andrewducker: (Default)
2020-12-04 08:20 pm

Welcome

You can find more info on my userinfo page - but this is just here to say that I'm very happy to be friended by anyone that wants to read me. I rarely post friends-only, and that only tends to be about things that mention work, so if I don't friend you back you're not actually missing much...

If you do friend me, this would be a good place to leave a comment introducing yourself, and letting me know how you found me!

I have lots of awesome friends - if you want to make a few more then take a look at here for Dreamwidth and here for Livejournal, add a few people, and leave comment so people can add you too.

The links posts come from my page at Delicious and are posted to DW and LJ via a web app which I wrote, and you can use yourself here.


A note to Livejournal users:
You can easily leave comments using OpenID - this allows you to "sign in" using your LJ id, and that way I can tell you're you!

A note on correcting people's grammar in the comments.

Official Spoiler Policy.
andrewducker: (Default)
2017-06-25 12:00 pm
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2017-06-24 12:00 pm
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2017-06-23 12:00 pm

Interesting Links for 23-06-2017

andrewducker: (Default)
2017-06-22 09:11 pm

Lothian Transport are awesome

At 2:06pm on Sunday I posted my feature request for the Lothian Transport app.

At 3:14pm the following afternoon I received an email saying
Sorry, street names and localities should have been added to the search screen before now. I’ve sent an update to the Google Play store just now so you should have an update available in the next few hours.
and about 45 minutes later my phone automatically updated to the latest version and I could see this:


I emailed back saying that this was awesome, but wondering why one of them just said "Edinburgh", and got this in response:
Unfortunately sometimes we can’t control what we get back from Google’s Places API. If Google decides that a place doesn’t need to have more than the town/city listed, then that’s all we get I’m afraid. We also mix in Foursquare and Google Geocoding data where appropriate as well.

It helps to include a bit more in your search, such as ‘Morrisons Granton’ or ‘Morrisons Ferry Road' rather than just ‘Morrisons’. The more you type in, the more accurate the results. It also takes into account your current location – typing in ‘Morrisons’ while you’re near Hyvots Bank will give you results geared towards South/West Edinburgh rather than North/East Edinburgh.

As to your other point (distance to search result) - at the moment, showing distance isn’t possible. We use Google Places to match search queries: that service is great because you can type in anything - ‘Morrisons’, ‘Tesco’, ‘pizza in Leith’ etc. and it comes back with accurate results. However, it doesn’t give the app the location of each place. Instead it gives the app a ‘Place ID’ - once you’ve tapped on a search result, the app sends the Place ID to Google which sends back the exact coordinate of the search result. If that changes in the future, we’ll be sure to include distance as part of the search result.


Which was a fascinating look at how their systems work in the background.

If only more places were so responsive to users taking an interest.
andrewducker: (Default)
2017-06-22 12:00 pm
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2017-06-21 12:00 pm

Interesting Links for 21-06-2017

andrewducker: (Default)
2017-06-18 02:06 pm

Lothian Bus App - a feature request

I love the Lothian Bus app - it allows me to really quickly find a bus from my current location to wherever I want to go in the city, using current locations of buses (as opposed to the bus timetable, which can be error-prone during rush hour).

However, it has one feature which could do with some work. If I want to get the bus to the Morrisons supermarket where my Amazon parcels are delivered I get a search results screen like this:

Which is completely useless, because I have no idea which of those Morrisons it is that I want to go to.

I'd actually like a search results screen like this:

(Yes, I know I've got East and West the wrong way around. Can't be arsed fixing it, and it's not important to the feature request.)

So I figured, why not spend two minutes writing a blog post, and then forward it to them over Twitter and see if I can get it on their backlog :-)
andrewducker: (Default)
2017-06-17 12:00 pm

Interesting Links for 17-06-2017

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2017-06-15 12:00 pm

Interesting Links for 15-06-2017

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2017-06-14 12:12 pm

Interesting Links for 14-06-2017

andrewducker: (Default)
2017-06-12 09:00 am

Election Time Again?

