I am John Lines, born in Edinburgh, educated at George Heriots School, and read Physics at Southampton University. I then worked at Harwell until I retired in June 2015.
When I was about 12 my best friend at school had a neighbour who was a Professor at the Department of Machine Intelligence and Perception at Edinburgh University, so my friend and I used to go and use their computers after school, writing simple programmes in POP-2. This started a life-long interest, not only in computers, but how information is organised, and how people perceive the world and each other

This blog

This blog covers things I am interested in – which covers a wide range. At the moment much of the content relates to Family History,  but there will be more on Internet and other technical topics (and Science, Philosophy, etc) when/if I have time.

Other web sites

Things I have written about, or done, are scattered all over the Internet, so I have gathered links to some of them here.

Debian Social

Here I write mainly about Free/Open Source software, in general terms, and why it is important. https://wordpress.debian.social/jlines/.

I have a Federated Social Media (ActivityPub) presence there as @jlines@pleroma.debian.social. I use that primarily for stuff related to Free and Open Source Software which is, or could be, in Debian.

Oxford Phab Club

I have been involved for with Oxford Phab Club, a social club bringing together people of all abilities to make more of life together. To find out more about Oxford Phab Club see our website, https://oxford-phab.wp.paladyn.org/ which I maintain.


Although Wikipedia can be subject to vandalism, and it is possible to find, and create, inaccuracies, overall it is a great public resource of information, and I am please to see the Cochrane Foundation, which I support, working with Wikipedia to improve the quality of medical information.

My, more humble, contributions are here.


I contribute here too, in a very small way, as one of over two million users, helping to build a freely usable map of the world, which can the be used by projects like the Humanitarian OpenStreetmap Team.


Some of the projects I work on are here, particularly

    • taglog, a diary and time management program which I wrote and have been using for many years.
    • mediclog, a simple Android program to keep a personal log of blood pressure, temperature and weight.



Debian is a Linux distribution – a way of making Free Sofware more readily usable. My page on the Debian Wiki at https://wiki.debian.org/JohnLines has links to some of my Debian contributions.


For email connected to this blog please use john+blog@paladyn.org. I use ‘plus addressing’ for email addresses where possible, as it simplifies sorting of incoming emails. It is unlikely that a real sender of bulk email will read this, but I report spam, so misusing this address is likely to get you blocked. Also I am a private individual, not a company, so there is no sales@paladyn.org email address.

For Instant Messenger I use XMPP, which is the official Internet Standard. I can be reached at any of these IM addresses.


The contents of the blog are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike licence.

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