Software bloat strikes again. I managed to get my old iphone SE upgraded to iOS 14 (from 12). That means it's getting security updates — always good! — and has stopped crashing semi-regularly. But the operating system in total (along with "other") is now using over 10GB of storage, leaving too little for me to run the apps I actually want to run (since I have a model with only 16GB). (more…)
Decarbonisation requires fewer cars and can't be achieved just by electrifying current numbers of vehicles. So we need to electrify public transport, freight, services, car club vehicles and taxis, and provide for individual car ownership where alternatives are impossible, but otherwise we need to drastically reduce the number of private motor vehicles.
A 2019 Parliamentary report "Technologies for meeting the UK's emissions reduction targets"
"In the long-term, widespread personal vehicle ownership does not appear to be compatible with significant decarbonisation. The Government should not aim to achieve emissions reductions simply by replacing existing vehicles with lower-emissions versions."
My (three year old) iphone has been playing up for the last month or two - maybe a couple of times a week apps start crashing randomly and I have to power-cycle it. Strangely, that started happening just as Apple announced a replacement model. (more…)
Widespread take up of e-bikes requires broader measures to make cycling accessible. E-bikes are not, by themselves, going to do much to enable most people to cycle.
In the Netherlands, e-bikes help to increase the distances people will cycle and enable people to keep cycling as they get older, but this is dependent on the infrastructure enabling those people to cycle already. In most of the UK, e-bikes will enable people to not cycle 4 mile trips as well as not cycling 3 mile trips, and enable 70 year olds to not cycle at the same rates as 40 year olds don't cycle. (more…)
At the Questacon science museum in Canberra there was an exhibition on robotics, which included quizes asking people how they felt robots should behave. One of those, probing the value of different kinds of human lives, asked what the software controlling an autonomous car should do if the brakes failed approaching a pedestrian crossing and the choices were to run over a child or an old person — alternative routes to the sides were shown crashing into brick walls. (more…)
The computer I had used for the last nine years was built when we arrived in the UK, but was a clone of the computer I had had in Australia and was effectively over a decade old. I was running out of space (though much of that was cullable video) and when my existing storage produced some errors (some flagged by btrfs, others by read errors on my rsync backups), I decided it was time for an upgrade. (more…)
As a birthday present from Camilla, I have an new kindle Oasis, upgrading my very basic kindle from six years ago. The Oasis is expensive, but is the only current model that has physical page turn buttons. And so far it's clearly better than the old kindle, except for one really annoying software regression. (more…)
Transferwise was originally a foreign exchange transfer service, but for some time it has offered a "Borderless" account — with sterling, Australian dollar, US dollar and Euro bank accounts as well as the ability to hold balances in two dozen other currencies — and now a debit card attached to that account. (more…)
Oxford's centre faces rigid space constraints that, even if private motor vehicles could be excluded, create an apparently insurmountable conflict between active transport, public transport, and the public realm. As a long-term solution, I propose that all inner-city public transport be provided by a mini-bus (or tram) shuttle loop, connecting to city and intercity bus services at interchanges at the Plain (or the bottom of South Park), St Aldates, the railway station, and St Giles. (more…)
I've just had my rear wheel rebuilt — with a new rim as well since that was getting worn, but largely to replace the hub. And this post is mostly about hubs, about whether getting a Shimano Nexus hub serviced is a good idea, and whether a premium "redline" Nexus hub is actually any better. (more…)
I recently acquired my fourth digital camera, an Olympus E-M5 II. This is not a replacement for my third camera, a little Canon Ixus 220 HS point-and-shoot bought in 2012 which I will keep as a carry-everywhere camera (and with which I took the photos below), but for my second camera, an Olympus E-1 . That was released in 2003, so is now something of an antique, but is still a fine camera and I have no plans to get rid of it yet. (more…)
I've been cycling for four years now in Oxford, so I thought I'd look at the costs involved. (more…)
I'm thinking of getting another camera (what would be my 4th digital camera). I've had my Olympus E-1 for just shy of ten years now but it's still going strong; I love using it and it takes fantastic photographs (more…)
Some notes on equipment we've used for moving Helen around, in case our experience is useful for anyone else. (more…)
What is it? It's a Kettler Spirit, the product of a respected German company which sells online into the UK (though they do have a showroom in Redditch as well). Basically an upright city bicycle: what one might call a "Dutch bike" or a European city bike, though it's fundamentally pretty similar to my other bike, a thirty year old English three-speed roadster. (more…)
I've been very happy with my old three-speed over the last three years and it's still a fine bike for getting around Oxford, but I'm thinking about buying a new bike. (more…)
Our new house was somewhat overlit when we moved in: if all the lights had been working and turned on at once, they would have drawn nearly 1.5kW. There were twelve lights that weren't working, because of dead transformers or blown bulbs, but such was the redundancy that replacing those didn't seem urgent. It did, however, give me an opportunity to switch a huge variety of halogen bulbs to LEDs or compact fluorescents. (more…)
When I set up a landline with British Telecom, back when we started renting Catherine St in 2010, I enabled a number of features. A few days later I received five different pieces of post, each informing me that a particular feature had been enabled, along with separate pieces of mail informing me that my account had been set up and the landline activated. (more…)
I've always carried a small backpack with me pretty much everywhere I go. This is perhaps a hold-over from school and uni, continued because I always want to have a couple of books on me. These days, however, there's a lot of other stuff in there as well. (more…)
My little Acer Aspire One netbook is increasingly feeling underpowered, so I'm contemplating getting an ultrabook. more