Posts tagged 'misc'

An Unexpected Gift

I got an unexpected gift on Christmas morning from Samsung. There was an android update waiting for me when I woke up. This update claimed to "improve call stability" as well as update to the latest security patches.

It appears that they also managed to fix the chrome cast function …

You Did Ask for a White Christmas

Though this is probably not what you meant...

A view of a foggy valley.
It is white!
A view of a foggy valley.
It is white!

Sorry kids, no sledging today.

Believing Signs

A local road on my route to work has been closed for over a week now. At the bottom of the hill, there are signs on the main road stating "ROAD ON LEFT CLOSED". There is a barrier crossing half the road saying "ROAD AHEAD CLOSED. LOCAL ACCESS ONLY".

Luckily …


We got an amazon dot.

Sure enough, Alexa could not understand either of us when we said elevel no matter how we pronounced it.

Unhelpful Statistics

The headline of a BBC news article I spotted at lunchtime read: Homicide numbers in Scotland show slight rise

The sub heading read:

A total of 61 people were killed across the country last year - up 2% on the previous 12 months.

Why on earth would you bother putting a …

Do Over the Last Week

As we were getting ready to leave for work, Denise commented that it is almost like the authorities have declared "Ok, you lot messed up last time you had to get used to going to work in the dark. Try it again".

I certainly wish we could properly do over …

Forgetting the Simple Solutions

For the last two days I have had an annoying notification stuck on my phone. I expect that it was supposed to self dismiss after a couple of hours, but it didn't and wouldn't let me do it.

I eventually got fed up and did a quick search online. The …

Speed Golf

Some of my colleagues were discussing how to make golf more interesting. After all, as Mark Twain probably didn't say:

Golf is a Good Walk Spoiled

The improvement came in the form of speeding it up. How fast can you get around the course. Hit the ball and chase after …

5 Year Steps

10 years ago I joined the workforce as the world was still processing the financial crisis. There were many predictions back then about how much things were going to change. But in truth, it had been virtually business as usual.

5 years ago Scotland voted to remain part of the …

Comparing Yourself To Others

Continuing on from yesterday’s post, I have been thinking more about how we compare ourselves with others. While I was a student (both at highschool and at university) I was regularly referred to as a “fitness freak”. I liked to run and did so regularly.

The thing is, if …

Are You Digitally Skilled?

When listening to a recent podcast, the guest being interviewed mentioned that he got to a stage in his career and noticed that he had stopped developing his skillset. He made an effort to start learning again, and in particular developing his "digital skillset". He now considers himself digitally competent …


Spreadsheets are awesome at letting you play with numbers. Put all sorts of values in and get back a number that is supposed to tell you the answer.

I recently had a play with a sheet that made a projection. Lots of different values were required. Lots of different equations …

Missing Mobile Phone Feature

I have worked out what feature mobile phones are missing that they all really ought to have:

Hardware Brightness Buttons

How many times do you turn in a phone in a dark room only to get blinded?

How many times do you turn in a phone in bright daylight and …

Lost to Time

I remember watching an online satirical video in 2004 and a recent conversation brought it to mind. I wanted to find and share that video with the other participants but I had a slight problem. I couldn't find it.

I have now had several attempts to find the video, using …

A different perspective of the moon landings

With the 50th anniversary of the moon landings this weekend, there have been a lot of different programs looking back at the event.

My favourite interview has to be the recollection from one of the astronaut's kids. While watching on TV, their main worry was that their dad was going …

Games Reflect Reality

Over the weekend we had some friends over who brought a new boardgame over. The game was a very strategy focused game and I had to make the first move. I was struggling to decide what move to make and said something along the following:

It is difficult to make …

The First Tuesday After the Second Thursday in June

Happy Marches

The UK Home Office Has Renamed The Country

Last night we sat down to try and fill out the paperwork for Denise to apply for UK citizenship. Assuming she gets it, I will be the only member of my family who doesn't have two citizenships.

I say paperwork but this time it is a multi stage online form …

Pretty Refinery

At some point back in Febuary, I was admiaring the beautiful sunrise on the way into work. I took a quick photo before putting my phone away before entering the site. As usual when I looked at the photo on the screen, it was not anywhere near as nice as …

Scotrail’s Discount

Scotrail have managed to annoy some folk by claiming that they don’t charge extra for traveling at peak times, they merely offer a discount for travelling at off-peak times. Of course both ways of looking at it end up with the same result, but scotrail want to frame it …

Going to Nowhere

Ken Perlin wrote a blogpost last night about being nowhere, the idea of being in a place such as a train station or airport, where everyone is just on their way to somewhere else.

