Those brief moments when winning seems possible

This mad dash bad mixen fun up down world. Forces smash hither and fither, 7 billion of us strange qualia, doing, being human. Web culture, open source culture… sucked out of academia, hacking, sharing, making, funning, building. Just late enough for usability to be just there just cheap enough. Smashed with. Political culture… burnt out, […]

Why I’m collecting every MP candidate’s CV

My side project for the last month is to try and collect the Curriculum Vitae of everyone standing for Parliament. It’s called Democracy Club CVs. I’ve been working every spare hour – mainly around midnight and on Sundays. Partly it is technically interesting, partly the other Democracy Club volunteers are fun to hang out with… […]

The advert wars

One of the pitched battles in this century’s cyber war is about advert blocking and injecting. It’s in full flow. You can tell – journalist friends complaining that ad blockers have killed Joystiq, a 10 year old gaming magazine; web friends complaining that an ad blocker charges advertisers to not block some ads. I’ve got […]

Which web development tools are commodities?

We’re really bad at thinking about innovation. To improve my own sense, I’ve been gradually absorbing Simon Wardley’s Value Chain Mapping since first seeing him talk about it a few years ago. The picture to the right is an example of one of his maps. Each blob is a technology need. As you go from […]

Promising to make software safer

1. Virtual bugs I first really knew that all software was fundamentally insecure back in 2001. I was working for an artificial life games company. We made virtual pets – amazing ones with a simulated brain, biochemistry and genetics. I’d just built a new networked version called Creatures Docking Station. It let the cute, furry, […]

Long, cold cyberwar

Let’s keep this post simple. We’re near the start of a long cold, cyber war. Many things make this clear – from Stuxnet to Snowden, from the Sony hacks to Chinese DNS poisoning. This is a hard time to be in information technology. Just in raw, technical security terms this is tough – rebuilding every […]

I blinked and missed 6 exciting things in the last 20 years of space

I blinked. A long, slow, twenty year blink. And meanwhile, space exploration went… Phoooom! From a distance it looks bad. We haven’t sent humans to the moon for over forty years. There’s no grand, visible, memorable showpiece – apart from space shuttles exploding and being decomissioned. And yet, when I recently got interested again, I […]

An email to Nicholas

Dear Nicholas, Thank you for your previous two letters. I’m sorry I was so slow getting back to you after the first one, that you had to write another. I didn’t know Canon meant essentially the same things as Round. I’m sure I must have been told, but I never got what it meant or cared. I only […]

Properly funding Democracy Club

Politics is broken. At the last election, a few people made an amazing organisation to try and fix it. Democracy Club is a non-party-political group of volunteers. At the next election, we want to hold candidates to account, and stimulate public engagement. We do this by emailing people small, easily achievable tasks. These small tasks will add up to hugely useful […]