Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (March 2022)

Flag of Ukraine

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing the cyber-war alongside the disinformation war and of course the physical blood shed of war in the Ukraine from Vladimir Putin. It makes delivery drivers dancing for likes and Tinder changing prices based on personal data look even more pathetic.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with the incredible resistance from the Ukraine people along with People leaving Facebook, enzymes eating plastics and  Android getting tracking protection.


Thoughts about the digital public sphere

Ian thinks: I still find re-reading Bill Thompson’s entry into the book “Building a European digital public space“, still full of wisdom and insight for the future of the digital public ecosystem.

The rush to virtually own your home has started

Ian thinks: On the face of it, it seems like a load of nonsense but the harms are clear as you read further and consider how the big tech corps always buy the smaller startups.

Mozfest’s grand webmontization tipping experiment

Ian thinks: Adding tipping to Mozfest is going to be a interesting dynamic for the mainly virtual festival this year. To take part you just need one of the pay what you like tickets.

O’reilly’s thoughts on Web3, interesting technology but get ready for the crash

Ian thinks: Tim O’Reilly has been asked a few time for his thoughts and this piece for CBS, certainly has put the cats in with the NFT pigeons.

The technology is questionable but the community is real?

Ian thinks: I do find something of hope in this article, as it explores the community side of the web3 hype. If the community spirit can outlive the huge speculation, that might make it worth while?

The deep worry of the fact checking systems

Ian thinks: Following Facebook fact checking the British medical journal, I found the EFF thoughts spot on. Saying you are fact checking isn’t nearly enough. Sadly a lot of people assume that is enough

Faster internet isn’t the panacea for a better society

Ian thinks: Although the paper seems slightly different from the news piece, The notion of faster internet as ultimate end is a bad mistake. Infrastructure is only part of the solution not the panacea.

Friction can be a good thing

Ian thinks: Last year I gave a talk about friction-less design and how it was partly to blame for the lack of control people have on the internet. This piece adds even more impact to the lack of friction.

Synthetic biology and needs a public entity?

Ian thinks: Amy’s new book The Genesis Machine, sounds far reaching but Amy raises a lot of points about who is driving synthetic biology? I kept wondering about a public entity besides Governments and Corporations.

Matrix’s swarm mode is truly terrifying (spoilers)

Ian thinks: There is so much about Matrix 4 which speaks about the current and future state of technology and society. Clearly swarm mode activating sleeper bots from a therapist who manipulates our feelings says plenty


Find the archive here

Roughly 4 days of app tracking with Duck duck go’s app tracking

4 days of app tracking with Duck duck go's app tracking system

Following the post a couple of days ago about Duck Duck Go’s app tracking system.

I had planned to make an update to the original post but after reading a few other pieces about it, thought it deserves another post.

So here is 4 days of data, and there are some really questionable tracking in there. For example I didn’t open my ereader prestigio app over the last 4 days but there was a tracking call to Google. Oura and Beeper are sending a lot of tracking calls. Wasn’t pleased with the calls to Facebook from Orfi and surprised OKCupid and POF apps were not tracking more.

I am thinking about maybe installing another app which does similar but unsure if I trust them as much duck duck go right now. Oh and I got my invite for Duck Duck Go’s mail tracking today too.

Trying out duck duck go’s app tracking protection

Duck duck go's app tracking protection on Android

I was in the queue to get access to the Duck Duck Go’s app tracking protection and yesterday caught a invite on my old Pixel 4 phone.

Its only been one day but you can see above there has been 1650 tracking attempts. Many from Beeper app, which is my instant messaging app of choice. I can forgive them as beeper is under heavy development and segment & functional seems to be a customer/feedback data platforms.
This is similar to Oura and I can see why Google would be tracking as I do connect it to Google Fit anyway.

On the annoying side, Orfi is a app which my volleyball teams have switched to from using facebook events. The Facebook and Google trackers is worry some but its only when the app is open, which isn’t most of the time. Likewise the Philips Hue app tracking is annoying, as I do have that open a lot for controlling my lights. Plume is a tricky one but I will look through the settings to see if there is something which could be turned off.

