05 November 2005

It's been far too long

Day-job work has been very, very busy but very, very interesting. I'm doing some major site work at the moment, have just been to a content management conference and - I have to admit - I'm working too many hours.

But I'm quite enjoying it.

More updates as soon as I get a bit more sorted with things...

11 October 2005

Nighty night

Hurrah! PHP things have all been going my way tonight, the site's nearly done, and I'm going to treat myself to an early night. I started work at nine this morning, and beside an hour to bike home and eat, I've been working solidly since.

Tomorrow night I really must finish my business plan and get back into the swing of things.

Goodnight, all.

10 October 2005

Slipping a bit

I've been stupid busy just lately and everything seems to have been slipping. I've done little bits of everything I intended to - and not really achieved anything. Except breaking not only this blog, but also my PHP parser, by trying to blog an image via Flickr... next time I think I'll just go the long way round.

By the way, I'm going to have to ramble somewhat now to push the image off the front page of the test site.

The test site is coming along nicely, by the way - got a PHP contact form up and running (from a teccy point of view) and awaiting some formatting. Tomorrow night I'm going to get my CSS hat on and learn how to better present form fields. At some point I should validate it, too, before I get too far in - I know the rest of the site is HTML 4.01 valid, and if I recall the CSS is valid as well - but I don't know how that form is going to affect it.

Right, now I need to go to bed - I've allowed myself to get so tired I feel unwell. Time to break that habit.

09 October 2005

British Ploughing Championships - no, really.

head down for speed
Originally uploaded by Maltpress.

After an exceedingly busy week at work, I had some R&R this morning in the shape of the British Ploughing Championships in Soham. Not exactly a tense morning of high-octane sport, but very interesting and lovely to get out in the early autumn sun.

It was classic tractors and horses today (the rather dull modern tractors were yesterday) - and while we didn't stay very long, it was still great fun. Seeing the traction engine ploughing was fascinating too. Sadly the batteries on my camera were running out by then.

If I thought anyone would be interested, I'd describe it all to you - but you can real all about it here

I don't care how sad it is - I enjoyed myself.

03 October 2005

I'm 27 years old.

Well - that's it. I've turned 27. It's not too bad.

I've got a day off work today, which is nice. I've been doing loads of work on the site, the test page of which can be found at www.juicyfly.com/index2.php. I'm pretty pleased with the way it's turning out. Cambridge Comedy Club things are kicking off quite well - got my first gig in ages on Friday - and all in all I'm feeling pretty good.

The set-up has been going a bit slack of late, but I'm going to work on that today. I'm just waiting for some publicity stuff for the comedy club to come through on email, and then I'll be off to get it printed, and I'll go into Cambridge to make an appointment with the bank manager and so on. Got some writing to do as well - the business plan needs doing at some point. I really should start to think about registering at Companies House soon too.

That'll be exciting!

28 September 2005


Throughout this I've never claimed to be a web designer or even that technical. I know how to create useable sites, and sites which fulfil marketing needs, but in terms of PHP or CSS hacks or anything like that I knew I might have to learn a bit.

Well, I've already learnt a fair amount about PHP this week. And tonight I've been playing with some CSS things in order to get stuff to work how I want it to.

The thing is, in Firefox everything I was doing displayed fine. Firefox is CSS 2.0 compliant. Or at least a damn sight more so than current IE browsers. So while I'm trying to build a compliant site (for the sake of future-proofing, accessibility, and - although I intend to test it - so I have a fairly good idea how it'll behave in compliant browsers) I, like many web developers, am struggling with the barriers IE puts in the way.

Of course, IE has the biggest market share and it seems there's little we can do about this. While I'm a big fan of Firefox (regardless of security issues, it's just nicer to use) I'm not going to be stupid about this and just say "well, if IE looks wrong that's their problem", or - conversely - just work to IE. It's a good learning and problem solving exercise to get stuff cross-browser compatible. And it makes business sense.

