Games no more…

So after close to 21 years, I have a job that isn’t part of the games industry. And I feel great!

Sure, a career change after so many years has been a proper culture shock but the removal of the stress of running your own company has improved my life no end. The culture shock was enhanced due to moving from self employment in the games industry to employment in the public sector – educations specifically. No longer do things ‘just get done’ but the positive is knowing that I am making a small change to peoples lives for the better. 

When I say education, this doesn’t mean that I have swapped the sheep herding of games project management for the sheep herding of teaching, but I am now International Project Lead at the local college. It’s a fascinating position involving leading the EU funded projects that the college takes part in – and recently I have now been given the college Incubation space to look after which is right up my street. Some great small businesses are already up and running in there and hopefully I can provide a bit of help to make them a success.

So all change although I still have a fair bit of travelling so no doubt I’ll still be complaining about airlines and dodgy overseas hotels although the days of travelling transatlantic in business class are long over.


The Moon God

Another short written for OU last year. Due to time constaints this wasn’t edited too much from the original blast of words so still needs a lot of editing and redrafting but thought I may as well post in it’s original word-dump…



Being stationed on the Moon, she always thought she had the best office view in the world – that is, until her usual 05:30 alarm woke her and she found the stars had gone.

Eyes wide, she stared out of the window; the entire sky was black. Earth was still there, shining bright over the horizon although she didn’t think it held it’s normal beauty maybe due to it being surrounded by total blackness.

Breathing heavily as she ran from the living area of the complex through to the control area, she pushed the communications button to get in touch with her colleagues down below on the surface. Silence, not even the usual static. No response. Everything seemed to be operational, her screens glowed with data but looking closer her heart went cold and knees started to buckle.

The large Helvetica counter on one monitor read 0.


Her task as Resource Guardian was to monitor life on the planet below and ensure each nation was compliant with the Population Agreement of 2230, her simple mission to ensure that forced euthanasia was taking place to keep the global population under 500 million and allow the diminishing natural resources to last until the Replenishment Plan was fully activated. The dark side of her mission was her power to force euthanasia by a simple command, a power she had never had to use. The public on the planet below referred to her as the Moon God.

The counter provided an accurate population number and that population was zero.

Tracing through the recent logs, she noticed that whilst she was asleep at 02:35 the population dropped within a minute to 437 million before gradually dropping to zero over the next 90 minutes.

It didn’t look like an error. It looked like she was the last person in the world alive.

Quickly, she found the old-fashioned paper guidelines for use in an emergency. Unused to the feel of paper she struggled to turn the pages over without them sticking together before remembering an old movie she once watched where the mass murderer had licked his fingers to fix the same issue – it worked. As she expected, there was no page detailed the procedure for when the counter reached zero nor was there a procedure for being the last person alive.

She remained calm. She didn’t have anyone down on the planet to mourn, her family had long since travelled to the shadows. She had no friends, in fact she had only ever had one friend until she betrayed her confidence – after that she trusted no one and consigned herself to a life alone. It didn’t upset her though, her analytical mind and lack of emotional baggage had served her well through her career. Starting off in research, she had soon risen through the ranks of the Earth Space Agency until becoming the youngest Director in its history. With her emotionless personality and her psychological expertise she was an obvious choice to take the role of Resource Guardian when the role became available.

Nearly eighteen months into the job she could carry out her tasks running on auto-pilot, whilst using the many other hours she had available to expand her knowledge through constant reading. This was her next move as she started to trawl through the world network to try find out anything she could. All seemed normal with the usual stream of zero-G selfies, hoverboard crashcams and porn until 02:35 when she started to find messages expressing horror in all six remaining languages of the world. Each message carried little detail but the majority of them referred to ‘the shadows’; nothing else.

