Arriva trains changes to their onboard wifi service

transport for wales terriable wifi

I noticed Arriva trains (now Transport for Wales) have changed their policy on board wifi usage. I had problems with it in the past…

Now instead of cutting you off when you hit the shocking amount of 20meg (yes you heard me right – 20meg!) They throttle the internet to your device at 20meg.

Its still not ideal but I do feel its a better compromise that cutting the internet completely. Especially because frankly the signal from tethered phones during the journey through south Wales can be pretty poor for miles and miles.

The Øresund bridge/tunnel mix

On my recent travels to Scandinavia, I took the train from Stockholm to Copenhagen in first class (5 hours on a train is too long without Wifi and Breakfast). I always wanted to cross the Øresund since I first heard about it (never actually watched the bridge TV series). Originally I was thinking about roping some friends into driving across but it didn’t happen, so the next best thing was a train ride.

During the later part of the journey, I opened my Pacemaker and looked did a mix while speeding through the Swedish country side, Malmo and across the Øresund. Originally the mix was much longer but decided the start wasn’t great and so cut off the first 30mins and started at Lost Tribe.

It was quite a journey and here’s the mix to go with it…

Enjoy!

  1. Gamemaster (Michael Woods 2003 remix) – Lost Tribe
  2. Barcelona (Paul Keyen Remix) – Addictive Glance
  3. The Dark Knight – Khomha
  4. City of Lights – LTN
  5. Perpetual Motion – Protoculture
  6. Drive – Abstract Vision
  7. Phantom Manor (misja helsloot redo) – Abstract Vision
  8. Rheinkraft (extended mix) – Oliver Klein
  9. Opium – Jerome Isma-AE & Alastor
  10. Running up the hill (Jerome Isma-AE bootleg mix) – Placebo
  11. Black is the new yellow (Activa remix) – Super8 and Tab feat Anton Sonin
  12. Delores – Indecent Noise
  13. Crayons (Leama and Moor remix) – Starkid
  14. Grotesque (Alex MORPH and RAM mix) – RAM
  15. Torrent – Dave 202
  16. Heartbeat (Dj Eco remix) – Paradise Garage
  17. Valhalla (Tonerush remix) – OneBeat
  18. Louder – Jose Amnesia feat Jennifer Rene
  19. Anomaly (Eeemus’s higgs boson remix) – Gordey Tsukanov
  20. Labyrinth (Paul Keyen remix) – Lee Cassells

Little update, the mix is currently doing ok in the Mixcloud Techtrance chart. Currently 89th on Monday 6th Aug 2018

92nd in the Tech Trance chart

Listen to the minorities, they are telling you something important

Doing my bit to Inject feminism into daily conversations with other men (people!) I have been more and more aware of how controversial my enlighten views on feminism seem to be. Luckily I have recently been surrounding myself with people who are equally enlighten in their views. Rebecca posted on her facebook wall something which is linkbaity but I clicked and read/watched for about 30mins solid. The 39 most iconic feminist moments of 2014, will have you almost in tears and punching the sky in a FTW style.

Some of the best parts for me include…

Mo’ne Davis made everyone want to “throw like a girl.”

When the 13-year-old Davis led her team to the Little League World Series, it’s safe to say she captivated the nation. Poised and confident, Davis was an instant role model for millions of little girls — and boys — and also was the first Little Leaguer to grace a Sports Illustrated cover. To top it off, she was also recently named Sports Illustrated Kid‘s “SportsKid of the Year.” You go, girl.

Beyoncé danced in front of the world — and a gigantic feminist banner.

…Beyoncé’s 16-minute performance was quite literally a sight for sore eyes. The world’s biggest diva proved feminism wasn’t just accessible, it was cool. As Time remarked, the entire show was about women’s empowerment.

Aziz Ansari broke down feminism for dudes.

