By Act of Parliament 1603: One Mulberry Tree


A stone plaque which reads By Act of Parliament 1603 One Mulberry Tree

Welcome to my descent into a mulberry-induced madness. As I was wandering through to quaint European town of Woodstock, I noticed a most intriguing plaque affixed to one of the houses. This seems like a curiously specific act to pass! This house is № 28 High Street - so why would Parliament pass an act […] Read More

Rules for Cooperative Poker #JanJam17


Lots of playing cards

This is a sort of poker variant / group solitaire which can be played either competitively or collaboratively. These rules were thrashed out at the Oxford January Games Jam. I think it is original - but there are literally thousands of card games, so it is hard to tell! As I've mentioned before, I love […] Read More

Don't redact FOI answers with a marker pen


FOI response poorly redacted

(Disclaimer - I currently work for GDS, although I don't work on FOI. This is an opinion piece and doesn't represent the views on any of my employers - past, present, or future.) The Irish government recently complied with a Freedom of Information Act request from journalists at RTÉ. The journalists wanted copies of messages […] Read More

Introducing CAVE TEAM - a new board game #JanJam17


A game of Cave Team In progress. Little characters are aranged on a hexagonal grid. Slime is chasing them.

I'm a little obsessed with collaborative games. I'm bored with fighting against my friends, trying to bankrupt them, or simply beating them into submission. I attended the Oxford Games Jam with one very specific aim in mind - help create a game where people had to work together as a team. It's a hard mindset […] Read More

You need a SIM card in your phone to dial 999


A mobile phone SIM card and its casing

I want to correct a common misconception. Many people think that you can dial the emergency services even if you do not have a SIM in your phone. I see this advice scattered around the web - often telling people to keep an old, SIMless phone for an emergency - and it is dangerously wrong. […] Read More

Experiments in Molecular Gastronomy #1 - Apple Agar Strips


Apple Agar Agar with cheese

A few weeks ago I tried some delicious vegetarian caviar. Beautiful - but expensive. I began to wonder how hard it would be to make my own flavour pearls. Well, all good experiments start by buying a beginners' kit. Before attempting basic "spherification", I decided to attempt something much more simple. Agar-Agar veggie strips. 400g […] Read More

Asymmetric Latency


Engraving The Confusion of Tongues by Gustave Doré

I've just finished reading the most wonderful short story - Tower of Babylon by Ted Chiang. In it, he speculates on what would happen if The Tower of Babel were completed. For those unfamiliar with the legend, it tells of a people who tried to build a tower tall enough to reach the heavens. The […] Read More

Sort Folders Into Alphabetic Sub-Folders


A cute penguin - the official mascot of Linux

Scratching my own itch. I have a bunch of directories which I want moved into alphabetic sub-directories. This is handy is you have a bunch of MP3s, books, or other catalogued files. This bash script moves a top level directory (and all the files and subdirectories under it), to a folder based on the (upper-case) […] Read More

Add date metadata to MP4 videos


A cute penguin - the official mascot of Linux

As ever, notes to myself. I hope you appreciate this future me! Photographs often contain EXIF metadata - really useful for finding out when a photo was taken. It turns out that you can add similar metadata to MP4 format videos. Here's how to do it with ffmpeg on Ubuntu Linux. The magic option is […] Read More