Neil Turner's Blog http://www.neilturner.me.uk Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002 Sun, 01 Mar 2015 09:25:48 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Crowdfunded: Bucket of Doomhttp://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/03/01/crowdfunded-bucket-of-doom.html http://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/03/01/crowdfunded-bucket-of-doom.html#comments Sun, 01 Mar 2015 09:25:48 +0000 http://www.neilturner.me.uk/?p=12168 Last autumn I backed Bucket of Doom, a tabletop game project, on Kickstarter. The game is similar to Cards Against Humanity – a person takes it in turn to read out a situation card, and each player has to play … Continue reading

Crowdfunded: Bucket of Doom originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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Bucket of Doom

Last autumn I backed Bucket of Doom, a tabletop game project, on Kickstarter. The game is similar to Cards Against Humanity – a person takes it in turn to read out a situation card, and each player has to play a card with an object on it to get out of that situation.

The situations cards all describe an event that, if not escaped from, will mean imminent doom. Unfortunately, the object cards, rather than being useful things like a rope, teleporter or gun, are things like a screaming baby, a deep-fried Mars bar or a plate of strawberry jelly. So when presenting your object (you have 8 object cards, which are double-sided) you have to be creative. The group votes for the best explained escape plan and the winner gets a point.

The project had a funding goal of £15,000 and rather surprisingly only just made it having raised £15,336. I pledged £13, enough to get an early-bird discount over the recommended retail price of £15. Kickstarter backers also got an additional bonus set of situation cards which aren’t included in the final retail edition, and their name included in the credits.

Whereas Cards Against Humanity comes in a cardboard box, Bucket of Doom – unsurprisingly – comes in a neon pink bucket, with the cards, voting paper pads and pencils inside. I got mine late last year, and we played it for the first time a few weeks ago with friends. It was good fun, although if I’m honest, I preferred Cards Against Humanity a bit more where the humour can be a bit more depraved. Bucket of Doom is a more imaginative game though.

If you’re interesting in buying your own bucket, it’s available now from everyone’s favourite multi-national tax dodger Amazon, and can be pre-ordered from Firebox for delivery in a couple of weeks. It’s £15 from both companies.

Crowdfunded: Bucket of Doom originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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Links from Pinboard for February 28, 2015http://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/28/links-from-pinboard-for-february-28-2015.html http://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/28/links-from-pinboard-for-february-28-2015.html#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 09:30:02 +0000 http://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/28/links-from-pinboard-for-february-28-2015.html Here are the articles or web sites that I’ve found this week and linked to on my Pinboard Bookmarks: www.mirror.co.uk A wristband that harvests kinetic energy when you, ahem, pleasure yourself. via @qwghlm Look Out HDMI and DisplayPort, There's a … Continue reading

Links from Pinboard for February 28, 2015 originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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Here are the articles or web sites that I’ve found this week and linked to on my Pinboard Bookmarks:

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Links from Pinboard for February 28, 2015 originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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D trains of Future Pasthttp://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/27/d-trains-of-future-past.html http://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/27/d-trains-of-future-past.html#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 09:56:02 +0000 http://www.neilturner.me.uk/?p=12155 I’d like to introduce you to the ‘D Train’. If its manufacturer Vivarail gets its way, then a large number of these are destined for the north of England. D is for District Line The D Train is not a … Continue reading

D trains of Future Past originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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144 Crossing the River Calder
I’d like to introduce you to the ‘D Train’. If its manufacturer Vivarail gets its way, then a large number of these are destined for the north of England.

D is for District Line

The D Train is not a new train, and Vivarail are not train-builders in the traditional sense. They will be taking redundant London Underground electric trains, and converting them into diesel trains for use outside the capital. Specifically, the trains that will be converted are the D78 which operate on the District Line.

The ’78’ in D78 refers to when construction of these trains began in 1978, with the first trains commencing service in 1980. Whilst this was 35 years ago, they are not the oldest trains on London Underground’s network – the trains on the Piccadilly and Bakerloo Lines are older. Indeed these trains probably have 10-15 years of life left in them, and the bogies (the wheel sets that the carriages sit on) are relatively new. They’re being replaced earlier than normal to ensure that all of the so-called ‘sub-surface lines’ (the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City, and Metropolitan) all use a common type of train – the new S stock trains.

