Practical off grid solar in the UK

Climate change is real and is happening[1]. The changing weather patterns are going to have a huge effect on world economies, food production, human health as well as the frequency and severity of natural disasters. Can we as individuals do…

Pac Man machine emulator

Here’s a brief description of how the Pac Man hardware works and how (and why) I wrote an emulator to run the original software on a modern computer. Sometime around 1998 I was working for NEC in the team developing…

Roland TR-808 cowbell rebuild

I recently found the original Roland TR-808 service manual on archive.org and thought it would be fun to try and recreate some of the sounds. It’s an instrument with a tremendous history and featuring in an incredible number of records from the 1980s including Whitney Houston, Afrika…

Easy IoT: An Internet of Things build status lamp

Contrary to popular belief, internet connected hardware doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. No exotic embedded WiFi boards needed here. You’ll just need a few standard bits from your spares box to amaze your friends with your own internet…

Mobile World Congress 2014

Mobile World Congress is an exhibition and conference of the world’s mobile industry. Exhibitors include operators, device and infrastructure manufacturers. In the last few years mobile app, web and associated services have also been represented as well as a surprising…

Preserving a dual screen experience for offline viewing

More and more programmes and live televised events are leveraging social media, specifically Twitter, to provide a second screen experience during the broadcast. It’s a powerful way for broadcasters to engage viewers with interaction and also to generate a sense…

Tellyconverter photo effect generator

This is a project that makes your photos look like an old television, but by using a real old television rather than relying on digital filters. Once you upload your picture it’s displayed and photographed on an old television set…

Tony Hart's Sonic World

In the late 70s and early 80s Tony Hart presented a children’s art and design programme on BBC1. The studio set was a sprawling warehouse loft with huge skylights and windows overlooking the city. His enthusiasm and imagination had us…

Delayplayer - Radio 4 synced to your timezone

Code now available on Github There are many things UK expats miss when abroad. But while Marmite and Tunnock’s Tea Cakes can now be found in most corners of the world, the comforting presence of Radio 4 cannot. At least…

Beer pedometer screenshot

Seeing the Nike+iPod fitness tools collaboration reminded me of a project I made a few years ago, the Beer Pedometer. Whereas the Apple system motivates athletes by providing a fitness history and goals (as well as providing yet another platform…

iPlayer for Kindle

Over the last few years the BBC‘s video on demand service iPlayer (a kind of British Hulu) has moved beyond desktop PCs, to games consoles, mobile phones, tablets, set top boxes and internet connected TVs. But there’s still a segment…

Human engineering guide to equipment design

I picked up this book last week from a second hand shop for a pound. It’s a compilation of research into the design of machines, systems and environments to maximise the efficiency of those using them. It was sponsored by…

Dating strategy optimisation by the analysis of trends from an internet dating site

Here I demonstrate a strategy both men and women can use to maximise the probability of  dating success. The investigation also characterises behaviour exhibited by men and women which explain the phenomena of male mid life crisis and can also provide an estimate of relationship…

VirtualDub Video Filters

Here are a few Virtualdub filters that I’ve developed over the past few years: HSV quantiser (poor man’s rotoscoping) After watching the rotoscoping effects in ‘A Scanner Darkly’ I thought, “How hard can that be?”. Well the answer is “quite…

Number Plate Recognition

This describes a simple program to isolate car number plates from fairly well controlled images for processing by an OCR package such as GOCR/JOCR. At present it’s tuned for UK plates, but should be easily adaptable for other countries that…

VCR Remote Control via SMS

Imagine it, it’s 3:15 on a weekday afternoon and you’ve just realised you’ve forgotten to set the video to tape ‘Pet Rescue’. Usually you would be condemned to an afternoon of misery and disappointment, knowing you had no heartwarming cute…

TV radar

In the last few months my TV reception has been increasingly affected by a particularly strong double image, caused by reflection of the signal from a nearby object. This is cause for concern as I am now liable to pay…

Novelty Alarm Clock

It’s a cheap digital alarm clock, but with the alarm mechanism replaced with a digital playback system. This design uses a 512k EPROM to store eight 64k 8-bit samples. The playback rate is variable, so each sample can last up…