Hi, I’m a physicist turned web designer turned solution architect and so on, with a love of the Peak District. Welcome to a dusty little corner of the web where you’ll find some archived content and a few random musings. Pull up a chair, coffee’s on…


  • Homebrew with multiple users

    I’m a great fan of homebrew, the package manager for OS X that gives access to a raft of useful tools. However, it’s designed for a single user, really, which is OK for a developer’s laptop but less cool for a shared computer or one that uses network accounts. For these cases, here’s a solution.

  • An eventful commute, one April mornin'

    Wow, now this was an eventful commute… Snow in April anyone? This was the non-view from a place called ‘Surprise View’, complete with Land Rover Discovery at a funny angle in the wrong lane and taking a while to get it straight again! I’d already picked up a friend who works for another business in Hathersage after his RS4 had become a little too friendly with a snowbank.

  • Awk for Apache / Nginx logs

    Apache, Nginx and the like log every request your web server processes, unless you’ve configured them not to. Whilst statistics packages such as Awstats, Webalizer, Google Analytics and friends provide a useful overview there’s nothing that beats the raw data for being able to answer your own questions. Here, I introduce an awk script you can use to get your own analysis going.

  • Jigsaw - a stop-motion animation

    One thousand pieces… Eighty seconds… Tower Bridge pieces itself into view before your very eyes. Of course, this reveals the method I used to make the puzzle but really - who makes the sky first?!?

  • Landscapes with Paul Hill & Karen Frenkel

    Last weekend I had the pleasure of a day picking up landscape photographic tips from the esteemed photographers Paul Hill and Karen Frenkel. There were quite a lot of us; I don’t know how they managed it but the advice they gave was great. Here’s a brief story on improving a picture with a little thought.

  • Relatively Popular: a plugin for Habari

    Blog popularity: it’s nice to know what’s popular and what’s not with visitors on a blog and a summary of the most popular entries helps those who’ve not visited before. Thing is, there’s a problem… most blog popularity measures are based on visits for all time, so what if you write a new article?

  • Column/grid width & arrangements tool

    This page contains a plugin you might like to use if you need to work out an arrangement of columns for a given width, such as for a website design. Select the number of columns and drag the box edge to choose the total width.

  • Arranging columns for a web page theme

    Yesterday, I published the first version of a tool to calculate and visualise website column widths which simplifies the process of splitting a content area into a number of equally spaced equal width columns. Yes, there are plenty of tools out there that will take a given column width and spacing and tell you the overall width, but there aren’t many that you can give the total width and the number of columns you’re looking for and you get to see the available column width options.

  • Modem mode with the DG834N: beware the factory defaults

    We’ve recently moved premises at work, giving us the opportunity for dual broadband for bandwidth sharing and failover. Whilst the DrayTek Vigor 2920n is an excellent device, it needs a couple of ADSL modems running in modem-only mode (sometimes known as bridge mode) to be used with ADSL connections. As I had a Netgear DG834G and a DG834N available, I figured that a factory reset followed by device mode setup from the hidden page, then plug it all in would just work. Nope.

  • Javascript: Path to the current script

    If–within a javascript file–you wish to find the path to this file, how’s it done?

  • Low dimensional semiconductor physics... for the non-physicist

    A simple guide to Low Dimensional Semiconductor Physics, written specifically for the non-physicist reader.

  • Magneto-spectroscopy of quantum dots

    A summary of my key paper, published in October 2006, that looked at the effects of magnetic fields on the electron-phonon interaction in quantum dots.

  • planetFear Kalymnos SunRock Holiday Report - Week 2

    Please note: This article was originally on planetfear.com but has since vanished. Steve wrote the original and thanks to t’internet principle (once published; always there somewhere) via the Wayback Machine, here it is.

  • Climbing in Kalymnos with PlanetFear

    Becky and I went on the last PlanetFear Coaching holiday to the idyllic Greek island of Kalymnos. Both hoping to push our grade, we had a great time under the critical eye of Steve McClure and Katherine Schirrmacher who were both fantastic. I cracked F7b+ on redpoint on my third try, but watch this space as there’s definitely more to come where that one came from.

  • Wireless repeating with the Netgear DG834Gv3 and WG602v3

    Got a wireless network? Need to extend the range to cover that other corner of the house/garden/shed? Been thoroughly hacked off with trying to get what should be quite a simple thing working properly? Yup. Me too…

  • Pictures and Video of the Floods at The Foundry

    Monday 25th June 2007: Pouring rain in Sheffield all day, the River Don flowing past the back wall of the Foundry Climbing Centre bursts its banks, flooding large parts of Sheffield including the Foundry car-park to a depth of about 4 feet! Fortunately the floor of the Foundry is several feet higher than the car-park, but it only takes a couple of inches of coverage to soak everything.

  • Animation!

    Animation is the reverse process of making a live-action film. For a live-action film, movement is ‘frozen’ into a series of separate still frames but for animation each frame is created to produce the film.