The S stock has also replaced the even older A stock on the Metropolitan Line, and the C stock on the Circle, Hammersmith & City and ‘Wimbleware’ Wimbledon-Edgware District Line services. Now it’s the turn of the D stock to be withdrawn.

One man’s scrap…

When the A and C stock were withdrawn, they went straight to the scrapyard – the earliest trains dating from the 1960s. But the D stock is newer, with some trains only refurbished as recently as 2008. Scrapping these serviceable trains would be a waste, and so London Underground sought buyers for the fleet. Vivarail was the successful bidder, and so as the D78 stock is withdrawn, the trains are taken to its workshops.

The main change is converting them to diesel trains. London Underground uses a four-rail DC electric system which is unique to London, so the traction system will be changed with new diesel engines added – in fact, the engines will be basically the same as those fitted to Ford Transit vans. They will retain their electric transmission, making them ‘diesel-electric multiple units’, a bit like the Voyagers used by Crosscountry and Virgin Trains.

Whilst similar third-rail electric systems are prevalent across the south-east of England and on Merseyside, there are plenty of new electric trains being built at the moment so there’s no real demand. At present, no manufacturer is building any new diesel trains for the UK market (Hitachi’s new class 800/801 trains for the Intercity Express Programme will have a diesel engine but they’re primarily electric trains). Whilst more railway lines are being electrified, these projects will take time with some lines not going live for another 5-6 years. Others probably won’t be electrified at all, as there’s no economic case to do so, and so diesel trains will still be needed in future.

A 2020 vision

January 1st 2020 will be something of a watershed for passenger rail travel in the UK. After this date, all passenger trains must be accessible to Persons of Reduced Mobility, which mandates wide doors, space for a wheelchair, a wheelchair-accessible toilet and digital displays showing information to passengers, amongst other things. We’re five years away from this deadline and yet there are hundreds of trains out there that aren’t compliant.

Most trains can be converted – but at a cost. And for some trains, the business case for conversion is weak or non-existent. This may be because of the amount of work required or the age of the train (or both).

The dreaded Pacer

If you live in the south-east of England, then you may never have encountered a Pacer before. These trains were built cheaply in the 1980s by bolting bus bodies onto freight wagons, as a short-term measure to cover for a shortfall in passenger trains. Whilst the oldest of these, the class 141, have been withdrawn from service, classes 142, 143 and 144 are still in revenue service across the north of England, Wales, and south-west England.

They’re not popular with passengers. Unlike most trains with bogies, these have two simple axles per carriage, which gives a much poorer ride quality, especially on older jointed track. Their cheap construction also raises questions about their crashworthiness. Politicians have claimed they will be withdrawn, but not given any timescales or firm commitments.

The leasing company that owns the 142 sets, Angel Trains, has already said that it won’t upgrade its trains in time for 2020, which means that they should be withdrawn by then. The 143 and 144s are owned by Porterbrook, who are developing plans for refurbishment where required.

Another unsuitable short-term stopgap?

The Pacers were a short-term stopgap in the 1980s, but ended up being used for far longer than intended. My worry is that the same thing will happen to the D Trains. Whilst they may only be planned to be in service for 10-15 years, history may repeat itself, with D Trains still running on passenger services beyond 2030 – by which time they’ll be past 50 years old.

The ride quality on the D Train should be better than on the Pacers, and they will have more carriages. Almost all Pacer units are two carriages which just a handful of three carriage trains in the north; D Train units will have three carriages as standard. Plus, they will have a completely new interior, and a new, modern front-end. They should feel like new trains, even though the body shells are already 35 years old.

The other major concern is their top speed. Despite their cheap construction, Pacer trains are capable of a top speed of 75 miles per hour, and newer diesel trains can reach 90 or 100 miles per hour. The D Train will be limited to 60 miles per hour – after all, they were originally designed for commuter services where a high top speed isn’t important.

There are currently plenty of lines which have a 60 miles per hour speed limit (or lower), so at first this shouldn’t be an issue. But Network Rail are working to increase speed limits in the north, especially on the Calder Valley Line that I use every day. HADRAG, the Halifax and District Rail Action Group (of which I am a member) is therefore against their use on this route as it would undermine Network Rail’s improvement works.

