The digital divide: paid-for vs page-views

Some readers, particularly those I asked to subscribe, might remember I wrote a series of articles on the state of Britain for a website called Beacon in 2014-15. It was initially set up as a pay-walled multi-writer blog, where you subscribed to one writer and gained access to everyone. I had fun writing for it and made a modest amount of money writing articles I would not have written otherwise.
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Articles on Electric Mountain power station tour and US visas

Obviously, you don’t need a US visa to visit Dinorwig power station in Snowdonia, just a ticket from the Electric Mountain visitor centre. This buys you the chance to see a stirring film, then take a bus tour around an amazing piece of underground engineering that is capable of filling the gaps in UK power demand when millions of people put the kettle on.

I mentioned tea a lot in this article for the Register, such as the following: Continue reading “Articles on Electric Mountain power station tour and US visas”

Art in Amsterdam article for Railbookers All Aboard magazine

Railbookers, the rail specialist travel agency, publishes a magazine called All Aboard. I have an article in the latest issue on art in Amsterdam, based on a trip just over a year ago which I wrote about for Beacon.

I focused on two galleries. One, the Rijksmuseum, is the obvious choice – although that doesn’t make it any less brilliant, particularly following its recent renovations. The other is less well-known, and is happy to be so given it only has capacity for a handful of visitors each day: the Six Collection, situated in the Six family’s grand house on the Amstel.

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Oxford Bodleian Library’s Book Storage Facility (in Swindon)

Oxford is a very crowded place, and it is very hard to build anything there. As a result, the greatest single part of the University of Oxford Bodleian Library collection – the Book Storage Facility, holding 8,328,367 books (and roughly 1.5m maps) on the day I visited – is not actually in Oxford, but on the Keypoint trading estate just north of the A420 on the edge of Swindon.

The beautiful new Weston Library on Broad Street, opened last spring, would not exist without the Book Storage Facility, because the latter holds all the books that were previously stored in the space that is now the atrium and exhibition space (including the Sheldon Tapestry Map of Worcestershire, featuring Chipping Norton). And the Book Storage Facility would not exist without a load of IT: the environmental control systems, the Bodleian catalogue and the software that works out the routes for the pickers that retrieve and return items to the huge 11-metre high shelves. Continue reading “Oxford Bodleian Library’s Book Storage Facility (in Swindon)”