Trying the radio again brought the same silent result. Deciding to head over to the engineering module to check the diagnostics were correct, she picked up her Omnikit and ran through the tunnel to the other side of the complex. Normally, she enjoyed this short trip as the tunnel had been constructed of a transparent material giving her an amazing view of the dusty grey lunar landscape outside, but at this time her stomach was doing somersaults, something she had rarely felt before and definitely didn’t like.

All the diagnostics she ran on the complex systems passed with no issues. Her stomach churned even more as she started to believe that she really could be the last human alive. It didn’t make sense to her though, her logical mind couldn’t comprehend how or why? Heading back to the command module she stopped in the connecting tunnel to look and collect her thoughts. Confused and needing to find out what was happening, she gazed outside and noticed the light was fading. This shouldn’t have been possible as the sun rose less than four days ago so there were still many days left of this lunar day. Sunset was also pretty rapid, far quicker than down on Earth so there was little time for the light to fade but fading it was – and then blackness.

It was only as all light departed leaving her in complete and total darkness that she started to panic. Hands shaking she tentatively reached out to find her way back to the command module. The darkness was clinging and oppressive, unlike anything she had ever experienced and she felt a wave of coldness race through her. Becoming disorientated in the total darkness and with panic starting to overwhelm her, she collapsed to the floor with chest heaving whilst struggling to breathe.

Her mind raced – if the lights were off, then the power was down and the backup generators not running which meant she had no oxygen being recirculated. Her breathing become more laboured as she struggled but as her mental senses began to return to her, she realised that even with no new oxygen, the complex had a few days of air due to its size. Her breathing began returning to normal and as she was about to return to her feet to try and find her bearings, the dim emergency lighting powered up temporarily blinding her as her eyes got used again to vision.

The engineering module was unusually quiet when she arrived. The emergency generators were outside, but to preserve power all but essential services were turned off when they were in use so the usual hum and glow was absent. She did notice that the current power input from the kilometres of solar cells installed to keep the system operating was zero. Again she couldn’t comprehend this as the console showed connectivity to the array, but no power. Strength returning, she raced to the nearest observation panel – the only way there was no power was if the sun had set which would have meant she had lost nearly three weeks somewhere. Eyes wide, she stared out of the observation panel with hands against the cold graphene walls and her face pressed against the transparent window, she couldn’t see the sun – there was no light outside at all.

It was at this point that the meltdown started. She started to feel her head bang like never before. Along with the headache her extremities started to tingle and she started to find difficulty in focusing her mind. She suddenly realised that she was sitting on the floor, tucked into a corner with tears in her eyes.

Her mind was drifting, floating around her life. At first she experienced terror at being the last person alive before her subconscious reconnected with her logical mind and she realized it wouldn’t actually be that bad. She had always been alone, tormented by colleagues who kept trying to befriend her and inviting her into their networks. It had never interested her, friends only added a layer of stress and responsibility that conflicted with her career and constant need for learning. She preferred to be alone; she craved the solitude and only ever wanted her own company as this was the only company that understood her. As her mind processed these thoughts a big smile appeared on her face; her first smile in many years.

She was calm during her return to the main module. Passing through the kitchen and stores she grabbed a few supplies before locking the door and taking a breath. Her thirst for knowledge was still looking for an answer; an explanation. Sitting on the upright chair she again started searching through the recent logs to satisfy her needs. Hours passed as she engrossed herself but still she was no closer to an understanding. Something happened at 02:35 but nobody had actually said WHAT it actually was. Frustrated, she threw her graphite cup to the floor watching it shatter into many pieces.

Feeling weary both in mind and body she lay down in her cot to rest. As she lay, she continue to think about the solitude. As sleep took over, her final thought was of happiness – being the last human alive was an honour, even if she didn’t really like the rest of humanity. As she slept, again she smiled.

She woke with a start. One of those awakenings where the whole body seems to defy gravity and jump up. Her eyes caught the clock showing 01:47 as she noticed that there was again light outside. Jumping up so quickly that she felt a little faint, she noticed out of the small window that there were stars. Heart again pounding, she ran through the corridors noticing on the way that full power had been restored. Arriving at the control module she could see sun, stars and the earth peering over the horizon. There was crackling music coming from the communications panel and a voice telling her to ‘answer the damn radio’. Completely confused, she looked at the counter.