Frankly its all really interesting to see and funny enough, the battery life of my Pixel 6 has completely changed. Usually its at about 75% after a day but today its at 85%. Not much different but the apps using the most battery power has completely changed.

Of course this is all after one day, so I expect I’ll see what happens over time and likely write a follow up.

Duck Duck Go are on fire and we need to see more of this…

 

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Mar 2021)

traveling with a passport and boarding pass

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed, hearing Bill Maher rip through a bunch of websites and people looking for new ways to track users now 3rd party tracking is on its way out?

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with more nuanced privacy depth being discussed, participating in Mozilla’s challenges moment and hearing Solana talk through the internet health report.


The background story of Tony Abbotts boarding pass

Ian thinks: We all heard the story about the former Australian minster who was hacked after posting his boarding pass on instagram but here is the incredible background story, told by the hacker.

Vaccine passports are not as simple as the media are suggesting

Ian thinks: Heather gives plain and clear reasons why vaccine passports are not the panacea its being made out to be. Its also great to hear Lillian Edwards framework mentioned (May 2020 newsletter) as a way forward.

Gamestop? Rethinking the whole rigged system

Ian thinks: Douglas Rushkoff’s monologue about gamestop needs a listen for a different view, but stay around for the interview with Yaël, previous head of political advertising at Facebook. She tells all and I like the approach of trying to fix it before criticising.

Lets talk about Sharenting

Ian thinks: Shareting is when parents share their kids photos and private information without their consent. Its become a real problem now the millennials are growing up with a digital footprint without knowing.

How Facebook joined the splinter-net while Google throw the open web under the bus?

Ian thinks: Hearing about the absolute mess over news in Australia, its easy to point fingers. But its important to look deeper at whats really happening for the sake of profits not people. I’m with Shoshana Zuboff and others, but I know many people get their news from these massive corps.

A big step for gigworkers, but lets be diligent of next steps

Ian thinks: The Uber case is great news but in a similar legal play to Facebook & Google with Australia, there might be more going on that most are reporting? We got to look a little deeper as monopoly is Uber’s end game.

Ian thinks: This is a devious way to force a take-down of a live stream or any recorded footage. Theres got to be a better way and I think its related to using alternative platforms or self hosting with syndication.

The centralisation of power is the problem

Ian thinks: I like this summary of so many of the problems with Facebook, but it misses the important point of centralisation. It also highlights Noam Cohen’s quote “Mark Zuckerberg is deluded by his own faith in Facebook’s ability to be a force for good in the world”

Public value and purpose into the future

Ian thinks: Mariana is on fire and this summary of work around the BBC puts value under a microscope. I love this line “Value is not just the income generated at the end of the innovation chain–– it is also the creative input at the upstream end, the vital investment in talent, content creation, digital innovation and R&D at the early stages

Google fires another outspoken AI research, who will be next?

Ian thinks: Margaret Mitchell and Timnit Gebru show there is something going on with Google AI research. It doesn’t take a lot to guess what is actually going on behind close doors.


Find the archive here

Amazon halo…be afraid be very afraid

There is so much I wanted to say about the Amazon Halo health/fitness tracker. The Twit.tv video above pretty much sums up my thoughts. I haven’t read through the halo privacy policy yet, but others are picking bit out already.

Amazon Halo privacy concerns

Wherever there are body scans, always-on microphones and a tech giant in the same service, there’s bound to be security concerns. Amazon knows this, and has already outlined what privacy will look like for future Halo users.

Halo health data is encrypted in transit and in the cloud, and sensitive data, like body scan images, are deleted once processed. Meanwhile, voice analysis is processed entirely on the user’s smartphone and deleted after. Nothing is recorded for playback — users can’t even listen to their own speech samples.

All Amazon Halo data can be managed and deleted in the Halo app. Your Halo account is also separate from your Amazon Prime one, so anyone you share your Prime account with won’t be able to access your private health information.

