Getting Started with Mastodon's Conversations API


A threaded conversation. You can see the order in which people have replied to each other - and what posts they are referencing.

The social network service "Mastodon" allows people to publish posts. People can reply to those posts. Other people can reply to those replies - and so on. What does that look like in the API? Here's a quick guide to the concepts you need to know - and some code to help you visualise conversations. […]

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How to search Mastodon by date & time


The Mastodon logo. It sort of looks like a smiling elephant.

Two years ago to the day, I built Twistory - a service for seeing what you posted on Twitter on this day in previous years. If you've ever used Facebook, you'll know how it is supposed to work. You see posts which show that exactly 5 years ago you were starting a new job, 6 […]

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MSc Assignment 5 - Professional Practise 1 - Machine Learning in Python


Logo of the Python programming language.

I'm doing an apprenticeship MSc in Digital Technology. In the spirit of openness, I'm blogging my research and my assignments. This is my paper from the PP1 module - where I take some CPD related to my profession. I picked Machine Learning in Python. I've blogged about the course itself. The middle two parts of […]

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Practical Machine Learning with Python


Logo of the Python programming language.

As part of my MSc I'm taking a short course in Practical Machine Learning via QA.com. The first three days were just about basic stats visualisation using Python. It was great to have a refresher - but I would have expected that to be a pre-requisite. The tutor was excellent - very patient at explaining […]

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Use Python to get alerted when an Amazon wishlist item drops in price


Logo of the Python programming language.

Scratching my own itch. I want an alert when there's been a price drop on an item on my Amazon wishlist. I couldn't find an easy way to get an email directly from Amazon (customer-focused my shiny metal arse) so I knocked something up in Python. This is heavily inspired by Leigh Dodds' Wishlist Monitor. […]

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Download 1080p streams from iPlayer


Screenshot of VLC reporting that the video is 1080p.

Way back in 2010, Paul Battley was blogging about device discrimination on the Internet. The new iPlayer service was using TLS certificates to ensure that only specific devices were able to stream media from the BBC's servers. That's a situation which continues over a decade later. If you watch iPlayer on your laptop, you're stuck […]

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"Why do we use R rather than Excel?"


Binary code displayed on a screen.

I recently had cause to take a beginners course in R - a language I'm fairly familiar with. One of the other students had never used it before, so we were buddied up in order for me to show them the ropes. The first lesson of R is always the same. Read a CSV, manipulate […]

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Creating a public, read-only calendar


A bright and easy to use weekly view of my diary.

Last year, I blogged about why I make my work calendar public. It is useful to have a public website where people can see if I'm free or busy. But the version I created relied on Google Calendar which, sadly, isn't that great. It doesn't look wonderful, especially on small screens, and is limited to […]

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Interactive HTML Trees with no JavaScript and no CSS


A Twitter conversation rendered as HTML.

Many text based conversations threads can be visualised as a tree. This is a follow-up to yesterday's blog post about Twitter conversation trees. Mailing list archives often use nested <ul> to show a conversation. That's fine, but has the major drawback of not being interactive. There's no way to collapse a branch of a tree […]

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How popular are "And Daughters" businesses?


Shop sign - Marlow and Daughers. Via https://flic.kr/p/a6S2rR

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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