Nerdy things

The word “nerd” is a bit disappointing. I mean, nerds rule the world, of course, but still it feels a bit dismissive. Anyway, I’m slowly growing a list of projects here which I’ll flesh out in more detail where it might be interesting to do so. Almost of all of them are half-baked and never quite A Thing, but fun to think about nonetheless…

So, in no particular order:

  • Some fiddlings with Telegram bots, which are fun and super-easy to develop against:
    • I’ve got one for local tides which twangs an Admiralty API, and returns a friendly response. The same codebase is being used as an iOS shortcut – so I can say “Siri: tides” and it’ll tell me whether the next tide is high / low and when it is…
    • …and another very silly one which updates a web page when a bot is given a message to display. The biggest problem with this was how to get the page to re-display without caching, but I solved it in the end using htmx (which is great!) coupled with a timestamp in the file call.
  • ContentSifter: a theoretically simple but ever-growing idea about how to bring together disparate web content. There’s a web thing over at and we use it with many of our clients, but it’s still a WiP.
  • The RANTIMATOR, a sort of anti-Twitter I built that lets me vent, mainly about the ‘tories and that twat Trump
  • A tool that you point at a WordPress API which sucks in all the content then publishes it as flat files. I can’t figure out whether this should just be a part of ContentSifter or if it’s a separate thing, but I like where it’s going. I’ve built a couple of prototypes of this which work well (well enough to use for initial content population of client websites) – but have also commissioned A Proper Developer to make this in Laravel. Will keep you updated when things move on…
  • A WordPress plugin for managing content flow. Again, not sure whether this will ultimately be wrapped into ContentSifter or if it will just be better as a simple standalone thing.
  • A snags plugin which I’m working on with the excellent Marc Jenkins and the equally excellent Adam Wilson
  • A now retired idea (I never really got if off the ground) related to foreign language SaaS platforms
  • I have a bit of an obsession with web scraping, originally around museum collections (my position then was that cross-collections searching, the holy grail of many in museum land, could be done far easier top-down than bottom-up. Dan Zambonini and I did a bunch of work on this way back – our original paper is here.) Since then I have become a bit more interested in how to copy / move retrieve web content – particularly as part of migration or new site builds. So, again, this kind of might be a part of ContentSifter. Or might not.
  • Web Heist: an idea about stealing web content. It’s got a museum angle, and a collections angle, and I like it cos it’s fun.
  • Web Stories: a sort of workflow tool to hook together disparate websites and content sources to create a narrative structure