Keeping a side project alive with t-shirts and cash

A selection of hats, t-shirts, mugs, and waterbottles with our logo.

My wife and I run a side project called - it is a fun little crowd-sourced memorial bench site. It's mostly fun, except when the bills come due! Most hobby sites and side projects don't cost a lot to run. Lots of services have generous free tiers to (ab)use, and they can pay well […]

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3 years of domestic solar stats in the UK

Solar panels on our roof.

After 3 full years of having solar panels on our London roof, they've generated 11,950kWh of electricity. Nice! Here's how those three years look, according to our smart meter. kWh Solar Generation 11,950 Solar Export 7,346 Grid Import 7,521 Quick maths! The difference between the generation and the export is our solar consumption: 4,604kWh over […]

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Didn't your mother ever tell you to share your toys?

Sharing Is Caring.

Many years ago, I was involved in student politics. It was a great way to understand the fundamental disconnect between the ways different people see the world. I remember having a blazing row high-spirited discussion with someone about the way I thought about society. In a fit of rage an attempt to provide clarity, I […]

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The return of the "armchair auditor"

a cartoon robot saying equal pay now.

About a million years ago, the then Coalition Government in the UK announced a slew of Open Data projects. They wanted - in their words - to "mobilise an army of Armchair Auditors". That is, ordinary people would be able to look through the data and find interesting errors. I'm a civil servant (this is […]

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Force Directed Graph of the London Tube Map - including CrossRail!

A multi-coloured force-directed graph.

Force Directed Graphs of the London Underground have been done many times before - but I think I'm the first person to add the new Elizabeth Line (CrossRail). I've also created a JSON graph of all of London's rail services - including DLR, Trams, C2C, ThamesLink etc. Demo Play with it yourself Grab the code […]

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Open Data - but not *too* open

If this address is correct and relates to your enquiry, please confirm that you are entitled to view the gas supply details.

I'm an advocate for open data - both in my professional role and in a personal capacity. One of the hard things is succinctly explaining that "open data" means "non-personally identifiable data at a sufficient granularity to be useful without proving a risk to any individual's (or group's) reasonable expectations of privacy while still being […]

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How popular are "And Daughters" businesses?

Shop sign - Marlow and Daughers. Via

It's quite popular to see high street shops names "Somesuch and Sons". Indeed, my grandparents ran "Eden & Sons" for many year. Much rarer is seeing "... & daughters". But, of course, the plural of anecdote is not data! The UK register of businesses - Companies House - has a pretty good search engine. Doing […]

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1,800 days of minute-by-minute solar generation as Open Data

Solar panels on a roof.

Back in 2014, I released a year's worth of solar generation data. I was enormously proud to recently discover that the data were cited in a couple of academic papers: Colantuono, Giuseppe & Kor, Ah-Lian & Pattinson, Colin & Gorse, Christopher PV with multiple storage as function of geolocation (2018) page: 217-232. Elsevier BV. Solar […]

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Two years of home heating data

A complicated graph.

I have a Tado smart thermostat - part of my smarthome project. As well as letting me set the temperature from my phone, it records environmental data, and provides a handy API for me to retrieve it. This blog post will show you why I've gathered the data, let you download the full dataset, and […]

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Open Glasgow's Moral Maze

The Glasgow Open Government Licence. Highlighted is a passage saying the data cannot be used for illegal or immoral purposes.

Glasgow City Council has released a treasure-trove of open data. Nearly one-hundred datasets ranging from Live Traffic Information - to historic climate data. A fantastic boon for researches and open government enthusiasts. But there's a sting in the tail. The majority of the datasets are under the Open Government Licence (OGL). That's basically Creative Commons […]

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