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Link or Die

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It’s me. I know.

I’ve no idea if anyone’s looking at this blog any more – gone are the heady days of 500 visitors a day.

Life has been up and down to say the least. I won’t dwell on that, but what I intend to post here are the links I find interesting during my daily internet trawl. It’s certainly a good place to keep them for myself, and maybe people who visit will click them and find them interesting too. Who knows.

So there we are. has not so much burst into life as stuttered into action. Long live infrequency.

11 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

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Maz with Sir Richard BransonCall me a dork (pause for effect), but I’ve always been in awe of the freedom and excitement of being an entrepreneur. Like him or loath him, Richard Branson stands at the pinicle of what I think an entrepreneur – intelligent, ruthless, lucky (!) and charismatic – albeit in a slightly camp way in Branson’s case. His book, Screw it, Let’s Do it: Lessons in Life (Quick Reads) is exactly what an entrepreneur book should be about.

Here are a few more you might like to try:

  1. The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Business Law
  2. Bootstrapping Your Business
  3. Purple Cow
  4. The Art of the Start
  5. The Innovator’s Dilemma
  6. The E-Myth Revisited
  7. Permission Marketing
  8. Growing a Business
  9. The Cluetrain Manifesto
  10. Bottom-up Marketing

Do you have any that I’ve missed?

Derren Brown and his amazing balls

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Derren Brown - The Events - LotteryDerren Brown manages to get everyone talking – people either find him amazing, deceptive or downright annoying. I’m pleased to say I’m in the “amazing” camp – he entertains, he’s plainly very clever, and I enjoy the whole psychology of it all. And tonight, so the marketing crescendo informed us earlier, he managed to predict the National Lottery results. Well, “predict”.

First things first – he CANNOT predict the numbers. That’s not even worth considering. The real intrigue with Derren is not what’s happened, but how he managed to create the illusion. He readily admits that he is not a magician. He enjoys creating illusions; we enjoy trying to work it out.

So, debate is raging about tonight’s lottery prediction – this thread over at DigitalSpy has some laughily funny theories, along with a melting pot of naysayers, obsessed fans and people who smugly think they know it all immediately and can never be fooled. The arguments that rage at DigitalSpy are infamously hilarious.

Seems to be a solution forming though – watch the video of it below, and scoot to 5:07 mins. At that moment, while he’s saying the number “28”, the picture on the left freezes. The left hand ball suddenly appears slightly higher than the others (seen more easily in the closeup later on, and an image is included below the video here), and the shadow changes on the base of the ball holder. So, fully appreciating the irony of offering my own theory while neatly teasing the DigitalSpy throng, I present my view of it. The beginning of the show is live, it switches to a recorded left-hand side (where the balls are) at some point before the numbers are announced, the balls are replaced – and then it switches back to full left hand side live feed at 5:07.

I’ll hold this theory until Friday, when I will doubtless be proved wrong.

High Quality:

Close up of left hand ball moving:

The Beautiful Game

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Football, frankly, has never been my thing. From the early beginnings of my football experience, cold and shivering on a rock-hard football pitch at school with many other more naturally-talented football schoolfriends weaving their barely-formed skills around my big feet, I have never been a football fanatic. As far as I see it, a ball gets kicked around a pitch for 90 minutes, and it *might* go in a goal once or twice. Meanwhile, the sideshow involves who can fake injuries the best to get undeserved penalties. Where’s the fun in that?
My good friend Jac was always raving about it, and that only cemented my stance even more. Michelle is also a big fan – imagine her bad luck at landing one of the few men in the world that is anti-football. In some strange role-reversal, I sometimes end up being the football widow…
It turns out, however, that I’m not the only one. David Mitchell wrote an awesome article in The Guardian this weekend, expressing his bafflement at football’s enthusiasts. “I want a long rest from a game that never sleeps” expresses my feelings about the Beautiful Game in a way that only he can. Footballers, in my view, should down tools and take up a more worthwhile sport.
Like rugby.

