Mobiles, Shakespeare, Standards, Usability, Security.

Technology Preview - The ReSpeaker

Respeaker circuit

We're entering a golden era for small-batch artisinal hardware. Anyone with an idea and a modicum of talent can build hardware and get it shipped around the world at a reasonable price. Enter "The ReSpeaker" - an open source alternative to Amazon's Echo. It promises ultimate hackability, speech recognition, and IoT control, wrapped in a cheap single-board design. ReSpeaker is an open modular voice… Read more »

Review & Teardown: Oittm Bluetooth Headphones RE-E01

Bluetooth Headphones - What's In The Box

This is a sponsored post by LOPOO UK who've asked me to review their Oittm Bluetooth Headphones. There's a lot of technology packed in for £19.99. Bluetooth 4.1 - compatible with Android and iPhone. cVc noise cancellation - for improved call quality. A physically tiny 70 mAh battery - good for around 3-6 hours of use. I found it fully charged in around 2… Read more »

Reducing the filesize of complex 3D .OBJ models

Reducing model complexity.

Loading large 3D Models in the browser is extremely resource intensive. 2D images are trivial to resize and resample with negligible loss of perceived quality. 3D resizing is complex. As part of my "Pirate Museum" I wanted to display 3D scans of statues using WebVR. The only problem is, these files are huge. Take The Dancing Faun - at full resolution, that's around 230MB.… Read more »

IANA Insanity - or, how I learned to stop .worrying and .love the .new .internet

In The Beginning There was the .com and the .org and the .net and it was good. And, I mean, there were probably a few others - but that's all people cared about. Go Forth And Multiply And THE LORD sayeth "Hey, do people want country codes? Like .UK, .FR, .DE?" And the people were all like "Duh! Yeah!" Except for the people of… Read more »

The Revisionist History of Mad Magazine

MAD says of Donald Trump - he was a moron with a stupid haircut

(Or, watching culture evolve in real-time.) I love Mad Magazine. My mother introduced it to me as a child. Although half the jokes flew over my head, I was hooked. I've spent years scouring bookshops for ancient Mad paperbacks, and picking through the discard pile at comic-book stores. One thing which always struck me was how progressive Mad was. Even back in the 1960s,… Read more »

Review: A £60 Android Tablet - Onda V96 3G

Onda Ports

This is a sponsored post - from the good folk at GearBest. Introducing the Onda V96. A 3G tablet for around £60. Hardware It's a pretty solid set of specs. The 9.6 inch IPS Screen runs at 1280*800. Colours are clear from all angles, skin tones are well reproduced. The screen is bright - if anything a little too bright on its dimmest setting.… Read more »

Don't use negative numbers for error codes

An error code with a negative number

A warning to programmers - try to understand how people will use your error codes. This morning, I was confronted with a rather bemusing error message on my WordPress blog: Ok, so this should "never happen" and yet somehow it has. I wonder what on earth the error code means? I selected the error code and Googled it! I just copied and pasted the… Read more »

How *not* to do a password change page

Screenshot of A Change Password field. An error message says ensure this value has at most 20 characters it has 32)-fs8

We've all been faced with this screen, right? You haven't logged in to a website for a while, so it prompts you to change your password. sigh Annoying but probably necessary. The problem was, every time I tried to change my password, it told me that my old password was invalid. The one that I'd just used to log in. I use the incredible… Read more »

PDFs are the Cheques of the 21st Century

A PDF demonstrating poor reflow-

Cheques (checks if you're American) are an amazing legacy technology. Invented in the 17th Century, they immediately transformed the financial landscape. They allowed anyone to transfer both vast and trivial sums of wealth with ease. Whole industries grew up around them - one of my first jobs was programming binary loadlifters repairing computerised cheque-readers - they're an example of a technology which "just works".… Read more »