Still - there's good news. Microsoft are catching up with the really useful, really powerful stuff the open source people have been evangelising about for ages. Not only do I hear that Vista (the next Windows version) will have RSS support, but apparently IE7 will fix a lot of CSS bugs. Hurrah! Microsoft *aren't* evil. They waver around that difficult line of comprimise between technical people and everyday users and they're obviously never going to satisfy everyone. But they're working on it.

Now, let's see what the damn thing looks like in Opera set to text browser emulation...


It works in Opera. Looks jolly odd with structural elements showing, but that's no surprise...

27 September 2005


I'm really, really tired and the pain in my shoulder is telling me one thing: I need to invest in a proper chair for this desk. I'm slouching.

The day job's stunningly busy at the moment (and because it's paying the bills at the moment it has to take precedence; there's also the fact that I have some pretty cool, and exciting, projects on the go there). Setting up is kind of taking a back seat to that, setting up the JuicyFly website (especially teaching myself PHP, which is why I've been up late and why I'm so tired) and doing admin type tasks for the Cambridge Comedy Club like arranging venues and meetings and auditions and things.

It sounds like I'm complaining, but I'm not. I like to be busy. I need to better plan my time, though, as it looks like I've got some more stuff on the horizon and I need to make sure i look after myself properly.

So - things to do tomorrow - go to bank and make appointment, look into a chair (Staples have some fairly cheap ones), and have a proper lunch break - during which I will read my book and make sure I get back on track with start-up tasks.

26 September 2005

Busy busy busy....

Well, I'm hard at work on the website at the moment. I've just made (borrowed, largely) a PHP parser thanks to The Art of Web site. It seems to be working, so I need to now put the rest of the page in place around it... in the mean time, I'll add the parser to the holding page of the site.

Jobs for the week - make an appointment to see the bank manager, save money (car insurance at the weekend - grr!) and do some more on the business plan. Oh, and finish the site. I may have some time off work over the next month or so and spend some proper days doing business stuff rather than staying up all hours doing it.

24 September 2005

The best web stuff. Made simpler.

I think that is my new one-line pitch. That's what I'm all about - helping people get really good, really functional websites but in a simple way they can keep up to date. There are too many far too complex but largely useless sites out there; and there are too many simple sites which just look - well, simple, poorly maintained, and just plain bad. It needn't be like that. If a site's set up properly in the first place - with the right aims and proper training - it can stay good for a long time.

It's based on something my friend Becky said to me. We were discussing the trouble I was having with writing the one-line pitch/tagline and I joked that I might just leave it at "web stuff". To which she - very sensibly - replied "why not? Isn't the whole point of what you're doing to make things simpler for non-technical people?". And once again, she was right - so I took what she said, added it to the jokey tagline I had, and came up with the above. A google search of the phrase comes up with nothing. So I'm sticking with it.

My friends are ace. They've had all the best ideas. I sometimes think starting a business is less about doing stuff and more about pulling together all the ideas your friends have into one place and acting on them....

Today I was supposed to be changing a wheel bearing on the Metro I use as a wet-weather run-around (I'm *that* middle class). But I didn't have a socket big enough to take the bearing nut off. So I had a drive around in the Midget while the weather was nice. And why not? I pay to insure and look after the thing, I may as well enjoy it.

I'm now working on the website. Design-wise I'm nearly there - at the stage when it's more sensible to actually start working on it, rather than just drawing it, anyway. I'm hoping it'll be quite good. I certainly hope so; I've abandoned one design already, so this is mark II. While I get it going, www.juicyfly.com will direct to a holding page, and it's going to link here. So maybe it's worth using http://maltpress.blogspot.com as the URL you favourite (if you do such a thing) or subscribing to the RSS feed. I'm about to put a button on for that so you can do it a bit easier.

21 September 2005

OK, some first passes at those pitch lines...

  • Making web content easy. - Dull. Sorry.

  • Taking the hard work out of web content. - Again, dull.

  • Web content – off-line ease. - nearly there...

  • Helping you make the most of the web. - hardly original.

