Robin Catling

Writer; performer; project manager; sports coach; all-round eccentric.
Robin Catling has written 859 posts for Everything Express

Review: Ex Machina (2015)

Shy, awkward programmer Caleb wins the company lottery; a week with his reclusive boss Nathan, the brilliant, billionaire founder of the world’s largest search engine, at Nathan’s isolated private estate in the wilds of Alaska. On arriving, Caleb finds his prize is in fact to run the Turing Test on Nathan’s ground breaking artificial intelligence, … Continue reading

Big Hero 6 (2014)

Welcome to the futuristic San Fransokyo, where misfit robotics prodigy (aren’t they all) Hiro takes on his late brother’s project, a medical robot, Baymax. But soon Hiro and his band of misfit science geek friends (aren’t they all) are out to catch the evil genius (aren’t they all) who stole Hiro’s invention and caused his … Continue reading

Review: The Theory of Everything (2015)

Everyone knows Stephen Hawking, the world’s most famous living physicist, author of a Brief History of Time, now so famous that he’s appeared on everything from The Simpsons to Star Trek. He is also the most famous motor neurone survivor. From his bleak diagnosis in the 1960’s, The Theory of Everything follows the controversial physicist’s … Continue reading

How-to: Generate Good Passwords Part II

For those of you on the front-line dealing with user accounts and password resets in large organisations, we return to the thorny issue of passwords. We will soon be implementing a tougher security standard for encrypting passwords within the our events database. It should occur invisibly behind the scenes and I won’t bore you with … Continue reading

Review: Blackhat (2015)

The question is, can master of style over substance Michael Mann (Heat, Miami Vice) overcome the worst movie title this decade as well as make computer hacking gripping and exciting? The answer is – no. So instead he churns out a third-rate Bond movie in his his favourite cop-show format. Redoubtable Chris Hemsworth (Rush, Thor) … Continue reading

Movie Catch-up: Hitman (2007)

Taken as read that linear movies of interactive video game shoot-em-ups are always going to miss their mark, then Hitman takes a decent shot at big-action espionage guff, with some decent actors spouting nonsense between stylish set-pieces. Post-Bourne franchise, charismatic Timothy Olyphant (Die Hard 4.0, Justified) is the least covert assassin since Bond, with Bond-girl … Continue reading

How-to: Use Dashes and Hyphens on the web

A note for the  punctuationally-challenged. There’s a brilliant article on A List Apart: The Trouble With EM ’n EN (and Other Shady Characters) by Peter K Sheerin from way back in October, 2001, now sadly marked “This article, while brilliant for its time, is now obsolete.” However the topic doesn’t go away and we’re still … Continue reading

How-to: Make a drop-down list in Excel

If you’re wanting data validation in spreadsheet forms and template documents, a drop-down list remains the most common way to achieve it. Skipping over the question why am I covering a Microsoft product when there’s a perfectly good LibreOffice alternative, let me just say; ‘because someone asked me.’

News

How self-publishing on LinkedIn can elevate your professional profile (Mashable) What did a web bot buy on the darknet? (BBC) Stephen Hawking appeared via hologram at the Sydney Opera House (Mashable) Why Amazon’s Dash Button Will Blow Up in Our Faces (Tech Update) 3 tips for making small talk suck less (Mashable) Full article Wimbledon … Continue reading

Review: Calvary (2014)

“Despair not, one of the thieves was spared; presume not, one of the thieves was not.” (Saint Augustine) In a small church on the West coast of Ireland, a man comes into the confessional and tells of his abused childhood at the hands of a paedophile priest; and that in seven days he’s going to … Continue reading

Review: Codes that Changed the World (BBC R4)

Aleks Krotoski explores the history of programming languages. The history of computing is dominated by the hardware; the race for speed and power has overshadowed how we’ve devised ways to instruct these machines to do useful tasks. All this week on BBC Radio 4, Aleks Krotoski tells the story of the languages that have been … Continue reading

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