Baldy inspires to the end

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Awesome – this is officially the low point in post frequency on! And it’s ironic that it’s another blog’s epic posts that have prompted me into action.
A month or so ago, I watched BBC Breakfast through half-closed eyes, attempting to find the will to get up. A guy of roughly my age was grinning and talking through my haze, and then he mentioned the word “blog”. It is like a technological red rag to a bull for me – this must be about geeky stuff! I sat up and listened.
In fact, it was something much more inspiring than that. Adrian Sudbury, the guy talking, has leukemia. In fact, it’s worse than that – he has two forms of it, running at the same time, making him both unique in the world and one of the unluckiest men I’ve heard of. He had been maintaining a blog all about his experiences, in order to document hope and inspiration for other sufferers when he got better. Unfortunately – very unfortunately – this eloquent, well-meaning guy had just learnt that the fight was over. He was going to die.
He still blogs – in fact, he blogs more than me (not hard), despite the increasing suffering he describes. It’s more inspiring than distressing. The blog is called Baldy’s Blog and it is in turns funny, uplifting, informative and distressing. I urge you to read and subscribe to it – before its too late.

Free SMS websites in the UK

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There seem to be a load of US websites popping up giving website visitors free SMS text messages. Hell, even Google’s at it. But what about us Brits? Here’s a list of the current websites supporting free text messaging.

GizmoSMS –
SMS to over 20 countries. Part of GizmoProject.

Kazooii –
SMS to the UK, Pakistan, India, Egypt, Philipines, Sri Lanka, Iran, USA, Malaysia, Singapore and many more countries.

Wadja –
Wadja is a mobile web, media and social messaging service, managing your communication and interaction from trusted sources (friends, family and address book contacts). Requires registration.

Bloove –
Goes further than other providers, allowing full web-based mobile phone management. Requires registration.


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It’s not often I see a programme I want to sing multiple praises of – but I’ve just watched Clowns, a documentary following 4 clowns around their daily lives. Tommy Tickle was the star for me – genuinely funny, combined with prolific swearing – just how we suspect clowns always are behind the scenes. You can still watch it until Monday on the BBC iPlayer – here’s the link (and when it expires, I’m sure it’ll be in Google Video).

Essential and spunky plugins for a virgin WordPress

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I’m regularly running about 10 websites now, 8 of them with the utterly spundacious WordPress platform. Here are my essentials plugins to install onto a brand new WordPress installation, if only for my own reference…
P.S. This will be a movable feast – if I find better ones, or someone points out how wrong I am, it’ll be updated accordingly.

Administration Plugins:
Akismet: Comes with WordPress – enable it, and flick the bird at spammers.

Oneclick: You’ll want to updated and add new plugins and themes. This plugin installs and updates with just one click. Awesome timesaver.
Redirection: Creates server-side page redirections. If you change a page location, it notices and redirects. If it notices people trying to access non-existent pages, it can redirect them accordingly. Highly automatic, highly underrated, massively useful.

Multiple administrators/contributors?:
Audit Trail: If you’ve got multiple WordPress users/contributors, spy on them. It’s fun, and enables you to keep control of access.
Role Manager: Fine tune who has access to what.

WP Super Cache: Speeds up the WordPress engine, and enables you to be Dugg without collapsing and being called names.

Spreading the word:
All in One SEO Pack: There are many plugins that try to help get you up the Google charts – but this does everything that’s needed, straight out of the box. Essential.
Feedsmith: Use Feedburner? Feedsmith magically redirects people to your Feedburner feed without you having to lift a finger.
Google XML Sitemaps: Google loves you even more if you have Sitemaps. This plugin will do them all for you, automatically.

Other spunky but essential ones:
SCF2 Contact Form: generates a Contact Form automatically, checks for spam and a whole lot else. Simple but powerful.

Let me know if you have others, or want to put me straight on a few of the plugins!

Zero Punctuation – grammarless genius

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Now, I’m not a great games player. Hell, sitting in my front room is an Xbox 360 elite, Playstation 2 and Wii that are begging to differ – but I’m not a *real* games player. I don’t spend hours thrashing my way through cyborgs and aliens with friends and enemies in equal measure. I don’t spend acres of time in games shops, discussing the latest titles. And I don’t know what the hell MMORPG means.
But all of a sudden I almost want to, thanks to a little known but immensely brilliant games review series called Zero Punctuation, made by Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw. Every Wednesday (UK time), he wheels out another games review that transcends the humour levels most humans can attain. Sure, the language isn’t something you could take your mother along to, but he does swearing *so well*. Quick-fire repartee and lightning wit ooze for every sentence, and it’s astonishing that he can do it week in, week out. And, by gum, he’s English. Ish.

Here’s one of my favourites:

Others of note include reviews of Crysis, Assassin’s Creed and Guitar Hero. And here are all of them. Try em. And bring some tissues for your tear dusts.