1,000 edits on OpenStreetMap

Screenshot of the OSM interface.

Today was quite the accidental milestone! I've edited OpenStreetMap over a thousand times! For those who don't know, OSM (OpenStreetMap) is like the Wikipedia of maps. Anyone can go in and edit the map. This isn't a corporate-controlled space where your local knowledge is irrelevant compared to the desire for profit. You can literally go […]

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Should your phone be a webserver?

Screenshot of a Symbian mobile phone asking "Opening a secure connection. Yes or No?"

I really like this article from Rohan D "Every Phone Should Be Able to Run Personal Website". In it, they make the convincing case that phones are perfectly capable of hosting websites and - if we want more people to escape the walled-gardens - this could be a good way to get people back into […]

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How do you decentralise emergency alerts?

Cartoon of a tusked mastodon holding a phone.

Twitter's decision to hobble its API has meant that a number of useful alerting bots might no longer function. Your local subway might not be able to Tweet each morning about delays on the line, nor will a tornado warning be displayed as you scroll through photos of brunch, and forget about flood alerts between […]

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What would a decentralised Uber look like?

Photo of the inside of a Hong Kong taxi. There are about a dozen different phones attached to the dashboard - each running a different app.

Uber are undoubtedly a company engaged in extremely dodgy activity. But, on the other had, they're ridiculously convenient. A few months ago, we landed in a foreign country, opened the same Uber app as we used back home, and booked a cab. It just worked. I didn't need to register for a different version. I […]

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How much decentralisation is too much?

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

Twitter's over, my dudes! And now everyone is on Mastodon! But Mastodon isn't a site, it is a federated network running an interoperable protocol! Yay for ActivityPub1! Anyway, that means there isn't one Mastodon website. There are many. There is only one Twitter. There is only one Facebook. There is only one Instagram. If you […]

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One Avatar To Rule Them All

A photo of Terence wearing a hat. He look gorgeous!

Someone took a nice photo of me recently. I'd like to use it as my avatar photo everywhere to present a consistent image. This is not easy to do. I've had to manually change it on a dozen different Slacks, a bunch of social networks, a few forums, all my email accounts, and I'm still […]

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The commons we've enclosed

Unix is user-friendly — it's just choosy about who its friends are.

I, unironically, love Reddit. But it's just USENET with a better UI, and a few moderation improvements. Most days I use DropBox. But it's just FTP, but a bit easier to use and automate. I waste a lot of time on Slack. When I explain it to old-school nerds, I say it's IRC - but […]

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Using YouTube to Transcode Videos to DASH on the Command Line

A white plastic desktop phone with QWERTY keyboard and a video screen.

This is part of my redecentralisation efforts to liberate my videos from YouTube. MPEG-DASH is a simple method of streaming videos which doesn't require any specialised server software. You convert a high resolution video into a series of smaller resolution videos. You chop each of the videos up into several chunks. As the video plays, […]

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Meet Maslow - The UK's Answer to Tesla's PowerWall

Even in the depths of British winter my solar panels'll still happily convert what little sunlight we get into delicious, free-range, organic electrons. Nice! Most of our domestic energy use is in the evening. So, when I'm out at work I can schedule the tumble dryer, robot vacuum cleaner, and WiFi rice-cooker to consume energy […]

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Liberate Your YouTube Videos

If you've been following this blog, you'll know that Google unjustly shut down my YouTube channel. They've now reinstated it - but I can no longer trust them as custodians of my data. So, here's a quick tutorial on how to download all your videos - and metadata - from YouTube. The Official Way Google […]

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