Stories by Mark Gibbs

Taming your cables

Where's there's computer, there's going to be cables which means you're going to be annoyed ... here are three gadgets to make USB, Thunderbolt, and cables in general much less annoying

Spliddit: Algorithms to divide the rent, stuff, or credit fairly between people

I've gone out for lunch with Bob, Carol, Ted, and Alice and now it's time to settle the bill. I only had a chicken salad and a soda but Bob had a steak and a beer, Carol had the pasta special and a glass of wine, and Ted a burger and coffee, while Alice just had toast and a glass of water. No surprise, now we can't agree on how much each person should pay ...

Automate image editing with GIMP

For a project I was recently working on I needed to remove the white background from several hundred images in PNG format and replace it with transparency. I know you can automate Photoshop but that's like getting into a Sherman tank to go shopping at your local supermarket. Another constraint (other than my reluctance to wrangle Photoshop) was the need to be able to do this in the future as part of a process to be built into a virtual machine running Linux.

Update on my Amazon Fire Phone review

The PR people from Amazon got in touch after I published my review of the new Amazon Fire Phone (Amazon Fire Phone: Nice but nothing to get fired up about). They had a couple of points they asked me to clarify:

Aiia SSSSSpeaker: Cheap and cheerful BT audio

The people at a company called aiia (their Web site loads insanely slowly) out of the Ukraine pitched me the SSSSSpeaker (yes, that's how they spell it, it's not a a typo), billed as the world's smallest Bluetooth speaker, and sent me a unit.

Bluedriver: Vehicle data capture for geeks

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Automatic, a dongle that plugs into your car's OBD-II connector and sends data about your car's performance and your driving via Bluetooth LE to an app on your iOS or Android smartphone.

RoboBees to Save US Agriculture

What man breaks, man can fix ... at least, that's what we like to think. Consider, for example, bees. Bees of all species are dying off in the US and Europe and over the last few years we've seen the commercial beekeeping industry decimated by a syndrome called colony collapse disorder (CCD).

Hacking PingPlotter, Part 2

In the previous column on hacking PingPlotter I discussed how you can use the tool's Web interface and the curl utility to add targets to be tracked, for example, to add a single host you would enter the following on the command line:

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