WebSummit is over and done with, at least until next year.

It was a busy week–I ended up spending a lot more time at WebSummit than originally planned for, which took its toll on my feet (as expected), but had a number of positive highlights that ranged from making new acquaintances to meeting old friends again.

Getting Back To Real Life

In between a short three-day trip to Edinburgh, a few things that spilled over into weekends and a lot of catching up work-wise, most of my personal projects have been on hold for a number of weeks now, which I find terribly frustrating.

It pains me, for instance, to realize that the power meter digit reader project I wrote about last March has essentially been dead for a year, and that the ramp-up back to where I was is going to take me at least a few evenings (which I don’t have, not until vacations swing by again).

So this weekend I started small: a few tweaks to my home automation setup (mostly cleanups and a little more testing, some of which will find its way into a follow-up post), automated a couple of my day-to-day tasks in Python on my iPad (Pythonista is amazing, all the more so when you tap into its Objective-C bridge) and started working through this site’s To Do list (which is still fairly extensive).

Metadata Is A Pain

One of the things I’ve been meaning to do (besides a proper blog archive) is add OpenGraph support to allow for nicer automated sharing in social media, which given the site’s plaintext back-end requires some extra parsing and indexing to take place (I need to figure out if there is a leading image, get its size and type info, etc., as well as figuring out a few extra things).

That is fine and good, but it also needs to be pushed up the stack until rendering occurs, and stored along the way in a SQLite database I use for indexing. Since I already had a simpler/legacy take on metadata, I’m refactoring it as I go along and removing unnecessary bits, so if the site breaks later in the week, then you’ll know there was something I didn’t account for in testing–but it’s going OK so far.

Down To The Metal

Since I spend too much time dealing with online stuff (including cloud infrastructure, DevOps flows and data munging), I’m looking at doing a few more hardware/IoT(ish) things for myself for the sheer fun of it, and after tossing around a few ideas I decided to go for a low-latency image processing trick that I want to try out on the Raspberry Pi.

It’s going to take time, of course, but hopefully I’ll have something to show after Christmas.

Brad Smith Pays A Visit

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and CLO, poses at our booth with the team and visitors during his tour.

Microsoft at WebSummit

Our booth, very early in the morning before the crowds surged in.

Regarding The iPad Event

I came down with my first cold of the season (likely aggravated by unwisely being too long out in the open in chilling, rainy weather), so I spent a while mulling last week’s Apple event and jotting down some notes over the weekend.


Another Data Brick In The Wall

In an attempt at compensating for not writing much (if at all) about work, I decided to share some throughts about spending a good portion of my weekend running Azure Databricks, which for those of you who are allergic to branding is a fully managed Spark service on Azure.


Sir Walter Scott

the memorial against a cloudy sunset
The memorial to Sir Walter Scott, an impressive memento of a short trip to Edinburgh.

A Thousand Days at Microsoft

It’s been a thousand days. Well, a little over, in fact (by nearly a hundred) but there is a weight to that number that carries with it a measure of how far down the rabbit hole I’ve gone since last year and how long it feels.


Palace of Mafra

the facade, looking up towards a tower
Taken during a lunchtime stroll.

First Impressions of macOS Mojave

After catching up on Mojave and detecting a gaping void as far as upgrade disaster stories are concerned, I decided to install macOS Mojave on my laptop last Thursday, and quickly formed a few key impressions.