1 min read
I managed to get some sourdough going, thanks in no small part to Hessam for nudging me for a good part of a decade to just baking do it. Thank you. Below is loaf #2 in its natural habitat. It's not perfect, but it's heaps better than my other bread baking routine. That one still makes a good bread, but the texture and taste is so much different from the sourdough bread.
As if that wasn't enough to propel me to hipster stardom, I also managed to sharpen my knives, after neglecting them for 7 years. Shame on me. Now they can actually cut again. When I bought them they came with a sharpening stone, that I successfully ignored using, but for some reason managed to hold on to in spite of moving 3 times since I bought the knives. Photo is from before I started sharpening, which explains why it looks so neat:
I survived the sharpening, and the knives can now cut again, instead of merely displacing matter by force.
Apart from that, looks like it will be a while before normality returns.
2 min read
There's a lot of misinformation about the current SARS-CoV-2 outbreak being shared in the silos of messaging apps. This means it's harder to search for them in an attempt to verify their validity. People who share them aren't doing it to cause harm, quite the opposite, they are sharing them because they believe it will help their friends and loved ones.
Various claims about drinking hot water, gargling with a hot water saline solution, and going into the sun are all things that hasn't proven to do anything in terms of avoiding getting the virus, or alleviating it if you are already infected.
If your friends or family share these things with you on chats or email, please tell them that none of these things are proven to work, and that the consequences of following the advice from these copy/paste jobs vary from mostly harmless (drink hot drinks), to potentially harmful to you or others (if you have a runny nose, then you don't have coronavirus).
There's a few things you can do to respond in a way that can help convince them these statements are not true, and that they should stop sharing them as if they are. One of them is pointing them to one of the many sites that are debunking the claims with supported material and science:
Stay safe, stay home and help stop the rumors and the outbreak from spreading.
2 min read
I mentioned that my bike got stolen before Xmas, and it thoroughly pissed me off. My stolen steed was a Trek District single speed hybrid bike. In my experience the most perfect commuter bike I've ever had.
The bike had a carbon belt from Gates instead of a chain, and this means zero grease, and very low maintenance. I had driven my bike, according to Strava, for ~11500km in its lifetime. Mind you, I don't really do longer bike runs, I go to work, and I come back from work. I bike an average of 15-16km pr. day on weekdays. It's not much, but it keeps me happy and out of the tube. It's also a nice time where you are just transporting yourself, and you can clear your mind a little.
Anyway. Trek doesn't make the same bike any longer, so I immediately setup alerts on eBay to try to see if I could find the same one, or a worthy replacement. I don't really like to buy new bikes. They look too shiny and inviting for thiefs. 2nd hand it is.
I was in luck! On the 24th of December a gentleman from Gloucestershire put his belt driven Trek District for sale. I had a few exchanges with him, and bought it. On the first weekend of the year I went West to pick it up, and here it is in all its glory!
The frame is a bit smaller than what I had before, but it's otherwise entirely same bike, which is great. I'm still on the lookout for a Trek District with a 54cm frame, but until then, this is now my steed.
The astute observer would notice that it has no mudguards, which is not good for a commuter that is supposed to get you somewhat dry between locations in London, so on Sunday I fitted it with mudguards from SKS, and I also swapped the pedals. It had flat pedals with toestraps, which also aren't great for a lot of start-stopping on your commute, so I swapped the pedals for some simple flat metal pedals that will hopefully last a while.
1 min read
I created this website because not only am I fed up with paying high prices for drinking water in airport departure lounges, but we all need to cut down on the amount of one use plastics we are throwing away into the environment.
Users, as well as the owner, contributes their own findings. You can subscribe to an RSS feed of the forum to keep a note of the updates for the different airports.
For the last couple of years I've been travelling with a water bottle to avoid using more plastic than necessary when travelling, and this site has been helpful in finding where to fill it in the departure lounges I've visited.
2 min read
One of my top music discoveries of 2019 was the soul singer Laville from North London. He performed at a concert I went to that also featured Carlton Jumel Smith, and The Soul Steppers of Brighton. I had bought the tickets based on Songkick's supreme concert notification service telling me that Carlton Jumel Smith was playing. His debut album, 1634 Lexington Avenue, is worth checking out if you are into the R&B/soul sound of Daptone Records. I thought Carlton Jumel Smith was appearing as the headline, but it was of a showcase of soul performers put together by Global:Soul, and it was Laville who closed out the night.