  • Making the most of the web. - again, not especially original.

  • I’m easy – you’re content. - OK, starting to get silly now.

Writing a pitch document

That's what I've been up to tonight. "I'm sorry I haven't a clue" on Listen Again, a carton of half-frozen orange juice (really must save up for a new fridge), and trying to write a pitch document.

I've got a pitch which is one page long. I've got a reasonable pitch of a paragraph. But the one-line pitch is eluding me at the moment. Will have to work on it some more.

Other than that, little to report - still working on website designs (I really want to get this site *right*, not just something flat and dull and badly designed).

Day off work tomorrow - fishing with dad. Should be fun. Certainly relaxing, which I need given the amount I've got on at the moment.

19 September 2005

The first step to recovery is admitting there's a problem.

Hello. My name's Adam Maltpress and I think I like chick flicks.

Sorry. Last night I kind of enjoyed Legally Blonde (but perhaps not for the reasons people normally enjoy chick flicks - Reese Witherspoon, hurrah).

Tomorrow night I'm off to the cinema to see Pride & Prejudice (is that Jane Austen's ampersand?) with a friend. It's got Kiera Knightly in it.

Perhaps I don't actually like chick flicks - perhaps I need to get out more and meet some real girls...

Anyway, I had a very non-business week last week, partly thanks to IT problems, partly thanks to laziness and partly thanks to being worn out.

I've been watching "Risking it All" on Channel 4 - not always that relevant to me, as the first two episodes have been about the catering industry, and the people going into business are leaving jobs and literally risking it all. Whereas I'm trying my absolute hardest not to risk anything. Still, some interesting ideas there, and it's given me a bit of impetus to get back into it now.

The other thing giving me impetus is being told by my boss that - as long as I don't take advantage of work contacts, I only use my own contacts, I can have clients while I remain in my current job. Which is a huge bonus and not something I thought would happen. So I can start to think about the first stages of marketing my business. And writing my business plan and getting a business account and finding an accountant and...

You get the picture. Basically I have to cut down on the chick flicks/pretty girlies...

13 September 2005

Guilty pleasures.

I've got some confessions to make about my guilty pleasures. Please don't laugh.

  1. The Spin Doctors. First band I ever saw live. Two Princes still rocks.

  2. Smallville. Been watching it on E4 lately. Clark, how could you not love Chloe? You're mad, that's how.

  3. Adverts. Not all of them - that damn Charmin advert isn't exactly a favourite - but a lot of them. And the medium itself. Sorry.

You see, adverts appeal to me in so many ways. As a writer/performer of comedy, the advert has a lot of parallels (for me) with the sketch show, especially post Fast Show.

From a marketing perspective, obviously advertising has a huge role to play, and TV adverts are a massive part of that.

But the reason I'm mentioning them here is so that I remember to write an article about the "Bam!" factor of websites.

In short, the web is saturated with content and Google, Yahoo! and a huge number of other portals and search engines are just waiting to serve up hundred of other possible pages which might fulfil your users' needs - unless you make sure they know early on that they're on the right page. There are ways to do this with the positining of elements, careful use of colour and animation in the right places, and keeping content above the fold but you need to make sure your site entry points - the pages you're getting visitors referred to by search engines - say exactly what they're about to provide quickly, clearly, and in an engaging way. You've got about 30 seconds to convince people to invest time and effort making more of your site. About the same amount of time as a TV advert.

But please, please, don't use bears performing bowel movements to do that.

12 September 2005

Another quicky....

I'm watching the Guardian site with interest at the moment. I thought that, with the re-branding and re-launching of the newspaper, there would be radical - or at least some changes to the site.

As far as I can see, the only change so far is that they have bullet points in some of the front page summaries now. The digital edition has changed but the main, free part of the site has remained very similar - and this is the part that new readers, captured by the new-look paper and the hype surrounding it, are going to be seeing.

