Adding WiFi To A Roomba

Thinking Cleaner Box

There are two very clear signs that I'm getting old. The first is that I bought a domestic robot to help me with the chores. The second is that, rather than spending my evenings and weekends reading decades old forum postings, reverse engineering serial interfaces, and soldering components together - I plunked €99 on a... Read more »

In The Abstract Podcast

Last week I was on In The Abstract - a science podcast - along with the very funny Francesca Day , the mediumly funny Tara Clarke, and the just-funny-enough Steve Pritchard. During the talk, I completely forget the name of the Rosetta Disc and made several legally doubtful slurs against Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.... Read more »

We can marry you off, wholesale.

facebook-icon

Last week I was on the In The Abstract podcast. I came up with a curious idea. If I were Tom Scott, I'd turn this into a performance piece - instead, here's a short and entirely fictional story. Facebook knew you were in love a long time before you did. It noticed you scrolling back... Read more »

Learning From Failure

Differential Privacy-fs8

The two big memes of our entrepreneurial age are Go big, or go home! And Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better. Samuel Beckett Well, I've failed and now I'm heading home. Last year I applied for a place on a Master's programme at the Oxford Internet Institute. I was... Read more »

Facebook Mangles Unicode URLs

rickroll-fs8

Facebook rewrite URLs with Unicode in the path - this is not best practice and could be dangerous. It is possible to create a URL like http://bit.ly/😀 - the Unicode characters are valid in the path. The URL Encoded representation is : bit.ly/%F0%9F%98%80 Facebook mangles these URLs in such a way that it might be... Read more »

Why your blog URLs should contain dates.

Gemel-url-long-fs8

I have a (very minor and polite) disagreement with Matt Gemmel's argument against dates in URLs. Before I start, let me be very clear; your blog = your rules. If you want to write your URLs as a series of Emoji or in Klingon - go right ahead. There really is no such thing as... Read more »

Crafting A Perfect FOI Request

Created by the inimitable Drawnalism

One of the sessions I lead at Open Data Camp was "Open Data Horror Stories" - we talked about some of the disasters we've had when requesting or using Open Data. This lead on to a session ran by Gaia Marcus on how to create the "perfect" FOI request. This is not an exhaustive guide... Read more »

*Almost* Open Data

Streetview SV Hydrant

(Inspired by a session at Open Data Camp called "Open Data Horror Stories") I was having an argument spirited discussion with my friend John the other day. He was sympathising with Tony Blair's regrets over the introduction of the Freedom of Information Act. Apparently, FOI requests put too great a strain on departments and government... Read more »

Coming Unstuck With The Nexus 6

Motorola Nexus 6 Back Off

The Motorola built Nexus 6 is just about the worst Android handset I've owned. The USB port is upside down, the screen is smeary at low light, the back is so slippery it spins wildly on any flat surface, the battery is average at best, and the curve of the back makes impossible to type... Read more »