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Scientist, Author, Hacker, Maker, and Journalist.

Or, how to copy and paste from StackOverflow for fun and profit!

The Antikythera Mechanism. Bronze Gallery, National Archaeological Museum of Greece, Athens. (📷: Gary Todd)

Compared to other professions, software engineering is still in its infancy. But having almost reached a point where the code still running at the bottom of many large systems wasn’t written in living memory, there are now some early signs that this phase may finally be passing.

The day-to-day life…


“Privacy was never dead, it just went away for a while…”

The transcript of the keynote talk I gave at QCon London, held in March 2020, during which I talked about machine learning, edge computing, and privacy.

Talking on the keynote stage on the first day of QCon London 2020. (📷: Danilo Teodoro)

Machine learning is traditionally associated with heavy duty, power-hungry, processors. It’s something done on big servers. Even if the sensors, cameras, and microphones, taking…


Is legislation now the only solution?

An (somewhat expanded) transcript of a talk I gave at the FWD50 conference on digital government held in Ottawa, Canada, in November 2019. I talked there about privacy, security, and machine learning. Some additional material has been added for context, nothing has been removed from the talk as given.

Talking in the round on the stage at FWD50 on the 7th November 2019. (📷: FWD50 Conference Team)

Everything…


A Linux-based smartwatch from PINE64

Back at the beginning of the year, the folks at PINE64 announced not just a bunch of new hardware, but a whole new product lineup.

With the PineBook Pro now in pre-order and shipping to community members in small batches, and the PinePhone shipping ‘soon’, that family just got an…


First announced back in February at Embedded World in Nuremberg, Germany, the BeagleBone AI started shipping at the tail end of last week.

The new BeagleBone AI. (📷: BeagleBoard.org)

It may share the familiar BeagleBone form factor, but the new BeagleBone AI isn’t like the BeagleBone boards we’ve seen before. This isn’t really a general purpose…


Announced back in May by Espressif, engineering samples of the new ESP32-S2 silicon started shipping to community members in July. …


Making Intelligent Insights at the Edge

The transcript of a talk I gave both at the TechExeter conference in Exeter, and O’Reilly Media’s Strata conference in New York, during September 2019.

Talking on the “The Demise of Big Data” at the TechExeter conference in Exeter in September 2019. (📹: TechExeter)

In our industry we tend to…


It was Chris Anderson that originally coined the phrase “the peace dividend of the smartphone war” arguing that “…when giants battle, we all win,” and it’s that smartphone war that has brought us cheap sensors—accelerometers, gyroscopes, microphones, pressure and humidity sensors—as well as cheap screens and processors. …


An x86-based single-board computer for just $39?

I don’t generally pay much attention to Intel-based boards. There have been the odd exceptions, but usually run too hot, and are just too expensive, to be particularly interesting. …


It’s perhaps a bit surprising how many Raspberry Pi boards have made it to space. …

Alasdair Allan

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