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.

 

 

Learning about Tiny Houses

Learning about Tiny Houses is interesting. There are a number of features/documentaries online where people build their own tinyhouses either from shipping containers, trailers or other structures. The aim of these tinyhouses is to maximise space and reduce costs. Some of these homes are entirely off the grid. They collect rain water and solar panels provide power. The bedroom is often built above the kitchen and climbing wall holds are used instead of ladders or conventional stairs.

One home folds out from a truck to become a castle. One tower serves as a toilet and the second one serves as a shower. The space above even features a bath.

Another Tiny home is designed as a tree house providing a beautiful 360° panoramic view of the landscape around.


This tiny home is interesting because it’s built out of half a shipping container. For a change the bed is below and the living room is above. The kitchen and office are next to it and there is a shower from which to watch birds.

I have seen a lot of people speak about minimalist living, living off the grid and living out of cars, campers and other vehicles. By watching videos about tiny houses you begin to understand that there are certain basics that you need to have and that these basics fit in to small spaces. If you have a van, a caravan or other vehicle then you can live as comfortably as these people.

This last video would make for a perfect summer home for recent university graduates or high school graduates. It’s small, light and mobile. You’re self sufficient to a great extent and as long as it’s warm you have your own space. It’s amusing that in at least three videos we hear about people learning to be neater through living in such small spaces.

As a scuba diver, rock climber, cyclist and geek the biggest challenge for someone like me would be to find a place where I could store my diving gear and especially the scuba tanks. They’re bulky. Diving gear also needs to dry properly to avoid the smell of the lake (as I used to dive weekly in the lake).

My view of living in a tinyhouse has changed through the watching of these documentaries. It shows you that what you want is functionality rather than size. You want “gadgets” as these maximise how you use available space.

Black Mirror – A television series

Black Mirror – a television series

Black Mirror is a television series that was broadcast by Channel 4 a few years ago and made available to Netflix audiences recently. The series explores a variety of topics and issues to do with technology from death to crime and existentialism. It also explores themes like family and friendship.

We spend a lot of time thinking about technology and how it has changed our lives. Sometimes it’s fun to watch 80s series to see the world as it was before computers and the internet and sometimes it is fun to watch dystopian essays or short stories exploring facets of modern life.

In modern society we see that social media is affecting the discourse that is taking place between politicians and normal people. We see how social media and the lowering of the barriers of entry to the fourth estate have created a golden age for propaganda and disinformation. We see in The Waldo Moment that a CGI bear can mock the political system. It could be directly related to what we have seen happen recently.

Be Right Back deals with online identity and how a person can be emulated once they have died. The question is an interesting one. The more active we are on social media the more our character and personality can be understood and reflected back. This is limited. We are not entirely ourselves online. There are some things that we hide from the online world.

In Fifteen Million Merits we see a dystopian vision of the world where everyone lives in a small dark room. They get out of this room to go and peddle for a few hours to get Merits. Once they have 15 million merits they can “apply” for a different kind of job via a talent show.

Nosedive explores popularity and social networks. Everyone is constantly being rated based on what they share, how they interact with others and more. In such a dystopia people can progress or lose privileges based on reputation. In such a reality people are vulnerable.

A vertovian theme is explored in “The Entire history of You”. An implant called the Grain records your entire life and you have the ability to fast forward and rewind moments of your life. In so doing you can analyse what went well, what went badly and more. You can also see more than you were intended to see through other peoples’ recorded experiences. In this episode we see the Kino-Eye, the all seeing eye. Your life is no longer private.

I like some of the themes that are explored in this series and I recommend people to watch at least some of the episodes. I feel that they are relevant to our discussion about social media and online lives.

Strava now has rock climbing, hiking and more

Strava now has rock climbing, hiking and many more sports. Sports tracker, movescount and other applications already allowed you to do this but it is nice to see one more network provide us with this option.

Strava expanded the number of sports you can track
Strava expanded the number of sports you can track

Up until now I had to make sure to go for a bike ride or three per week to keep people updated on what I did. During week days I am likely to go for bike rides. On two to three evenings per week I may go climbing and on the weekend I may go hiking or for a walk. As a result I can track the diversity of my activities.

Strava has updated the list of sports
Strava has updated the list of sports

With rock climbing I would like them to add two or three more fields. I would like them to add an option to add the grade of the climb we did. This would need to use the European and the American systems. It would help us track our progress and even track how hard we worked if we’re wearing a heart monitor as we climb. In effect it could provide us with a way of seeing who else is climbing and whether we match their skill level. In the long run this could contribute to new groups. I have created a group for Swiss Via Ferrata in anticipation of via ferrata practitioners joining the network and sharing their climbs.

Until recently I would only track cycling and running. Now that walking, hiking and climbing have been added I can track a number of new sports. It should result in people using the app more frequently.  It could be fun to see climbing and hiking heat maps. We will see how they adapt the input section to match the sports.

