Welcome to my web site. This started out in the 1990s as hand crafted HTML uploaded to web space provided by whichever ISP (internet service provider) I was using at the time. After changing ISP a couple of times (with consequent changes of web site URL and email address) I got my own domain, jim-easterbrook.me.uk.

In 2007 I started a blog on Google’s “Blogger.com” platform. The easy user interface meant I found it much easier to write blog posts than to update my own web site. By 2023 I’d got fed up with trying to maintain the Python scripts I’d written to help manage my hand crafted HTML so I decided to recreate the site using WordPress, an open source content management system that is fairly easy to use.

WordPress can be used for both blogs and “static” web sites, so it made sense to move my blog away from Blogger.com and combine it with my web site. “Site map” (linked from the menu at the top of this page) shows all my web pages and “Jim’s jottings” shows my blog.

The difference between a blog post and a web site page is rather vague. According to one beginner’s guide, “posts are timely, and pages are timeless”. A lot of what’s on this site is probably miscategorised, but I don’t plan to change it in the near future. When I write some new content I’ll give it a bit more thought.

That’s enough history, here’s a bit about me.

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.

Photo metadata editor – Photini

Photini screenshot

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 a Flickr uploader 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. However, Twitter has provided a good example of what can happen to a service when it’s controlled by a single entity, so I’ve recently started using Mastodon instead. My user name is @jim_easterbrook. My weather station also has an account: @kt19weather.