The new Steve Jobs biography is an absorbing read, not least of all because it paints a fascinating picture of a flawed and complex man – a man who also happened to almost single-handedly reinvigorate Apple into becoming one of the world’s biggest and richest companies.

The best parts of the book, for me, were the continual threads about

1) how focused Jobs could be , and what this meant for the things he wasn’t focusing  on

2) how much he viewed the world as polarised: everything he encountered was either the best or worst he’d seen/heard/tasted.

It got me thinking. Is a person great if they’re great at one or two things, like Jobs was?

By his own admission, based on point 1) above, Jobs didn’t focus on his children as much as he would have liked – so by using his outlook from point 2), he was the worst parent in the world.

But his focus did result in these fantastic products (which I love) which have helped millions of people live better lives. Is that any consolation for his children, who just wanted him to be around more?

Is it better for all of us that Jobs wasn’t a good dad? Does that still make him great? What would I do if I was in the same situation? Are the lives of millions of people I don’t know more important than the lives of a handful of people I do?

I don’t know the answers to these questions; it’s a very good biography that gets me to think about them.


Mr Handy Wood

Great names are two-word poems. They deserve a wider audience than merely those who know them.

It’s why I’ve created a new Twitter feed to share them around.

But I’ll need your help: anytime you find a good name, please use the magic of Twitter to bring it to my attention.

Either use the hashtags #greatnames or #namecurator, or tell me directly via @namecurator. It needs to be verifiable; ie not a ‘my friend’s dad name is Such And-Such’ – it needs to be a link!

I’ve cobbled together the first three that will go out:

Windell Admaker (aka Wendell Amaker), New York construction worker: [ed. note: *sigh*. Damn you, correction]

Handy Wood, Pennsylvanian flasher

Kiki Wolfkill, video game developer (courtesy Isaac Forman)


The medal says I ran a long way.

The internet wasn’t going to help.

I was two-thirds of the way through my first marathon, and it was becoming difficult. Leg cramps were increasing in their severity and it was unlike anything I’d encountered at any stage during the previous 18 months of training (or during any physical activity I’d ever done, for that matter).

So the choice was pretty simple: keep running, or stop.

I couldn’t ask the Twitterverse; there was no app to download, no Googling to be done. In an age where everyone’s seemingly connected to everyone and everything else all the time, I was on my own.

No-one could run the remainder of the marathon for me; the cramps weren’t going to go away.

It was keep running, or stop.

So I kept running. Very slowly. And eventually I finished.

All of this is not meant to make me sound like some sort of hero, or legend, or anything like that. In terms of running, I was far from that.

But, pleasingly, at a very basic level, when my brain was faced with a fight or flight-type battle against my body, it chose to fight.

I kept running. I didn’t stop.

Me completing the marathon. Note the appearance of barely-visible 'Marathon Man' in background; a lycra-clad 'superhero' who nearly beat me home.

In a good news/good news scenario, I completed my first marathon yesterday (28 August) while also not tweeting during it.

While I’ll return to the metaphysics of what completing a marathon means to and/or for me another time, this post will preserve the tweets I would have made had I been tweeting. Think of it as a retrospective live Twitter timeline, or in my new concept word, ‘mind tweets’: tweets you make in your mind but which never hit the internet. Until now.

(All times approximate)

0200: awake already? oh boy #adrenalin #pumping

0400: still awake? #sleep #fail

0500: out of bed. marathon prep

0645: race start. it’s only 14km, 3 times. let’s go! #gameface #on

0750: first 12km down. Feeling good.

0835: halfway. on pace for a good time. still feeling OK.

0900: slowing down. tightening up. engaging ‘body maintenance’ mode.

0914: disengaging ‘body maintenance’ mode

0914 (ii): engaging ‘body self-destruct’ mode

0915: 14km to go. first leg cramp recorded. could I hop to finish line? #no

0930: oh dear. #multiple #legcramps  #ABORT #ABORT

0945: used passing drink station to imbibe metaphorical cups of concrete – still LONG way to go

1000: #pain

1015: cut-and-paste is just the best. #pain #pain #pain #pain #pain #pain

1030: 2km to go

1039: 1km to go

1049: Done! Jelly legs. Dizzy. Teeth throbbing. But done.