Hand-me-downs for the North, again

As well as the technical objections, there’s also the issue that these will be yet more old trains being sent to the north of England, whilst London and the south east gets new trains. In the north-west, Northern Rail are introducing Class 319 electric trains between Manchester and Liverpool in May, now that the line has been electrified. But these electric trains also date from the late 1980s and previously ran on the Thameslink services between Bedford and Brighton. They’ve become spare only because new trains are being introduced on the Thameslink route. And whilst Northern Rail are refurbishing them before they enter service, they won’t be as nice or modern as the brand new trains being introduced down south.

Brand new trains are more expensive, and will take longer to build. Converting the D78 stock into a D Train costs around 2/3rds of the price of an all-new train, and can be done much more quickly than building a new train from scratch. Vivarail is aiming to have a demonstrator train ready for the summer, so that the three companies bidding for the next Northern franchise can evaluate it.

Of course, it could be that none of the train companies are interested. There’s no guarantee that anyone will buy the D Train. But I would be surprised if the project failed. Vivarail was founded by Adrian Shooter, former chairman of Chiltern Railways and a rail industry veteran. I doubt he would have invested so much in this project if he expected it to fail.

And, on the whole, I think it’s a good idea. Scrapping old, but serviceable trains is ridiculous when there’s a need for extra rolling stock to prevent overcrowding. I would say that they are better than the worst trains that run in the north, even with their lower top speed (but better acceleration). But there are many lines where these trains will not be suitable, and so care needs to be taken to ensure that they are allocated to lines where they can make a positive difference to the service.

In an ideal world, the whole country would get new trains as and when required. But if that’s not on the cards, then any extra trains are better than none, I suppose. I just wish that the north of England would get a bigger share of the new shiny things.

D trains of Future Past originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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The Free Postcode Lotteryhttp://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/26/free-postcode-lottery.html http://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/26/free-postcode-lottery.html#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 09:09:31 +0000 http://www.neilturner.me.uk/?p=12119 Do you want to win free money? For most people the answer to this question is ‘yes’ – and the Free Postcode Lottery will let you do just that. Each day, you have the chance to win at least £80. … Continue reading

The Free Postcode Lottery originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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Screenshot of the Free Postcode Lottery home page

Do you want to win free money? For most people the answer to this question is ‘yes’ – and the Free Postcode Lottery will let you do just that. Each day, you have the chance to win at least £80.

To register, you provide the site with your email address and UK postcode. You then log in every day to find out which postcode has won that day. If it’s yours, then you win the jackpot, which can be paid to you by Paypal.

If it’s not yours, then you can still accumulate a bonus. For every day that you log in, one penny is added to your bonus – if you win the jackpot, then this is added to your winnings. Because you need to log in every day to see if you’ve won, you should be able to build up £1 after just over three months. There’s also an additional opportunity to win extra money with the Stackpot which is refreshed twice a day at 9am and 9pm, and you can refer friends for extra cash as well.

Unclaimed jackpots roll over – in the screenshot, the jackpot is £140 because the winners from the day before didn’t claim it. It’s got as high as £700 before. The jackpot recently increased from £70 to £80, as the lottery now covers 8% of all UK postcodes. Presumably there will be another increase at 9%.

The lottery is free because all of the income comes from advertising on the site – and you’ll see that it is a particularly advert heavy web site. But because people visit it daily, those adverts get a lot of views, hence why it is able to give so much money away.

If you live in Britain and fancy a chance of winning some cash, then it’s worth signing up. You’ll just get one daily email reminding you to check the draw – no other spam is sent. Here’s my referral link, if you want to give it a try.

The Free Postcode Lottery originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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App of the Week: Shorthttp://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/25/app-of-the-week-short.html http://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/25/app-of-the-week-short.html#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 09:50:16 +0000 http://www.neilturner.me.uk/?p=12151 Got a spare 5-10 minutes, and want to read something? Short is here to help. You link Short to your existing Pocket, Instapaper, Readability or ReadingPack account, and it will present you with a list of articles that can be … Continue reading

App of the Week: Short originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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Screenshot of ShortGot a spare 5-10 minutes, and want to read something? Short is here to help.

You link Short to your existing Pocket, Instapaper, Readability or ReadingPack account, and it will present you with a list of articles that can be read in under 5 minutes, or under 10 minutes. Tap each one to read it, and when you’re done you can remove it from your reading list. That’s basically it.

