Hello. I’m Iain R. Learmonth a.k.a. irl. Nouns that can describe me include: hacker, researcher, developer and activist. I live in Aberdeen, Scotland.
I’m a heavy user of technology and have been known to implement technological solutions to problems that never existed. This does not mean that I believe technology to be a magic solution, at least in its current state of development, to all problems. Many of the cases I see technology used in terrify me greatly.
I often find myself frustrated with the instability and inflexibility of certain proprietary technologies that turn what would be a simple task on paper into an overly complicated task filled with workarounds and hacks (not to mention licensing). I believe it is this frustration that has inspired me to work on free software projects. Hopefully I can also save others from the same frustration.
I am a subscriber to the “Hacker Ethic” as described by journalist Steven Levy as in his 1984 book Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution. I am a founding member of 57North Hacklab, Aberdeen’s first hackerspace. I hack both hardware and software, though I am definitely more proficient with software hacks.
I am a licensed radio amateur (2M0STB) and enjoy operating with packet modes and using low power levels (QRP). I maintain a number of amateur radio packages in Debian and in the past have assisted maintaining an APRS digipeater that served the Aberdeen city center.
In my day job, I’m a researcher in the Electronics Research Group at the University of Aberdeen. I am currently funded by the EU Horizon 2020 MAMI Project and my main area of research currently is related to Internet path transparency. I develop PATHspider as part of this research and use it to perform measurement studies.
I believe that good research is reproducible and has a transparent, reviewable, methodology. In keeping with these beliefs, PATHspider is an open source tool and a plugin architecture has been implemented to allow for other researchers to add new measurements without having to start from scratch (reducing the need for duplication of effort).
In the past, hackers may have claimed to not have political stances. To them, ideas like privacy for individuals, transparency in governments and unimpeded access to the Internet were just common sense. Now that technology has permeated into just about every part of our daily lives however, these are hot issues in the political world.
I am a member of the Open Rights Group Supporter Council and co-organise events in Aberdeen relating to digital rights in Scotland and in the wider UK. As part of these events we try to raise awareness of the issues and encourage the general public to be involved in the political processes.