I’ve moved all of my notes and bookmarks from the Obsidian writing/knowledgebase app into the similar DEVONthink document manager.

Although I’ve known of it for years I’ve resisted DEVONthink mainly because of its cost.

Over those years I’ve spent time with Microsoft OneNote (cross-platform & web), Drafts (iOS & Mac) and Obsidian (cross-platform). But, just as for personal use I’ve previously moved from the Omnifocus task manager to pretty much everything else – and always back again – I have the feeling I should probably have trialled this when I first found it.

One of DEVONthink’s strengths is its ability to simultaneously synchronise with a number of document stores. I’m considering (if my shared web hosting plan allows) attempting to store one copy as WEBDAV, with one in a Dropbox folder.

At least there’s no appreciable lag using iCloud – opening Obsidian could take literal minutes.

And I’m collecting RSS feeds into it instead of using a dedicated reader. RSS, yeah.

Chicken soup

(Impromptu earlier, but was eventually very tasty.)


  • The remains of a roasted chicken, preferably with some meat and skin left on;
  • Roasted potatoes;
  • Cooked carrots;
  • Cooked broccoli;
  • Slice of bread, white squishy;
  • Vegetable stock cube;
  • Jalapeño chilli jam (best measured from a squeezy bottle);
  • Tomato ketchup, squeezy;
  • Rosemary, from a spice pot;
  • Salt, to taste;
  • Pepper, a tiny amount.


  1. Boil half a pan of water in a kettle,
  2. Dump the chicken into the saucepan,
  3. Cook it to a rolling boil then let simmer for a while,
  4. When the colour of the liquid evens out then sieve the solids out from the pan over another, separate out the meat and return it and the liquid to the main pan, and discard the bones, skin & cartilage*,
  5. Add the stock cube and rosemary to the main pan and continue to simmer,
  6. Add the potato, carrots & broccoli and boil until simmering again, then then turn down the heat,
  7. Add the bread (to thicken), making sure it’s thoroughly mixed in,
  8. Add the chilli jam and ketchup, both a single circular squirt,
  9. Er…
  10. Eat!

*Tried at this point it’s a bit weak and watery, but at least it tastes of chicken.

Earth Hour


Switch off & Give an hour for Earth this Saturday, March 23rd at 8:30 pm your local time. Together, let’s create the Biggest Hour for Earth!

The Worldwide Fiund for Nature (WWF), 2024 website main page headline.

We participated.

The thing is, if you want to save energy and set a trend it doesn’t really matter when you do it, as long as it’s done.

Food (what a week)!

On Sunday (Mother’s Day over here) my wife and daughter1 had a Chinese takeaway, and not wanting anything off that menu daughter2 suggested we have a kebab from my favourite place (recent food hygiene rating 1/5, delivery time abysmal, great food though).

Donner, chicken, beef chunks, salad, sweet chilli sauce, wrapped in a naan bread. It was my first in a year (I’ve been good following a health scare). Awesome, absolutely perfect.

It was my mother’s in law’s birthday early this the week. We went out to a local chain restaurant and I had an 8oz steak (steak for the 5th time this decade), fries, not enough breadcrumbed spicy prawns but that’s not a biggie, and sweet potato fries on the side.

The steak was ok.

Dessert: oh yes. Apple pie and ice cream.

Yesterday the new technical author asked if anyone in the department wanted her to order breakfast on Fridays. “TAKE MY MONEY!!!”, I said.

So today, just after 10am, I had a spam and bacon (British back) on buttered toast. I’d forgotten to add ‘ketchup’ to the shared spreadsheet she set up but heck, it’ll wait until next week.

Last week my boss (I’ve known him for 30 years) asked if he could walk round to the ‘expensive’ cafe with me and sample one of the beef & bacon burgers (on a brioche bun with salad and ketchup) I’ve been buying myself.

He bought mine today. And it was very, very good.

A double cheeseburger similar to the single patty bacon burger mentioned. (Café’s photo).

