Blog

Thinking about Activity Pub

Quoting Henrik Karlsson “A blog post is a very long and complex search query to find fascinating people and make them route interesting stuff to your inbox” 

Somewhat more specifically, we are looking for ways to work on distributed systems. Could be systems design, software development, or technical market opportunity analysis. Or something we haven’t found yet. 

A decentralized social media service is one angle of approach; the Activity Pub protocol might benefit from some rethinking of the server  implementation with the goal of enabling large scale. There’s a discussion of Takahē , which has different goals, and mentions of other server implementations here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=33731739 This focus on Activity Pub is of course prompted by the dramatic changes at Twitter under its new master, and the consequent increase in users and server implementations of Mastodon. 

Bruce Davie discusses what is meant by decentralization in this context “Mastodon and other applications in the fediverse are organizationally distributed. Each instance of a Mastodon server is run by a person or group who gets to make their own decisions both about how to run the service technically and on the policies that will apply to the instance.” 

Quoting Kiernan Christ writing for  Lawfare “Policymakers should be aware of the Fediverse, even though it currently has a much smaller user base than any mainstream social media company. Regulations developed to deal with the negative consequences of Big Tech may be ineffective or incompatible with decentralized services.” 

Lawfare blog https://www.lawfareblog.com/what-earth-fediverse 9 May 22

Bruce Davie https://www.theregister.com/2023/01/01/mastodon_activitypub/ 

Guide to Mastodon https://github.com/joyeusenoelle/GuideToMastodon

Henrik Karlsson https://escapingflatland.substack.com 

On Mastodon

Views in Edinburgh

We moved again at the end of October 2022 much closer to the city centre. Daily notes have been going into Blipfoto.

Gathering some of those views

https://www.blipfoto.com/entry/3045975706145130731

December 2022 From Corstorphine Hill, West of the city

https://www.blipfoto.com/entry/3044159536643443636

November 2022 Looking towards Fife at Granton

https://www.blipfoto.com/entry/3000306967081127692

November 2022 The Water of Leith, at the Shore in Leith

https://www.blipfoto.com/entry/3042711671236722909

July 2022 Shows three major bridges over the Forth Estuary; the railway bridge, the first road bridge, and the replacement, called the Queensferry Crossing (the one with three visible towers and the white cable

Micromobility in Edinburgh

Back in 2018 and 2019 I posted about ebikes and the FedEx delivery robot being developed. Now in 2022 FedEx has cargo bikes in operation in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Cambridge.

This is a EAV2Cubed 4 wheeled electric cargo bike, parked off the bicycle lane on Fountainbridge in Edinburgh. A more practical vehicle for Edinburgh weather than the 3 wheeled vehicle pictured in this press release https://newsroom.fedex.com/newsroom/fedex-express-continues-journey-towards-zero-emissions-delivery-as-edinburgh-glasgow-and-cambridge-become-the-next-uk-cities-to-welcome-e-cargo-bikes/

We moved from Los Altos, California, to Edinburgh, Scotland at the end of May and are temporarily living in this end of the city.

Previous posts

Travel between USA and Scotland, updated again

As of 8 December 2021

SFO

The requirements have changed again, in reaction to the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus.

Summary :

US – UK requires negative test result in the 2 days before departure. UK – US requires a negative test result in 1 day before departure. 

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-international-travel-quarantine/pages/red-amber-and-green-list-countries/  is the starting point.  The US is a ‘non redlist country’ from the point of view of the UK. 

Assuming you have been fully vaccinated, you need the US CDC card, and proof of your US address.  You need to take a COVID-19 PCR or lateral flow test up to 2 days before you depart for Scotland. You’ll need to provide proof that the result of this test was negative to be able to board your flight.

If you’re changing flights on your way to Scotland, you’ll need to take your COVID-19 test in the 2 days before you board your first flight.

In advance, you should book and pay for the required Covid-19 test that is sent by post to the address in Scotland  where you are going to be staying; that booking produces a reference number for the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) . You can use the CTM booking portal to book and pay £68 for an NHS COVID-19 PCR test, or you can buy a Day 2 PCR or Day 2 lateral flow test from a list of private providers.

Within  48 hours before arrival in the UK you need to complete a PLF. This includes the flight number and arrival time, and won’t let you finish the form until 48 hours before.

The UK  form applies for entry to Scotland https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk . I printed the PLF – the airline checks it, and it is checked again at the UK border.You need to take the test you booked within 2 days of arriving in Scotland.

To return to the US from Scotland, you have to take a test before you leave the UK.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html has the requirements. You will need to get a COVID-19 viral test (regardless of vaccination status) before you travel by air into the United States. You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight.

If you are fully vaccinated, you need to take a viral test no more than 1 day before the flight’s departure from a foreign country. This doesn’t have to be a PCR test. An antigen test, although not a self administered test, is sufficient. Newington Pharmacy in Edinburgh had a turn round time of 15 minutes, given an advance booking, for giving me the printed result. A picture of that result, uploaded to the airline check in process, meant I could get a printed boarding pass, and so change terminals airside in Heathrow. 

Travel between  the USA and Scotland, updated

Valid as of 10 November 2021

T5 London Heathrow

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-international-travel-quarantine/pages/red-amber-and-green-list-countries/  is the starting point.  The US is a ‘non redlist country’ from the point of view of the UK. 

Assuming you have been fully vaccinated, you need the US CDC card, and proof of your US address. 

In advance, you should book and pay for the required Covid-19 test that is sent by post to the address in Scotland  where you are going to be staying; that booking produces a reference number for the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) . You can use the CTM booking portal to book and pay £68 for an NHS COVID-19 PCR test, or you can buy a Day 2 PCR or Day 2 lateral flow test from a list of private providers.

Within  48 hours before arrival in the UK you need to complete a PLF. This includes the flight number and arrival time, and won’t let you finish the form until 48 hours before.

The UK  form applies for entry to Scotland https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk . I printed the PLF – the airline checks it, and it is checked again at the UK border.

You need to take the test you booked within 2 days of arriving in Scotland.

To return to the US from Scotland, you have to test before you leave the UK.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html has the requirements. You will need to get a COVID-19 viral test (regardless of vaccination status) before you travel by air into the United States. You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight.

If you are fully vaccinated, you need to take a viral test no more than 3 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country. This doesn’t have to be a PCR test. An antigen test, although not a self administered test, is sufficient. Newington Pharmacy in Edinburgh had a turn round time of 15 minutes, given an advance booking, for giving me the printed result. A picture of that result, uploaded to the airline check in process, meant I could get a printed boarding pass, and so change terminals airside in Heathrow. 

I travelled in July and August 2021, when the requirements were more stringent, including 10 days of self isolating quarantine in Scotland. I haven’t tested the new regime since non US citizens have been allowed to travel to the US (this changed on 8 Nov 2021).