That’s not necessarily a criticism as Short is designed to be simple. That being said, it does also include a dark mode, and the usual sharing features, so that you can share interesting articles on your social networks. Short supports multiple read-it-later services simultaneously, so if you have articles saved in both Pocket and ReadingPack (for example), then you’ll be able to see them both in one list. More accounts may be added in later releases, perhaps including Feedly.

Somewhat oddly, you have to sign in to Short with a Twitter account; this is done before you link your read it later service account. One advantage is that it keeps your account settings in sync between multiple devices, such as an iPad and an iPhone.

Screenshot of Short when your feed is emptyThere’s a couple of limitations. Firstly, there’s no embedded video, so if the article you’ve saved for later is a bit of text with a video, then it may show up in Short’s list. Short also won’t show you the tweet that the article was saved from, if applicable, unlike the official Pocket app.

I’ve been using Short for about a week and it’s great for when you’ve just got a few spare minutes. I tend to use Pocket like an inbox, and spent most of the weekend getting my reading list down from 100 unread articles to 0, so being able to clear out the shorter pieces more easily is great. Pocket’s official app has ‘Highlights’ which is supposed to categorise quick reads, but it hasn’t worked on my account for months.

Short is free, and is available from the App Store. It’s a universal app for both iPad and iPhone.

App of the Week: Short originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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What happens to your internet accounts when you die?http://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/24/what-happens-to-your-internet-accounts-when-you-die.html http://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/24/what-happens-to-your-internet-accounts-when-you-die.html#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 09:41:30 +0000 http://www.neilturner.me.uk/?p=12147 If you died tomorrow, what would happen to your internet accounts? Would you want your family to have access? If you’re like me, it’s probably something you haven’t given a lot of thought to – but perhaps you should. The … Continue reading

What happens to your internet accounts when you die? originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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Infographic - death in the digital ageIf you died tomorrow, what would happen to your internet accounts? Would you want your family to have access? If you’re like me, it’s probably something you haven’t given a lot of thought to – but perhaps you should.

The Co-operative Funeralcare have created a guide called ‘Death in the Digital Age’. It covers what you should consider doing now, whilst you’re alive, and also what to do if a loved one has passed away and you want to access their online accounts. The Co-op also produced an infographic with some interesting statistics – 75% of people surveyed by ICM had no plans for their online accounts, yet a similar proportion have encountered problems accessing accounts belonging to deceased relatives.

Considering how much stuff we store in cloud services, this is something of a worry, especially when there aren’t physical or local copies. Take photos – how many pictures have you taken that are only on Facebook? If you were no longer around, would a relative be able to still see them?

Sadly a lot of internet companies are not very good when it comes to dealing with the deceased. You’ll find many user agreements prohibit the sharing of usernames and passwords, so by logging into the account of someone who has passed away you are breaking the terms of the agreement. And customer service departments can be unhelpful.

But it’s not all bad news – Google has an ‘inactive account manager’ which allows you to nominate a trusted third party who can gain access to your account if you don’t log in for a certain amount of time. I’ve set this up so that Christine can get into my account if I don’t log in for three months. Facebook is rolling out a similar feature, but it’s restricted to users in the USA right now – in the meantime, you can have a profile ‘memorialised’ if its owner has passed on. We did this with my friend Dave when he died suddenly last year.

Thinking about your own death may seem depressing but it’s a lot easier for your relatives to have everything sorted whilst you’re still alive. Consider the following:

  1. Make sure you have a will in place (Christine and I are getting wills as part of our house purchase).
  2. Write some key usernames and passwords on a piece of paper and store it in a sealed envelope. Include any device passwords or encryption keys if applicable.
  3. Or, if you use a password manager (and you really should), then do the same, but for your master password.
  4. Backup important photos/music etc. to an external USB hard drive – don’t rely solely on cloud storage.

Everyone’s different; you may wish to have all of your online accounts deleted when you die, rather than preserved for others. It’s up to you, but you’re best making that decision now.

What happens to your internet accounts when you die? originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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Expanding cablehttp://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/23/expanding-cable.html http://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/23/expanding-cable.html#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 09:04:18 +0000 http://www.neilturner.me.uk/?p=12110 Recently, Virgin Media announced it was expanding its cable network. Currently just over half of the UK’s 26 million or so households can get cable service from Virgin Media, although of those 13 million eligible, only 5 million actually subscribe. … Continue reading

Expanding cable originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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Cable Junction Box

Recently, Virgin Media announced it was expanding its cable network. Currently just over half of the UK’s 26 million or so households can get cable service from Virgin Media, although of those 13 million eligible, only 5 million actually subscribe. Virgin Media plans to add another 4 millions households to this, although somewhat controversially this will be primarily in urban areas.

