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Orwell on writing

Filed under: Life — Thomas @ 2:14 pm

2008-11-6
2:14 pm

I’ve always had an instinctive dislike for flowery writing. I usually express it as “Why use ‘utilise’ when you can use ‘use’ ?” When you use ‘utilise’ you’re telling me that you’re throwing flowers at a bad idea in the hope that I will go ‘ooh, nice flowers’ instead of ‘ooh, bad idea’.

Obviously, this can be used to advantage – if your audience reacts well to flowers by all means go use them. Last week I gave a simple piece of advice to someone (‘pass your presentation to X to give it a nice look’) which immediately paid off in the presentation meeting – the primary target commented on the nice look of the presentation on page 1.

But in writing it triggers my bullshit detector. And by accident I stumbled on George Orwell explaining why.

Now, let’s see if I can focus my writing better.

delegate

Filed under: Fluendo — Thomas @ 12:20 am

2008-11-4
12:20 am

How times are changing. Used to be I had to wake up at 3 AM myself to perform some kind of maintenance task after having planned it myself for a week.

Now, I am going to go to bed happily, safe in the knowledge that I have our DBA and at least one of our sysadmins taking care of an important database change during the night, after having discussed it at length amongst themselves and having come up with a 25 step plan. All I had to do is to decide the color of the bike shed and basically approve their plan.

As the great philosopher, Kool, and the gang, once said: ‘Delegate. Good times ! Come on.’

street play

Filed under: General — Thomas @ 1:22 pm

2008-11-2
1:22 pm

Last week, after close to 5 years of living in Barcelona, I finally managed to cross off an item off my todo list. I’ve been wanting to go out and play basketball with some friends since forever. Kristien keeps telling me I should do some sports, and I keep not wanting to go for runs or swims.

So, after a false start the week before, 4 of us finally went out with a basketball in our hands looking for a court. The first court, on Parallel, was a public one, but apparently it is pretty much taken all week by real teams practising. So we ended up going to the Raval, and found a small court with only one light working, surrounded by construction site fences. One of the fences was partly cut open to get on the court again. Two people by the side of the court who looked suspiciously like drug dealers ended up moving a block down when they noticed we were serious about wanting to play. So we were just left with some other suspicious guys eyeing our bags by the side of the court.

We ended up playing to 21, and Aitor and I lost from Arek and Jan by 20 to 21. We were all sweating like pigs afterwards, but we did play for a good 20 minutes. I find it hard to believe that 15 years ago I had no problems playing a full match, but maybe we just took more breaks ?

Anyway, I do hope we can keep it up, because it was fun! I hope we can keep it up weekly, and possibly on a better court. Jan’s proposed to do it over lunch break, and take a shower afterwards, and work later to make up. Good thinking, because arriving at the restaurant afterwards with a sweaty backside did not make a good impression.

In other news, just got tickets for the New York Knicks playing the Portland Trailblazers in Madison Square Garden!

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