Monthly Archives: February, 2016

Depending on your point of view…

This is the churchyard at Orwell, a little village not far from us. I like this photo, but it doesn’t look like somewhere you’d want to go for a picnic, does it? An air of foreboding about it, perhaps?

Orwell churchyard

This is the also the churchyard at Orwell, a little village not far from us. Thoughts of spring and Easter bunnies?

Orwell churchyard II

I took both photos this afternoon, within a couple of minutes of each other and only a few metres apart. So much of photography now depends on what you do after you’ve taken the photo…

You can’t win, Vader…

If you let me bathe, I shall become muddier than you could possibly imagine.


Only six years away

20151219-23133107-Edit-600Six years. Not long after the next general election. That’s the estimate as to when electric cars will become cheaper than their petrol-powered predecessors, from a Bloomberg report quoted by Wired in ‘The Electric Car Revolution Is Now Scheduled for 2022‘. Worth a read.

The estimate makes certain assumptions about continued government support etc, so it may be out by a few years, but the principle is right.

One of the things I love about my car is the simplicity – I have no gearbox, no exhaust system, no oil sump, no cambelt, tappets, head gaskets or piston rings. Mine is also made mostly of aluminium and carbon fibre, so rusting shouldn’t be an issue.

This relative simplicity means that electric cars should be more reliable, longer-lasting and eventually cheaper, but it also raises interesting questions. Things like:

  • When the metals needed for batteries become more important than oil, which countries will we have to be nice to? Or invade?

  • Will the business model of dealers have to change when servicing costs are lower and cars last longer?

  • What will be the thing that causes me to sell this and buy a new car? In the short term, probably the opportunity for increased range, but eventually it may be that my car’s CPUs can’t run the latest version of the BMW operating system?

  • How quickly will the electricity grid and service-station infrastructure be able to change to support a world where transport is predominantly electric, once electric cars become the economically-preferable option, and not just something for enthusiasts like me?

I assume that eventually, every supermarket car park, every park & ride, every pay & display, will have inductive loops in significant numbers of their parking spaces, so you’ll be doing lots of little charges throughout your day without thinking about it, rather than needing to seek out special charging locations. That’s probably the right model for residential streets in cities where there’s no off-street parking, too. But I wonder how the transition will take place.

The great thing is that, right now, installing a charging point for your customers is something that any country pub or B&B can do – a very different proposition from becoming a petrol station. 🙂

A Brexit Bonus?

Oh wow! A wonderful thought has just occurred to me…

If we leave the EU, does that mean we don’t have to see those notices about cookies on every website?

Getting rid of those surely outweighs any benefits we might get by staying in. Where do I sign up?

Down my street

Several key Cambridge University indoor locations are now on Google Streetview, including the chapel where we got married. Nice!



Eastbourne, after dark. A five-second exposure.

Hope my car doesn’t have number-plate envy…


Didn’t know they had these…

Got a quick snap of a DVLA van in our street the other day…


The things on the roof are cameras, looking out for the registration numbers of untaxed vehicles. Now that we no longer have tax discs, the traffic wardens can’t easily do it.

One of my neighbours had let theirs lapse accidentally, and got a big sticker on their window…

Hauxton Mill

Hauxton Mill

I posted this a couple of years ago, but I went back and tweaked the image now I know a bit more about monochrome processing. Also, since all my displays are now higher-resolution, the old one was looking blurry! You can read a bit of the story of the mill on the last post, though.

A little slice of oral history?

Brian McCullough hosts the rather splendid Internet History Podcast, and a few days ago he asked me to talk about some of the stuff I’d been involved in over the years.

You can find the interview here if you’re curious. You have been warned – it’s just over an hour long, and it’s something of a monologue, for which I apologise, but Brian encourages that; he’s a great listener and many of the episodes have a similar format.

It was great fun – my thanks to Brian for letting me natter away.

Poetry Reading

A mistake reading poetry at night, I find,
   but not for fear of sleepless angst
   nor yet of haunted dreams.
Good verse needs concentration,
   yes, and coffee.
Bedtime is for prose.

From Webcam to Webcar?

My car now has a web page. Sadly, it’s for my own use and not for public consumption, but I made a little video about it anyway!

Also available on YouTube if preferred.

Thanks are due to Terence Eden for his work on documenting the API. Oh, and before anyone asks, no, I don’t normally leave the cable draped across the pavement. 🙂

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser