Creating the capacity building game…

[Summary: crowdsourcing contributions to a workshop at Open Development Camp] There is a lot of talk of ‘capacity building’ in the open data world. As the first phase of the ODDC project found, there are many gaps between the potential of open data and it’s realisation: and many of these gaps can be described as […]

Validate an ISBN-10 number using Java

The Java method below validates an ISBN-10 number. It checks that the number is the correct length and validates the checksum using this formula – it accepts ISBNs with or without hyphens. public boolean validateIsbn10( String isbn ) { if ( isbn == null ) { return false; } //remove any hyphens isbn = isbn.replaceAll( “-”, […]

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For World CML Day: a book of patient experiences

I’m delighted to announce that the book I’ve been working on all summer has now been published! It’s a book of interviews with people who have chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) and the idea behind the book is to convey the real-life experiences of people with this chronic illness. I hope that it shows the diversity of possible responses and also the positive side of life with this condition.

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vintage florals – shop update

Floral and broderie anglaise coin purseI’ve been having fun this week, setting up these little photo shoots of my work. My mum found this vintage book on alpine flowers in a charity shop and it’s made the prefect backdrop for my handmade purses.It’s a …

A Spoonful Of Sugar

‘The happiest place on earth’This is my last holiday post and considering how much we did I think four posts is pretty respectable. I haven’t shared my trips to Yosemite National Park or the Grand Canyon because with the exception of a couple…


A touch of cold in the Autumn night— I walked abroad, And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge Like a red-faced farmer. I did not stop to speak, but nodded, And round about were the wistful stars With … Continue reading

The objects of my fixation

“Have you ever seen something and immediately thought ‘That-is-the-thing-missing-from-my-life-that-I-desperately-need’?”

I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a perfectly valid question but Mr G was not the person to ask. You see he is not a shopper so he looked at me like I was completely mad. I’m hoping I have more luck with you guys.

Scrolling through Instagram, flicking through magazines or wandering in a shop I quite often see things and lose myself in their potential. Shoes, chairs, sheets, jeans, necklaces – anything really – can become an object of my fixation and suddenly seem like the jigsaw puzzle pieces I didn’t even realise were missing from my life.  They will make life better! Easier! Less stressful! More fun! Happier!

They’re not just a pair of shoes or a gorgeous piece of furniture.  They’re the heels that will magically bind everything in my wardrobe; the chair that would make my house more ordered and less cluttered; the necklace/shirt/dress/scarf that would render “I’ve got nothing to wear” permanently redundant; the sheets that would make the bed practically make itself; the kids’ plates that would make mealtimes stress-free; the elusive toy that would capture a busy toddler’s attention whilst simultaneously educating and entertaining her for longer than three minutes.    

Of course none of this is true. No single object is capable of wholly remedying life’s little challenges – big or small. Sad as it is to admit no set of sheets will make the bed itself. No armchair or cushion will negate the need to clean and tidy the house.  No single pair of shoes will transform a wardrobe*. No set of plates will necessarily make mealtimes stress free and no single toy will ever fully capture, entertain and educate a toddler for more than three minutes. At least not one of mine. (Unless of course the toy belongs to another child who is using it at the exact moment my toddler wants it, at which point it will become highly covetable.)

But none of that is the point. The point is it’s fun to dream. To imagine how carefree and idyllic life could be with a just a few simple tweaks. For me the magic happens before I try something on or even look at the price tag because those things make them real.

Once the price is known (inevitably out of reach) or an item is tried on (and it turns out the t-shirt/dress/necklace is actually lacklustre or unflattering) the thrill is gone.  The enchantment is over.

The objects of my fixation are far more fun in my imagination than they are in real life. Can you relate? If so let’s play a game. What are the current objects of your fixation?

These are a few of mine. Can’t you imagine how they would effortlessly transform my life?

Dream away!!

* I am reluctant to be completely defeated in this regard and will continue my search for the shoe-that-will-make-everything-better. I suspect the answer is that the more shoes you have the better chance you have of finding the exact pair on any given day.

Two senses of standard

[Summary: technical standards play a role in both interoperability, and in target-setting for policy.] I’ve been doing lots of thinking about standardisation recently, particularly as part of work on the Open Contracting Data Standard (feedback invited on the latest draft release…), and thanks to the opportunity to work with Samuel Goëta on a paper around […]

Tuesday Treat – Tea and Kate

Hello! How’s your week treating you? I’m not going to lie, all I want to do at the moment is knit! It’s something to do with the change of season – I’m getting ready to hibernate! As I’m feeling all creative, finding sources of inspiration online is giving me a real boost. This week, Tea […]

Vintage Vegas

‘Man, I really like Vegas’  Elvis PresleyThese photographs were taken in Downtown Vegas which felt like stepping onto the set of Viva Las Vegas. I loved the vintage charm and it’s strange to think these slightly kitsch light displays were onc…

Tucker’s Law(s)

I fucking love Malcolm Tucker. Not in a boy way. I just fucking love how fucking articulate he is. Yes I know he’s fucking not a fucking real fucking person. But neverthefuckingless his deft touch with the English fucking language has had a fucking profound effect on many of us … Continue reading

Net Neutrality is important

The US wants to end net neutrality, this is a really bad idea (unless you’re a rich media monopolist)This article is © Copyright Marcus Povey 2008-2014

Planning Healthy Meals

I have to admit, my healthy eating went completely out the window over summer. It was either too hot to bother or I was feeling too lazy to plan, shop and cook. Plus I ate all the ice cream and barely moved, with the exception of walking Poppy. Oops. So I needed to get myself […]

Tuesday Treat – Making Things

Recently, I’ve been getting my make on. I’ve taken a long break, for no particular reason but I’ve felt that call to make things again. I’ve reopened my Folksy shop, started knitting ear warmers (needed one this morning!) and have bought more tools to widen my range of silver jewellery. I’ve also bought a Lightcase to […]