A bit of history

Most of the cables for cable TV, internet and phone were laid in the early 1990s in the UK, by various different companies – usually subsidiaries of larger corporations. In York where my parents live, this was ‘Bell Cablemedia’, part of Bell Canada. Some of these companies spent a lot of money digging up streets to lay cables, but then didn’t make enough money to clear their debts, resulting in some gaps in their networks.

By the late 1990s most of the small companies had merged into three larger firms: Cable & Wireless, NTL and Telewest. NTL bought Cable & Wireless’ home cable business, and then in 2005, NTL and Telewest merged. The combined company then took over Virgin Mobile UK in 2006 and gained the rights to use the Virgin brand, re-branding as Virgin Media.

For the first time, there were two major players in multi-channel television: Virgin Media and its cable network, and the dominant Sky, with its satellite TV and ADSL internet service. Its dominance challenged, Sky had a fall-out with Virgin Media in 2007 lead to many of Sky’s channels being taken off Virgin Media, including Sky1 and Sky Sports News. Virgin Media responded by re-branding its lacklustre channel FTN as Virgin One (which seemed to mostly specialise in repeats of Star Trek: The Next Generation and porn), and launched Setanta Sports News with erstwhile Irish sports broadcaster Setanta. It would be 18 months before the Sky channels returned; ironically the following year Virgin sold all of its own channels to Sky.

The situation today

Which brings us to today. Virgin Media is now the only provider of cable TV and internet in the UK, having amalgamated every other company over the years (the last holdout, Smallworld, was bought last year). This means that it’s the only company with its own infrastructure for internet and phone services – Sky, TalkTalk, EE and all of the other providers all have to buy wholesale capacity BT’s Openreach network. Whilst Openreach should be able to reach every household, due to its routes as a public utility company, Virgin Media’s network, even after expansion, will only connect to a small majority of homes.

That doesn’t mean that the expansion isn’t worthwhile. Any expansion will increase competition, which should be better for consumers; more choice should allow people to access cheaper and better deals that suit their circumstances better. However, Virgin will be focussing on ‘filling in’ gaps in its coverage – towns and cities where it already has a presence but with some streets missing. This is unlikely to include rural areas, or towns where Virgin hasn’t been to before, although we don’t yet have a definitive list of places due to be connected. Access to broadband in rural areas is a contentious issue, but actually London has some of the worst broadband speeds in the country.

Register your interest

If you can’t currently get Virgin Media’s services and want to register your interest, you can do so here. Presumably, if enough people sign up in an area, then Virgin will consider connecting that area to its network. There’s no guarantee though – Virgin Media is a business with shareholders and it has no public service remit. Whilst filling out that form doesn’t commit you to signing up, it doesn’t commit Virgin Media to offering you a service either.

I’ve put the postcode of our new house in there, just in case. However, BT will be upgrading its service there by June, as part of the Super Fast West Yorkshire project which allows it to use public money to upgrade exchanges and street cabinets in more isolated areas. Even without it, we should be able to get similar speeds to what we get now – around 17 Mbps, which is fast enough for 99% of what we use the internet for.

I’ve previously been a Virgin Media customer and they were generally okay – and offered a good cheap deal at the time. But we’re currently with BT and get a good service with them, even if it is pricier than their rivals. I’m not sure whether I would go back to Virgin Media – but I would like that option.

Expanding cable originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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Crowdfunded: The East End Film Festivalhttp://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/22/crowdfunded-east-end-film-festival.html http://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/22/crowdfunded-east-end-film-festival.html#comments Sun, 22 Feb 2015 09:24:47 +0000 http://www.neilturner.me.uk/?p=12122 In May last year I backed the fundraiser for the annual East End Film Festival. The festival takes place across the east end of London every year, and 2014 was its 13th year. This was the first year that the … Continue reading

Crowdfunded: The East End Film Festival originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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East End Film Festival

In May last year I backed the fundraiser for the annual East End Film Festival. The festival takes place across the east end of London every year, and 2014 was its 13th year.

