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Hey @twitter – This screen in your site is really confusing.

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I’ve noticed this really confusing page in twitter.  If I’m using twitter and click on the discover tab, then I get a page like this :

Twitter discover page

Twitter discover page

So I click on the Change option – because I want better trends – trends that are more appropriate or tailored to me :
Twitter - offer of tailored trends

Twitter – offer of tailored trends

The default is to keep the tailored trends – that are based on my location? I haven’t set that up yet. So I click on the change button, and here it is – the most confusing screen in Twitter.

Most confusing screen in Twitter.

Most confusing screen in Twitter.

Here’s what’s wrong with this screen :

  • If you want to stop seeing tailored trends (that’s trends based on your location) then choose a new location – aren’t I still seeing tailored trends but for this new location?
  • Two confirmation buttons.  If I click a location, – you can see the trends updating in the background. So what’s the difference?  Clicking Done will close my window – which will show me a tailored list of trends, and clicking get tailored list of trends seems to do the opposite – but should do the same (based on it’s name) as the Done button.
Notice how the trends has updated in the background, and is now showing Birmingham trends.

Notice how the trends has updated in the background, and is now showing Birmingham trends.

Attributing under Creative Commons…. Lest we forget

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I’m currently working on a video for YouTube, and as part of it I needed a sound effect – and I found almost the exact sound effect I need on Freesound.org.  Freesound is a site where sound recordings can be downloaded under a variety of creative commons licences – We’ve used such samples before for audio features for the Hoo on Who podcast.

Anyway I decided to refresh my memory as to what would be required to attribute the use of this sample with in my youtube project, so I visited the FAQ page… and was interested to see the following real life example from Children of Men.

Children of men credits screen – using freesound

I had visited this site many times before, and had even seen this graphic numerous times before, but today – for some reason, the address caught my eye.  It was the EDU domain that caught my attention.  I had always thought that edu was related to education, so I was wondering why Universal Studios would be linking to an academic site.

Wikipedia confirms that edu domain requirements are (or indeed were) intended for academic institutions of higher education…

Since 2001, new registrants to the domain have been required to be United States-affiliated institutions of higher education, though before then non-U.S.-affiliated—and even non-educational institutions—registered, with some retaining their registrations to the present.

I found myself with curiosity piqued, I typed the address from the screen shot into the  browser bar and…

Read more..

updates on debsplorer

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Well – a while back I was looking at how I could extend the hosting of deb files onto a word press site.  My idea was to create a plugin that would allow the server to automatically extract the latest version of a file stored in a deb file.  The idea was that if you were an author, publishing your book, that you publish you book once – to launchpad, and access the binary e-pub file from you word press website.

I’ve been working on the plugin off and on, and today I am sorry to say that I’ve not made much progress on it.  The plugin currently pulls back the latest deb file – from an address you specify in the short code, and I can create a copy of that file.  Deb files are Unix .ar files under the covers, and unfortunately I have been unable to extract specific files from the archive using php.

So it looks for the immediate term that the ability to link your published e-book to your word press site isn’t going to be possible – unless anyone out there can offer any guidance?

I am not disheartened – perhaps I need to look at other options for publishing you book from launchpad to your website, but for the moment debsplorer will have to remain incomplete.

Everyday Security

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I been meaning to write this post for a while, but things are a little busy. How busy you ask? How about so busy that there is a little quiz on the latest episode of Hoo on Who where listeners are invited to finish the following sentence

“Dave Hingley is so busy…”

Still never mind.

Another reason this article has taken it’s time being published is that I had some question about whether or not I should actually be writing this. The story is a little about security and I was concerned with other people’s privacy. I ran it past Mike and the general consensus was that all the information was freely available in the public domain. So, here goes.

Here’s a fun story about a couple of delightful tykes who manage to sell their parents home in 6 days without using Estate agents, covered by the pinnacle of journalistic excellence – Yahoo

The original news article is here, but to cut a long story short, Yahoo took a picture of the posters the 2 children put up to sell their home:

Adorable Kids Selling their home

What a cute poster – awww!

Note they blurred out the house number . Very laudable.  And understandable. You don’t want to be swamped with members of the public taking photos or hassling these young kids right?
But what about these adorable kids in question? well here’s the picture that yahoo put up in the same story :
The Kids and Their poster

The Kids and Their poster

Thanks to the paranoia inducing @__freakyclown__‘s oggcamp talk about exif and digital image forensics data The images don’t look like they have any geotagging data in them.