This for me is one of the things people in the Quantified Self movement were always worried about.

Do you trust Amazon with this much personal data?
Whats the actual pay off?
Is it all actually worth it?

Then you have to ask the question what makes it different from other quantified self devices and systems?

1 month of trying web monetization

Web montization

I wrote last month how I was giving web monetization a try.

I decided to go with the option where people with the coil extension would pay a small fee but its still available to the public. There was a consideration that I could make certain posts such as my publicserviceinternet notes.

Its been surprising to see the money come through on uphold. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a way to stop uphold emailing me each time I got new money (seems to be an option which could be useful)

£3.48 for a month Over a month and a bit. I made £3.48 from having installed the coil extension. Not bad for a month, and its more than I was expecting. its certainly more than the changetip I had originally (I wouldn’t mind if it went straight into uphold as a cryptocurrancy rather than currency actually – Sure there is a way to do this but not found it yet).

Enough to buy a expensive pour over coffee in one of my favourite northern quarter coffee places. Not quite enough to cover the domain name but if things stay as they are, it will easily cover a few of my domain names renewals for a year.

So where do we go from here? Well I’ll leave it as it as it currently is set for now but I might give the option of coil only members a try on a post or two in the future.

Thanks to Cyberdees for connecting me with this, I like the non-tracking and if I was running other sites I would add coil to it. I may end up doing another post in 6 months to see what happens in the future. There is something good here.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Feb 2020)

Smartcity - Wakanda

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed by looking at the sorry state of the UK during our EU withdrawal or the tech press panic over the coronavirus.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this happening with young people leading the way on climate change.

Anonymous still legion?

Ian thinks: Nice summary podcast about the book, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous

Curious about hacking?

Ian thinks: Excellent growing resource explaining the origins of hacking in a balanced way through different interviews and press coverage

Fediverse Is here to stay

Ian thinks: English language CCC (Chaos Computer Congress) videos I found. Really good points made about open society and Aaron Swartz

I imagine Vice’s journalist has a awful uber rating

Ian thinks: So clearly outlines the case for Uber to disappear in to the past and what ride sharing really could be.

Cities which work for their citizens not the other way around

Ian thinks: Citizens as sensors, rather than a thing to be sensed; is a good primer for future smart cities

Tracking through podcasting

Ian thinks: Interesting talk from the CCC about tracking and advertising through podcasting.
[English audio stream in downloaded video]

The real drug dealers get away with murder

Ian thinks: Its so easy to point the finger at the darknet markets, but Jack really hits home with the true crime lords.

How is that advert following you around?

Ian thinks: If you don’t understand how cookies work and why you really should reject those cookie banners, this is idea for you.

Sexual harassment, anonymity and

Ian thinks: Sigi’s story told by herself is a powerful one in the era of Background on the story.
[English audio stream in downloaded video]

Google takeout to the rescue?

My Motiv ring on my hand

So recently I’ve gone into Quantified Self overload with my new Motiv Ring, added to my Pebble smartwatch for sleep tracking.

The ring is very good, but the app isn’t the best, its seems to work but isn’t very clear when its not syncing with the ring. Also I knew the 2 day battery was going to be a pain but to date I’ve been charging it every 2 days and never got to the point where its gotten below 44%.

As the app is pretty rubbish, I have sent everything to Google fit. I pretty much have everything synced with Google fit now.

The first time I noticed it was all working, was when I looked at sleep as android which I use with my pebble smartwatch and noticed my heart rate over the top of my sleep data.

Sleep data with heart rate
I warn you the sleep is a mess due to my flu I currently have… also why I’ve not blogged those great conferences I’ve been to recently.

Likewise I recently hooked up my Withings/Nokia iot scale to Google fit. The scale has its own app which isn’t bad but frankly its not great. It suffers from the similar problems as most of the quantified apps attached to a device or service; they want to be the centre of the world. Reminds me of my Fitbit which import everything but export little.

