They could be desktop backgrounds

 I have recently been sorting through over 200GB of images in my OneDrive. 

"That's a dank meme - move it to 'memes'" 

"That's a duplicate - delete!"

"That's a blurry mess - delete!"

"That's a photo taken by my mum, with someone's head cut off and a thumb over the lens - keep it!"

"That's of an ex - defo delete!"

During my exploration of my camera roll folder, I encountered many images that could have been desktop backgrounds, and perhaps in a parallel universe indeed there are.

An old family photo (very old)

I now present them to you, gentle reader, for you to do whatever you like with them. Each image has been shared here because it is either prominent in its unusual texture, vibrant in colour, or otherwise just a good desktop. Please feel free to do whatever you like with them. Set them as desktop backgrounds on your PC, phone, or tablet. If you are reading this in the future, then perhaps set one as the background of your Human Molecular Decimation Breakdown, Transportation, and Relocation device.


Sure, some of the images need cropping, rotating, or otherwise passing through some image editing software, but they are provided free (as in 'free' chips, AND 'free' as in do what you like) under the Creative Commons Zero license.

The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.

You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.

I will be adding more images as time goes by, so please have a look and let me know what you think.

If you enjoyed this post, then you might like to see this random post, or just play the 'best 2D, text-based adventure game'. Your call. See you next time.

"The best 2D, text-based adventure game"

I have been updating Have Spell Will Travel.

HSWT is a text-based adventure game of fantasy questings and kobold killing. The peaceful village of Merripond is in danger from the evil machinations of the wizard Warren Fogbender. YOU choose from one of over two hundred characters with a unique set of abilities. As you progress through the quests you will face countless challenges. Each challenge requires you to test one of your abilities - with a catch: you do not know which ability is the best to use in any given situation. Sure, you might have a good Sorcery ability, but maybe your opponent is wearing their anti-magic underpants today?

Only luck, practice, and a little intuition will guide you. Success will mean that you are closer to your goal. Failure results in pain, poisoning, curses, the indignity of returning to the village empty-handed... or worse!

Decisions, decision...

I have been developing HSWT since the summer of 2015, and I trust you enjoy the latest updates.

What's new?

Zombies! Plenty of new zombies. But do not fear! The Temple of the Frog have started their own line in cheap holy water, which they will sell to you for a small sum of six gold coins.

One of several new baddies waiting to make your quest difficult today.

There are also new locations, objects, and a new trap in The Dungeon. I have also tweaked the user interface and some of the game mechanics in the interest of game balance.

Objects in HSWT modify your stats, in one way or another.

...and, did I mention new quests? Well, you will have to try it out yourself.

Play Have Spell Will Travel now.

That's all folks. Do let me know if you enjoyed it. If you have, then you might also like to read my other HSWT posts.

This app auto-saves your Windows clipboard

Last time I introduced Doctor Clippy - a tool for saving your Windows clipboard to a text file. It was only upon completing the project that I realised that there was something missing.

Windows Clipboard before the release of Windows 3.1

Instead of manually saving the clipboard every time you press 'copy', most people will want to be less selective (read 'lazier') and wish the program automatically saved the clipboard every time they press 'copy'.

Introducing Captain Clip! This program runs in the background auto-saving your clipboard. Every time you press CTRL+C or 'copy', the program copies the text into a text file for you - whether you want it or not.

You are limited to ten thousand bytes of data with each clip (the program will truncate otherwise) and you get a fresh new file every day so you can see what you have been copying easily throughout history.

Download Captain Clip now (version

If you enjoyed this post, then once you have recovered yourself, you may wish to look at some snakes or just something at random.

This tool saves your clipboard to a file

Have you ever wished there was an easier way of copying multiple sections from one document or webpage?

Doctor Clippy is a tool that performs just one job. Every time it runs it saves the contents of your Windows clipboard to a text file. Need to plagiarise a website? No problem: CTRL+C, then run Doctor Clippy. Do you need to cherry-pick the latest article? No problem: CTRL+C, then run Doctor Clippy.

