The unreasonable psychological effectiveness of the LISA
Pop quiz! Which is bigger - 25% or 20%? That's a pretty simple question, isn't it? If your boss asked if you wanted a 25% bonus, or a 20% bonus, you know which one you'd pick. The UK Government has a savings product called a LISA - Lifetime Individual Savings Account. The premise is pretty…[...]
Review: BitWarden - the better password manager
I've been a long time user of LastPass - but over the last year, they've abandoned their Linux customers and insisted that users pay to access enhanced security. Forget that noise! I started looking for a new password manager and, on the recommendation of several friends, started using BitWarden. Pros Open Source! Works in the…[...]
I’m speaking at AraCon in Berlin in January. Let me know if you’ll be there too.
People who live in smart-houses, shouldn't throw parties
I have friends. More than one! I also have a home full of smart-gadgets which are controlled by apps. The two don't mix. This is yet another complaint about solipsistic app design. Let's take my Lifx bulbs. I have a friend staying for a few days, and he needs to be able to turn lights…[...]
"Please interrupt me if I use an acronym or term you don't understand"
This isn't a new speaking tip - and it is one I've stolen from several other speakers on the conference circuit - but I want to explain how it made me feel to use it. I started my talk at Hackference Birmingham with an impassioned plea to the audience. If you don't understand something I've…[...]
Annoyed by Android's circular icons? Here's how to fix them
One of Android's mottos is "Be Together; Not The Same". What does that mean to you? To me, it means that you don't need to conform to a single way of doing things. Sadly, Google seems to be moving far away from that ideal. The latest change - adaptive icons. All "adaptive icons" means is…[...]
A love-letter to OpenDataCamp #odcamp
Last week I took an all-too-short visit to Aberdeen for Open Data Camp 6. A two-day unconference looking at Open Data from an international perspective. What works, what doesn't, how we can do better, and what exciting things are coming up. I was mostly there for work - but managed to spend some time talking…[...]
Telnet control of Toshiba Smart TVs
Here's how to control the Toshiba 49U6863 - and other similar models - using Telnet. Quickstart At the command prompt, type telnet 192.168.0.123 4660 then type 1012 and your TV will turn on. MAGIC! Background After six years of use, I decided to upgrade my old 37 inch Panasonic TV. I know Toshiba aren't the…[...]
Anything Goes Should Get Gone
For a musical that's over 90 years old, Anything Goes is pretty funny, lightly charming, and wildly racist. A few weeks ago we saw a youth-theatre production of the classic Cole Porter show. The cast were enthusiastic, the band in fine form, the voices loud, and - apparently - at no point did anyone there…[...]
Quick review of https://www.moneydashboard.com/ - sorry for the lack of screenshots, but I don't need you seeing the state of my bank balance! Open Banking is here! For the technical among you, it means I can use OAuth to give a read-only token to an authorised financial institution. Updates are streamed in real-time. They can…[...]
Do you have a dull commute which needs livening up?
Join me & Sarah as we discuss whether the robots are coming for our jobs (yup), if Sarah has seen Star Wars (nope), and who should be Head of VR for GDS (me please!).
YoreComputer - examining 1980s popular computer culture
There's a lovely Twitter feed called Yore Computer - run by Rob Manuel, it randomly tweets out scans of 1980s computer magazines. A wonderful mix of nostalgia, dated references, primitive graphics, incompatible file formats, and unrealistic promises by advertisers. Here are a few of my favourites that I've spotted. Behold! The comment section - hasn't…[...]
Who owns the copyright to my medical images?
I popped round to an NHS dentist a few months ago - and they stuck my head on one of these contraptions. The Kodak 8000C takes a panoramic X-ray, giving a superior view of your teeth. Nifty. The dentist showed me where my wisdom teeth were and I was impressed with how high resolution the…[...]
Review: Kia Soul EV
I'm now on my third EV. You can read my thoughts on the BMW i3 and the Renault Zoe. This review is primarily focussed on the tech included with the car. Bluetooth Connects quickly, and no glitches with streaming audio. Call quality was clear, but didn't show caller's photo - which is a shame. Doesn't…[...]
I'm doing my best to open source the UK government's code. Here are the barriers I face.
Security issues on ArtChain
One of the problems with the BlockChain goldrush is that it attracts a lot of people who don't necessarily have the required technical skill to safely run a service. This in turn reduces trust in the ecosystem. I'd like to discuss ArtChain.info - "Certifying Art Using the Bitcoin Blockchain" - and the some of the…[...]
I have been receiving letters from a dear friend by the name of Ophiuchus. He has been researching some curious anomalies in the Unicode Standard. While I cannot vouch for all he has written, I thought it worth presenting his discoveries to you. My friend, I bring you a curiosity! I have been engaged in…[...]
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