Bits and Bytes

Thoughts on digital, running rambles and photos



Chiltern Challenge Ultra – running 50k in memory of my mum

My mum passed away just days before my first ultra.

I fought with myself over whether I should still run it. There will be plenty of races in the future. You should be with your dad and brother, helping each other get through this.

But then, I remembered the last time I spoke to mum. I knew I had to go for it.

Continue reading “Chiltern Challenge Ultra – running 50k in memory of my mum”

Why I’m running 50k for my mum

My mum passed away suddenly on Tuesday.

My dad, my brother, my family, me… we’re in shock.

Continue reading “Why I’m running 50k for my mum”

My first 50k – The Chiltern Challenge

I’ve been a huge fan of The Ginger Runner and Billy Yang for a while now. Both are excellent runners as well as filmmakers and their GoPro isn’t ever too far away when they’re out for a run. A long time subscriber of their YouTube channels, I find myself eagerly looking forward to their next adventure – more often than not featuring amazing mountain scenery, glorious trails and regular guest appearances by some of the Ultrarunning elite.

Continue reading “My first 50k – The Chiltern Challenge”

A quick look back at 2013, Gattaca is coming, Twitter vs Instagram and this week’s bits and bytes

Merry Christmas, happy New Year, bring on 2014.

But first, a very quick look back at the best of 2013 in – what else – a list:

Gattaca isn’t too far away: In a rare interview, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt gives Bloomberg his outlook for 2014 trends in a quick, two-minute film. Some points that struck me:

  • Mobile is no longer winning, it has won: people aren’t buying new computers, they are buying tablet devices and smartphones.
  • Big data and machine intelligence is everywhere – extending as far as genetics and expected advances in mapping the human genome. Something that will (hopefully) lead to advancements in the fight against cancer and other diseases. Heck, your phone already uses your fingerprint as your password and you’re loading biometric data about your workouts and activities to third part platform, the next step has to be ads and products tailored to your genetic make-up?
  • Interesting to note in the clip that Schmidt reflects on the trend that Google missed – social networking. Google won’t make that mistake again, he promises in the clip.

How to lose your job in less than 140 characters: Bit of an older one, but after realising that some of my colleagues had missed it over the Christmas period I thought I’d better include it as a shining example of what not to say on Twitter (or anywhere else for that matter).

Buzzfeed pulled together a great summary of the proverbial poop exploding after (now ex) PR director at IAC Justine Sacco tweeted: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white.”

Kids, do not try this at home.

Twitter has an Instagram problem: Instagram is growing faster than Twitter (Nielsen is already tracking more mobile users of Instagram than of Twitter) and Instagram users are more active (57% daily visits to see the latest filtered images of food vs. 46% daily visits to Twitter). The problem, according to Pew Research, is that the two are direct rivals as they have the same user base: Both have particular appeal to younger adults, urban dwellers, and non-whites.

The argument goes that as Instagram grows, it will take users away from Twitter, thereby becoming the go-to platform for advertisers to reach an increasingly active audience.

But basing this entire argument on just usage metrics ignores why people are actually on Instagram and Twitter. People have very different goals when they use those platforms (to see and share photos from and with their friends in the former; share and consumer news, banter and the latest buzz on the latter. Brands need to keep this in mind and tailor their messaging to the platform, rather than chosing one over the other.

That said, Twitter for a while now defined itself as the shortest distance between you and your passion. My recent experience of Instagram has shown that this is also quite possible – providing your passion can be explained in image form. And as a runner and trail running, I’ve spent some time finding and following similarly minded people and athletes who post spectacular image from their forays into the wild.

Take ultramarathon legend Scott Jurek – he posts beautiful images from his runs in the high country. Just makes you want to lace up and head out to see how far your legs can take you.

Videos of the year: The Year on Twitter

And the YouTube Rewind: What does 2013 Say?

And finally: Training for the London Marathon at the moment, following other runners on Instagram, Twitter and Strava, I came across Trail Porn. Totally safe for work.

Inspiring running documentaries: 100 and Spirit of the Marathon

I’m really excited about this film, along with the sequel to Spirit of the Marathon 2. It’s so inspiring to see runners push themselves way past the limit. The longest I’ve run is a marathon, but this little clip alone makes me just want to lace up and head out.

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