With a blank look on her face the pushed the comms button and her words stumbled out.

‘Yeah. Er, I’m here.’

‘Get your lazy butt out of that cot and give me your report’

She sighed, a long sigh of disappointment. No longer the last human alive. No longer truly alone. No longer special, she felt empty. With no idea what had happened she noticed the sharp debris on the floor where she had smashed her cup – her mind processed that everything DID happen, it wasn’t just a strange dream.

Being a professional, she dropped back into her normal role routine instantly but her smile was gone. Loneliness overcame her being as the lives of half a billion people returned to her world.

Her life returned to normality. She checked the counter and she read, repeated day after day but her mind constantly returned to the memory of bliss she had experienced towards the end of her episode. The more she thought about it, the emptier she felt and the emptier she felt, the more she longed for that feeling again. She never once smiled. Eleven days later she made the decision.

Knowing exactly how to free herself from the emptiness, sadness and heavy oppression she felt, she walked calmly to the command module and started flicking switches and entering commands at the terminal. The number 500,000,000 appeared on screen. Running her finger slowly down the screen the number reduced.


She slowly continued, eyes fixed to the number getting smaller and smaller.


Voices screamed over the communications channel before gradually fading.





The clock showed 04:05. The counter showed zero.


Ella smiled. Happy. She was special again. She truly was the last human alive.


Featured image © Bill Young via Flickr. Used under CC BY 2.0 license

Image by byronv2 via Flickr


Quick one written for my OU course last year. I thought it was pretty crap but my tutor seemed to like it :)

Heads bowed
praying to the god of Apple,
Oblivious to the world passing by,
Interested only by the trending topics,
Consumed by the never ending supply
of Likes and Updates,
Instagrams and Vine,
Communication sans vowels,
acronyms combine.
Quadragenarians shrug
WTF eh?

Image © byronv2 via Flickr. Used under CC BY-NC 2.0 license

2014-03-29 16.22.51


One of the poems I wrote as part of my OU studies. Apparently its a pantoum, hence the repetition :)

Fingertips blue, ears bright red
Why are we here, not home instead?
Cold, salty air assaulting the lips
North Sea sprays over as it rises and dips.

Really. Why are we here, not home instead?
Yell the six hundred cheering the boys in dark red
The North Sea crashing over, the small pointless stand
Salvation appears, to warm up the hands.

The six hundred idiots screaming abuse
Showering the ref with jeers and boos
Salvation is here, fingers starting to flex
Warm pie and a bovril, better than sex.

Showering the ref, abusing with flair
Dribble, cross, Goal! Cheers fill the air
Better than sex, but don’t tell the wife
Footie on Saturday, our reason for life.

Dribble, cross, Goal, all part of the fun
The Cold, salty air, its damage now done
Footie on Saturday, to Gayfield we fled
With fingertips blue and our ears a bright red.


Letter with pen and glasses 1

Open University – Creative Writing

those of you who actually know me, like in real life person stuff, will know that I started my Open University degree in 1994! Yep, seriously!

Anyway, last year I got a message saying I only had a few more years to finish it off so this year I am studying a Creative Writing course. The first part was fine although I did get confused with omnipresence, limited omnipresence and other bits and bobs but the true confusion has arrived with Part 2 – poetry.

Now, I’ve never been a fan of poetry (all I can recall is the first few lines to a Betjeman poem I had to study at school; ‘Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough, it isn’t fit to graze a cow’ or something similar) and I have always been useless writing it so this is a proper struggle. Fortunately it seems that poetry no longer has to rhyme (sort of in the same way that modern art doesn’t need to be artistic) which makes like so much easier for me.