Well almost everyone.

My dad used to design and project manage shop refits including several shops …

Automated Lights

We have some 'smart lights' installed in our house with various timers set up. When we first set them up, we found that they occasionally got mixed up and would be on when we would want them off. I had thought we had bottomed out all the bugs months ago …

Future Writing

Ken Perlin wrote a blog post a couple of days ago examining how people will write code in the future. There is a discussion around whether the QWERTY keyboard will continue to be the main input method or will something else take over? Will we use gestures and graphical programing …

The Force of Fire

While looking at the pictures of last night's fire in Notre-Dame, I am again reminded of how powerful and destructive fires are.

I have held a fire hose when it was active. I know what the force of water leaving the hose feels like. And yet, the pictures of the …

Packing Silliness

To go with my new bike, I bought a couple of new locks on amazon. One was a high security thing, while the other was what others have described as a ‘cafe lock’. The sort of thing that is very light and easy to carry and can be attached in …

Waiting On the Platform

The two folk sitting in seats next to me are, to the casual observer, talking to themselves. Both are on their phones with hands free kits, but both are doing all the talking.

They both look mad, but then me staring off into space as I listen to a podcast …

Simple Technology

Yesterday Ken Perlin wrote about whiteboards on his blog and asks what makes the whiteboard "such a perfect vehicle for collaboration". I think a significant part of it is the lack of complex technology.

When you go to use a whiteboard, there is usually some problem you are trying to …

Computers Only Do

For years I have heard the phrase “computers only do what you tell them to do”. This is usually after someone complains that the computer did something silly and is intended to shift the blame back to the user for asking the wrong question.

While it is true that in …

A Good Rule

When looking up some information in the [ wiki, I came across their page on their MQTT server1 and the rules at the top of the page caught my eye:

  • Do not use the MQTT network for evil.
  • Do not annoy other lab users (especially with sound or lighting).
  • Do …

Two Day Recovery

I am told that in America, if you are to get two days off at Christmas, it is normal to be Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. In the UK, the two public holidays are Christmas Day and Boxing Day which makes more sense to me, the day of the celebration …

The Darkest Days Are Over

Maybe not metaphorically, but considering we are past the winter solstice, we can start to enjoy more daylight again.

We should probably celebrate it in some way...

Text with Feeling

Ken Perlin wrote a blog post yesterday about transcribing speech to text:

Yet converting speech to text, even when done perfectly, inevitably loses something. Even if the text you end up with is a faithful transcription of your words, it fails to capture your tone and intonation.

I wonder whether …

Learning to Walk

A couple of years ago I remember a discussion around walking robots. The general consensus was that they were a silly waste of time and possibly a bit of a con.

The reasoning was that they aren't all that good. Anything you can do with these robots can be done …

Three Cogs

When driving this evening, I saw a van that had a logo that included three gears all looks linked together similar to the image shown below.

Three interlocking Gears
I see a problem here.
Three interlocking Gears
I see a problem here.

As I am sure anyone who thinks about it for any length of …

Happy 1st of December

You may proceed to play Christmas music non-stop for the next month and begin completing for the most colourful lighting displays around your homes.

We have.

Teaching the Hypothesis

When writing yesterday's post I remembered my own introduction to experiments at school. I loved science and I loved finding stuff out. What I didn't love was getting things wrong and I could not understand why they forced us to make a guess about what would happen before we carried …

No Errors ≠ No Problems

I have a program at work that generates some slides to display on various screens around the site. The program is a bit of a hack and bodge but it mostly works. I have set up a pretty good error handling system and regularly check it to see if anything …

On Cardboard Boats

Today was the LUCS1 Canal Fun Day in Linlithgow. There was lots of stalls and boat rides and one of the main events is the annual cardboard boat race.

It was fun to watch what parts I could between the crowds, though there was also a bit of nostalgia …

When Helping Hurts

I have just finished listening to the Frekonomics episode when helping hurts and am staggered.

The episode talks about a large study, the Cambridge-Somerville study, into social interventions and attempts to reduce gang viollence.

This was as close to perfect study in terms of it being a long term, randomised …

Clockwork at Work

From the first of May, all smart watches and fitness trackers have been banned at work to help comply with DSEAR1. The ban covers everywhere within the refinery gates, including offices, not just plants where explosive atmospheres may occur.

As a result, I can no longer use my everyday …