Simplifying SETI

by @edent | | 4 comments | 150 words | Read ~176 times.

A cheap telescope.

SETI is the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence. They use massive radio-telescopes to search the sky for signs of intelligent life. But the sky is big. Where should we point the telescopes to improve our chances of detecting a signal? Rather than point at random stars, or promising looking constellations, I propose a more scientific…

Weeknotes: Reading Week

by @edent | , , | 1 comment | 350 words

A book towering above some flames.

Last month, I took myself on holiday with one aim - read as many books as possible. My wife and I tend to alternate our holidays - one relaxing break then one adventure break. Our previous trip was a 3 week road-trip through Australia, so this time I opted for an all-inclusive break in the…

Google's Abandoned Android Authenticator App

by @edent | , , | 10 comments | 450 words | Read ~19,049 times.

Android logo.

The news has just broken that Google's Authenticator App can have its codes stolen by malware. I doubt Google will ever release a fix for this issue - their 2FA app hasn't been updated since September 2017. Update! 3 months after I published this post, Google updated their app For two-and-a-half years, Google hasn't touched…

Abstinence isn't safe - why quitting social media isn't the solution

by @edent | , , | 11 comments | 550 words | Read ~439 times.

A fist emerges from a computer screen and punches the user.

(Another in a long list of posts which will turn out to be touchingly naïve!) When teaching people about safe sex, one topic bitterly divides people - whether abstinence is a suitable method. Simply refusing to engage in sexual activity will protect you from pregnancy, disease, and trauma. Abstinence is particularly promoted by religious zealots.…

Book Review: Sherlock Holmes vs Cthulu

by @edent | | 200 words

Book cover with eldritch design.

A series of grisly murders rocks London. At each location, only a jumble of bones remains of the deceased, along with a bizarre sphere covered in strange symbols. The son of the latest victim seeks the help of Sherlock Holmes and his former partner, Dr. John Watson. They discover the common thread tying together the murders. Bizarre geometries, based on ancient schematics, enable otherworldly creatures to enter our dimension, seeking to wreak havoc and destruction.…

Bitly finally starts taking privacy seriously

by @edent | , , | 200 words | Read ~237 times.

I've been ranting about Bitly for years! The ubiquitous link shortener had an interesting "feature" - add a + to the end of the URl and you could see all the statistics for the link. How many clicks, referers, location of users. Here's a blog post I wrote about it way back in 2011. I…

Book Review: Something Beginning With

by @edent | | 150 words

Boring book cover.

Written in brief entries from ‘Ambition’ to ‘Zzzzz’ Salway's confident debut novel chronicles the existential ups and downs of British 20-something Verity Bell.

The alphabetically arranged mini-chapters make for an inventive and episodic narrative, as Verity muses on her career.

"Her frown lies betwixt two fickle eyes" - Teaching an AI to write Shakespearean Sonnets

by @edent | , | 1 comment | 550 words

A pixelated Shakespeare.

For a domain based on Shakespeare - this blog doesn't talk about The Bard much. Sorry! I forced a bot to read 154 Shakespearean Sonnets. This is what it came up with... 47 Be where thou art, thou art the sea, Till all that belongs to it turn aside, And make another land into thy…

Book Review: A Short History of Myth

by @edent | | 150 words

Book cover.

Karen Armstrong's concise yet compelling investigation into the history of myth takes us from the Palaeolithic period and the mythology of the hunters right up to the 'Great Western Transformation' of the last 500 years. She shows us that the history of myth is the history of humanity, and our stories and beliefs, our curiosity and attempts to understand the world, link us to our ancestors and each other.

Stop adding email tracking links to phone numbers!

by @edent | , , , | 6 comments | 450 words | Read ~8,940 times.

Gmail showing the tel URl scheme of a link with extra tracking information in it.

My Chinese takeaway delivery was late. Very late. I flipped open the confirmation email sent by Just-Eat to double-check I had all the details correct. At the bottom was a "click to call" link. Hurrah! I clicked dial, and this is what filled my screen: An absurdly long phone number. Bemused, I went to inspect…