I've spent my spare time during the last few weeks writing another app, this one for the pnut.io social network. It enhances the failures of my first app, for 10centuries.org. Yes, more social networking, surprising for such an antisocial [expletive deleted.]


It's a Python program, application; heck call it an app if you must, I'm old. I began programming in the early 1980s, a time at the beginning of the UK's home computer boom, and a time when one had to program to make computers work. And then came the Sinclair Spectrum and its awesome games and all was lost for me by the mid-eighties.

Back to the present…

Yes, I've gone for feature bloat rather than iterate through the creation of bulletproof functions, but it's so satisfying when something works, when something clicks into place in my head, and when someone helps me understand something. That's the very best bit, cooperation!

FAQ (usually means 'frequently asked questions'):

So what does it look like? Old-fashioned.

How advanced is the graphical user interface? There isn't one.

Does it have a SnapChat plugin? Er… a say what now?

Does it have the ability to– Wait! It's written in Python 3.5; in good hands it can do pretty much anything a computer can do–

Ok, can it– No. I'm on but the second rung of the ladder, I can see snakes from here.

Roll 1d6 Oi! You f[CARRIER LOST]

Ok, the main thing I've gained from my progress so far is an enhanced understanding of the effort involved in the creation and maintenance of all the apps and services I'm using right now.



I just finished making dinner for me and the girls and realised something quite profound. My web site has existed in various forms and at various hosts over the 20 years since I arrived online. That's not the important thing, no. 2017 is the first year that events outside my control rendered the vast majority of its content obsolete.

Yes, this is another post about the collateral damage resulting from App.net's demise; though this one will thankfully be brief. Being honest, I don't see much point in writing much about the past now, the future is much more important. It's actually very easy for me to say that; the majority of people who made App.net special are at 10centuries.org or pnut.io right now.

Back to my Wiki-type site. First the volunteer-driven App.net Wiki I helped edit expired, I stepped away from iOS, and then the network the App.net Wiki documented disappeared. Well, at least its infrastructure did. Ahhh…

My focus changed over the last year-and-a-half to blogging about what I'm thinking about, what I'm doing, and what makes me tick. A typical personal blog.

Maybe I should redirect incoming site requests to my 10C blog. or the more complete but less-social GitHub.com version or, heck, the trial self-hosted blog currently unloved and waiting for me to reconnect the Raspberry Pi 2 B mirroring it from the GitHub repo.


IT support

This user-requested software upgrade exchange didn't happen. I've made it up. Yes.*

The Man:

"[folder name] There is a launcher in here [program name].exe which should install the shizzle."

Me, feeling cocky:

"We iz installing the shizzle on Jason’s machine.  We think. :)"

(time passed…)

Unfortunately due to the way [program name] works, its installer had a lie down instead of exhibiting the outward trappings of a performant conclusion.

Me, somewhat circumspect:

"Could you please start the [program name] upgrade on a few more machines after lunch/1pm? Ben, Zeb, John-Boy and John.  Maybe Olivia and Mary-Ellen tomorrow."

The Man:

'Please see below for the correct way to submit a request, as one of your colleagues seemed to nail it!

"Oh Great One,
Your humble servant requests that you fix [another program name] on my PC what not working (but did last week).

Me, acquiescing:

"Dear Sir or Madam of Awesomesauce,

This obsequious underling (initially examining but not limiting said examination to in this regard the relative vertical offsets between uppermost portions of cranial body parts) is desirous of your physical presence around these environs after the commencement and subsequent termination of the half-hour period in which the majority consume their midday repast to effect the increase in [program name]-related CAD and/or design productivity (post-button-fiddling-and-bitwise-cogitation) of a small number of my esteemed colleagues, to be occasioned by a heretofore successful manual implementation of a ‘soft ware upgrade’; those colleagues being namely by name: Ben of Sausage, Zeb of Sausage, John of Sausage, and John-Boy the, er…  And, upon successful termination of the afore-to-alluded-to procedural black-box magic incantations, to examine the possibility of repeating the procedures on two further colleagues’ computing devices at a point not limited to a limited time within the limits of the next working day; those personnel being namely Olivia The Great of A-Specific-Sausage-Name-Analogy and Mary-Ellen The Great of Many-Bread-Product-Name-Analogies.

