I can communicate in quite a few languages, but one that causes me trouble is the modern scourge that is emoji. They weren’t so bad when they were reasonably limited in number (the original Docomo set had 176) but there are now so many variants of cartoon faces that I can’t ever be certain of their intended meaning.

So when the builders sent me a message late on Friday night accompanied by U+1FAE3 FACE WITH PEEKING EYE, described as:

A yellow face with its hands over its eyes and raised eyebrows. One wide eye is peeking through the fingers.

I didn’t know what to think, but I feared the worst, and barely slept. It doesn’t even matter what my rational brain told me, the cryptic pictogram haunted my sleep.

(Everything was OK in the end, and they just wanted clarification on which grout to use.)

People turned coarse literal images into symbolic encodings of language thousands of years ago, and it was a step forward in facilitating the communication of complex ideas. I can’t help but think that the proliferation of colourful emoji everywhere, with meanings that aren’t universally agreed, is a step backwards in terms of effective communication.

The house is coming along well, especially upstairs, and we should soon be able to sleep there once again. In the meantime, we’ve been lucky in that a friend who lives locally has bought a flat, still has a couple of weeks left on the contract for his old rented flat, and has let us use it. It’s nice to have space to ourselves again.

I managed to get a ticket for EMF Camp at the end of the month. I missed the main ticket releases, but a few more tickets became available. I haven’t slept in a tent for about thirty years, and I don’t have the best memories of doing so, but it’s worth trying again. I probably have a better and lighter tent this time. The programme looks very interesting, which offsets my qualms about sleeping in a field.


  • Surrey Quays International Station: The once-serious proposal to build the Channel Tunnel rail terminal at the Surrey Docks.
  • Glance is “a self-hosted dashboard that puts all your feeds in one place”.
  • DRUM_2004_V1 is a DIY ESP32-based lo-fi drum synth.
  • Teranoptia is “a typeface without letters, a peculiar contraption that allows you to imagine chimeric creatures just by typing letters with your keyboard”.
  • WoonHeng has a lot of East Asian vegan recipes. I haven’t tried any yet. I don’t have a proper kitchen at the moment.
  • Brewing historical beer to a recipe last brewed in the sixteenth century.
  • Pagefind is “a fully static search library that aims to perform well on large sites, while using as little of your users’ bandwidth as possible, and without hosting any infrastructure”.
  • Dune 3D is a parametric 3D CAD application that supports STEP import/export, fillets and chamfers.
  • Selecting Microcontrollers for Music.
  • Railwalks.co.uk: “Walk Britain by rail”. Apparently, you can get to most of the island by train and foot.
  • Streets with no game: “Boring cityscapes increase sadness, addiction and disease-related stress”.
  • RunDOC generates documentation by running scripts and embedding their results.