Things what I writ

I sometimes write nonsense about things to try and sound clever

Faces to Voices

Its been a long time since I’ve been out to Colorado to get together with the rest of the web experience design team, so its a great pleasure to be attending our all-hands event this week. There’s a number of faces I’ve been able to put to voices and tweets and IMs, including Holly and Matt, who have fairly recently joined the team. We’re employing some damn fine looking people these days, I have to tell you. We’re almost as good-looking as our pages.

There’s also a couple of other folks here right now that I managed to meet up with for the first time, and the week’s not over yet, so there’s still time to find and surprise more unwitting co-workers with how old I look in real life. In fact, as I was, like, totally lame when Teresa was in the UK a few months ago and didn’t drive 3 hours to meet up with her then, she pretty much dragged me out of the hotel yesterday when, coincidentally, I was trying to finish a design specification for Unified Web Feedback.

There are so many Sun people working from home these days that we often need a really good reason to actually drag ourselves out, knuckles scraping on the floor, to meet up with the people we probably would have sat next to in the office every day a few years ago. Which is why investing the time, effort (and dollars) in getting a team like ours together is so valuable. We’re spending these days reviewing the past year, looking at priorities for the next, working on our process and documentation and generally spreading the web love around. By the end of the week we’ll probably all be twitching and avoiding eye contact, but until that happens, there’s nothing quite like a good old get-together. With lots of Macbooks, naturally.

Listening Post: Pulp: Babies

surprisingly productive in loserville

thaas loomoo 161
thaas loomoo 161 by Tim Caynes

stop it. stop looking over my shoulder. go on, you’ve got a nice macbook you don’t need to peer at my ferrari while I’m creating this unimpressive community presentation for a meeting on thursday. you must have something more exciting to do like twitter or facebook or something. maybe you’re updating records in the british museum or something with your brain the size of a planet. oops, didn’t know you had company.

hoofed out of the office by the wholesale replacement of our electrical supply, I’m suddenly in need of internet access as I actually have something I need to do for work which actually can’t wait because I’ve left it to the last last last minute this time notwithstanding the fact that I spend most of my time these day just propping things up. I have my haircut. I take my laptop out. I sit in the forum cafe and actually write a presentation. I mean, I’d never get around to it at home. I’d be uploading laughable photos of my own head or something while I’m supposed to be working, but here, I can’t really do anything quite so ridiculous, as most of cafe marzano are sat watching me because they can’t quite believe how ostentatious my laptop is and what an idiot I must be. they’re even looking as I write this, so I’ve made the font really small so I don’t really know what I’m saying, but that’s no different to normal, of course. what is surprising me, however, is that this is quite a pleasant experience and that I’m quite productive. I’ll have another americano in a minute and lose it completely, but until then, I feel another email coming on

norwich has the largest open free wireless network in the world or something, so it’s about time I used it. I’m going to sit on the caste mound tomorrow and do a little parcour while I’m waiting for the collabspace to upload something I just made up. I’ve got backache. these chairs are horrible. I can’t get a coffee because I can’t leave my laptop. that person is annoying. you, you’re really distracting. get off your phone. stop tapping your foot. and slapping you thighs. YOU. GO AWAY.

hope the electrics are back on soon.

