This website does not display correctly in Internet Explorer 8 and older browsers. The commenting system does not work either in these browsers. Sorry.

Blog » Miscellaneous

OCMock wins Google award

25 May 2023

Posted in Miscellaneous

Logo of the Google Open Source Peer Bonus program

When I started OCMock almost 20 years ago, I would never have expected it to become so popular. Then again, at the time Objective-C was a niche language used only to develop (some) applications for the Mac. This changed with the iPhone, and dramatically so. And it changed again in about 2016 after Apple had introduced Swift and had made it very clear that Objective-C had not much of a role to play anymore. I wrote about the effect on OCMock a few years ago.

Read the rest of this post

Travel – the new normal?

02 January 2023

Posted in Miscellaneous

Column chart showing number of trips, cities, and countries travelled between 2011 and 2022

Travelling is part of being a consultant, and speaking at conferences added an extra amount of travel for me. The Covid-19 pandemic changed this quite dramatically, and looking back at 2022 I am wondering what the “new normal” could be after the pandemic.

The chart above shows some key figures related to my business travel over the past eleven years: the numbers of trips, cities, and countries I visited. A single trip can, and sometimes did, include multiple cities and countries.

The years up to 2019 differ in the details but overall the level of travel is relatively high. In 2020 this changes very visibly, and travel remains low in the “second year of corona”. Even in those years, though, there was some travel: in the first months of 2020, before the lockdowns started, and then the first trips again in autumn 2021. Barcelona in October 2021—to write a new Technology Radar—was the first trip by the way, and GOTO Copenhagen in November 2021 the first in-person conference.

In 2022, travel activity is picking up again, mostly towards the end of the year. It feels too early to make any predictions about what the new normal will look like, but I suspect it’ll remain significantly lower than in the pre-pandemic years.

Comments and related posts

Follow me on Mastodon

16 December 2022

Posted in Miscellaneous

Screenshot of the top of my Mastodon profile page

Twitter’s policy changes seem increasingly erratic—like suspending accounts of journalists (see this article on The Guardian for example) or banning references to Mastodon accounts (as reported by Martin for example). Both policy changes were reverted by the way. For now. All this makes me wonder how long I want to remain on Twitter.

For now, I’ve decided to keep my Twitter account but to post on Mastodon. If you want to follow me my handle is

Comments and related posts

My backup strategy for our Macs

19 July 2022

Posted in Miscellaneous

Screenshot of my backup task in CCC

Backing up a Mac is a solved problem, right? Just attach an external drive for Time Machine and sync your files to iCloud. But what if you don’t want to have an external drive hanging off your laptop? Or if you don’t want to store all your files on iCloud? I didn’t want either, so I came up with a different strategy, which involves Carbon Copy Cloner, a NAS, rclone, and Backblaze.

Read the rest of this post

An Arduino digital LED controller

23 August 2018

Posted in Miscellaneous

Since building my current Hackintosh in 2012 I have made a number of changes to the hardware. After all, upgradability is one of the key benefits of a PC over a computer made by Apple. At this point the computer is down to just one harddrive in addition the system SSD, it is back to air-cooling for the CPU, and all components are very quiet. So, a couple of months ago I decided to get a new case, better matching the hardware in use now.

The trend in the PC industry to use more and more LED lighting hadn’t escaped me, and I feel that, in reasonable amounts, this can actually add to the look. What I had in mind was a single coloured fan on the front of the computer, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to buy one of the many, comparatively expensive, LED-lit fans on the market, because they are, in almost every aspect, worse than the fans I have. It was then that I discovered Phanteks’ Halos Digital RGB fan frames; basically very thin frames with LEDs that are inserted between the computer case and the fan.

Now my new problem, and opportunity, was that these fan frames contain 30 individually addressable RGB LEDs, i.e. each of the LEDs can have a different colour at any moment in time. My mainboard is obviously way too old to have RGB support so I decided to use an Arduino board instead.

Read the rest of this post

Three mysterious hardware problems

29 June 2015

Posted in Miscellaneous

PSULast month three completely unrelated, yet equally mysterious, hardware problems kept me entertained at home. Each did have an obvious explanation in the end. Getting from symptoms to diagnosis, though, required both, guesswork and luck. Sure, I'm more of a software guy but I thought that I had a decent understanding of “how stuff works”. Well, looks like things have gotten pretty complex now.

Problem #1: our trusty PS3. Symptoms: We had just bought a new TV. Excited to see how games would look like on it, I powered up the PlayStation, and was greeted with a big blank screen of nothing. The TV was definitely set to display the correct input source, but, still, there was no picture. Swapping the HDMI cable to a different port on the TV, with the PS3 running, fixed the problem. It definitely left an uneasy feeling, though.

Things got even more confusing when I tried to play again another day and was again greeted with a blank screen. Now swapping back to the HDMI port that I had originally used gave me a picture. How could that be?

Read the rest of this post

The limits of the MacBook Pro's cooling system

11 April 2015

Posted in Miscellaneous

Power Gadget ScreenshotMy work computer is a 15" MacBook Pro. Its performance is definitely good enough for serious software development, even if the Scala compiler and the IntelliJ indexer do push it at times. In fact, performance is so good that I have been wondering how Apple and Intel have managed to get that much CPU power, and the requisite cooling, into such a small machine. That is, small when compared to desktop or workstation computers.

In contrast, my Hackintosh at home now has about 800g of metal hanging off the mainboard to cool the CPU. Granted, it is overclocked, which requires disproportionally more cooling, and it is about 50% faster than the MacBook but, still, I found it surprising just how much less cooling the MacBook seems to need.

Read the rest of this post

On sabbatical leave

15 May 2013

Posted in Visualisation, Miscellaneous

Last August I completed my tenth year with ThoughtWorks, and we have a tradition to let people take a three-month long sabbatical leave after ten years. Mine got postponed a bit but now I'm off, until August.

During my leave I'll take it easy, spend more time with the family, but I'm also going to make some progress on the Softvis project that Jonathan McCracken and I started a long time ago. You can see the first steps here: More in three months. Hopefully.

If you are interested in writing up a visualisation and contributing it to the project, please get in touch! Maybe, if we get enough visualisations written up, we'll publish them in a book.

Comments and related posts

Travelcard Invader

29 October 2012

Posted in Miscellaneous

When I lived in London I used public transport a lot. Who doesn't? But for some reason, which I don't remember now, I started keeping my used travelcards in a box. I also asked Martina, my partner, for hers. As you can imagine, over the years we ended up with quite a collection. In fact, we had to buy travelcards until we moved to Clerkenwell late in 2006 because the station in Hackney, where we had lived before, didn't have Oyster card readers.

Stumbling across the box when we left London I had an idea: If there's post-it art, why not make travelcard art? I took a few years but now I've finally done it. The Travelcard Invader has arrived.

Read the rest of this post