Digital Independence

Jul 23, 2018
My recent experience made me look more closely at my backups, how I manage my data, and how much is locked away in places and formats that are hard to back-up and restore from. If I, or anyone else, wanted my data to be more digitally independent, what are the important points to consider?

Goodbye Time Machine, Hello Rsync

Jul 1, 2018
Last week the screen on my laptop went black, and stayed black. It’s at that point your blood runs cold as you start to think “When did I last back up?”.

Adding WiFi Network on Raspbian-Debian from the Command Line

May 3, 2018
If I’m taking my HP Stream 11 running Linux with me, it’s most useful when I can connect to WiFi. I keep forgetting how to do it Raspbian (which in this case is basically just Debian), as it’s one of those things I do just infrequently enough to forget.

Installing Linux on a HP Stream 11

Feb 12, 2018
Installing Linux on a HP Stream 11
The HP Stream 11 is “cloud ready” laptop with the appearance, feel and finish of a Fisher-Price toy. It’s also very cheap, or in this case free, from a relative, as it’d managed to Windows Update itself into a corner. So there’s only one option to revive it.

Best of Newly Heard in 2017

Dec 19, 2017
Best of Newly Heard in 2017
This year feels a bit more low key, perhaps because it’s been busy or because of the apprehension of what comes next, this means I’ve not been wanting to raise my blood pressure that much. As usual there’s a playlist of the top six with additional few songs that have also been on heavy rotation, but didn’t make it into the headlines. Public Service Broadcasting - The Pit Something about the way the ominous brass section drones pull you in really creates a great foreboding at the start of the album, even if the song ending gives you more hope.

Best of Newly Heard in 2016

Dec 27, 2016
Best of Newly Heard in 2016
This year’s list is surprisingly up to date, with four of the top six recommendations being released in the last twelve months. When looking for new music suggestions I often start unseasonably picking through the abandoned remains of the previous year’s ‘best of’ lists long after they’ve been published and forgotten. It feels slightly illicit, like finding a box of Christmas decorations on the hottest day of the year and deciding to hang them up, but they are still a good source for scavenging high quality recommendations.

The Craft of Writing Effectively

May 16, 2016
I admit that I don’t watch, or read, large amounts on improving my writing1, thinking that the most important factor is just doing more of it. This video by University of Chicago writing program leader Larry McEnerney, contains a few important lessons that I hadn’t even considered before, and are worth remembering, even if you’re not writing in academia.

Best of Newly Heard in 2015

Dec 21, 2015
Best of Newly Heard in 2015
As surely as night follows day and unlistenably long ‘best albums of …’ lists follow twelve months of music reviews, here is my contribution to stealing the last of your ear’s remaining music-free moments. In what is becoming a standard, below are my top six tracks, but the Spotify playlist also contains all those that almost made it; with a total length of a very reasonable 49 minutes. Future of the Left - Arming Eritrea

Four Hours in Amsterdam

Aug 16, 2015
Four Hours in Amsterdam
Between flights I lock my bag somewhere in depths of Schiphol Airport and take a yellow and blue train to the centre. The outlines of thousands of passengers are worn into the fabric of the seats, leaving a faded silhouette in the centre of each one. The train is well used and unglamorous, but seems to work to everyone’s satisfaction. I’ve changed planes here many times before, but never made it outside, beyond the concourse, the duty free shops and the sense that you should be queuing somewhere.

Whimsy Money

Mar 1, 2015
I find buying small things about as hard as buying expensive things. Mostly because the benefit is less clear-cut, and so it’s harder to know if it’s a good use of your money. Buying something large and expensive is clearer - what kind of cycling do I need a bike for? how big a car do I need? How powerful and expensive a computer? But for something small? Is the extra 10% worth it for a slightly nicer wine? Do I notice the benefit of slightly nicer seats in the cinema? Are these branded jeans actually better?1 The solution is Whimsy Money.