yes I’m at work

I know it doesn’t look like it. Your batteries haven’t recharged yet. You need to get up now. Yes you can have a shower after your breakfast. I’m not sure what you’re supposed to be doing today. I’ve got your clothes out, they’re in our bedroom. I don’t know, where are your sandals. Don’t go outside in those. Hello? Yes it’s Mr Caynes again. My exhaust still isn’t right. It’s rattling whenever we go uphill. Can you look at it this morning? What do you want? It’s downstairs in the back room. I think Grandma is taking you to Dragon Hall. No, I’m not coming. I know, but I have to work. They’ll need a drink and a biscuit. Have you got the guineas out? I don’t think it will rain. Hello, it’s Mr Caynes. I’d like to add European Breakdown Cover. Is it cheaper if I get that online? I’ve got it right in front of me. Hello? It’s Mr Caynes. I’ve got an appointment with James this morning, but I’m afraid I can’t make it. I don’t know. I’ll have to arrange it when we get back from France. You need to find some trousers. No, they’re shorts. Trousers. Well, it might rain, yes. Hello, it’s me. What was I supposed to remember to do today. Alright. Alright. Well, I’ve just got loads of other things to remember that’s all, it’s ok to forget someth… What? No, I don’t know where your tamagotchi is. It’s yours, you’re supposed to look after it. Well, if it’s in the back of the car, you’ll have to wait. have you written that letter to Peter? What do you mean it’s too hard? When I was your age… No, I can’t ‘do something’. Shut the door. She’s at work. I don’t know, about teatime I suppose. Yes, and Wednesday. Can you close the door? I don’t know, ask Grandma. Hello? Yes, you fixed it last week, but it’s still rattling. Yes? Can you do that yourself? If you need shower gel or shampoo or anything, you know where it is, right? What are the others doing? You two, don’t do that, you’ll break your wrist. No, just put the skates by the cellar door. Well, it’s nice outside, why don’t you play in the garden for a while? What do you mean, boring? Boring? When I was your age I… You three, it’s lunchtime. Yes, now. Cheese or ham? Well, that’s it, cheese or ham. No. Cheese or ham. Cheese or ham. Right. I have to back upstairs now, are you going to go out this afternoon? Ok, well, be good. Hello? Yes, it’s Tim Caynes. Yes, I’ve spent the last two weeks trying to get an intern into the building but the processes I have to go through are about as obvious to me as pan’s labyrinth so I’m just looking for some direction please. No I haven’t updated the playbook yet. What designs? I didn’t think we were doing that this release. Hello! did you have a nice time? No, your batteries still aren’t charge d up. Yes, they take a long time. No, nobody called. She’ll be back about teatime. Have you had a drink? Oh, hi. No, I’ve been working. About two hours. What present? I didn’t know anything about getting a present. Well, no, I haven’t. I’ve been at work. I know it’s tomorrow. Hang on. Go and ask Grandma. Well, find it yourself then. Hang on. I’ll have to go out and get it tomorrow. IT’LL HAVE TO BE LATE THEN. When did you last have it? Well, I’m afraid I really don’t know then. Have another look. Come on, it doesn’t matter, it’ll turn up. How about if I come down for a while and we do something. There, that’s great! Right, I have to go upstairs again now. Well, I did say. I have to go on a call now, so I’ll be back in about an hour. Could you get the dinner started. I’m not sure. There’s fish in the fridge, so I guess, yes, use those potatoes. Mash. The dishes are in there. That cupboard. Sorry, I have to go. No, that cupboard. What? What’s happened to your knee? Show me. I’m sure he didn’t mean to knock you over. Look, take this tea towel and hold it there until it stops. I’ve got to go. Tell Grandma where the first aid is. Right, I’ve got to go. Hello? It’s Tim. Sorry I’m a bit late, I was, um, on another call. Yeah, I’ve been looking at that all day, but I haven’t really managed to work it out. What do you think? Yeah, I know. Ha ha. You know what it’s like working from home. Sometimes you just work too hard, right? I should take more breaks.

corporate meetings for beginners

You just click on you name an then go to that menu on the left. no, the top. Hang on… So, I select my name, right and what? Go to the menu and select ‘make me great’. I don’t have that option. Oh. No. Wait. I need to make you great so you can share your greatness. Wait a minute here… Ok, you should be great now. Well, I have a circle next to my name, does that make me great? Erm, I think so. Try to do something great. Ok, what like? Try sharing your greatness with the rest of us. Ok, hang on, share…um…greatness! Right. Do you see my greatness. Oh, no, wait. I’ve got a popup. It says I can’t be great because its not my meeting. You need to make it my meeting before I can share my greatness. Is yours still there? No, its downloading an update of itself. Oh, right, so what about you? It rebooted my computer. Oh. Do you own the meeting yet? Um…well..I have a square next to my name now. Not a circle? No, a square – with a circle in it. What colour is the circle? Its blue. And the square? That’s blue as well. What? And the circle is inside the square? Yeah. Never mind. Do you see greatness on the menu now. Hello? Are you there? I think they’ve gone. Hell – Hello? Sorry, I was on mute hahaha. Ok, it says I now own the meeting and so I’m going to share…greatness! Ok. Go! Right. And now I see your desktop, is that right? No, we should see yours. Well, I can see mine. Yes, but that’s your desktop. That’s behind the share app. What share app? The one you’re trying to share your greatness with. OOHH. I SEE! Right, wait, I get it now. Hang on..

click. click click click. taptaptap tappy tap tap. click….

click. tap tap tap tap tap tapapapapa tap tap tap. click……

Oh. Um. Its asking me to download version I can’t share my greatness with this version. It says it will only take 30 seconds. Wait a sec…

click. click. 7 minutes life vacuum.

