Jim Easterbrook Jim Easterbrook

Welcome to my web site. This is just a bit of fun for me, with no motive beyond learning a bit of HTML and letting you know something about myself. However, some people have found some of it useful. Feel free to contact me with your comments.

My leisure interests include cycling, food & drink, astronomy and doing up my 1930s house. I've written pages about some of these, and intend to write more when time allows. I've also webmastered a few pages for my partner Sarah.

I used to work at the BBC's engineering Research & Development department. It's a fascinating place to work, with a long history of great achievements. A lot of what they do is invisible to the general public, but I did once get my name in the credits of a TV programme. More recently I've helped save the BBC's archives — I invented the world's best PAL decoder, which has been used for many of the BBC's recent DVD releases, and did a lot of work on the "reverse standards conversion" process used to recover "lost" episodes of Dr. Who from NTSC tapes.

In March 2014 I took early retirement from the BBC. I'm now a man of leisure, apart from all the work still to be done on the house and garden...

Disclaimer: these are my personal views and not those of the BBC.

Surely there's more than this?

As you browse this web site you'll soon realise I don't update it very often. You'll also see that I don't have much of an eye for attractive web page design. These days I prefer to put my stuff on special purpose web sites designed and maintained by people who know what they're doing. The downside of this is that the content I create may be served up with adverts (unless, like me, you use an advert blocker) to pay for those sites.

flickr for photographs

Any photographs I want to share I usually upload to flickr. It's a long established photo sharing service, and despite a substantial revamp a few years ago is still better than its competitors. If you'd like to browse through my photos I suggest you start with my "albums" page.

GitHub for software

Occasionally I need a bit of software and find that there isn't a suitable program available (or not available for my choice of operating system). I usually end up writing something to do what I want, and if I think it might be useful to others I upload it to GitHub.

Weather station software - pywws

My most successful project is some software to store and process data from a popular make of home weather station. I use it to generate web pages such as "Stoneleigh weather - last 24 hours". Judging by activity on the mailing list I set up pywws now has several hundred users, not just in this country but around the world.

Photini screen grab Photo metadata editor - Photini

In the old days of film photography we could write information on the back of a print, e.g. "uncle Fred and auntie Wilma on holiday in Bognor, August 1956". The equivalent of this in the world of digital photography is to store so-called metadata in the image file. There are several standards that define how this information is stored — Exif, IPTC and XMP.

Having failed to find an easy to use metadata editor for Linux I wrote my Photini program. I've gradually improved it, adding Flickr & Picasa uploaders and the ability to import photos from my cameras. You can also set the location of a photograph by dragging it onto a map. It should work on Linux, Windows or MacOS computers.

So far Photini has not attracted much interest, perhaps because it solves a problem most people don't realise they have. However, I wrote it for me and I'm happy with it. What more do I need?

Twitter for ephemera

I have a Twitter account @jimeasterbrook where I post a variety of pithy remarks about life, the universe and everything. I promise there will be no pictures of cats, but you might find too much #thearchers content. My weather station also has a Twitter account @kt19weather.

Blogger for stuff

Lastly, I have a blog Jim's Jottings where I write longer articles, usually about stuff I'm working on or interesting things I've found. I really should write more blog posts - it's easier than updating this website and you don't need to think about the overall site structure.