What is There to See in the Lake

What is there to see in the lake is a question that people have frequently asked me. For at least two years I would go diving nearly every weekend. I would dive in the Lac Léman, the Lac de Bourget, the Gouille Du Duzillet. I also dived the English channel in November. I dived all year round. In summer we would cook in our dry suits and in winter our hands were sometimes so cold that we couldn’t take off our dry suits.
Lake divers are an eccentric, hardy bunch of people. I used to say that the beauty of lake diving is that it is not affected by weather. You’ll get wet anyway and if you go below a certain depth water is always at 5°c. I’m in Spain at the moment and I decided to go snorkelling with my semi Dry Suit around El Portet. This is the cove where I worked on getting my rescue diver certification. I snorkelled by the rocks to the west at first. The waters are shallow and I did see a school of juvenile fish. As I finned further I saw some slightly larger fish and urchins.

After a while of searching I finned to the other side of the bay. New sand has been deposited along this beach. As a result of this new sand visibility has suffered near the beach. By the rocks the visibility is still good.

From the image above you can see that the water is really clear. I thought that with such clear waters I would see a lot. I was hoping to see fish, maybe an eel or two and maybe some crabs. It’s good to dive and snorkel close to marine reserves. In marine reserves fish are allowed to mature and grow and eventually they branch out to other areas. As a result diving and snorkeling are more rewarding.

It’s at the supermarket fish section that I saw the most fish. It’s a shame that they were lying dead, on ice, rather than swimming underwater. In effect I see as many fish in the mediterranean as in the lakes of Switzerland and France so you travel for the climate rather than aquatic life. People need to allow the seas and oceans time to recover. It’s a shame not to see much aquatic life. I should try again in a different location where there are fewer people. I might be luckier.

Travel and data roaming

In July Roaming will be a bad memory for Europeans travelling within Europe. As a result of this the sale of sim cards to Ingress players, pokemon Go players and others will also be a thing of the past. What will not change is that we use social media apps to communicate with other people. As a consequence of this use we see local adverts.

At the moment I am in Spain and see Google España rather than Google Switzerland. I see Spanish adverts. Local and national products are advertised to me as I browse. As Google, Facebook, Twitter and other companies know of my interests when I am in Switzerland they can extrapolate them to local businesses in Spain. Diving, climbing and other companies would benefit from me seeing their offers.

if I have just a gigabyte of data then I need to throttle many of these apps. I don’t want self loading videos and other content. I want a minimum of content to make that gigabyte of data to last until I get on the plane. Advertisers suffer because as I reduce my normal browsing habits it reduces their chance of being seen.

In my opinion telecom operators and advertisers should collaborate together to make it cheaper for travellers to use their smartphones. Advertisers should buy data from telecom operators so that travellers are more inclined to use their phones.

Businesses will benefit from us posting to and browsing from Instagram, Swarm, Google Local Guides, Trip advisor and many other services. Everyone benefits from cheaper roaming.

At the moment businesses with free wifi are helping people see more adverts. With cheaper roaming globally a receptive audience will see more adverts hence providing them with more ideas and inspiration for activities during their stay in an unfamiliar place. Advertisers and businesses should capitalise on this potential audience.


I have logged 799 activities with my Suunto devices. This includes hikes, via ferrata, climbing, swimming and scuba diving. I like Suunto devices because their battery life is good enough to last through entire days of hiking and the battery lasts for weeks between charges when used as a simple watch.

Spartan HR

I like to track my heart rate but I often feel self conscious about putting the heart rate monitor belt on. With the latest Spartan watch I no longer need to worry about the belt. At the same time as I start the activity I will be able to keep track of the heart rate. This is especially good for group activities when you do not want to keep people waiting and in winter when you’re wearing layers of clothing.

I like that devices like the Fitbit Charge 2 can be worn at almost all times and track heart rate effortlessly when at the climbing gym and during other activities. I look forward to the same simplicity with a Suunto device. I especially like that Suunto devices survive swims and showers.

I like that the Suunto Ambit 3 tracks how many steps I take during the day. It’s a shame that the step count is not logged and visible on Movescount. I like to see how energetic or lazy I have been on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. It’s not unusual for me to go from a 21,000 step day to a 6000 step day. It depends on weather, work and other factors. If you go for a bike ride your step count will not be high.

I will wait to see whether they apply this technology to the Suunto Ambit watch collection. If they come out with the Suunto Ambit 4 Wrist HR then I will be tempted to upgrade. With 799 tracked activities I believe Suunto devices have demonstrated that they are reliable.

The Paradox of “kicking smartphone addictions”.

It’s amusing that people think of “kicking smartphone addictions”. We now have a decade of experience in the current social media landscape. We have a decade of using smartphones rather than feature phones. In effect we have had a decade to adapt our lives to the age of the ubiquitous smartphone. We can ignore the Blackberry and Nokia ages where phones were for phone calls, playing snake and business rather than pleasure.

