Finding North without a Compass

I have a casual interest in bushcraft/wilderness skills and one seriously useful outdoor skill is navigation. In today’s world of GPS and Google Maps perhaps the traditional map-and-compass is seeing its twilight years, but I have a feeling that there’ll be a need for detailed battery/satellite-free maps for a long while yet.

Learning to use a compass, take bearings and find your position on the map is a great skill to have, but as the title implies, you don’t even need a compass to find a rough guide to where north is, there are plenty of other ways. One of my favourites is by finding the north star, it’s easy and a fun way to begin your journey into stargazing. I practice it most nights when taking the dog into the garden.

But, in daytime it’s not so easy to find the north star! Fortunately there are plenty of other ways. One of my favourites is by using a shadow stick, if you have the time to set it up.

A more immediate way of finding north without a compass is by knowing the correct time. Read the rest of this entry »

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How many squares can you see?

Only 12% of people got the right answer to this puzzle. I know this because I pulled the data out of the facebook comments and analysed it myself. This is what this blog post details. So, answer it yourself before reading on because the answer’s in bold if you scroll past the image. Spoiler alert.

I saw this image and caption on facebook recently:

Everyone here at my place is talking about this right now.
The best answer we have is 24. How many squares do you see?

I like these sort of puzzles, so I spent a few seconds enumerating all possible combinations, double checked and went to post a comment to that effect. I then saw that it had 40926 comments, and I was surprised to see that none of the ones I could see on screen had the right answer, so I decided to pull out some data from the comments to see what the answer-space looked like. I was very surprised by the results.

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Launching a new blog

As some of you know, I got married last October. Budgeting was a difficult thing to do, so I’ve decided to try to help out newly-engaged couples with a UK focused wedding budget blog.

Now, I know that’s not really the kind of thing most puremango readers will be interested in, so in this post I’m going to talk about the process of launching a new blog in your spare time. At the moment it’s too early to say whether weddingbudget.co.uk will be a success or not – it’s been going for less than 2 months right now (814 visitors to date), but hopefully you’ll get some idea of how much (or little) time and effort it takes to put something like this together.

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Being Awesome

Three months ago, there was a post on reddit entitled “what is something I can do today that will make me a better person by the time I go to bed tonight?

I think this is an incredibly valuable question to ask of ourselves. So many people are struggling to find meaning in their lives, and it’s surprising how even small actions can improve our self esteem and feeling of self worth.

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Fenix E01 vs Fenix E05 – review

This is a Fenix E05 and E01 comparison and review. They are both AAA flashlights from Fenix and come in a range of colours.

I’m writing this post for people who don’t want to spend a lot on a flashlight, but want something of good quality. The E01 you can get for around £12, the E05 for £18.

If you’re used to the slightly cheaper (£7-£11) and much more popular Maglite solitaire, then be prepared for a whole other level of quality with Fenix.

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What Being Number One On Google Gets You

I’ve been collecting information on how much traffic Google send to me across my various domain names. I’ve found the results rather interesting and quite useful, and so I thought I’d share them. Note: This is based only on four data points. Skip to the ‘related work’ section at the bottom for some links to studies which are more involved, but which lack my deeply elegant wordsmithery and the soothing pixelated green header that puremango has become world famous for… (ahem)
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Making Money With Wallpaper Domains… ish

Hello readers :)

As some of you may know, I am a domain fiend. I actually have no idea how many domains I own right now, but it’s somewhere in the low double figures. Most are pipedream projects which either never saw the light of day, or did but failed due to lack of effort on my part. But I’m not going to talk about the failures today.

I’m going to talk about the very modest success I’ve seen in an unlikely place: Wallpaper domains.

In this post I’m going to walk through exactly what I’ve put in and what I’ve got out of these domains, and maybe I’ll reach some clever way of quantifying whether it’s worth it or not.

I’m going to tell you right now up front: We’re talking £45 profit over two years here. This is not a story of overnight success.
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Three Neat JavaScript Tips

JavaScript is a great language. It really can power your entire web stack from animated effects on the frontend to ajax calls for faster user experiences, to backend JSON APIs written in NodeJS. It’s been called the language of the web before, and never has it been more true than now.

I’d like to share some little techniques I’ve picked up which make your life easier as a professional JavaScript developer. Actually the first two are applicable to many languages.
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Duncan Bannatyne live-tweeting kidnapping threat

Duncan Bannatyne has been live-tweeting about a threat to his daughter which he received via email and twitter. The first message was posted on popular text-sharing site pastebin (favourite medium of lulzsec and anonymous), and read:

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30 Day Challenge List

Try something new for 30 days.

It’s a simple enough concept, but it is just enough to give your life a breath of fresh air, to get you out of a rut, to re-invigorate. I was inspired by Matt Cutt’s TED talk on this topic – it’s worth taking three and a half minutes and watching the video.

With that philosophy in mind, I’m trying to put together a nice list of 30 day challenges to inspire you.

To my mind, there are two ways to approach the 30 day challenge – habits, and achievements:

  1. Habits: Try something new and do it every day for 30 days
  2. Achievements: Aim to have completed something by the end of the 30 days
As a quick example, Read the rest of this entry »

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