Cultural Erosion

Cultural erosion is often cited as an argument against European Integration. A fortnight ago I was in a Belgian roadside café. They had three different types of mayonnaise in pump dispensers and a man sat eating moules marinière with a tiny bottle of rosé. Britain has always been a bit special – and that’s not Read more →


First Class Post

Someone recently accused me of replying too slowly on WhatsApp. “First Class post” I replied, “is the most rapid form of communication of which I approve.” I wasn’t joking. The fact that you’re not going to get a reply for at least 24 hours, if not the best part of a week, tends to rather Read more →


Day 1 of Electromagnetic Fields

I’ve not done any camping for over thirty years. After my previous experiences with horizontal rain, sleeping bags frozen solid and forgetting the tin opener, I reckoned it would take something rather special to get me under canvas again. Home for the next three days... Turns out that EMF is something special. Electromagnetic Fields is a techie festival in a field. And it is awesome. There are tec… Read more →


Proxies: What's the difference?

You've probably heard of proxies. Perhaps you used when when you were at school to access a website you weren't supposed to. But did you know that there are multiple different types of proxies that are used for different things? For example, a reverse proxy perform load-balancing and caching for your web application? And that a transparent proxy can be used to filter the traffic of your internet c… Read more →


Surface Go Review

When I finish writing a book I allow myself by buy a new computer. It's quite a thing for me. Last year, when I finished "Begin to Code with Python" I got myself an Apple iPad Pro. I was hoping to be able to use it to do proper work on the go. It has an OK keyboard and versions of most of the applications that I use. However, I found it impossible to use productively, over and above responding to… Read more →


Maintenance: Server Push Support!

Recently, I took the time to add the official nginx ppa to my server to keep nginx up-to-date. In doing do, I jumped from a security-path-backported nginx 1.10 to version 1.14..... which adds a bunch of very cool new features. As soon as I leant that HTTP/2 Server Push was among the new features to be supported, I knew that I had to try it out. In short, Server Push is a new technology - part of H… Read more →


Labeling pie charts without collisions

Recently at work, I’ve been using Chart.js to create pie/donut charts. We really wanted the labels to be shown around the outside of the chart, next to each segment. Chart.js doesn’t do this out of the box, so one of the only solutions I found was the plugin Chart.PieceLabel.js. This was a great start, but I found that if the chart segments were too small, the labels would overlap and be unreadabl… Read more →


How to set up a shared PDF printer on your local network

I've recently ended up setting up a PDF printer on my local network in an effort to transfer some pictures out of a ridiculous i-device (I tell you, Apple'e iOS is the worst for being a walled garden). Since process for doing so wasn't entirely obvious, I'm documenting it in this blog post to remind myself for later. If you find it useful, please let me know in the comments below! Firstly, you'll… Read more →


Making a lightbox

Yesterday I had a bit of a cold. Today I seem to have got all of it. So I feel rubbish; what better time to do something silly. I've decided to make a letter light for number one grandchild. See if you can use your skill and judgement to work out her name from the above picture. I found a really nice design on Thingiverse for letter boxes, but I would have had to stick them all together and make a… Read more →


Air Quality Sensor Version 1.0

If you think that all I've done over the last week is work on my Air Quality sensor you'd be wrong. But I have been quite busy with it. I've now got a proper menu system with messages and numeric input. Plus a box. The box has been particularly fun to design, especially as the Heltec micro controller, in common with lots of similar devices, doesn't seem to provide any way that it can be fitted int… Read more →