Archive for the ‘blog’ Tag

Some cool HackSoc mash-up APIs!

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Hello /r/hacksoc,

Recently I have been thinking about some cool ideas for web/phone apps and looking for some cool datasets and APIs to play with.

However, it has come to my attention that there isn’t really a definitive list of things to play with (that I could find anyway). 

So let me present the “Ed George List of Cool HackSoc Playthings”.

Cool Playthings:

Standard Playthings:

This list will be updated as and when I find more, but in the meantime happy hacking!

getAge() {return 21;}

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Happy New Year to all!

I am writing this one day after my 21st birthday which is a strange milestone for me (and everyone else in fact), considering the next milestone will be in 9 years time when I reach 30 and edge ever nearer to that fabled ‘mid-life crisis stage’ of a man’s life. (The word Crisis will no longer be mentioned from this point on-wards after the harrowing events of last night)

It’s scary to think that in 21 years of existence just how far things have come. I am of course talking quite generally here as global politics, human rights and certainly technology have all come a long long way since I was born in 1992. Speaking solely on the technological side of things, there are many things that astound me about just how quick changes are still propagating ~60 years on from the birth of ‘modern’ computing. For example, realistically how many children today, or even 3-4 years ago for that matter, would recognize a VCR? How many families in the UK still own a VCR? Finally, how can it possibly be that in my 21 years of existence I have seen the VCR format die, the DVD format rise and now witness its possible successor Blu-Ray take center stage? I have also seen the tape format nearly erased from existence and replaced by first CDs and then MP3s!

In fact here is a short overview of some of the scariest facts I have comprised about some of the changes that have come about since I came to be!

Since being born:

  • The iPod was invented and has had 24 different models released, of which I owned 3
  • In ’92 Apple’s Classic II had a 16Hz CPU and 2MB RAM
  • 21 years later my MacBook Pro has a 2.4 GHz CPU and 8GB RAM
  • Microsoft released Windows 3.1 in ’92. (I remember using it at a friends house)
  • Microsoft have released 8* main consumer Operating Systems since
  • Apple have released 13*
  • In 1992 the first ever Text Message (SMS) was sent
  • Since 2010 – close to 200,000 text messages are sent every second
  • The Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension (MIME) standard was introduced in 1992 that allowed multimedia and other file types to become attachments in emails
  • In 1995 (earliest data I could find) Netscape held 80% of the browser market. IE had upwards of 95% global market share around 2002 and now has between 25-30% a mere 10 years later.
  •  Apple created the iPad, a ‘revolutionary’ device that introduced the subsequent ‘tablet revolution’ – Microsoft’s Project Origami had attempted something similar a few years before and was written off due to it’s poor battery life and reliance on stylus usage. (I got to test an early Samsung tablet running Windows XP for Tablets, and it was just awful)
  • The British company ARM in 2013 are responsible for the most popular 32-bit instruction set architecture in the world with a presence in 95% of smartphones, whilst in 1992 the company had only been established for 2 years
  • In 2006 MySpace hit 100 million users, 5 years later around 60% of these users had left
  • In 2008 Facebook traffic surpassed MySpace and 4 years later the site registered it’s 1billionth user
  • In 1992 I didn’t own a computer
  • In 2013 I have ‘owned’ nearly 10

My point is, Moore’s Law clearly has taken it’s toll on the technology I have witnessed since my birth! I can honestly say that I am truly excited to see where my field, Computer Science, is in 21 years time. It is a mind boggling concept to imagine what the world will be like then!

As many people that read this blog are of similar age to me, I hope you have found the facts I have collected to be of some intrest! It would be interesting to hear what shocked you most and how you have noticed things change since you were born. It doesn’t matter if you are older too, I can appreciate that for many people nowadays  punch cards were the only way to learn to program! (Give me Sublime Text 2 any day!)

Let me know what you think in the Comments below!

Til next time,


*My definition is Major releases and does not include Server Versions etc

Step 1. Read this post…

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

This made me laugh today. Finally, a comprehensive guide of how to get Spotify and Google Chrome on library machines in Nottingham written in simple steps!

