1. Micasa su Botnet?

Mi Casa su Botnet? Learning the Internet of Things with WaterElf, unPhone and the ESP32, 2022 (with Gareth Coleman and Valentin Radu): a textbook for the University of Sheffield's IoT course. From the introduction:

IoT: From the General to the Specific

As humanity’s latest pandemic continues to swirl across the world, wreaking havoc on the poor, the old and the unlucky (and giving the powerful their latest excuse for moulding us all into yet more profitable shapes), some small comfort may be found in the contemplation of the intricate. The history of machines is part of what distinguishes our species: cooperating to create the preconditions of our existence using ever more sophisticated engines.

Computational engines have brought a new level of generality to the picture: Turing machines exemplified by von Neumann architectures and running on some millions or billions of transistors have become a universal mechanism for information processing and automatic control, and collectively we are deploying more and more compute power, memory and storage at a truly astonishing rate. The extreme expression of this tendency is cloud computing, to the degree that it is now hard to imagine a compute problem which would exceed the combined power of the modern cloud.

At the opposite extreme from the general purpose computer are those engines that are tailored (ever more precisely) to a specific purpose. These machines, in the limit, form minimal solutions to complex problems. There are few fields that exhibit this minimalism as purely as what is currently often called the Internet of Things5. As computation has permeated almost all corners of technology a particular class of problems has become prominent, where we seek not generality but to consume the smallest amount of resource that can possibly succeed. The use cases for a general purpose machine are always expanding and we can always, potentially at least, justify the devotion of more resource to their construction. In contrast, the uses case for the Internet of Things are inextricably tied to objects whose sizes, costs and operational environments present a constant resource challenge, a constant downwards pressure on compute cycles and power consumption.

Serendipitously, this soul uses as little planetary resource (and our precious attention) as is possible. Reduce, reuse, recycle (and repair, and reclaim, and recover, and… well, the time for action is now!).

2. Glimpses of the Naughties

Collected posts from the You'll See Glimpses blog from 2000 to 2012 (plus a free recipe for Saving the World).

Glimpses of the Naughties

As we hurtle headlong into a whole family of abysses, like babies we sit drooling before a resplendent multimedia defecation of misdirection (in ever more lifelike colours). Soon the shit will even smell sweetly at us from our personal plasma-screened consumer heavens. But the Weapons of Masses Distraction are getting blunt with overuse, and with the ever-widening gulf between media bullshit and harsh reality we also step closer to a mass truth jailbreak.

Ian Dury knew what I meant:

Before I stop, here's a last glimpse into the general future.
Home rule will exist in each home, forever.
Every living thing will be another friend.
This wonderful state of affairs will last for always.
(You'll See Glimpses, 1980.)

"Keep Calm and Carry On", said the WW2 poster with typical British reserve — but we've been too far down that road and now we're going to get lively and boogie on into another world. It's possible. In fact it's necessary. Are you coming?


  • A work of genius! [Author's Mum]
  • Please phone back in the new millenium. [A. Publisher]
  • Please buy the eBook and cover 68% of my day's bus fare to the office [the Author]

Some Sources:

  • Bridge at the End of the World, James Gustave Speth, 2009
  • Dark Heart, Nick Davies, 1998
  • Economic Democracy Allan Engler, 2010
  • Flat Earth News, Nick Davies, 2009
  • Guardians of Power, 2005
  • Hegemony or Survival : America's Quest for Global Dominance, Noam Chomsky, 2004
  • Injustice, Daniel Dorling, 2010
  • Little Brother, Cory Doctorow, 2008
  • Myths of Zionism, John Rose, 2004
  • Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich, 2001
  • Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell, 2008
  • Stop Global Warming: Change the World, Jonathan Neale, 2008
  • The Corporation, Joel Bakan, 2004
  • The Dispossessed, Ursula Le Guin, 1974
  • The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Ilan Pappe, 2007
  • The Great Financial Crisis, Fred Magdoff and John Bellamy Foster, 2009
  • The Spirit Level, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, 2009
  • Zeitoun, Dave Eggers, 2009

3. The One on GATE

Text Processing with GATE (Version 6), Hamish Cunningham, Diana Maynard, Kalina Bontcheva, Valentin Tablan, Niraj Aswani, Ian Roberts, Genevieve Gorrell, Adam Funk, Angus Roberts, Danica Damljanovic, Thomas Heitz, Mark A. Greenwood, Horacio Saggion, Johann Petrak, Yaoyong Li, Wim Peters, et al, 2011

Revised and expanded version of the GATE user and developer guide. On Amazon. Now a little out of date — see for the latest version.

The blurb: "GATE is a free open-source infrastructure for developing and deploying software components that process human language. It is more than 15 years old and is in active use for all types of computational tasks involving language (frequently called natural language processing, text analytics, or text mining). GATE excels at text analysis of all shapes and sizes. From large corporations to small startups, from multi-million research consortia to undergraduate projects, our user community is the largest and most diverse of any system of this type, and is active world-wide. This book contains a highly accessible introduction to GATE Version 6 and is the first port of call for all GATE-related questions. It includes a guide to using GATE Developer and GATE Embedded, and chapters on all major areas of functionality, such as processing multiple languages and large collections of unstructured text. It also includes complete plugin documentation (e.g. named entity recognition, parsing, semantic analysis, , as well as details on other members of the GATE Family:, Teamware, and Mimir. To join the GATE community visit"

4. The Dagstuhl One

Challenges in Document Mining, Cunningham, Fuhr, Stein (eds.), 2011.

Report on our Schloss Dagstuhl seminar, notable for our proposal to ban Google (sort of).

5. The Information Retrieval One

Recent Advances in Information Retrieval, Cunningham, Hanbury, Rüger (eds.), 2010.

A pretty dry conference proceedings.

6. A Paper or Two

Insomnia? Knock yourself out with 20 years of paint drying.