Tag Archives: internet

What to do if the internet dies

Many of us rely on the internet. Sometimes we even do something useful with it, like sharing cupcake recipes and telling strangers why their opinions about Brexit and Trump are stupid. 

But have you thought what you’d do if the internet died? 

There are various technical things that could go wrong with the internet. These are too technical for this article. And some outside scientific events could also cause a catastrophic breakdown of the internet. Again you’ll have to take my word for this. 

Here, instead, are five tips to survive the death of the internet. 

1. Panic. This could take the form of screaming, scrunching yourself into a ball or shaking uncontrollably. 

2. Get a paintball gun or water pistol. This will help you to rob necessities without murder complicating things. 

3. Stock up on necessities like Flakes and Quavers. 

4. Have a plan. For example – how are you going to share inspiring advice or updates on your weight? Round robin letter? Phone calls? Radio phone-ins? 

5. Wait. Someone is bound to invent a new internet at some point. 

I hope you’ve found this article useful. If not, I have other advice on what to do if you find a frog in your garden and how to decide between chips and mashed potatoes. 

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7 reasons not to run marathons – and a saner way to keep fit

By Simon Henry @simlington

A friend’s then boyfriend used to run double marathons.

I was at their house one Saturday morning having a cuppa after a heavy night’s drinking.
Just as he was putting his trainers on before his 20-mile training run, my friend croaked:
‘Hang on a minute. Will you get me some cigs on your way back?’ and handed him £10.
He did, too – 20 Silk Cut Ultra. (She suffered from asthma and she claimed these light ciggies made her suffocate less than other brands.)

Why do you need to know this? You don’t – but it’s the only anecdote I can remember about long-distance running.

As a footnote to this heartwarming scene, they split up soon after this.
Something to do with ‘lifestyle differences’, I think.
Either that, or he went out for a training run another Saturday morning – and just kept running. Probably with her £10 in his shorts pocket.

What lessons can we learn from this anecdote?
Six or seven – depending on whether you count 3a and 3b (below) as one or two reasons.

Six or seven reasons not to run marathons

Brian the Snail in more relaxed surroundings with his roundabout friends

Brian the Snail in more relaxed surroundings with his roundabout friends

1. You have to put up with Competitive Silliness from people like Lloyd Scott who took 27 days to complete the 2012 London Marathon by crawling around the course as Brian the Snail from the Magic Roundabout. I hope he had some kneepads.

2. It’s frankly exhausting. Someone always dies or has a heart attack or stroke. And anyone who manages to finish feels like death for days afterwards.

3a. You end up showing off. You can’t help it. If you finish a marathon, you become a Marathon Bore. You just do. ‘Oh. Nineteen miles was the worst. Christ it was bad. I felt like my lungs were on fire,’ you say – even if the conversation is about The Great British Bake-Off.

3b. And you expect people to be interested in the apparently infinite ways you find to describe the same thing – viz: ‘It’s really quite hard to run 26 miles and involves a fair bit of physical discomfort.’

4. There’s a good chance you’ll get addicted to the ‘buzz’ of running marathons, and then ‘normal’ marathons won’t be enough. You’ll then end up doing extreme ones – like the dreaded Arizona Desert Triple Marathon in which competitors are blindfolded, not allowed to wear sun lotion, have a baby hippo strapped to their back, and – worst of all – aren’t allowed to wear their special runner’s watch showing their ‘split times’.

Just because time is a dull subject  doesn't mean you can't illustrate it artistically

Just because time is a dull subject doesn’t mean you can’t illustrate it artistically

5. You start being obsessed with Time. It’s no coincidence the London Marathon goes through Greenwich, the birthplace of time. Time is important, but it’s a really
boring conversational topic for anyone who doesn’t run marathons. Philomena Cunk from Charlie Brooker’s telly show is the only person who can make the subject of Time funny. Watch the clip here (4 mins 20 secs).

6. You complain bitterly about your running aches and pains. If I put my finger in a flame and then complained about getting burned you’d rightly call me something with four letters.

If you still want to keep fit, why don’t you just get off your arse – and do what humans are good at?

Walking.

Here’s how you can make yourself do it every single day.
Download a pedometer to your phone. I’ve got the Pedometer++ which doesn’t even waste my iPhone battery.

A pedometer can encourage you to get off your fat arse and do some walking

A pedometer can encourage you to get off your fat arse and do some walking

You tell it how many steps you want to do each day – and it shows you on a bar graph if you’ve done them.
Green is good. Red is bad. Orange is quite bad or quite good. You would be amazed at how effective this is.

I also do the Three Peaks in Yorkshire quite regularly but don’t want to make too much of a deal about that because:
1. It’s basically a marathon in length
2. I never stop talking about it and therefore
3. It kind of undermines many of my points above.

You can follow me @simlington on Twitter.
Lots of people are enjoying my posts about modern office life – especially:

The A-Z of office jargon
my Defence of the three-letter acronym and
Verbal tics, cliches and catchphrases.

And you can get my posts sent directly to your inbox too. Isn’t that good?

Copyright 2014 Simon Henry @simlington

In praise of the TLA or three-letter acronym: Abbreviation tips for the modern office

by Simon Henry @simlington

According to the Urban Dictionary, ‘A TLA is a three-letter acronym for three-letter acronyms.’

If you’re saying: ‘WFT – CBA TBH.’ you’re already an advanced practitioner of the TLA.
If you’re still confused, a TLA is the first three letters of a three letter phrase. The above example actually means: ‘What the f***? Can’t be arsed, to be honest.’

Let’s see why we think, read and speak in threes.

History

Pythagoras said the number 3 was the noblest of all digits.

And who are we to argue? We don’t have (1) the knowledge, (2) the inclination or (3) the space to take issue with a great mathematician.

The Romans said: ‘Omne trium perfectum’ which means ‘Everything in threes is perfect’. Well, it was until I translated it and made it five.

The Rule of Three is also accepted in Riting & Reading as well as Rithmetic.

‘Blood, sweat and tears’. ‘Friends, Romans, Countrymen’. ‘F*** This S***’.

three-amigos

The Three Amigos is one of the top 10 films starring three comedians wearing massive sombreros

‘Sex, Lies & Videotape’. ‘The Three Amigos’. ‘Police Academy III’.

Four Little Pigs would lose its artistic tension. Goldilocks & The Two Bears would leave too much porridge. The One Stooge would be funny – but not hilarious.

Threes are best. But they’re rubbish when repeated

Location, location, location is bad telly.

Education, education, education is Blair’s boring politics.

www is really difficult to say. Don’t like difficult.

More about www

www is in a class of its own. It is the longest possible TLA to pronounce – at nine syllables.

In 1999, Douglas Adams said: ‘The world wide web is the only thing I know of whose shortened form takes three times longer to say than what it’s short for.’

Tragically, Douglas died before the www prefix started dying out itself.

More about TLAs

The number of possible three-letter abbreviations using the 26 letters of the alphabet from A to Z (AAA, AAB to ZZY, ZZZ) = 26×26×26 = 17,576.

But there are already duplicates like STD being a dialling code and a dirty disease. So in theory we could be looking at hundreds of thousands.

TLAs for the modern office

Luckily for you, I’ve culled the list to include only the most necessary TLAs in the modern office.

In my 20 years of working in an office, I’ve often heard TLAs tripping off other people’s tongues like renegade spit – but not having a clue what they’re on about.

So I hope this will provide a handy reference for when you’re stuck.

I’ve also included some XTLAs. XTLAs are extended TLAs, like WYSIWYG, which means ‘What you see is what you get’ that are longer than three letters.)

On balance, you’ve come off lightly with a list of around 150.

An A to Z of office TLAs (with some random other ones sprinkled in to keep morale up.)

ABH Actual bodily harm
AGM Annual general meeting
AKA Also known as
AOB Any other business
API Application programming interface
APR Annual percentage rate
ARPU Average revenue per user
ASAP As soon as possible
ATM At the moment / Automatic teller machine

BAC Blood alcohol content
BAU Business as usual
BCC Blind carbon copy
BEM Bug-eyed monster
BFG Big Friendly Giant
BFN Bye for now
BTW By the way
B2B Business to business
B2C Business to consumer

CAD Computer-aided design
CAPEX Capital expenditure
CBA Can’t be arsed
CEO Chief executive officer ( Exchange the middle letter as follows I information, M marketing, T technology, O operating, F finance)
COB Close of business
COD Cash on delivery
COP Close of play
CPS Crown Prosecution Service
CRM Customer relationship management
CTA Call to action