I understand Google fit is mining the heck out of my quantified data but with Google takeout, I can get the raw numbers in one place. Everyone wants to sync with Google fit and the dashboard view is far better than what everyone else right now.

I’ve also set it up to send me an update every 2 months. Now that’s pretty neat. Would I pay for a service to do this? Yes I would, how much is the question…

The Quantified Self archive all in one place

Get inspiration and ideas from hundreds of self-tracking projects documented in our community archive, searchable by tools and topics.

Its great to see all of the quantified self videos, presentations and show and tells in one place. Its quite an archive of media and worth browsing through. I had the joy of seeing some of these live at the Quantified Self conference’s.

Here’s some of my favourite ones.

Three Years of Logging my Inbox

Mark Wislon notices that his inbox correlates directly with his stress level. After passively tracking this for three years, he decides to actively shift how he sees his inbox account and learns how he’s controlled (and been controlled by) this stream of angst. He also discovers a very important life lesson: he’s addicted to email.

Using Relationship Data to Navigate a Chaotic Life

Fabio Ricardo dos Santos is gregarious and likes to be around people. A lot of people. But he had a nagging sense that something was out of balance. To better understand why, he began to track his relationships and interactions. He soon found that out of the people that he knows, only about 14% are what he considered to be important relationships and that they made up 34% of his interactions. He felt that this number was too low and it spurred him to spend more time with that important 14%. But he didn’t just track his time with people and the number of interactions. He expanded his system to include the quality of his relationships and interactions. He found that this made him focus on face-to-face interactions and video chats over emails and texts.

Leaning into Grief

Dana Greenfield’s mom was a surgeon, professor, researcher, entrepreneur, blogger, tennis player, and a mentor to many medical students. Unexpectedly, she passed away in February, 2014. To help her process her mother’s death, Dana began tracking every time she thought of her mother by writing down what triggered the memory, the mood it inspired, etc. Watch Dana’s talk as she shares her experiences of using self-tracking to better understand her own grief and the role her mother continues to play in her life.

What I Learned By Building

Dawn Nafus, an anthropologist, reflects on some observations of what self-trackers actually do when they make sense of data. Dawn’s observations led her to ask: what tools might support more diverse ways of working with data? This short talk describes what she’s learned while engaging and building tools for the QS community.

Tracking Punctuality

Sebastien Le Tuan is a recovering “late-oholic.” He is typically always late to friends and family events. One day he had a conversation with his dad that made him realize what effects his tardiness has on his personal and professional life. In this talk, Sebastien describes how he started tracking his punctuality and what he has learned from the process.

Sleep Patterns

Laurie Frick is a visual artist that make work, objects, and installations that relate to brain rhythm. In the video, she presents her amazing work on daily activity charts and sleep charts translated to art. She measured her nightly sleep for over 3 years using a ZEO eeg headband and has almost 1000 nights of sleep data.

Can’t You See I Was Falling In Love

Shelly Jang used GMvault to look through 5 years of Google Chat logs to hunt for signals that she loves only her husband. She looked at whom she messages, the time of a day, and the words she uses. She was able to extract meanings from innocuous metrics like “delay in response” to show whether her or her future husband were “playing games” at the beginning of the relationship. In the talk, she shares what she learned from her project.

Grandma Was A Lifelogger

When Kitty stumbled upon her grandmother’s diaries and started to explore the daily entries, she was struck by similarities with her own life and habits. Kitty is a modern-day lifelogger. She tracks places, events, mood – a variety of different personal data streams. Reading the diaries, Kitty saw that her grandmother used her daily entries as logs – tracking the details of where she went, what she ate, even the boys she kissed. In this talk, Kitty shares what she discovered, and the lessons she learned.

A Photo Every Minute: One Year Later

Rob Shields has been wearing a camera phone around his neck that takes photos every minute. He has been doing this since August of last year. In this video, one year later, he talks about what has changed, what’s new, the things that have been working, and some of the stuff that haven’t been working. He also shares some data from his experiment.

