Year: 2018

December 6, 2018
October 18, 2018
Back in April this year, I wrote to the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) for “official guidance on GDPR for purely personal, non-commercial, use of data”. I made the point that much had been published about how GDPR applied to organisations and companies, but I had failed to find anything that applied to data handling for social clubs.

This is in respect to data I hold with regard to the forums I administer and mail-lists I run, all purely social activities, involving people who had explicitly joined up.

October 18, 2018
October 14, 2018
October 12, 2018
I have been playing with Alexa Skills for some time, and having great fun.

Until recently, all of my skills were private. If you design an Alexa Skill but never publish it, it remains in Dev – it is accessible to all of your own Echo devices, but not to the outside world. This is actually extremely useful, as you can write your own personal skills to do quite specific tasks.

August 27, 2018
I’ve been using a number of web integration tools to do various tasks, ranging from cross posting from one social network to another, through to on-line automation. I think many people may be familiar with IFTTT (If This Then That), but the two relative newcomers, Zapier and Integromat are less well known. I thought I would do a quick comparison.

A web integration tool can be used to link two totally different systems. An easy example would be “Whenever I tweet, post it to Facebook”, or “Whenever someone posts to this page, send me an email”. But it can get a lot more sophisticated – I currently have automations set up that watch for specific YouTube videos and copy them to my Plex account, so they appear automatically on my home TV system; I have recently come up with a system that lets me log my medications via Alexa, and record them in Google Sheets.

June 23, 2018
I’m not talking about failure in a big way, but failure in terms of petty little tasks. I may make plans to do something that I haven’t done before – like fit a lock to my garden gate – that I should be totally capable of doing. But something nags me in the back of my mind – what if I run into problems? How will I cope? So I put off the task, rather than discover if I can do it (or do it well).

May 11, 2018
I’ve been playing around with making it easy to log what I eat/drink, together with calories. The idea is that logging what you eat can be tedious, and prone to “I’ll do that later (oops forgot)”. By doing it with a voice interface, I can do it anywhere, and quickly and simply. I can even do it over my phone, using the Alexa app.

At the moment, I have a Heath Robinson solution, using an existing skill, Tweet It, then using the Tweets it creates to log to a spreadsheet. But ultimately, I think I am going to use this to learn how to program my own Alexa skills

May 6, 2018
April 19, 2018
More techie fun. It’s actually fairly easy to do, it was the idea that was brilliant (is there an emoji for an exploding head?)

Plex media server has a “watch later” function, that can be used for watching *selected* YouTube videos. See a video while browsing, and want to watch it later? Simply open the video page and click a browser bookmark. When you next open Plex, it will be listed under your “watch later” items.

April 18, 2018
I have a shelf of vinyl that hasn’t been played in about 10 years. Nothing valuable, just stuff from the late 70s and the 80s. Some has been repurchased in CD form; the rest – well, if I haven’t dug it out in 10 years, I can’t be itching to hear it.

(I actually have a Vestax portable player, but it is gathering dust in the junk room.)

March 23, 2018
But one of the things I will be using the time for is working on the update on my board game forum site, Posh Games.

This is long overdue. Official support for the version I am on ended in 2009, although I’ve managed to keep it going and secure. I have made 2 attempts, over the years, to upgrade, both vexed by the new version lacking features that are central to my website – mainly a fully integrated calendar/scheduler, allowing you to attach dates to specific topics (so people can schedule a game session, then discuss who is coming and what games to bring).