Another lost hat!

Gareth wearing a Russian hat, holding a copy of John Peel\'s book

Honestly, what is the matter with me?! What is it about me and hats?! What is about me and losing things?!

First of all, I lost — FOREVER! — my fleece hat in an hotel in Pitlochry; as reported in the blog post “Lost Hat” (16 November 2005).

Then I left my book in Cellardyke; as reported in the blog post “D’ye ken where my book is?” (12 January 2006). And as it happens, I didn’t leave it on the sofa, as I’d thought — and photographed. No! I’d left it on top of the wardrobe in the small bedroom. HOW?! Anyway, I got that back, as evidenced by the photograph above.

And then the other night (05 February 2006) when I was over in Cellardyke … I managed to leave my other, my one-and-only, my last remaining fleece hat there!

So, I guess, until I can return to Cellardyke to retrieve it, it’s either my Russian hat (above), or my Big Red Fez! I’m not sure I have any other useful hats.

Product placement

Cover of the book Why We BuyRecently I’ve been reading Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill (whom I’m convinced must be a South American Hobbit).

It’s a great book that is packed with facts, and figures and hard research about how we actually go about shopping, the tricks and tips that clued-up store managers use to lure you into their stores, and the mistakes that less clued-up managers make that result in you leaving the store with nothing.

It was a recommended read in another book about Web usability, because although this one focuses on the real world there are a lot of skills and observations that can be transferred to the online environment.

It does mean, however, that during the last fortnight I’ve been particularly aware when entering stores about what’s working and what’s not. This evening, for example, I spotted this in my local Scotmid Co-op (I’d gone in for milk, thanks for wondering.):

Confectionery display in front of Men\'s Health magazines!

A display of Twix, Mars and Snickers chocolate bars situated right in front of the copies of Men’s Health magazine! Oh the irony!

Honda – The Power of Dreams

The Honda Choir
Screenshot from the new Honda advert, featuring the Honda Civic Choir.

Have you seen the latest advert for the Honda Civic? It features a specially-formed choir that performs the sound of a Honda Civic going about its every day tasks.

Having sung some fairly challenging pieces during my time in the National Youth Choir of Great Britain I really enjoyed the advert, which you can also watch online and download in m4v format.

As well as the advert itself — and the online version is longer than the short version I’ve seen on TV — there is also a three-part “making of…” documentary. While watching that, look who I spotted:

Singer Louise Marshall

If I’m not very much mistaken, that’s exNYCgb member and singer extraordinaire Louise Marshall.

XP wallpaper — USA v Europe

Having been searching the Web for inspiration to help out a friend with an Ubuntu-style logo I stumbled upon a site of desktop wallpapers.

There was one image in particular that made me smile, and got me thinking: if Microsoft had been based in Europe then I’m sure the default XP wallpaper image would have been very different (even given that Microsoft is based in Seattle which is rainsville USA!). This is how I imagine it:

Windows XP wallpaper called Bliss shows a blue sky with clouds, and a verdant hilly pasture.
The default Windows XP desktop wallpaper image, entitled “Bliss”.

Desktop wallpaper image showing a green field, with dark, grey skies
How the Windows XP desktop could have looked had Microsoft been based in Europe! It would probably be entitled something like “Typical!”