One month with a solar battery - real statistics

By on   4 comments 900 words, read ~724 times.
Graph with multiple lines. There's a spike about 6AM which is probably a kettle being boiled. Another near lunchtime which might be a microwave. The evening has a couple of hours of high use - which is probably a washing machine.

August is meant to be full of gloriously hot days. An endless parade of sunshine and drinks in the park. This year it seemed mostly grey, miserable, and prone to pissing it down at a moment's notice. We all know that solar panels' efficiency wilts in the heat, but do they get a tan work […]

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ChubbyCable USB-C Review

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USB-C cables one is red and yellow, one black and sliver, the other hot pink.

The good folk at ChubbyCable have sent me a trio of gorgeous USB-C cables to review. If, like me, your work colleagues always "borrow" your cables never to be seen again - these are a godsend. They're available in a range of colours - you can even design your own. You'll never have to say […]

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On The Fediverse, No One Knows You're A Liar

By on   5 comments 350 words, read ~213 times.
Screenshot of the Mastodon interface. It claims the user has 97 million posts, follows 97 thousand people, and is followed by 97 billion accounts. It's join date is March 1997.

One of the reasons I'm still on the original instance is that I am vain. I joined shortly after the project was announced and, as a consequence, I have a "joined" date of 2016 and a user ID of under 10,0001. This doesn't make me an "elder statesman" and is rarely useful beyond bragging […]

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Book Review: Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Book cover.

The first section of this book are, frankly, dull. It's the sort of sneering, middle-class soap opera which leaves me cold. Entitled twats ignoring the world around them. It's a stultifying atmosphere which nearly made me stop after a few chapters. And then... It's amazing just how well that cloying sense of safety is gradually […]

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Some thoughts on Mastodon search

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Cartoon of a tusked mastodon holding a phone.

The latest version of Mastodon includes search functionality. It's early days, but seems to work pretty well. Here are some of the interesting things I found when using it. Search is complex - expectations I don't mean the act of searching a database - that's routine - but I mean it is socially complex. Lots […]

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Mosh supports .ssh/config

By on   2 comments 200 words
Unix is user-friendly — it's just choosy about who its friends are.

I've recently started using Mosh. It's a clever bit of software that keeps your SSH sessions running, even if your client goes offline or changes IP address. But I find the syntax used to launch it a bit verbose and easy to forget. A typical command is something like: mosh --ssh="ssh -p 1234" Within […]

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Interview in Colors Magazine #75 - Cease Fear

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This blog post was written in 2023 about events in 2008. Such are the joys of time travel… In August 2008, I published a blog post about being stopped and searched by the British Transport Police as part of The War Against Terror. A journalist, Elena Favilli contacted me asking if I'd be interviewed about […]

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All phones are foldable. But some are foldable only once.

By on   6 comments 650 words, read ~151 times.
An old Blackberry phone with a smashed screen.

I want a new phone! I went to a wedding and everyone1 had one of those new folding phones. Social marketing has done a number on me and inveigled its way into my brain. Hey, I make decent money, perhaps I'll buy one. How much could they possibly cost? About £1,700 for a Pixel Fold […]

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Review: ZyberVR Meta Quest 2 Recharge Station

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Product show showing all the parts.

Without a doubt, the most annoying aspect of using VR is that the equipment eats batteries. On the Oculus Quest, the headset is rechargeable via USB-C - but the controllers take plain AA batteries. By default, there's no way to recharge them 😭 So a whole industry has sprung up to fix Meta's mistakes! The […]

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The Digital Covid Test That Nearly Was

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Photo of a lateral flow test.

These are notes that I wrote during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. I've published them a few years later. By now, you're probably sick and tired of shoving a swab up your nose and / or down your throat. You've grown blasé about the little medical marvel as it reacts to whatever antibodies are […]

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