Text that has been copied is saved to a time-stamped text file. With a slight tweak to the configuration settings, text can instead be appended to the end of a single file (all your clips in one place).

You can also specify the location that Doctor Clippy uses to save your clips.


If there is more interest, I will add functionality to save images and anything else that makes it all easier to use. For now, follow the above links to try the first version.

Want more like this? Really?! Well, if so, you might be interested in The NO-NONSENSE CLOCK OR Why you are probably writing dates wrong.

See you for more fun and games in the future.

Poopscoop is back!

Poopscoop is a puzzle game for Windows. Created in BBC BASIC for Windows and designed to help kids understand the basics of programming.

Guide ROBOT through the various mazes and puzzles. Dig, push, pull or jump your way to victory. Just don't fall in any of the pits and don't run out of power while there is still poop left to scoop!

For several years the link from this blog to the Poopscoop download page has been broken, but I am pleased to report that it is now fixed.

Proceed to the PoopScoop downloads page.

No-Nonsense Clock

The No-Nonsense Clock is a clock for Windows that tells the time without any non-sense getting in the way, such as second hands, or accuracy.

No-nonsense clock showing the current time
Who needs accuracy?!

The program simply tells the time the way you think of the time. It is a project that has been eighteen years in the making, and I have recently updated it for Windows 11.

Tells the time the way you think of it.

The code is written in BBC BASIC for Windows. If you ask nicely I will provide the source code, or if you just want to run the executable program yourself, you can download and have a play.

DOWNLOAD No-Nonsense Clock Version 4.01

If you enjoyed this post then you probably need to have a good, hard long think about your life, but if that's not enough, then you might like to explore some of the other 'nonsense' on this blog such as:

More clock stuff  or  'Funny' stuff


This is just a quick post to share my latest favourite app - BirdNET

During this lockdown in the UK, I have spent much more time than usual sitting in my garden, listening to the beautiful birdsong around me and feeding the various, kind, feathered visitors. In fact, colleagues and friends often comment on the birdsong in the background of my Zoom and MS-Teams meetings. I must admit, I know nothing about ornithology, and to my shame, I decided to do something about it.

Simply open your microphone when the birds are singing!

BirdNET is an acoustic monitoring app that lets you detect birds in the vicinity. You simply open the app and let your microphone record all the ambient birdsong around you. Once you have a few seconds of bird song recorded, the app analyses the sounds, and reports you with varying degrees of confidence which birds have been recognised. 

BirdNET has done a good job of detecting several frequent visitors to my garden, although I am sure I have seen emus and archaeopteryx today...

You can also track your observations on a map and explore the area around you. Visit the website for more information on how it works or to download the Android app.

BirdNET is partly funded by the European Social Fund for Germany, German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and is supported by the Arthur Vining Foundation.

Plus one geek experience point is awarded each, to Stefan Kahl, Shyam Madhusudhana and Holger Klink.

The software wasn't fooled by my attempts at whistling a tune. I won't say what tune.

If you like this stuff, then you might like this stuff too!
Update to Notey

Update to Notey

This is just a quick update to last week's post about Notey - command line notebook. I have made a few bug fixes and added two new features that I will discuss in this post.

If you have been following this blog then you will know that Notey is a python script for creating and maintaining a command-line notebook. Literally a set of notes that you can easily manipulate, search and edit. Think of it like Google Keep but running in a command line on your Raspberry Pi.


Suppose you are writing a note about Topic A. Inside the note, you may reference Topic B and Topic C. At this point you realise that you need to have a new page called 'Topic B' and 'Topic C' respectively.

It may be the case that as you are typing a note, you need to create a second page (or many pages) for example. If you were to type:

> append My pets include one |cat|, one |dog| and one |unicorn|.