Sounds a bit like a missed opportunity? Well, in many ways it is. But in other ways they're probably trying to avoid one of the horrors of launching a website with a fanfare - it's pretty easy for things to fall over. And with the number of people who are going to be looking at the site - given the media attention the change has generated - that's not really a risk worth taking.

Now, the Guardian has the resources to properly test an update to the site and probably even phase the update to make sure nothing goes wrong. But phasing it means you wouldn't get a big launch.

And besides - it wasn't the site which needed updating here - it's the site which has led to the need to update. Broadsheets, when the internet is so widely available, take far less advantage of the real benefit a newspaper has over a website - portability. While you can happily read the Sun on the tube, the Guardian is always a struggle.

Well, until now.

Edit: a little more browsing discovered this article about the site which - quite reassuringly - confirms exactly what I thought

Comments - sorry about the login thing

I got hit by comment spam, I'm afraid, so for the time being I'm keeping comments restricted to logged in users only. Once I don't have a "day job" I'll have more time to keep an eye on things and will open it up again.

If you want to get in touch, use adam[dot]maltpress[at]JuicyFly[dot]com - cheers!

09 September 2005

Very busy, so just a quick post

Busy at work but I really had to blog this story - exceedingly interesting read.

Guardian Unlimited - Digital dialogue on the web

07 September 2005

Quiet night

MG midget front wing
Originally uploaded by Maltpress.

I'm very tired tonight, so I'm trying to keep work to a minimum. Feeling a little under the weather for some reason.

I don't have a huge amount to do except refining the service offering. I think I can do that now; I've had a day away from it, and really not thinking about it, except at lunch.

I had a very nice lunch with a friend from work. We put the world to rights and talked about my plans (and hers) - and explaining things to her helped me get my head straight about some of the things I'd honestly not thought about. I've always been very grateful for my friends and family, but doing this, I think I'm even more appreciative - having someone to bounce ideas off, who's supportive but not afraid to tell you when you're wrong - it's very important. As dad always says, it's not what you know, but who you know. Obviously knowing something helps, but knowing when you don't know as much as you think - and knowing who to ask when you need to find things out - that's pretty important.

That was rather self-help lifestyle coach talk, for which I apologise. It won't happen again.

Anyway, despite the astronomical price of petrol at the moment, I decided to make the most of the sunshine (and show off to the friend I had lunch with) and drove my little baby to work today. Doesn't quite fit my plan to save petrol money this month by driving the bare minimum, but I think - given that I had a bad day yesterday and needed cheering up - it was worth it.

There's something about the burble of an A-Series engine in third gear as you pull away from a 30mph limit which can't help but bring a smile to your face.

And with that incredibly petrol-head comment, I'll leave you for the evening.

06 September 2005

Service offerings

Tonight I'm writing an outline of my service offerings. My book says I need to develop my business idea, so I'm listening to the Goon Show on BBC7's listen again and writing the details of the services I'll be offering. Then I'll test the ideas to destruction and re-work them.

Oh, and I'm getting some readers to this blog who aren't me. Hello! Nice to see some people are reading. Leave a comment to let me know you're there. It would be appreciated. :)

05 September 2005

How newspapers deal with the web

How newspapers dealt with the challenge of the internet is quite an interesting story. I'm planning to start producing weekly articles/opinion pieces, and perhaps this will be one of them in a few weeks' time when I have my website (proper) set up.

But in the mean time there's an interesting article in today's Grauniad all about it. How do you counter the fact that news on the web is now free? You give your newspaper away free. Or at least a large chunk of content.

It's a damn good principle - because fundamentally the newspaper is better than the web from the outset. It's a proper tangible product you can hold; it doesn't require power, or starting up, or lugging around in a lap-top case, or a wireless subscription. You can read it anywhere at any time. It even smells nicer. One of the nicest days I had this year was sitting in the sun at Glastonbury reading the newspaper and watching the hippies go by - it was ace. I couldn't do that with a website.