Blind Justice How hard is it to name TV movies?

Not hard, I thought: after all, I’ve carried around a primer in my head for years.

The rough rule-of-thumb: they’re two words long, with a suggestive/emotive adjective followed by an equally emotive/suggestive noun.

All you have to do is pick one adjective, and one noun, and voila: your straight-to-TV movie is now titled!





Suggestive/emotive adjective Equally emotive/suggestive noun
Blind Fate
Dark Justice
Cruel Truth

IMDB, and ye shall find

I didn’t want to take my word for it that there are actually movies with these titles (it just feels like there should be).

I turned to IMDB for answers: how many out of these 9 would actually exist?

Blind Fate

Hmmm: A Polish crapfest featuring someone portraying Chuck Norris as a spiritual guru? Not a good start. (0/1)

Blind Justice

Paydirt: A 1994 Elisabeth Shue vehicle, plus a young Jack Black. (1/2)

Blind Truth

No good – although 2007’s Blind Trust shows up. (1/3)

Dark Fate

Just one link, to an unheard-of Oz movie which had the US promotional title of ‘Alone in the Dark: Fate of Existence’. (1/4)

Dark Justice

Featuring the fifth of the four Baldwin brothers, Rideaux Baldwin, this looks promising. Plus there’s a 1991 TV series. I’m taking it. (2/5)

Dark Truth

Can I interest you in 2007’s Darkness of Truth or the forthcoming Dark Truths? Of course I can. (3/6)

Cruel Fate

Nope. This is a bridge too far. (3/7)

Cruel Justice

Just the one entry, and it’s a beauty: 1999 TV movie featuring no-one heard of before or since. (4/8)

Cruel Truth

Another solo entry: but to a 1927 movie seen by, um, few. (4/9)

Naming Unconventions

So it’s a strike rate of less of than 50 percent. Luckily for me, there’s a movie title which perfectly captures my movie-titling ability: Epic Fail.

hashtagNew to Twitter? Mystified by hashtags?

Then you’re in the right place. Here’s my easy, no-fuss guide on how to use these marvels of 21st century communication.


Yes, they add value – but only if they can be understood. If your hashtag forms an entire sentence, then your followers’ eyes will start to bleed, and – bless them – these ‘followers’ can be a litigious bunch. #andnobodywantsalawsuitexceptthelawyersandmaybetheoddjudgehereorthere


You may be the high priest of sarcasm but with 140 characters to play with, context can be difficult. Drop in a #notreally at the end and watch the retweets pile sky high! #notreally


You’ve executed a brilliant tweet and have 40-50 characters spare. Spare Twitter characters end up in the atmosphere and contributing to global warming, so don’t waste them: add an extra layer of comedy/entertainment/interest by double hashtagging! #climatechange #notreally


Hashtags break if you put any form of punctuation in: apostrophes, hyphens, question marks. That means they don’t look as good on screen, you lose online credibility, start acting increasingly crazy as a result, then attract the attention of the cops, and end up in jail. So just don’t do it. #notevenexclamationmarks!


And that’s it for now. Don’t forget that hashtags are the future of communication; they say so much in such a little space (or, if you want to be clever, with no space)! Also remember that if they’re good enough for Barack Obama to use as a campaign slogan, then they’re good enough for you. #hashtagswecanbelievein


My daughter starts school tomorrow.

I’m happy for her, as she’s more than ready: her brain badly needs the expansion that school will provide.

But I’m also a bit sad, as my influence on her life will only diminish from here on. Of course, it’s always diminishing; but going to school is one of those milestones that throws that decrease into its sharpest focus.

Part of me wants her to stay 5 and pre-school forever; but a bigger part of me wants her to go out into the world and further become the person she’s going to be.*

Good luck Zoe.

*A squillion dollar-earning LGPA pro golfer who’ll allow me to retire at 50 and travel the globe without a care in the world.