How to calculate log2 without the real function

In computer science, being able to count in binary is pretty much a prerequisite. So too is being able to quickly work out the decimal range of a binary number by just knowing its length in bits. For example, an 8-bit number has 256 levels; a 10-bit number 1024; a 16-bit number 65536.
But working back the other way – this is, finding the number of bits based on the number of levels – is a bit harder. Calculators have a… Read more

NSWGR Garratt 6029 returns to steam

Before it was a gaming platform, Steam used to mean the combination of heat and water and for more than 100 years, it powered locomotives that drove the world’s economies and epitomised the industrial age.
The Age of Steam officially ended in New South Wales in March 1973 as one of Australia’s largest ever steam locos, British-built Garratt 6042, steamed through a banner in Newcastle, north of Sydney, marking the occasion.
Five days ago, one of its siblings that escaped… Read more

Tablet reviews galore! –

In the market for a tablet? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Well, actually you should head over to and read through a bunch of my reviews that have just gone up on the site.
You’ll find reviews of Lenovo’s Yoga Tablet 10 and the IdeaPad S6000, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8.0, the Gigabite Tegra Note 7 P1640, ASUS Transformer TF701T, the Toshiba Encore, Acer’s Iconia A1-830 and W4 plus the Omni 10 from HP.
Having run performance and… Read more

My stories in APC magazine August 2014 issue

I have a number of stories in the August 2014 issue of APC magazine (out now):
* The cover feature is all about how to setup your own ‘ultimate home media jukebox’ and my part is showing you how to rip your DVDs and Blu-ray discs and converting them to H.264 video format using my brand-new APC Simple Video Converter 3 app. (H.264 is the ideal format, not only supported by virtually all hardware media players, but just about every… Read more

Build an #Arduino Enigma Cipher Machine – APC August 2014 issue

I have to admit I’m a bit of a technology history buff – whether it’s mechanical or electronic – and in the new August 2014 issue of APC magazine out today, I’ve designed and created an easy-build Enigma Cipher Machine using an Arduino Uno microcontroller for this month’s Arduino Masterclass.
Okay, it might not look like an Enigma Machine, but this little black box does exactly the same thing as the real three-rotor Enigma used by the German army during World War… Read more

New iPad Air & Mini reviews on APC wesbite

In one of my recent features for APC magazine, I had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the latest iterations of Apple’s popular iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display tablets.
You can read the full reviews by following the links above to the APC website.
But it’s interesting that in Apple’s recently announced quarterly results, sales of iPad tablets are falling while the iPhone continues to be the company’s cash cow.
There is growing disquiet… Read more