  1. Download it.
  2. Install it.


Edit: Turns out doing this breaches uni regulations anyway (supposedly)!

Try, grooveshark or if you need music :) 

Boolean: Yes or No. Uh or Maybe?

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

I was casually linked to a site today that had a snippet of code that made me quite angry.

enum Bool {



FileNotFound }; 

I feel the title of ‘logician*’ may no longer apply to this individual!

Feel free to discuss!

* We all need cool job titles!

A Computer Scientist’s Guide To Procrastinate Effectively

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

A lot can happen in 2 months, 9 days. You can climb Everest, Watch every episode of Futurama every produced and you can slave your behind off doing work for subjects you fear may never interest you again!

I have done two out of the three since my last post.

Procrastination is fun, so what better to talk about after my prolonged period away!

A (quick) Computer Scientist’s Guide To ‘Procrastinate Effectively’

As a 2nd year undergraduate computer scientist, your daily life will consist mostly of one (or more) of the following:

  • Struggling to wake up
  • Struggling to attend lectures
  • Struggling to grasp concept of lectures
  • Struggling to understand accent of lecturers
  • Struggling to attempt coursework
  • Struggling to finish coursework before deadline
  • Struggling to beg lecturer for more time
  • Struggling to tie lead weights to your ankles whilst standing on top of a tall bridge…
Ok, so some of those might not apply to you or even me for that matter but if anything the last month has taught me, there is a brilliant new way of avoiding all of these troubles in your life. PRO-CRAS-TIN-ATE.
If you are working on a piece of code and there’s an error or exception you don’t understand. Then the Java docs are a fantastic source and whilst you’re at it, why not post a Facebook status from your Tamagotchi to make your idiot friends think you are some kind of wizard! If you are waiting for your code to compile or finish a large batch of calculations, then it’s the perfect time to brew a fresh cup of grounded coffee OR alternatively, play each track on the front page of Line Rider! It’s all good old-fashioned procrastination.

There are some certain things a Computer Scientist amid a ‘study-spree’ should attempt to avoid:

  • Special offers on Energy Drinks
  • Auction sites with links to ‘Retro Games - YES I MEAN THIS ONE’
  • Falling ill from food poisoning (Trust me)
  • Blogging unnecessarily

Avoid these like the plague as procrastination will eventually come so naturally to you that you will actually procrastinate on your next batch of procrastination!

This is kind of like the film Inception but with more games of Bejeweled Blitz and AWFUL computer related cat pictures - Seriously, these aren’t funny. I wish people stopped making them. PLEASE STOP MAKING THEM.

You will become a professional procrastinator when you graduate (oh and maybe get a BSc or MSci too if you are decent). I wish it wasn’t true but I’m currently very stressed and despite attending 90%+ lectures I still feel overwhelmed with work!

Hopefully I will have some more tech/programming/fun related posts after I split up on the 16th December! But currently all I can think about is how efficient my washing up technique is in terms of Big-Oh and whether treating it as a Stack or as Queue will make me complete it any quicker than treating it as dirty dishes!

The joys of Computer Science!

Peace and Love,


(Obviously this post is Tongue-in-Cheek and I 110% do not endorse playing Age of Empires II till 4:30 am on a ‘school night’…)

Coming soon: Flight Simulator…Simulator!

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

If I ever get a job in the games industry, please dearest god do not let me work for this company (NSFW).

Did you mean… ‘unsafePerformIO Humor’

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

I apologize for the lack of posts recently, I have been very busy moving into my new pad in Nottingham. It comes with all the things you would expect of a student house: poorly working locks, damp and neighbors that warn you of your house’s tendency to be burgled. Not to mention the tranquil sound of traffic!

Anyway, this evening I felt it was time to see how the blog was doing, so as I often do, I checked the blog’s stats. Nothing out of the ordinary till I saw what google searches were bringing hits to my site.

