What does a robot look like?


The Terminator is a terrifying metal skeleton with glowing red eyes.

This is a question I often ask my students. Typically they say a robot looks like this: Or this: Broadly human, but mostly metal. Occasionally, I get non anthropocentric answers like this mule: Or even something stark and industrial like this: One is experimental, the other is rarely seen in day-to-day life. The truth is, […] Read More

Limitations of HTML's title element


The raw HTML displays in the tab.

How much do you know about the humble <title> tag? It has been there since the earliest HTML specification. The 1995 spec says: There may only be one title in any document. It should identify the content of the document in a fairly wide context. It may not contain anchors, paragraph marks, or highlighting. Remarkably […] Read More

How I became Leonardo da Vinci on the Blockchain


Yesterday at the CogX conference, I sat in a room listening to companies pitch their blockchain based startups. Because I hate myself. One in particular caught my attention. On the surface it seems to solve an important economic problem - art forgery and provenance. By putting your artwork on the "BitCoin Blockchain", Verisart will ✨hand […] Read More

Is HTTP 451 suitable for GDPR blocking?


451: Unavailable for legal reasons We recognise you are attempting to access this website from a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) including the EU which enforces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and therefore cannot grant you access at this time. For any issues, e-mail us at techguy@journaltimes.com or call us at 888-460-8725.

Hello, it's me - the idiot who helped inspire the HTTP 451 status code. I graciously allowed Tim Bray to do the hard work of getting it through the IETF process, and now it is an official RFC. Recently, I've seen lots of people getting het up about its "misuse" - so I want to […] Read More

How long should you continue a boycott?


In 2005, Sony put malware on their music CDs and then illegally infected customers' machines. I've not purchased a Sony product since. Their new TVs look amazing, but I've decided I don't want to reward a company which behaved so despicably. Is that sensible? 13 years later and I'm still holding a grudge. Is that […] Read More

Decentralised Food Safety Reviews


Two dogs sat at a computer. One says "On the blockchain, nobody knows if you're an authority."

In most civilised countries, there is a central authority which inspects restaurants for hygiene and safety. Their job is, broadly, to stop people getting poisoned, falling sick, or dying. That's a pretty good feature of civilisation, I'd say. We think that most restaurant owners are probably good people - but it seems sensible to have […] Read More

Things For Which Cryptographic Signing Would Be Useful


Every time someone mentions BlockChain, I have to down my drink. Those are the rules. You see, most uses of Distributed Ledger are really just a way to get people interested in cryptographic signing. There's lots of money and attention flowing to projects which have no need to publish to an energy-inefficient global database. They […] Read More

Privacy, Security, & Ethics - Computer Science's "Jüdische Physik"


A fist emerges from a computer screen and punches the user.

I'm going to tell you an anecdote which is a gross oversimplification of a complex topic. In the early half of the twentieth century, certain physicists made breakthroughs in relativity, quantum mechanics, and nuclear energy. Many of these scientists were Jewish. The Nazis called these heretical ideas "Jewish Science" and suppressed their teaching. Jewish physicists […] Read More

Review Evoluent Veritcal Mouse C


Evoluent Mouse Buttons

Can a mouse ever be worth £100? Yes. Let's get that out of the way. If you spend all day working with your hands, you owe it to yourself to give them the best possible equipment to protect them. For me, that's a vertical mouse with re-mappable buttons to help prevent RSI. Over the last […] Read More