Goodbye daily blogging


A calendar view of all my blog posts in the last three years.

At the start of 2020, for some strange reason, I decided to publish a new blog post every single day of the year. And, a third of the way through that, COVID struck. In a way, it was good for my motivation. I didn't have any fun and exciting trips to go on - so…

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Movie Review: Ammonite


Movie poster, two women's faces overlayed on each other.

What a treat of a movie! Kate Winslet shows, once again, how great acting isn't about who can shout the loudest, but who can convey the most meaning through a single glance. It is a movie of delightful contrasts - the sound design is overpoweringly loud, until it suddenly disappears. The silence is rarely punctuated…

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Certified Blockchain Professional - Module 1


Logo for the Certified Blockchain Professional.

As previously discussed, I'm doing the Certified Blockchain Professional course. It is self-directed learning, so I'm going through it at my own pace. In order to consolidate my learning, and help organise my thoughts, I'm blogging about my reflections on each module. These are mostly notes to myself - but I hope if you find…

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Certified Blockchain Professional - Part 1


Logo for the Certified Blockchain Professional.

Why do I do this to myself? Why? As part of my ongoing MSc, I have to take 3 professional training courses. I've completed my cybersecurity course, and I have a Machine Learning course booked for January. So what to do next? There's a lot of discussion in government1 circles about Blockchain. As with any…

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Quick and dirty way to rip an eBook from Android


Unix is user-friendly — it's just choosy about who its friends are.

I recently purchased a book for my MSC which was only available via a crappy Android app. There was no obvious way to decrypt it to read on a more sensible device, so I resorted to the ancient art of screenscraping. This is a quick-and-dirty way to grab images of the pages and convert them…

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Energy efficiency of modern codecs


Binary code displayed on a screen.

How efficient are modern codecs? Can we ever work out whether the power use of compression algorithms is a net gain for global power consumption? Come on a thought experiment with me. I have invented a new image compression format. It shrinks images to 50% smaller sizes than AVIF and is completely lossless. Brilliant! There's…

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Movie Review: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings


Chinese actor on a movie poster.

I'm not a big fan of superhero movies - and the Marvel ones are particularly bad - but this is… pretty good! It's nice to see a modern / westernised "Kung Fu" movie. All the budget of a blockbuster, all the cheese of cheap Wuxia. It's refreshing that so much of it is subtitled -…

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Book Review - Working in Public: The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software by Nadia Eghbal


Book cover.

Over the last 20 years, open source software has undergone a significant shift—from providing an optimistic model for public collaboration to undergoing constant maintenance by the often unseen solo operators who write and publish the code that millions of users rely on every day. In Working in Public, Nadia Eghbal takes an inside look at…

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Why doesn't Disney+ support accents in profile names?


An apostrophe in Donald O'Duck causes the profile name to display an error.

Because I'm genetically pre-disposed to watch every piece of Star Wars content ever created, I signed up for a free trial of Disney's newest streaming service. As part of onboarding, it asked me to create a profile name. This is typically done so that multi-user households can have separate profiles and preferences. Mum doesn't have…

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Free Software as in Free House


Binary code displayed on a screen.

Much like a Tesla, all analogies break down eventually. As many many many people have said - free software is free, in much the same way as a free puppy is free. I prefer to think of it as being free just like being given a free house is free. Imagine that! Being given a…

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