 

Online communities and socialising in person

Online communities and socialising in person can be a challenge for people. Either they are shy, lacking the courage to meet with strangers and start a conversation or they are introverts, interested in being in a group but not necessarily to participate in the conversations. The question was “how to go to a glocals meeting when you are really shy ?”. This applies to couchsurfing hangouts, Google+ events, Pokemon Go meetups, slow ups, critical mass and more.

Everyone is shy, that’s why they participate with a friend or more.

Both of these present a challenge. As a shy person you want to go but you do not want to go alone. We see that almost everyone is in that situation. We see it by the number of people who do activities with a friend rather than alone. We see this when socialising in cities, on hikes, during climbing events, canyoning and doing other sports. You see it in the pre-event comments, “my friend and I”, “my girlfriend and I”, “my spouse and I” and more. You see that the difference between a shy person at an event and a courageous one is whether they have a friend to go with them. If they were alone they would not participate. ;-). That notion that people overcome their shyness is a moderate farce.

Passion makes you outgoing

As it fits neither in to shyness nor introversion I feel that passion is very important when you are looking for people to do things with. If you are shy then meeting people for the sake of meeting people will not work. It is hard to overcome shyness without passion. Introversion benefits from passion too. The better you know a topic the more outgoing you will be, the easier it will be to block out shyness. An introvert following his passion hides his introversion very well.

Socialising as an introvert

When I was new to a community like Glocals I tried going to city based social events where there could be drinking and within two or three events I found the experience so dull and uninteresting that I haven’t been again. As an introvert I found that the best events were those to do with sports. Canyoning was one but so where white river rafting, rock climbing both indoors and outdoors, via ferrata, hiking and other activities. I found that I love participating in extreme sports rather than sedentary ones. Throughout the activity you can walk at the same speed as someone else and socialise or you can walk at your own speed and day dream, take pictures or just enjoy the experience.

The active introvert

 

I would encourage all shy people to participate in fun and active events. I want to see more shy single people come to try rock climbing, via ferrata and other sports. The advantage of these activities is that as a shy individual or an introvert you are pushed to interact with people for the purpose of the activity. At the beginning of the day you knew no one but by the end of it you have met a few new people and so friendships can progress as you participate at future events. In effect you were shy the first time but six weeks later you may be a core member. Don’t waste time “overcoming” your shyness at events with alcohol. Overcome your shyness overcoming your fear of jumping from 11m in to a small rock pool.

Playing Ingress and Pokemon Go in parallel

People are playing Ingress and Pokemon Go in Parallel. Both games use the same geo-located points and walk the same routes. They have the same places to farm and combat. I started playing Ingress again, but only a few minutes here and there. As I play I see new faces and new people at Ingress portals. They are no longer my age or older. They are much younger, in their teens.

Yesterday as the neighbours were having a party I decided to take advantage of the excuse to go out and play Ingress. I went to the four or five portals in my village. At the village church I saw a youth drive up to it on a scooter, farm via the Pokemon Go layer and then leave. Nothing changed on the Ingress layer. No damaged resonators, no upgrades.

I like that people can play two entirely different games at the same location. I see this as the future of geo-located games. I see this as the next wave. The physical world provides the location and then the layer (or game) provides the user interface, the virtual world we interact with. With imagination more and more layers can be added. This will provide people with choice.

The next step is smartwatches and augmented reality goggles. Those who have played Ingress intensively know where all the portals are so they can put their phone away when walking from point to point. The same is probably true of Pokemon Go players. One person wrote that he uses his smartwatch to farm when walking around. Imagine if Google Glass had come out now. If it had come out now, with the Pokemon Go craze people would buy them.

At the moment to play pokemon Go and Ingress you walk in a position, that given time, will turn us in to hunchbacks. Rather than being from manual work in a field or a coal mine it will be from walking staring at a phone. I write this with a certain sense of humour. The market for Augmented reality goggles is ripe. Device manufacturers should grab this opportunity while it lasts.

Networking around Pokemon Go

Networking around Pokemon Go is less interesting now that everyone plays the game. I have heard non geeks talk about Pokemon Go. They spoke about the large crowds that are staring at their phones in places like Ouchy. The value of social movements is to be part of a small, passionate group of players where the community is large enough to be fun but not so large as to become mundane.

With a game like Ingress players were more sparsely distributed. When we met other players there was an immediate connection because we were few and far between. You would walk around certain cities and villages and you would not spot other players for hours of game play. When you met another player you wanted to meet, you wanted to interact.

Communities are fun when they are small. Pokemon Go has risen in popularity at such a rate that old social networks may be privilieged over new ones.

I was at the Chateau de Prangins a few days ago playing ingress for a short period of time raising the level of Ingress portals. During this time I saw at least 5-10 adolescent boys playing Pokemon Go, walking and running around the park.

