I’ll be watching you

I was reading with interest about TfL’s plans for tracking passenger movement throughout the London Underground via WiFi and MAC addresses. I got to wondering about how this would even work with MAC address randomisation. With some further research it seems to have been implemented extremely poorly — at least in previous versions of iOS; I have no idea how effective it is these days.

On the same day, Google announced an expansion to their previous harvesting of location data, with new real-time tracking of how busy locations are, just in time for the annual disgusting displays of consumerism, a.k.a. Black Friday. Mass triangulation to gauge footfall is nothing new of course, but adding immediacy to the availability of the data adds an interesting dimension.

Of course, this data is all anonymised and of great potential usefulness — if not abused. I just wonder how many people are aware that it’s even happening.

We’re in the last week or so of November, which means two things. Firstly, I’ve only several more days on which to try and write a blog post. Secondly, Edinburgh is getting into full-swing Christmas mode — although it’s been on the horizon since mid-October when the Dome put up their decorations. I’m yet to see a Lothian Bus driver in a Santa suit but that doesn’t usually happen until well into December.

For a change, I’m well underway with my Christmas shopping and, with a week-and-a-bit off work after Friday (which is also pay day, handily enough), I should finish up in plenty time and be able to have a (relatively) stress-free December.


Oops. I seem to have missed posting this weekend past. I was helping a friend celebrate his 40th birthday on Saturday. It’s safe to say that Sunday was pretty much a write-off.

I’m trying to learn to deal with setbacks as temporary and not a complete failure that warrants just giving up.

Reading matter

I tend to go through sporadic periods of reading and then long spells of not really reading anything at all. These days getting engrossed in a good story is even more rare; my reading is almost entirely non-fiction and in non-dead-tree form.

Essays on theory and general techniques notwithstanding, by the time a development book is printed it’s almost guaranteed to be out-of-date. I’m enjoying this current spell of diving into new topics but my study isn’t all that structured at the moment, jumping around between articles and tutorials online.

Learning by doing

This evening I went along to the Edinburgh instalment of the Docker Global Mentor Week. I wasn’t really sure what to expect but there was a good range of tutorials for both the beginner and the intermediate level.

I spent a couple of hours exploring some new (to me) functionality for deploying and scaling Docker images in production environments. I’ll hopefully get a chance to put some of this knowledge into practice sooner rather than later.