Three weeks and a few thousand miles on the Indian railway

Passing Diesel Traction at Bandra Terminus Mumbai

I’ve been in India since the 19th of January, and I’ve now travelled a few thousand kilometres on the Indian Railways. Starting in Chennai (Madras) I heading down to Thiruvananthapuram (aka Trivandrum) the capital of Kerala state in the far south of India. I travelled up the west coast of India to Goa, Mumbai (Bombay) and now I’m writing this from Jodhpur.

I have mostly travelled on the long distance trains in either AC1 or AC2 sleeper coaches which I know isn’t how most of the millions of Indians travel by train. I did travel into and out of the centre of Mumbai on the famously crowded suburban trains.

Just like the underground, only with fewer doors.

The people I have met on the trains have been without exception friendly, hospitable and willing to help. I have shared an evening meal with Indian families on the train between Chennai and Trivandrumand with each family making sure that I had tried their own speciality.

I have since discovered that you can order food for delivery to your seat on the train as it stops as intermediate stations. I used this going between Mumbai and Jodhpur, getting a meal delivered to my seat for 155/- Rs or about £1.55.


I have been on a train that was held up by monkeys, an excuse that Northern Rail have not yet tried! You can see one of the monkeys in question climbing on the cables in the picture.

Monkey climbing on signal cables

I have seen a different side to India for example trundling through the backwaters of Kerala.


Looking forward to 2016

This isn’t how a positive posts normally starts, but both Serra and I are now unemployed and looking forward to a whole year of not having a job!

We are in the last stages of getting ready to go travelling, we have all our visas and vaccinations, the front room looks like a bomb site and the idea we only have 2 weeks left in the UK has really hit home!

We are about to embark on a tour of the UK to say goodbye to friends and family. We will be in Warwickshire Monday and Tuesday this week, then London next weekend (7-11th of Jan) and finally Plymouth for a few days afterwards. If anyone wants to catch us for a coffee, beer or other beverage drop me a line on social media.

Travel wise we are in India January to March, then China for March and fly to Japan for April. We will be travelling downwards through South East Asia for May and June towards Australia. We are planning to be back in Europe for 4 weeks from mid August before heading off to South America for the rest of the year and the start of 2017. We would love to catch up with friends and family as we travel.



Why we are quitting our jobs and setting off to see the world

Some of you might know that my wife and I are planning to quit our jobs at the end of this year and travel the world together.

Sadly 2 1/2 years ago my grandfather died aged 89, and during the service his daughter (my aunt) said in her eulogy “His wife died young while he was still working and he always regretted not spending time with her”. While I can’t fix that, I can try to make sure that neither Serra or I have that regret.

This time 10 years ago I was in Eastern Europe travelling with friends on the railways and loving the experience. I went on to travel to Northern Europe regularly in the next few years, meeting online friends “In Real Life”.

5 years ago today I was getting married to Serra, surrounded by friends and family. We are lucky enough (we know we are lucky) to be able leave our jobs and set off to experience the world together. We both feel the need to evaluate what we in terms of employment and lifestyle for the next few decades (hopefully) together.

I have built the outline of the route where we want to go, so if anyone wants to meet as we travel get in touch.

Why Does Dropbox Add a Unique ID to Every Photo?

Following on from my last post about Dropbox changing my photos, I noticed a new exif field of “Image Unique ID” embedded by Dropbox in the image.

This ID would allow Dropbox to track unique files across their storage estate to avoid duplication. Equally it could used to track the original file and who uploaded it from a cropped version posted online, especially if law enforcement turned up with legal papers and demanded access.

Think about leaked documents or protest photos, yes it’s good practise to strip the meta data out but not everyone does.

This again comes back to what Dropbox and it’s camera upload feature is doing and is it documented anywhere?

Note Google Photos does not embedded any tracking data in the exif of the image I tested by uploading and downloading it.

The Hash

The hash for IMG_7082 is 8af323e74def610b0000000000000000 which looks like a 128bit hash but with only the first 64 bits populated. I’ve tried a number of hash tools on various parts of the original but they don’t match the unique ID. I have tested just the pure image data from original and Dropbox modified images.

Reverse engineering the hash function isn’t the real issue here,  the real question is why has this ID been added?