GPX Shrinking⤴

from @ John's World Wide Wall Display


I occasionally make simple mashup of of gpx, google maps and flickr photos of walks. I record gpx on the Trails app on my phone, take photos with the phone too as they are nicely geo tagged and flickr  can use that information and provide in the API 1.

One of the things I noticed was that the GPX files can be pretty big, over a megabyte each. I know there was probably a lot of information in the file that was not needed to display the path on the map but was not sure of how to do so easily. I think I’ve used online services for this before. Finding a site, uploading a file and downloading is a lot of bother for something that I hope will be quick and simple. I also expect that the audience for the pages produced is one.

Having a look inside the gpx files I though that you could probably slim them down considerably, each point is recorded like this:

<trkpt lat="55.996687" lon="-4.389713"><ele>188.609</ele><time>2016-06-05T10:12:58Z</time><extensions><gpxtpx:TrackPointExtension><gpxtpx:speed>1.30</gpxtpx:speed><gpxtpx:course>206.37</gpxtpx:course></gpxtpx:TrackPointExtension><trailsio:TrackPointExtension><trailsio:hacc>5.00</trailsio:hacc><trailsio:vacc>3.00</trailsio:vacc><trailsio:steps>2</trailsio:steps></trailsio:TrackPointExtension></extensions></trkpt> 

I am pretty sure all we need is:
<trkpt lat="55.996687" lon="-4.389713"><ele>188.609</ele></trkpt>

and that a regular expression could do the trick.

I don’t know anything about RegEx other than I’ve found it offered as a solution when googling text replacement problems but this:

replace: <extensions>.?</extensions> with nothing
followed by replace: <time>.
?</time> with nothing

I am guessing I could combine these, but it din’t take long to run through a few files using them in this crude form.

Before After

did the trick. My 1MB file was now 160KB

This works both in BBEdit and TextMate. TextMate struggled a bit with the size of the files.

This post will be of little interest to anyone but myself and might just fit in the suchlike bit of this blogs sub title.

Featured Image: two screenshots, layered. my own CC-BY.

I’ve blogged about some of the methods I’ve used before.

Beware what you wish for :some thoughts on system leadership⤴

from @ School Leadership - A Scottish Perspective

Currently in Australia, during our summer break. I have found time and space to not only recharge my batteries for the new school year ahead, but also for some thinking on a number of issues concerning us in education. A few days ago I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with @stringer_andrea whilst in Sydney, and that conversation set me thinking about system leadership a bit more. Andrea was telling me about two particular issues being experienced by Australian educators, and I think both are connected to system leadership.

The first was about attempts to try and control and 'manage' educators on Social media, like Twitter and blogging by national and state governments, as well as school leaders. It would seem a lot of this is pretty covert and takes the form of pressure and conversations with individual staff by school leaders, something I have experience of myself. This was also something @wappa53 and I touched on during an earlier conversation, before I went on my east coast road-trip. I have long lamented the fact that we still have education systems, schools and classrooms controlled by too many 'control freaks' who want to control and micromanage everything and everyone. However, there are pretty overt steps being taken in Australia to try and control teacher discourse on social media and through blogs. I have seen a number of tweets and blogs since I have been here from educators bemoaning the attempts through professional standards and policies to stifle 'free speech' and debate within the profession. Again, I am sure there are other educators elsewhere, operating in what are openly 'democratic' systems, who have been experiencing similar pressures, control and accountability measures that aim to stifle true debate. This is not to mention those operating in a lot less democratic or tolerant systems, who have a complete inability to get anywhere near a situation where 'free speech' is even tolerated. We need only look to recent events in Turkey to witness the conditions and pressures that many educators and academics work under day after day.

On my journey back to Perth following my meeting with Andrea, I managed to read 'The Moral Imperative of School Leadership' by Michael Fullan during our five hour air flight. Like many of Fullan's best work, this is not a long read but contains many important insights and issues for us to ponder. Fullan has spoken for many years about the importance of collaboration and system leadership if we are to really envisage and construct education systems and schools that truly work for the benefit of all, individuals and society. I, and many others, agree entirely with the primacy he gives to people working collaboratively within a school and a system to shape that school or system for the better. 'Top down' just doesn't work and we really need to grow schools and systems that are more organic and self-developing and sustaining. Helen Timperley has talked of 'adaptive expertise' within individuals and within systems as an ultimate aim for teachers, schools and systems. In the preface to this work, Fullan  notes that 'School leadership is a collective enterprise.' and responsibility. For many years now we have recognised that leadership which is effective, cannot and should not reside within one individual in any school or organisation. Andrea sent me a clip of David Marquet talking about how he distributed leadership as captain of a nuclear submarine, but which has important messages for us all. 

Collaboration is recognised by Fullan, and  many other researchers, as crucial in school and system development. It is also a necessary step on the journey to true system leadership in order to develop the truly self-developing and improving systems we need. Governments across the globe have recognised the importance of system leadership, and the promotion and development of such practices have been included in many development frameworks and policies. To me, collaboration involves more than face to face contact and work with colleagues. The world is a very different place now to the one of the late 1990s when people like Fullan, Hargeaves and others started talking about a new way of working in schools and systems. We didn't have social media and blogs like we do now, and these are providing many educators with the tools and platforms to develop 'collaboration' and system leadership in new and exciting ways. For system leadership and collaborative practices, social media and advances in technology have blown the old ways of collaboration out of the water. Now everyone can contribute to the discourse around education and the development of system leadership practices, and everyone should feel they have a 'voice' in this. No longer do you have to wait to be invited, or given permission by someone above you to join the debate and to contribute your insights. For many years I have heard teachers, school leaders and others bemoan the impact of politicians, driven by ideologies, on education systems and ask how we can take back control. Now we can. The way to do this is through pure and true system leadership by all in the system. That way we can shape the system we want from within, rather than being dictated to from outside and 'above'. The basis of that system leadership should be collaboration, professionalism and actions that are informed by sound research and not political whim. 

