How to fake AVIF thumbnail images

Linux bash terminal icon.

AVIF is the hip new image format. It is born out of video compression technology. Modern video streaming services have a complicated relationship with multiple resolutions. A video is usually encoded several time - for high, medium, and low bandwidths. When you start streaming, your playback device usually picks the lowest quality stream to start […]

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Homebrew Wanker™! Review of the Pinter fresh brewing kit

A big red cask in a sea of cardboard.

Do you like beer? Do you like cider? Would you like to brew your own? Would you like a frustrating experience? Well, gang, do I have a treat for you! This is the Pinter from the Greater Good Fresh Brewing Company. It promises to introduce you to the wonderful world of beer and cider brewing. […]

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Let's make football matches shorter!!

Florentino Perez says "We have to analyse why young people, 16 to 24 year olds. 40% of them aren't interested in football. Why? They say the games are too long. If young people don't watch an entire game, it's because it isn't interesting enough, or we'll have to shorten the games."

Florentino Perez says we may need to make football matches shorter than 90 minutes 😳 — ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 20, 2021 On the face of it, I sort of get it. Viral football clips of sporting prowess (or failures) do Big Numbers™ on social media. Casual fans love them, and even non-fans might […]

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Book Review: Our Biggest Experiment - A History of the Climate Crisis by Alice Bell

Book cover featuring electricity pylons receding into the sunset.

Maybe it's the weirdness of the weather. Maybe it's another way to pour scorn on politicians. Maybe the steady stream of headlines about fires, floods and droughts is finally starting to get to us. Whatever it is, for more and more of us, climate change is shifting from a shadowy fear in the backs of […]

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Book Review: Handmade - A Scientist’s Search for Meaning through Making by Anna Ploszajski

A handmade book cover.

From atomic structures to theories about magnetic forces, scientific progress has given us a good grasp on the properties of many different materials. However, most scientists cannot measure the temperature of steel just by looking at it, or sculpt stone into all kinds of shapes, or know how it feels to blow up a balloon […]

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What playing football taught me about hacking - Part 2

AI Generated image of little Lego figures kicking a football.

As part of my MSc, I'm reading MoneyBall. OK, I just watched the film! Cut me some slack! The basic thesis of the book is this: Our baseball team doesn't have much money to buy new players Which baseball players have the best Statistic X for the lowest price? Buy undervalued players which increase your […]

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What playing football taught me about hacking - Part 1

AI generated image of some Lego minifigs playing football.

This is a two-part blog post about rewriting the rules. I hated playing sports as a teenager quelle surprise. In a vain attempt to get me to love the beautiful game, a PE teacher once made me team captain for a kickabout. My rival? Sporty Dave. Head boy, house captain, and conqueror of puberty. The […]

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Excel as a mapping tool

System dialogue saying opening Hospital Map XLSX.

About a million years ago, my wife's work sent her on a training course optimistically titled "How To Use Excel As A Database." We were both horrified. Excel is a perfectly good spreadsheet program - but it is categorically not a database! OK, it has rows and columns which sorta look like a database table. […]

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Howto: Remove Twitter's Trending Topics

Twitter settings page showing Tokyo.

Twitter's trending topics are... inflammatory. Probably deliberately so in order to drive engagement. It's a mix of "who shall we hate today" and lowest-common-denominator "celebrity" gossip. I hate it. There are various ways you can block content on the web - but they usually involve installing a plugin to your browser. Here's a simple hack […]

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What's the cost of going to work?

A tiny lego Storm Trooper eats a chocolate coin.

(This blog post is going to be UK specific, and biased towards jobs that I've personally done.) How much does it cost to go to work in a physical office? I'm going to try and list all the things I have to pay for just in order to be able to show up. This ignores […]

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