Mobiking in Manchester my first experience of bike sharing

Mobike in Manchester

Mobike came to Manchester on Thursday and I decided to try it out after seeing them next to the MediaCityUK stop.

My scooter was having a service and I was at various MIF 2017 events, so I gave it a try on Saturday afternoon between events (long MIF2017 blog coming soon).

Generally it pretty painless, install the Mobike app (make sure you get the right one!), pay a one time deposit of £29 (which is refundable at anytime) then point your phone at a bike’s QR code; moments later it will unlock and you can ride it. It costs 50p for 30mins of ride time.

It’s not bad but the app feels badly skinned with english, there’s still chinese language bits and paying the deposit could be a lot simpler. Theres also more evidence of its chinese  legacy with the share options only being wechat, qq, qzone and sina weibo. No sharing with fb, twitter, g+, etc…

The apps refreshes and shows the bikes near you, which is useful. I did have a serious problem with the app’s permissions which only really needs your location and camera for the QR code reading. thankfully Android 6+ can change the permissions and my app works fine with just those 2 turned on.

The bikes themselves are ok if you are going a short distance but for example I rode 1km which also included a few small hills. The hills were killer as the bikes have no gears and are not very comfortable but practical. The little basket is useful for small things but I kept my laptop bag on my back and put my summer coat in the basket. I didn’t fancy waiting at the lights and someone grabbing my laptop bag.

Honestly I didn’t enjoy riding the bike on the road, on the pavement it handled a lot better. There is no suspicion and the wheels pass every bump straight into your arms and legs. So I stuck to riding on the pavement and canal towpath’s.

When you are finished, you simply lock the bike with the built-in lock and walk away. Simple…

However I didn’t know this at the start but there is a whole system/scheme/behaviour mobikes users have to sign up to.

What are Mobike Credits?

Mobike’s mission is to provide an economical, environmental friendly mode of transportation using innovation and technology. To achieve our mission, we encourage proper usage and do not tolerate misuse and inappropriate behavior. Below are the Credit Points Guidelines:

Each new user will be entitled 100 Credit Points and is able to hold a maximum of 10,000 points and a minimum of 0 points. Higher credit points indicate proper usage and good conduct whereas low credit points indicate misuse and inappropriate usage.

Having low credit points will affect the fare for your trips. When your Credit Points are 80 or lower, the fares for usage will be $100 per 30 mins. (You will be awarded 100 Mobike credits upon registration. For more information on Mobike Credit Point Deduction, refer to “My Mobike Credits”)

All credit point deduction can be found under “My Account” -> “My Mobike Credits” -> ”Deductions”. If there was an error in your credit points deduction, please report the error at the lower right corner of the App.

Gain Credit
Each ride +1
Report broken bike +1
Report incorrect parking +1
Using another user’s invitation code when registering +1
Successfully invite a friend to use Mobike +1
Lose Credit
Park in a compound -20
Abandoning the bike when intercepted by police -50
Forget to lock, but eventually retrieve the bike Reduce to 0
Use a private lock Reduce to 0
Forget to lock and bike is lost Reduce to 0
Illegally transporting the bike Reduce to 0

The interesting part is you can earn credits by reporting other uses who have broken a rules, like parking the bike where it blocks the public walk way.

Help others find where you last park

On the trip summary page, you can upload a picture of where you parked the bike and a comment, to make it easier for the next user to find the bike. If you indeed help the next user to find it, they’ll have the chance to validate your information and you’ll get an extra 2 Mobike Credits!

Report bad parking practices
If you see any illegal or poorly parked Mobike, please send us feedback and you will be rewarded with Mobike Credits. To report, you can click the “!” icon in the bottom right corner, click on the “wrong park” button and send your feedback! Please do remember to include the bike number in your feedback.

Of course, I can just imagine how this is going to turn slightly nasty and influence the way people use the service. It’s also not clear how far you can take the bike, not that you would want to ride it to the Airport, and carrying it on the tram would break the rules and leave you with no credits.

I didn’t upload my picture to share with the next person, so I guess some sad person could realistically report it as badly parked? (Although its been moved since!) Be good to retrospectively add a photo too.

The weird thing is, since the mobike is still outside the flats and I keep seeing people messing with it, I keep thinking maybe I should ride it back to somewhere else? Almost feels like my bike and I’m still responsible for it as such… Theres another one by New Islington tram stop, and I did consider parking my bike next to that one. Of course if I did, that would start the money timer again!

Between riding my scooter, catching ubers, walking, taking the tram and skateboarding; it’s closer to skateboarding,. The big advantage is not having to carry it around afterwards, especially if it suddenly rains (its Manchester, so this always happens)! It’s a in-between-er for trams and buses. You could walk, but walking will be slower. Uber will be costly and traffic can be a killer in Manchester. Also as its still new, the chances are, you can easily pick up the same bike when you want to head back.

Generally I think its good for short journeys. Its convent but I would hate to ride those bikes in the rain or any distance over 1km. I do wonder when they will get hacked and how Mobike will deal with that, can imagine some man in the middle attacks already.

Sexortation the new catfish scam?

Black mirror s3 ep3: Shut up and Dance screenshot
After a virus infects his laptop, a teen faces a daunting choice: carry out orders delivered by text message, or risk having intimate secrets exposed.

Tom Morris wrote on his blog

For some, Black Mirror seems to be a HOWTO guide. I guess if you are going to use sexual shame to make money, Britain is the best place to target.

He’s not wrong, from the Telegraph paper link.

Organised criminal gangs are blackmailing growing numbers of young men after using social media to entice them into performing sex acts on screen.

Police have revealed an unprecedented rise in the new crime of webcam blackmail – known as ‘sextortion’ – with more than 900 cases reported so far this year.

That is already more than double the total for the whole of 2015.

But senior officers at the National Crime Agency fear the true scale of the problem is far bigger, with many victims too ashamed to report their involvement to police.

Among recent victims were four young men who became so desperate at the thought of being publicly humiliated that they took their own lives.

I mentioned this in my talk at TedXManchester 4. At the time people seemed a little baffled and you can see how its can be confused with Cat-fishing. This partly why I felt it deserved a entry in urban dictionary (even if I did spell it slightly wrong).

Watching Black Mirror Season 3 episode 3: Shut up and dance I was instantly thinking about this even if [Promise not to spoil it… but there is so much I could say] but there is a really nice breakdown at the psychtech podcast too.

If people think blocking your webcam will solve the problem, think again! This has just got started, I dare not think how low this scam will go.

Advantages of 1gig broadband: Plex media server

Plex Py

The advantage of having 1gig broadband (hyperfast) is the change of behaviour. Yes you can consume more and very quickly but its the symmetric nature which makes it interesting.

I have been running Plex media server for a while mainly to keep a track of my media, as I’m still running Kodi as the front ends.

One feature of plex media server is the ability to stream media to friends. Sitting on 1gig, I can share with a few close friends without even noticing. Its pretty seamless too, as long as they are using plex as a client. Luckily there are clients for many operating systems and devices including the xbox, playstation, firetv,  chromecast, etc.

Plex media server share

Its good, I once had 4 different friends watching media from my single core celeron server one evening. Did I notice? Nope, except when I noticed the activity indicator was lit up.

This got me thinking theres got be a way to visualise this stuff? Of course others have thought about the same and I installed Plex py.

Plex Py

Pretty cool eh?

The only downside right now is my single core server with 5400rpm drives (helps with the cooling) is rubbish at transcoding full HD content, especially burning in subtitles. Maybe its time for a server upgrade?

I’m also not certain about running everything through Plex, wondering what other solutions there might be which can work in a similar way.

Sharing is caring…

A Perceptive on storytelling

As most of you know BBC R&D have a demo of Perceptive Media which we’ve shown a few places including the EBU in Copenhagen. Its been a hidden gem for a long while and its been amazing to see what people have had to say about the concept of perceptive media. Specially liked the two Brits sitting on the sofa talking about it.

We’re really hoping as many people will enjoy it and give their honest feedback to us (good and bad). But its not just the individual  feedback we would like to research, its the interconnected stories of how people tell others about it and how they explain it to each other…

How memes spread has always been high on my list of loves and to be honest should be high on the BBC’s research lists (if its not already?) In actual fact there is something about how memes spread and attribution which I think is very interesting and could be a new business model into the future.

Anyway… expect much more about Perceptive Media on the BBC R&D blog this month. In actual fact if you want to be first hear it and respond directly to people behind it like myself, the script writer, actress, coders, etc… Then you should make your way to the next Social Media Manchester.

I was reading about the domino effect on my Kindle via Instapaper the other day on the London Tube prompted after reading this tearjerker story. This bit really got into stuck in my throat, further proving that I’m just a sucker and massive romantic…

At the end was this bit…

Here’s the power of a story: someone hands me one, like a gift (I imagine it wrapped in shiny paper with the bow, the handmade letterpress card, the whole nine yards), and in that gift, I find parts of myself that have been missing, parts of our world that I never imagined, and aspects of this life that I’m challenged to further examine. Then—and this is the important part, the money shot, if you will—I take that gift and share it. In my own writing, sure, but the kind of sharing I’m talking about here is the domino effect: how I hear/watch/read a story, and then tell everybody and their mother about it, and then they tell everybody and their mother, and somewhere in that long line of people is someone who, at this exact point in their life, needed its message more than we’ll ever know.

The power of a story indeed…

You could look at this as a example of why Perceptive media isn’t going to work but actually I disagree. Someone (out there) has written a story which perfectly suits the medium but they don’t know it yet.

Public 2.0: The era of personal data openness

I was in London Thursday for the Public 2.0 conference, which the guys behind the Data Art  project put together. It was a nicely put together conference with a mix of speakers and topics.
I kicked off the day with my presentation titled The era of personal data openness.
When I was approached about doing a presentation for the data art conference. I wasn’t sure which angle to take. After a few thoughts, I decided to contact the data art guys and see what they were exactly after. After a brief chat, I decided to take the more interesting path in this presentation
The premise of the presentation is Open data from organisations like the government, companies is interesting and the movement around this has finally sunk in. There wasn’t a single government proposed agenda last year which didn’t include something about releasing more open data. And every startup and online business is building APIs, so they can take advantage of the overwhelming power of the rich ecosystem of developers, hackers and early adopters. But I’ve noticed a increase in tools and systems to take advantage of our own data and the data we generate everyday.
I was tracking this very much from the sidelines and had not found a decent way of explaining the topic of self documentation. That was till I had lunch with Rain Ashford.
We talked through a bunch of stuff but got talking about my presentation which I was due to give next day. And after describing the premise like I am now. She said it sounds a lot like Quantified Self
Bingo! Having never heard of the movement, it instantly made sense and further research clarified everything.
Quantified Self is the Era of personal Data Openness….
Its also worth noting Walter De Brouwer’s presentation at Thinking Digital also had some influence but I forgot to mention it. Two links from that session http://curetogether.comwww.patientslikeme.com all fit perfectly…

Calendaring sharing joy with Outlook 2007, Amazon S3 and Jungledisk

Calendaring sharing joy with outlook 2007

Its finally working… Calendaring sharing with Sarah now works. I got fed up trying to do it with my own WebDav and CalDav servers, and downloaded Jungle Disk. Jungle disk is simply a local server which interfaces with Amazon's S3 storage and provides a webdav wrapper. So when Outlook 2007 asks for a Webdav server, me and Sarah just point it at localhost and Jungledisk takes care of syncing with Amazon S3.

Yep its not free but its certainly worth the bandwidth and storage space for a tiny calendar file, if it means I can see Sarahs Calendar and she can see mine.

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The TV watching generations finally catergorised

TV on loose stones and bricks

I've been thinking about this for quite some time but never really put it down anywhere till I wrote this email on the backstage mailing list. Yes I also hate catergorisations like this because they group people in too tight a category but this is only a thought.

  • 1st generationMainstream

    Tend to be stuck to the Broadcast Schedule, will get home to watch a certain thing, will see lots of adverts etc. Will tend to have Cable, Sky (satellite) or Freeview (over the air broadcast). Uses a video recorder to catch up on stuff missed but prefer to watch stuff live
  • 2nd generationTape it for later

    They tend to watch live events, browse TV and tape/vivo/record everything they watch a lot (such as shows). They skip adverts but still see them. Still aware of the Broadcast Schedule and subscribes to Sky or Cable. Uses the internet a bit for web 1.0 type applications (email, browsing). May buy shows legally from the itunes store.
  • 3rd generationOn Demand

    Completely off the schedule, no idea which channel things come from or what time there on. Rely on friends recommendations or social networks to tell what's on. Owns a laptop or has a computer device (such as xbox) setup with there TV. Tends not to browse TV and does not subscribe to Sky or Cable but watches a lot of TV content, sometimes more that previous generations. Keeps up with a lot of American shows. Watches shorter TV clips and amateur and pro-amateur media online.
  • 4th generationThere is no spoon

    Same as 3rd generation but sees all content as remixable and shareable. Can't understand why mixing content is a bad thing. Uploads content to online sites and shares a lot for social capital. May not even own a TV but has access to a large connection (broadband). Uses Torrent sites including private trackers. May watch a equal amount of pro-amateur/amateur content with pro TV content and may have a podcast/videocast of their own. Owns at least 2 computers, a mobile device which can play video, maybe a console
    and has a home network of somekind. May still buy content legally but is frustrated by

    drm

    and the lack of content.

These are my own views and should not be taken as the views of the BBC or factually correct.

Notes

Obviously there's stages between the generations (nothing is black and white like that), like someone who watches everything on demand but also tunes in for Torchwood every week (what day was it on again?).

I expect people will slowly climb through the generations and this will take some time. For example their are a lot people who can be categorised in the 1st Generation but there are also a growing 2nd generation which at some point will make up the mainstream. I also suspect the changes will happen faster as time moves on. So you won't get the 100 years of 1st generation TV watching with 2nd generation tivoing. Also 3rd and 4th generation watching are much closely aligned. Someone once asked me what happens after
the 4th, I usually laugh and say We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there… – Alan Turing.

The comments/feedback section is open, let me know what you think of it all.

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Zune all about sharing of media?

Zune Walkthrough

I'm watching a video about the Microsoft Zune. Its quite interesting but there's not enough to make it much better than a ipod. The sharing has been talked about a lot but the thing which I think Microsoft missed is the loud speaker. Yes sure it would be very ignoying but its what the kids are doing with there phones now. And if the Zune is all about sharing, it would make sense to have a loud speaker too, imho.

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