Productivity Challenge Timer achievements

For several years now I’ve been using the Pomodoro technique as a way to battle procrastination and increase my productivity. There’s no shortage of apps designed to help with this, but without doubt my favourite one is Productivity Challenge Timer for Android. It does everything I could want from a Pomodoro app, plus has a bit of a sense of humour to it.

There are a bunch of fun achievements and ranks to work towards, but I couldn’t find a single list describing them all. So I made one. Continue reading Productivity Challenge Timer achievements

Reviewing presidential candidate 404 pages

For the uninitiated, a 404 page is what you see when trying to view a page on a website that doesn’t exist. By default they’re pretty boring error pages, but it’s easy to customise them. And it turns out a lot of the 2016 US presidential candidates have done so, to varying degrees of success. So, let’s review them!


  • Being a Brit, I don’t know too much about American politics. Hence judging candidates based on 404 pages, rather than policies and track records and all that boring stuff.
  • After I started writing this post, Google told me it had been done several times already. However those were all written about 6 months ago, when there was a sudden outbreak of interest among journalists. 6 months is an eternity in Internet time, and a few things have changed.
  • I based my list of candidates off this one which was about the first that came up in Google. Apologies if your favourite is missed out. Also I think some have since dropped out because of the Iowa caucus thing.


Hillary Clinton

Screenshot 2016-02-01 21.58.38Oh god, it’s a truly awful pun. Does include a photo showing Hillary as vaguely human, which is a plus. Interestingly contains Bill; I can never work out if he’s considered a positive or a negative by her campaign.

Wait a second… Bill! Did you really miss that chance to double down on the terrible duck puns? I mean in for a penny, in for a pound dollar, right?

Rocky De La Fuente

Screenshot 2016-02-01 21.58.53

Don’t know who this is. Bad-ass name. Boring-ass 404 page. The most interesting thing here is the eccentric approach to capitalisation for the red text.

Martin O’Malley


All I know about this guy is that no-one thinks he can win. Oh, and that he has the BEST 404 PAGE! Just look at it, he’s on a horse, smiling and looking dapper. Look at his horse, his horse is amazing. There’s even an American flag in the background, and if I know one thing about US elections it’s that you need flags all over. Plus the text very nicely ties it in with the 404 error, and the call-to-action.

The only blot on this perfection is the green-shirted guy in the background. Not that I have anything against him, but he surely ought to be swooning at this magnificent sight.

Top marks, and my non-existent vote.

Bernie Sanders

Screenshot 2016-02-02 13.14.14Someone sharing this is what started it all. Great effort by Sanders recording a special video for the 404 page, and a nice message. Personally I find his voice kind of annoying (especially in such a loud, echoey room) but I’m not going to hold that against him.

Just praying this doesn’t start a trend of autoplaying videos on 404 pages though.


Jeb! Bush

Screenshot 2016-02-02 13.00.16Do people still do “wat”? Nice use of amusing retro photo, even if it’s a bit tenuous. Disappointed you didn’t bother to translate the Spanish version; I really wanted to find out the Spanish equivalent of “wat”.

Ben Carson

Screenshot 2016-02-02 13.01.23Literally zero effort. Come on Ben, making a custom 404 page isn’t exactly brain surgery. Also, please sort out your weird mix of button styles in the top right.

Chris Christie

Screenshot 2016-02-02 13.02.21Damn you Bernie, you started a trend! Dancing means this has to be the weirdest one. I know even less about American comedians than about politicians, but I’m going to go out on a limb and assume Christie is the one on the right?

Props for being willing to embarrass yourself though – and make a reference to that weird bridge scandal which is basically the only reason I’ve ever heard of you. I suppose once you’ve done all this on national television, putting it on the 404 page of your website isn’t really a big deal.

Ted Cruz

Screenshot 2016-02-02 13.03.32Spoke too soon, we may have topped Chris Christie for weirdness. “Machine-Gun Bacon” – are you for real? That’s just trying way too hard to score Internet points. And it doesn’t tie in with the 404 at all… does “cooked” even make sense here?

