That’s the short answer, but the longer answer is an examination of something I talk about a lot on Twitter, which is that, by and large, journalists are very bad at maths and numbers.

(A note: Muphry’s Law dictates that I will make at least one number mistake in this post, so let me apologise in advance for that.)

If you want to just see the working, skip to the heading “Did 140,000 women lose their jobs?” at the end.

I noticed this striking claim today in a tweet about a New York Times story. The story itself is well worth your time. …

The owner of one of wartime Britain’s brightest minds was born one hundred years ago today

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Leo Marks, pictured in his book, Between Silk and Cyanide

Leo Marks was born on 24 September 1920, which means that today would have been his hundredth birthday. In all the (appropriate) celebration of Alan Turing, it sometimes feels as though we forget that Turing was not a sole genius (genius though he was) who cracked the German wartime codes alone. There were others, both at Bletchley Park and beyond, who did extraordinary and ground-breaking work on codes, some of which, like Turing’s work, paved the way for the modern information age. Leo Marks was unquestionably one of those people.

I’ve been fascinated by Marks ever since I read about him in the excellent London Compendium by Ed Glinert (Penguin, 2004). In that book, a collection of snippets of different parts of central London, Glinert describes how Marks turned up one day in 1942 at an interview session for prospective code breakers. …

I was wondering whether the prices of the most recent top-end (£1,100) PC graphics cards have really been cratering after the announcement of new ones. If you don’t want the pre-amble, you can skip to the cross-head “Are people really selling off their old cards at rock-bottom prices?” in the middle of the piece.

Sometimes I can’t help delving back into some tech journalism. I’ve been looking at new graphics card prices for a few months, after deciding it was time to replace the one in my ailing computer.

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A GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (pic: Nvidia)

There’s been a lot of talk over that time about waiting for the new range of graphics cards from manufacturer Nvidia, which duly arrived on September 1, 2020. What surprised a lot of people was that the new cards appear to be significantly more powerful than the current range, even down to the lowest-end card in the new 3000-series range, the £450 GeForce RTX 3070, apparently being able to outperform the highest-end card in the previous 2000-series range, the £1,100 GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. …

A headline image of a typewriter
A headline image of a typewriter
Image credit: Anthony Dhanendran — made with Adobe Spark

I recently read this piece in The Verge in which senior editor Tom Warren enthuses about his toaster. In it, he describes how well the toaster is designed “for humans” and he starts by saying: “I write about and review cutting edge tech products for a living, yet every time I pick up a new piece of hardware I always think about my toaster.” In fact, the article is headlined: “All tech products should be designed like my toaster”.

I interviewed Devendra Banhart backstage before his first UK gig, at west London’s Bush Hall on 12 April 2003

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Devendra Banhart in Minneapolis in October 2003 (Wikimedia CC BY-SA 2.0)

This article first appeared at pennyblackmusic, which is where since 2005 almost all my music writing has got its first publication. I’m eternally grateful to PB and its editor John Clarkson for so many years of publishing me.

Bush Hall is a very strange place to hold a gig. A mock-Baroque ballroom built for no apparent reason on the Uxbridge Road west of Shepherd’s Bush, later converted into a snooker hall, it was recently reconverted into a music venue.

But then Devendra Banhart is probably just the right musician for such a venue. His album, Oh Me Oh My…, is a fascinating collection of musical odds and ends, recorded on the cheapest equipment and released without fuss on Young God records, the label run by Michael Gira (Swans, Angels of Light). …

In a break from the norm, I’m returning to writing step-by-step technical workshops for the first time in 10 years.

A recent glut of conference calls and all-remote stand-ups and company gatherings has reminded me that the options that can help you set up a big Skype for Business presentation are slightly hidden.

Skype for Business contains some very useful features for holding large meetings and presentations (I’m going to use the two terms interchangeably, and I’m referring to the type of meeting in which a small number of people are expected to do most of the talking or presenting, and most other callers will be listening and watching). …

How I came to own Maggie’s Last Supper, a piece of Spitting Image history

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In the olden days (2010) when I didn’t have children and therefore had some money, I used to work in Soho and used to walk past Andrew Edmunds’ restaurant and art gallery on Lexington Street every day.

The restaurant is particularly wonderful — when someone recently asked on Twitter which restaurant one might choose to be in to see out the apocalypse, Andrew Edmunds is what I chose — but the gallery is a delight too.

It’s fair to say that I didn’t go in very much, but one day in 2010 I was walking past it and something caught my eye — there was an exhibition inside of artworks from Spitting Image, the satirical TV show of the 1980s and 90s that is about to return to British screens in 2020. …

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The picture above is of the website of Edward Davey (now Sir Edward Davey, former cabinet minister) as he tried to win re-election in the 2001 general election.

I found it while looking for information about Cix, the old bulletin board service that was based where I now live. It turns out that if you search “Cix” and “Surbiton” one of the first sites returned is Ed Davey’s re-election site.

It’s not quite Space Jam, but it is an interesting look at how websites looked then. To be honest, what was most surprising was that a site from 19 years ago was not all that dissimilar to how individual politicians’ electoral/campaigning sites look…

At journalism school in 2003 I had to make a “final project” consisting of a piece of long-form reporting on a particular subject, along with some colour pieces to go alongside it, all typeset to mimic a particular magazine or newspaper’s style.

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Picture: TFL

I chose to write about the fight by some east London residents to save the Bishopsgate Goodsyard, a large patch of land between Brick Lane and Bethnal Green Road. It was one of the key decision points in the rebuilding of what was then London Underground’s East London Line and is now the eastern strut of London Overground.

The piece was in the style of a New Statesman special report. I’ve reposted the main piece of reporting below in the light of a new PR push by the developers of the land, seventeen years later. …

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The other day, on the train, I was listening to a very entertaining podcast episode on which the restaurateur Robin Gill was being interviewed. Gill has recently opened two restaurants and two bars at the new Great Scotland Yard Hotel.

The hotel is on the site of the old Ministry of Defence library, and, before that, the home of the Metropolitan Police. …


Anthony Dhanendran

I used to be a journalist. Now I’m a product manager.

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