British library Oral History Collection

Harry Bhadeshia fans shouldn’t overlook this important resource:

Harry Bhadeshia – Oral history of British science

Harry Bhadeshia British Library

Harry Bhadeshia British Library


Software defined radio

There are a number of cheap devices which allow you to listen to radio signals, these devices were originally intended for watching TV, digital TV and radio signals through the computer. By using available software it is possible to tune into many radio broadcasts/signals, e.g. HAM radio, AM, FM, commercial airline signals, etc.

To take a look at some devices search for “sdr usb” or “rtl usb”, prices vary from around 5-20 pounds depending on branding / accessories.

If you are interested to listen to voices from around the world, some of these software defined radios are possible to use over the internet. This has the advantage that you can access better hardware and also listen to stations based across the world.

A list of stations is available here:

Organising my collection of books using open source software

Moving some books around at home I decided I really needed to have a list or some sort of rudimentary database… maybe a project for mysql. But then I thought, hand on a minute, this must be a common problem, there are probably several open source programs to do this…

A brief search and I had a list of contenders by searching the web… something like this but not quite.

Software like gcstar and tellico are relatively light weight programs specialised for collection management… more advanced software for running a library with many borrowers is also available in the form of open source library management packages. A list of many useful programs for library management of various sizes is available here: . In contrast the collection management programs allow easy customisation, as well as templates for managing your collections of films, books, articles, music, guitar pedals (link to video) etc.

I opted to try gcstar and tellico, both being available in the repositories of the linux version I use (debian GNU/linux it’s the official linux distribution of the free software foundation). First up was gcstar, I installed from debian repositories and then performed update with ‘gcstar -u’ this downloaded updates to /usr/local which seemed to work, I hit a problem when trying to add the first book. There seemed to be no where to enter isbn for search, and trying to retrieved information for the first book just carried on searching without getting back any information.

gcstar failing to work for me

gcstar failing to work for me

Next up was tellico which worked. This was a really useful program for searching for details of my books. It can search various databases for details of each book, including the library of congress which is useful for some older books. I now have the majority of my academic books stored in a .tc file which can be exported to various formats (XML, gcstar, HTML, csv, etc). Both of these applications are designed for managing generic collections, so the fields can be customised to suit the needs of your collection (whatever it is), there are features to record lending of items, or price, etc.

Using Tellico to search collection (left) and search online databases for book details (right)

Using Tellico

I was really happy to find the tellico project, it met my needs at least as far as creating an index of my books, it usually takes less than a minute to add the details of each new book to the list, with most of the time spent trying to find where the ISBN is printed if it’s available.

Papers Download Statistics from Elsevier: Effect of tempering upon the tensile properties of a nanostructured steel

Elsevier provides some statistics for my one of my papers.

The paper is also available here – on the phase transformations website.

Downloads from Elsevier is about 1/3 from China and 1/9 th from the UK.


Top countries Pct
China 34%
UK 11%
Germany 6%
USA 6%
Turkey 5%


Paper Download Statistics

Paper Download Statistics


Domain name spam marketing

I own a domain, in the last week I have been contacted in emails from three different companies asking me if I want to buy since that domain is scheduled to become available again. The first company I replied to tell them I am not interested, but it seems that these companies are offering to acquire it when it becomes available. Should be interesting, I wonder how long it will be available for before someone snaps it up.

Internet Heirarchy of needs.

So now we have WIFI/internet, we really like it, in fact since you are reading this blog you probably agree that WIFI needs to be added to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

The modified Maslow's hierarchy of needs, now with WIFI.

The modified Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, now with WIFI.

Geoguessr – geography game

Geoguessr is an entertaining way to pass time, and see the world from your computer. Your screen will position you with random view from google streetview, and you have to click on a world map to locate your position. The closer you get, the higher the score, if you get the location within 12 m the score is 6479. Repeat 5 times and sum the scores.

My high score was 10702.

Screenshot from geogussr (iceweasel)

Screenshot from geogussr (iceweasel)

Geoguessr has also been developed into a UK version (the poster child of fish and chips?) which can be played here: — released as a Beta version.