Sidenote: “Of course in Texas…” – how can you tell someone’s from Texas? THEY TELL YOU ALL THE TIME. I don’t have a clue where any of the other candidates are from, except that Trump is from New York (because his tower is there). Oh, and Sanders is from Vermont possibly? That doesn’t count because I don’t have any idea where Vermont is. But the fact that Ted Cruz is from Texas has been inescapably drilled into me every time I’ve heard him speak.

Carly Fiorina

Screenshot 2016-02-02 13.05.57Oh Carly. “This person didn’t find what they were looking for, great time to straight up ask them for $$$!”

Your main selling point is that you ran a tech company, but you can’t manage a real 404 page? Disappointing.

Jim Gilmore

Don’t know who you are. You have a very boring 404 page. So boring I couldn’t be bothered to take a screenshot.

Mike Huckabee

Screenshot 2016-02-02 13.05.14Fishing and petting his dog, just like a normal everyday American human!

Not bad I suppose, although I’m a little baffled why anyone would be so desperate to print this page that they need a special button.

John Kasich

Screenshot 2016-02-02 13.07.56Well done, the Internet likes kittens. I hope you paid your online consultants good money for that amazing insight.

Not pictured, but if you must try and be ‘hip’ by having a snapchat button, please make it line up with all the other social media buttons.

Rand Paul

Screenshot 2016-02-02 13.09.01Not the best photo, and there are some alignment issues, but “Even the NSA couldn’t find that page” is probably the best joke out of all of these. Full marks for American flags too.

Marco Rubio


Honestly, this video (I mean the one on the page, not Coach McGuirk obviously!) was nice, but kind of makes it sound like Rubio doesn’t actually want to be President. Leave the poor guy alone, let him be a father and football coach.

Rick Santorum

(Oh my god why are there so many Republican candidates! Feels like I’ve been looking at 404 pages for hours.)

Screenshot 2016-02-02 13.10.49

I guess this is a dig at Hillary’s personal email server? Mmmm… negative campaigning. Well done, you’re not Hillary. Newsflash: nor are the people you’re competing against right now. Well executed though, I’ll give you that.

Donald Trump

Screenshot 2016-02-02 13.11.39Here’s a sentence you don’t read very often: I expected better from Donald Trump. Instead it’s just a standard, boring, 404 page.

Bonus potential candidate?

People keep talking about whether Michael Bloomberg could run. I don’t know much about his politics, but has a truly wonderful 404 page (and even a great custom 500 page) so here’s hoping!


Martin O’Malley is a king among men, and I have too much time on my hands.

Walk the Lines: The London Underground, Overground

Walk the Lines coverWalk the Lines: The London Underground, Overground by Mark Mason

Full of great London trivia as you might expect, but also surprisingly deep philosophical insights into what makes the city (or indeed any city). I suppose walking over 400 miles gives you a lot of time to think about these things, and it shows. Also Bill Drummond makes a surprise appearance, which is never a bad thing.

★★★★★ 5/5 stars


Having just visited Brussels for the first time, I’m mystified as to how the Belgians aren’t the fattest people in the world. Their national cuisine apparently consists of:

  • Fries
  • Various exciting sauces for the fries, often based on mayonnaise
  • Chocolate
  • Waffles
  • Waffles covered in chocolate
  • Beer

All of which are delicious, but hardly healthy.

10 years

Wikipedia-logo-v2.svgHot on the heels of Saturday’s 10 year college reunion, today marks 10 years since I registered a Wikipedia account and made my first edit with it (there were a few anonymous edits before that, but they’ve been lost to the mists of time). Ironically given recent events, that first edit was defending Jeremy Clarkson!

It was impossible to imagine what that start would lead to. Since 2005, I’ve racked up around 75,000 more edits on the English Wikipedia (not counting the forays into other Wikimedia sites). Far more than that: I’ve learnt a huge amount, travelled to exciting places, and best of all met so many fascinating and fantastic people. Now I’m even fortunate enough to have a job supporting the project I love.

Here’s to another 10 years!