The value of independent feedback

I've just posted two pieces of very negative feedback here and here. Upon submitting the feedback I got a message saying:

"Thank you for your review of this item. It has been submitted for approval by our staff."

Windows 7 file sharing with XP/OSX peers

Recently I've been blighted by a minor network glitch that meant I couldn't file share from my Windows 7 laptop. I was convinced it was something to do with Windows Firewall, ESET NOD32 or even the ZyXel router. I downloaded the excellent Wireshark and used it to analyse the packets; lots of outgoing requests but nothing back from my server (miata). I could ping and transfer HTTP packets, but no file sharing.

Wireshark set up

Windows-based PHP profiling with Xdebug and Kcachegrind

The last few weeks of development have driven me to adopt some old technologies from my C days. I've got PHP setup with a debugger (Xdebug and the buggy Komodo IDE) and a profiler (Kcachegrind) under Windows (WAMP Server). Today I optimised one tiny part of the DiSCO codebase:

Kcachegrind screenshot, before

Evolution of thinko.pe

I've been fielding a lot of questions about how Thinko.pe will evolve. Here's a mockup in Prezi that shows the zooming/panning interface that we're working on.

Media Festival Arts panel

I spoke on a panel at Media Festival Arts about Technology Strategy Board and our £5m Metadata competition.

Where once there was complexity, now an installer

I'm consistently bowled over by the way communities of users solve each others' problems and share their solutions. I race online in SimBin's Race 07 / GTR Evolution. Following the release of MMG's F1 mod, I'm playing more custom games, which necessitate the installation of additional mods (tracks/skins etc.) To participate in the latest games means spending time surfing the forums looking for the right download, then installing it. There's usually a lot of trial an error.

Tardis safe violates the laws of physics

I can almost read the newspaper headlines now; "Tardis discovered in Cambridge"; "Doctor Who mystery in UK town"; "Physics no longer Safe". Alas they won't be written about the Arundel House Hotel's security devices, which while magical to a naive mind (like mine) don't actually bend the space-time continuum like Father Christmas.

Orange Open Movie

Elephant's Dream is an open source movie, produced using open source tools such as Blender and released under a Creative Commons licence.

IE CSS transparency bug

As part of my experimentation for Thinkope, I'm often setting opacity on divs and their containers. I've exposed this IE transparency bug which renders correctly in Firefox but cuts a hole out of the top div in Internet Explorer.

Snapshot demonstrating cut-out bug

Extraordinary fruits of openness

The value of open source software is much talked about, both in terms of the direct and indirect returns to those that give their time to its construction and those that build composite services upon it. Really interesting things happen when we stop associating open source with lines of code.


Alex Stanhope is a Technology consultant to the UK Creative Industries and Venture Catalyst. This is my personal website.
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