Feedback - Take it, but also rate it.

Something I’ve seen over the (several) years I’ve been working in tech is a lack of understanding that feedback has differing levels of value. Sometimes this goes to the extremes of feedback that’s ignored because it’s come from a person or group which has consistently provided low value feedback, or groups which don’t get a lot of feedback because people think it won’t be acted on. Both of these are very bad places to be in.

Peercache - locally shared caches of build dependencies

The idea Currently most build systems have two sources for build dependencies; A remotely hosted source (e.g. maven central, internal build cache on a server), or a local on-disk cache, but many development groups have another potential source which doesn’t seem to be being used at the moment; other developers on the same LAN, which is why I started thinking about implementing a peer-to-peer caching system and I’m putting the idea out there for discussion.

Open Sourcing the Enterprise Password Safe

Some of those who know me may have heard me talk about an Enterprise Password Safe product which I built and worked on from the mid-2000’s up until shortly before joining Facebook. Now I’ve left Facebook and I’ve been looking over my old repos and realised that it’s a project that could benefit from being open-sourced and so I’ve done so via a company I’ve recently acquired an interest in.

Raspberry Pi Zero Bitcoin "Wallet"

A few weeks ago I tweeted to see if anyone had put a Raspberry Pi Zero W and a PaPiRus eInk display together to make a Bitcoin Wallet. Unfortunately there were no responses, so I thought I’d see what I could do…. fortunately the answer was quite a lot… First off the warning; This setup isn’t security hardened. If you’re going to use this on an open WiFi network, or other people are going to get hold of your device, you should look at hardening the installation of Raspbian and modifying my apps to encrypt the private key for your bitcoin address.

UK Tax Authority and Digital Goods

The biggest concern I have over the UK Tax authority (HMRC) and digital “currencies” is that they don’t seem to understand digital delivery, which already hurts UK businesses. The main taxation on the sale of goods and services by companies in the UK is VAT - Value Added Tax. Like many other taxes on sales it’s imposed on anything a VAT registered UK company sells to certain groups (mainly UK consumers and companies, and EU consumers).


We need competition for “Google” Android. There are a huge number of articles which explain the problems of any single company controlling a product that many others rely on, and last decade the problem became so evident with web browsers that the EU felt the need to force the dominant company (Microsoft) to advertise alternatives from competitors, so with Android fast becoming the dominant mobile OS it’s probably time we should think about how we can avoid ending up in a similar situation with Google and Mobile as we were with Microsoft and Browsers.

I can see why at least one phone OEM is not making money

I had an interesting conversation with an ‘phone OEM at Droidcon NL which gave me a good idea as to why there may be very few OEMs making money producing ‘phones. This OEM has a current line of around 15 different devices…. yes… 15. Most of the differences seemed to be cosmetic (e.g. different shells around the same core hardware), which is the kind of thing which should be very low priority if you’re not making money.

Android 4.4 - Blocking Modders or Increasing Security

There’s a fine line between user security and blocking modders, but the thing to remember is that far far far more users will benefit from enhanced security than will ever install a custom ROM, and so making a change which can block malware modifying the core OS seems a reasonable move to me. Some of these benefits are not direct; Some will say OS modifying malware is rare, but a move like this raises the bar to getting malware like that to work and so will discourage even more people from trying to create it.

Android ShareActionProvider DarkActionBar Fix

With the beta of the Droidcon NL 2013 app Quirijn Groot Bluemink posted a screenshot which showed a small problem; The menu provided by ShareActionProvider as part of the Theme.AppCompat.Light.DarkActionBar has black text on a dark grey background. The problem is due to the layout for each item in the menu defined in abc_activity_chooser_view_list_item.xml. The TextView in the layout uses ?attr/textAppearanceLargePopupMenu, which, when you follow the references all the way down to TextAppearance.

Nexus 5 Bloatware

It seems Google is getting in on the “promote via bloat-ware” game which is not great for users, like me, who don’t use a lot of Google services. Going through the list of pre-installed apps on a Nexus 5 which hasn’t been signed in to a Google account (and so hasn’t had apps restored or updated from the Play store) I’ve found nearly half of them are apps I don’t use;