So from now on in, I can pretty much
write as I see fit,
with no requirement
for lines to rhyme
as long as I alliterate
and observe rhythm
which this collection of words

Anyway, I hate people reading what I write but that is pretty pointless I guess so I’ll post some of my pieces up here for you to ignore.

Mind you, I have recently had an article published in a journal no less. The official bibliographic details are

Scragg, L. (2014) ‘Everyone is a games developer’ The Computer Games
Journal 3(2b) (Special Edition – ‘What is missing from games?’), pp.203 –

which I think is pretty cool!

Anyway, back to self-assessment….




I know I am a bit of a travel snob. I hate flying economy, I never go on buses and I try and avoid using the train wherever possible. I know I am contributing to climate change with my obsession with driving myself wherever I go but at least in my car I am (mostly) in control of my own environment.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of getting the train from Arbroath to Glasgow. Now normally this journey is okay albeit pretty crowded as I try and sleep on the journey (due to the 06:00 early start). Unfortunately yesterday I ended up sitting next to the most annoying person I have ever sat next to on a plane.

First she wanted me to put her heavy luggage overhead for her. Now I have no problem with this and am normally glad to help but I didn’t even get a thank you for doing it. After she eventually got into the window seat and I sat down, she proceeded to elbow me whilst she turned into Mr Tickle whilst trying to take her coat off.

Bruised and slightly annoyed, I put my headphones back in and heard her booming voice above Atom Heart Mother at full blast. She was telling me that I was sitting in her colleagues seat and that I would have to move when he got on in Perth. I had my ticket on the table and took a quick glance in case I was in the wrong seat – I wasn’t. It took a good 30 seconds to explain to her that both my seat reservation and the ticket above the seat said that this was the seat I had reserved and not her colleague. She then got grumpy and turned away when I was in mid conversation.

By this time I was getting pissed off. Then it got worse. Much worse.

She suddenly realised the knew the person sitting behind and turned around to talk to her. Her big loud fucking mouth was inches away from my ear whilst she spent 15 minutes talking to this person whom she obviously used to work with, about all the gossip in her shitty little life and her shitty little job.

In hindsight, I should have told her in no uncertain terms that NO FUCKER IS INTERESTED NOW SHUT THE FUCK UP, but I was still in polite mode and she hadn’t yet clicked my FUCKING RAGING button. After hearing all about how Gail from the Admin department was a bit of a slag, and how Adam should have been fired three times now for what he did (she never said what he did but I think it could have been telling her to shut the fuck up), I gave up on listening to music and tried to zone out – her decibel laden mouth had drowned out even my worse music.

At Perth, her ex-colleague got off as did the guy sitting opposite her across the table. She nudged me, or rather she digged me in the ribs just as I was relaxing with my eyes shut. “You were right. He is sitting in that seat”, she said and I managed to give me my most sarcastic “Fantastic” in reply. She knew I was pissed off.

…and then it came. Her colleague sat down and what happened next had me (and the person sitting opposite me who also had to hear about Gail and slut and Adam the fucking hero) staring at her incredulously. Her first words to her colleague were “You’ll never guess who I have just been speaking to…?”. This WASN’T a rhetorical question for her, her colleague really did have to guess. After an age where I was dreaming of lobotomisation, she piped up with “She didn’t speak to me in ages after what happened. I’d cross the street to get away from her but she was speaking to me nice as pie”.


She seriously destroyed my hearing talking to someone whom she didn’t like? No only was she a gossiping annoying megaphone mouthed pain in the fucking arse, but she was a two faced hypocrite as well.

I gave up at that point and accepted my fate. Another hour of her massive fucking gob spewing high decibel bollocks about fuck knows to her colleague. It is him I feel sorry for as it looked like they were on a work awayday/stayover so whilst I managed to stop the ringing in my ears an hour or so after getting off the train, he is probably still getting it even now.