I know absolutely nothing about Laville, except that he had great stage presence, was really friendly, and you could tell he loved what he was doing, and that he felt at home at the Camden venue where he performed, The Jazz Café. His voice and lyrical qualities speak for themselves when you listen to his music.
His debut album "The Wanderer" came out earlier this year on the Acid Jazz label (Thirty One is the single), and it's an album well worth a listen. Besides his own original songs, it features a great rendition of Bobby Caldwell's "What you won't do for love".
3 min read
One of the perks of paying for a Flickr Pro account is that you get a limited free account with Pixsy, a service that scours the web for photos from your Flickr account, to see if they are being used anywhere.
If you find a that your photos are being used without your permission then Pixsy offers, by just one click, to send a Takedown Notice to one or more sites. Besides requesting that your picture be taken down, the takedown notice also requests the site to amend the article that was using the photo, to include a paragraph saying that the photo has been removed due to copyright infringement.
I gave it a spin, and a few of my photos had been used without my permission. Most prominently these two pictures of MF DOOM from a concert in Dublin in 2010, were being used by wellknown websites:
So I hit the Takedown Notice button in Pixsy, and here's what came out of it.
I've sent out a total of eight takedown notices at the end of October through Pixsy. Seven was to commercially run websites with global reach and recognition, and the last one was to a personal website with no obvious commercial scope.
|Website||Complied||Replied to email||Removed picture||Amended article|
|Website 1 (2)||No||No||Partially||No|
|Website 3 (2)||No||Yes||Yes||No|
In terms of full compliance to the requests in the takedown note, only 1 of 8 was 100% successful. The 100% successful one was an American university newspaper, that besides using my photo uncredited, also allowed visitors to buy printed copies of my photo, through their website. Nice.
Another prominent website's legal counsel replied that they genuinely didn't know that I was the copyright holder of the photo, and claimed that in those circumstances, using my photo without crediting me was within the fair dealing doctrine of UK copyright law. Guess what, it isn't.
It is true that you can use orphaned material on some ocassions, but photos are specifically omitted from this clause. It's also true that you can use material without crediting it for news reporting, but photographs are specifically omitted from that clause as well.
One of the websites that I sent out two takedown notices to (for two separate photos), removed the image mentioned in one, but didn't remove the one mentioned in the second. I'm looking at you, factmag.
All 'n all, I guess a 87.5% success rate on the initial purpose of the takedown notice, to make these sites stop using my photo without my persmission, is not too bad. The question is: Would I have had the same success rate if I had simply written my own requests for them to take down my photos, without all the legally binding text included in the ones from Pixsy? I might have to test that, as I still have a few photos being used without my permission.
Anyone else out there tried the takedown service from Pixsy and are willing to share their results?
1 min read
I like everything about this episode of ITV's information technology program, hosted by Tony Bastable.
2 min read
At IWC in Dusseldorf in May, I managed to break my old website. I broke it, while I was trying to fix it, so that I could export all my old posts, and import them into Known that runs this site. Turns out updating a site with code written in 2003-6 from PHP 5.x to 7.2 can result in a number of things. The main thing being that the site doesn't work any longer.
Not long after IWC I went to one of the meetups in HWC where Calum and Neil were kind to lend me some of their coding and troubleshooting expertise, and guided me to find what had broken. The main issue was that some mysql functions had changed names altogether, and Neil also managed to figure out that variables no longer had global scope, so everything had to get an overhaul.
After the overhaul, the site was loading, but wasn't displaying any posts, and I didn't manage to get that sorted, and I wasn't sure where to start, to be honest. Today, I decided to see if I could fix it, and it turned out ereg_replace doesn't exist anymore, and I use it for some god awful function that converts the plain text of my entries stored in the database, into marked up paragraphs. I didn't manage to figure out how to get that function to work again, so instead I removed it altogether.
The downside is that the text of my posts on my old blog has no paragraphs, but that can be fixed later. The considerable upside is, that my old site is available again, and that I can now focus on figuring out how to get all the entries imported into this site, so that all my old entries can get indiewebified.