Ok. I have to reboot to finish the installation. Is there another agenda item that we can go to while I get this working? I’m really sorry. I’m not really very familiar with this application. Ok, well, we’ll move on to the next item and come back to you when you have th – BEEP BEEP BEEP. What? Hello? Oh. I think we lost her. Right. Ok. Never mind. Let’s move on to the next item in the agenda, which iiis….let’s see…yes. Video conference with Singapore and the UK. Let’s see, we’ve got 5 minutes left, so let’s go ahead and try the video. Does everyone know where the video conference room is? Right, its in building 7. You just go out the lobby, get in your car and drive to building 94 and it’s on the second floor. The room’s called ‘Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ or something.


that tree is big

I like that one. I shall fly over there right now. here I go. ooh, that was nice. look at these leaves. they’re all turning. I was only telling her the other day that you know, it’s november and all this is green, like we’ve lost all sense of what if means to be temperate. I think I lost her then, but don’t you think it’s a very strange thing when you can no longer tell when we should be somewhere else just by looking around? there must be thousands of us up here, just waiting for something happen, but what if it doesn’t? I mean, what if nothing changes this year and we’re still up here in january? well, I don’t know either, but it is kind of interesting to think about it, don’t you think? excuse me a second. ooh, that wasn’t pleasant. he’ll not leave it there anymore, eh? hahahaha!

you see that sign down there? what do you think? it looks a bit precarious and I saw it blowing around a bit in the wind yesterday but I think I can do 30 seconds on there. yes? ok, hang on a minute, just let that woman with the dog go past. right. the chill air races through your pathetic little body as you line up the top edge with your nose, twitching your head from side to side and throwing your feet forwards, ready to grab and scrape and flap yourself to a halt. but you mess it up and you do that embarrassing lunge as you deparately claw at the white plastic before sliding unceremoniously into the roses, and then stumble to the roadside, with that indignant, petulant look on your face, your head bobbing around like a demented newton’s cradle, and you’re so busy pretending everything’s alright really, that you don’t notice the mini cooper that’s just slighlty nearer the curb than you’re used to, but alas, it’s too late now, as the speeding nearside wheel crushes the life out of you in a giblety mess, which will get spread across the tarmac, slowly and surely, over the next few hours, by the next few wheels, on the next few honda civics and renault lagunas, as I watch from the window as I’m pretending to work after I just did that little shudder and contorted my face away from the scene as your bones cracked but now I’m more interested in the round corners problem on the microsite so I won’t remember you until I’m putting brownie gear in the car later and somebody steps on your head by accident.

done by 12

holkham 4
holkham 4 by tim Caynes

not sure what’s happening there. got everything done by 12 and now I have choices. take look out the window and you’ll see it’s one of those days where the tarmac outside St Peter’s has gone crumbly round the edges and sticks to the bottom of your flip flops so maybe it’s a good day to run around the ring road with a sponge. but no. it might be just about enough to stagger to the riverside and then launch into an embarrassing hill climb with arms flailing around like a demented ape followed around by a fat lothario with spiderweb tats and an uncomfortable chin. but it’s just a bit too late for that now. there’s even a chance that you could pick up where you left off up the city and scuttle around the poundstretcher shop and the bus stop catching glimpses of local dolts with their stomach sticking out and knock-off after shave wafting out the in door of chapelfield (St Stephen’s exit). jingle jangle

everybody is out. it’s thursday. I mean. you’ve got the keys but you can’t quite bring yourself to fire up the scenic and head off to neverland, even though you said you’d have a go at it when you had the chance. go on, look again. 24 degrees, blue sky, loads of real people doing things out there like having a life and talking nonsense about licensing hours and cheese and parking on the residents parking spot in their taxis with the window open and a scotch egg on the passenger seat. you should be doing that. but you’re not. you’ve got a meeting in 2 and a half hours so you’re just going to stay cemented into that box, scribbling drivel into this client and then you might go get a ginsters and read the NME in the darkness of the kitchen. at least you’ll get out the house to the shop down the road for 2 minutes. that’ll do. then you can come back upstairs and watch files uploading for another hour or so until sleep apneoa kicks in and you scrape yourself of the carpet just as the phone rings and then you can dribble in the receiver for the next 3 hours thinkng about how you never have time to get out these day


add a new document

thaas loomoo 96
thaas loomoo 96 by Tim Caynes

if you are the host press the star key now.

sliding uncontrollably to the end of the year we suddenly find 173 project plans and strategy documents from 2004 that actually are still relevant because that idea was the best idea ever we just haven’t done anything about it yet and competitive analysis of other comparative platforms that might exist or look like it from the URLs I just looked at in the last 2 minutes on that thing you sent me on email and feedback documents that we put together to say we’d done something because you didn’t tell us what you wanted us to say so we presented 17 questions like ‘what do yo want us to say’ but in such a way that it’s relevant. forever.