On Thursday, after I voted, I said on Facebook:
I've voted in this week's election.
I assume we get a referendum next week.
And another election the Tuesday after.
I thought I was being ridiculous. It turns out the world is more ridiculous than I.

Labour are currently showing as 5% ahead of the Conservatives in a poll taken after the election, with Theresa May seen as a liability (48% want her to stand down, vs 38% wanting her to stay). Making deals with the DUP is not going to make them look any better, and frankly I'm not seeing how they get to look any less shambolic in the near future. Hell, you wait until Brexit negotiations kick off, and she has to start making people unhappy with some actual decisions. That's if she survives a meeting with her backbenchers today.

And, of course, all of the people who could replace her are...staggeringly unpopular:

The only person there with a positive outcome is Ruth Davidson. Who is largely unknown (second lowest overall numbers) and crucially - not an MP, so can't be the UK Conservative Leader*. And even if she was, presumably couldn't be Prime Minister**.

Still! In the meantime, the Conservatives have more votes than all of the plausibly-progressive parties put together (317 vs 314). And with the DUP adding 10 onto that, they aren't going anywhere unless they want to. And unless they can't govern, they aren't going to want to.

So, the question is - what can you do to make a difference?

My suggestion would be that if you're in an area with a Conservative MP you write to them and protest about the DUP. Tell them that you won't put up with any movement on women's rights, or LGBT rights. The Conservatives are worried about this, and it's something that can be pushed on hard. Here's an example of one Conservative MP who's received hundreds of letters, and is making it clear she's not going to go full-DUP.

Keep talking to anyone you know who voted Conservative. Let _them_ know that you think that what May is doing is forming a coalition of chaos. There were a lot of very close elections, and every inch the needle is moved between now and the next election helps.


*Anyone who knows the Conservative Constitution care to make a guess at how easy it would be for them to change that?
**It wouldn't surprise me to know that it was theoretically legal for a non-MP to be Prime Minister, what with our constitutional vagueness. But I don't think that any party would even attempt to pull that off. Hasn't happened since 1902, when it was a Lord.
andrewducker: (Default)
2017-06-11 10:38 pm

I almost feel sorry for the Church of Scotland

Jane asked me if the local church was still in use. And I told her I thought that I'd seen the signs up there change occasionally, so it probably was.

And a bit of googling later on found me its web page. Where it transpires that they've recently combined a couple of churches togther to form this congregation. And that for the 8,500 people in the parish it has a a congregation of...24. (Assuming that the whole congregation is in the photo they've used - and it probably is, as they've described themselves as being 20-30 strong).

That's 0.3%. And over 1/3 of those are _really_ elderly.

I believe that overall in Scotland they're doing better than that. But some more googling turns up that they lost 50,000 people between 2010 and 2013. They only have 300,000 people left. At what point does it become worthwhile joining a congregation just so you can be the last member of the Church and end up owning a lot of prime development opportunities?
andrewducker: (Default)
2017-06-11 03:02 pm

Exponential Growth Is Awesome

I get a regular weekly email from Facebook telling me how Andy Ducker's Links is doing. And apart from a couple of blips* I get about 1% growth every week.

I'm on 462 followers right now, and unlike on Twitter**, I'm fairly sure that all of those are real people.

So I did a bit of maths. And for a growth rate of 1%, it will take me 760 weeks to reach a million followers. Which is only 14 years.

I mean, I bet there's an S-curve in there, with there being only so many people who find my kind of links interesting. But I wonder how high it goes.***


*I hit 250 followers, and two days later one of my images went viral and gave me about 200 extra followers. This was surprising.
**My Twitter followers used to turn up in regular drips of a few per week as well. And then that just stopped. I still get retweeted a fair bit, but Twitter is definitely less busy for me than it used to be.
***And also what effect Facebook algorithms have there. I can tell when their algorithms change, because I'll spend a few weeks with numerous links going wide, and then a few weeks with hardly any traction, and without any serious change in content. And presumably they treat the bigger pages differently from the smaller ones.