Yours in eager and trembling anticipatory raptures,
Mr or Mrs Turner.

p.s. The writer has determined that his or her [another program name] is also what not working (but what did earlier in the year.)"

(time passed…)

Yes, of course he did it, tsk!

The end.

*Er… No, that's not exactly true. However the names have been changed to protect the identities of the guineapigs involvZzzz…

7 bits

Last week, during the school holiday, my wife took our daughters to a National Trust property. My oldest has to prepare a piece on Victorian England, so where better to go than a historic home and mill?

During the tour around the mill both girls made key rings, beads strung in the form of a binary number representation of the initials of their first and last names.

The next day I got together with my youngest to decode the beads, adopting a methodical approach:

  • Explain what binary numbers are used for these days,
  • Explain what they were used for in the olden-days,
  • Sketch out a table of 7-bit binary, and extend it to 8 bits,
  • Note down the first set of beads, being careful to establish a datum from which to start, in case we chose the wrong end first,
  • Add up the filled 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 and 128 positions, explaining why,
  • Find an ASCII character table from the Internet to decide which character the number represents,
  • Repeat for the second letter, which proved we'd chosen the wrong end from which to start, but it didn't matter for the first,
  • Success!

Ok, you get the idea. A surprisingly fun thing to do on a miserably mild English winter afternoon.

Sinclair C5

Can modern incarnation of C5 succeed? (BBC)

I'm easily old enough to remember the original 3-wheeled washing-machine-motor-powered death-trap, the only safety aid a flag flapping above on a flexible whip shaft, but didn't see one for real until years later, in a museum.

I view the name Sinclair with fondness. I owned a ZX81 (with 16K wobbly RAM Pack, a Spectrum 48K and thermal printer, and an almost-totally-impractical in-ear radio. I still want a red-LED RPN calculator, bug-ridden as I know it to be.

Though modern cars are far safer than during the 1980s, the roads are fuller and the drivers less-attentive than ever. So I confidently predict that Betteridge's Law of Headlines applies here.

The answer to the question the headline poses: No, no more-so than ever.

Pinboard fail

Well, 3 weeks after paying for a Pinboard.in bookmark tagging and page archiving account, I'm no closer to having the site owner fix the issues I've mentioned.

It's the first time tagging made sense to me, thus disappointing that the failures are increasing in scope, tested across a range of operating systems, browsers and apps.

Archiving hasn't started yet despite multiple promises, full-text search is thus impossible, new tags require multiple refreshes to show up and so bundling is problematic, simple searches fail to find bookmarks visible on the same page! I could go on, but the bottom line is when the site owner repeatedly fails to respond and fails to fix the issues I highlight, I complain about, why should I invest more time in the service?

Pinboard.in thus easily fails to gain Baz's seal of approval.

I might have to make my own, though it won't reach the promise of Pinboard's feature set. Here's something I put together some time ago; it's generated from a CSV file, no databases to introduce complexity.


Testy 2

Finally, we have liftoff! A week-and-a-half in, and I've managed to configure a £30 computer and create a functional pair of shell scripts to post blithering idiocy to my test site/blog.

Streamlining it all to improve security, to post only changed files within the site, and to have the computer run connected only to power & the local network are my next goals.



After a rubbish day, a tale of woe: posts detailing a short journey from pleasure to disappointment, spanning around 3 hours:


OK, it looks as though my dream to rock up in a few days with an iPhone Plus, and start messing about with Workflows is at an end.

Financially it makes no sense, we'd like a holiday this year, and other things. So I went for a OnePlus 2: an older model, running on a Cyanogen variant with the potential to not get the Nougat upgrade; but the price, for a high-spec. phone with the big screen I crave, is very attractive.

£250 (around US$315) for this:


Yes, I know you don't have time to read it. 🙂

(time passed…)


Well, that sucks. Scheduled to be delivered between 10pm & midnight, Amazon cancelled the order at 11:14pm, without giving me a reason. The twa


… I might as well go to bed. 🙁

So I did.