David Artiss

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Diary of a Family Holiday in Amsterdam

For this year’s family holiday we decided to go to Amsterdam. It was my idea, actually, as I’d once visited there with my mum and sister when I was a child.

For this we went ultra-modern – chauffeured car to/from the airport in the UK, UBER to get around in the city and AirBnB as somewhere to stay. Our AirBnB, in this case, was a 3 bedroom house in the south of the city, in a quite suburb. As with our trip to Germany last year, a lot of the holiday would be just living the life of a local – padding out the shops and eating at ‘home’.

The journey started (just) on Monday morning…

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Can you imagine a popular expression being said so badly it no longer makes sense? Well, one such example, really grates with my wife.

The original expression is “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”. However, people keep shortening it to “the proof is in the pudding”. But it’s not. The proof is in the eating. Not the pudding itself. By shortening it the way they have they’ve made it now make absolutely no sense.

And, if that wasn’t bad enough, here’s a photo I took in a recent gift shop. My wife loves it (not).

MZD-Connect – navigating with co-ordinates

So, you have a Mazda with MZD-Connect and Nav but the address you’ve tried isn’t found. What now? Well, you can enter co-ordinates but doing so isn’t as straight forward as you’d expect.

Here’s how to do it…

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John Williams and the modern movie soundtrack

Recently, the BBC showed a special 2-hours Proms programme, dedicated to the music of John Williams1. It was a mixture of his most and less-known music, with some odd choices and omissions (Rey’s Theme and no Imperial March? No Home Alone or Jurassic Park?).

I love movie music but I find some of the older composers, such as Williams, a bit “samey” at times, albeit they know how to do a cracking tune. And then there’s the question of sexism…

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  1. I would have embedded the video into this page but, although the BBC allows it, their videos are not SSL, which causes errors on this site – sorry, but the BBC need to gets its act together[]

I don’t think I’ll ever understand insurance

When I got my job at Automattic one of the added perks that I was looking forward to was decreased insurance for both my home and car.

Well, as you can probably already guess, it didn’t work out that way and, even now, I have no idea why.

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Beware of customer reviews retailer websites!

I think most people are getting savvy to the customer reviews these days on the sites of retailers but if you’re still naive to it, here’s an example.

My Facebook timeline recently sported an advert for a pay-monthly toothbrush service – the Uber Sonic Club (no relation to the taxi service). However, reviews aren’t good.

Uber Sonic isn’t the answer to your dental woes.

Basically you get a cheap (and from the reviews ‘cheap’ appears to be accurate in all respects) sonic toothbrush for £19 and then new brush heads monthly (bear in mind that monthly replacements are way to regular). And all for just £54 a year.

If you then look at the Uber Sonic Facebook page, a response to the first post stands out.

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What happened to my calm morning walk?

Every morning, to stretch my legs, I go for a nice walk. A short walk up my road leads me to a long, tree lined path to a nearby canal. It’s a nice, gentle walk and I pass friendly dog walkers, joggers and canal boat owners, all willing to exchange a nice “hello”. It gives me some interaction with the world around me, exercise and, generally, I return happy and content.

But not recently. Instead I’ve been laughed at by a dog-owner when their animal attacked me, and had abuse shouted at me by a driver for crossing a road.

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Should we still be separating children’s clothes by sex?

Visiting Next in Derby today, my daughter (8 years old) headed straight for the ‘boys’ clothes section. Why? Because Next still divide their children’s clothes by old-fashioned views of how different sexes should dress and all the non-pink, glittery clothes are labelled for boys. Can somebody remind me which year it is?

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Listing all the currently available WordPress shortcodes

Who knows all the shortcodes that are currently available to your WordPress installation? I know I don’t. Well, inspired by a request from a WordPress VIP client to understand it better, here’s a quick and simple solution to list them out.

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Initialisms can be great (and, yes, I mean ‘Initialism’ rather than ‘abbreviation’, as it’s the correct term in this case). However, when they’re simply not required and it may not be a universal term then you should always be careful of their use. I mention this when I had an email today stating…

I am OOTO today

I didn’t catch on at first but soon realised they meant ‘out of the office’. I’d come across OOO and OOF before (the latter is a Microsoft thing – “out of facility”) but not this one. Except, this is an email responder and not Twitter – no shortening was required. How much clearer would it have been to have simply said “I am out of the office today”. They’re rarely this short overall anyway, with messages often looking more like this…

I am OOO until Wednesday. In my absence, please contact Bob for any urgent queries.

Now, seriously, what is the point of shortening “out of office” here? At Automattic we use AFK (“away from keyboard”) but I wouldn’t think of using this externally.

Be professional and be clear – anyone receiving your reply shouldn’t be puzzled (even if just at first) by what you mean.

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