What I've learned from a year of lockdown

A graphic of a calendar showing the date "February 25 Sunday"

I expect everyone will be writing these pieces soon. So here's my cliché-ridden effort. I've found this year to be... liberating. I can stay up all night, knowing I can roll out of bed and be instantly at work. I can be as social as I like - and I can decline invitations if I'm […]

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DroidCam - use an old Android as your Webcam

A settings screen with options to stream over WiFi or USB.

Turn your Android phone into a USB webcam with DroidCam. I can't believe it took me a whole fucking year of pandemic-time to discover this app. My laptop's webcam is... basically fine. It's a cheap 720p sensor with a tiny lens. It doesn't really cope with low light, and the picture is a bit fuzzy […]

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Why don't video calls have stereo audio?

Headphone box.

This is probably me being a bit dense. I'm on a video call with two other people. Alice is on the left of my screen, Bob is on the right. Why isn't the audio in stereo? (Zoom lets you send stereo audio - but only of you have a stereo microphone. Whereas I'm talking abound […]

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I only know you from above the shoulders

Two dogs sat at a computer. One says "On the Internet nobody knows you're a dog."

One of my lovely colleagues made an small speech during a recent meeting. She was delighted to announce that she was heading off on maternity leave next month and looked forward to seeing us all next year once the pandemic was over. There were the usual round of congratulations and how-will-we-cope-without-yous. But a few of […]

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Don't think of it as Working From Home - Think of it as Extreme Hotdesking!!

A c omplex mechanical unit to adjust the height of a laptop.

I once drove my company car to my company's office and then drove around the company car park for 20 minutes looking in vain for a parking space. Whereupon I double-parked across a couple of cars, flipped on my hazard lights, and dialled in to my Very Important Meeting. Half-an-hour later, I drove home to […]

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Review: Lexar corner desk

A black desk.

I've spent six-months working from an old kitchen table, and there is never quite enough room for all my monitors and associated kit. With the news that we're all going to be working from home for a while longer, my employer very generously agreed to pay up to £150 for a WFH desk. So I […]

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Where Everybody Knows Your Name (and other metadata)

A group of people in a video call waving at their cameras. Each has a name under their video.

I've made no secret of rather enjoying this enforced period of remote work. Sure, it has had its challenges - but there have been so many fringe benefits. Less commuting! No crappy-canteen lunches! More time to sleep in! And, today, I was reminded of another benefit. I am terrible at remembering names. Many a time […]

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Some Thoughts on Broadband Speeds in the WFH Age

A speed test result.

ISPs suck. They're designed to. The A in ADSL stands for "Asymmetric". That is, your download speed is faster than your upload speed. This makes sense for most domestic purposes. Most people suck down a lot more than they push up. But we've now entered the (permanent?) work-from-home era. If you're anything like me, you're […]

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My WFH Set Up

A corner desk, laptop, chair, vertical monitor and assorted junk.

Inspired by my friend Meri's WFH Setup Tips, I thought I'd share my home-working setup. We've moved house recently, so I'm still finding my feet - but as I work from home fairly often, and have a bit of RSI, I thought I'd show you what I've got and how I use it. The desk […]

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Zoom's forced app is irresponsible

Screenshot of the Zoom Website.

Due to COVID19, I'm using a wide range of video conferencing services. Those of us who have work-supplied laptops usually have locked-down hardware. No unauthorised apps can be installed. That's not a problem for Google Hangouts - it just works in any browser. No need to install plugins or apps. Voice and video just work. […]

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