Browsing All Posts filed under »Uncategorized«

Conway’s game of Life displayed on an 8×8 LED matrix

September 27, 2010


(Reposted from my tumblr account) Conway’s Game of Life on an 8×8 LED Matrix (powered by Processing, Arduinos and the good old serial connection :) Processing code: ================================ /* 1. Any live cell with fewer than two live neighbours dies, as if caused by underpopulation. 2. Any live cell with more than three live neighbours […]

Edinburgh Informatics wall – code and solution

September 27, 2010


(Reposted from my ex-tumblr account) The lightboard from the Forum of Infomatics at Edinburgh. Most natives, when asked, replied that the dots and gaps were the sponsor names rendered in ASCII or some varient. I have yet to crack this or see how to read in numbers from the board such that I get sensible […]

Six Degrees of Harry Potter – Using Talis Aspire ‘ISBN’ API

July 23, 2010


Code: Requires: Talis Aspire ‘ISBN’ API ( (see A Redis instance running on localhost with the relevant redis-py python library installed. (Scripts only use basic set and value operations.) To Run: python This will: - parse and run through the OpenLibrary json reponse for ‘books by J K Rowling’, and push the […]

Six degrees of Harry Potter – the first steps…

July 23, 2010


Idea: All researchers cannot resist the charms of J K Rowling’s Harry Potter; any academic book loan is no more than 6 degrees separated from a Harry Potter book loan. On the surface, this may seem like a frivolous aim, but the fundamental techniques and APIs used will show patterns and possibilities that have a […]

Making the Physical from the Digital

April 25, 2010


Making the Physical from the Digital Talk given at the Open Knowledge Conference, ULU, 2010 – (NB wording may differ from actual talk given. Actually, I guarantee that what I write here won’t quite match what I spoke, but will match in terms of tone and meaning. I hope.) “Hi, my name is Ben O’Steen […]

Face recognition – much easier than expected

March 3, 2010


Oooo Face-recognition – iPhoto and all the cool kids are doing it, but how is it done? I thought I’d find out. I thought it might take a long time. I found the OpenCV project. I stopped looking. Turns out that many of the algorithms and techniques for working with computer vision have already been […]

Blog to Book experiment

March 2, 2010


What happens if you take something that is ‘born digital’ – that is – something that has only existed digitally in its finished form, and attempt to print it? I decided to try to print my blog as an experiment to see what the issues might be, and aesthetically, what the finished book might be […]

Giving the MPs a receipt for their expenses claim.

February 27, 2010


Talking one night about printing with receipt printers, Dave Challis said that it would be interesting to print out a receipt for the MPs expenses the next day. So we did. We grabbed the google spreadsheet that contained the results of the Guardian’s crowd-sourced data, parsed it up using python and then spent an hour […]

Python in a Pairtree

October 15, 2009


(Thanks to @anarchivist for the title – I’ll let him take all the ‘credit’) “Pairtree? huh, what’s that?” – in a nutshell it’s ‘just enough veneer on top of a conventional filesystem’ for it to be able to store objects sensibly; a way of storing objects by id on a normal hierarchical filesystem in a […]

What is a book if you can print one in 5 minutes?

June 19, 2009


There exists technology now, available in bookshops and certain forward-thinking libraries, to print a book in 5 minutes from pressing Go, to getting the book into your hands. This excites me a lot. Yes, that does imply I am a geek, but whatever. So, what would I want to do with one? well, printing books […]


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