.
  6. Turning off NutshellMail and Twilert, two services I use which send Twitter and Facebook updates to my inbox.
  7. Disabling Google Alerts, Slashdot newsletters, and any other regular emails that arrive in my inbox.
  8. Turning off Google Buzz within Gmail (I can’t disable it completely without deleting my Google Profile). 
  9. Disable all notifications (including email and IM) on my iPhone and iPad.
  10. Disabling anything else that pops up early in November that I might have forgotten about that seems like a regular notification or distraction.
2-10 are all fairly straightforward.

1 is a little more interesting.

The solution I am going for is to edit the hosts file on my computer (/etc/hosts on the Mac), and add an entry which remaps and to different addresses – probably google news and my blog respectively). As of yet I haven’t found a way to do this on the iPad or iPhone so I may just need to rely on willpower there… Unless anyone has any suggestions?

[To read the follow up to this post, reflecting on the experience, go here.]
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The November Project: No Facebook and Twitter for a month

Posted by on 31 Oct, 2010 in Lifenotes | 2 comments




[To read the follow up to this post, reflecting on the experience, go here.]


I’ve decided to do something unusual for November. For the whole month I’m going to give up Facebook, Twitter and a few associated “short update” type services. But I’ll be back on December 1st. Pointless? I don’t think so. Allow me to explain my thinking…


I’ve been on Facebook for five or six years now I guess. And that whole time I’ve hated Facebook – their lack of respect for personal privacy, their blatant commercialism, the way they abuse you and use your friends against you (I wrote a whole blog post about that). But I’ve never left. Because, well, my friends are on there. And now I’m living across the pond from most of my friends, those relationships are more important than ever. So I can’t leave Facebook altogether, it would leave me too isolated – in fact that’s my only contact with many friends.


I realised that this is unhealthy. Facebook encourages a very shallow level of friendship – little ego strokes with Like buttons and comments on each others profiles, lazy status updates to everyone instead of picking up the phone. It’s damaging the quality of the relationships I do have, because it makes me feel connected even when I’m not at all really.
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I’m proud of the BBC

Posted by on 26 Oct, 2010 in My Stream | 0 comments

Don’t let anyone tell you the BBC is not worth paying for. I’d gladly pay a licence fee even while I am out of the country.

Video by Mitch Benn – more of his music at

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Amazon why dost thou forsake me?

Posted by on 5 Oct, 2010 in My Stream | 1 comment

This is ridiculous. I am an international citizen and regularly use international services in Canada, the US and the UK. But still the likes of Amazon, Audible and Apple thwart me.

I was recently given an gift voucher. There’s a book I need for my writing course, available on – but of course it won’t let me use the voucher. OK, fair enough. So then I think, I’ll buy something else with the voucher. But I don’t want to pay international postage.

The solution? Buy some Kindle books on my iPad. Perfect. digital transfer, no postage costs. I know it’s easy because I already bought a bunch from my same Amazon account.
I spend a few minutes picking out some books in the Kindle UK store. I click buy, and I get this unhelpful message:



Oh I see, my Kindle “account” is marked as Canada. Fair enough, so I go in and change my country to United Kingdom. And try again…
But I still get the same message!Maybe it’s the credit card that’s the problem? So I change that to a UK credit card…
Makes no difference.

Maybe it’s my address? I change the address in the account to my parent’s address in the UK…
Same old message.

Maybe it’s because I’m connecting from Canada. I log in via a UK proxy (which I know works for other sites like BBC iPlayer)…
Still the same result.

So now what?

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