NFRs Considered Harmful

James Uther wrote “I’ll make this short. Defining Non Functional Requirements (NFRs) is dangerous. That’s the tweet.”


James Uther wrote “Some time ago I had the idea to stick a camera out a window, take a photo every few minutes, and stitch them together as a matrix that with a bit of luck would visualise the seasons. Thus: Raspberry Pi Zero, with camera. Mounting board that sticks to a window (I used A script…”

UK parking areas

James Uther wrote “I heard it said that if you covered all the car parks in the USA with solar panels you would supply way more than the national energy requirements. I claimed this might translate to the UK. But does it? OpenStreetMap might know!”

Improving Life in Smaller, Heterogeneous Projects

James Uther wrote “A little while ago we were asked if we could do a talk on ‘developer experience’ at QCon. I volunteered. We were having lots of fun at the time building a CI/CD system out of Jenkins and Kubernetes, and using a bunch of hipster languages in the project and I thought I would be pulling…”


Photo library wrangling

James Uther wrote “Imagine if you will that I take quite a few photos, but don’t manage them well. Mistakes may have been made. Like, I’ve discovered that when you ask apple photos “don’t import duplicates” it’s not completely foolproof. And if, in a fit of stupidity, you tried to recombine a google photos’ (re-compressed) library with your…”

By Pink Sherbet Photography from USA [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Application Patterns for the Outernet

James Uther wrote “I’ve been meandering through the Long Earth series by Terry Pratchett (may Death be as kind to him as he was to Death) and Stephen Baxter (not met Death yet). It’s a classic alternate universe setup, where one (contemporary) day the multiple worlds theory becomes reality and people find they can ‘step’ between alternate universes. Earth…”

By Wjablow (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The life-changing magic of refactoring

James Uther wrote “I’m really a unix guy, but I have to admit, the whole .NET/SQLserver stack is hugely empowering. An average employee can take it, and with next to no knowledge or experience, but with a lot of determination and time, can write enough code to underpin an entire company. You start with a windows form, place…”

By ENERGY.GOV (HD.17.028) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Global Alliance for Genomics and Health

James Uther wrote “Gene sequencing has been diving in cost: It’s no longer in the wild ride of 2008, but still the cost is now low enough that genome data is piling up in research centres the world over. It’s been realised that a lot of the really interesting research questions can only be answered by sampling a…”

By Sunil060902 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

Signal strength

James Uther wrote “Another thumb-twiddling commute into the city, with only another listicle to entertain, and once again, no mobile signal. I tweet in frustration[1]: A signal, a signal! My kingdom for a signal! @SW_Trains @ThreeUK — James Uther (@hemul) June 29, 2015 Which received an actual reply! @hemul Hi James, if you send over a full postcode…”

On being almost there

James Uther wrote “Personis is an ongoing line of research projects about how we can store personal data (thing location tracking, fitness trackers, etc) in a way that leaves us in control of our data but at the same time allows us to give permission to useful services to process that data for us. A canonical example would…”

By Harald Hoyer from Schwerin, Germany (Geese Swarm Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Swarming Spark

James Uther wrote “Spark is a useful bunch of stuff for processing large amounts of data, offering a friendly and fast functional interface over map-reduce on a cluster of machines, with some extra bits like cacheable datasets. It’s relatively easy to get running too (although with a list of gotchas), with scripts to start a stand-alone cluster on…”

By Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Let’s Run Science! Part iota;

James Uther wrote “In our last jaunt, we had a look at code that take all the various measurements of temperature that have been taken over the last few hundred years, and pull them together into something we can usefully run stats on. The headline finding of all this is that on average, the planet has warmed over…”

By Mariofan13 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Lunchtime hack: Let’s run Science!

James Uther wrote “Possibly part 1. Who else likes visiting science museums? All those old apparatus – bits of the radio telescope that first saw pulsars, longitude prize clocks, jury-rigged ingenious devices that captured the first glimpse of something new and exciting. One day the LHC will be dismantled, carved up and shipped to museums around the world.…”

By English: Cpl. Lydia M. Davey [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Playing with Open NHS data, and a rant

James Uther wrote “Open Data ™ is being pushed quite heavily by the powers that be, which is mostly a good thing because It’s useful information that I want to use, and I’ve already paid taxes for it. Also, this is a democracy dammit. Can Haz Sunlight!. The NHS is part of this. For most of this post…”

Santeri Viinamäki [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

CodeMesh 2014 Day 1

James Uther wrote “I was at day 1 of CodeMesh this year (you can see Tim’s report on day 2 here). A quick recap: QOTD: There are 3 fire exits as marked, but we’re confident that Erlang programmers who die will be restarted. Keynote: complexity is outside the code Jessica Kerr & Dan North A good, entertaining talk that…”

By Chris McKenna (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

LocationHistory visualisation part 3

James Uther wrote “I’m a bit like a dog with a bone about this LocationHistory thing (or a dog returning to his vomit?). Previously I had a bash at mapping my movements around London, then spent a bit of time trying to find out what the file format really was. This time, I’d like to tidy up and…”