Sorry pal….
and that is why I try and avoid public transport…


GDC 2014 – “I’ve got code older than you”

Before heading over to my first GDC since 2011, I noticed some of the grumpy hits on the grumpy developers group on Facebook suggested making t-shirts with the slogan ‘I’ve got code older than you’. It would have been apt as I really did feel like everyone’s dad whilst wandering amongst the Expo booths with their hipster staff.

San Francisco was hotter than I had ever experienced around GDC time and this made me suitably grumpy, but it was probably the most constructive GDC I have ever attended. Maybe this was due to not partying every night and having a clear head, or maybe it was because we had complete product to sell – I’m not sure, but we came away with lots of potential opportunities.

Main points I took from the event?

– VR is everywhere, not only Rift but Sony’s Morpheus along with controllers to go with them such as Sixense’s STEM. All interesting stuff
– Far too many ad networks. Funny how one mentioned a CPI of $5 when they only pay us $1 for showing the ad on our own titles. Thieving ****s!
– More women present than I have ever noticed before
– Everyone looks around 10 years old (or maybe that is just me)
– How many people are looking for content to publish in numerous territories and platforms

Arguably the biggest thing I got was the complete realisation that if you want to make money in games you should not bother making games, you should be making services that you can sell to games developers. GameDev is not a massively scalable business apart from the odd few and it is far easier to gather investment for scalable service companies than for game development. Sad but true. I guess I would advise any startup to consider entering the service side rather than the content side moving forwards – the odds are better.

Before GDC week, I was over in San Francisco with Cross Creative as part of our California trip. During this time I was fortunate to visit some pretty amazing companies like Pixar, Chartboost, Youtube, Eventbrite and the amazing VFX guys at Atomic Fiction. Again, the core impression I got was that getting investment in the area was far easier than in Scotland purely due to the amount of investors looking for the next ‘big thing’. Maybe Independence will help us out with more tax benefits for investors?


Start-Up Part 2: Become a Bi££ionaire!

So by the end of Part 1, you have you team, you have your logistics sorted, you have meticulously identified your market and created your product with that market in mind. Yes?

Good. Now it is time to sell.

But whooooah there! Sell? We were never taught how to sell! Uni never had any lectures on selling? We thought you just submitted your game and because it is so awesome, people will buy it?

Yep. Thats the impression the media give isn’t it? Dead easy this making a fortune from games lark. I don’t need to remind you that the media report on stories that people will read (so they can sell ads) and people want to read about a spotty 13 year old who licensed some tech from someone, created an awful app and then sold it to BigCorp for £1m a few months later (that had dodgy written all the way through it imo!). People don’t want to read about the hundred, or rather thousands of companies who don’t even break even on their game costs.

Lets be honest, unless you are lucky (yep, luck plays a MASSIVE part), have managed to secure a strong license or brand or have a load of money to run a good enough CPI ad campaign that can get your into the charts in the first day or two (think $10,000 per day minimum) then your game/app/whatever isn’t going to make you millions.

But you have still created it so lets sell it. Do your press pack, individually contact writers who may write for places that could be interested in your game – give them the link to your press pack. Create strong metadata for the stores, have great screenshots and make sure you put the best one first (iOS may only see one screenshot on your App Store page on device), have an awesome icon which reflects your title — and make sure the title of your game will work effectively on the stores.

Notice how I said storeS there? You are not just developing for iOS are you? Are you? REALLY???? WHY???? You are aware that iOS has less than 20% of the smartphone market? You are aware that other platforms are catching up in terms of revenue spend on them? You are aware that if you develop for as many platforms as possible, you have the best chance of getting a return? You are aware that multi-platform gives you the best opportunity of licensing your title out to different stores/portals/bundles whatever? Sure, they won’t set you up in Bermuda but a few grand here and a few grand there will soon add up.

So you are doing multi platform, good. Get it onto the stores and push it out to as many people as you can. Get them to download and play, even if only for 10 minutes. Get them to rate and give you a proper review. You can’t do that because they have to pay for it? You are charging for your game? /sigh

Do everything you can to get good ratings and reviews. Interact with your customers on your games Facebook page (you do have one don’t you?). Reward them for sharing your content and getting more people playing. Don’t worry about conversion or IAP, the key thing initially is to generate numbers and build up your reviews and ratings.