leave it to me. there’s nothing I like better than comparing the relative design merits of how the FireFox themes deal with the network activity icon while I try and upload a 2k spreadsheet to the collabspace after midday. 17 times. and then doubling up with IE when I dig out a 400 meg openoffice presentation with screenshots of the whole internet and think that the couple of hours that that will take to eventually fail will give me time to work out whether the windows logo in the top-right corner is actually moving or not. it’s borderline exciting working out whether your upload will fail cleanly or not – meaning that after 4 mesmerizing hours staring at a spinning globe something times out and apparently there’s no resulting document uploaded, but in fact it is there, it’s just not going to let you find it right now, so why don’t you just go ahead and try for another 4 hours and by that time, I’ll have found it and you’ll have 2 copies of it in there. you gonna delete one? how do you know it’s not just a pointer to the same thing, eh? eh? dare you.

to be honest, if I’d started doing this 6 hours ago like I said I would I’d have finished by now but I do kind of like wallowing in the misery of upload stasis. its a lifestlye choice, not a chore. douglas coupland has probably written a book about it, in monotype font.

it’s 4 in the morning

so if he’s up, then its ok if I’m up although there might be a subtle difference between prioritizing activities around monetization of software services and tweaking shadows and highlights on a disused truck wash by the river when the birds are signing in the dark outside and I know that when I open that bedroom door in 10 minutes the draught excluder will crackle like a firestorm and the entire house will murmur in a half-awake daze about whether I’ve put the alarm on my cellphone on and decide that they’ll need to go to the bathroom now and that’s it, so I’ll be wondering how important it was that you could see the definition between a rusty bolt and a metal panel on the side of a car park and why it took me an hour to filter it and geolocate it but then I’ll trail off to the sound of russian orthodox chanting which is attempting to screen out the approaching sleep apnoea coming through the wall.

there’s a man in a beard outside cycling the wrong way up a conversation with the library and he’s being overtaken by a clutch of barbeque briquettes on their way to halfords, so things aren’t really improving the longer this goes on. if you’re reading this, sign off already.

warning 201

connect dammit. I know that that particular subsystem is unavailable right now, but I don’t know if I’ve got a 10:00 or a 15:00 or 15:45 which is 8:45 but might overlap my 17:00 which will be 9:00 which actually runs over my 18:00 which doesn’t really exist because its a placeholder I have to cover me for other one at 18:30 which is full of stuff that crawls out of my sideboard and claws at my ankles like a weekend dashboard mangle dropped by the east anglian ambulance service, so now look, they’ve got their umbrellas up and its so dark I can’t see far enough to work out whether that man is the one I used to make lego spectrums with and cycle to wroxham on saturday morning because it was there even though there was nothing there when you got there except roys of wroxham which we didn’t go in because we didn’t have bike locks because it was the 70s and of course we just used leave each others doors open and lie in the street because of course you could in those days because nobody committed any crime and everything was splendid notwithstanding 3 day weeks and stumbling around in the dark because we weren’t allowed to put any lights on because we’d run out of coal or something and look at that, a man with a hat like dad’s and there, his vauxhall astra, I thought he was supposed to be somewhere in france but no, hang on, that’s in january even though its feels like it now but actually its only autumn although I’ve put my clock back already because I always forget to do it at the time so you see, being able to look at my calendar is very important because I’d like to know which meetings I’ve got in a hours time so I can arrange to be late.

ooh, I’m in. better just keep an eye out for the FBI, just in case. I’ve seen that spooks thing on the telly, so I know what they could do if they knew I was subverting the national interest with my plans for the globalization of the unified product information architecture.

dont touch anything

something will break soon. please don’t fiddle. I’m sat in my office in the UK, hooked up to skype listening to the folks in california on the audio stream while they’re demoing stuff on local servers that I’m watching on a VNC session via my Firefox which is on the Sun network via VPN and I’m watching the VNC session on the video stream in a Real window on the desktop next to the actual VNC session while a webcam is transmitting a video stream of my typing this nonsense into the other desktop while I’m uploading to flickr and downloading the presentations from the collabspace and I’m backing up everything on the network hard drive while I’m batch filtering some lomo in photoshop.

I’ve not been to the bathroom for 6 hours in case one of those things stops working, so I’ll just have to hang on another couple of hours until Jonathan drops by and then I’ll probably try and say something english and witty, but skype will do the annoying thing it does and drop the call after I’ve been on mute for a while and then start talking, and the VNC session will die and the video stream will stutter to a dribble and the webcam will give me that error with some hex number that means I’ve probably done something like pull the wrong face and the encoder threw up and then I guess to cap it all, I’ll get a 1 second outage on the DSL which won’t effect anything except the VPN session which will die like a dog and refuse to start until I reboot the w2100z which means making that industrial hairdrier noise on startup which wakes the kids up and I’ll probably have photoshop hang on me just as I’m applying some filter or other to a lomo shot that happens to have a woman in I don’t know but my wife will walk in at that precise moment and I will be frantically trying to turn off the monitor which won’t be suspicious at all and my night will be over.

I’ll go in a minute. really…