The planet Earth has completed yet another cycle of carrying me around the sun, and so it is time to cast an eye backwards.
Despite this blog, I’m not much of a diary keeper. Since the demise of FourSquare I’ve not kept particularly good track of where I’ve been or what I’ve been up to. Still, let’s see what memories of the last year I can dredge up, eh?
I created a micro-podcast – “About A Minute“. I was interested to see if people would listen to shorter, more focussed podcasts. Think Twitter versus long-form blogging. After 20 episodes it turned out… not so much! Oh well, it’s good to fail fast, and I may resurrect it in the future.
Ended 2014 by helping throw a surprise birthday party for my dad.
— Terence Eden (@edent) December 30, 2014
I started off 2015 with a rather viral little Twitter game.
You should probably be asleep.
I've created a "Choose You Own Adventure" on Twitter.
Start here ➡ @wnd_go
— Terence Eden (@edent) January 12, 2015
It lead to a few pieces of interesting contract work (more on that later) – and a particularly interesting Cease and Desist letter (about which no more can be said)!
A spectacularly annoying miss-step as I conspicuously failed to get into a Master’s programme at the Oxford Internet Institute.
On the plus side, I was commissioned to work on a viral piece of Interactive Fiction for the sci-fi movie Project Almanac:
The envelope practically burns your hands. This is it. This is MIT. Best university in the world!
Open it @cyo_open
— Project Almanac CYOA (@cyo_almanac) February 16, 2015
Another popular blog post – looking at how networks of spammer operate on Twitter.
I was absolutely thrilled as I made it through to the regional final of FameLab. I gave a talk about cryptographic key exchange:
In the final, I didn’t win the judges’ vote – but was awarded “Audience Choice”.
— Terence Eden (@edent) March 6, 2015
Here’s the talk I gave on ENIGMA:
Brief holiday in Cornwall – my wife bought me flying lessons for my birthday, so I got to spend an hour in the skies looking over the lush countryside.
I joined the Green Party. Partly in response to my local Labour MP lying to my face about his voting record, and (mostly) because I’m naïve enough to think that politics needs a break from the cosy centrist duopoly the UK currently has.
I was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s “You And Yours” about my attempts to track down SMS spammers.
I’m still waiting for all the regulators to get back to me – but it looks like all the gits involved have received a stern talking to.
Bought some gorgeous art.
— Terence Eden (@edent) May 29, 2015
Ended up with a good write up in The Mirror.
— Converse (@Converse) July 22, 2015
An oddly quiet August. Went to the Hacklands festival and made a giant phone do things:
— Alex Kinch (@alexkinch) August 16, 2015
I started the month by skewering the pernicious myth that refugees have expensive smartphones and, therefore, are more likely to be economic migrants.
In short – the majority of phones on display are ridiculously cheap. And, even if they weren’t – the smartphone is an indispensable part of modern life – the last thing you should jettison.
It had been a pretty tough year for us, so Liz and I spent a week in the tranquil paradise of the Bahamas. I need to write something about the somewhat cult-like aspects of Sandals resorts. Still, I can’t argue with endless champagne and excellent veggie friendly food.
On returning from holiday, I picked up my new company car – the all-electric BMW i3. It’s a great car let down by very poor software. Fun to drive and, when I charge it from my solar panels, about as green a journey as you can get while still using a car.
When my website first started, it was designed as a mobile repository of all of Shakespeare’s plays rendered in “txtspk”. It was all done as a bit of a lark – so imagine my surprise when I found out that Bella Victoria Smith from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas had written this brilliant academic poster of my work.
It contains what is, perhaps, the greatest sentence in academia.
I’ve just got back from giving a lecture at UEA – my old university. It’s downright weird going back. Especially as an “industry expert”.
The main difference – other than the skinny jeans and lattes – is laptops. I think it was 2001 when I bought a rattly old IBM laptop. The sort that had a trackball and a grinding floppy drive. I attempted to take it to a lecture in order to type up my notes and run the code we were being shown. It was an unthinkable act. The clattering of the key stood in stark contrast to the scratching pens of my fellow classmates. They may as well have been using a quill and ink. I vividly remember blushing as people started at me. What sort of… idiot brings a laptop to a lecture?
Today? I’m sat in the campus coffee shop (used to be a bar) while students bash away on laptops. Mostly MacBooks – but a smattering of HPs. When I was studying, only a limited number of bedrooms had ethernet ports – for us nerdy computing students – now the campus is flooded with fast, free WiFi.
I’ve never liked talking about the future. In truth, I’m not one for making plans – either personal or professional. I’ve no career goals – mostly because I already earn a decent salary and get to do interesting things with technology. I’m happily married and have a good network of friends.
I think, for now, I’m quite content to see where the river of life carries me.