I started FolkTuneFinder as a student project back in 2008. I’d done websites for a few years before, but this was the first serious one with any kind of heavy lifting or interesting behaviour. Over the years I added features that allowed people to interact, such as the commenting and FolkTuneFinder blogs, which has been surprisingly popular. I have always had a very small problem with spam: I received perhaps a small handful of blog posts a month, which was fine to deal with.

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I don’t drive, but being a passenger and a cyclist, I imagine dazzling lights can be something of a problem to drivers. To combat this, a camera could be mounted in the head-rest of the driver’s seat of a car, so that it was able to see what the driver saw from the same perspective. It could identify where egregious bright lights were coming from. A liquid crystal matrix could be embedded into the windscreen.

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Limescale is a problem in areas with hard water. No more so than in kettles which need occasional de-scaling. How about making a dispenser which sits in the kettle and provides de-scaling acid in very small quantities. The acid would be food-grade. It would be adjustable to give just the right amount for the hardness of water so that the acid is completely used up in dissolving the limescale. A testing kit could be sold, or a national database could be built up giving local values based on post-code.

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People like taking photos of themselves in the mirror, it seems. Especially with iPhones. The trouble with taking a photo in a mirror is that the image is obviously mirrored. Here’s my idea. An iPhone, or other phone with a prominent logo on the back, can do some basic shape recognition to decide whether or not there’s a logo reflected in the mirror. It can then decide whether it’s taking a photo in a mirror or not and automatically flip the image if needed.

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I strike a match to light my oven or stove, and blow it out within a few seconds. Most of the match is un-burned. Why not dip the match at both ends so that it can be used twice? And you wouldn’t have to get your fingers mucky: it’s not hard to avoid holding it by the end.

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I’m a bit of a puritan. I don’t like hundreds of ornate tools. But a few things help. TextMate is quite good. It’s not free but I consider it worth paying for. http://macromates.com/ F.lux adjusts the colour temperature of your monitor according to the time of day. I generally have my monitor set quite yellow and low-brightness anyway. Free. http://stereopsis.com/flux/ ShiftIt allows you to arrange windows into non-overlapping pre-defined layouts with keyboard shortcuts.

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I’ve been looking into Redis. I wondered about storing integers as keys and values rather than plain old strings. After asking on Stackoverflow, I did my own experiments. It looks like it is possible to use any byte string as a key. For my application’s case it actually didn’t make that much difference storing the strings or the integers. I imagine that the structure in Redis undergoes some kind of alignment anyway, so there may be some pre-wasted bytes anyway.

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There are few events more sought after and exclusive than the annual Balancing of the Squash. This happens in a secret location, late at night, early in November. This ritual has roots in the ancient culture of a secret society known as ‘the Box of the Torch’. Tonight the participants excelled both themselves and in some cases, each other. It’s a legume.

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Day of the Dead

Today is Day of the Dead. The Hurly-Burly-Bright-And-Early Band was out in force this evening celebrating. Or rather, mourning the passing of the Summer. Exactly six months to the day (give or take) since May Day. My pipe is at a worrying angle.

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Cooking with Wood

After success with a pizza, I’ve decided to try cooking in my wood burning stove. Little steps. Today I tried melting some cheese over some gnocchi. A good start. If I’m honest, this wasn’t anything more than melting some cheese. Next time I might actually cook something. And that’s pepper not ash in the last photo.

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