• FOTAR 2020 - the State of the Transatlantic Relationship

    I attended FOTAR – the Forum on Translantic Relations – on 30th January 2020. The topic: “The Transatlantic Security Partnership in Turbulent Times.” Three detailed expert discussions served as an excellent update on the state of NATO, how to deal with an ascendant China, and cybersecurity. Here are my notes – the intent behind which is to capture the issues raised, rather than be a comprehensive account of who said what.

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  • Buckets of Half Knowledge about Blockchain

    There are two types of people: those who don't understand blockchain, and those who don't admit they don't understand blockchain. I suppose saying so puts me in the first category. However, ignorance of blockchain is a spectrum, and as I've been asked to take part in a podcast on the topic, I'm trying to push myself as far towards the “knows everything about blockchain” end as possible. Here's what I know about blockchain so far.

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  • My Hugo Workflow

    One of the advantages of WordPress is that you can edit your website wherever you have an internet connection. With Hugo (or any static site generator, for that matter) you can't do that so easily, although offline editing is much easier. Here, I’m going to tell you how I’ve got Hugo working in harmony across all my devices, as well as how I would like to have done it.

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  • Apple Photos Isn't a Backup Solution

    Much to my chagrin, I found out recently that Apple Photos isn't as reliable as I might have hoped. Yes, I should have backed up my photos properly (and to a large extent I did). But as easy as it is to say you should back everything up – even if it's synchronised in the cloud – with Photos it's so impractical it's virtually impossible.

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  • Why My Website Looks So Awful

    Well noticed: my website looks pretty, erm, “basic” at the moment. This is because I’ve been experimenting with a static site generator over the holiday period. I went for Hugo (I think the recommendation came from Robert Douglass when I was in Cologne just before Christmas.) Static site generators: simpler than a CMS The idea behind a static site generator is that everything is really simple: instead of setting up a CMS with a database and all the deployment nightmares this entails, you can store content in markdown files and generate static HTML files from them.

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  • Book Recommendation: the Science of Fate by Hannah Critchlow

    In recent decades, developments in neuroscience have given unprecedented insights into the way our brains work. But the discovery of neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to change over time – has led to what Dr Hannah Critchlow calls “neurohype”: the suggestion we can change our fate by moulding our brains to our liking well beyond childhood. She leads us on a nuanced investigation into how much free will is actually left over once genetics, epigenetics, and physiological and societal factors are accounted for.

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  • Rethinking Europe and Remembering Helmut Schmidt

    If there's one thing Helmut Schmidt wouldn't have wanted, it would have been people constantly asking what he would have wanted or thought. But he'd have to forgive us, because on many occasions over the two days of #RethinkingEurope, his words and actions shaped the events. And that is the thing about Helmut Schmidt, the former German Chancellor: he shaped events during his lifetime and still has the ability to do so posthumously.

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  • Five Types of Network Effect

    I'm currently reading a book called Blitzscaling by Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh. “Blitzscaling” is a technique they have observed over several years and applied themselves. They define it as prioritising speed over efficiency in the face of uncertainty. So not only are you jumping off a cliff and building a plane on the way down – the metaphor many use for founding a startup – you're also attaching jet-powered rockets at the same time.

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  • Hamburg Brexit event – writeup

    Yesterday evening (30th March 2016) was the long-awaited Brexit event in Hamburg and – wow – what an evening!

    It all started with the Berlin event, which Jon Worth organised. Brian Melican was on the panel during that event too, and the two of them thought it would be good to get something similar sorted in Hamburg. So I agreed to help, and booked the room and started asking around for people to speak. Louise Brown agreed straight away, which was a great relief – I'd already booked a BIG location and we needed a good moderator to help fill it! I asked Tina Stadlmayer (a journalist I know from the Kultwerk West team) if she had any ideas whom I could ask to tell us about UK-Germany relations – and she suggested Annette Dittert. I was pleasantly surprised when she agreed to take part as luckily she had time on just that evening.

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