So, it’s been a while

Time for an overhaul. I probably won’t get to it until early next year the way work is at the moment, but it’s time to consolidate a few things, maybe try out a new platform (looking at either Kirby or Eleventy at the moment).

In the meantime I’m active on Mastodon over at


Friday link pack #9

The photo above is when I met William Gibson during his “Idoru” book tour, at Andromeda in Birmingham, 1997.

Loved Ulysses 31 as a kid (can’t remember the ending though). Nice little find via Facebook The History of Ulysses 31: A Worldwide Hit Barely Registered in the US.

I’ve had the MP3 of this for years, but of course somebody would have uploaded it to YouTube. William Gibson’s epic Neuromancer, dramatised by the BBC. H/T to The Loop for reminding me I had this – very jealous he managed to buy William Gibson a pint, I just met him briefly in Forbidden Planet Birmingham at the book singing for Idoru (the first day I ever skipped sixth form).

Every time I read something about LinkedIn I get the guilty feeling that I should actually do something with my profile. If Tobias Van Schneider is giving it a recommendation, maybe I should schedule some time.

Mixed emotions on the impending end of Flash. When I started my professional career back in 2001 Flash was a big deal, and I spent years building sites and product specifiers with it. Even now I’d defend the “Lego Technic” quality of the IDE, and how quickly you could get a proof of concept demo up and running. Shame that Adobe never went fully down that route. Are Technica has a good article here.

Some seriously great work here Womb Stories H/T Creative Boom.

LA fireworks filmed by drone, set to Blade Runner Main Titles by Vangelis.

Deep dives going on in Spotify this week. I was fortunate to catch Stabbing Westward on tour with White Zombie on the Astro-Creep tour. This was the single at the time, What Do I have To Do.

And sometimes after a long day making things, you just fancy listening to the track from Cars, Life Is A Highway.

Amazing how often a working day can dissolve into this kind of thing – Malcolm In The Middle, Hal changes a lightbulb.

The DUST podcast keeps getting better. I can’t seem to link to specific episodes but if short “immersive science fiction audio stories” are your thing, you need to check this out.

MIT apologizes, permanently pulls offline huge dataset that taught AI systems to use racist, misogynistic slurs H/T The Register


Friday link pack #8

The Bond themes that could have been.

Michael Hawley has died. I hadn’t heard his name before (not that I can recollect anyway) but wow, what a life:

A man of manifold interests, his achievements ranged from developing ideas behind the so-called Internet of Things to publishing the world’s biggest book.

A lot of the expected Apple Silicon articles doing the rounds, but I particularly enjoyed reading this one.

Making music in Excel


Friday link pack #7

The Project Behind a Front Page Full of Names

“Putting 100,000 dots or stick figures on a page “doesn’t really tell you very much about who these people were, the lives that they lived, what it means for us as a country,” Ms. Landon said. So, she came up with the idea of compiling obituaries and death notices of Covid-19 victims from newspapers large and small across the country, and culling vivid passages from them.”

How we made Airplane!

LibraryThing. Feels like a more community driven version of Good Reads, and it has an API 😎 (H/T Dense Discovery, issue #88)

Looking forward to kicking the tyres – Strapi reaches stable release.

100 things every UX designer should know, including A Nuclear Warning Designed to Last 10,000 Years.

I could easily get lost in Astronaut for a while (H/T Swiss Miss):

Today, you are an Astronaut. You are floating in inner space 100
miles above the surface of Earth. You peer through your window and this
is what you see. You are people watching. These are fleeting moments.

These videos come from YouTube. They were uploaded in the last week and have titles like DSC 1234 and IMG 4321. They have almost zero previous views. They are unnamed, unedited, and unseen (by anyone but you).

Astronaut starts when you press GO. The video switches periodically. Click the button below the video to prevent the video from switching.


Missions, season 2

I watched season 1 of this on BBC Four in 2018. I didn’t know season 2 had been released, and both are on Prime! It’s French with subtitles, and I highly recommend it. The Prime synopsis isn’t great, Wikipedia is better:

In the near future, the first manned space mission to Mars, Ulysses 1, is a European mission funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and William Meyer, a billionaire Swiss philanthropist. The crew is made up of the best astronauts and European scientists, including French, Italians and Germans. Jeanne Renoir, the crew psychologist, monitors the mental health of the crew. After ten months travelling through space, a few hours from starting the landing procedure, the astronauts learn from William Meyer that they will not be the first astronauts to land on Mars. They were overtaken by a US mission with a faster vessel funded by NASA and a multi-national computer company. The only sign of life from the American mission is an alarming video and the European mission decides to investigate. On Mars the European astronauts do not find the Americans but a Russian, Vladimir Komarov, who died aboard the Soyuz 1 spacecraft in 1967.