DIY Do it yourself
DNS Domain name server
DOA Dead on arrival
DOB Date of birth
DOJ Drunk on job
DOM Dirty old man
DOS Disk operating system
DPI Dots per inch

EBITDA Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation
ELO Electric Light Orchestra
EOD Every other day / End of day
EOP End of play
ETA Estimated time of arrival
ETD Estimated time of departure

FAQ(s) Frequently asked question(s)
FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation
FDR Franklin Delano Roosevelt
FOC Free of charge
FTP File transfer protocol
FSM Flying Spaghetti Monster
FUBAR F***ed up beyond all repair
FYC Fine Young Cannibals
FYI For your information

GBH Grievous bodily harm
GDP Gross domestic product
GHQ General headquarters
GMT Greenwich Mean Time
GNG Go – no go (This is an example of unacceptable office jargon.)
GNP Gross national product
GPS Global positioning system

HCF Highest common factor
HGV Heavy goods vehicle
HRH His/Her Royal Highness
HWM High water mark
HR Human resources
HQ Headquarters

ICU Intensive care unit
IOU IOU
IPO Initial public offering
ISA Individual savings account
ISP Internet service provider
IUD Intra-uterine device

JIT Just in time
JFDI Just f***ing do it

KFC Kentucky Fried Chicken
KPI Key performance indicator

LOL doesn't mean 'Lots of love'.

LOL doesn’t mean ‘Lots of love’.

LBW Leg before wicket
LCD Liquid crystal display / Lowest common denominator
LCM Lowest common multiple
LIFO Last in first out
LOL Laugh out loud. (Not lots of love. You could get into trouble if you use LOL when something tragic has happened.)

MPB Male pattern baldness
MPC Marginal propensity to consume
MPG Miles per gallon
MPH Miles per hour
MSG Mono sodium glutamate

NBG No bloody good
NBI Nothing but initials
NDA Non-disclosure agreement
NFG No f***ing good
NIC National Insurance contribution(s)
NSA No strings attached

OED Oxford English Dictionary
OMG Oh my god
ONO Or nearest offer
OOO Out of office
OOP Out of pocket
OPEX Operational expenditure
OTC Over the counter
OTT Over the top
OXO Gravy granules

P&L Profit & loss
PCM Please call me / Per calendar month
PDA Public display (of) affection
PDF Portable document format
PDQ Pretty damned quick
PFI Private Finance Initiative
PIN Personal identification number
PLC Public limited company
PMO Project management office / Program management office
POD Pay on delivery
POS Point of sale / Piece of s**t
PPC Pay per click
PPE Politics, philosophy and economics (what the Cabinet did at Oxford)
PSA Pleasant Sunday afternoon
PTC Propensity to call / churn / cry
PTO Please turn over

QED Quod erat demonstrandum (‘Which had to be demonstrated’)
QTD Quarter to date
QC Quality control

R&D Research & development
REM Rapid eye movement / Band name
RFP Request for proposal
RIP Requiescat in pace (‘May (s)he rest in peace’)
ROI Return on investment / Republic of Ireland
RPI Retail price index
RRP Recommended retail price
RSI Repetitive strain injury
RTFM Read the F***ing manual (particularly used by IT support staff)

SAE Stamped, addressed envelope
SBD Silent but deadly
SEO Search engine optimisation
SEP Someone else’s problem
SFA Sweet Fanny Adams / Sweet f*** all
SLA Service level agreement
SNAFU Situation Normal: All F***d Up
SOB Shortness of breath / Son of a bitch / Standard operating bullsh*t
SPOC Single point of contact:
STD Sexually transmitted disease / Subscriber trunk dialling
STFU Shut the f*** up
SWF Single white female

TBA To be announced
TBC To be confirmed
TBH To be honest
TLA Three-letter acronym /Three-letter abbreviation
TLC Tender loving care
TPA Tissue plasminogen activator
TTFN Ta ta for now

UHT Ultra heat treated
URL Uniform resource locator
USC Up shit creek
USCWAP Up shit creek without a paddle
USP Unique selling point
UTC Under the counter

VAT Value-added tax

WFH Work from home
WRT With respect to
WTF What the f***
WYSIAWYG What you see is almost what you get
WYSIWYG What you see is what you get
WYSINWNWYG What you see is nowhere near what you get
WYSINWYG What you see is not what you get
WYTYSYDG What you thought you saw, you didn’t get

YTD Year to date
YOLO You only live once
YOY Year on year

If you’ve made it this far, I’m astonished. You have character, commitment and probably too much time on your hands.