The problem with the competition, of course, came down to money. With content free online, advertising revenues dropped off and so did circulation. I think we'll soon reach a news saturation point online and start to settle into a pattern of loyalty similar to printed news; RSS feeds and blogs may muddy the waters here a little, but I really do think syndication is going to be picked up more on a specialist level (i.e. consumers subscribing to industry news, blogs etc) rather than everyone signing up to international feeds. There's simply too much news. I've signed up to several feeds, and have pretty much started to ignore the BBC one; it's too general and updated too regularly. I honestly think consumers would rather have daily updates than minute-by-minute unless something really big (terrorist attacks, natural disasters, cricket scores) is happening while they watch.

Here's how I want my news: a nice chunk of stuff tailored to me to browse in the morning. Followed by inky fingers as I catch up on general events which have been filtered for me by an editorial team I feel loyal to.

And if they want to give me free stuff too, then so much the better.

04 September 2005

Busy day!

Erm... well, OK, not that busy. I had a bike ride and I cleaned my car, and I'm about to tidy my room and then go round Dad's for tea.

I just came on here to say hurrah - I'm now part of BritBlog, the directory of British blogs. Which is nice. May drive some traffic my way and if not, I may well be able to find some relevant blogs on similar themes.

I found BritBlog via the excellent Random Acts of Reality blog. It's an excellent read.

I really have an impetus to get moving now. The week-by-week structure of the book is great, but I'm finding I have more time than I thought and I'm keen to get moving even faster, so it's full steam ahead now. I need to really push to meet with some people at work and really iron out any conflict of interest stuff.

Tomorrow I'll update you on what I need to do this week, some ideas I've been having and - on a personal note - some photos I've been taking.

02 September 2005

What a clever bit of e-mail marketing

I just got an automated email from VerticalResponse, who I've used in the past to send HTML email bulletins. They're a really good way of sending updates to people and - if you use them correctly - help reinforce brands, draw attention, and inform. I'm a bit dubious about using them too regularly, though - it's all too easy for content to be blocked, image links to be broken and so on (my webmail, for example, strips all images and as such I often get unreadable HTML emails). I know a few Sys Admins who hate them and will tell you never to send them - ever. However, as one-off or irregular contacts to really get some attention, they're great.

Anyway, the one I got was on the ever-hot topic of corporate blogging - which I think is great and I've been evangelising about for some time now - and, although I think it's a bit long for reading on screen, it's quite good. As you'd expect from an HTML email company. First link takes you to VerticalResponse's corporate blog (here, if you're interested) and it goes on to explain all about blogging.

The killer line for me, however, was "As always, this entire email was created and sent in just minutes using VerticalResponse!".

What an ace way to sell the product. I don't know why I'm so impressed with such a simple idea - and I admit the exclaimation might be going a bit far - but it's just so nicely and cleanly executed, and drives home the message so well, that I had to mention it.

And it's obviously worked as a marketing message.

01 September 2005

Itching to get going...

Had another day when I'm really itching to get going. Patience is needed, I know, but I'm really keen to start using some of the ideas I have.

The blog look and feel is getting there, and I'll finish that tomorrow.

I got the first two of my credit checks through - all clear, as I'd hoped. That's good. I'm about to do the first of my monthly accounts check-ups, as well, having got a spreadsheet ready. Sad, I know.

Networking is going OK - got in touch with a few old friends and told them what I'm up to and asked for some advice. Should have contact details for a few accountants soon.

Day-job work is very busy, too. I'm trying to teach myself better project management, though, and that's kind of why I'm working after fencing - I had some ideas how to better manage things and I'd like to get them down while they're fresh.

More updates over the weekend, I hope - no plans except saving money...

31 August 2005

Nearly there...

All I need to do is sort out the banner, which is currently hosted in such a way that only I can see it.

I'll fix this in the morning. And go to bed now.

30 August 2005

Been a while...

...so what have I done?

Well, I've been working on silly little things like document headers and templates. I got some designs for a logo today from a friend who's also an excellent artist, and I'll be using some of these soon.

