The first week of December 2015 brought a massive storm to Lancashire and Cumbria,

causing severe flooding which resulted in a loss of power to 61,000 homes and businesses. The Royal Academy of Engineering put out a report of the situation (mirror) discussing the situation:

Most homes in the affected area have gas-fired central heating with the control system and circulating pump reliant on electricity, so had no heating. Many homes have all-electric cooking and thus were unable to heat food. There are few high-rise buildings in the city but all lost power for their lifts and some upper floors lost water supplies. After 30 hours without electricity, many households had to throw away at least some of the contents of their freezers.

The biggest impact on most people was that few knew what was happening. By looking out of the window, it was obvious that there was a widespread power cut but none of the usual sources of information – TV, internet, text messages or social media – was working. Although there was FM radio coverage, many people did not have a suitable battery- powered radio and reporters in the area had serious difficulties in communicating with their studios.

Vulnerable groups, including those relying on electrically-powered medical appliances and residents of care homes, were more seriously affected.

I've been a double edged razor user for well over a decade now.

I find the shave to be much more pleasurable than the multi-bladed cartridge monstrosities, not to mention the cost is much reduced.

The main issue comes when it is time to change the blade. Have a fairly sharp (not so good for shaving but will still mess you up) blade - covered in scraped off skin and possibly blood depending on how badly I shave - to be disposed of.

Simply throwing the naked blades in the bin is not suitable. The hazard to anyone down the chain is too high. Similarly, putting the blades in the cardboard container they came out of is also not great.

I thought about the sharps bins you see in hospitals and clinics for needles and scalpels and wondered if there was a consumer version.

Small enough to sit on a shelf and enough capacity for at least a decade of shaving. Clearly marked as hazardous and easily sealed for future disposal into a suitable waste stream.

Rantmedia 1999-2019

At 21:00 PT, after 20 years of continuous broadcasting, the internet's longest running internet radio station is coming to an end. James O'Brien (aka Cimmerian) made the decision to end the run instead of letting it atrophy and wither away.

Sad to see it go, Patrolling was a formative part of my teenage years and I fully credit Rant with the solid friendships and the current relationship I have.

Sean Kennedy:

James O'Brien:

Don't hate the media, become the media!


I've been a fan of command line scripts and software to get tasks done for a while now. A few weeks ago, I tried having a go at hacking on Bashpodder to add Youtube functionality via the use of youtube-dl to get videos automatically, podcast style.

Annoyingly, I couldn't make it run properly and left it for a while. Until this morning when I had some coffee and decided to just break out the functionality to a separate script. Two scripts for podcast downloading may be a bit much but needs must.

Like my bashpodder hack, this script requires youtube-dl to be installed.

It also requires two text files to be in your home folder (or symlinked from elsewhere). .ytget.conf is a list of channels that you want to download from, whether from Youtube or any other service that youtube-dl supports. .ytget.lastrun just contains a timestamp in date +%Y%m%d format - eg. 20190101 - that is when the script was last ran. I recommend initially using a date from a month or two ago, else the script will default to 20180101 and get all videos uploaded since then.

Grab the script (or clone the whole repo), stick it in your $PATH and grab your Youtube subscriptions, free from the need to have a Google account!

Contain Yourself

Firefox added containers to compartmentalise web browsing. A smart individual took that concept and made an add-on to containerise the abomination known as Facebook.

Today, I found that another person took that idea and made one to corral Twitter and I had the idea to see if the same has been done for Google. It has.

Those 3 add-ons should go a way to keeping data leakage under control. Of course, augmenting your browser with uMatrix and uBlock Origin is thoroughly recommended for further hardening.

Let's Know Things

Recently, Jon Antilles reposted a masterlist which had a link to a post by Colin Wright. Digging around, I fond that Colin hosts a podcast, Let's Know Things, which aims to give contextual information on a wide range of subjects (including tech, politics and sociology) and integrates them into a high level view of how they fit in the world.

The episodes are not particularly in depth, being about 45 to 90 minutes long but they do give a good jumping off point for folk wanting to research them further. Or just gently drift off to sleep to Colin's gravelly voice (dangerous when on night shift).

Been commuting for 3 out of 4 shifts on the bike this week.

It would have been 4 for 4 but tonight is night shift, no way am I cycling home 7.5 miles after being awake for 24 hours. My ebike makes the commute much easier and a lot more fun. Aside from nearly running into an idiot who pulled out on me. And having to do a ninja landing after my front wheel hit an edging stone at the wrong angle.

Checking over my bike found that the rear tyre was pretty flat.

Given that I have already replaced the inner tube last week I thought an investigation was in order. Cue inner tube in sink of water with resulting bubbles. A detailed look at the inside of the tyre revealed the culprit.

Time to patch this tube too.