Pebble update opens the door

ef433d2391d654aa37817295ce10f4a0_original

Been very happy to hear FitBit are contuning to make the pebble operational after they sunset the pebble servers.

One of the biggest questions for Pebble owners following the company’s acquisition by Fitbit last year has been how long their watches would keep working going forward. And while Pebble had announced at the time that Fitbit would be “going out of its way” to keep the smartwatch platform’s software and services running through 2017, there hasn’t been much news of what would happen past that point, especially given that a fair portion of Pebble’s software is cloud based.

To help address those issues, Pebble released an update this week that decouples the smartwatches from their dependency on cloud services, meaning that whenever Pebble’s servers do shut down, users will still be able to side load apps and new firmware to their smartwatches.

It’s not a perfect fix, and there are still plenty of answered questions. Features like dictation, messaging, and weather, for example, are all based on cloud services, and Pebble still hasn’t commented on whether or not it’s found a way to keep those working for users going forward. Still, at least Pebble fans will be able to continue to use the basic features of their watches, even as the rest of Pebble is absorbed into Fitbit.

I have been looking at alternatives to the pebble and not finding much especially when Fitbit bought Vector too.

GadgetBridge logo

But I’ve been looking at alternative ways to get the same fuctionality as whats currently available. The big one seems to be GadgetBridge, which seems to be growing in fuctionality quickly.  The other great thing about gadgetbridge is it supports the MiBand too, which may be a saver to the crappy MiBand application, which I can’t seem to get syncing with anything.

How to copy contacts from Windows phone to Android, without going crazy

Nokia Lumia 635 and HTC Desire 635

Short answer: Setup a Microsoft Outlook account on the windows phone, sync everything to it then export a CSV of all the contacts on a laptop. Login to your Google account on the laptop and import them all. Sync that google account with the Android phone.

My painful experience

My dad has had a Nokia Lumia 635 for a while (over a year). He wanted to upgrade his ageing Nokia and went into Carphone warehouse to get a upgrade. The sales person must have rubbed their hands (I felt they took advantage of my dad saying he wanted a Nokia) and sold him a Nokia Lumia with Windows Phone on it. I was pretty pissed about this because my dad already has a google account, chromebook and my mum has this and a Samsung android phone.

On Boxing day we went back and looked into buying him out of his contract. This was fine and he choose a HTC desire 626 as it had a big screen and didn’t cost anything to his contract. After taking it home, I set it up for him and boy did the fun start.

Some quick things… I’m running Ubuntu on a laptop, my parents have a chromebook, we all have google accounts and we now all have android phones. My parents are not technical and mainly use text and voice. They have broadband with wifi in the house plus a chromecast I bought a few years ago. The Nokia couldn’t connect to any wifi unless it was open with no security/encryption (I tried many ways to get this working but it seems to be a common fault, which requires a total wipe!)

Nokia Lumia 635

I plugged the Nokia into my Ubuntu laptop then copied everything off it I could see. Then copied it to the HTC phone, I also turned off my WPA security on my Nexus 5x phone to allow the Nokia to actually connect to the internet without using my dads low 4g data usage. Then setup his google account which I set to sync everything. When trying to sync contact information with the google account nothing would sync. I had my laptop open with the google account so I could see what was syncing and what wasn’t. I tried forcing the sync and Windows phone kept forcing me to sync with Outlook.com. In the end I setup a temporary outlook account and synced everything with that. I could see things syncing correctly on my laptop screen.

I thought with both accounts on the Windows phone it would now sync but no. So I had to export the lot out of Outlook.com on the laptop as a CSV file then import them into the google account via my laptop. Once syncing, I could setup the google account on the Android phone and everything was good except Gmail automatically creates a group for the imported contacts which I had to delete but keep the contacts.

HTC Desire 820_11

Once that was done, I forced a system update and greeted with the Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) upgrade, meaning my mums new phone and dads phones are very similar making the learning experience a little easier between both my parents.

