About

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Me

I was born in Leeds, England, studied Philosophy at the University of Birmingham, also in England, Information Systems at the University of Huddersfield (England) and for the last twelve years have been living in south-east England developing websites. I currently live in London, and am employed at the BBC (all views expressed on this blog are my personal views and not those of the BBC, by the way) as a Senior Web Developer. I’ve worked with a wide range of tools and technologies, but today I mostly develop in PHP, Javascript, HTML and CSS. My work CV can be found on LinkedIn. I twitter here, scrobble here and flickr (?) here.

I’m also a professionally published writer of fiction and non-fiction, and my work’s appeared in both newsstand magazines and small press publications. Here on my blog I generally discuss areas of interest including, but by no means limited to, books, writing, films, history, science, politics, climbing, comics, gaming, travel, hillwalking, music, architecture, mythology, folkore, food, television and photography as well as web and technology stuff. I tend not to blog about work projects, and if I did, it would likely be over at the BBC Internet Blog rather than here.

The site

This site is (proudly) powered by WordPress, which is handily written in PHP, the server-side language I have most experience of. The theme is – do forgive me, I’m a developer not a designer – admittedly a bit on the plain side, but I hope to improve on it iteratively over time, hopefully making use of some of the cool new features in CSS3. The mark-up is HTML5, and I’ve tried to design according to the principle of progressive enhancement – users of older browsers or low-end devices should get an even more basic but still functional version displaying all the main content, whilst high-end users will (hopefully) be able to enjoy a much more polished version, and eventually, all the interesting things I’ve promised myself I’ll build as part of my ongoing professional development. One day. Maybe.

The name

The Major Arcana of the Tarot deck is the 22 cards without suits – i.e. the ones with pictures on you’ll have seen in films – in contrast to the Minor Arcana, the 56 cards divided into suits of 14 cards, traditionally swords, wands, coins and cups, but roughly analagous to modern-day playing cards. The Tarot first appeared in the 16th century, and whilst originally used as playing cards, they quickly became associated with fortune-telling and the occult, a tradition that reached its apex in the 19th century, with decks being produced by prominent occultists such as A.E. Waite and Aleister Crowley. In divination, the Major Arcana (literally ‘greater secrets’) represents the important events in life, whilst the Minor Arcana (‘lesser secrets’) refer to life’s more general miscellanea.

I’m not particularly interested in the Tarot myself, but I thought it sounded like a pretty cool and entirely appropriate name for a blog, although ever since then I’ve been kind of sorry I didn’t register minorarcana instead, as in hindsight, that would seem even *more* appropriate. Ah well, ce sera sera.