Quick and Dirty Self-Hosted Alexa Skills (2019)

by @edent | # # # # # # | 1 comment

I hate creating Alexa skills. What should be a 3-click process inevitably ends up requiring trips to multiple websites, to set up weird parameters, and reading outdated tutorials for obsolete libraries. So this is how to create a self-hosted Skill, using PHP. It runs on your own server and doesn't require any interaction. The Skill… Continue reading →

Book Review: Playing With Fire

by @edent | #

A successful entrepreneur living in Southern California, Scott Rieckens had built a “dream life”. But underneath the surface, Scott was creatively stifled, depressed, and overworked trying to help pay for his family’s beach-town lifestyle. Follow Scott and his family as they devote everything to FIRE. Playing with FIRE is one family’s journey to acquire the one thing that money can’t buy: a simpler — and happier — life.

Episode 29: The Pod Delusion Strikes Back!

by @edent | #

After five long years, The Pod Delusion is back! This is a quick chat with host & producer James O'Malley. You can listen to back-episodes at https://poddelusion.co.uk/blog/ and I thoroughly recommend sticking it in your podcast app. https://shkspr.mobi/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Jame-OMalley-Pod-Delusion.mp3Podcast: Download (Duration: 1:16 — 851.2KB)Subscribe: Android Google Podcasts RSS

The Usability of Unboxing

by @edent | # # # # # | Read ~250 times.
Home Signal Box.

I review a lot of tech kit. It is amazing just how bad the consumer experience is when you have a brand-new box in your hands. It can be as simple as difficult to open packaging, to the existential horror of a poorly translated manual. The first time a customer holds your product in their… Continue reading →

Book Review: Do No Harm - Henry Marsh

by @edent | #
A boring book cover.

What is it like to be a brain surgeon? How does it feel to hold someone's life in your hands, to cut through the stuff that creates thought, feeling and reason? How do you live with the consequences when it all goes wrong? Henry Marsh reveals the exhilarating drama of surgery, the chaos and confusion of a busy modern hospital, and above all the need for hope when faced with life's most agonising decisions.

Book Review - Sherlock Holmes vs Dracula

by @edent | #
Sherlock Holmes stands smoking his pipe - a bat flaps in the background.

After a mysterious schooner runs aground in an English harbor with no human passengers -- only the dead captain, drained of blood -- a series of bizarre nocturnal crimes takes place in London. It can only be the work of Count Dracula, and only one man can save the city: the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes.

Is LogMeIn leaking email addresses?

by @edent | # # | 2 comments | Read ~271 times.
Fraud alert warning signs.

Like all security minded people, I use a unique email address for every service I sign up to. This week, I noticed I had started receiving spam to an email address associated with my Join.me account. Join.me is a screen sharing service now owned by LogMeIn. I signed up for a trial of Join.me back… Continue reading →

I feel hopeless, rejected, and a burden on society - one week of empathy training

by @edent | # # | 6 comments | Read ~9,955 times.
A mouth covered with tape. Taken by Jenniffer Moo.

I've spent a week cosplaying as a disabled user. And I hate it. A couple of months ago, I attended a private talk given by a disabled colleague of mine. "Everyone should believe disabled people's stories about accessibility problems," she said. "But, given that people don't, here's what I want you to do. Spend one… Continue reading →

Documentally and Backpack Studio

by @edent | #
documentally holding a phone.

If two blokes meet up and don't record a podcast, did it even happen? Social Media Maven Documentally showed off his podcasting rig - an app called Backpack Studio. You can listen to the ramblechat we recorded on his feed. Here's our quick chat about this nifty podcasting app - which I hope will one… Continue reading →

Perhaps the meat lobby has a point...?

by @edent | # | 2 comments | Read ~1,238 times.
Some sausage rolls. Their vegan nature is hidden in the small print.

I've been a vegetarian for half my life and I have been blogging about crappy vegetarian labelling for a decade. Usually it's a rant about how a seemingly innocuous dish has hidden bone jelly in it - but today I experience the reverse situation. So, I was in the "veggie snacks" aisle of my local… Continue reading →