iPod playing a podcast

The year of the podcast

Just when it seemed as though podcasts would never break into the mainstream, 2014 seems to be the year they made it. Here are some of the podcasts that are currently floating my boat.

Flags of Papua New Guinea and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

PNG versus SVG

For years the debate has raged on. Which image file format is better: PNG or SVG? The Commonwealth Games gave us the chance to find out.

Website redesign

The annual redesign

Every year, at around this time of year, I get an urge to scratch that itch. I have to redesign my website. This year the visuals are jazzier. But the code behind the scenes is making me cringe.

Fernando Alonso

Is Fernando Alonso banking on three car teams?

Intrigue surrounds the future plans of Fernando Alonso. He says in retrospect his decision will be seen as “obvious”. Is the obvious choice to remain with Ferrari — in a three car team?

Jules Bianchi

Jules Bianchi’s accident and the lessons to learn

I can only express my shock and sadness about the accident during yesterday’s Japanese Grand Prix. I have little insight to offer. I am not a motorsport safety expert, nor a medic. But like any motorsport fan I have an opinion and I do have some concerns.

No and yes posters

Referendum reflections

There have been two weeks to reflect on the Scottish independence referendum. Amid talk about the personalities, demographic factors and conspiracy theories, there is a simpler explanation as to why Scotland voted no.


A note on hope

The yes campaign’s ability to sell a hopeful future is its success, but it is also its luxury. History teaches us to beware.

Scotland, Britain and Europe from space

Why I will be voting no thanks

Scotland is facing a big decision, and it has to get it right. This is not like a normal election. We cannot just give independence a shot and see how it goes. We would be stuck with it forever.

Screenshot of the Scottish Unionist blog

Scotland in a federal Britain

In 2009 I was asked to write one of a series of blog posts for the now defunct blog Scottish Unionist. The piece was a vague exploration of a federal model for the UK, but also touched on questions surrounding what independence means in a post-globalisation world.

Walking for the sake of it

You don’t need to have a purpose to walk. The physical and mental health benefits are manifest. My daily walk is as important to me as brushing my teeth.


The decline of snooker

I used to be riveted to snooker, as did 18.5 million viewers in 1985. Today I am indifferent and TV ratings are much reduced. What is behind snooker’s slump?

Ayrton Senna memorial


Thirty-eight drivers have died during a Formula 1 World Championship event or test. The name at the end of the list, Ayrton Senna, continues to cast the longest shadow.

Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Éric Vergne

Formula 1’s weighty issue

Amid all the noise about noise, a far more disturbing side-effect of the new regulations has emerged. Drivers are putting themselves in danger by trying to lose weight.


20 years of BBC Radio 5 Live

The BBC’s rolling news and sport station is now 20 years old. It has provided a lot of great memories. But it needs to sharpen up to safeguard its future.

Can web design really learn from brutalist architecture?

As a web designer with an interest in brutalist architecture, I was fascinated to read an article about what web designers can learn from brutalism. But perhaps instead of taking inspiration, perhaps the lessons are in what web designers should avoid.

Google search engine results page screenshot

Are the days of the underlined hyperlink over?

The world’s biggest website has made a major usability decision. As part of a series of tweaks, the hyperlinks on Google’s search engine result pages are no longer underlined. So is it time for us all to ditch the underline?

Kevin Magnussen

Melbourne podium highlights the problem with GP2

There was a very new look to the podium for the first race of the new look Formula 1 for 2014. The two podium newcomers came from Formula Renault 3.5. Two of the other stars of the race came from GP3. So what is the point of GP2?

Study at St Andrews screenshot

Website launch: Study at St Andrews

For the past 12 months, I have been working on the new Study at St Andrews website, a full replacement for the webpages aimed at prospective students of the University of St Andrews.

Web at 25 logo

The web at 25

The world wide web has more birthdays than the Queen. But it’s well worth celebrating — and protecting.

Bernie Ecclestone

Is Formula 1 in crisis?

Formula 1 appears to be surrounded by an unprecedented amount of uncertainty. Everywhere you look, there seem to be bad news stories.

Northern lights

Iceland adventures part 3: natural attractions

Iceland adventures part 3 of 6.

It’s no secret that Iceland has some stunning scenery. Its geography is just fantastic. Nature does not get much more extreme than volcanoes. But more visually spectacular are its waterfalls — and, of course, the northern lights.