Author Archives: Tim

Bigger, better, faster, more?

In recent years I’ve become increasingly interested in what are, by mass consumer standards, ‘low‑spec’ technologies. The Arduino range of microcontrollers, available to buy new in 2020, are (compared to the laptop I wrote this post on) roughly as powerful as the first ZX Spectrum I used in the 1980s. CPU speed is measured in low numbers of megahertz, RAM capacity in an even lower number of kilobytes. Some of the data rates (measured in bits per second) for LoRaWAN, a contemporary but specialised wireless networking technology, are slower than those achieved by the 2400bps modem we used at home to access bulletin boards in the early 1990s.

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Messiness and the Struggle for Air

I’ve found myself reflecting a number of times on a post written by my friend Mark a couple of weeks ago.  I was particularly taken by its openness.  I have another, anonymous blog which I occasionally use for the thoughts that feel too personal to put here.  There’s nothing controversial or extreme, but it’s interesting that I’ve felt the need to segregate that content.  I’m still trying to figure out exactly why I started the secret blog habit, although it most likely stems from being in the job market at the time.  Show no ‘weakness’, don’t rock the boat and all that.

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Is Labour’s ‘Freebie ISP’ a good idea? #freebroadband #BLBroadband

I don’t give too much credence to election pledges from any political party. They are, in my opinion, carefully calculated bribes incentives to buy votes persuade the more easily swayed elements of the electorate; promises to be broken, forgotten, or re-interpreted once power is secured. Promises to implement policies and implemented policies are two very different things.  However, Labour’s recent ‘promise‘ for free “full-fibre” broadband for all UK homes and businesses has caught my geeky attention.  It’s a technological alternative to 5p off a litre of petrol or a freeze on alcohol duty.

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Three fail (again) @ThreeUK @ThreeUKSupport

In a perfect world, this post would have been a discussion of my new 4G home Internet connection, the features of the router, network performance and that kind of thing.  Sadly, perfection and Three never seem to be words that I can use in the same sentence (except this one).

I probably should have slept on this before writing a post, but sometimes you have to vent.  It also feels like a good idea to keep a record of events in case Three manage to foul up the cancellation of my order.

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Good Day List, Bad Day List #projectstudents

We all have our ups and downs in life and, speaking personally, this certainly applies to study. How can you maintain motivation and momentum on days when study feels like the last thing you want to do? In this post I’ll share a simple technique that continues to work well for me whether it’s a good day or a bad day.

TLDR: Make two task lists for your project: one for the good days when you can manage the heavy mental lifting; and a second list of more mundane tasks that you can tackle on the bad days.

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In through the nose. Count slowly to five. Out through the mouth. #fiction

Nick paces the office, taking two minutes before he hits the send button. He catches sight of his reflection in the glass of a cheap clip frame that hangs on the wall. “Looking tired,” he says quietly to himself, gently shaking his head. “Looking old.” His eyes focus on the long service certificate behind the glass. One corner of the border is slightly smudged, but nobody bothered to reprint it. “Good enough for Nick,” someone thought. Maybe they didn’t even notice. “30 years. 30 years,” he whispers. 30 years, half of his life, given to this place. In through the nose. Count slowly to five. Out through the mouth…

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