Tag: Hardware

  • Made in Shenzhen: One Week with a Weird Chinese Phone

    I’ve held onto my Galaxy S5 for 2½ years, until at last the battery has stopped holding more than 8 hours’ charge, the compass no longer works, and the “metal” paint is starting to peel. I had two requirements for a replacement: it must be the same size or smaller, and its battery must last significantly longer. Ideally also: cheap. Unfortunately, most popular manufacturers seem to have stabilised on 5.5 inches as the ideal screen size, having long forgotten how the tech media mocked the Dell Streak as a “phablet” for its ridiculously huge 5-inch screen, a lifetime ago. (2010.) Most smaller phones fit into major manufacturers’ “budget” lines, with poor specifications, including the all-important battery size.

  • A Base Hardware Set for USV Control

    Here’s a thing that I don’t have, wouldn’t have time to use, and really shouldn’t buy. But a thing that I really want anyway. It can do 40 knots.

  • Vivarium Automation: Requirements and Component Spec

    It’s a little over a month until we are getting our first pet – a crested gecko. Joseph has decided that if it’s female it will be called “Scarlet”, and Eric has decided that if it’s male it will be called “Rimbaud” after the surrealist poet, partially because it is also a homonym of “Rambo”. I almost hope we get a female as it will be easier to explain.

  • Fun with Playbulb

    Playbulbs are colour LED lights sold by a company called Mipow. They come with an iOS and Android app that can set their colour and various patterns via Bluetooth. There’s no security on them whatsoever, so any nearby device can connect and change their colour. That seems pretty bad — especially when you consider that as well as the small “candle” style lights we have, they also sell room lighting versions that play music and can probably flash fast enough to trigger photosensitive epilepsy. Controlled by your neighbours!

  • All-Terrain Raspberry Pi!

    Another year, another childrens’ toy with a Raspberry Pi needlessly attached to it.

  • Raspberry Jammin’

    Last Saturday was the Linux User & Developer Raspberry Jam event at Poole RNLI college. I took the tank, of course, and Joseph too — worrying all the while that he’d be the youngest kid there by about ten years, and he’d get bored within half an hour.

  • Whatever Happened to the Generic PC?

    It doesn’t seem that long ago, perhaps only five or ten years, that you could buy or build your own computer and do whatever you liked with it. If you bought it, it would probably come with an operating system, but if you didn’t like it you could download another one and use that instead.

  • Fun with Quadcopters

    Over the weekend, my friend Alex visited us and brought his quadcopter in tow. I’ve bee trying my best to dump ideas on the internet and avoid buying my own extremely expensive remote control toys, but I can see the day I give in getting closer.

  • ChromeCopter 2000

    I’ve been asked several times whether I would be attending various Nodecopter events, even more so now that the fledgling hackerspace I am part of is getting to know about my love of robots.

  • Ban these Evil Robots!

    Today’s tech news is awash with Human Rights Watch’s latest campaign, the sensationally-titled “Ban ‘Killer Robots’ Before It’s Too Late”. I’m not sure which I find most irritating about it:

  • The Problem with Phone Upgrades

    I am due to upgrade my mobile phone in a couple of months, so yet again it’s time to pick the best of a generally bad bunch that I will be lumbered with for the next two years. Roughly speaking, my choice is:

  • The Need for Mobile General Computation (aka, why I’m stuck with Android)

    My mobile phone contract has well and truly hit the “18-month itch” stage – although I still have six months until an upgrade is due, I can’t help but look at adverts and scan gadget blogs and think “ooh, I want one of those”.

  • Levelling Up the Steam Rally

    Yesterday Joseph, my parents and I headed to “Steamed Up”, a steam rally out near Cole Hill in Dorset. Joseph was pretty keen on the bouncy castle and the tractors, while my mum was predictably getting into teaching Joseph how steam engines work. Me, I was mostly in it for the pub lunch. But still.

  • Autonomous Quadrocopter: What and Why?

    It’s now been two years since I last did any work involving autonomous vehicles, and I’m kind of disappointed by the lack of that kind of work. Writing software for big data acquisition systems is all well and good, but it lacks a certain something – I just don’t get attached to them in the way that I do to vehicles such as this one.

  • The World’s Best Heat-Sink

    The World's Best Heat-Sink

  • All Bugs Are Shallow… Except This One

    In his essay “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”, Eric S. Raymond coins the phrase “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” – meaning that with enough testers and enough programmers, it is possible to diagnose and fix any software bug.

  • Behold, AutoMouse! [Product Announce]


  • So Farewell, Psion 3a

    No idea why the hell I bought a Psion 3a a lottery ticket? Check out my previous blog post, “Coming of Age”.

  • Coming of Age

    Yes, she's legal.

  • Review: HTC Magic

    Mostly at Mark’s request, but possibly also of interest to others: A review of the HTC Magic. I’ve had mine for 6 days now.