And we had visitors at work today, so I got a chance at the leftover buffet. All I could manage was a few cucumber sticks. Crunchy.

It’s the little things in life, isn’t it.

(But I’m definitely not weighing myself for a little while).

Oops, I did it again

Randolph, so long and thanks for all the fish your patience hosting my site & email over the years.

This is my blog, at a new host. Replacement pictures to come later.

Link to 2018 post “Killed“.


I planted and grew an onion, and harvested it (I think this is the word despite some misgivings based on the scale of this operation) a few days ago.

It started out about 2-1/2 months ago as 2 stems and roots split from one onion which was going off. One stem eventually flowered and was subsequently eaten by our local wildlife, but I somehow got one to grow.

I’m probably going to prepare and eat it later today, or sometime this week.

And here it is!

The Onion

Needs to be said: my wife planted and nurtured the tomatoes, with a little help from me (building the planters and filling them with soil & compost last year). The onion though, my tending consisted of occasional watering once a week and repositioning it when the stem drooped.

Now I was going to use this as a metaphor for and then mention stuff that’s happened to me in the last 5 years since I involuntarily absented myself from the social network – enjoying its 7th anniversary today. But naah, this blog post will stand alone as a metaphor for growing plants without a clue!

Question Time

I’ve just watched a recording of this week’s BBC Question Time, a Thursday evening tv show that assembles a few people who can speak about whatever subjects the audience (both in the studio and having submitted questions beforehand) think are newsworthy. It doesn’t matter if they know nothing provided they can speak convincingly.

Gary Lineker is an ex-English football player who transitioned seamlessly into the profession of sports presenter. He’s articulate, witty, and universally liked. Well, pretty-much. He tweets about issues affecting the disadvantaged, i.e. those without a voice, who battle against a political and social system set up to deny them often basic human rights. He tweets about politics.

Some of his latest tweets mentioned the UK Conservative (right wing) government’s proposed law to prohibit people claiming asylum if they enter the country using any illegal means, with a policy to then deport them to another country without hearing any asylum claim. Crucially, when they are deported the UK will bar them from ever again applying for asylum.

Now of course this ignores the United Kingdom’s international legal obligations to treat asylum seekers fairly. And it implicitly defines ‘illegal’ as whatever the government says it is. And it makes things legal in this country that will be frowned upon by other more tolerant countries, and ignores the people who drew up our once world-class democracy.

Gary Lineker works for the BBC. His contract is as a freelancer so his political views are irrelevant when it comes to what he says outside work, a fact established as far back as 2016 after one of his Brexit tweets. But neither the assembled Question Time panel nor the chair (who also works for the BBC) mentioned this, or even alluded to it. Instead, speculation and opinion were allowed to muddy the waters. I’m certain the producers of the show would have the facts to hand, but to stifle the question at the outset wouldn’t have been as entertaining would it.

If he was a political journalist the rules would be different. But he’s not.

So what did he say when accused of having inflammatory views?

“There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s, and I’m out of order?”

The right wing backlash was immediate, from government ministers to the right-wing press. It actually surprised me how many people from all parts of the political spectrum espouse the concept of free speech for everyone whilst making it plain that Mr Lineker isn’t entitled to any.

And so, because the right wing now runs the BBC, the BBC told him that he can not resume his broadcasting duties until the matter is resolved. It “decided that he will step back from presenting Match of the Day until we’ve got an agreed and clear position on his use of social media”.

There was a clear position, a precedent set in 2016 after his Brexit tweets, but the BBC ignored it this week.

And all of his colleagues, and everyone conceivably able to present, when asked to step into his shoes, declined. Because that’s the right thing to do. (More here).

1997-03-23 Internet

It’s 1997, March the 23rd to be precise. A Sunday afternoon. I’ve not long returned from PC World in Stretford England, the closest store that I believed would stock everything I need.

Everything I need: a US Robotics Sportster Flash “modem” & cables, and an Internet for Dummies book.*

I’ve plugged everything in, installed the driver software on my PC, and I’m ready to open the icon on the desktop: MSN, the Microsoft Network.