Notey will dutifully create new pages called 'cat', 'dog' and 'unicorn' respectively. The pipe symbols will be removed automatically from the page description, so your page will read "My pets include one cat, one dog and one unicorn."


The comprehensive Notey help documentation that you know and love.

The new index feature of Notey allows you to generate an alphabetised index of all the words contained within your notes. The list shows the word and the pages in which that word exists. For example, if you know that you typed the words 'teenage', 'mutant', 'ninja' and 'turtle' somewhere in your notes, but you are not sure which notes, and indeed, how many other notes have the same information, then index will, well do what an index in a book does - shows you the page references for those words. 

You generate an index with the simple command:

> index

There are further options, for example, you can force Notey to NOT ignore the common stop words, such as 'and', 'she' and 'the'.

You can also force Notey to NOT ignore the shorter words in general (by default Notey will only list words of size four or above).

You can also create new pages on the fly. with the -c option, Notey will pause after each word and ask you whether you want to create a new page named as the current word, assuming it doesn't already exist.


I am still actively developing Notey, so no doubt it will change further over time. If you are interested in finding out more or want to download the python code or the Windows executable, then all is explained in my first blog post on the subject.

If you parachuted into this page from somewhere else on the web, but you like the cut of my jib, then you might like to stick around and read some more of my stuff. I can recommend:

Notey: a command line notebook

Introducing Notey: command-line notebook.

The glorious ASCII graphics of another command-line session.

I have a real need to keep and remember short snippets of text, for example, my phone number, real name and world-domination plans. Over the years I have used many applications, such as OneNote, Google Keep, Zim, Treepad Lite, Sticky notes etc...etc, but I feel the need for a simpler app, one without any graphical fuss and nonsense. I want the same program to run just as well under Windows as it does under the Linux shell or on my Raspberry Pi. So, with the bit of time I have had on my hands in the current UK lockdown, I have built Notey: command line notebook.


You can think of Notey as a bit like Google Keep, but you interact with a series of text commands. I am not 100% serious about this, however, it does work well and is quite powerful in terms of the actions you can perform on your data. There is a comprehensive help system built-in and the very first command you will want to learn is 'help'.

32 commands are available, but you are not expected to remember them all.

Making new pages

Notey is simply a big list of named 'pages'. The first thing you will want to do is create a new page. This is achieved with the 'open' command, for example:

> open cat
This will prompt you to create a new page called 'cat'.

The in-built help documentation for the 'open' command.

As you can see, the 'open' command is used for creating new pages as well as opening existing pages. Most commands in Notey can take various options as parameters (shown above), for example, if you are really sure that you want to create a new page called 'cat' (and not open an existing page called 'cat'), you could type the following:
> open -p cat
Commands can take multiple options, for example:

> open -rpl*d cat

Will create a new page called 'cat', lock it so it cannot be accidentally deleted, automatically tag it with today's date and mark it as 'important'. The option -r then returns a little report showing you what Notey has been up to whilst you were waiting, as you can see in the image below.

Isn't everyone's cat important?

Editing pages

When you have a page open, you will see the page name appears just before the prompt. Pages that are thus 'opened' can be edited in a number of ways. You are most likely to want to add some text to this page.

For example, you could try the following command:

> append Not a dog.

This will enter the text "Not a dog." into this page. Except - it probably won't! You will get an error. Remember how we locked the page in the previous command? Locked pages cannot be (accidentally) edited, so we have to specify that we intend to purposefully unlock our page, edit it and then lock it again.


> append -ul Not a dog.
> append -ul Like's fishes.

OK. Big wow! You will probably want to see your handiwork. To view a page on the screen, simply type:

> type

Notey has rather helpfully done a lot here. It has reminded me of my own name, as well as the number of pages I have written. It is showing me that my page 'cat' is currently open and that it is 'locked' and 'important'. When I type 'type', I get to read the note on the screen.

Currently, there are related commands for editing your pages, for example: 'prefix' and 'replace', but append will do for now.


Pages in Notey can be tagged so you can find related information easily.

