James Foley

Week in review 2024-08

Electronic components arrive, Film gets posted and pedals fall off

Notes on the week

My E-Ink dashboard project is gathering steam. After a productive chat at the Pixelbar , I ordered some components (which arrived the next day - city living has it’s perks), and spent the following evening assembling them into a very crude representation of the finished project. I used the cardboard box that the e-ink display came is as a ‘case’ to hold everything together as I tested everything. Turns out my software works just fine, and updates the display correctly. The problem I’m facing now is the legibility of the text. Something in the process of converting from HTML to a 2 part bitmap for the display is causing a lot of blur, so I need to dive into that this week. Still though, the first time that everything booted up and watching the display come to life was pretty cool.

We’re patiently waiting for Andec , a film processor in Germany, to send us the digital scans of the 16mm film we shot over the Christmas break. I’m equally excited and terrified to see the results. The ‘one-shot’ nature of film is so intense, you either got the shot or you didn’t, and there’s no way to know for days, weeks or even months after the shoot. Compared to the instant review of digital, shooting on film feels like playing a game on the most extreme difficulty setting. So cross you fingers for us that everything was in the frame, in focus and correctly exposed.

I was cycling to the gym earlier in the week and heard a little rattle, then felt a little wobble under my left foot and then felt, nothing. My pedal, crank and all, had fallen off. I know we got our bikes for next to nothing from a charity shop, but this was not one of the inevitable wear and tear failures I was expecting to experience. I guess it highlights just how little I actually know about bike maintenance, and definitely need to reduce my blindspots around. Thankfully the local bike shop was able to get me sorted pretty quickly, the thread had completely worn through so the crank had to be replaced, but they had a suitable one floating around. It’s just typical that the day after I got a puncture. Riding a bike in a city is amazing, owning a bike is a pain. There’s actually a lot to be said for the multiple bike rental companies that operate in the city.

I visited Zandvoort this weekend, which amazingly is completely open to the public. I was able to walk the grandstands, the paddock and pit lane, the hospitality areas etc. The only place off limits really was the track itself, which was understandable as there were plenty of people ripping around in Porsche 911 turbos. I may not have got to see an F1 driving in anger, but being in the cauldron (empty as it was) was a surreal experience. I know tickets for the Dutch GP in particular are so hard to get, but I’m hoping beyond hope that I’ll be able to get one for the Dutch GP later this year.

On Sunday Elle and I visited Kinderdijk, a sleepy little village a kilometres east of Rotterdam, whose name comes from a folk tale where a child and a cat washed ashore in a cradle. It’s also home to a UNESCO world heritage site that hosts nearly twenty 18th century Dutch windmills.

Getting there, a few kilometres away and on the other side of the Maas river was surprisingly easy. We took the bus, but not a regular bus, a Water Bus! Rotterdam is a city of many, many different forms of transport and the Water Bus might just be my favourite. The boat is incredibly comfortable with big plush red seats, amazing views of the river, lots of space to store bikes and very affordable. Our trip was 40 minutes each way, and cost only €9 each. It was so nice to get out into some nature again, we haven’t really left the urban world in the last two months, and seeing loads of green, lots of birds and not hearing the sounds of the city was really nice. Kinderdijk and the walk/cycleway along the polders is free to the public, and we just spend our afternoon walking and exploring, but there is also a number of museums, exhibits, tours and canal boat trips that you can pay for, and I think the next time our families come to visit we’ll be heading back for the full experience.

A short film about Love, Death and Knitting

Satoshi Emails

A programming exercise for kids, without screens

The Coding Train shows what coding was like on the Apple ii

Voyager 1 is in trouble, and I shouldn’t feel this upset about a piece of metal in space

Man in backyard makes contact with the International Space Station

100 uses for a personal website

A quick VisionOS programming tutorial


Moby Dick sucks. Well, maybe that’s unfair, the process of reading Moby Dick sucks. The story itself is actually really good, it’s just such a challenging read. I am a fast reader. If I really get into a book I can usually burn through it in a 24 hour period. The whale is putting up a fight though, the prose is so heavy and meandering, and I’m finding it so hard to get into a ‘rhythm’ with it. During our trip to Kinderdijk this weekend I got through 2 chapters, which is a paltry amount. I really enjoyed them, but I had to work for it.


The BBCs ‘Beyond the Grid’ F1 podcast are running a special series, where they went behind the scenes at Mercedes and Williams in the run up to the 2024 season. I think tomorrow’s episode is going to cover the Hamilton/Ferrari news, and I cannot wait.


I’ve been playing lots of Risk of Rain 2 with some of the guys from home. It’s a ‘Rogue-like’ shooter with pretty simplistic graphics and a super satisfying gameplay loop. I think our next game as a group is PlateUp, which applies the rogue-like loop to restaurant management, I’m nervous and excited.