I’ve chosen the closed infrastructure of MSN just because it seems easy to get into, I don’t really care, I mean, it’s right there on the desktop! I’d read about the other United Kingdom “Internet Service Providers” (ISP) so I’m not totally in the dark. And I reason, once I’m running at a speed I like I can choose another ISP to suit my needs, at my leisure.

“ISP”. I’m one of the few people I know who understands what those 3 letters stand for, both as an abbreviation and as a concept.

This is a big moment. Big. I’m about to step into the slow lane of the Information Superhighway, to begin my small participation in the start of a golden era of unprecedented access to information, an era in which I know for certain it will be no longer possible to feign ignorance of a subject or to pass disinformation off as fact.

I’m breathless with anticipation, can’t you tell?

And after a few dings or dongs and a squawking raspy noise as the modem connects to the remote server, it works first time.

Now what?

Yes, I’ll browse the communities in Microsoft Chat, that’s what. “Browse” like in a shop, not like with an “Internet browser”, I’ve not used one of those before!

Looking in a couple of chat rooms I’m ignored, how rude! And then a third “What’s Cooking Online”, abbreviated to “WCOL”. I’m instantly welcomed by Norma (her real name) from Texas, one of the regulars and I guess a moderator, who throws a wall of text at me explaining the room’s purpose. I try my best to read that but the chat roils about me and it’s gone.

She’s from Texas, the USA, and I’m chatting in real time. Practically real time.

But I make my excuses and leave, I’m paying per minute for the privilege of connecting via the phone line, and while I’m “online” it stops all incoming calls.

Wow. It’s past midnight already, I’ve absolutely no sense of the passage of time. I’ll need to be careful how I manage things in the future.

Nothing productive happened the next evening either. Or the next.

*2023, February 22. A Wednesday evening here. Now.

I bought another book that day, the name of which escapes me now, but the Dummies one, wow, I learned a LOT from that one.

What’s just struck me, how did I know where to go and how did I know what things to buy to get online? It’s not as if I could open a browser window and search is it.

Magazines. Glossy, flappy papery things.

This post is prompted by Terence Eden‘s post Necroposting – blogging from before you started blogging – Terence Eden’s Blog I’m eventually going to change the posting date to the one you see right at the top.


💡 This is a test of publishing a public page from a private Notion, er… whatchamacallit.

I’ve been using the Obsidian notes/’second brain’ app for a few months and like what I’ve found. I triaged then imported all the notes I’ve made over the years in Evernote, OneNote, Apple’s iOS Notes, etc., etc., in short text files from many different times in my life.

There’s nothing missing from the user experience, there are many useful ‘community’ plugins to enhance the base Obsidian app.

But, there’s always a but: noticing someone in my Mastodon social network timeline running Obsidian and Notion in parallel prompted me to take a look at the latter. (I must be going through a masochistic period at the moment, I ran OmniFocus and Todoist task management services in parallel for a while before choosing the latter, at least for the medium term).

Notion has a lot going for it, not the least of which is because it’s a web based service I can access my texts on my work PC, and though Obsidian can be synced to more than one device, it still relies on the basic concept of having a local copy of all the Markdown files within one of its ‘Vaults’. I simply don’t want my notes escaping into a work environment.



Best ever gift

Prompted by the Free Talk Friday post in Reddit’s r/Browns on December 10 2022:

My best ever gift was a shiny plastic space rocket with a shiny red nose. A pointy shiny red nose. I’m sure it wouldn’t be allowed to be manufactured these days, it was so pointy.

Now we had a set of chairs with imitation leather cushions and a perfect amount of padding. Perfect for a small boy to puncture with a shiny plastic rocket with a shiny red plastic nose. What a satisfying sound it made each and every time I punctured the cushion in a pattern of dozens of obsessively-created holes.

Until dad found out…

I’ve no idea how many minutes I had the rocket, but I never saw it again.

Maybe that’s why I never made it into space, and maybe it’s why I’m a Browns fan.