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  1. UoYBus: bus times for the University of York

    July 7, 2014

    Since November I’ve been quietly running UoYBus, a live bus times webapp focused on the particular whims of the #4 and #44 bus routes serving University of York. Today I released a big improvement.

  2. You can't unsell Hospital Records

    February 24, 2014

    The Telegraph reported today that hospital records from 1997-2010 have been sold to insurance companies. They appear to be referring to HSCIC’s Hospital Episode Statistics, a database of NHS hospital records.

  3. Back in York

    October 29, 2013

    It’s been a while since my last post. After living in London for a few months and working out of Shoreditch Works, I chose to head back to York with the new academic year - rather a tough choice given my other, international option.

  4. How probable are 3 consecutive birthdays?

    April 1, 2013

    Have you ever wondered what the likelihood is of having three consecutive birthdays in a row? It’s a fun excursion from the classical statisical brain teaser on the birthday problem.

  5. Steady state community

    March 29, 2013

    Amazon’s purchase of Goodreads, a social reading community, has reminded me of the difference between building a community and building a business. Goodreads definitely could be a value add for Amazon and the Kindle, yet unless they treat it with a light touch it could become far more of a Goodkindlereads.

  6. A first look at Quantum Computers

    February 11, 2013

    The computer in front of you is pretty powerful, but it can’t factor a 600-digit number before Earth gets cooked by the Sun. No supercomputer humanity does or could build could do that either, so it seemed a sure bet to base the security of some encryption schemes on factoring being (exponentially) hard.

  7. Train Data Revisited

    February 7, 2013

    I mentioned Network Rail’s feeds briefly last time but hadn’t yet looked into them much. Thanks to Samuel Littley for letting me know a bit more about them. Sign up and your access will be activated within an hour or so. Given that mine was granted at 3am GMT I suspect it’s automated.

  8. Trains and East Coast positioning data

    January 26, 2013

    Back in 2011 I built TrainTrackr, a rapidly-built iOS app that worked together with a web interface to track train journeys. It seemed a brilliant way to tracing delays to trains and getting accurate data on their speeds along the route.

  9. Remian: a modern virtual machine

    December 19, 2012

    Anyone who follows me on Twitter has probably read that I’m building a virtual machine of my own, named Remian. I’ve reached v0.1.1 and an initial release, so now is the perfect time to talk about why you should try it.

  10. Two weeks with Go: an initial review

    November 14, 2012

    As someone who grew up with scripting languages, C and it’s closer brethren always felt incredibly backward. The result of all their decades of history seems to be that obscure compiler flags and awkward syntax are an affectation of the entire community. I don’t care for it, much as I like how fast the code can execute.

  11. Building services with iMessage

    November 1, 2012

    Earlier this year, David Kendal and I discovered you can fairly easily send and receive iMessages using Ruby. The key is to interact with OS X’s Messages app, more specifically it’s AppleScript bindings. We built and released iREPL, a Scheme programming environment that you can use on your iPhone/iPad without having to jailbreak. I’ve been using it for months when I fancied hacking some Lisp.

  12. On efficiently pairing socks

    May 1, 2012

    Anyone who has done an appreciable amount of laundry has probably noticed the time commonly taken matching up socks of different styles and colours.

    My efforts to optimise the process have led me to the curious practice of un-matching: making pairs of socks so as to deliberately not be a matching pair. It’s much faster, much simpler to compute and yet because there is a process behind it you have a defence against allegations of laziness.

  13. iREPL

    April 13, 2012

    A couple of months ago, whilst playing with Messages Beta for Mac, it occured to me that it’d be a lot of fun to programmatically send messages. After I built a basic, insecure Ruby Shell for iMessage, David Kendal decided to rebuild it and switch to Scheme - for which a secure sandboxed version existed in the form of Heist.

  14. Development Sparks

    August 29, 2011

    When we encounter a problem as developers, there’s usually 3 ways to solve it. There’s the hacky way with its attendant long-term maintainance costs. There’s a way which works without too much trouble. And there’s the spark of genius that solves all the troubles with the minimum of effort.