Buried Treasure From Ancient 35mm Films

While clearing out a drawer in my teenage bedroom I came across a surprise: a box full of exposed-but-undeveloped 35mm films.  Half B&W, half colour print.  Teenage Alex took a lot of pictures but couldn’t afford to have them printed: long assumed lost these films had languished in the back of a drawer for twenty […]

Fun with a Lomo Konstruktor

For Christmas last year I was given a Lomo Konstruktor.  It’s a plastic airfix-style kit with all the parts you need to build a simple SLR camera. I’m pleased with the results.  I won’t get any prizes for technical excellence (plastic lens yuk) but it’s serviceable and teaches you the basics of photography.  You’ll look […]

It’s 2013 and My [Note|Net|Ultra]book is Still Too Big

For years I’ve harboured a vision of a perfect mobile computing device.  It’s not a smartphone and it’s not a tablet, and while they’re heading the right way it’s not any of the present ultrabooks.  I don’t think it even has a name yet so I’m going to coin myself a whole new category. Ultrabook, […]

Open UK Rail Data: The ORR’s Transparency Conference

On Monday I attended a transparency conference run by the Office of Rail Regulation. Two years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed I’d end up writing that.  When National Rail Enquiries shut down their Departure Boards API I sensed an industry closed to change, with valuable data in the hands of a clique who saw information […]

A Year Hosting on Rackspace Cloud

  tl;dr: If you only need single hosts Rackspace Cloud is good value but it lacks key features needed to build a serious infrastructure.  This may be because RS don’t want to cannibalize their dedicated server business. Biggest attraction is stable long-lived instances, worst irritation is the lack of a secure internal network.   For […]

Silencing the Flood of Recruiter Emails with a Domain List

I get a torrent of email from IT recruiters.  There’s the occasional gem; every once in a while someone really does want to get interesting work done on scalable web-facing UNIX platforms. But the rest is utter dross. “Your CV came up in our search” they bleat, “we have an excellent opportunity for you to […]