Scam calls threatening a lawsuit from HMRC


Fraud alert warning signs.

Another day, another scam caller. Would you fall for this fraud? You'd probably realise that this was a (crap) text-to-voice system and that the tax authorities are more likely to send a letter than a phone call. But not everyone is so switched-on. If you've not had many dealings with HMRC, would you know how […] Read More

Interesting Failures - Group Calling


Another in an occasional series of blog posts where I discuss products I've worked on which failed. It boiled down to this. Was there a way we could make normal people want to be on a conference call with their family and friends? Let me explain. ARPU - Average Revenue Per User - that's all […] Read More

Electrical Neutrality


There's a new energy provider launching in the UK soon, Elektrique Power. They've got an innovative pricing structure that I'd like to discuss. As a base rate, they charge 12p/kWh - that's one of the cheapest on the market. But that's where the good deals end. That 12p is only for domestic 13amp sockets. For […] Read More

What does a robot look like?


The Terminator is a terrifying metal skeleton with glowing red eyes.

This is a question I often ask my students. Typically they say a robot looks like this: Or this: Broadly human, but mostly metal. Occasionally, I get non anthropocentric answers like this mule: Or even something stark and industrial like this: One is experimental, the other is rarely seen in day-to-day life. The truth is, […] Read More

Limitations of HTML's title element


The raw HTML displays in the tab.

How much do you know about the humble <title> tag? It has been there since the earliest HTML specification. The 1995 spec says: There may only be one title in any document. It should identify the content of the document in a fairly wide context. It may not contain anchors, paragraph marks, or highlighting. Remarkably […] Read More

How I became Leonardo da Vinci on the Blockchain


Yesterday at the CogX conference, I sat in a room listening to companies pitch their blockchain based startups. Because I hate myself. One in particular caught my attention. On the surface it seems to solve an important economic problem - art forgery and provenance. By putting your artwork on the "BitCoin Blockchain", Verisart will ✨hand […] Read More

Is HTTP 451 suitable for GDPR blocking?


451: Unavailable for legal reasons We recognise you are attempting to access this website from a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) including the EU which enforces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and therefore cannot grant you access at this time. For any issues, e-mail us at techguy@journaltimes.com or call us at 888-460-8725.

Hello, it's me - the idiot who helped inspire the HTTP 451 status code. I graciously allowed Tim Bray to do the hard work of getting it through the IETF process, and now it is an official RFC. Recently, I've seen lots of people getting het up about its "misuse" - so I want to […] Read More

How long should you continue a boycott?


In 2005, Sony put malware on their music CDs and then illegally infected customers' machines. I've not purchased a Sony product since. Their new TVs look amazing, but I've decided I don't want to reward a company which behaved so despicably. Is that sensible? 13 years later and I'm still holding a grudge. Is that […] Read More

Decentralised Food Safety Reviews


Two dogs sat at a computer. One says "On the blockchain, nobody knows if you're an authority."

In most civilised countries, there is a central authority which inspects restaurants for hygiene and safety. Their job is, broadly, to stop people getting poisoned, falling sick, or dying. That's a pretty good feature of civilisation, I'd say. We think that most restaurant owners are probably good people - but it seems sensible to have […] Read More