Hello! I studied Computer Science, and now I live in Bath! I write code, design games, and occasionally tweet.Why not subscribe?

Fractal Pen Plotters

 Posted February 3, 2020. Fractals, Photos. 66 words.

Fractal Pen Plotters Nova

If you want to try for yourself, I have updated my Fractal Explorer to export fractals using PenPlot coloring. Then simply use potrace to convert the image to a SVG. If you want to print this specific fractal, why not download either the PNG or the SVG.

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BathTub Orchestra at Roots

 Posted January 19, 2020. Flute, Music. 128 words.

BathTub Orchestra at Roots

Today the BathTub Orchestra’s is playing at Bradford-upon-Avon’s annual Roots Music Festival, at the Wiltshire Music Centre. I had a fantastic time playing the flute. Here is a playlist from the night.

We Made the Paper

 Posted January 14, 2020. Flute, Music, Photos. 18 words.

We Made the Paper We Made the Paper CLoseup

That was Over Quickly

 Posted January 9, 2020. Photos. 8 words.

That was Over Quickly

BathTub Orchestra's Christmas Celebration

 Posted December 4, 2019. Flute, Music. 117 words.

BathTub Orchestra's Christmas Celebration

Today I performed in BathTub Orchestra’s Christmas Celebration. I had a great time playing the flute. Here is a playlist from the night.

How to Make Jekyll Category and Year Pages Without Plugins

 Posted March 20, 2019. Jekyll, Text. 370 words.

Jekyll is fantastic, easy to use, and extensible. However, some Jekyll hosts such as GitHub Pages do not allow people to use custom plugins - and I want category and year pages. But rightly so. Allowing custom plugins would require hosts to allow users to run arbitary Ruby code on their build servers and possibly create a mess. This problem is solvable, but it’s ultimately simpler to just ban them entirely.

This constrained environment forces you to get creative. On this blog I use the fantasic jekyll-compress-html template which minifies the very post you are reading. I have written by own template to automatically replace standard markdown or HTML images with lazily loaded ones. And finally, I have written a small (it’s only a hundred or so lines ;) ) Makefile to automatically, among other-things, generate year and category pages:

# Find categories and years
CATTARGETS  = $(shell grep -h '^categories:' -r _posts/ | awk -F ':' \
              '{print $$2}' | tr ' ' '\n' | sed '/^$$/d' | sort | uniq | \
              awk '{print "categories/"$$1".html"}')
YEARTARGETS = $(shell find _posts/ -regextype egrep -regex '.*/[0-9]{4}.[^/]*' \
              -printf '%P\n' | cut -c-4 | sort | uniq | \
              awk '{print "years/"$$1".html"}')

# Generate category pages
cat: cat-clean $(CATTARGETS)
categories/%.html: _templates/category.html
	cp $< $@
	sed -i 's/#####CATEGORY#####/$*/' $@

# Generate year pages
year: year-clean $(YEARTARGETS)
years/%.html: _templates/year.html
	cp $< $@
	sed -i 's/#####YEAR#####/$*/' $@

To use, simply create _templates/category.html and a _templates/year.html templates and run make cat year. The code assumes your posts start with the date and they are stored in the default _posts/. When run #####CATEGORY##### and #####YEAR##### will be replaced with the templated value.

I̵n̵t̵e̵r̵a̵i̵l̵i̵n̵g̵, No Flying into Malaga

 Posted March 11, 2019. Photos, Travel. 238 words.

I briefly flew to Malaga.

In The Sky

In The Sky

On The Streets

On The Streets

By The Beach Time To Sleep

By The Beach and Time To Sleep.

The Next Day Buried Remains

The Next Day and Buried Remains.

Hello There Towering Castle

Hello There, a Towering Castle.

Inside Are Gardens A View Of The City

Inside Are Gardens and a View Of The City.

A View Of The Town

A View Of The Town

Ugshot Squirrel Cats

Ugshot. Squirrel? Cats!

Obligatory Photo

Obligatory Photo

Reading Till Dusk Giraffes

Reading Till Dusk. Giraffes.

Watching A Protest Listening To The Drums

Watching A Protest. Listening To The Drums.

In The Market

In The Market

Towering Over Cramped Checking Out

Towering Over. Cramped. Checking Out.

Flying Home

Flying Home, the Question is Where Next?

Let it Snow!

 Posted February 1, 2019. Photos, Snow, Text. 24 words.

Let it snow

Not a great photo, still alive. Have an avatar generator.

25 Days, 25 Languages

 Posted December 1, 2018. Programming, Text. 226 words.

This year I am going to take part in the 2018 Advent of Code, where each day, two new programming challenges are uploaded to the site. But as I live in the UK and I don’t want to ruin my sleeping schedule for a month, competing for the leaderboard is out of the question. Instead, I am going to challenge myself to use 25 different programming languages.

For this I will treat different versions of the same language as the same language, so no Python 2 and Python 3 solutions. However, I can use C, C++, and C# as they are all different languages, even if they are rather similar syntactically. As for what language I pick on the day, it really depends how I am feeling. If the problem is simple, I am more likely to choose a more complex or unfamiliar language. I’ll be saving some language for when I am really struggling.

My solutions will be posted on GitHub.

Edit: Oops, so that didn’t happen. Not long after starting this challenge I broke my dominant wrist roller-skating, and just in time for Christmas! But anyway, this means that it is unlikely that I will finish this. While incomplete, I am glad I attempted it and will definitely consider using Rust in future projects - it is a nice language.

Reddit, Your Site is Terrible, Please Make it Worse

 Posted November 15, 2018. Rant, Reddit, Text. 785 words.

Reddit, the 18th largest site worldwide is a fantastic site full of fun user-created content, amazing photos from around the world, and crazy far-right conspiracy theories. The web experience is great too. On desktop you can see several posts at a time amidst a sea of extraneous white-space. On mobile the site fills your browser until it is time to nag you, at least twice, to install their app. And then touch-events are registered 1​cm up the page for no good reason. Or images refuse to load no matter what you do. You get the picture.

And I find myself going back.

Other social-networks simply don’t grab me the same way that Reddit does. Reddit is a never-ending fire-hose of content, you can keep scrolling, and keep scrolling, and keep scrolling, and keep scrolling, and I do. Facebook is a useful tool, but I never find myself scrolling through the news feed. Twitter is an endless feed of announcements, politics, and small things taken out of context. LinkedIn is a professional waste of time. Twitch is background noise, I listen to it, I don’t watch it, and I don’t feel that I waste the little time I spend there. YouTube, well I spend a fair amount of time on YouTube. There are great videos published near daily, but my subscription-feed is curated, and the front-page is limited.

Reddit just keeps going.

I only have finite time in a day, in a year, in a life, and I don’t think Reddit is a good way to spend any of it. I set perpetual Cold Turkey blocks on Reddit and other distractions on my computers. I do not have a Reddit app installed on my phone, but I do have a web-browser. I try to not use Reddit on my phone, I do it anyway. I clear my history from time to time to clear Reddit from my suggestions, it comes back. I definitely need to try harder.

I think I would block Reddit entirely if I could.

As far as I know, there is no perfect method to block Reddit on a non-rooted Android phone (I like Google Pay and similar applications) like there is on a regular computer. Cold Turkey has an Android app, but it blocks the phone instead of Reddit. It is still a useful app but it’s not what I am looking for. You can use an app to setup an Accessibility, VPN, or DNS blocker but doing so is finicky. Either it needs a persistent notification, drains what little battery life my old phone has left, or needs to be configured for every single WiFi network you connect to. I recently found BlockSite which seems promising, but I am a little concerned about how easy it would be to uninstall.

This isn’t great, but there is a solution.

Reddit, you keep making your site worse on a near weekly basis. Mobile used to be fantastic, fast, and worked well. First adverts and sponsored content were added which is fair, a site needs to earn money to survive. Cookie banners came next, but they are commonly thought to be required by law (I am not a lawyer). Then the site started to nag you to install the app, which is annoying but only seemed to appear once per tab. The touch-events bug came after, stopping browsing sessions in their tracks. Next Reddit added the blue pill at the bottom of every page, it’s really annoying to close. And now, Reddit has added yet another prompt to install their app. On every page you now need to confirm that yes, you want to continue using Google Chrome. If you make a mistake, or the touch-events bug strikes you will be whisked away from your dark Reddit experience into the stark white Play store.

So thank you Reddit, and please keep up the good work.

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