Easy, simple Instagram printing service.

Pologram Instagram photos

Polagram is a great little service for printing Instagram pictured. It’s only £12 include postage for 48 prints.

The prints are a good quality and card is good and strong.

If you order before March 22 2015 use the code 25PERCENT and save 25% or if you spend over £20 use the code SAVE5 to save £5. Polargram is also available in France and Germany.

Follow me on Instagram.

A newspaper from Dan Williams about his time following the supply chain from China.


I’m a bit of a container geek and reading Dan’s experiences about a container ship hit home what a crazy world it is.

Dan sent me a copy of his newspaper with some wonderful photos of ships, containers and ports.

If you haven’t already, read the postcards on Dan’s site.

These small, handy little music boxes stopped working under OSX since Mountain Lion. Here’s how to revive them and get them working on Yosemite.

Apple Airport Express

Apple loves to leave perfectly working technology behind.

If you have one they’ll carry on working until you change your network settings or want to update them in some way, then you’ll find the latest version of Airport Express Utility can’t find them.

When updates to OSX Mountain Lion and Yosemite made the old Airport Express base stations no longer worked Corey J. Mahler stepped in to offer a fix.

He wrote a little utility that allows the old version of Airport Utility to work on new versions of OSX.

The one thing not mentioned in that article is you can only connect to the base stations via Ethernet. Setting them up via wi-fi won’t work as it auto-launches the new versions of AirPort Utility, version 6.

If like me you have a MacBook Air with no Ethernet, you’ll need a USB to Ethernet dongle.

I bought these two from eBay (search for Airport Express ‘for parts or not working’, £23 for the pair, and we can now stream music to different rooms in the house.

Update Matthew Davison suggests using the iOS Airplay App to configure old base stations. It seems it can still talk to them.

Last Saturday I attended a letterpress print workshop in Bristol. Learning how to print posters, cards and much more by hand.


The workshop was run by the talented Nick Hand at Bristol’s Letterpress Collective.

The Letterpress Collective is a community run company that has rescued the old art of letterpress.

The day started with Nick showing us the basics. Choosing type from the hundreds on offer, many rescued from the scrap heap.


choosing type

Then he showed us how to mount the letters into a frame. Using lead to adjust line height (leading!). We learnt where all the typographic terminology comes from.

type setting

more type setting

Once in the frame they can then be printed on one of the presses, here I’m working on a proofing press, the ink is hand rolled onto the type and then the paper is pressed on top.

proofing press

It takes a few tries to get it right, mostly as the type needs to be uniform height as well as checking spelling and that the letters are the right way round.

I printed a couple of posters through the day, including this one for my wife (it was Valentine’s day after all).


In the afternoon I moved onto the card / small printing press. This one was a little easier as the ink and the rollers are automatic meaning all you have to do is place a card in, pull down, remove and repeat. I printed some basic business cards.

card planning
hand print

I really enjoyed the day, £75 well spent as I came away with two sets of 4 posters and about 20 cards and learned a lot.

final result

Nick and the team are running a few workshops each month. Sign up and get your hands dirty. It’s a lot of fun.

dirty hand

I’ve had some spare time on my hands this Christmas and having just moved house, a huge pile of DVDs and CDs I’ve been meaning to do something with. I have an old Asus laptop, a Celerion with a DVD and a 2TB external drive gathering dust.

Enter VortexBox.

Vortex box is a media ripper and server designed to run on old PCs with limited hardware. You just put a CD or DVD in the drive it rips it, adds the correct metadata and makes it available on the network as a shared drive. The nifty thing is the extras it installs to make sharing media really easy.

The great thing about Vortexbox is that you manage everything through a web interface which not being the prettiest means you can do everything you need without needing to login to the machine directly, making it ideal to run headless (ie no monitor, mouse or keyboard) and leave it in a cupboard out of the way. You can do more fancy stuff but that involve getting jiggy with the terminal (it runs on Fedora Linux).



It rips CDs as lossless FLAC files and makes them available on the network as MP3s or ALAC (Apple’s lossless format). It runs both a Squeezebox server and Supersync which makes the files appear as an iTunes library. It also shares music as DLNA meaning XBox and loads of other hardware can read the files.


Vortexbox rips DVDs as MPeg4s and in the same way as with music makes them available on the network.

A couple of clicks and Vortexbox installs and configures Plex media server.


Plex is a pretty nifty video manager. You can stream videos to mobile, iPad, Xbox, Chromecast, Roku, you name it, Plex has a client for it. There’s even a great webclient. The videos are also shared as DLNA or SMB meaning pretty much any computer, console, TV or set top box can access them.

It also manages photos, has a BitTorrent client and is an AirPlay receiver (plug a stereo into the headphone socket).

Go get VortexBox.

The only thing, with ripping CDs and DVDs it takes time, I reckon I might have got mine done by the end of 2015…

A deck of cards that makes generating ideas for the Internet of Things much easier.

The internet of things is a hobby for me.

I’ve wired up an old rotary dial telephone and bought an old TV back from the brink and connected it to the internet.

Know cards, internet of things playing cards

So when I got sent a pack of Know Cards, I new I’d got something great.

Know Cards are a deck of playing card size ideas for making internet of things, um, things.

Input, output, connection, API and power. Take a card from each pile and see what ideas flow.

There’s a great Tumblr showing ideas and other ways of using Know Cards.

Know cards, internet of things playing cards

Control plug sockets from throughout the house.

I picked these up at a local charity shop.

Smart remote plugs

They are made by Status and you can buy them on Amazon.

I’ve seen infrared style sockets before but these are RF (radio frequency) so have a longer range, about 20 meters (40 feet).

I have our tea kettle set up so when we wake up in the morning we hit the remote and by the time we’ve got downstairs we have tea.