In the Days Before Digital Downloads

Digging through some old papers I came across a letter that I wrote to the magazine Your Computer in 1981 when I would have been 16.

What’s interesting about this historical artifact is not that it was hand written and sent through the post on paper (although that is certainly unusual these days). No it is that it contains a submission for publication of a program that I’d written.

It’s hard to believe in these days of digital software downloads that there was a time when programs were small enough that they could be printed in magazines and people actually … Read the rest

My Everyday Carry (edc)

Everyday Carry, as defined by wikipedia, are useful items that are consistently carried on person every day. It has become something of a movement with people showing off their own edc which, in many cases regrettably, seems to include a knife.

Always one to jump on a bandwagon when it is passing I thought that I would present to you my minimalist edc which you can see above and includes:

A couple of these items (Spooly and Mu) have been sourced from Kickstarter projects. I have to … Read the rest

How to pass multiple parameters in and out of PHP functions

At some point in your PHP development you are likely to want to break repeated functionality out into a separate, well, function. Something that you’ll no doubt also want to do is pass information back and forward from these functions.

If you are familiar with scope in programming you will be aware that variables are typically only available where they are created. This means if you create a variable called $name in the main part of your code you would not be able to “see” this variable in a function unless you passed it across. The scope of the variable … Read the rest

HyperCube: Auto Photo Backup USB Device

The HyperCube is another Kickstarter project but unlike the tardy Spooly this one went from completion on 16th July to delivery in just eight weeks which must be some sort of record for projects I have backed.

The HyperCube’s premise is simple. It’s a USB dongle that allows you to backup multiple device’s photos and videos to some connected media while simultaneously charging. That media could be a microSD card, a USB stick or even an external hard drive. The idea is that it makes backup simple and could replace services such as iCloud thereby saving you money.

The Dongle

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How I Got Here

Many people have meticulously planned lives. They have a goal, a direction of travel, a way of getting from A to B and the drive and ambition to reach that goal. Others wander aimlessly through life without knowing whether they have achieved any goal through dint of not having ever set one. Others find that luck guides them.

Then there is me. I had a direction of travel that I was more than happy with. I had a goal that I had set myself years before and had achieved but as is so often the case when you reach the … Read the rest

Spooly – the Long Kickstarter Wait

I’ve written about Kickstarter on numerous occasions highlighting both the successes and the failures for me on the crowdfunding platform. Today I wanted to talk about the successful failure that is Spooly.

On June 9th 2016 the self-styled “World’s First Magnetic Charging Cables” was fully funded securing £70,000 more than the project goal. What had attracted me to the Spooly was the size, little more than the connector and a short cable, and that it would stay neatly together using a magnetic cable.

The Long, Long Wait

I handed over my money and waited. And waited. And waited. In … Read the rest

How to run code before every controller in CodeIgniter

I have been working on my side project PostRecycler recently which I have re-written to use the CodeIgniter framework. I came across an interesting challenge where I needed to run some code before every other controller.

What I wanted was to prevent a user from moving away from the dashboard page if their account had expired but what I didn’t want to do was to have to remember to put that into every controller. I guess I could have done it as a helper function but that still would have meant putting a call to it in every controller. MY_Controller … Read the rest

Will Chromium give Microsoft the Edge?

Having dominated the browser world and making developers lives a misery with Internet Explorer Microsoft are now adapting to a new world order by adopting a competitors browser.

IE, A Short History

There was a time when Internet Explorer (from now on referred to as IE) ruled the world when it came to browsing the web. Then along came Chrome (and to a lesser extent Firefox) and there was a mass exodus from IE. IE now only accounts for just over 6% of traffic while Chrome has 47%.

With Windows 10 Microsoft introduced Edge as it’s browser going forward but … Read the rest

KeySmart the Tile Enabled Key Organiser

Over the years I have blown hot and cold in my views on Tile, the bluetooth dongle that you attached to bag, keys and other items to keep track of them.

Tile, a History

I was early in and was frustrated by the slow time for order to delivery – over a year at the time of writing this post in 2014.

The fundamental flaw of the original Tile was that the battery was baked in and so when that died you were left with a useless piece of plastic. Tile did offer a replacement facility but the … Read the rest

Brydge iPad Pro Keyboard

Little by little, year by year Apple are slowly turning the iPad into a pretty decent workhorse. And with the ability in iOS 13 to pair it with a mouse even more so. With this in mind I have been looking for a keyboard that would give a more laptop type feel to the iPad.

I already have the Apple keyboard case and that works well but the keys aren’t great for long typing sessions. I also tried using a full sized Apple Magic Keyboard and that was lovely for typing but didn’t have the portability that I was looking … Read the rest