Those that see social media as a disease usually have partners.
Those that see social media as a disease usually have partners.

People who see smartphones or social media as addictive usually have one thing in common. They have a “partner”. They spend their free time with a specific individual. “It’s about finding balance. I became conscious of what matters to me, in my life. My smartphone is still a part of it, but it’s no longer the boss.” I have never been addicted to the device as such. My passions lie with what I can do with the device. I was passionate about Twitter when it was a social network. I was passionate about facebook when it was a way of keeping up with friends.

If Twitter and facebook become ego-networks for marketers and public relations professionals then the “addictive” aspect of smartphones vanishes. As social media goes from a conversation to a broadcast and a monologue it delivers another opportunity. It gives us the chance to go back to reading books. As we no longer “socialise” with smartphones the “addiction” is gone. We loose nothing by spending time “offline”.

You don’t need to give up the smartphone or any apps. If you’re like me you can pick up an e-book reader and replace Facebook and twitter with reading. If you’re going to passively read an e-book reader is an interesting alternative.


The Gopro Hero 5 karma advert is aspirational

I love sports and I love the outdoors. I really like snowboarding when the conditions are good and when there are few people. I love to climb, to hike and to do via ferrata. Last year during a film festival I was invited to try Paragliding for free and the flight lasted 45 minutes.

In light of this you can see why the Gopro Hero 5+ karma above is so fun for me to watch. It’s not that I want a gopro camera. I’ve had at least two of their devices and except for filming two or three dives and two or three via ferrata the cameras have stayed in drawers or boxes. GoPro show adventures and experiencers that I aspire to. For this reason we want to watch these edits. We enjoy these edits.

Modern film making does away with cranes, jibs and tripods replacing them with drones and devices like the Karma Grip. If you look at the adverts you see that video production has shifted from being a profession to a pass time. At the time of writing the Grip costs about 350 CHF and the drone has not been priced. GoPro is competing directly with DJI and their product line.

With systems like GoPro and DJI are providing the term prosumer evolves. Thrill seekers and adventurers get to play with technology that they can afford to buy and use during their trips or weekend adventures. With this technology fixed cameras are a thing of the past. The camera moves with the action. In practice the camera operator doesn’t need to be an athlete to get in position to get the shot. Assistants are no longer required to carry heavy gear. You carry everything in a bag on your back and it’s ready to use within a short amount of time.


Replacing Social Media with Book reading

This year I am replacing Social Media with Book Reading because social media is no longer a conversational place. It has become a place for sensationalism and the spreading of fake news and emotional news. As a result of these factors the potential gain of new friendships and interesting conversations has declined. For this reason you might as well find some interesting books and broaden your horizons.

Replacing social media with book reading
Replacing social media with book reading

I currently have hundreds of books on Kindle and Audible and my collection on the Kobo reader is bound to grow. Recently I read Too Loud A Solitude. This is a book I came across by accident. I was browsing through Goodreads recommendations and it came up. The book is interesting because it tells the story of a person who worked compacting books for 35 years. Every chapter begins with the phrase “For 35 years…”. The journey is an interesting one because we see how someone with a passion for books rescues some before they are destroyed. It is worth reading when you have the interest and motivation.

Another interesting book I read is Tartarin Sur Les Alpes. This book is interesting because of its age. It is about the early days of Alpinism. It speaks of various mountains and locations that are easy to get to today but that were accessed by horse and carriage at the time. It also explores the early days of tourism.

Books require an investment of time of several hours in the same way that television series require. You can read a chapter or “episode” a day or you can binge through them reading several chapters in a single day. They usually require from seven to 21 hours to get through just like television series seasons. It’s easy to lose entire days.

I like e-books and I like audible books. As a result of this I can walk around with hundreds of books at a time and read from one book and then another. It transports me to different time periods and places. For a moment I stop living in the present. With audio books I can drive, hike or walk at the same time. I can be a bookworm without being stuck in a building.

It’s a shame that we don’t read more.

Life Cycle by Northcube AB

Life Cycle by NorthCube AB is a life tracking application available on iphone. It allows you to keep track of your sports activities, time spent at work, sleeping, shopping, socialising and more. At first it knows nothing about it. It learns of your home location, your work location, where you go climbing and do other activities and then automatically logs the time spent doing various activities.

At the end of the day you can see how much time you spent at work, at home and running errands. If you go for a walk, a bike ride or a run it detects the difference in cadence and will log that sport. I did get false positives when riding the scooter. It logged this as cycling.

It also keeps track of the time you spend in transportation as well as the time you spend commuting to and from work. They are separated so that you can see how much of your day is devoted to commuting as opposed to travelling between locations for other activities.