Ultimately I was quite shocked how difficult a simple thing task was. I mean dataportability should be simple and at one point I was going to give up and get my dad to write out all the contacts to a new his new phone. It wasn’t helped by not having wifi access on the Nokia. I did try Bluetooth and sending contacts as emails but nothing quite worked.

I hope this helps others as I was tearing my hair out to get such a simple thing working. No wonder Nokia has dumped Windows mobile and gone Android.

A new bitcoin wallet needed

Bitcoin

I caught wind of ChangeTip closing down Reddit. Then later today received this email.

As you may have heard, ChangeTip will be discontinuing services soon 🙁

You are receiving this email because you have money in your wallet, and we want you to get it back before we close our doors.

BTC balance: *************
USD balance: $************

Please login to your account and withdraw your funds. If you like, you may also log in and donate remaining funds to charity when you close your account.

I heard they were changing things up but this news is a shame. So I’m looking for somewhere to move my bitcoins. Bitcoin wallet looks popular and well I don’t know how long ChangeTip will enable the feature to transfer bitcoins (thank goodness for Dataportability eh?)

I found the micropayment side interesting and its a shame its gone of course there are others which I’ll check out in the future.

Data portability and the internet of things

Nabaztag on the Microwaves
I can’t help but laugh and partly shake my head at the crazy things which are being networked. You only have to follow internet of shit to get this.

I said heck no when a friend who I’d expect more thought from, suggested I should get one of the internet connected door locks; following my thoughts about Airbnb hosting. Not sure if they were being ironic or serious.

It comes as almost no shock, when reading the time that Tony Fadell sold me a container of hummus.

On May 15th a critical Nest product will go dark. I’m shocked this isn’t bigger news.

I don’t mean that the Nest product will reach end-of-life for support and updates. No, I mean that on May 15th they will actually turn off the device and disable your ability to use the hardware that you paid for.

Google/Nest’s decision raises an interesting question. When software and hardware are intertwined, does a warranty mean you stop supporting the hardware or does it mean that the manufacturer can intentionally disable it without consequence? Tony Fadell seems to believe the latter. Tony believes he has the right to reach into your home and pull the plug on your Nest products.

This littarly tingle’s of ethics of data; as I lumped data portability in the class of ethics a while ago. Theres been a few scary stories such as Berg cloud, the end of aibos and the famous nazbaztag saga. This is just the start, imagine when its your whole home system like in the example of Nest

Is the era of IoT bringing an end to the concept of ownership? Are we just buying intentionally temporary hardware? It feels like it. I own a Commodore 64 that still works.

The point is perfectly made. We have moved into a world of renting and/or licencing. I have many things which past their support date ages ago. For example my old Nexus 7 2012 edition, still runs and even has the latest Android 6.0 operating system on it. My pacemaker is coming up on 9 years old and there was a beta update 6 months ago! Even my Pebble smartwatch just recently got a update. And I can go back far further with other devices and machines. Heck my original Xbox and Playstation 1 still run and work..

Interesting to see Tony Fadell has stepped down too…

Slack, dataportability done right?

Slack… love it hate it, its seems to be going everywhere…

We recently had to move slacks for reasons not worth mentioning. I was pretty impressed as one of the founders of the data portability group way back, how easy it was to export one slack into another slack. If only more services would take note!

I found the story of slack so reminiscence of Flickr’s inception via game never ending.

Flickr was famously developed as a side feature for the MMO Game Neverendingthat Butterfield was developing with his then-wife Caterina Fake and the rest of their company, Ludicorp. The team realized that the photo-sharing aspect of the game could be spun off into its own service.

Always reminds me of sitting in the audience at the doors of perception 6 in Amsterdam when Stuwart Butterfield talked about the concept and plans.

The right to delete in online dating

Delete billboard by Ji Lee

You know how I’m very interested in the ethical dimension of  services and data. Data portability is something I have a long history with and alongside that, there is related idea of having access to delete.