Tracking Street Harassment

Valarie moved to San Francisco when she was 29 and she was not prepared for the city life. She was really freaked out by the trash on the streets, by the way the taxi drivers drove, and how expensive everything was. But the thing that freaked her out the most was street harassment. Street harassment is any action or comment between strangers in public places that is disrespectful, unwelcome, threatening, or harassing and is motivated by gender or sexual orientation. She was surprised with how many times she was harassed while walking around. To better understand what was going on she started tracking these instance.

We Are All Going To Die: How Is Our Digital Life Preserved

Mark Krynsky started a blog about six years ago. On his blog, he wrote about live streaming and impetus and how he was trying to aggregate social data into a single timeline. The blog evolved over time, and it wasn’t just about social data–it was also about life blogging. Since then, he learned about Quantified Self and started thinking about the future of his data, what’s going to happen after he dies? In this talk, Mark discusses digital preservation and how he created an action plan for his digital data after his death.

Tracking and Improving My Sleep

Quantified Self organizer and cognitive science researcher, Daniel Gartenberg, is interested in sleep and his passion is this idea of not just tracking sleep but actually being able to improve sleep. He also makes sleep apps. He started tracking his sleep after his business partner contacted him on a recent scientific finding, where basically one could enhance deep sleep auditory stimulation that replicates the frequency of one’s own brainwaves when in deep sleep. In this talk, he shares his tips on tracking and improving his sleep.

Owning My Quantified Self Data

After years of collecting Quantified Self data, Aaron Parecki began moving more of his data onto his personal website rather than letting it sit in someone else’s cloud. This insures that his data will stick around even after apps and devices go away.

How good is the Oura ring tracker?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5U4F9xvWY

Its a nice looking device, seems to work well but at £300+ its a high price.

I do find the back story interesting however, especially since its been floating around the Quantified Self community for quite some time.

My usual worries about data-portability, app access (the android app looks like it needs work), etc all come into play but as a replacement for myband2 and sleep tracking on my pebble smart watch. It does interest me.

I don’t usually wear rings but I did obviously have a wedding ring and also did try wearing one of those cheap NFC rings.

Take back your lunches

lunch

How long do you take for lunch?

Personally, I take a full hour…

I consciously take my full hour or sometimes a little more, to balance the amount of time I sometimes work (I quantify my work time with hamster time tracker, so know how much time I have worked)

I very rarely eat at my desk, although many of my colleagues do it regularly. To be fair I have mentioned eating at the kitchen table (we have communal kitchen tables on each floor) but they always blame meetings or not enough time.

Take Back Your Lunch. In the best of worlds, that’s something we all ought to do every day. At the very least, I want to urge you to take back your lunch on Wednesday, and then on every Wednesday this summer, wherever you are. To find out where people will be gathering – or if you’d like to organize a Take Back Your Lunch Meetup in your city or town

Sounds good to me, reminds me of some of the early breakfast meetups there use to be in London.

#MancQS What to do with all that data? Monday 6th July

BBC Dashboard

The theme for the July Quantified Self Manchester is What to do with all that QS data?

Talks are welcomed around this including.

• What do you do with the data?

• How do you import/export your data?

• What are data dashboards?

• Which data dashboard are worth using?

• What other uses of your data are there?

Be a great time to come along, meet other self trackers and discover whats possible with quantified data.

Quantified relationships?

https://twitter.com/TonyChurnside/status/565482176566001664

Tony asks my view on pplkpr.

pplkpr is an app that tracks, analyzes, and auto-manages your relationships. Using a smartwatch, pplkpr monitors your physical and emotional response to the people around you, and optimizes your social life accordingly.

Its a interesting project/art project. I don’t think it would work so well but I seen it all before in QSEU13 with Fabio who records every single person he talks to.

Well at least its not a complete system, it works with other wearable devices.

pplkpr has been extensively tested with the Mio wristband, but any Bluetooth LE (also called Bluetooth Smart or Bluetooth 4.0) device that transmits heart rate in real time will work. This includes the Polar H7 chest band and the Zephyr HxM.