In terms of the book I finished week 3 OK - apart from not being able to find my cheque book to send off the last of my credit check applications - and now I'm on to week four. Networking, which I did some of today at work, plus positive thinking (which I'm not very good at... joke...), negotiating, selling, and spotting opportunities. I'm doing some negotiating at work, I'm selling ideas in to people, and I'm always trying to spot opportunities - it's really a case of pushing things that little bit further at work for a while.

I was also thinking about going speed dating again. Stop laughing. It's sound business sense - I need to practice my networking skills. Without paying to join the excellent Cambridge Network yet, and considering I'm not 100% sure if I can be trying to get clients while still in my current job (especially given the links we have with Cambridge Network), it seemed like an ideal way to practice. Especially if I go on my own. The bonus is, I might meet a pretty lady.

Now I'm about to work on the template for this blog, given the design ideas I've been playing with (and the fact that my CSS skills are a little rusty). Let's hope I don't break it. There are some odd Blogger tags in the code.

26 August 2005

This week?

Well, week three is drawing to a close and I've done a fair bit. Money is sorted (in that I know what I have and what I need, not that I have enough or anything!), time is sorted (I think I have enough if I work hard), and Sunday is put aside for sorting my contacts and ordering some information.

The overwork continues, of course, but I'm fitting more in to the time that I have, and getting better at prioritisation.

Tomorrow - a day off at last. Lie in, then making jam. Jam jam jam!

25 August 2005

Good and bad news.

Bad news: so far this year I've spent more than I've earnt.
Good news: things are turning round this month, I'm aware of the problem and doing something about it, and I've finally finished my budgeting work and I can go to bed.

Good night, all.

23 August 2005

Something of interest (perhaps)

Just something I noticed on the New Scientist - Easterners and Westerners view the world differently. With the web being a global phenomenon, even if we assume it's OK to write in English for foreign audiences, and we're writing in a plain English way, should we be thinking about the bigger picture - the philosophies of the people we're writing for.

It's obviously impractical to write different versions of small to medium sized sites for regional audiences, but perhaps we should be taking a more global focus with the content we write. Although of course that way we run the risk of sanitizing our writing to the point that it's purely clinical and of no interest to anyone. There are - as ever on the web - difficult but interesting comprimises to be made with our content.

20 August 2005


Originally uploaded by Steve Makin.
Done it. Named my company. As soon as I can get back on my domain register's site, I'll be temporarily directing www.juicyfly.com at this blog until I have hosting and a site all set up and ready to go.

It's pretty cool knowing I now have a company name sorted and my own domain name and things. It's really starting to move.

In other news, computer is nearly set up how I want it - got The Gimp so I can start working with images. Got Office. Got FireFox. Just about to download Thunderbird (although until my domain's properly sorted I won't be getting emails through it).


Oh, and all those silly concerns I had the other night - well, I've slept them off. It was just the manifestation of tiredness, and the weekend's cured it.

17 August 2005


My first post on the new 'pooter.

Day... er... Wednesday, week two, finished and I'm about to turn in. I'm shattered. Been a busy evening trying to squeeze in cleaning and cooking (determined to have at least one decent meal a week - in addition to the one Dad cooks me) between sorting out my room, cutting pictures out of magazines, setting the computer up, and trying to think of a company name (jumping the gun a bit, but I might have some work to do this weekend and I want to look fairly professional).

Still a little concerned that I'm going to wear myself out, so I really must make an effort to book a little holiday tomorrow. We have the bank holiday coming up soon, and then there's my birthday in October - will probably have a little time off then as well. Will give me chance to get ahead, perhaps. The tiredness means I'm feeling a bit down tonight but it's nothing a little sleep and a good fence tomorrow night won't fix. Just got a couple of things on my mind which are going to be there until I rest up again. Nearly the weekend, though, and I have nothing planned at all, so it's a chance to sleep and prepare for the horror of week three and the money situation...

No entry last night...

