Paying people for their attention

A tiny lego Storm Trooper eats a chocolate coin.

I have a weakness. I love listening in to other people's conversations on the bus! I was sat behind a gaggle pride squad of teenage girls on the bus. They were variously complaining about their schoolwork, parents, and love-lives. I'm not going to attempt to recreate their vernacular, but the conversation went something like this: […]

Continue reading →

Better Keyboard Buttons in CSS

A pet cat typing on a computer keyboard.

Here's a simple scrap of CSS which you can Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V kbd {     border: .1em solid #aaa;     border-radius: 15%;     display: inline-block;     padding: .1em .5em;     background: linear-gradient(180deg, #fff, #fff, #fff, #ddd);     user-select: none;     cursor: pointer;     color: #000;     […]

Continue reading →

Some Thoughts on Broadband Speeds in the WFH Age

A speed test result.

ISPs suck. They're designed to. The A in ADSL stands for "Asymmetric". That is, your download speed is faster than your upload speed. This makes sense for most domestic purposes. Most people suck down a lot more than they push up. But we've now entered the (permanent?) work-from-home era. If you're anything like me, you're […]

Continue reading →

Happy Birthday @Summerbeth!

Liz drinking from a Viking horn.

I started dating Liz - my now wife - one cold January back at university. We were young and disgustingly in love. This was it - 💕true love💕! And then, right in our honeymoon phase, she left to Australia for the summer holidays. We both wailed and made overly dramatic speeches about how we'd stay […]

Continue reading →

Postel's Law also applies to human communication

Black and white photo of women working at a telephone switchboard.

Early Internet pioneer, Jon Postel, beautifully captured the "Robustness Principle" for networked communications. "Be strict in what you send, and generous in what you receive." That is, any computer sending data to another, should stick closely to the specification for that communication channel. Any computer receiving data, should expect that the sender isn't following the […]

Continue reading →

No software licence will save you from hyperbolic doubt

Trinity from the movie The Matrix, she's a bad ass hacker!

Imagine that you're a spotty 16 year-old. You've just discovered philosophy. You will almost certainly have a conversation like this... Dude... DUDE! What if... What if, like, we're all just brains in a jar and, like, a machine is projecting reality around us...? Whoa...! I bet you've had that conversation with someone. Probably after you […]

Continue reading →

I hate subscriptions

An American Express credit card.

Look - I get why your app or service wants me to pay a subscription. Recurring revenue is useful for a business. Your ARPU KPI is OMG to your VC. And, no doubt, there's research showing how people are more likely to eat a kitten than cancel a subscription. But I hate it. I resent […]

Continue reading →

You've got to show up to make a difference

Jean-Luc Picard saying " It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life."

Eleven years ago, the BBC announced plans to encrypt all of its free-to-air digital TV channels. The technology world was aghast! I saw thousands of Tweets from hundreds of people, angry blog posts, mailing lists erupting with fury. There may even have been a petition. The regulator, Ofcom, announced an enquiry and solicited for feedback. […]

Continue reading →

Dark Mode and Transparent Images

A Hhrd to read image. The text is black, but so is most of the background. Bits have a white background.

Dark Mode is the new cool. Apps which automatically switch to an eye-friendly palette when lighting conditions are poor. Nifty! Most of the time, it's as simple as making the text a lightish colour, and the background a darkish colour. But all that fails when you use transparencies in images. Here's a quick example. Using […]

Continue reading →