This was the first year that the festival operated as a not-for-profit Community Interest Company, to maintain its independence. But this meant it needed an additional £25000 to put on all of the events and workshops as planned, and to keep some of these free where possible.

One of my friends has previously been involved with the festival (she’s now in New York studying for a PhD) and so I was happy to contribute a little bit towards the festival to make sure it went ahead last year. They met their funding target – although only just – and the festival took place in late June. As a thanks for my donation, my name would have appeared on a ‘wall of fame’ at their opening gala, however, with no means to visit London at the time I didn’t get to see it.

The festival is back on for 2015 and this time it’s going ahead without a crowdfunding effort, but with a number of sponsors. Hopefully there will still be many free events and the sponsorship won’t have lead to a loss of independence. It runs from the 1st to the 12th July at venues across the east end of London.

Crowdfunded: The East End Film Festival originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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Links from Pinboard for February 21, 2015http://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/21/links-from-pinboard-for-february-21-2015.html http://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/21/links-from-pinboard-for-february-21-2015.html#comments Sat, 21 Feb 2015 13:41:12 +0000 http://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/21/links-from-pinboard-for-february-21-2015.html Here are the articles or web sites that I’ve found this week and linked to on my Pinboard Bookmarks: Where's Wally?: How to find him in ten seconds How to find Wally in around 10 seconds, every time Digest powered … Continue reading

Links from Pinboard for February 21, 2015 originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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Here are the articles or web sites that I’ve found this week and linked to on my Pinboard Bookmarks:

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Links from Pinboard for February 21, 2015 originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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The Bradford Breweryhttp://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/20/the-bradford-brewery.html http://www.neilturner.me.uk/2015/02/20/the-bradford-brewery.html#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 18:05:46 +0000 http://www.neilturner.me.uk/?p=12140 Last night, I went along to the opening night of the new Bradford Brewery. Once it’s fully up-and-running, it’ll be the first brewery in Bradford city centre since the last one closed in the 1950s. Whilst the brewing equipment is … Continue reading

The Bradford Brewery originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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The Bradford Brewery

Last night, I went along to the opening night of the new Bradford Brewery. Once it’s fully up-and-running, it’ll be the first brewery in Bradford city centre since the last one closed in the 1950s.

Whilst the brewing equipment is still being assembled, the Bradford Brewery’s brewpub, The Brewfactory, opened yesterday. As well as various beers and ales from other local (and not so local) breweries, there is the first of the Bradford Brewery’s own beers available to purchase, called The Origin. It’s an IPA – smooth with a slightly spicy after-taste, although overall I found it a little bland. It’s being brewed at the Baildon Brewery for now until the on-site equipment is up and running, which should be within a couple of weeks.

The Bradford BreweryThe brewery is located in a small former factory building on the corner of Westgate and Rawson Road, behind the Oastler Centre, with the pub occupying most of the ground floor. As a factory, moisture meters were built there to measure moisture in wool (to discourage dampening the wool to increase its weight), and its industrial past is reflected in the decor. It’s a bit sparse at the moment, but then the place has only just opened after all.

The Bradford Brewery is just around the corner from North Parade, home to Bradford’s independent quarter and an increasing number of bars. I wrote about the Record Café last year, which joined The Sparrow and Al’s Dime Bar on the same street. The Brewhouse is another bar due to open there shortly.

Good quality new bars are always welcome in Bradford and hopefully a sign that the trend for pub closures might be easing, at least in certain areas. The Brewfactory certainly has a great selection, with eight handpulls for cask beer, several more keg pumps and a variety of canned beers. It’s aiming towards the top end of the market – the only mainstream beer available on tap was Amstel with most of the rest coming from independent microbreweries.

Whilst The Brewfactory will be the home of the Bradford Brewery’s beers, the brewery has ambitious plans for production once its equipment is commissioned – with the aim to produce over 10,000 pints per week. So hopefully their beers will be widely available across the region, and maybe even further beyond. And conveniently, they’ve been able to start production (albeit offsite) just in time for next week’s Bradford Beer Festival in Saltaire.

I wish the team behind the Bradford Brewery the best of luck – their plans have been in the pipeline for a long time, and it’s great to see them finally coming to fruition. It was busy when we visited last night and I hope that it remains so.

The Bradford Brewery originally appeared on Neil Turner's Blog and is released under a Creative Commons License. Follow me on Twitter - @nrturner

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