Pokemon Go is like alcohol or snowboarding. As everyone plays the game the opportunity to create new social groups is reduced. Why mix with new people when your core group of friends is already playing?

The Facebook, telegram, slack and Google Hangout groups are alive and well this summer so people are connecting with new people. Although a new network of people is forming around this game I feel that it is hindered by the popularity of the game. Introverts can connect online via these groups, Meeting new people face to face may not be as comfortable due to the large crowds.

It’s great that a location based game is encouraging people to run around while staring at their phones. Phone screen replacement companies are very happy with the increase in demand for their skills and external battery sales are going up. Prices are going to go down and innovation is going to go up. If you’re an introvert, bad at small talk, then Pokemon Go has reached its peak usefulness and you can revert to other less popular activities. You can skip the craze.

 

A Nonverbal Autism Video Interview

I saw Horyou share a link to Speechless with Carly Fleischmann. This is a Nonverbal Autism Video Interview carried out via typed words on a tablet.  The text is read out electronically. The interview is warm and convivial.

It stands out because it does not use a fast talking or energetic host. The interviewer does not talk, in the conventional sense. They could easily have inter-titles rather than synthesised voice. It is because they show the challenge of this interview that it is interesting. It shows that charismatic fast talkers are not the only people with an opportunity to interview artists. It shows that given the right circumstances anyone can interview artists and that desire and interest are required but that solutions can be found for other challenges. It opens up the world to a diversity of people. Imagine video interviews in sign language for example. There is no reason for a specialist channel not to take on this challenge, to fill this niche.

Three things make this possible: Video production costs have gone down so it is easy to find the budget to record such an interview, technology makes communication for nonverbal people much simpler and finally Youtube makes content distribution to an audience easy. This video has three and a half million views.

I will find more videos like this. I believe that they play an important role in modern society where we believe that everyone should be treated equally, to have equal opportunities. It is too easy to idealise the charismatic radio presenter who has a way with words and forget that charisma can be found in people’s intellect. You see it through the laughter in the interview, you see it in the way the interviewee is so relaxed. It’s a shame that there is just one interview. Imagine it as a weekly show.

The Moléson VF with the Narrative Clip 2

The Narrative Clip 2 is a specialist camera that can be programmed to take photos at regular intervals whilst you enjoy activities. This is sometimes referred to as life logging. The idea is that you wear the camera either on clothing or place it somewhere where it can capture the passage of time.

For this event the camera was worn around my neck and took pictures throughout the activity. As you can see from the last image I had the Ricoh Theta S on a monopod and the Sony Xperia Z5 compact for other pictures. You do not see that I had a fourth camera with a 30 times optical zoom.

The camera took over four hundred images during this event and I chose just a few. I avoid sharing images of people unless I have their informed consent. I share the images that best represent the pleasant moments.

If I took the time I could rotate this camera to be horizontal and I could capture daily timelapses. Every time I go for a bike ride or a hike it would capture regular images. The camera has enough battery power and you can keep the camera in your pocket until you want to start logging the event. When the event is finished you can place the camera back in to your pocket and head home for example.

An improvement which I have recently noticed is that when you put the camera to charge it can automatically upload the day’s images to the narrativeapp website and you can then select what you want to share.

As cameras get smaller and more portable and as they become more specialised so we have an opportunity to get different types of images. One is for time lapses, the other has a powerful zoom, the third allows us to capture spherical images and the fourth is practical for sharing to social media.

 

Watching clouds form as a 360 timelapse

Time-lapse videos are fun because we can see something happen faster or slower than real time. By watching this content we gain a better understanding of the world and how it works. For years I have been filming time-lapses and the results can be fun. In some cases we record time-lapses with video cameras and at other times we set an interval timer to take pictures every so many seconds. In this post you will be watching clouds form as a 360 timelapse.

I have chosen to share both the flat image and the spherical image. The reason for sharing both versions is to give you an overview of how objects move in both.

Spherical Version

With this version look to your right and you will be able to watch the clouds move through space. As they move you will see them grow thicker and then cover the sun. At this point everything gets darker. If you watch this video a few times you can watch the landscape change.

The next step would be to get a 360 camera somewhere high during a total eclipse of the sun by the moon. During such events you will see a grey mask cross over the landscape, you will see birds fly away and then everything will be dark. You can then turn around and watch totality, the corona and then the reverse process. The time is right for eclipse chasers to be at the right place to capture such an event as a 360 video.

Flat Version

With the flat version you can imagine where you would aim a standard camera. Would you try to get the clouds that are forming over the mast or would you prefer to look out towards La Dôle and watch as the large clouds form and float to block off the sun? In this image you can see from Villeneuve and Lausanne to Geneva and the Salève.

Having such a wide angle of view allows you to see everything that is going on in front of and behind the camera. The timelapse is a sequence of pictures rather than video so in future I hope to export the video in a higher resolution.