Did Dvorak Die "A Bitter Man"?

Yet more MSc yak-shaving.

I'm currently reading Melissa Schilling's book "Strategic management of technological innovation".

In a passage talking about customers' resistance to new inventions and the destruction of domain knowledge, it talks about the invention of the Dvorak keyboard. Supposedly better than the QWERTY keyboard - but ignored by



A Decade of Drinking Beer on Untappd

10 years ago, I asked an innocent question on Twitter.


The answers came in swiftly - Untappd was the app to use. So, a few minutes later:


In the last decade, how much beer and cider have I drunk?

I've written before about how to extract yo



Book Review: No Bath But Plenty Of Bubbles: An Oral History of the Gay Liberation Front 1970-73 by Lisa Power

The Gay Liberation Front dragged homosexuality out of the closet, onto the streets and into the public eye. Its London supporters held the first gay demonstrations, organized the first Pride marc



South Up Equal Earth Projection in R

Yup - I'm still banging on about this! This time, in R


The colours are wrong, and the labels need adjustment - but not bad for a few lines of code!






Did Nikola Tesla receive "nothing but insults and humiliation"?

I see this quote pop up occasionally:


But what's the source of it?

The most prominent source appears to be this article from March 2015 in Telegraf.rs. It is a series of letters purportedly written by Tesla to his mother just befo



Download ACSM files in Linux - without using Adobe Digital Editions!

After my rant the other day about Adobe Digital Editions, I discovered libgourou by Grégory Soutadé

libgourou is a free implementation of Adobe's ADEPT protocol used to add DRM on ePub files. It overcome the lacks of Adobe support for Linux platforms.

There are a few li



🔥.me.ss! You can't register emoji domains in South Sudan

It's useful to share negative results. Not every experiment has an amazing or successful outcome.

tl;dr you can't register Punycode .ss domains.

This also means Internet users in South Sudan can't register domains using their own writing system.


The Republic of South Sudan became independent and joine



A brief look at ACSM files

Adobe's accursed eBook DRM is just the worst. Not only does it lock up books that you have purchased - but it's impossible to use sensibly on Linux.

Sure, you can futz around with Docker, WINE, and old versions of Python - and if you're lucky, you might get a book out of it.

I wasn't quite so lucky. I wanted to see if I could download an ePub without using Adobe Digit



Book Review: The End of Bias - How We Change Our Minds by Jessica Nordell

Unconscious bias: persistent, unintentional prejudiced behaviour that clashes with our consciously held beliefs. We know that it exists, to corrosive and even lethal effect. We see it in medicine, the workplace, education, policing, and beyond. But when it comes



Book Review: DALEK - Robert Shearman

The Doctor and Rose arrive in an underground vault in Utah in the near future. The vault is filled with alien artefacts. Its billionaire owner, Henry van Statten, even has possession of a living alien creature, a mechanical monster in chains that he has named a Metaltron.

Seeking to help the Metaltron, the Doctor is appalled to find it i



Synthetic Poetry

I've been experimenting with Amazon's Polly service. It's their fancy text-to-sort-of-human-style-speech system. Think "Alexa" but with a variety of voices, genders, and accents.

Here's "Brian" - their English, male, received pronunciation voice - reading John Betjeman's poem "Slough":

The pronunciation of all the words is incredibly lifelike. If you heard it on the radio, it mi



Movie Review: Gunpowder Milkshake


This is a complete splatter-fest with an unremitting obsession with cartoon gore. The paper-thin plot is contrived to give maximum gunshots and throat-punches per minute. Which is fine, if you like that sort of thing.

Some of the action sequences are brilliant. For once, we get some fight scenes which don't rapid-cut every few fra



Book Review: Sinopticon

A stunning collection of the best in Chinese Science Fiction, from Award-Winning legends to up-and-coming talent, all translated here into English for the first time.
This celebration of Chinese Science Fiction — thirteen stories, all translated for the first time into English — represents a unique exploration of the nation’s speculative fiction from the late 20t



HD broadcasting in 1948!


The sets were 4:3 of course, but basically they were 4:3 720i black and white.

(in practice it was actually more like 816×736 px vs 720's 960×720, but also it was analog so the minor differences were probably lost anyway.)

The standard was used in to the 80s, but I'm having a really hard time finding any information about it.

If you're french, and you know what this was called in france, please let me know!

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Movie Review: Mr Roosevelt

Here's a movie about objectively terrible people making bad choices!

I love a quirky little indie-comedy. The problem is, there aren't too many laughs to be had here.

Part of the issue is that I'm an old-fart. Celeste, the antagonist, seems like a lovely person! It's not her fault that Emily, the protagonist, abandoned her boyfriend and life. If Celeste picked up the pieces



Is this a banking scam SMS?

Earlier this week, my holiday was interrupted by a sophisticated SMS scam. Rude! Let's take a look at it.

Let's take a look at all the ways we can tell it is a scam.

Firstly, and most obviously, I am not a customer of Lloyds Bank! But these scammers send out to multiple people hoping to catch victims.

Secondly, I've not made a complaint to Lloyds! But, aga



Book Review: How to Make the World Add Up - Tim Harford

In How to Make the World Add Up, Tim Harford draws on his experience as both an economist and presenter of the BBC’s radio show ‘More or Less’ to take us deep into the world of disinformation and obfuscation, bad research and misplaced motivation to find those priceless jewels of data and analysis that make com



Movie Review: Black Widow

This is a slightly unfair review as I fell asleep about 30 minutes from the end. I'll attempt to avoid spoilers - but I guarantee you've seen this movie before.

I felt like I was watching a supercut of a dozen different movies and TV shows. Loving American parents secretly spies? The Americans! Tank driving through an urban centre? GoldenEye! Dropping a knife to a free hand?



How much money I've spent on mobile calls / text / data in the last year

A couple of months into the pandemic, I realised that I was vastly overpaying for my mobile usage. I was paying £10/month for unlimited calls, texts, and 8GB data. That's a pretty reasonable price, but I was sat at home all day on WiFi - so I had no need for data. I don't send SMS any mo



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