Anyway, now you are on iOS and Play take a look around at Kindle and Nook. I used to laugh at Nook with our non-existent sales on the platform then suddenly it took off and Nook is our second best revenue stream now. Look at the different carrier stores around the world to make deals, look at creating a HTML5 version to license to the major web gaming portals – again you can make a few grand here and there. See if you can push your free content onto non-gaming areas to generate more awareness. Our games are present on restaurant terminals in the US – we make nothing from it but generate new users who download after enjoying playing whilst waiting for their ribs to be served.

Continually support your product. Release updates and fix bugs. Give your customers what they want. See if you can rebrand or retheme your game to get better search results.

If you follow all this, you are guaranteed to have the average 0.01% change of making your millions. Just remember me when you do – mine is a latte with no sugar.

Game StartUps – easy $$$$!!!!

For those of us who have been in the games industry for a few years, we all recall the frustration of working on console platforms. Not so much frustration with the technology but with those who represented the Publishers – the people who paid for us to develop – frustration with Producers.

During my times, I was lucky enough to work with some excellent Producers but I also worked with some guys who really shouldn’t be put in charge of an international corporations $10,000,000 budget! Anyway, back during those times amongst the requests to make the grass greener and allow the player to complete a lap by pressing one button with the controller on their head (yes, that did actually happen!), we all dreamed of a time when we would no longer need Publishers to provide our revenue and negotiate retail space for our products. We all thought it would be fantastic to be able to develop our own products without their input and sell our products direct to our customers. It would be amazing…

…and a few years ago it all came true. The plethora of digital stores allowed us to self-publish our own creations and customer expectation on mobile and handheld platforms meant that budgets were low enough that developers could self-fund. It was all we ever dreamed of, the barriers to entry had been well and truly removed.

And it was awful! What we never considered was that the removal of the barriers along with the multitude of easy-to-use middleware solutions soon meant that anyone could create and release a digital product, no matter how tacky or pointless. We started to drown in a sea of fart apps and (lets be honest) total crap. Now, the major issue we face is not trying to manage an errant Publishing producer who wants to make a tiny change that would cost £20,000 (although they won’t of course pay for it), but fighting through the crud to generate awareness for our products.

So we come to my main concern about the future of the independent games industry. Being based in Dundee, I see many microstudios popup with dreams of being the next Rovio (btw, before raising them as the poster-child of current development, read about their history and how difficult it has been for them) but unfortunately many of them have little idea of the business and commercial side of game development. There is a expectation that quality == revenue which if you dig below the surface of app downloads and sales, you will see most definitely isn’t the case.

With this in mind, I would like to offer some thoughts and ideas on things the consider **before** deciding to open a new games studio.

Firstly, if you are doing this purely for the money then turn around now and start looking for a job with an established studio. A huge number of gaming start-ups do not make any money – it is only a tiny percentage of those that do generate strong revenues – numbers that will allow you not to worry about working again!

Now we have established that you really want to go ahead with this, the first thing you should do is to establish a formal company – registered a Companies House. This will not only provide some legitimacy, but also allows you and your fellow developers to formalise shareholdings and provides that limited liability that you hopefully will never need!

Once registered you may want to consider registering for VAT if you think revenues will be high enough. If you are employing anyone you will also need to register for PAYE – both are easily done via the HMRC website.

Don’t start developing yet though. You do need to consider what would happen if one of your happy team decides to leave. Remember that many co-founders of companies end up splitting up at some point due to disagreement or worse and you need to ensure that you are covered in this event. Probably the best way is with a Shareholders Agreement but this will cost money to get drawn up. Before you ignore this issue though, just think about what would happen if you are halfway through a product and one of the shareholders leaves – what happens to the work they have contributed? Do they own it or does the company own it? Do you have the work assigned to the company and if you release the product what will happen?

