Pages tagged “recommendation”

20 Feb 2019

Roger that, basecamp

If you have children that are old enough to scoot or cycle off on their own, my tip: get some walkie-talkies. Our house has a fairly quiet road out the back, but pavement-next-to-busy-road is the only way to get to either the Rec or the local car park (best place to learn to ride in Girton is the one at the top of Wellbrook Way). I’ve got a couple of Motorola T82s and two Cobra AM245s.

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16 Feb 2019

Ptilonorhynchus violaceus

A few of my favourite things came together last weekend. I was out for a chilly morning run, listening to one of my top podcasts (via bone conduction - my favourite way to listen while exercising), and the episode featured one of my favourite birds. In 2008 Sarah and I spent time volunteering in Eastern Australia, helping the Borgia research group to catch and study satin bowerbirds. These birds are awesome - I use the word deliberately.

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22 Nov 2018

More TV tunnels

Thanks to a recent generous gift - I am the owner of an Oculus Go VR headset - and thanks to a recommendation from a friend, I’ve been thinking about TV tunnels again. I was already following Matt Parker, standup mathematician, but when I heard that Matt was publishing videos about the spherical Droste effect, well, I couldn’t resist. These two videos are great fun: definitely best viewed in VR.

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22 Nov 2018


I think I got/stole this idea listening to the Adam Buxton podcast a while back. It sort of nearly happened in real life, but not quite. Background: Gogglebox, like battered Mars bars, is one of those things that when you first hear of it - if you’re me, anyway - you dismiss. Watching people watching TV? Why would that be any good? If you haven’t watched it, give it a go.

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31 Mar 2018

Secret Garden next left

Thanks no doubt to its high quality writing, my humble blog is followed by up to at least 1 million readers. This is in some senses a sponsored post, because (full disclosure) a kind and generous benefactor has sent me an item to review. The item in question comprises 1,200g of dried fruit, butter, eggs, nuts, sugar and sherry, at least some of which is a concealed citrus fruit. True Mozz food then.

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16 Feb 2018

Blue-toothed yellowbike

Australian bird names (the English names, anyway) are often enjoyably “say what you see”. A long time ago Sarah and I spent an unforgettable time in Oz, up close and personal with a lot of wildlife. We imagined the early colonists, privileged first Westerners (or Easterners, depending how you measure it) seeing species for the first time and being the ones to pick names for the new things. It’s feeding on honey?

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14 Nov 2017


Christmas pudding is my number one foodstuff. Alongside it, lasagne, haggis, flapjack and pies. Clearly I have a predilection for stodge. We even have a term for it in our family. “Mozz food” has to have a certain density (calorifically and, er, massively). I love to crunch a crisp, to consume a cracker, but when hungry I will bat away these lower density delights in favour of something with a bit of heft to it.

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07 Aug 2017

Horizontally Challenged

I like views. On our recent holiday we stayed on top of a hill and spent hours looking out at a particularly nice one. From the photographed bit of Tuscany, the furthest point that can be seen directly is about 27km away: a distant hilltop just visible past the shoulder of a closer slope. I pondered the distance because, just before going on holiday, I had discovered beyond horizons, a website dedicated to photography of very long distances.

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19 Dec 2016

A Cock and Bull Story

This is a short post bringing together my recent ramblings on TV tunnels with my love of meta. “A Cock and Bull Story” is one of my all-time favourite films, if not my all-time favourite. It’s a film about making a film of a book about writing a book, in which Steve Coogan plays (a version of) himself. There are so many circles within circles: one beauty is a cameo from Tony Wilson, played by Coogan in “24 Hour Party People”.

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13 Sep 2016

I missed my pocket

I’m without my smartphone for a few days after it had a close encounter with some tarmac. I’ve lost a few superpowers: the ability to use Whatsapp and online banking. Most annoyingly I miss the ability to switch the lights on and off in my kitchen. That’s only the case because we were using flic buttons to do it via Bluetooth (after another domestic mishap in which we lost our light switch).

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18 Dec 2015

Bendicks Bittermints

If you have never tried a Bendicks Bittermint, you’re missing out. One of my favourite bits of Christmas. I undertake thorough research before I post anything online (doesn’t everyone?) and was curious about whether there ought to be an apostrophe in the word “Bendicks”. Out of curiosity, I googled a related phrase. By way of explanation, first: I take pride in my spelling and grammar… but when hammering terms into Google, I don’t bother to correct them.

