Mobiles, Shakespeare, Politics, Usability, Security.

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 »

A Brief History of Killing the Headphone Jack

zdnet article on the damned recessed iPhone headphone jack-fs8

Is it the end-of-days for the humble headphone jack? As Apple prepare to remove it from their next iPhone - with Android manufacturers no-doubt following suit - I thought now would be a good time to look at the previous occasions when smartphone makers have tried to kill the headphone jack. This is a non-exhaustive history, mostly drawing from my industry experience and drawers… Read more »

TinTag - Unboxing and Review

TinTag-

A couple of months ago I was giving a talk in Romania - the organisers had set up a technology expo showing off some great local start-ups. One which caught my eye was TinTag. Tintag is pretty clever. BLE beacon but has built in Qi recharging. Very useful. https://t.co/wFjMRy6rlD#DevTalks pic.twitter.com/SJizDEW274 — Terence Eden ⏻ (@edent) May 11, 2016 I've previously reviewed the Chipolo -… Read more »

PayPal doesn't care about 2FA security

PayPal doesn't accept 2FA-

Remember when PayPal was a cool new company dedicated to radically improving online payments? Seems like it was ages ago. Now PayPal is little better than then bloated banks it sought to overthrow. Arcane bureaucracy, impenetrable fees, and a lamentable approach to security. I was minded recently to switch on 2-Factor-Authentication (2FA) for all my accounts. Whenever I want to log in, I give… Read more »

Why do some WebP Images appear upside down?

Three renderings of WebP on Android Browsers-

A few years ago, Google introduced a new image format to the world - WebP. It purports to be a superior image format for the web but, like all new toys, it takes a little while for the bugs to be ironed out. I found a curious case where some WebP images are rendered upside down! On the left is Opera for Android, centre… Read more »

The UK's Digital Driving Licence

Screenshot of DVLA Licence summary-

I am an idiot. I am a Grade A+, certified, undeniable plonker. The man in the hire car office looked at me with barely concealed contempt. Fair, really. He'd asked for my Driver's Licence and I'd collapsed to my knees at the sudden realisation that the slim plastic card was 1,700 miles away from the Canary Islands. "I am sorry sir, but there is… Read more »