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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Discord is not Documentation

Some colourful blobby people constructing an FAQ. Photo by @alexasfotos on Pixabay.

I'm going to be slightly contrarian and say that I like Discord. It's great to be able to get real-time help on a problem. And it is fun to see, again in real-time, what other people are working on and struggling with. In truth, Discord is no harder to sign up to than Slack, Matrix, […]

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Review: AntiSpam Bee WordPress Plugin

Comment with Japanese text. The email address is for an emergency locksmith, the link goes to a sex-doll emporium.

Someone recently complained that using JetPack's Akismet anti-spam plugin wasn't very privacy friendly. So, because I take every minor complaint as a personal rebuke, I decided to switch to AntiSpam Bee - an open source and local antispam solution. And... it's pretty good! There is the occasional false negative - but not significantly worse than […]

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Do open source licences cover the Ship of Theseus?

Binary code displayed on a screen.

I recently downloaded a single-page HTML template for a project I was working on. I wanted a good-looking scaffold to help me getting running quickly. The code had an attribution licence which I was happy to comply with. I ended up removing about a whole bunch of the HTML that I didn't need. That also […]

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Can you follow your own getting started guide?

Binary code displayed on a screen.

I was trying to install a new open source project and was having a hell of a time. Nothing seemed to be working despite me following the tutorial to the letter. I was getting the most bizarre error messages and was on the verge of quitting to become a goat farmer, when I threw one […]

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So, farewell then COVID-19 App

Pop up notification saying the NHS covid app is shutting down.

Today is a day of mixed emotions for me. The UK's COVID tracing app is finally closing. The app was, by any reasonable measure, a success. A team of experts at the Pandemic Sciences Institute at the University of Oxford and Department of Statistics at the University of Warwick estimate the NHS COVID-19 app prevented […]

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Are there any modern closed-source programming languages?

Four generated images of William Shakespeare programming a computer.

At a recent OpenUK meetup, one of the participants declared that Open Source had comprehensively won. While businesses might not always release their proprietary source code, 100% of everything they wrote used an open source programming language. I wondered how true that was. You can, perhaps, moan about the shenanigans around Java's licencing and you […]

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Interview: Open source is good for AI but, is AI good for open source?

A confused little cardboard robot is lost amongst the daisies

I was recently interviewed in the BCS Magazine discussing the intersection of AI and Open Source. We're at a weird time with AI and Intellectual Property. Well, IP has been in a weird place since Napster launched at the turn of the century! None of the issues around sharing, remixing, and controlling have been properly […]

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Happy 2nd Birthday to this Bitwarden bug!

Screenshot of the Bitwarden Android interface. Emoji are showing as question marks.

Exactly two years ago to the day, I reported a weird little emoji bug with Bitwarden. Let's say you want a password of: ✅🐎🔋📎 (As close as possible to Correct Horse Battery Staple) That works. Emoji are stored and retrieved correctly. You can use them with any system which supports them. But you can't view […]

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I'm the new Chair of the BCS Open Source Specialist Group

A t-shirt with the slogan "Make things open it makes things better."

I'm chuffed to bits to announce that I was recently elected to chair the BCS's Open Source community group! The British Computer Society is an august body, and the OSSG have put on some brilliant talks in the last few years. But I'd like to shake things up a little. I want us to move […]

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