...because I didn't do anything last night. Well, nothing business related. Went to see The Chalets in Cambridge and they were utterly brilliant. Had a moment of inspiration on the loo, too, about a name for the business, which I won't mention yet - I'm looking into the URL and things for it and what's available. I think I need to double-check the book for info on what to do with my name to protect it before I tell anyone. But it's got meaning for me, it sounds nice and I think it could form a nice logo, too.

I'm shattered at the moment though. Aiming for an early (ish) night tonight. Although I have no plans for the weekend and I'll try to keep it that way.

15 August 2005

Den -- Bergeron/Wellmeier Residence

More books and a dark leather sofa and this would be the ideal office/library type room.


Originally uploaded by Remiss63.
Aspirational interiors. My god, it's lovely. I want this one.

Some crises. Kind of. Concerns.

1. Time. When can I clean? Wash clothes? The kitchen floor needs doing. Washing up needs doing. But work stuff needs doing.
2. Sleep. Will I get enough?
3. Can I discipline myself?
4. Will I sit on my backside all day, put on weight and get unhealthy?
5. How am I going to meet people? Specifically, pretty people? Not a huge issue (I'll come to that) but it might be.

I'm sure I'll work these out. If you're starting up and are having, or have had, similar concerns, it would be nice to hear from you (comment below).

But other than that week two - do some day-dreaming about where I'll be in five years - is going OK. Except for aspirational magazines.

Now, I'm not a prude. I like to think I'm reasonably enlightened. I have no problem with the female form; I think, in general, it's rather a nice thing. But why on earth is GQ filled with semi-naked ladies? I bought a copy and decided that I would look for aspirational things (there are some lovely suits in there, and some gadgets) at lunch time. So I sat on the balcony at work. And my boss came and sat next to me.

So I flick through the pages aspiring away... and find every other page has lady-bumps on it. Don't get me wrong; there are worse things to be faced with, but I'm not exactly aspiring to have my own. And I'm not sure my boss appreciated me sitting there aspiring next to her... I need man magazines which don't have "lady jumper lumps" all over them.

Homes and Gardens tomorrow, I think.

As for what I aspire to...

In five years' time, when I'm mere months from 32, I'd like to own my own house. It'll have a double garage with an inspection pit on one side, and sitting in it will be an MGB and something else - maybe a half finished Caterham. On the drive will be a sensible dull car like a fiesta. I'll also have my own office in the house, filled with computer stuff - a nice big PC, a Mac, and a laptop, and I'll have lots of lovely gadgety things. I'm going to have a leather sofa in my office and massive bookshelves which are overflowing.

My bathroom's going to be one of those wet-room jobbies with an open-plan shower thing. Nice airy bedroom. At least one moggy - probably still be Teabag, although let's hope he's calmed down a bit.

I'll be working for myself and thinking about taking on an associate because I'll be at the point where I'm turning down work because I don't have time.

I'll be planning my Autumn holiday to Canada.

I'll have a nice wine-rack too.

Now, notice that throughout that I was waxing lyrical about the leather sofa, the holiday, the moggy - but never once mentioned a significant other. Which is odd. I just can't see anyone else there at the moment. I know I'm not going to be single forever, but I can't see when I'll meet someone - and why I'd be that bothered, either.

It's just a little odd. For the past eighteen months or more I've been worried about being single while all my friends seem to be paired up but getting involved in this - working on something and aiming for it - has taken that away somewhat. Maybe there is a hole in my life. But I don't think it's woman shaped. It's leather sofa shaped.

14 August 2005


Originally uploaded by Maltpress.
I suppose it's a good thing I'm not going into business as a carpenter - this shocking contraption is my hand-built desk. You can't see from this, but there are a couple of nails poking out (will cover them up soon, I think), it flexes a little (the leg is only temporary until I can get some chunkier wood) and I need to cut a hole for wires. Oh yes - I've got a new computer to put on it. I just hope the monitor (an aging 19" jobby) sits on it securely... I'll ram it into the corner as much as I can.

The computer came from Comet, and while it's not the cheap DIY job I wanted, it's better specced and should keep me going for a while. It's just a base unit, so I need to provide a monitor - which, as I said before, I have one of kicking around somewhere.

