The diary and photos of Chris Beach. I'm into windsurfing, coding, badminton, drawing and composing music using computers and synths.

Let's start with a quote:
"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours" Stephen Roberts

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favourite topics from the se23 forum

Our local SE23 forum is attracting some fun topics. Here are some of my favourites:

Community projects

A better welcome to those passing through SE23

Brightening Up Perry Vale

Our community partnership library bid has been shortlisted!

Local animal lovers:

Calling all Cat Spotters of SE23

How to recognise me (via dogs)

We also have some great threads in the opt-in "Politicos" and cyclists categories.

The team and I have tried to set a positive tone and theme to the site by seeding it with exemplar posts, and by staying engaged with our early adopter users. It's working well.

written by Chris Beach
11/08/16 10:55am
(1 month, 2 weeks ago)
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se23 forum - three meetups later

My new SE23 forum had it's third meetup last week in Forest Hill, which was a great success. We're seeing a diverse bunch at each meetup in terms of ages, tech savviness and gender (the last meetup was female dominated).

Been great to meet so many local SE23 people, and to feel closer to my local community.

Seems craft beer, local street decoration and photos from SE23 are all very popular in this neck of the woods.

written by Chris Beach
02/08/16 7:36pm
(1 month, 3 weeks ago)
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the se23 forum is taking off

The SE23 forum I created has really taken off. Today, news of a sinkhole in Forest Hill SE23 on the forum brought in 500 visitors over the lunchtime period alone!

Since launching in May, the forum has gained six paying customers and there are a bunch more lined up in the segregated "commercial" category for SE23 businesses. There's a diverse slice of SE23 life on the forum. We've reported big news, and we've shared pictures of local cats and dogs. Above all, there's a really positive spirit and an overwhelming feeling of community. It's been a pleasure to run.

written by Chris Beach
18/07/16 3:53pm
(2 months, 1 week ago)
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forum for honor oak park and forest hill se23

Honor Oak Park (near Forest Hill, SE23) is a fantastic little nook of South East London. Liz and I moved there in 2013.

There was a basic forum that locals used to chat online but it's old-fashioned, and has dubious moderation.

I felt it was time for a fresh new forum for the area, so I used Discourse to build a brand new forum for SE23:

What's great about Discourse is that it automatically unlocks features and moderation powers for users that contribute positively to the forum. It's also real-time updating, mobile-friendly and packed full of features behind a deceptively simple UI.

written by Chris Beach
27/05/16 11:25pm
(4 months ago)
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cointouch - find friends of friends that trade bitcoins

After much frustration with exchanges I built CoinTouch to find friends of friends that want to trade bitcoins.

CoinTouch shows offers to buy and sell from your extended social network. Prices are pegged to market rates (MtGox or CoinDesk), at your chosen spread, and thus automatically update every minute. There are no fees and no delays.

USD, GBP and EUR supported. Currently supports Facebook login. Google and LinkedIn coming soon. More altcoins also coming soon.

Any feedback, please drop me a tweet @cointouch

written by Chris Beach
04/02/14 1:41pm
(2 years, 7 months ago)
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streetlend - share things locally

In February I founded a website which, happily, I am now working on full-time: makes it easy for neighbours to lend things to each other. DIY equipment, DVDs, baby gear, anything you can lend, you can list on StreetLend. Local sharing is great for the environment, for building community spirit and earning cash from things you don't regularly use.

I'd appreciate if you could give my new site a whirl, and list an item you'd be willing to lend. The more people that use StreetLend, the better it will be:

written by Chris Beach
09/05/13 11:02am
(3 years, 4 months ago)
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finding out how long munin plugins are taking to run

Munin data updates occasionally timeout due to long-running plugins. The munin-update log isn't very helpful. Here's a little bash script to find the offenders:

su - munin --shell=/bin/bash
for file in /etc/munin/plugins/*; do
time_start=`date +%s`;
$file > /dev/null 2>&1;
time_end=`date +%s`;
time_elapsed=$((time_end - time_start));
echo "$file: $time_elapsed secs";

written by Chris Beach
25/02/11 2:30pm
(5 years, 7 months ago)
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stephen fry on the ipad

How much easier it is to distrust, to doubt, to fold the arms and say: "Not impressed."

I'm not advocating dumb gullibility, but it is has always amused me that those who instinctively dislike Apple for being apparently cool, trendy, design-fixated and so on, are the ones who are actually so damned cool and so damned sensitive to stylistic nuance that they can't bear to celebrate or recognise obvious class, beauty and desire.

The fact is that Apple users like me are the uncoolest people on earth: we salivate, dribble, coo, sigh, grin and bubble with delight.

Stephen Fry: why the Apple iPad is here to stay [Guardian]

written by Chris Beach
29/01/10 10:05am
(6 years, 8 months ago)
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the iphone as a universal remote control (using the thinkflood redeye wifi-ir bridge)

What follows is a quick video demo of the new RedEye device, which bridges wifi to infrared. Controls any number of household appliances using iPhones and iPod Touches.

The system has just come out of beta and the iPhone app is buggy, but free-of-charge. The RedEye device itself is $188 plus taxes and VAT ($220/135). Ordered on Thursday; arrived today (Monday) in the UK. Setup is fiddly and takes a while, but once done, all iPhones in the house sync automatically with the configured button layout. Swipe gestures and accelerometer are configurable options. Response times on button presses are good, and the app loads reasonably quickly (~2s on an iPhone 3GS). Several updates have already hit the app store and more in the pipeline. More info here:

written by Chris Beach
11/01/10 11:45pm
(6 years, 8 months ago)
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using your existing domain name with gmail and decluttering the web ui

Email server maintenance sucks. Last week, a botched upgrade of my VPS killed spam-filtering and rendered Plesk (control panel) useless. Days of chasing tickets with Interhost drove me to distraction. High time to consider alternative mail hosting.

Within its Apps framework, Google offers an email service which can be linked to your existing domain name and email address. The process is as follows:

  1. Create a Google apps account
  2. Verify your domain (by placing a Google-provided file in the root)
  3. Create email accounts using "Users and groups" tab
  4. Edit your DNS settings (instructions for various hosts here) to use the Google MX records. If you have direct access to DNS settings, these are the MX records:
PriorityMail Server

Once that's done, after 24 hours or so, the DNS update will have propogated through the web and email will start flowing into your Google Apps Gmail inbox. Enable IMAP within Gmail settings in order to access mail from desktop clients. Then set up Google Sync to get email/calendars/contacts pushed to your iPhone.

Gmail's web interface is horribly cluttered so I have created custom CSS to remove the ads, dim some extraneous details and shrink the UI to the bare minimum. This can be downloaded and activated here:

written by Chris Beach
15/12/09 3:00pm
(6 years, 9 months ago)
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