Let's tag our page with a list of tags:

> tag pets,animals

This will add two tags, 'pets' and 'animals' to the current 'cat' page. We already tagged our page with the current date with the 'open -d' command earlier. Forgotten already? I don't know! Actually, it is easy to get a little confused at times when using Notey, but thankfully there are a number of ways of getting information on what you are doing.

Table of contents

You will want to see what pages you have available in your notebook. The 'toc' command brings up a table of contents. You may want additional information such as a page summary, or list of tags.


> toc -t

This will display all the pages in the book including a summary of the tags for each page.

Now I will never forget my own address again.

You can also specify a search term to filter the table of contents. For example, need to see only those pages with 'cat' in the title? Try:

> toc -t cat

If you need more advanced filtering then you need to get your head around the 'group' command.


Groups allows you to group pages based on a search term or tag name or other property. This allows you to apply commands to all the pages in the group. For example, if you need to add the text 'remember to feed' to all pages with 'cat' in the description, that have been marked as 'important' and have been tagged as '#animals', then you need to get your head around groups.

> group -t pets

Will find all of the pages with a tag '#pets' and put them into the group.

> toc -t@

Will show the table of contents for the current group.

If you search the help documents for the various commands, you can see that the '@' symbol refers to 'all pages in the group'. For example, if you want to append some text to all the pages in the group, try:

> append -@ Remember to feed.

OK - admit it! How many note-taking apps let you edit multiple pages at the same time?

This is the power of groups in Notey. There is also an 'addto' command, which allows you to manually add pages to the group, and the 'similar' command, which lets you see similar pages.

Similar pages

OK, so, you have spent your time carefully categorising your notes with sensible names and a comprehensive library of tags. Now, it is time for the 'similar ' command. It groups pages from your notebook that are 'similar' to the currently open page.


You will frequently want to apply the same command to multiple pages at once. This is where namelists come in.


> open cat,dog,unicorn

This will prompt you to create three pages called 'cat', 'dog' and 'unicorn' respectively.

You can use the '@' symbol to refer to the current group. For example:

> del cat,unicorn,@

Will prompt you to delete the pages called 'cat', 'dog' and whatever pages are in the current group.

Other stuff, briefly...

A quick tour of some of the other features of Notey.

Your pages can be exported to XML, HTML, plain text or Treepad Lite files.

My Notey notebook as a Treepad lite file (OK, more about Treepad lite another time - spoiler alert - it is no longer a thing but that does not mean it is gone forever!)

You can use Notey as a diary. Simply type:

> diary

This creates a page with the current date for you to record all of your evil machinations from the day (or your good deeds).

You can get a calendar for any month (within reason):

> calendar 2020 06
Next month. Unless you are living in the future (which you most likely are) in which case you know more about June 2020 than I do. It can't get any worse can it? Can it?! Why are you laughing??!


Notey can accept multiple commands on one line using the 'chain' command.


> chain open cat; tag animals; lock

In this case, Notey will diligently open the page 'cat', tag it '#animals' and then lock it. It is vital that each command is separated by a semi-colon.

Future updates

Some things that still need doing:
  • importing pages from files;
  • running scripts from a file;
  • hiding sensitive data;
  • exporting to other formats (MS-Word, anyone?)
There are, no doubt, many bugs, and a lot that could be done more efficiently. But the source code is provided for your entertainment.'s all folks!

Well, that's it for this introduction. I hope you can see that Notey is a powerful personal information management system. There is much more that it can do, but you will have to explore this yourself. Remember it is just for fun and not super secure so it is not a good idea to store sensitive information at this stage.

Notey is currently in an alpha release stage. You are free to download either the python source code or the Windows executable version and do what you like with it. I am sure that I will be adding more functionality soon, and I will be encouraged by anyone who finds it useful - so Tweet ME.

...or click this OneDrive link below...

If you enjoyed this post, then it shows that you have great taste, and you might like to read more of my stuff