A lot of governments who talk about developing system leadership might come to regret this, because they still mean a form of system leadership that their policy can still control. With true system leadership control really resides within the system and the professionals within it.


from @ blethers

I haven't posted for a bit. It's not that I haven't been sitting at my desktop: far from it. But from being someone who rarely uses earphones (they were so uncomfortable) and hasn't listened to much of what might loosely be termed popular music since the age of 18 (a while, then) I've spent most of the time doing just these two things. I always did love a good love song, back in the day, and I've always preferred what might be termed music to slit your wrists to ... And now I've rediscovered both, and as Facebook friends will hardly have failed to realise, I've been listening to Leonard Cohen.

I specified a sort of cut-off date for my interest in pop; it coincided with the rise of the Beatles and my discovery of Palestrina and Byrd and these two geniuses shaped my musical tastes for the rest of my life, I thought. Yes, there were other passions - Tippet, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, to name the composers on some of my early LPs - but the music I loved to sing, and to sing along with, belonged to the Renaissance. I developed a voice as similar to the counter tenor as I could, and my reading abilities flourished as I sang in an octet (The New Consort of Voices, for anyone who was around Glasgow Uni circles in the late 60s/early 70s) and the quartet that still performs today with only a change in the soprano line, the St Maura Singers. We started a larger choir when we moved to Dunoon - The Hesperians, from the women of which group the current 8+1 choir was born. There was a church choir, intermittently - it tended to suffer from church politics and eventually vanished.

All this was made easier, of course, by the fact that I'd married a musician who works magic with choirs. But living with a musician also tends to influence some - not all - of the music played at home. Because of that influence, I've learned almost all I know. But because the current choir, 8+1, sings everything from Ah Robyn to Mamma Mia, there's been a shift in my earworm availability, and one of our repertoire got stuck that way: Leonard Cohen's Halleluia. And it was seeing a video on Facebook/YouTube of a live performance by him, a recent live performance, that started me on the online trawl for other songs of this performer who was in his mid-70s at the time the recordings were made - and that's what I've been singing along with for the last two months.

So what made me want to reflect on this? Here's a thing. For the whole of July until today, we've had work going on in our dining room. The painter finished only this morning. The floor is varnished, the room is clean - and empty. It has a wonderful acoustic. So yesterday the two of us, Mr B and I, sang and recorded St Magnus' Hymn - the two-part 12th Century piece that begins "nobilis, humilis...". And after the first go, when I was singing at my usual mezzo pitch and straining slightly on the high E, I went down an octave and immediately sounded - and felt - better. This is an area of my voice that I've been unhappy with recently; helping out on the second soprano part has led to the neglect of the lower end of my voice, with the break at Middle C becoming more troublesome than it has been since I was in my early 20s. But yesterday it was fine, with an equal resonance taking me down to F.

Why? Presumably because the ageing voice of Leonard Cohen means he now sings in his boots, and that's what I've been singing along with. I've not been belting it out, just crooning, but that gentle exercise has been enough to make the difference. I feel somehow vindicated - that I've not wasted the tradesmen-minding hours listening on headphones, but have done something my laziness has too often stopped me doing when I've not practised vocal exercises. And I've learned some cracking new songs ...

‘Closing the gap’ between education and employment, by Anthony Mann⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Edu and Skills blogThis latest blog from Anthony Mann focuses on the European dimension of the link between education and employability.  It identifies employer engagement in education as a key issues in tackling the skills gap.

Government priority objectives across European countries include:

  • Tackling skills shortage/skills mismatch
  • Improving youth skills relevant to dynamic labour market demand
  • Harnessing community resources to improve attainment
  • Putting coherent pathways in place for young people moving through educational and training provision
  • Addressing inequalities in outcomes, promoting social mobility and challenging gender stereotyping.

For more information on this include OECD reports see visit the Education & Skills Today blog.

Also relevant in this context is Mann’s report key_issues_in_employer_engagement_in_education_anthony_mann‘ which specifically relates to the Scottish context. .


from @ John's World Wide Wall Display


I know we are in the days of lots of free space, but it is worth remembering when blogging (or making webpages) shrinking images is worth doing for your visitors.

I don’t always do it, but today as I updates a Glow Blogs Help page, I saved nearly half the space by using, ImageOptim — better Save for Web.

There are other tools, but this one is free & open source, works on a Mac, but lists and links to windows & linux tools.

Preparing for the Apprenticeship Levy with @bobharrisonset @MartinLewarne @itslearningUK⤴

from @ ...........Experimental Blog

 A week ago I had the opportunity to talk on a webinar about some of the changes coming in the Apprenticeship Space in England and how it might impact on Colleges and Training Providers . The clever people from ITSLearning  demonstrating great digital literacy - have now published the session as a  Youtube Video

Many thanks to @bobharrisonset @MartinLewarne @itslearningUK

Relevant too for  Scottish Training providers and Colleges.