Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

MegaTech and MiniTech (Part 3)

This post is, finally, the third post of a three-part blog series that I began quite some time ago <ahem>. See and for the first two posts.

The second post looked at a relatively small and simple software system, SPONGE (the Simplest Possible ONline Grouping Environment), that I created for my research in a primary school setting. Despite my best efforts and intentions the teachers completely avoided the use of SPONGE in their lessons. Completely.

Continue reading

Thoughts from a #wikiplebian @jimmy_wales @wikimedia

Jimmy Wales, or at least his mass-mailing robot, emailed me the other day on a Wikipedia fund-raising mission.  I’ve donated in the past but I won’t be this year.  Of all the unlikely reasons it’s the Daily Mail who are the cause of my boycott.  I doubt that he’ll have the time to read my reply, given that he’ll be too busy preparing for things like his upcoming event ($250 to $25000 a go, anyone?) which make my measly £10 a year donation look decidedly unnecessary.

Continue reading