And Bayes and Bayes and remembering nothing boy

I have a thingo up at Citymetric on how agent-based modelling would have helped the poor sods at Govia Thameslink Railway realise how stuffed they were, at least in time to everyone from getting fired. There is a bit of dispute* in the extremely nerdy parts of the Internet about whether I'm being reasonable in … Continue reading And Bayes and Bayes and remembering nothing boy

Dumb Ways (for your train service) to Die

I wrote a thing at CityMetric on the Melbourne rail-fail yesterday - go and read it. It turns out that 40-year-old state-of-the-art technology doesn't age super-well if you don't upgrade it, and that only having one train line through your city isn't a great idea either. Disappointingly, they rejected my suggested song-based title, so I'm … Continue reading Dumb Ways (for your train service) to Die

Don’t believe the 500 million quid passport story until you see it on the side of a bus

The UK's worst tabloids are running today on the Glorious Brexity News that the government is planning to spend £500 million on returning British passports to their former glory - changing them from the wicked EU's suspiciously French-sounding burgundy to good traditional English blue/black. The interesting thing about the £500m passport change story is not that it's … Continue reading Don’t believe the 500 million quid passport story until you see it on the side of a bus

On moving to SSL, infinite loops, and the downright impossible

Those of you who pay attention to such things (and, realistically, most of the people who read this blog are tremendous nerds about one thing or another) may have noticed the exciting green secure HTTP padlock to the left of the URL in their browser bar. Yes, we're now officially just as secure as a … Continue reading On moving to SSL, infinite loops, and the downright impossible

Dropping the dynamic, because everything is awful

Because I am a naive optimist, when I migrated various defunct blog archives from elsewhere to here, I assumed that running them on auto-updated WordPress would be fine. This was a stupid move. Not specifically because WordPress is bad, but because everything is bad, and hacking is easy. And, of course, happened. After several months … Continue reading Dropping the dynamic, because everything is awful

Long-haul flying: we’ve never had it so adequate

Something which gets neglected by most travel writers - I think because long-haul economy-class flying is inherently a bit shit - is the immense extent to which the actually-flying bits of the long-haul rigmarole have improved over the last 15 years. The pre- and post-flying bits have worsened, of course, which makes short-haul flight far, … Continue reading Long-haul flying: we’ve never had it so adequate

CBA’s Netbank platform was never vulnerable to Heartbleed

The suggestion has been doing the rounds, at least at the more paranoid/self-fancying end of the technology spectrum, that the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)'s Netbank online banking platform might have been vulnerable to the Heartbleed vulnerability. TL/DR: it wasn't. Heartbleed only hit sites that use certain versions of the OpenSSL secure toolkit, with its … Continue reading CBA’s Netbank platform was never vulnerable to Heartbleed

The Facebook decline paper is a disgrace to Princeton’s name

The obvious answer to the question "why won't Facebook decline by 80% by the end of December this year" is "because obviously it won't, what kind of idiot would even claim it would?". It's the leading social network in all age groups, and between July and December 2013 total user numbers only fell by 3%. … Continue reading The Facebook decline paper is a disgrace to Princeton’s name

Content filtering is stupid, but you are stupider

There's been masses and masses of fuss over the last couple of days about the implementation of opt-out content filtering for porn in the UK. As everyone sensible argued in great detail at the time the PM promised it following a Massive Stupid Media Panic, content filtering is pointless: it's easy to bypass, provides a … Continue reading Content filtering is stupid, but you are stupider

What I did on my holiday

Answer: I went to India and spent a great deal of time buggering about with smartphones. And then used that as background material for writing a guide to mobile phone travel in India. The guide isn't quite finished yet, but I've written an article about some of the more bureaucratic bits for Smart Phone Travel. … Continue reading What I did on my holiday