Here are a selection of my favorites:

  • unsafeperformio humor – Someone obviously has an odd take on ‘humor’
  • exercise 1.6 verify that the expression getchar is 0 or 1 – Not exactly worth searching!
  • my maths password - How am I mean to know this?! Is it ‘password’?!
  • windows wallpaper hill ten years later – It’s still a green hill!
and who could forget the classic
  • glass attack catherine wheel henley on thames
Quite frankly I don’t know how that relates to my blog and nor do I want to!
In other news, please be patient for more posts in the future as I will be back in the swing of things by the end of the month!Ed

Password Strength contd.

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

The previous post has got me thinking about password strength and the numbers involved in attempting to crack a password.

I am going to dumb this down a lot because this subject is quite complex. I am writing this as a basic concept just to show the large numbers involved in relatively small combinations etc.

Let’s say theoretically a password can only use upper/lowercase letters and numbers numbers. This means each character of a password could potentially be one of 62 (Upper Case + Lower Case + Numbers 0 to 9) possible choices.  So for n number of characters in a password there are 62^n possible passwords  (Therefore for a 10 character password there are  62^{10} \approx (8.4 \times 10^{17}) possible passwords).

So for a 10 character password with a maximum of 8.4 \times 10^{17} combinations to be tested by brute-force (as it is highly unlikely that last password tested from 840 quadrillion passwords is your ACTUAL password! But strange things do happen…) would take a computer running a 1000 combinations a second around 1.6 \times 10^{9} years to compute*.  Yes, this theoretical computer is clearly old as 1000 combinations a second is super slow despite sounding impressive, a machine computing 10^{9} instructions per second will get a solution in 1600 years. Meaning by the time your password is guaranteed to be cracked the human race are all living on some moon base and are no longer bothered at the prospect of gaining your password for ‘fraping you’! *please note my maths is very rusty at the moment

The truth of the matter is that ‘hackers’ do not use brute-force approaches to crack passwords as the time/space complexity of even a relatively small password is too large to exploit in this way. You are fairly safe from these forms of attacks. Do not let TV shows such as CSI fool you into thinking they can guess your password by trying every combination until they find it (amazingly they always seem to do it in a show that does only last 45mins!).

This post doesn’t really have a conclusion. It is merely to point out the pitfalls of brute-forcing a password. Some people are adamant ‘hackers’ can guess passwords in this way when, in fact, it is highly unlikely. Dictionary Searches and other complex algorithms are their prime tools.

That said ‘password’ is STILL not a legitimate password … 

Password Strength

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

IE equals below-average IQ

Monday, August 1st, 2011

An interesting report has recently been published that states what most people already knew. As the Telegraph reported, those who use Internet Explorer (IE) are supposedly less intelligent than others!

This report by the Canadian firm AptiQuant shows the results of 100,000  IQ tests taken by various internet users and would seem to suggest that people who use Internet Explorer have an average IQ of around 90 whilst users of other browsers such as Chrome or Firefox have IQ scores of 110+.

Of course what this survey fails to take into account is that the majority of web users use machines which by default have Internet Explorer as their web browser. This in turn means that the average joe (currently 42.45% of web users) has not upgraded their browser or moved away from IE. These people tend to be, but are not exclusively, less technically minded people who may only use the web for trivial tasks such as e-mail and social networking and have no need to upgrade their browser in their eyes (If they realize this option is available). It seems clear that the more technically minded individuals prefer browsers such as Firefox, Chrome or Opera. Therefore the imbalance is clear as the technically minded people tend to have higher IQ’s than average anyway! Meaning this report’s outcome was always going to be as clear as day: Average people use IE – Nerds use Firefox/Chrome/Opera!

I personally have no time for the ‘browser discussion’. (Ironically, I was only recently talking to Harry Slater about this the other day!) It seems that people have different preferences for browsers that reflect their needs. There is no right or wrong answer to which browser you should use in my eyes, if it works – use it!

However, if you want to gain a few extra IQ points, maybe stay clear from IE for a while!

Happy Surfing,



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