Chapter 24 - I'd Like To Teach The World To Eat

A book cover in the style of a 1950's pulp sci-fi novel. An AI generated set of computers are connected by wires.

It had been a difficult day at the animal rescue centre and I was looking forward to tucking into a delicious cat-burger. You know when you've been on your feet all day and the only thing keeping you going is the thought of a hot meal? That sesame seed bun, a few slices of salad, […]

Continue reading →

NaNoWriMo - An Introduction and Chapter 1: There Are Nine Million Autonomous Bicycles In Beijing

A book cover in the style of a 1950's pulp sci-fi novel. An AI generated set of computers are connected by wires.

Every year since 2009, I've taken part in NaBloPoMo - National Blog Posting Month. The aim is to publish a new blog post every day in November. In the last few years, I've blogged pretty much constantly - daily for 2020, 2021, and 2023. A total of around 2,800 posts. But now it is time […]

Continue reading →

Other pixel-level meta data you could put in an image format

Two children sat on a ledge. One has a tightly bound yellow border around their outline. The other has a similar green border. The wall they're sitting on has a red border which follows its shape.

Image files are a grid of pixels - each pixel contains colour information1. But they don't just have to contain colour information. Here are some thoughts on other things that a future image format might contain. What exists already? A typical bitmap image looks like this under the hood:   0      1   […]

Continue reading →

WebMentions, Privacy, and DDoS - Oh My!

Crappy line drawing explaining the above.

Mastodon - the distributed social network - has two interesting challenges when it comes to how users share links. I'd like to discuss those issues and suggest a possible way forward. When you click on a link on my website which takes you to another website, your browser sends a Referer1. This says to the […]

Continue reading →

Illegal Hashes

A padlock engraved into a circuit board.

To understand this blog post, you need to know two things. There exists a class of numbers which are illegal in some jurisdictions. For example, a number may be copyrighted content, a decryption key, or other text considered illegal. There exists a class of algorithms which will take any arbitrary data and produce a fixed […]

Continue reading →

A small bug in Canada's eTA emails

Screenshot of an email showing a broken image. Alt text is visible.

There's no way that I could find to report this to the Canadian Government - and I didn't fancy trying to raise a bug report with the first Mountie I met - so here's a blog post. As part of Canada's Electronic Travel Authorisation system, prospective visitors to the country get sent emails. The email […]

Continue reading →

Starting Up Vs Staying On

A tiny lego Storm Trooper eats a chocolate coin.

A few years ago, I had a chance to work with an exciting tech startup. They had just become 5 years old. The day I went for an interview, about a dozen of the founding members announced they were quitting. Including the CEO. Was this a good sign or a bad sign? Over beers, my […]

Continue reading →

Is it cheating to use spell check?

Clippy - an anthropomorphic paperclip is asking if I want help writing a letter.

When I was a kid, our school had one computer per classroom. Luxury! Teachers had long-since given up on the state of my handwriting. So I got special dispensation to write up some of my work on whatever primitive word processor was installed on the PC. With one caveat: no spell check! Which, even as […]

Continue reading →

The BBC's 15 Web Principles - 15 years later

Powerpoint slide announcing BBC 2.0.

Back in 2007 - an eternity in web years - the BBC published a document showing their 15 Web Principles. I thought I'd take a look at how they stack up today. And investigate whether the BBC is still living up to them. Here are the slides if you want to play along at home: […]

Continue reading →

Zotero citations in Markdown - publishing to ePub or PDF

Zotero logo.

Mostly notes to myself - I hope you find them useful. So, you want to write your dissertation or thesis in Markdown. But how do you manage all your citations? Install Zotero Install the Better BibTex plugin Restart Zotero. The BBT plugin will launch a configuration screen - use it to set your preferences Install […]

Continue reading →