Feel free to send any favourite work-based TLAs for me to add to the list. And I hope you’ll start making your own.

Fun with TLAs?

I recently got my girlfriend to ask the waiter for a KBG. He looked at her blankly. KBG in my world at that moment meant ‘KnickerBockerGlory’. It meant nothing to him.

To add insult to injury, they’d stopped serving. So I didn’t even get a NBC (nice black coffee). Still, we left him a DST (decent-sized tip) anyway.

You see the fun you can have with TLAs? It’s especially good if you don’t get out much.

I’m told some of my other blogs are funny – especially the A-Z of office jargon and How mindfulness can save your career

There’s more about me here. And you can follow me @simlington on Twitter

With thanks to Briony Wilson and Tallulah Godivala.

Copyright 2014 Simon Henry @simlington

5 things to give up this Lent to improve your job (and avoid thrombosis)

by Simon Henry @simlington

Let’s face it work can be a right pain in the backside can’t it? A stroppy boss, impossible targets, a coffee machine that’s run out of mocha pumpkin skinny latte. They’re nearly enough to jack it in and go on benefits.

ricky

And it’s not just work. Home can be pretty ‘challenging’ too – especially if the other half is blatantly having a passionate affair, the kids have started playing with matches instead of Lego or – heaven forbid – the WiFi’s a bit slow.

And don’t get me started on commuting – speed bumps, red lights, rain … The list of unbearable frustrations is literally endless. I’m not going to give advice on relationships or driving – they’re too complicated and you just won’t listen, will you?

But I can give you advice on The Office. I’ve watched it loads – especially Series 2.

So here’s a topical list of things you can give up to make work less crap this Lent.

1. Stop emailing people who are within a radius of 20 metres. Getting up, walking over and talking to them may help you avoid thrombosis – and you may find you actually stop hating them.

2. Stop eating your lunch at your desk. And while you’re at it turn your keyboard over and prepare to be disgusted by what tumbles out. If you get up and walk somewhere else to eat – you may avoid contracting thrombosis – and salmonella.

3. Stop farting. If you fart a lot at work and also find yourself marginalised socially and professionally there may be a correlation. Think carefully about your diet and whether Imodium might be a career saver.

4. Stop messing about on Facebook on your phone. It’s stressful pretending you’re not on Facebook when in fact you are. Can’t you wait until lunchtime to do the latest ‘What fish/king of England/porn star are you?’ quiz or read the latest ‘Share this or you’ll get cancer’ threat? I’m not saying you should work harder but there are better ways to waste your time. I find looking out of the window is great.

Even better if I’m scratching something at the same time. Even better if there’s a car crash or a fight to stare at.

5. Stop wondering what it would be like if you had a better job. If you hate your job, find another one – there’s this thing called the internet which makes it quite easy these days. If your job’s okay, then you should probably stop complaining about it.

Complaining is boring for the listener and can give the complainer thrombosis. If you love your job then do you think you might just stop looking quite so smug?

Make sure you follow me @ simlington on Twitter

And you can get email alerts each time I publish a new post. So you never need to miss one again. Ain’t that good? If you’re on a mobile, you can sign up below. If you’re on a computer you need to scroll back up to the top of the page and look on the right-hand side.

Copyright Simon Henry @simlington 2014

The art of copywriting is dead – official

by Simon Henry @simlington

“Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach, teach teachers.”

It’s a trite and old formula – but it’s fun if you know any teacher trainers. And it means you can use commas in a really odd way.

Speaking of trite and old, if you’re a copywriter like me, read on – you may need a specialist underwear cleaner sooner than you think.

Everyone thinks they can write great copy.

einstein

Even Einstein got in on the act. Here’s some copy by the brainiest scientist ever (apart from Brian Cox):

“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”
“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

What a show off.

In today’s digital age, professional copywriters claim they can ‘engage’ with an online audience by creating ‘easy-to-digest’ ‘content’ that bolsters ‘brand loyalty’ while meeting the client’s ‘digital objectives’.

Basically, we copywriters claim we know how to use the right phrases to get the right reaction from our readers while using the right number of repeated words (it’s always three, right? Or is that now four?)

Sorry fellow writers, we’re up the creek. And there are no paddle shops in sight.

