Chris Roos by Chris Roos

Week 324 - Interesting links

In My Footsteps

I like the idea of this site. Residents in the East End of London are creating tours of their local area. You can follow the tours virtually through the website, or physically with the help of the mobile app. There aren’t many tours at the moment, but hopefully this’ll increase over time.

The geolocation aspect reminded me of an idea I had a few years back. I wanted people to be able to record audio snippets and tie them to a geographical location. Listeners could then have an app that played random snippets based on where they were at the time. I haven’t looked recently but I can only imagine that someone has done this by now. CR

How to Paint a City | Lee Bofkin | TEDxClapham

I really enjoyed this talk about Global Street Art (Lee’s a fellow Shoreditch Works resident) and how they’re trying to make it easier for artists to get the permission required to paint our streets.

It reminded me of this Banksy quote that I think I read in Wall and Piece:

the people who run our cities dont understand graffiti because they think nothing has the right to exist unless it makes a profit…

the people who truly deface our neighborhoods are the companies that scrawl giant slogans across buildings and buses trying to make us feel inadequate unless we buy their stuff….

any advertisement in public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours, it belongs to you ,, its yours to take, rearrange and re use.Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head..

I’m happy that Global Street Art and others are trying, and succeeding, to convince the people in power that art has as much of a place on the streets as advertising. CR

GNU Social

This is a micro-blogging, Twitter-like server written in PHP which implements the OStatus standard for interoperation between installations. I like the tag line on the home-page of one of the bigger instances, Quitter España:

We are a federation of microbloggers who care about ethics and solidarity and want to quit the centralised capitalist services.

The user interface looks very pretty (and somewhat familiar!) JM

Telling stories with your Git history

This excellent article by Seb Jacobs follows on from Joel Chippindale’s LRUG talk on the same subject. In particular, the idea of revising your history before sharing is a very powerful, but under-used, way to make your changes more comprehensible to others. JM

Make and M4 Static Website Generator

A static website generator based on GNU Make and GNU M4. I’m still using the venerable (and unmaintained?) Webby to build my personal website and I’ve been looking around for a replacement. I don’t think I’d actually use this one, but it does contain some interesting ideas e.g. using a macro processor as a primitive templating engine. JM

The Ski Rental Problem

Apparently this is the name given to a class of problems in which there is a choice between continuing to pay a repeating cost or paying a one-time cost which eliminates or reduces the repeating cost. I hadn’t heard of it before.

I came across it via a tweet from Kent Beck which suggests this is a good model for the decision as to whether to refactor or keep piling up technical debt. JM


Chris drew my attention to this Kickstarter project which is building a lithium-ion battery module for making portable self-powered Raspberry Pi applications. I’ve ordered one for use on my AIS on SDR project. JM

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