Peak Automation

During a walk with friends yesterday, we got onto the topic of DevOps automation (don’t worry, I don’t bore all my friends with tales of CI/CD). This particular friend does work in IT consultancy, so we have a common interest.

I was talking about how code commits can trigger automated deployments, environment provisioning, regression tests and so on and (if you’re feeling brave) even deploy to production.

Today this friend sent me a link to this video. I must have explained automation well, this is spot on!

Online Morse decoder

I’ve been working on the Communicator badge with my Scout Group and one of the tasks that we’ve been working on is Morse Code. I found a great ad-supported site called Morse Code Translator | Morse Decoder which allows you to press dashes and dots into one window and get an immediate text translation in the other window. It also works in the other direction.

Here’s a screenshot showing it in action.
On the left you type in text and the Morse code appears on the right.
Alternatively, you can type dots and dashes on the right and see plain text appear on the left hand side.

Morse decoder screenshot
Morse decoder screenshot

To make sure that my Scouts don’t see inappropriate ads, I’ve hosted an iframe containing this code that I can use in my next meeting. The plan is for Scouts to send Morse using little LED flashers that we’re making, whilst other Scouts key in the dots and dashes that they see into the decoder. My “version” of this decoder is here: Morse Decoder –

The LED “flashers” are made with a cheap Lithium Cell and LED and a bit of sellotape to act as an insulator and hold the LED against the bottom of the cell. You need to bend the wire slightly so that it only touches the top of the cell when you press it.

Total cost per “flasher” is less than 15p per Scout (I bought 500 LEDs for £7.99 and 50 CR2032 button cells for £6.47 from Amazon.

Other useful links:
Make an Easy and Extreme LED Throwies | Make: (
How to Make Batteries From Spare Change | Instructables

Free Cadbury’s chocolate?

…Sadly this is too good to be true.

Today I received a WhatsApp post in a group representing a sports team that my daughter plays for. It had a convincing picture of a Cadbury’s hamper and said that Cadbury’s were giving everyone in the UK some free chocolate to help improve morale during lockdown.

Apart from the fact that the UK population could probably bankrupt Cadbury’s by taking them up on this offer, here are a few reasons that the link should have raised alarm bells.

  • The address bar in the browser shows that the website is insecure.
    Any large corporate like Cadbury’s or their PR agency would use a secure site.
    (You can identify secure sites by the fact that they have a padlock next to them).
  • If you click in the address bar, you can see that the address starts with “http://” rather than “https://”
  • At first glance the address looks OK. (It’s been designed to look that way).
    It includes the “” and “giftclub” but if you think carefully about the address you can see that the domain is “”.
  • If you start to get “a bit geeky” and look into the domain register to see who owns that domain it starts to look even more suspicious.
    I looked on which I know has a global domain search facility.

    This shows that the domain was only registered a couple of days ago in Panama. No registrant name or contact details are listed.

Sadly there’s no such thing as a free lunch, this is likely to be an update to an old hoax circulating on the Internet and reported on by HoaxSlayer.

Additional info: