Small phone is best phone

I’ve owned plenty of mobile phones over the years. My current daily driver is iPhone 13 Mini, sporting a bright, funky, and cheap OIIAEE Silicone Case. Look at it. It’s gorgeous (ignore the notification badge count, please). Picture taken with the potato camera on my old OnePlus 5. As I mentioned in a previous post, my favourite phones include the flyweight Nokia 6600 (2.1"), bantamweight N82 (2.4") and featherweight iPhone 4s (3. [Read More]

Happy Birthday Steam

Steam - the video game distribution and launching platform from Valve, is twenty years old today. Steam has become quite a fixture of PC gaming life in those two decades. I didn’t really pay any attention to Steam initially. I wasn’t really into PC gaming in 2003. At least partly because, coincidentally, my daughter also turns twenty today. She was born just hours ahead of Steam. A short while later, here we are, probably not thinking about video games. [Read More]

My 2023 podcast listening list

Podcast consumption At the start of 2021, I wrote up my 2021 podcast listening list. In it, I categorised podcasts I listen to broadly as ‘Must listen’, ‘Regular listens’ and ‘Once in a while’. Back then I was using PocketCasts on Android. The full list of subscriptions can be found here. Android ➑️ iOS In June 2022, I switched from Android to iOS as I moved from OnePlus 5 to iPhone 13 Mini as my primary device. [Read More]

A virus for the BBC Micro

About a year ago, I left a comment on a Nostalgia Nerd video about Viruses. It’s a good video, worth a watch, like most of their content. Here’s my silly comment. At 1.7K πŸ‘, it’s my most upvoted comment on YouTube, ever. I do enjoy free Internet points. Some of the replies to me on YouTube were quite 🌟fun🌟. “Any chance you made a back up? I’d love to look at the source code” [Read More]

Code page 437 aesthetic

At Axiom, our design team has recently come up with a “new” (to us) 🌟aesthetic🌟 for some of our online content. It shows up in posts & ads on social media and in featured images on blog posts. Here is an example. Announcing distributed tracing support β”” Visualize traces in a new waterfall view. β”” New dashboards to explore your services. β”” No sampling, no compromise. β”” All your traces, all the time. [Read More]

It's MY monitor

This is the first in (maybe) a series of “Tales From Tech Support”, which are true stories from my point of view. I’ll probably only post these on a Friday. In the 1990s, I worked as a contractor for a large, well-established accounting firm. We’d often buy new equipment and unpack it at the helpdesk, throw away all the packaging, and then take the actual kit to the user for deployment. [Read More]

Developer Tools

I have long said I’m not really a developer. Whenever I used to see news articles in the past quoting me as “Alan Pope, Developer at Canonical”, I would cringe quite a bit. I say to my professional developer friends that I’m not one, and they often roll their eyes at me. What makes someone a developer though? I have a GitHub account. I have developed code myself. I’ve badly written HTML, BASH shell scripts, JavaScript, Python, and even some (finished, and some unfinished) “games” in BlitzBasic, BlitzMax, Z80 & 6502 assembler. [Read More]

ThinkPad Z13 SSD replacement

One thing I’ve loved about ThinkPad laptops for many years, is the upgradability and repairability. Ever since the early days, it’s been possible to noodle around inside a ThinkPad. Sadly, some of the modern X1/Ultrabook line, and some others, are less upgradable than previous generations. My year-old ThinkPad Z13 has a few options for noodling around inside though, including storage. My Z13 shipped with Ubuntu out of the box. I wanted to try something different, but didn’t want to wipe the OS off the SSD. [Read More]

Every cellphone I have owned

Time for a listicle! I’ve felt the need to list (almost) every mobile phone that I can remember owning and using, ever. There’s at least one missing from the list. My stupid old brain won’t let me recall the niche brand of phone I bought some years back. It’ll come to me one day. There’s a table below with some of the interesting manufacturers specs, and further down are some rambling memories from my experience of owning the various devices. [Read More]

Using bimmer connected with my Mini

tl;dr I own an BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) BMW Mini. I previously wrote and talked about getting a ’takeout’ of my car charging data from BMW, and putting it into Axiom to answer some common questions from the ‘EV Curious’. I’m now getting ongoing data from the car, but I had to use 3rd party tools to do it. BMW BMW has an API for getting car data (beyond the ’takeout’ I used last time), to get the ongoing daily charge data. [Read More]

Updated 'Must-Have' GNOME extensions list

Back in December 2020 I wrote up my personal Must-Have GNOME extensions. It’s been nearly three years, two job changes, and a few Ubuntu upgrades, so I thought I’d take another look. tl;dr: What changed Out I no longer have these installed. Sound Switcher Indicator This used to crash a lot for me, to the point I’d go and look for it in the panel and it was missing. I figured if I don’t realise it’s gone, I probably don’t need it that much. [Read More]

You know your life is over...