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07 Jul 2015

Downloadable OS maps

It’s always slightly irked me that buying an Ordnance Survey map doesn’t entitle me to access the information upon it in any way other than looking at it. That might sound strange, but I’m talking about a piece of paper that costs £8.99 (if bought direct). I’m assuming that the paper, although nice, is not making up the bulk of the cost. I’ve tried their subscription service, but gave up because it used Silverlight.

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11 May 2014

Digitising family albums

A collection of learnings and recommendations derived from helping my family to digitise old photo albums. In the end, our family albums amounted to about 2,500 photos across 15 or so albums (that’s not counting the photos in shoeboxes). I think my mum and dad had been pretty organised and disciplined about putting their favourites into albums. It was a bit of a wrench ripping the photos out, but I persuaded them to go for it because the prints were degenerating, fading and, well, they’ve been at the bottom of a drawer for quite a while.

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01 Feb 2014


A long post summarising why I’ve fallen out of love with Arq backup, and some noodlings on the longevity of bits. Being currently engaged in the digitisation of all my Mum and Dad’s precious photo albums, and relatively recently having become a father myself, I’ve been thinking about backups. A dull topic, admittedly, but my personal photos and videos aren’t like my music collection or, if I’m honest, my work files.

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27 Oct 2013

On thermostats

Crawling into a cupboard with a headtorch and squinting at an LCD display while repeatedly pressing buttons isn’t much fun. Until recently, this was the only way we could control the central heating in our house. So it was with some pleasure that we upgraded our house’s thermostat. We now have a Heatmiser wifi thermostat, and we are truly living in the future. We can: reprogram the heating without needing a headtorch turn the heating on/off/up/down from any network-connected device tell the system we’re away for the next x days, and have it save fuel check on the system from anywhere Being able to “make fire” from miles away feels like such a step up from a caveman rubbing twigs together!

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15 Apr 2013

Two Swallows Don't Make a Summer...

…but my cycling tan is going to bed down nicely, I think. Ouch! Great bike ride yesterday to The Green Man in Thriplow - recommended. I saw this year’s first swallows on they way: presumably they’d been riding the strong winds and decided that the weather had finally got warm enough to cross the English Channel. For the interested, here is some evidence of how windy it was. Cycling downhill while pedalling, you’d normally expect to be accelerating, rather than maxing out at about 12mph.

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21 Mar 2013

A new toy for digitisation

I’ve crunched through scanning two carrier bags full of paper since getting a new Scansnap ix500 a few days back. The scanner is so quick that the rate-limiting step was not digitisation, but staple removal. Fujitsu should include branded staple removers with their machines.

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21 Jan 2013

Two-factor forgetfulness

I left my mobile phone at home today. There are so many ways of staying in touch, at least from a desk, that it doesn’t really matter that much. Although I missed one scheduled call which will have gone to my voicemail - sorry! It’s been inconvenient for a different reason: if you use two-factor authentication to access your online accounts, though, it’s very annoying. I can remember most of my passwords, although more and more of them were generated by LastPass - you can’t forget something you didn’t know in the first place.

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26 Nov 2012

Google Refine and the Fotherington-Thomas issue

If you ever work with spreadsheets (!) you no doubt keep your data meticulously clean. I bet you never ever enter “n/a” into a column that’s otherwise full of numbers, or mix “U.K.” with “United Kingdom”. Today’s news flash: there are spreadsheets out there not created by people like you and me. People who, late at night, mistakenly copy columns and accidentally transpose the data, or make typos and don’t spot them.

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09 Jul 2012

Inverting a deluge

A recent post by Quentin (Too Much Email) prompted this thought… I’m a fan of if this then that and find it a very useful type of digital “glue”. I suspect one of its most popular recipes, in the UK at least, is one that emails you if it’s forecast to rain tomorrow. Very useful for cyclists. I also recommend raintoday. Email is best as an exception management. I get an email every day telling me a backup has succeeded.

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26 Jun 2012

The Wonder of Webfaction

This site is hosted by Webfaction. I’ve run sites and applications with this company since 2008, and not only have I never had a problem with them, I can actually remember being impressed by their support. They’re proactive, for heaven’s sake! Just now at Owlstone we’re moving host providers, to, you guessed it, Webfaction. I just used their API to create about 45 email addresses with forwarding in 5 minutes.

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