You’re Not Alone

Amongst other things, I’m a bit of a music geek with eclectic tastes. We all have songs we know very well – “You’re Not Alone” by Olive is one of those I must have heard dozens of times on the radio and in pubs and clubs in 1997 when the remixed version exploded. Those opening clipped synth chords are instantly recognisable.

Sometimes you’ll hear a cover version of a song that changes how you listen and feel about the song totally. This cover, by Astræa is one of them:

I love songs with lyrics that I can appreciate and identify with. The sentiments are at the same time intimate and universal. First, who hasn’t had to deal with being at a distance from someone they love? Second, isn’t it wonderful to know that someone has got your back and is waiting for you to come back, literally or metaphorically?

Singers who can enunciate each word and phrase with clarity are also a big plus for me; there’s nothing more annoying than having to listen to a song multiple times just to make out the lyrics (REM, Bob Dylan, I’m talking to you here). This beautiful rendition ticks all the right boxes. 

Workey – the key to a new workplace?

Looking for a new job? If you’re searching for that vital key to unlocking the door to a new job, then Workey may be your new best friend.  To quote from their own marketing blurb on their Twitter account, “Workey is an anonymous social recruitment platform revolutionizing (sic) tech HR through AI and machine learning. #AI #bigdata”

Workey - less work more jobs!

I’m not convinced that the AI and machine learning algorithms are up to the task as yet.  As with every other job search site I have ever used, I expect to still have to sift the wheat from the chaff by hand, so I am not expecting miracles from this.  Will I give it a try? By all means and I’ll be very happy to be proven wrong.  I signed up and went through the usual rigmarole of copying-and-pasting bits of your LinkedIn profile that got scrambled during the import process. Now that my profile makes for a coherent read, I’ll see if the theory passes muster and ventures into the realms of practical results in the coming weeks and months.  I’ll keep you posted if you’ll pardon the blogging pun.

One thing that may work in its favour is that they are running a promotion at the moment; if you accept a job offer through the site they’ll pay you $500. Yes, you read that right – five hundred bucks. This is possibly one of those few moments when I’ll be happy for the current favourable US Dollar to British Pound exchange rate. So, if you want to sign up, get a new job and an extra 500 US Dollars, here is the Workey sign-up link for you.

A User Roadmap to Free Photo Websites

As a blogger, I like to keep things interesting by adding relevant images to my posts that engage you. Walls of text on their own will just make your eyes glaze over, so a bit of colour is no bad thing. Help is at hand in the form of User Roadmap that provides reviews to 95 – yes, I did just say 95, count ’em – Free Photo Websites.

Free images are a Good Thing™. Not merely free as in beer, although who wants to pay when you can get stuff for nothing? However, you also want to use images that are free as in speech; that is even more important than not having to pay for them in the first place.

Pretty, isn't it?

One of the many CC0+ Curated images available from Pexels.

Why is that so important? OK, let me put it like this; see that pretty photo just above this paragraph? Would you like to get sued for using it? For thousands of pounds or dollars? No, nor me oddly enough, but that is exactly what can happen if you don’t have permission from the copyright holder to use said image, or breach the license of the image… or if you really put your foot in it, both at once. I am not a lawyer, so if you’re unsure about this sort of stuff, you can read the section on their website that answers the question “What are licenses and why should I care about them?”

The main part of the site is the “Shop” except you’re paying zip for access and nothing for the images you use. Perhaps “Directory” would be a better term, but that’s just linguistic quibbling. The default listing is in alphabetical order by site name, but you can switch to popularity and newness (whether that’s of the content or of the site itself, I’m unsure), You can also filter by License, resolution, Attribution requirements, sign-in required, if they use a search box (eighteen don’t, which just boggles me) and if they provide image releases. There’s even a handy reset button once you’ve utterly confused matters by trying every filter at the same time – hey, don’t judge me, I’m a software tester too, remember?

I must confess I’ve not heard of most of the websites listed here so this is a real treasure trove for me. The breadth and depth of available content is impressive. There is a huge range of subjects and the sheer number of images is staggering. As an example, the image I’m using in this post comes from Pexels, which has about 30,000 images on it; that puts it at the smaller end of the spectrum compared to some others listed on User Roadmap. Safe to say I will be happy to use this resource for years to come. 🙂

The Wind Rises

I’ve never done a film review on this blog before (I prefer to leave that to Ms Greer instead as a general rule)  but I’ll make an exception for the exceptional Studio Ghibli film The Wind Rises.


I’ll freely admit I’m a lover of animation in general, Anime more specifically and of the work of Studio Ghibli especially. I can’t think of a film of theirs I’ve disliked, although my reaction to seeing Tales From Earthsea was quite frankly “meh”. The Wind Rises is, in my opinion, probably the best film this animation studio has ever produced. The narrative certainly flows, with a clear plot, crisp editing and a lack of extraneous fluff resulting in a well paced film that doesn’t feel anything like 126 minutes.  The plot held my attention captive utterly, to the point that I still had some of my drink left as the credits were rolling; that has only ever happened while seeing one other film in a cinema, which was Book of Eli, but I digress.

Kaze Tachinu or The Wind Rises is a cinematic feast with sumptuous colours, evocative storytelling, and a rousing soundtrack. It tells the story of Jiro Horikoshi, following his boyhood inspiration by Italian plane designer Count Giovanni Caproni to become an aeronautical engineer as well. This is essentially a love story, or rather two love stories.


The first love story is about Jiro’s love of flight and his desire “to build beautiful aeroplanes”, which takes him around the world and sees him culminating in the creation of the famous Zero fighter plane. The intended uses that the planes made at the company he works for are alluded to over the course of the film. The war scenes act as a not very subtle metaphor on the loss of innocence as the rose tinted glasses of idealism fade and crack.


Love story number two is Jiro’s relationship with Nahoko Satomi. This wends its way deftly through the rest of the plot, binding the film together and rounding out the main characters in way that creates real emotional connections. Arguably the film could have focused solely on the creative vision, struggles and engineering abilities of Jiro during the inter-war years, but the resulting film would have been a far less engaging tale.

This is apparently to be the final work of Hayao Miyazaki which is a shame, but perhaps at the age of 73 he thinks it’s time to hang up his brushes and retire. Then again, he said that Howl’s Moving Castle was to be his last movie and has directed six more films since then, so perhaps one of the world’s greatest animators will change his mind once more.