Every so often my brain reminds me of a conversation from long ago. Sometimes I’ll go for months without thinking about it, but then it’ll trigger, and I can’t stop thinking about it. It happened this week. Many years ago I taught technical courses for SAP in their London training centre. There’d often be moments during the day when the students were busy doing exercises and off-topic conversations would start. Here’s how one went down. [Read More]

Full text content in Hugo

tl;dr I’ve enabled full content text rather than summaries in the RSS feed for this blog. The irony that I am then summarising the entire post in one line here at the top, is not lost on me. History I’ve used various tools for my blog over the years. Initially in the late 1990’s it was hand-crafted HTML and some FrontPage extensions. Later I used Polarblog through the mid 2000’s then dropped that in 2006 for Drupal and subsequently WordPress. [Read More]
hugo  blog  rss 

ZeroTier is my personal VPN

Back in July, Martin introduced us to ZeroTier on the Linux Matters podcast, episode 8. He detailed why he’s using the tool and how. Worth a listen. Per their website, ZeroTier “lets you build modern, secure multi-point virtualized networks of almost any type. From robust peer-to-peer networking to multi-cloud mesh infrastructure, we enable global connectivity with the simplicity of a local network.” Interesting marketing, but do I need this though? [Read More]

Silly brain

A re-enactment of an event yesterday evening. I was just leaving an online game when I noticed a conversation among the Late Night Linux Telegram group about printing. One person quipped that people don’t print much anymore. Someone else suggested that they print more these days than they used to. My brain saw this and thought “Huh, I wonder how many pages my printer has completed in its lifetime. I imagine that’s easy to find out. [Read More]

Why use Microsoft Edge on Linux

Yesterday, I wrote a little about the applications I’ve seen crash on my Ubuntu Linux laptop over the last six months. Some people questioned why I use Microsoft Edge as my primary web browser on Ubuntu. I thought I’d write up why, and how a couple of the built-in features are appealing to me. tl;dr it’s multiple profiles, stability, speed, tab sleep, and vertical tabs. Multiple personality disorder I have tried to keep work and personal browser profiles separate for some years now. [Read More]

Six months of crashes in Ubuntu

tl;dr: I downloaded the application crash data for my work Laptop. To probably nobody’s surprise, Zoom is the most crashy thing in the last six months on my laptop. New laptop When I joined Axiom at the end of 2022, I was given some budget to buy a work laptop. My friend and co-presenter of Linux Matters Podcast, Martin Wimpress was looking for a new company laptop around the same time. [Read More]

i386 in Ubuntu won't die

(yet) tl;dr In a recent thread on Mastodon, it was revealed that Ubuntu 23.04 users can’t install the Steam deb package from the Ubuntu archive without jumping through some technical hoops. It turns out this was a mistake, a bug was filed, and future builds shouldn’t have this problem. It’s not immediately apparent whether the (currently ‘broken’) ISO images for Ubuntu 23.04 will be rebuilt (unlikely) or if this will stay broken in 23. [Read More]

Goodbye ZX Spectrum Next

Rainbow love I’ve previously written about how the Sinclair line of computers kickstarted a life-long love of computing. I still sometimes go back and play classic Spectrum games on my Nintendo DS. I’ve also bought brand-new games for the platform in recent times. I love that people still code for these ancient devices. Modern vintage classic In April 2017, I backed the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Next Kickstarter campaign, which was ultimately successful. [Read More]

It's not working from home

I’ve worked from home since November 2011, when I started working for Canonical. I’ve had enough though, and have chosen to go back to working in an office on a regular basis. No, I don’t have investments in city-centre office spaces, and I’m not a Zoom paid shill. I just think it’s better for me, and here’s why. Commuter hell Before 2011, all my roles were all on-site, commuting between six and sixty miles a day, each way. [Read More]