Take a look at this new app – Hemingway

heminway-app

Anyone can just paste their words in and it provides a ‘readability score’.

It even gives advice on words you should change to make your copy easier to read. You can thank them here @HemingwayApp

I’ll get me coat.

If you enjoyed this, you may enjoy my post about why Failure is often better than success. Or just have a browse around – there should be something that makes you a bit happier.

You can get an email alert whenever I publish a new post. If you’re on a mobile you can sign up below. If you’re on a computer, sign up at the top right-hand of the page.

And you can follow me @simlington on Twitter

Copyright Simon Henry @simlington 2014

7 ways to get more Facebook Likes – and boost your self esteem

Ricky

by Simon Henry @simlington

Fact: If you use Facebook, your self esteem is directly proportional to the number of Likes your updates get.
Ricky Gervais gets 3,000 Likes for the daily selfies of his face in the bath.
So even though he looks pretty bad on these photos, he’s happy – because he gets loads of Likes.

Most of us are lucky to hit double figures of Likes – even if we announce news of our impending divorce, a graphic description of our vasectomy or a well-reasoned criticism of Vladimir Putin’s homophobia.

Don’t worry – here’s how you get more Likes, and improve your happiness:

1. Take the LinkedIn approach to ‘friendship’ – befriend everyone you possibly can, even if you’ve never met them and/or hate them. You can always hide their awful, irrelevant status updates from your Newsfeed.
They may end up being a really useful and loyal liker.

2. Like loads of other people’s stuff. Even if it’s complete bilge. Some people will reciprocate your likes. But remember to hide them from your Newsfeed.

kittens

3. Try to create an emotional response in your readers. Pictures of really cute kittens are more likely to produce a Like than ‘Late for work because of roadworks. Again.’

4. If you have kids, mercilessly use pictures and updates about them – however  trite.
You probably have friends with kids and they’ll Like your updates in the expectation of a reciprocal Like for theirs. (See 2.)

5. Don’t tell your friends to Like or Share with the threat of going to hell,  having 7 days of bad luck or any other crap if you don’t.
(Unless you’re into that sort of nonsense too. In which case, you don’t deserve any Likes.)

6. Make sure things like your birthday reminders don’t appear on your friends’ Newsfeeds. I guarantee they’ll Dislike this.

7. Or you could just have therapy.

If you enjoyed this, you may enjoy my post about why Failure is often better than success. Or just have a browse around – there should be something that makes you a bit happier.

You can get an email alert whenever I publish a new post. If you’re on a mobile you can sign up below. If you’re on a computer, sign up at the top right-hand of the page.

And you can follow me @simlington on Twitter

Copyright Simon Henry @simlington 2014

6 reasons to copy cats if you work on the internet

grumpy-cat

by Simon Henry @simlington

We all know cats control the internet.
Emergency Kittens on Twitter and the Grumpy Cat on Facebook prove this point.
Less obviously, cats can teach you how to thrive if you work on the internet. Here’s how:

1. Cats live in the moment and concentrate 100% on the task at hand.
Eating Whiskas, being stroked under their chin or taunting a mouse, they do one job at a time – and do it well.
Most of us working on the internet try to do 10 things at once – all badly.

2. Cats are happy killing their prey.
In today’s digital industry, everyone wants to eat your dinner. So you have to be ruthless.
But most of us working in digital are kind and polite, without a killing streak in sight.

3. Cats sleep a lot.
Working on the internet means you’re connected 24/7, checking emails and tweets when you really should be asleep.
When we’re all chronically exhausted we make really shocking decisions.

4. Cats do yoga.
Steve Jobs did yoga – and made Apple the best digital company in the world.

5. Cats keep themselves clean and tidy.
The recent growth of beards among internet workers is probably related to a drop in online productivity.
It’s fine for developers to have beards.
But writers, designers and other ‘fluffy’ ‘professionals’ really should know better. Especially the women.

6. Cats believe the world revolves solely around them.
Actually that’s true of all of us working in digital too. Keep that one up!

If you enjoyed this, you may enjoy my post about why Failure is often better than success. Or just have a browse around – there should be something that makes you a bit happier.

You can get an email alert whenever I publish a new post. If you’re on a mobile you can sign up below. If you’re on a computer, sign up at the top right-hand of the page.

And you can follow me @simlington on Twitter

Copyright Simon Henry @simlington 2014