Now all that remains is to get it networked and up and running - and I'm done.

And that's week one finished. :)


Originally uploaded by _rebekka.
I'm kind of posting this as an experiment to see how Flickr and Blogger interact - but also to demonstrate why Flickr is a dangerous thing and I should stop browsing it now before I get sucked in completely...

13 August 2005


I'm a little hungover. Off to Luton to buy my comuter soon though. Luton and a hangover, eh? What fun.

Just a note to myself - tequila is never, ever a good idea.

11 August 2005

Day... er... four?

Not managed to do much today.

Registered on www.flyingstartups.com, the site associated with the book I'm using at the moment.

Got an email from the computer shop saying I can go there and get the self build kit - so that's Saturday's job (assuming the hangover's not too bad). I'm currently awaiting a jigsaw from dad so I can finish the desk.

Other than that, very little to report. Been browsing Flickr since I signed up - looking at other people's photos is great fun (although I'm getting increasingly jealous of all the good photographers out there).

Just been fencing, so letting the body recover before bed, and watching House in the background. That's business sense. Honest.

10 August 2005

Day three... still not much moving.

Found a computer. Two computers, actually. Called in a few debts to pay for whichever I go for. Depending on the one I get, I either order it and wait for delivery, or drive to Luton on Saturday - possibly - if they reply to my email in time.

Other than that, very little to report in the early stages. I've set up a Flickr account so I can put pictures in my blog; I've added a photo to my profile; and I'm thinking about the style sheet I can apply to the blog as well. I think, if web work is the way I'm going, and given my current love of blogs as a fantastic use of the internet, that I'll need to make far better use of this medium.

More to tell tomorrow, hopefully.

By the way, Lost is brill.

Day two - not a very business day

So, Tuesday. What was the plan? Desk, computer, stationery.

I went to the cinema instead. The film was sold out. So I watched a DVD. I was building my list of contacts and networking, honest. Plus it was Napolean Dynamite and it was very, very good.

I did do some lookig for a computer yesterday, though, and found this:
Eclipse Computers self-build

Which fits the cheap and powerful enough criteria - and is quite expandable, especially if memory falls in price. Several people have suggested a Mac laptop, which would be brilliant - laptop would be great if I'm working in other people's offices and a Mac would be fantastic - but I just can't afford it, or the support I'd need, or the software (I already have all the drivers etc I need for a PC, I'll be trying to use Open Office, and my brother's MS certified for support...) or the hardware (already have keyboards, mice, monitors coming out of my ears). I also know a laptop would be ideal, but I can't afford it for the moment. All I need for the next six months is internet, email and word processing - so my plan is to get something cheap but very expandable. Then, as both my needs and my budget grow, I can upgrade.

Anyway, I need to get on with my day job. Will be spending all of this evening working on the business properly.

08 August 2005

Here we go then...

So, here I go.

For a while I've been disillusioned by the world of work - bosses, other people, office politics, not being in charge, not being able to make the mistakes I want to, office hours, projects I don't want to do and missing out on the ones I do want - so it's time I started up on my own. I've been thinking about it for a few months, and made the decision about a month ago. I got this excellent book, and I'm now working through it.

In fact, I've just finished day one of week one. And what have I acheived?

Well, I know I need office space - and I've decided to use my room. So I got wood (ho ho ho) from Homebase and I've started building myself a desk, integrated into my loft-style bed. I've re-wired a couple of lights so I have a desk lamp, I bought some paper (oh, how riveting this must be to read...) and I've started this blog to keep me going. It's not only a diary so I can look back many years from now on my wonderfully succesful business, it's also a way of motivating myself - so I can see what I've been aiming to do and just how far I've got.

The countdown starts now. In six months time, I'm hoping to be leaving my current job and making that big, scary first step.

Things to do tomorrow:

  • finish desk
  • track down a cheap computer - and do a little budgeting
  • get the stationery I'm currently missing, and gather together what I already have.