Some Short Thoughts On Smart Tags

by @edent | # # # # | 13 comments
A circular circuit board.

So Apple have released some BlueTooth tags. As per their standard operating procedure, the rest of us have been using them for years, but now Apple has “invented” them they are suddenly interesting. Here’s my review from 5 years ago of the Chipolo BlueTooth tag. Amusingly, Apple have decided to go with a user-replaceable battery…

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Blimey! A WiFi smoke alarm for twenty quid!

by @edent | # # # | 8 comments | Read ~200 times.
Smoke detector and instruction manual.

After my rant a few weeks ago, I finally found a cheap WiFi smoke alarm. A few disclaimers before I get into this review: It was shipped from China, not from the UK as stated. The device doesn’t exist on the manufacturer’s website. Stock on Amazon keeps appearing and disappearing, so may be difficult to…

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A year of WFL (Working From Linux)

by @edent | # # | 3 comments | Read ~203 times.
Unix is user-friendly — it's just choosy about who its friends are.

A year ago, I decided to buy a new Linux laptop. I also decided to switch to using it full time for work. I’ve always used Linux for personal use – but was mostly stuck with MacOS for work. I don’t like MacOS. Since I was WFH, I decided to switch to full time WFL…

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Book Review: Quarantine Comix

by @edent | # # #
Cartoon of small white woman surrounded by a big black dog.

It’s hard reviewing a comic book like this. A weekly or daily feed of little vignettes of lockdown life regularly raises a chuckle. But it long-form, it doesn’t quite work. We already know how the story ends – after a year, you’re still in lockdown. You’ve grown around the belly, but have you grown as…

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A weird solar blockchain thing – Rowan Energy

by @edent | # # | 2 comments | Read ~155 times.
Using Blockchain to encourage green energy is not viable due to the incredible amount of energy it takes to mine transactions.Our blockchain is a POA (proof of authority) blockchain that is designed to run on ultra lower powered devices. The devices are in the home of our supporters and take only about $10 per year to power.

I blog about my solar panels – probably a bit too much! Recently, a reader asked me if I’d heard of Rowan Energy‘s solar payback scheme – so I took a look into it. Here’s how it works: Rowan installer a “miner” next to your solar inverter (the big box that turns DC from solar…

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The 74,000 numbers of Barclays Bank

by @edent | # # # | 7 comments | Read ~268 times.
Long list of phone numbers in JSON format.

The UK faces an epidemic of telephone scams. Fraudsters are constantly calling people up pretending to be their bank. But how can you be sure the number displayed on your screen in genuine? You can’t. The telecom system is hopelessly insecure and shouldn’t be trusted for anything more complicated than dialling the speaking clock. Barclays…

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Book review: A Brief History of Motion – Tom Standage

by @edent | #
Book cover with cogs and wheels on it.

Our society has been shaped by the car in innumerable ways, many of which are so familiar that we no longer notice them. Why does red mean stop and green mean go? Why do some countries drive on the left, and some on the right? How did cars, introduced only a little over a century…

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How not to sort a list of countries

by @edent | # # # | 4 comments | Read ~253 times.
A list of flags. Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, UK, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland.

Being from the United Kingdom is hard sometimes. When scrolling through a list of countries, we might be found down the bottom as “UK” or near the top as “Great Britain”. Occasionally someone files us under “England” – thus ignoring Wales, Scotland, NI etc. Once in a while, it’ll be “The UK”. Truly, no one…

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Book Review: Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers 3) – Becky Chambers

by @edent | # #
A human staring up at the stars.

Hundreds of years ago, the last humans left Earth. After centuries wandering empty space, humanity was welcomed – mostly – by the species that govern the Milky Way, and their generational journey came to an end. But this is old history. Today, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but…

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Book Review: A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers #2) by Becky Chambers

by @edent | #
People looking out into a galaxy of stars.

Beginning during the final events of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, this standalone sequel branches out to explore new characters and new corners of the galaxy. Once, Lovelace had eyes and ears everywhere. She was a ship’s artificial intelligence system, tasked with caring for the health and well-being of her crew, possessing…

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