Of course this can be very controversial like the much talked about, right to be forgotten.

Its intriguing to look at the online dating world where data is thrown about with little regard for the users.

Turns out, there are many people who think deleting a dating app from your phone is the same as deleting your profile – but it isn’t.

Dating apps and online dating sites make it kind of tricky to get rid of you altogether – after all, they attract people (and investors) based on user numbers, so they are not motivated to make it obvious how to delete your account.

Okcupid plays by the rules while eHarmony requires a web action and then a email to confirm. Hinge a mobile dating app, requires you to use a desktop browser before you can delete it the account on your mobile via uninstalling the app.

With Tinder, I disconnected my Facebook account from Tinder meaning the account will be rejected by Facebook if it was started again. Its not elegant but saves me having to install Tinder again. I kind of refuse to install it again.

Makes you wonder how many loops some of the other dating sites and apps will make you jump through…?

Blip.tv does good on its promise to archive

Mike Hudack of Blip.tv

A long while ago I talked about why I used Blip.TV over Youtube, Vimeo and other video uploading sites.

  • Upload video of any length
  • Download the archived original
  • Use there non branded flash player anywhere you like
  • Add a creative commons licence
  • Automatically add content to Internet Archive
  • Add advertising to your video (start or end)
  • Add alternative formats of the same clip

Although most of these features are now supported by the others, blip.tv was promising this in 2006!

It was a shame last year when I saw the message in my email saying blip.tv was removing my videos. I did try and download most of them, but remembered the promise of uploading everything to archive.org.

…If Blip.tv ever pulled a Yahoo/Flickr thing on its users. You could pipe them all to Archive.org and remove them from Blip. Metadata and all..

Well they didn’t exactly do a Yahoo/Flickr thing on us, but their business models changed when they got bought. But they nicely honoured their word and dumped everything requested on to archive.org. I was having a hard time finding stuff (archive.org’s search isn’t the best) but I found everything using this search. Including classics like Mike Arrington thinks the BBC should be dissolved. Remember the firestorm which came from that video and his lack of ignorant comment. Finally it was followed by this.

The only disappointment is the links around the web are now broken as redirection of blip links never happened… Maybe I should contact mike (if he’s still in CEO) to remind him, wonder if he remembers me?

Dataportability for the win…!

Data portability and uber

With all the recent stories about the already dubious (or maybe  devious would be more fitting) Uber. Even I am starting to question how much I can really ignore, especially the God mode (yes I was aware via friends but balancing out how much benefit it brought to myself)

Helen Keegan reminds me of what I have been ignoring (I added the links by the way)…

How about throwing their dodgy off-shore tax dealings and encouraging sub-prime loans to drivers for a shiny new car without guaranteeing any work or taking any responsibility? Or maybe the lack of insurance and vetting of drivers? I’m sure there’s a bunch of other things too. And they’re not the only big tech company behaving like this mind.

Shes right, theres a lot of black marks. To be fair it was Mr Sparks which highlighted the attitude as it was being trialled in Manchester. However if you don’t like what Uber is doing, best look at what most of the silicon valley tech companies are doing. Ok so say I wanted to leave because I am sick to the back teeth of what their CEO is doing (I left Godaddy for this reason to be fair) what happens now?

Uber Lux in Amsterdam

Delete the app fine, but what about the account, data deletion and where next? I have to start again at Hailo? Why can’t I take my  reputation with me?

Theres no way to kill the account in the app, so people have asked them to kill the account. Maybe you can trust, Uber will delete the data (haven’t looked at the Eula recently to see their policy around this).

Unless specified otherwise in this Privacy and Cookie Policy, we will retain your information until you cancel your Uber account, or until your Uber account has been inactive for a year. If you wish to cancel your Uber account or request that we no longer use your information to provide you services, please contact us at support@uber.com. Upon expiry of the one year period of inactivity, we will alert you and give you two weeks to re-activate your Uber account or retrieve any personal information you want to keep. After deletion of your account we will anonymize your data, unless these data are necessary to comply with a legal obligation or resolve disputes.

Ideally you should be able to take you’re trip data and give it to another company. Dataportability please! I’ve been in a similar position before. At the same time it should shutdown the account.

My only hope is Uber upped the game of the other taxi companies out there…

Don’t be Evil Uber indeed…!

Where next for the quantified self?

QSAms_NIK8113

The guardian has a article titled What next for the quantified self

The quantified self movement – the idea that tracking metrics about yourself can lead to self-improvement – appears to be gathering steam. With products such as the FitBit One, Jawbone Up and Nike+ FuelBand boasting impressive sales numbers (the FuelBand reportedly sold out within four hours of its launch), it seems that self-tracking is finding traction and on the way to becoming an ubiquitous feature of daily life.

But how exactly can it break into the mainstream, and where does the future of the movement lie? Here are the five key areas where I see the quantified self going next.

The focus is on breaking into the mainstream which I’m not so bothered about but interesting the areas they identify.

  • App collaboration
    Agreed… The fact you have all these companies feeding date into their own ecosystems. Theres many projects to free the data from the ecosystems but thats just the start of the problem… don’t let me get my dataportability hat.
  • Real-time health tracking
    Yes the push towards real time is real and you can understand why…Faster, quicker, etc
  • Evolution of game mechanics
    I welcome an evolution because to date the game mechanics which have been used are pretty dreadful. I mean I’m a big guy, so whats the point of showing the amount of calories my super healthly friend is consuming. It almost like a kick in the teeth… “hey you fat boy think about your friend Joe when you have that last spoon of rice!” Yeah up yours… Actually talking to my NHS dietation way back when, she suggested the gamification of such things was very bad and should be discouraged. And before you think well she didn’t get it. I’ll tell you she was young (25ish) and had an android phone. An evolution in thinking wouldn’t go a miss, not that I’m saying run zombies run is a bad idea.
  • Fix the food problem
    Yes this is a big problem, and everything I’ve seen before to solve this problem is painful. Even my idea of taking pictures of everything I had to eat wasn’t ideal. Its just not acceptable to pull out your phone, hover above your dinner and take a picture in a restaurant. Yes I know people do it, heck I did it a lot but I can understand the weird looks I was sometimes getting. And heck don’t get me started on the eatery.
  • Google Glass (or wearables)
    The article goes off on one about Google Glass and privacy concerns… When actually the link to the quantified self is tedious at best. Regardless, as an extension of the phone it could be useful for solving the food problem maybe…?

Where I think the Quantified Self should go is (where its going already) mindhacking, workhacking, dreamhacking and narrativehacking.. There’s more areas it could and has gone but I won’t go there/describe them right now…

Use your imagination. Self improvement through data and numbers, enough said (smile).

Can’t wait to see and hear tales from the edge at the quantified self europe conference 2013

Why no twitter import?

I said on Techgrumps 66 recently that I found it very strange that there was no Twitter dump import tools/services?

Now I have my twitter data/dump, I want to host it myself which is pretty easy because there is JSON and HTML (already thought about transforming it into XML for easier transformation in the future) but I don’t understand why Tent.io, Status.net, Facebook or heck Google don’t have an option to import your twitter data?

When Twitter made the data available to you, it was clearly yours. Aka you own the rights to all of it. So you can do what you like with it now. Including handing it over to someone else to mine and use if you so wish.

It was something we talked about again while at the dataportability group, data providers who would handle, mine and make sense of your data on your behalf.

I would consider allowing Google mine the data, if it improved my already great Google Now experience.

I would also like to see my Tent.io allow me to upload all my tweets, therefore making it a heck lot more interesting and useful.

Update… Imran reminds me Timehop supports your twitter data, actually I’ve been looking at singly.com recently…

Reconnecting with half the memories

hajimemashite watashin wa. Ian desu. dozo yoroshiku

Its great looking through my Twitter archive/dump but its frustrating that I can only read half of the conversation.

Funny looking back at this tweet as it was less than a week before I had my brush with death

6 May 10
These early morning meetings are killing me, wondering what people would say if I started setting meetings for 6pm and 7pm?

Yes just imagine… Anyway I can clearly see the gap in my tweeting From 7th May 2010 to June 9th 2010. Not a single tweet…! I also noticed theres no Direct messages in the archive so I can see… Which is a good and bad thing I guess?

Anyway enough doom and gloom…

Here’s is that classic moment which I’ve used to talk about how great open sharing can be/or how twitter is better than facebook.

From 4th January 2009…

Unfortunately you will need to read it from the bottom upwards

Although you know what happens, so it doesn’t really matter 🙂


“thank you but…” passing the card back.”I have a boyfriend, he’s picking me up from the station” so no joy but thanks twitterverse View on Twitter

so I gave her the card and smiled. she looked at it read it with richards jp on one side and my contacts on the other and said…. View on Twitter

Ok headphones are off and shes packing up. Here comes my moment. Geez  View on Twitter

@richardsproject: Ok Richard wrote it, the card is ready. I just need to know what it says View on Twitter

At Stockport View on Twitter

So i was planning to offer her one of my kitkats but i like the card thing. if Richard tells me what it says  View on Twitter

@richardsproject: Tell me what it says and i’ll do it View on Twitter

@sheilaellen: Nope only 10mins left View on Twitter

@JeniT: Ummm like what? View on Twitter

@billt: Ok now i’m laughing out loud, thanks Bill. Think she is running Windows too actually. But shes watching a film View on Twitter

Just passed Mansfield so not long till we get to Manchester View on Twitter

@cisnky: Now that would be good. But how do I start that conversation 🙂 Geez I wonder what @tommorris makes of all of this View on Twitter

@davemee: The twitterverse is my strategy, come on people I got 30mins left to make a good impression and type up my blog entries View on Twitter

@sheilaellen: Shes got headphones on, so that won’t work View on Twitter

Sitting opposite a stunning Japanese lady with a oversized acer laptop. Playing footsie under the table but no joy… View on Twitter

Microblogging dataportability at last?

Twitter data dump

Finally got the ability to download my tweets… Over 6 years of tweets in 6.8 meg of files.

It comes in a zip file not a tar file which is interesting because Facebook uses Tars for its data dumps. Structures interesting because its less of a dump and more a formal backup of your data complete with HTML file bring it all together. Theres a README.txt file which reads…

# How to use your Twitter archive data
The simplest way to use your Twitter archive data is through the archive browser interface provided in this file. Just double-click `index.html` from the root folder and you can browse your entire history of Tweets from inside your browser.

In the `data` folder, your Twitter archive is present in two formats: JSON and CSV exports by month and year.

  • CSV is a generic format that can be imported into many data tools, spreadsheet applications, or consumed simply using a programming language.
  • ## JSON for Developers
  • The JSON export contains a full representation of your Tweets as returned by v1.1 of the Twitter API. See https://dev.twitter.com/docs/api/1.1 for more information.
  • The JSON export is also used to power the archive browser interface (index.html).
  • To consume the export in a generic JSON parser in any language, strip the first and last lines of each file.

To provide feedback, ask questions, or share ideas with other Twitter developers, join the discussion forums on https://dev.twitter.com.

Most of the data is JSON which bugs me a little only because I would personally have to transform it all to XML but alas I’m sure everyone loves it. The CSV spreadsheets are odd and could do with being XML instead of CSV but once again sure its useful to someone out there. The nice thing is there is tons of meta around each microblog/tweet including the geo-location, time and device/client. Even the URLs have some interesting things around it, because I was wondering how they were going to deal with shorten urls, retweets and mentions…

 “urls” : [ {
“indices” : [ 69, 89 ],
“url” : “http://t.co/GSzy55vc”,
“expanded_url” : “http://epicwerewolf.eventbrite.com/”,
“display_url” : “epicwerewolf.eventbrite.com”
} ]

Doesn’t always work… specially when using urls shortener which don’t keep the url after a certain time period. Interesting internally twitter always uses its own t.co for everything…

Right now I’m just interested in the period around my brush with death… Real shame theres no references to mentions you’ve had, as I would have loved to have seen some of those. Guess Twitter were not going to delve into that can of worms…

I want to know why theres no status.net inporter?

Cnet have a overview of how and what to do with the archive. Thanks Matt

Could Rebelmouse be used in distributed dating?

There is something which has been in the back of my mind for ages. Its the concept of distributed and dating.

It drives me crazy to see how closed the online dating world is and even if one breaks the glass, there sharply put out of business or bought. Wheres the innovation, really? I already wrote my rough idea which I believe could change the way online dating is done for the better (I won’t even point out how useful the Okcupid journals are)

On top of that is the problem of being stuck in a silo or stuck on one platform. Wheres the data portability? Wheres the interchange? Look at whats happening with Twitter and the whole controlling yourself or owning your own words.

Anyway, I was reading my feeds and came across Rebelmouse.

The service bills itself as “Your Social Front Page” and while it currently only offers up the ability to connect Facebook and Twitter to power your Lifestream, it does provide some unique features worth discussing.

So I gave it a try and its not bad, certainly a step in the right direction of what I was proposing with my online dating idea. The problem seems to be is its lack of inputs right now, which there working on. So you can only import from Twitter and Facebook. If they had generic RSS too, that would be great. The best part I like is the ability to control the flow (yes flow rather than creation) of subsets of the data. For example I can set twitter hashtags searches to…

  • save tweets to draft, ignore retweets
  • publish only tweets, not retweets
  • publish tweets and retweets
  • save tweets and retweets to draft
  • save tweets to draft, ignore retweets
  • just show timeline

So you can really craft/curate the page with minimal effort… which means you can’t just insert content unless its coming from somewhere else. Imagine if Facebook or Google+ had the same thing instead of deciding whos going to see it. I would suggest this is the more realistic way to manage a timeline because if its online, everyone sees it anyway (imho). But I digress…

I created one as a test for Perceptive Media…. and you can easily see how I could create one for myself or as a replacement for my dating profile, if I wanted too… So the next stage is to move all the stuff away from a central server and on to my own domain. Something I’ll be looking deeper at in the near future.

Goodbye, let’s mix…

I moved away from lets mix years ago even before they did the dirty on the Pacemaker with Pioneer, although its still a shame to see its going…

It is with great regret that Let’s Mix today announces that the Letmix.com mix streaming site will go offline on January 1st 2012. This decision follows the reassessing of our licensing restrictions, alongside a critical evaluation of the business case for our service. Our intention to expand on our operations had fundamentally outgrown the Let’s Mix site.

The closing of Let’s Mix is not the result of complaints from copyright holders. It is a decision based on the equation of cost for hosting and delivering copyrighted components, versus the ability of monetizing use of the site.

We found that as the business of music streaming evolved, so would we need to. Had we desired for Let’s Mix to grow any bigger, we would also have been forced to impose strict limitations on mixes in ways neither we nor our users would have wanted to. Faced with the proposal of sacrifizing user experience and scale, we were forced to reach the difficult decision of seizing all activity at Let’s Mix.

It has been a great pleasure to enjoy the hours upon hours of mixed music, and we are thankful for the many discoveries we have made listening to your mixes.

We have already begun offering our members the ability to download their own music mixes when logged in to their accounts. These are after all your music compilations, and we encourage you to download backups of these unless you don’t already have these in place.

Access to the service in its entity will be terminated on January 1st 2012.

Good to see them providing Data portability of mixes at least… Maybe the ability to transfer to Mixcloud would be good… Although looking at the export ability, it only allows you to download the media file and none of the metadata…. Shame