The new buyers wish to remain anonymous, but how hard would it be to find out the name of the occupants, knowing the address?

Well, it seems that it’s entirely possible to trace the owners using tax records or even in this modern age, outsource this data gathering to an external website like findermonkey. and how much would this cost? Depends.  If the new owners where previous bad tenants, then Findermonkey claim to be able to find previous tenants for £65 – and using the information from yahoo would make it a lot easier wouldn’t it?

In the meantime, here’s some more information on the house in question, and here’s a google street view of it.

Looking at the information. it does raise an interesting question. If we assume that the house sale went through with no problems. there should be some kind of record on the Zoopla page right? wrong. Because is appears that Zoopla and other services get their data from estate agents.  as there was no estate agent involved in the sale, then there is no record of the sale.

However there is no way of knowing if the move went well, unless Yahoo decide to do a follow-up story. But think about this for a second. The property was sold without the need of an Estate agent. It was sold at the asking price without an estate agent, the price looks like it was derived from the last sale price , which would have been provided by an estate agent.

The assumption therefore,  is that any estate agent valuing a property in French weir avenue, for example, would look up the property on Zoopla, see what it was sold for and how long ago, and makes up a figure using that data.

How accurate can that model be? When there can be gaps introduced into records of individual house prices? If all that Estate agents are doing is making up a figure, based on previous data, and putting an advert in the paper – why should we kow-tow their expertise? if Estate Agents are such experts in property, why has there been a history of property bubbles and not a stable maintainable market?

At this point Mike got involved. from the information in the article he was able to obtain copies of the title plan and register details from the land regstry for the princely sum of £6 you can find them here and here. This does raise questions about how complex process of conveyancing actually is. I appreciate that buying a house is a lengthy process and as such you will want the protection that comes with a legal professional dealing with your claim. but maybe there is a saving to be made by performing theses types of searches yourself?

Looking at the Land registry Documents, The Penny’s still seem to be the registered owners. It is possible that records might take time to update, but the original story was published on Yahoo on the 5th February 2014, Mike obtained the documents from the Land registry on the 27th March 2014.

At this point. It occurs to me that the Zoopla Sales data  could be gathered from Land registry Register details. as it details the location, current owner and cost of the property and the reason that  Zoopla aren’t currently showing the property has sold, is because:

  • the sale actually hasn’t finalised yet
  • the sale has gone through but the records have not been refreshed either by the Land registry, which I doubt or by Zoopla , which I think would be more likely as its is presumably periodically  polling/scraping the Land registry website for the information
  • The sale has fallen through.

In any case this story had me consider the relevancy of Estate Agents, The ease of obtaining copies of important documents with freely available information and how hard or easy it would be to track someone down with just a few basic bits of information.

And just think, if Yahoo had been consistent with blurring the address of the property in question, I wouldn’t have bothered to do all this digging.


Idea for UI improvement for @AncestryUK

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Adding children through simple gesture (drag down)

Adding children through simple gesture (drag down)


I was completing an Ancestry customer satisfaction survey, when they asked the question :

“What suggestions would you give to improve the website?”

So I thought about it.  I’ve realised that the further back in time you go when researching family trees, the more children and siblings there tends to be.  So a lot of time will be spent adding children to parents or siblings to individuals.  I believe that ancestry could improve the UI for adding children, and here’s how.

The easiest way to add a relative is to

  • Find the person
  • Click on the person
  • Select Add relative.
  • This then prompts you to add a brother, sister, spouse or child.

I believe this could be streamlined to clicking on the marker point in the marriage line and dragging

  • Down to create a child (the parents are those defined in the marriage)
  • Perhaps diagonally down left / right to create male / female children.  Maybe even dragging up for information about the marriage event?


Suggested Drag children option

Suggested Drag children option – drag into the blue section for a boy, pink for a – well you get the idea.

This gesture based control system could be extended to add siblings (drag the user left to add a sister, right to add a brother) or to swap individuals where the wrong individual has been assigned to an event.

This reduces the number of clicks required for the fairly common operation of adding a child, or sibling, and the idea of dragging the marriage marker to create children also seems to to quite nicely into the operation of the site through a mobile or touch based interface – which seems all the rage these days.