Mobiles, Shakespeare, Standards, Usability, Security.

Terrible emails from @nest

I never tire of telling people how bad my Nest Protect smoke alarm is. It is a buggy box which requires magic batteries and doesn't support some of its advertised features. Still, I've drilled it on to my ceiling now, so have to put up with it. This morning, I glanced bleary-eyed at my phone. OH FUCK! THE HOUSE IS ON FUCKING FIRE AND… Read more »

Why can't you send email to a Chinese address?

iCloud showing a delivery failure notification

We all know what an email address looks like and how to validate them, right? A few years ago I got the Chinese domain name 莎士比亚.org. You can browse to it, link to it, and send email to it. Or can you? When I tried two years ago, none of the major email providers supported sending to non-ASCII email addresses. Today, I tried again… Read more »

App Showdown - Zapper 🆚 MusicMagpie

Zapper and MusicMagpie offer different prices on same book

It is time for me to have a clear out. I've got hundreds of books which I've replaced with eBook, CDs which I never listen to, and DVDs I'm ashamed to own. Selling them individually on eBay or Amazon sounds like a lot of hard work... That's where Zapper and MusicMagpie come in. Both offer the same basic service: Scan the item's barcode with… Read more »

What Time Is It?

All telegrams included a date time group using Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). A telegram from the British Embassy Washington sent on “170356Z JULY 03” refers to a telegram sent at...

For a bit of light reading, I've been going through some of the documents published by Sir John Chilcot's Iraq Inquiry. There are thousands of Telegrams, eGrams, Teleletters, and other miscellaneous communications. For those unfamiliar with the jargon, the inquiry have helpfully published a guide to reading the evidence. In it is this delightful titbit about the timestamps used on telegrams. That's not a… Read more »

Debuffs, Enchantment, Equipment, and Players - an RPG Player's Guide to User Stories

A selection of unusual users

If you've spent any time in a modern design environment, you'll be familiar with the idea of User Stories. As a first-time user, I want to log in with Facebook, so that I don't have to set up a new account. Fairly easy, right? Stick enough of those up on a wall and you've got yourself a party! If you've ever played an RPG… Read more »

Scaling Is A Human Problem Too

This morning I received an email which made my heart sink. In order to co-ordinate things better, we'd like to invite you to our exclusive Slack Channel! A variety of rude words danced around my brain. I think this makes the, what, 9th? 10th? Slack that I'm part of. Don't get me wrong, I like Slack as a service - but it only really… Read more »

Should you open your WiFi during a disaster?

Italian Red Cross say Open Up WiFi

There has been a terrible natural disaster in Italy. A huge quake has broken a city. Rescue teams race to the scene to try to save lives and stabilise the situation. During the rescue efforts, the Italian Red Cross sends this tweet: #Terremoto, per favorire comunicazioni e operazioni di soccorso vi invitiamo a togliere la password della rete wi-fi pic.twitter.com/U9baz8F7WG — Croce Rossa Italiana… Read more »

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 »