What do we do about people who don't get the joke?


Screenshot from Facebook. The shared story headline is "Jared Kushner Calls Kim Jong-un “Totally Unqualified Person” Who Got Job Only Through Nepotism". There are comments from people who think this is a genuine news story.

If you've been online for any length of time, you'll have come across this phenomenon. A story is shared which is obviously humorous. Inevitably, some people treat it seriously. I remember being a child and reading the satirical magazine "Private Eye" - I was young and couldn't easily differentiate between the news reporting and the […] Read More

Obsolete Technology in Unicode


Screenshot of the Unicode standard. The page shows symbols for Telephone Receivers, Pagers, and Fax Machines.

A short meander through some of the more obscure miscellany within Unicode. Languages hang around far longer than there are native speakers, and symbols get reused and repurposed (🍆). Here are some of the delightfully old-fashioned symbols hidden in your thoroughly modern smartphone. Tapes Long before solid-state drives, we used to record data on long […] Read More

How to avoid JPG compression on Twitter


Screenshot of a graphics editor. One pixel has been removed from the image.

Let's talk image compression! Services like Twitter will often apply aggressive levels of compression in order to reduce their storage space and decrease download times. This can have negative consequences for usability and image quality. Here's an example - this detail of a logo from my former employers, Vodafone. Solid red - with some fine […] Read More

Usability of Key Distribution in BlockChain Backed Electronic Voting


Photo of a polling station sight. Taken by "Descrier" with URL descrier.co.uk

I went to an event a few weeks ago where some leading BlockChain organisations were showing off the power of Distributed Ledgers and how they will transform society. Not one of them mentioned users. There was talk of investors, stakeholders, corporations, smart-contract-backed entities. But no users. No real people who have to interact with their […] Read More

The "Make Everything Better" Button


A hand-drawn iPhone. In the middle is a single button which says "Make Everything Better".

Back when I used to help people design mobile phone apps, I would talk about the platonic ideal of an app. It's quite simple and effective. You press the button in the middle of your screen - and it makes everything better! You push that button and a taxi arrives, or a pizza is delivered, […] Read More

Convert Surround Sound WAV albums to individual opus files


As ever, notes to myself. This is a method to take a .wav and .cue and transform it into individual files. In this case, .opus. Transform to .flac FLAC is a good intermediary file format, especially for surround sound files. avconv -i file.wav out.flac Transform to .opus An optional step if you want smaller files. […] Read More

Inclusivity Tips for Conference Speakers


Terence Eden speaking at a conference.

I'm lucky enough to get invited to speak at a variety of conferences around the world. After accepting a speaking invitation, and checking I'm not on an all-male line-up, I usually make one of the following requests to the organisers. Thanks for inviting me. Can you let me know if the venue is wheelchair accessible? […] Read More

This SVG always shows today's date


A graphic of a calendar showing the date "February 25 Sunday"

For my contact page, I wanted a generic calendar icon to let people view my diary. Calendar icons are almost always a skeuomorph of a paper calendar, but I wondered if I could make it slightly more useful by creating a dynamic icon. Here it is, an SVG calendar which always display's today's date: The […] Read More

A curious way to break Twitter's search results


Screenshot of a tweet. The HTML is malformed.

(This isn't really a security issue, although I've disclosed it to the Twitter team.) "Fuzzing" is a computer science term which means "sending weird data into a program and seeing what happens." It's a useful way to see how your code can break in new and unexpected ways. It's particularly good at showing what a […] Read More

Advertising Screens Hacked To Mine BitCoin


The display shows a windows desktop with a variety of icons. There is a window open

Spotted in London, yesterday. A large, Microsoft Windows-powered advertising hoarding has been hijacked. It's not uncommon to see broken-down Windows displays - I run https://windowsisbroken.tumblr.com/ - which is dedicated to pointing and laughing at such mistakes. But this is the first time I've seen a display repurposed for profit! It appears to be running NiceHash […] Read More