Change

I’ve just changed the hosting for my websites. I’ve been meaning to do it for a couple of years now, but there are always other things to do. Add to that the worry that there are so many services dependent upon the hosting provider its no surprise that I ended up staying where I was, paying over the odds for a declining service.

That’s the modern business model, get you tied down to so many different services you find it harder and harder to move. That’s why Apple and Google like to make themselves so indispensable to all the different parts of your life. That’s why people hate to move banks: they’re worried about the fuss of changing all their standing orders. Well, I moved banks in the mid 90’s, and once I’d done it I realised how easy it was to do it a second time. Once you become aware of how something works you become free to uproot and move somewhere better. People accept second best because they’re afraid to move on. They’re afraid because they don’t know how.

That’s my view, at least.

Vincent Deary writes far more convincingly on why people find it so difficult to change in his book How We Are (How to Live Trilogy 1).

Vincent Deary is a health psychologist, but don’t hold that against him. He’s written a quietly literary book that meanders through an impressive range of sources and references on just why people are creatures of habit. From urban planners to Terry Pratchett, from Primo Levi to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this is a book packed full of small revelations that unite to form an oddly positive and refreshingly different perspective on what it is to be human.

As for the new webhosting… Well, so far it’s very, very good indeed. So good I’m thinking of giving them a mention on my tech site.

How to Read a Short Story

  1. Put aside some time. A short story is not a novel, it should be read in one sitting.
  2. Turn off the TV and the radio. Rid yourself of any distractions.
  3. The writing in a short story is usually more concentrated: expect to spend a little more time on the page than you would for a novel.
  4. Remember that a short story is like a glass of beer. The first one of the day is always the best.

Leave It to the Experts

I’ve only just resisted the temptation to write a theme for this blog. I’ve looked at the documentation, I’ve downloaded a couple of themes and had a look around inside, but I’ve managed to summon the self control to say "no".

It was difficult. I hand coded the first websites I published, I dabbled in Dreamweaver, I wrote my own WordPress themes… I’m really tempted to get under the bonnet of Ghost, but over the years I’ve come to realise that whatever I do will never be as good as something done by a proper designer – by which I mean someone with a flair for design. I’m a writer first and foremost. I like Ghost because it allows me to concentrate on what I’m good at. It’s the mark of the amateur to think they can do everything. It’s the Dunning-Kruger effect: the less you know, the more you think you know.

So, I’m sticking to writing for the moment, and I’m keeping this blog on the basic Casper theme. No comments, no menus – nothing but blogging and a real sense of freedom. I’ll wait for someone else to make it look good.

eBooks v Paper Books

Nearly every book I’ve read over the past two years has been read on my Kindle. It constantly surprises me that there are people who still prefer paper books. Still, each to their own. Here, as far as I can see, are the arguments for eBooks v Paper Books

eBook

  • Lighter and more convenient than a hardback
  • More convenient than most paperbacks
  • Carry all your books with you, never stuck for something to read on holiday
  • Switch between books whilst you’re reading (I always have three books on the go, Fiction, Non Fiction and Short Story Collection)
  • Read in the dark without disturbing others
  • Look up words using the dictionary
  • Buy and begin reading new books straight away
  • Saves cutting down trees

Real Books

  • There’s something about holding a real book in your hand.
  • The smell. Oh yes, the smell.
  • Ah, you just don’t understand