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Quentin Stafford-Fraser's blog

Last Build Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2018 19:23:10 +0000


It’s not all bad in Zuckerland…

Sat, 14 Apr 2018 19:23:10 +0000

I left Facebook a little over a year ago, and hadn’t really felt any desire to return even before the recent round of news stories. This NYT piece by Kathleen O’Brien gives an interesting and more positive viewpoint, though. But where are the ‘lifeboats’? Is it time to revisit some of those other social networks Continue Reading

Seen it before?

Sat, 14 Apr 2018 13:17:11 +0000

Here’s a handy site: TinEye. It’s a reverse image search. If you’ve got an image on your machine and don’t know where it came from, or you find it online and wonder where the original lives or who uploaded it first, this can help. I learned about this from Terence Eden, who has a great Continue Reading

This is your life

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 09:04:11 +0000

This is either fascinating, useful, or scary, depending on your point of view. I’m usually logged in to my Google accounts on all of my devices, because I really appreciate the synchronisation of my history, finishing YouTube videos on one device that I started on another, and so forth. Subconsciously, we all understand that Google Continue Reading


Tue, 10 Apr 2018 12:40:46 +0000

Ah, so here’s why my shiny new lawnmower isn’t getting as much use as it might… Our spaniel is sitting looking out of the patio door, and positively quivering with excitement…

Buster Keaton working downstairs

Wed, 28 Mar 2018 17:01:09 +0000

Hope your browser can display this…

Zooming in the rain

Wed, 28 Mar 2018 13:41:15 +0000

On Wednesdays, there’s an interesting group of catering vans that collect at the far end of the West Cambridge campus, and I like to go there for lunch. But it’s a bit of a distance, and the weather today was bad, so it was important to find the most appropriate method of transportation…

Everything stops for tea

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 16:55:16 +0000

There are some tunes that are so catchy, they stick with you for ages. I think I heard ‘Everything stops for tea’ about three or four decades ago, and probably only once. But the wonder of modern search engines is that they allow you to go back and renew your acquaintance with the things that Continue Reading

Adding custom ringtones to your iPhone using iTunes

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 20:26:45 +0000

In case you’re Googling for it, or in case I forget how to do it… If you search online, you can can find various articles about how to take an MP3 or AAC audio file and make a .M4R-format file which an iOS device can then use as a ringtone. I’ve had a bit of Continue Reading


Sun, 18 Mar 2018 20:16:54 +0000

Tilly inspects the recent repairs to her castle walls…

Personalised echo chambers

Sun, 18 Mar 2018 19:34:34 +0000

John’s column in the Observer this morning is a good one. Extract: This doesn’t mean that YouTube’s owner (Google) is hell-bent on furthering extremism of all stripes. It isn’t. All it’s interested in is maximising advertising revenues. And underpinning the implicit logic of its recommender algorithms is evidence that people are drawn to content that Continue Reading


Fri, 09 Mar 2018 20:17:16 +0000

I’m in a lovely but slightly moist campsite in Norfolk. The climatic conditions are, I must admit, mitigated for us by the simply splendid heating system built into the campervan we’ve rented for a few days. We’re not really ‘roughing it’! Anyway, inside the facilities block, where I’ve just been doing the washing up, there’s Continue Reading

Waiting for Summer

Wed, 28 Feb 2018 22:48:02 +0000

The Snowdial

Mon, 26 Feb 2018 16:10:31 +0000

Here’s a photo of snow melting in my front garden this afternoon. It occurs to me that, even without other clues such as the British number plate on my car, you could at least work out from this whether I was in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere. Can you see how?

The great moral dilemma of the age

Sun, 11 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0000

In the case of doubt over a particular item, is it a greater sin to recycle that which we ought not to recycle, or to leave unrecycled that which we ought to recycle?