Crackunit is not a Dad-Blog

As soon as I found out I was going to be a dad I vowed to myself that I wasn’t going to turn Crackunit into a dad-blog. That was about 6 months ago. And I’m still determined that this isn’t going to become a dad-blog.

But as of last week I’ve decided that I need to make an exception. Just once.

It’d be rather strange not to. Carrying on posting normal stuff as if nothing has happened would be odd. Because something has happened. Something amazing. Something wonderful. Something shocking. Something terrifying. In fact something that has pretty much whacked me and Sophie with every emotion going.

Last Sunday morning at 9am Sophie gave birth to our twins. Two amazing little girls called Eleanor and Josie.

It wasn’t a total shock – we knew there were twins on the way. But they decided to arrive 12 weeks early. So they’re very very tiny. Eleanor weighed in at 2lbs 11oz and Josie at 2lbs 13oz.

They’re in a special baby unit wired up with tubes and sensors and are being looked after by some of the most amazing wonderful doctors and nurses. There’s nothing like a difficult delivery in an operating theatre and a spell in an intensive care baby unit to make you feel like everything you do is worthless. Saving the lives of mothers and babies, that’s a proper job and no mistake.

Here’s a photo of Josie:


And here’s Eleanor – she’s under a lamp to help sort out a touch of Jaundice – hence the Kanye West style shades:

eleanor under lamp_110809_0124

The girls are doing OK. Their breathing is good. All the vital signs are as good as they can be. And they seem to be getting stronger day by day. Having said that it’s a real rollercoaster – one minute things are great. The next something looks a bit scary and some new procedure or course of treatment has to start.

Sophie is doing well too. There’s nothing like going through something like ‘that’ to make you realise how much you love someone.

Our friends, families and random strangers have all been amazing. The congratulations, positive thoughts and promises of keeping things crossed have been amazing. Almost without exception every kind email or text message has in some way managed to make me cry (in a good way). In fact everything is able to make me cry right now. I’ve never cried such complicated tears before. Each one contains: pride, love, happiness, joy, fear, worry, relief and much more besides.

But we’re going to hold off on celebrating until we get a bit closer to the finish line.

As you can imagine blogging about social media doesn’t really seem that important right now. Maybe it never will again.

QR Enabled M&S Orange and Mango Juice

Here is Sophie’s Orange and Mango Juice from M&S. It was bought this morning in Brighton.


Looks nice doesn’t it? Then I noticed…


Flip the bottle round and sure enough…


The I remembered I had a QR app on the iPhone so I thought I’d give it a shot. First of all it fetches a URL as you’d expect.


I don’t know about you but the URL looks really horrible and alien. It took me a few scans to realise that it’s totally legit.

Like me you are probably very very excited about what the Orange and Mango Juice page looks like. Well here you go…


It’s got info about the product. Cool. It’s got an offer. Cool. And there’s a bunch of ‘stuff’ too. I was a bit bothered by the fact that the info wasn’t about the actual product, it was just about generic Orange Juice. But maybe I’m being unfair and anal.

Some of the pages aren’t great – they feel like someone has just dumped some text on a page without very much care and attention. Again the anal me has a problem with the fact that the bullet points aren’t even proper bullet points. It smacks of ‘copy and paste’ to me.


And of course, things like Joke of the Day were never going to be much more than Christmas Cracker fodder…


Overall I was really at a bit of a loss to know what to think.

It’s not bad. I’m glad that M&S are playing with this stuff. And I quite like the fact that they’ve not over-cooked it. It feels like an appropriate level of content for a bottle of juice. Although the fact that it was just for generic Orange juice still bugs me a bit. And it could have been better designed. And the copy could have been more interesting. And ‘joke of the day’ is a bit, meh.

Sophie made a good point. She said that she wouldn’t bother going back after seeing what was on there. And I guess that’s the real point isn’t it? If peoples’ impressions of this QR stuff is that it’s a waste of time, it’s going to be that much harder to get them to do it again. Not just for juice, but for any kind of product.

So on the one hand Marks and Spencer are opening the door for mainstream QR usage, which is great. I just hope that in the same gesture they’re not slamming it shut for us too.

Where The Wild Things Are and Pissy Pants

Latest trailer for Where the Wild Things Are is out. I quite want to see it.

I’ve no idea why I’m sharing this. Perhaps because it’s Friday. Or perhaps because I have to confront my demons in order to move on with my life. But when I was 5 years old I played Max in our primary school version of Where The Wild Things Are. I had to wear green woolly tights, under shorts. I’d never worn tights before. I didn’t know how they worked. As a result I wet myself. I cried.

That is all.

Ham vs Spam

Akismet Stats 2039 2014 WordPress

I use Akismet to stop comment spam on crackunit. As I was checking the spam stats (not something I do regularly, I’m not that sad, honestly) I noticed this link for Yummy Pie. When I see a link like ‘Yummy Pie’ in a boring stats section of an interface you can bet your life I’m going to click it.

And joy of joys I got the lovely Ham vs Spam chart above.

3 things to note here:

  1. Clever naming of interface tabs is a good thing
  2. Blog spam is a bad thing – and there’s lots of it
  3. I’d never heard the term ‘ham’ used like this – does admitting that make me a total n00b?

That is all.

EDIT: As Mike rightly points out in the comments. Smart-arsed naming of everything is not a good thing. Core site features should be called things that your audience will understand. But when it’s bonus things you can afford to be a bit playful. Yeah.

A Party Theory of Twitter in 20 Slides

Here’s my presentation from the Glug event last week. It’s not the smartest presentation in the world. But it had to work in 5 minutes, at night, in front of a couple of hundred drunk designers in a pub. So that might explain the slant I gave it…

I added some extra notes and hopefully it still makes a bit of sense without the presenter.

Sorry Nathan I had to do it. At the time I did explain that I love you and your blog ;-)

The actual thing had lots of video clips and whizzy bits, but I still can’t figure out a good quick way of getting ‘richer’ presentations online without spending a lot of time editing video. If anyone’s got any smart tips I’d love to hear them.

Hula Hoops DJ

About 18 months ago I posted this clip:

At the time I commented:

Nice inspiration for an ad. Anyone, anyone…

Then I saw this.

I like the new Hula Hoops ads. I think they work really well. they’re funny, silly and reflect a truth about the product – no matter how old you are you can’t help poking your fingers through them and feeling like a big kid :-)

I do always feel a bit odd about re-appropriation though. I try not to. Because you never really know the full story. But there’s an emotional bit of my brain that immediately feels a little twinge of injustice…