If you practice sports such as swimming or climbing you can tell it that at this location you practice that sport. From this moment on every time you go to this location it will log it as being for that sport. This is valid for socialising, coffee, the cinema and more.

At the end of the day you can see a summary of how long you spent doing each activity. At the end of the week you can see how much time you spent on each activity. The bigger the donut slice the more time you spent on an activity. Assessing whether you spend too much time commuting, at work or socialising is simpler. As a freelancer working in a number of locations you could mark the locations where you worked and at the end of the week log your hours to double check that they are correct.

This app is simple and intuitive to use. Unlike Foursquare/Swarm and other apps it requires minimal interaction. This app is a natural progression from apps such as Google Latitude.



Reaction to Social media and the loss of identity

My answer to:

Social media and the loss of identity

From 1996–2007 I saw the World Wide Web, discussion forums and other places as opportunities to socialise with like minded people. Over the years we went from one platform to another using nicknames rather than our real identity. in 2006–2007 there was a shift. When Twitter came about I would post about my dissertation progress and eventually converse with more and more people. Eventually the @ symbol started to be used for answers and then we discussed meeting in person.

The online conversation moved from being about ideas and a virtual self to meeting in person. Twitter changed us from anonymous web users to friends in meat space as it was called at the time. At the same time as this occurred we also had Facebook and here the opposite took place. We took friends whom we drank, studied and collaborated with and added them to an online network. In effect social media extended our real life and our real life extended our online life. Social media became a lounge.

This was short lived. Within a year social media experts, marketers, celebrities and other characters took social media from being a conversation medium to being an observer/follower medium. The things that you worry about in your post are a consequence of the loss of engagement. We went from social networks where the more time you devoted to a network the more connections you had to a social environment where the more famous you had the more followers you had. Those followers don’t know you as a person. They know you as a projection. You become an illusion, an ideal. You lose your identity.

In a sense those of us that are still relatively unknown can be genuine. We follow those we know and they follow us. We also have mutual friends.

The Work-Visa program and US tech domination

Trump’s next steps could strike even closer to home: His administration has drafted an executive order aimed at overhauling the work-visa programs technology companies depend on to hire tens of thousands of employees each year


Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft, Fitbit, Garmin and other companies benefit enormously from the international appeal that their products have. Not only do the products have great appeal but the environment within which they work is envied globally. Tech entrepreneurs from Europe and other regions migrate from Europe to the US precisely because they want to be part of the most influential tech landscape. By making this migration more complicated it could encourage technological development internationally.

According to a recent article in Le Temps scientists are considering a move from the United States to Switzerland, to continue their research at the EPFL.

By blocking migration from the rest of the world to the US people like Trump are reducing the flow of intellect and ideas for an industry that owes billions of dollars per year to international audiences. We saw the stories about Apple, the European Union and Ireland from a few months ago.

Under the Trump administration the US is saying “We want your money but not only will we not pay taxes in your nations but we will also not hire your skilled workers”. They are practically monopolising the global social media landscape at the moment. It would be nice to have European alternatives.

With the Trump administration I wish that I had EU alternatives to social networks. Could this be an encouragement to revert to blogging?

On the rise of disinformation through the dumbing down of Social Media

For years I have been complaining that social media has shifted away from conversations towards marketing. It has shifted away from peer to peer conversations towards a broadcast model where crowds listen to and share individual sources rather than interact within a social network. As a result of this communication shift people re-share content rather than create their own.

Until the election of Trump and Brexit it was unpleasant but had to be seen as part of modern life. We had to accept that sensationalism and dumbed down content were popular. We had to accept that most people saw social media as RSS rather than conversation.

Within the last year we have seen that the shift from social media being conversational has shifted towards trolling, disinformation and misinformation. We see that people speak about living in a “post truth” age and more. In such an environment we see that people hear what they want to hear and vote for what they idealise rather than what makes logical sense. Brexit and Trump are consequences of people following idealism rather than realism. In such an intellectual environment social media, rather than encouraging the flow of information and context has had the opposite effect. When Obama was running for President the blogosphere was seen as a gate keeper, as part of the fourth estate, as part of the checks and balances.

With Trump and Brexit we see that the Tabloid press in England and Troll armies in other countries have deliberately misguided people, deliberately made them vote against their own self-interests.

For years I saw the web as a place to socialise and make new friends but within the last year, with troll armies, marketing and more I see that conversations are declining. The Return on Investment that I used to enjoy as a human rather than a marketer justified the time I spent socialising via social media. In 2016 the Return on Investment of using Social Media became negative. I watched youtube series, I read books, I read mainstream media, I listened to podcasts. In 2017 I want to replace the time that I spent on social media on reading books. In this day and age the cost of social media exceeds the potential return on investment. I finally find that social media is a waste of time. It took a decade for me to fall out of love with social media.