I’m Sam Iles, a software developer from the UK. Welcome to my personal blog.

Blog Posts

Custom YouTube to Podcast Generator with Python

Suppose you have a set of YouTube videos and you want to easily listen to the audio. For me, this is the The Archers omnibus which I am really behind on (yeah, I know, but I’ve been listening since I was 14 and can’t quit now). There are some services that can do this for you, but I’ve found them to be kind of annoying. The one I was using only accepted audio, so I had to rip the YouTube audio myself, put it somewhere public like Dropbox public folder, and add the URL to the podcast site....

April 18, 2023

Calculating Time Dilation in Space Travel with Python

The faster you move, the slower time goes relative to an obvserver. As you approach the speed of light, those effects can become massive, and hard to wrap your head around. I have recently been reading Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir, and a long space journey where time dilation comes into play is part of the plot. It got me thinking if we could use Python to calculate the dilation effects exactly for various journeys....

February 26, 2023

Scalable Observable Laravel Deployment Pattern

There’s a lot of possible ways to deploy a Laravel app. After 10 years of deploying big Laravel apps, and trying just about every approach and tool available, here’s the preferred approach I’ve taken. This is an opinionated approach, and you’re welcome to disagree. Something this big won’t be needed for all apps - but the following approach is scalable, stable and can handle a lot. I’m not going to get into code or details here: this is just a very high level view of tools you might use....

January 22, 2023

Managing Big Datasets with Apache Spark

When dealing with massive datasets, traditional methods of data processing can be slow and inefficient. Fortunately, Apache Spark provides a powerful framework for distributed processing that allows for much faster and more scalable data manipulation. In this blog post, we will explore how to use Apache Spark to import a massive CSV/JSON (as in many gigabytes and tens of millions of lines), do some data processing and cleaning of the text-based data, and then save the new rows into a database using Python....

January 16, 2023

Twitter and Mastodon

Anyone who uses Twitter will be aware that it’s recently been purchased by Elon Musk and is changing a lot. I won’t go into the details of it all, but one change has really annoyed me: the apparent switching off of third party clients like Tweetbot and Twitterific, which appears to have been done unceremoniously and without warning or contact from Twitter. These are not just hobbyist users of the API, but businesses with a lot riding on that access....

January 14, 2023

Welcome Back to My Blog

Here I am, trying this again in 2023! I used to blog here a lot, but haven’t posted anything much at all for 10 years. Eventually the blog fell into a state of disrepair. So, this is a fresh start. The rough plan is to blog about tech, the environment/veganism, culture - that sort of thing. But there’s also every chance that I don’t post at all. So don’t hold your breath....

January 13, 2023