Right, so that is all sorted out – time to start developing surely? Well, not really… What sort of product are you making and how have you decided what to develop? Have you carried out any marketing to determine if there is anyone out there who wants your product or are you arrogant enough to think that what you want to play is what everyone else wants to play? If you haven’t carried out any marketing research then you are already on your way to enjoying <100 sales on the App Store — in this day and age, creating a product for a specific market is **THE most important** start your project can make. Nearly there surely? You know what you want to develop and have carried out some basic marketing research to identify a need. It is time to develop but before you start you need to ask yourself ‘How?’. Are you going to use middleware which will allow for speedier prototyping and release or are you going to start from scratch? Are you going to use industry standard tools like Max, Maya, Photoshop, Perforce, Visual Studio etc..? If so, do you have licenses or indeed the finances to purchase such licenses as they don’t come cheap. It is possible to get free licenses for some tools such as Perforce through their small indie processes – likewise Microsoft run BizSpark which can get you free licenses if you have a successful application. If these don’t work then look at cheaper or open source tools – think about Blender instead of Max/Maya, Pixelmator or the free GIMP instead of Photo$hop, InkScape instead of Illustrator – there are many other solutions available. Let’s fast forward six months. You do have your product out in the market don’t you – six months should be plenty of time? One issue I see time and time again (and have done it many times myself) is the search for perfection. Constantly tweaking and changing a product over and over again, adding more and more features and severe feature creep. Whilst we all want our products to be the best they can possible be, there comes a time when continued tweaking just wastes time and money and generates no additional revenue. Aim to push out a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) as soon as possible to generate feedback from customers and react to any feedback that makes sense. Think about platforms. If you chose a middleware solution for your core tech, utilise the different platforms they offer. You are thinking about platforms other than iOS aren’t you? Look at all options such as the Play Store, Amazon, Nook, Samsung and all the other digital store options. Run tests on localisation to see if it makes a difference to your products (it didn’t for any of ours but some products see positive growth when localised) This should give you a few things to think about – I will add Part 2 to this at some point and finish it off :)

Battery Nipples

So the batteries on my Apple Magic Mouse ran out. As per normal, I replaced them. Unlike per normal, the mouse fired up and then stopped working; not just stopped connecting but stopped working altogether – no power.

I tried other batteries; still no power. I tried the old batteries that were still working when I took them out; still no power. FFFFFFUUUUUUUUU………

I googled. I read. I took the damn thing apart and I noticed that one of the battery contacts was slightly broken. A quick fix with a bit of business card later, I thought I had a cure. I was smug. I was happy. I had avoided another batch of Apple Tax.



I was wrong again.

Still no power.

I looked for another mouse. They were all super expensive. I found a cheapo Microsoft Bluetooth one with some semblance of touch in Argos. I queued up in Argos to get it having fought my way through the Elizabeth Dukes queue. I got my new mouse and walked back to the office.

I looked forward to opening my new mouse. But some f***er had beaten me to it. Argos had given me a return – the box was knackered, hell the mouse was even bloody scratched and had desk-goo on the bottom of it. Someone had used this mouse for some time! Oh, and it didn’t work as advertised on a Mac!

I was well pissed off. Then I had an idea. A strange idea. An idea that could never ever work…

I remembered that the Magic Mouse battery terminals were recessed. I tried another set of batteries (Amazon Basics if you really must know); no power. I tried another batch; no power. I then tried another set of the same brand I took out of it – POWER. IT WORKED. It was the length of the positive terminal ‘nipple’ (for want of a better word). On the batteries that worked, it was ever so slightly longer, at least long enough to make proper contact!


Moral of the story?

1. don’t buy stuff from Argos and expect it to be new (It’s going back tomorrow)
2. not all AA batteries are the same in Apple’s eyes. Some have longer ‘nipples’ than others – go for the longer nippled variety