On direct lighting

Just can't get the shot I want...

System Error: fixing the flaws in Government IT

A few months ago, I was interviewed by researchers from the Institute for Government, as part of their work on the report that arrived, embargoed, in my email yesterday. I’ve now had a chance to read it. I’ve heard a number of opinions on the project over the last few months — I have to say, mostly not very complimentary ones — so I was glad to see what they finally decided. On the whole, ...(Read More)

Always post-process your underwater photographs…

A quickie post, really. I took lots of photographs while scuba diving at Sipadan last year. A selection of the nicest ones are in my flickr stream. But when I originally uploaded them, I hadn’t modified them at all. Mostly because I’d had to trawl through 1600+ honeymoon photos and it was rather late in the day. But today I thought I’d spend 5 minutes seeing if they could be improved — as it was ...(Read More)

On £585 favicons…

Much noise has been made in the last couple of days about Reading Room charging the Information Commissioner’s Office £585 for a favicon – the small graphics that appear to the left of the URL in the address bar when you visit a website. This story provoked a rather predictable outburst on how Government spends far too much money, and doesn’t get value for money*. It’s a perspective that’s expressed frequently — most recently for ...(Read More)


Last week, I went to India as part of the Prime Minister’s business delegation. The trip came completely out of the blue, and I was surprised and honoured to be asked. We were only in India for a couple of days — a whirlwind tour — but it was an unforgettable trip. In fact, having now spent 20 minutes staring at those two sentences, I’m finding it a bit hard to know where to begin. ...(Read More)

The Hoffman Voltameter: Mark II

Following on from my first attempt, I’ve built a new version: This version has smaller bottles, reducing the amount of electrolyte needed, and goes back to using silicone sealant to attach the PEX piping to the bottles. The glue gun was just too leak prone. Although it was much quicker to work with, the glue is very rigid when dry, so handling the apparatus (eg when filling or emptying) tended to create leaks. So I ...(Read More)

Making a Hoffman Voltameter

I’ve been dabbling with odds & ends of chemistry in my spare time recently (mostly trying in vain to remember the stuff I learnt at school). I’ve been partly inspired by this excellent book, and partly by a young cousin who’s recently become fascinated by all things chemical. Hmm. Is that a redundancy? Anyway. For a fun project, and to start understanding electrochemistry better (which, as soon as you scratch the surface, becomes rather complicated), ...(Read More)

Who should I vote for?

Help me decide who to to vote for

My letter to Jeremy Corbyn MP

Write to your MP, and ring them up. Now. Like, before lunch.

The Creative Coalition Campaign’s Guardian ad, deconstructed

Today, in the Guardian, the Creative Coalition Campaign published an advertisement urging MPs to vote for the Digital Economy Bill. An ad from the Open Rights Group (with which I am involved) and 38degrees also appeared, urging MPs to vote against. The difference? We’re standing up for people’s rights to due process, for constitutional propriety and for people’s digital liberties. They’re standing up for retrograde legislation to protect their own interests, at the expense of ...(Read More)

Support the Open Knowledge Foundation

You should give them your monies.

Letter to Harriet Harman

The Digital Economy Bill must be fully debated!

British culture and entrepreneurs

We should support entrepreneurship, and celebrate success