What is "Social Media"?


Rows of icons - each one has the size printed next to it.

All humans can be divided in two groups - those that love categorising things, and those that like criticising other people's categorisations. It seems that humans have an in-built desire to put things in firm categories. This causes a great deal of arguments. Let's have an argument today! Here's an excerpt from a recent IOPC…

Continue reading →

Book Review: Girl, Woman, Other - Bernardine Evaristo


Book cover featuring a Black woman wearing a colourful headscarf.

This is Britain as you've never read it. This is Britain as it has never been told. From Newcastle to Cornwall, from the birth of the twentieth century to the teens of the twenty-first, Girl, Woman, Other follows a cast of twelve characters on their personal journeys through this country and the last hundred years.…

Continue reading →

No, you can't save £30 per year by switching off your "standby" devices


Chart from the report showing various bits of IT equipment and their power use.

Every few years, a dodgy stat does the rounds claiming you can save £££ if you switch off all your gadgets at the wall. The standby mode of your TV is bleeding you dry!!! A quick way to #saveenergy at home is to turn off tablets, laptops and consoles as soon as you stop using…

Continue reading →

Book Review: After Meat - The Case for an Amazing, Meat-Free World by Karthik Sekar


Book cover of a bioreactor painted to look like a cow.

This self-published book is a bit of a mixed bag. There has been a lot of thought put into it but, in the process of explaining the author's theories, they've forgotten that brevity makes a book like this readable and enjoyable. It could really have done with a strong editor to tighten things up. The…

Continue reading →

Book Review: Professional Practice in Engineering and Computing: Preparing for Future Careers by Riadh Habash


Book cover showing the ascent of man.

Unreadable. Full of grammatical errors and run on sentences. Just incredibly difficult to read. There may be some useful information in here, but I'll be damned if I can find it. Seriously needs to be edited down by someone with a strong grasp of the English language. Here's a typical sentence: "One of the key…

Continue reading →

Review: A Cheap Microphone Arm


A microphone arm connected to my desk.

I am so easily influenced. After 18 months of watching streamers using nifty microphone arms, I cracked and purchased one. Oh, I could claim that I needed to free up space on my new desk. Or that I need the mic closer to my mouth to pick up the delicate sounds of my voice. Or…

Continue reading →

EBCDIC is incompatible with GDPR


Dutch text and a diagram.

Welcome to acronym city! The Court of Appeal of Brussels has made an interesting ruling. A customer complained that their bank was spelling the customer's name incorrectly. The bank didn't have support for diacritical marks. Things like á, è, ô, ü, ç etc. Those accents are common in many languages. So it was a little…

Continue reading →

Better Footnotes in WordPress JetPack


A very long footnote.

Previously, I've written about using Footnotes in WordPress Markdown. A reader notified me that the footnotes1 weren't very accessible. This blog post describes the problem and proposes a solution. The Problem Using WordPress's JetPack, markdown footnotes are rendered as: Some text <sup id="fnref-1234-1"><a href="#fn-1234-1" class="jetpack-footnote">1</a></sup> ... <li id="fn-1234-1">The footnotes. <a href="#fnref-1234-1">↩</a></li> There are two main problems…

Continue reading →

The games that shape our language


A get out of jail free card from the Monopoly boardgame.

One of the joys of working with a diverse set of people from all around the world, is that English idioms are a constant source of bemusements. "It's raining cats and dogs" is quickly mapped to the more poetic "Es gießt Schusterjungs". Recently, I mentioned how our team had a "get-out-of-jail-free card". Whereupon a person…

Continue reading →

Notes on using an Android phone as a Webcam on Linux


A settings screen with options to stream over WiFi or USB.

(Written mostly for myself) Install DroidCam I use DroidCam - which converts your Android into a wired or wireless webcam. Set the resolution nano /etc/modprobe.d/droidcam.conf Add the following text: options v4l2loopback_dc width=1280 height=720 Most video call services are limited to 720p, and streaming 1080p and higher via USB isn't always possible. Interact with the Android…

Continue reading →