General things I like to talk about
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  • Screen Capture API

    Posted on May 12th, 2014 Jim No comments

    Last week I released a new Screen Capture API to use for free.  The service allows anyone to connect to and obtain a screen shot of a web site.  Feel free to use it and if you want any changes please let me know!


  • OS Meridian Shape in GML format

    Posted on January 11th, 2012 Jim No comments

    Very simple export of the OS Meridian Shape data in GML format.


  • Postcoder API

    Posted on October 4th, 2011 Jim No comments

    I’ve created a new postcode API which will take in a partial or full postcode which will return a selection of XML.

    Find out more at: http://www.webcoding.co.uk/postcode/api.html

  • TwitSpot - Spotify playlists via Twitter

    Posted on September 21st, 2011 Jim No comments

    This is a new application I’ve created harnessing the power of both Spotify and Twitter for music!

    TwitSpot is essentially the merging of music being played on Spotify via Twitter into a custom, real time playlist which is controlled by the users of Twitter.

    When you share a piece of music via Spotify and post it to Twitter, TwitSpot will pick this up and add it to the current play list.

    Each and every person gets a different play list based on the time they last checked Twitter for new songs. This whole idea allows you to listen to new, interesting music that may well be out of your normal style and taste.

    TwitSpot App

    TwitSpot App

    Give it a try - I’ve listened to some great music over the last few days.

  • Spotify Charts Update

    Posted on September 15th, 2011 Jim 3 comments

    I’ve updated my Spotify with Top 40 UK charts application.

    A few tweaks here and there with some better ways of handling Spotify’s meta data API.

    Enjoy: Spotify Top 40’s

  • BBC News over time

    Posted on September 9th, 2011 Jim No comments

    As part of my ongoing obsession with archiving the BBC’s homepage (here) I decided to use the GB’s of images I have to create a video of the BBC News homepage over the middle part of last year, all squeezed into a couple of minutes.  Take a look, it’s amazing to see how much changes.

    I started recording the news site again from this August but this time keeping the images locally on my home machine - the disk space is not a problem unlike the co-lo box this site sits on.  As “luck” would have it I started recording the site again right when the London riots happened and you can see a summary of the headlines here for that period:

    Enjoy - and as always this is part of the BBC Backstage :-)

    P.S - Here’s the C# program i wrote to make all this possible

    A utility to capture web pages

    A utility to capture web pages

  • UK Visualisation by Postcode

    Posted on December 17th, 2010 Jim 1 comment

    I thought the recent facebook image about “connections” was interesting and that using some other types of data I could easily generate some interesting things.

    So, thus far, I’ve used the entire UK Postcode set and UK Bus Stops (available via data.gov.uk) to create (what I think) are visually stunning “maps” of the UK with nothing more than point location and some “code”.

    The postcodes are pretty obvious but the bus data is really quite interesting too. Remarkably, both sets of data manage to create a pretty conclusive view of the UK. Scotland, unfortunately is difficult to map given the lack of postcodes and bus routes in the upper north west side.

    I also parsed some IP data from this website (it’s been collected over a long time) to create a world view of use.  The same result was seen as above however I didn’t have enough data (or visits) to create a decent world view.  Europe on the other hand wasn’t bad at all - the picture for Europe is below.

    Europe Point Plot

  • Why the Samsung Galaxy Tablet fails.

    Posted on November 1st, 2010 Jim 29 comments

    It seems like only a few weeks ago the only decent “tablet” device on the market was Apple’s now infamous iPad. Fast forward a short period and sudden surge of Android capable tablets is frightening.

    We can immediately bypass the mass of cheap android tablets such as the RockChip 2808 or the quite horrible delivery from Next (fashion retailers!). They are “tablets” but when you see them in action they suffer from all manner of bugs, poor implementations of “touch” and the rest.

    There are however a few decent contenders milling around and of those I’d mention the Samsung Galaxy Tablet, ViewSonic Viewpad 7 and the forthcoming ASUS tablets. Reputable companies with solid hardware and a degree of credibility in a market saturated with poor Chinese iPad rip-offs.

    So why are they going to fail? Well, first you need to look at the iPad. It’s a luxury product with a price point to match. It was essentially the first really decent tablet to market and Apple have the luxury of a custom operating system (iOS) and customised hardware. It is brilliant and would obviously be the product to which all other tablets would be compared.

    So, a great tablet with well regarded software starts at £429 for a Wifi only 16GB system. It’s the benchmark – Apple charge significantly more for all it’s hardware than the average counterpart would cost (laptops, screens, desktops etc etc).

    Before we look at the pricing of the Android tablets it’s important to note that Android is a mobile phone operating system and not designed for tablets. To take advantage of the “market place” (Android’s version of the AppStore) you must have a cellular (3G) connection and thus it requires a contract. This is a huge deal and means that Apple’s wifi devices are still a niche product available to people who DON’T want or need ANOTHER mobile contract. It’s nuts that this practise of data contracts per device is still happening.

    If we switch to Apples 16GB Wifi + 3G device, you’re looking at £529.99 (plus contract prices) which in comparison to Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is STILL A CHEAPER price to pay?? Amazon has Samsung’s device (as sold by Samsung themselves) is retailing for £668.19 new plus contracts

    It might be a valid option if the device was significantly better than Apples but that isn’t even the case – software aside the devices are similar with the exception of Apple’s screen which wins over the galaxy.

    I’m of the opinion that sadly the Galaxy will fail. It looks like an awesome unit and I’d love to own it but I’d rather spend less money on another iPad. Price is always important and Samsung seems to think it worth more than Apple – sorry – no, you’re not. They are an established luxurious brand and you are not. I can buy a Samsung LE46C650 46-inch Widescreen Full HD 1080p 100Hz television for £10 more than the Galaxy tablet costs – are you kidding me?

  • BBC Ticker for Windows

    Posted on October 30th, 2010 Jim 45 comments

    I’ve done a number of “tickers” over the years, some in Javascript, some in Java and I half finished a ticker for Windows in the past.  I’ve spent the last few days writing a brand new one which tries to gel into the BBC’s stuff providing an updated user interface with extras than the older ticker system they had in place.

    This version supports any RSS feed and whilst defaulting to BBC feeds can be extended to support other sites by editing the feeds in the “preferences” option.

    The system is built in C# using .NET 3.5 and is available to download from here:


  • Updated Top 40 XML feed & example app

    Posted on October 29th, 2010 Jim 43 comments


    Someone asked me to update my Top 40 page so the XML version worked again. I took the opportunity to slightly extend the feed to include a bit more information and add direct links to track via Spotify’s Metadata API.

    Feeds are here:



    Example application written in C#: