HDR on a Pioneer VSX-933


Screenshot showing how to change the HDR setting on a VSX-933.

I bloody hate hardware manufacturers. I wanted to use HDR on my PlayStation 5. The console supports it, my TV supports it, my amp supports it, my cables support it. Yet it wasn't working. I tried everything - updating firmware, replacing cables, and even reading the manual. Nothing. And then I stumbled on the answer […]

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The question which could bring down the government


Terence Eden standing outside Number 10 Downing Street.

This is a retropost. Written contemporaneously in May 2020 during the height of the pandemic, but published long after the events. The day the EU referendum was announced, the then Prime Minister came to visit our office. We were given a chance to talk to him in front of TV cameras. This was my chance. […]

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Is it rude to make a profit from your friends?


Lots of blinking stickers next to each other.

You're in a restaurant with a group of friends. The waiter won't let you split the bill, so you offer to pay for it on your card and have your friends send you their share. How much would you charge them for that service? That sounds absurd, right? OK, you might agree to split the […]

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Book Review: Understanding Privacy - Heather Burns


Book cover for Understanding Privacy.

Heather Burns has an absolutely deft way of turning the sometimes-dull world of digital privacy into entertaining, informative, and actionable prose. Too many of these sorts of books end up being a list of woes and end with "someone should do something, I guess?". Understanding Privacy is different. All the way through the mantra is […]

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The Telegraph is wrong about FIRE


A tiny lego Storm Trooper eats a chocolate coin.

Everyone's favourite tabloid, The Daily Telegraph, contains an article decrying the Financial Independence Retire Early philosophy1 I have a mixed relationship with the FIRE movement. It basically boils down to "spend less, save more, then you can retire once you've save 25x your annual spend". That's it. As Michael Taylor writes, some people fetishise the […]

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A security bug caused by… Dark Mode!


Image is of a Green Shield with a white tick.

Everyone loves Dark Mode. It is kinder on the eyes, less energy intensive, and looks hecking cool. *5 seconds later* We regret to inform you that Dark Mode causes security bugs. (With apologies to Ben Ward) OK, OK. This isn't a particularly severe security bug, but I found it interesting. The Matrix messaging app "Element" […]

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Gell-Mann Amnesia and Purdah


A t-shirt which says Dunning and Kruger and Gell and Mann.

This is a retropost. Written contemporaneously, but published long after the events. At the time, I was a Civil Servant in Cabinet Office. Now I am not. But as we're heading for another General Election, I thought I'd share this post. It's the evening of the 2019 General Election. I am plagued by two thoughts. […]

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Forget Subtext - People Don't Even Get Surtext


Uhura, a black lady, is kissing Kirk, a white man.

Once in a while, you'll see some blowhard railing about the modern world. I recently saw someone decrying the fact that Star Trek had "gone woke". This Star Trek? OK, you can argue about whether Kirk and Uhura were forced to kiss in that episode. But how does anyone look at Star Trek - with […]

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Why do people focus on AI's failures?


A robot with a backlit human face.

I saw a prominent AI proponent asking why people always focus on the things that AI gets wrong. AI works so well, he asserted, that it was churlish and childish to focus on a few minor mistakes? Which reminds me of an experience I had a few years ago. I was in a rural pub […]

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It isn't who you know - it's who knows you


A pet cat typing on a computer keyboard.

I'm terrible at networking. I forget people's names minutes after meeting them, I never have business cards and lose the ones I'm given, and I can't go five minutes without burbling some nonsense. But I recognise that networking is a skill and, like any skill, it takes practice to succeed. I've always been told that […]

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