Mobiles, Shakespeare, Politics, Usability, Security.

Why I'm Boycotting Yodel

Yodel Crap

The British courier firm Yodel are one of the most disreputable delivery companies in the country. Owned by the same tax exiles who run The Telegraph newspaper, the company is frequently complained about and has an unenvious reputation for poor service. The rot seems to start firmly at the top, with CEO Dick Stead. A few months ago, a company arranged to send me… Read more »

Goodbye Amazon Prime

prime no renew-fs8

(To the tune of the popular Elton John song.) I've often joked that if my employers could pay me in Amazon vouchers, it would save me a lot of hassle. I'm one of those insufferable people who prefers a delivery driver dropping off a single light bulb rather than having to pop to the shops like some sort of savage. But now the dream… Read more »

Help! How do I extract 3D objects from PDFs?

U3D Ubuntu PDF-fs8

You know how the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is neither democratic, nor particularly for the people, nor a republic? Yeah, so it turns out the "Universal 3D" format is pretty far from Universal! A little backstory... The Europeana Carare Project has some gorgeous 3D scans of ancient monuments and heritage sites. The only problem is that the 3D files are trapped inside PDFs.… Read more »

How to type Emoji in Ubuntu

CharMap Emoji-fs8

New tech site Gadgette has a great article on how to type Emoji on Mac and Windows - but they (understandably) didn't cover Ubuntu. So here I am to show you how. Get The Fonts If your computer doesn't have the requite font, install the latest version of Symbola. Simply open up the .zip file, double click on the .ttf font, then choose "Install".… Read more »

Drive the car, tuppence a mile!

OLEV Smart Meter

(To the tune of the popular Mary Poppins song.) How much does it really cost to drive an electric car? Well, I've had my BMW i3 for a few months, so I thought I'd crunch the numbers. As part of the UK Government's OLEV scheme, there's a subsidy for installing car charging points at home. One of the conditions of the subsidy is that… Read more »

For some people, life is harder than Chess


There's one of those "I've come up with a perfect analogy for life" blog posts going around. It's sort of like those stock photos with an "inspirational" quote on it - but in long form. Apparently, Your Life Is Tetris. Stop Playing It Like Chess. It's all vaguely plausible, life-lessony, woo - which tries to map one person's journey onto a greater human experience.… Read more »

A School For Scandal

The UK's official web infrastructure is in a shockingly poor state. I've been doing some light digging into the security of UK Schools' websites. As I've written about ad nauseum, the Government takes almost no interest in the way some of its official websites are managed. The Department for Education is particularly inept when it comes to technology which - given that our country's… Read more »

The Gender Politics of Conference T-Shirts

Male Female T Shirt

I spent my Saturday crewing the reception desk at the amazing UK GovCamp Unconference. Part of our task was to check people in, hand them their name badges, schwag, and offer them a free conference T-Shirt. If you're anything like me, you've got hundreds of conference Ts stuffed in a drawer somewhere. They're all the same - a funky logo on the front, and… Read more »

Which Twitter User Receives The Most Citations on Wikipedia?

Wiipedia Logo

I few days ago, I was somewhat surprised to find that one of my Tweets had been used as a citation in Wikipedia! I began to wonder - how often are Tweets used in citations? It's possible to search for your own Tweets using this (somewhat obscure) link: Just edit the end of it to see if you, or your friends, have been… Read more »

Review: The Force Awakens Première

Star Wars Tickets

This isn't a review of the new Star Wars film, it's a diary entry about my experiences at the première. No spoilers, sweetie! I love Star War. Probably more than is healthy. When tickets for the new movie were released, I snaffled up a pair... for the next morning! Look, I'm getting old, and I didn't fancy watching a midnight screening full of screaming… Read more »