Missions on Prime


Friday link pack #6

Cozy Lego

I’ve never heard the term before I listened to the “This Is A Test” podcast but wow these photos look amazing. Words don’t do it justice, go and check out Architeclego over on Instagram.

The Five Deeps

Great article over at The New Yorker about the expedition to visit the 5 deepest points of the 5 oceans. They also stopped at Titanic.

The real Lord Of The Flies

For his new book, Humankind: A Hopeful History, Rutger Bregman uncovered the real-life story of 6 schoolboys who were stranded on a Pacific island for 15 months in 1965-66. What he learned was not the familiar tale of savagery & death told in William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies. Instead, the boys cooperated and thrived.

via Kottke

AR grab into Photoshop file? Well, this looks like the future.

When users take a photograph with AR Cut & Paste, the software finds distinct objects and automatically removes their backgrounds. In a video below, Diagne shows how a plant is captured on a mobile device before being snipped from the surrounding image. Once he hovers over the computer screen, the cut-out plant is placed directly into Photoshop.

via Colossal

Links Tools

Quick link to some useful dev tools

Fayaz Ahmed has posted a great list over on “I am surprised more people are not using these tools!!”. Some really nice inclusions for API, HTML email, image optimisation… Well worth a coffee and some digging into.

Apps Links

Friday link pack #5

CleanShot X for Mac

This screenshot/video capture tool is great – even lets you capture scrolling regions intelligently. 

Arundhati Roy: ‘The pandemic is a portal’

Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.

Missing IKEA meatballs? How to make your own.

Maker Space Website design

NASA and the Open Source Rover

This made me smile so much last night. NASA JPL has created a website where you can drive a rover in 3D (works perfectly on mobile too), plus it also has a “build your own rover” section. This not only lists the parts but it also lets you drive that rover in the browser too – it’s brilliant!

If nothing else you can enjoy some stress-free driving on another planet for a while 🚀

NASA Open Source Rover


Friday link pack #4

Future Crunch seriously nailed it in this week’s edition. So much good stuff in there, but here are some of their quick links from near the end of the newsletter:

At the beginning of every disaster movie, there’s a scientist being ignored

“I never hear scientists, true scientists, good quality scientists, speak in terms of nationality.” Never before have so many of the world’s researchers focused so urgently on a single topic. Nearly all other research has ground to a halt. — NYT

An open dataset of 47,000 articles on coronavirus has been created by Google and made machine readable, meaning researchers can use AI to generate insights. — Kaggle

Researchers from around the world have set up an online platform for volunteers who want to help them fight the coronavirus. There already over 35,000 volunteers.

There are now 95 treatments and 52 vaccines in development for COVID19 in over 200 clinical trials in the US, China and EU. — Milken Institute

The largest of these is being run by Oxford University. Almost 1,000 patients from 132 different hospitals across the UK with thousands more expected to join. — Harrogate

The Gates Foundation is building seven factories for each of the top seven vaccine candidates. “Even though we’ll end up picking at most two of them, we’re going to fund factories for all seven, so we don’t waste time.” — BI

Over a million people have joined up to create the world’s largest networked supercomputer, and it’s just successfully simulated the opening motion of the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein. — Folding@Home

The Stockdale Paradox (H/T Daring Fireball)

Admiral Jim Stockdale was the highest-ranking military officer in the Hanoi Hilton. He was there for, I think, seven years, from 1968 to  1974. He was tortured over twenty times. And by his own account, Stockdale came out of the prison camp even stronger than he went in.

In preparation for a day I got to spend with Jim Stockdale, I read his book In Love and War. As I read this book, I found myself getting depressed because it seemed like his systemic constraints were so severe, and there was never going to be any end to it. His captors could come in any day and torture him. He had no sense of whether, or if, he would ever get out of the prison camp. Absolutely depressing situation. It’s like we can all survive anything as long as we know it will come to an end, we know when, and we have a sense of control. He had none of that.  

A deeper look at Apple’s latest changes and how the affect PWAs, via Ionic.

TL;DR: if it’s a home screen app the 7 day counter will never be hit, and if you’re using Capacitor/Cordova there is no counter as they use WKWebview.

Criterion announce “War Of The Worlds” Blu-ray

Really hoping this gets a UK release, that film is incredible.

The important thing is to not be afraid