Mixtape: let’s get political – change begins with you

Tibet protest, Chinese embassy, London, Mar 07, 2015, by Chris Beckett (1350x759)If you live in the UK, you can’t fail to have noticed that we’re approaching another riveting general election. The three major parties – Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats – are all hoping their rhetoric will win you, and I, over. We’ve even got the Eurosceptic, borderline-racist party, UKIP, filling our screens this time.

If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you have at least some view on politics, and the decision makers who, like it or not, hold much of the power in our society. Continue reading

Solar eclipse 2015: reflections after it happened

Solar eclipse 2015, Svalbard, Norway, BBC, 02 (1366x768)As naïve as it maybe, I was expecting most of Britain to be plunged into noticeable darkness during its first total solar eclipse since 1999. That didn’t happen, of course. Instead, thanks to rampant cloud cover, myself and many others, were forced to watch what we could of this astounding, once-in-a-generation event via live news feeds over the web. Continue reading

Why blog when you can tweet?

WordPress.com - orbitingwonder.wordpress.com deleted Feb 23, 2015 screenshot (1366x599)Blogging is dead. That’s the impression I’ve had every time I have opened the category marked ‘Friends’ on my RSS reader. Some 40 blogs all static. No new updates. There haven’t been any for months, years in a lot of cases. Continue reading

How do you stay focused in the digital era?

Weapons of mass distraction. Mar 27, 2012, by birgerking (720x404)How do you stay focused in the digital era? Discipline. There, that was easy, wasn’t it?

No, actually. Today we’re bombarded by so many distractions – on our phones and on the web – that it’s all too easy to wander off-task at work or at home. And one way or another, the consequence usually ends up impacting your own wellbeing.

Following BBC Click regular Kate Russell’s advice on tools to give yourself a digital detox, the question of how you stay on-task seems especially apt to me right now. Continue reading

Not-so-simple fitness gadgets

Runner in New York, 31072011, by Ed Yourdon (1448x815)What are New Year’s resolutions if not renewed commitments to the pursuit of happiness? The trouble is technology designed to help you on your path to that better, simpler life still tends to cause disruption and sleepless nights.

Fitness gadgets, such as wristbands, trainer sensors and apps, are sold on the promise of convenience and ease of use. Their usefulness lies in the idea that if you can track your progress you’ll be more motivated. Latterly, sports brand Nike has struck upon the bright idea of syncing your data to the web so it can be compared with an entire network of global fitness fanatics. Great, huh? Well, maybe when it works. Continue reading

Taking steps to beat the HS skin disease

Pondering in Regent's Park, 20140817, by Aaron Lee (1448x815)How do you react to the news that you’ve been diagnosed with a rare and, so far, incurable skin disease that may plague you for your entire adult life?

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic skin disease which appears near and around the most personal parts of the body, such as the armpits, groin and breasts. This little-known disease is believed to affect one per cent of the UK population, yet, due to misdiagnosis and those suffering in silence, the figure may in fact be higher. Continue reading