During his appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman in October, Aziz Ansari made some crucial points about feminism to an otherwise pretty mainstream late night audience. “If you look up feminism in the dictionary, it just means that men and women have equal rights,” he said. “And I feel like everyone here believes men and women have equal rights. But I think the reason people don’t clap is that word is so weirdly used in our culture.”

Aziz Ansari is exactly the point of view enlighten man should be thinking. That is what everyman can do to help the movement of diversity and equal rights for all.  And further to that, the words play deconstruction is great.

Ansari’s message was clear — feminism is not about pitting men and women against each other. “If you believe that men and women have equal rights, if someone asks if you’re feminist, you have to say yes because that is how words work,” he said. “You can’t be like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m a doctor that primarily does diseases of the skin.’ Oh, so you’re a dermatologist? ‘Oh no, that’s way too aggressive of a word! No no, not at all, not at all.'”

Whats also interesting for me is continued rise of black women. Outside of the Beyonce’s, Olivia Pope’s, Lupita Nyong’s, etc. You have Roxane Gay, Shonda Rhimes and so many many more strong black women standing for their rights and doing the right thing.

Women stood at the front lines of Ferguson.

Despite reports of women being silenced or interrupted by male activists, women made sure their voices were part of the growing chorus of dissent coming out of Ferguson, Missouri. “Historically, women have always been leading,” protester Thenjiwe McHarris told MSNBC. “A lot of times women are often unseen leaders because women are all just doing it — we’re all just doing the work.” In addition to helping lead marches and chants, women like Jamilah Lemieux from Ebony also fearlessly reported on events from the ground. Although police Officer Darren Wilson was ultimately not charged in the killing of Michael Brown, the conversation about racial justice will continue, with women as some of its most invaluable warriors.

Absolutely the protest/rally I was a part of last week was arranged and put together by black women wanting to show their support from Manchester. This is why I was so upset when it got hijacked by other organisations.

Looking at the battlegrounds of #Blacklivesmatter, its easy to look at it and think, “well theres little I can do…?

But just like feminism, we need support from all sides. You don’t have to be Black to understand or at the very least listen…!

When a woman tells you something is sexist, believe her.

When a black person tells you something is racist, believe them.

Don’t be an online bystander in the face of sexism.

Don’t be an online bystander in the face of racism..

I find the link between feminism and racism far too obvious in my mind but so many people don’t get it. Its about being who you are and not an idealised version which the media and society want you to fit into. Being a woman like being black is not something you can just tone or up/down to fit in with the patriarchy.

I could be talking about another race, age, LGBTQ, Disabled, etc, etc people. We should never have to apologize for who we are

On the last train home to Manchester last night from Newcastle, I was on a very very busy train between Newcastle and Darlington. I did have to throw somebody out of my table seat but he was pretty understanding in the end. His friend was less understanding but by the time the train started moving, he started talking to me. Now to be fair it was 10:15pm on a Saturday night so there was a lot of alcohol involved. but he started talking to me about racism.

I don’t see colour…” So I engaged and carefully suggested maybe he does and actually it might be better if he did? (wasn’t going to bring up the fact he was talking about it with the only black man on a predominately white train) might be counter to his argument). Anyway the guy who I throw out of the seat, standing next to me. Could hear the conversation and seemed a lot more sober, and interjected about the doctor whom saved his daughter who was black. As you can imagine the conversation went on quite a bit but the crux came down to not or seeing colour.

My thoughts is you need to see diversity before you can respect it and do something about it. Pretending we are all born equal is not a mistake. Yes we should/must strive for equality and also celebrate diversity but we are a long long way from either right now.

https://twitter.com/lsarsour/status/541426219657748481/

What is it about TV people?

There is something about TV which seems to attract some of the people I personally don’t really like much.

I was on the 18:57 declassified train back from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly. Declassified meaning the whole train is one class and you can sit in first class on a second class ticket. Anyway sitting on my reserved single seat, I couldn’t help but notice the people on the seats ahead of me making a bit of noise.

As the train wound its way up to Manchester, they got noisier and nosier. There was lots of bitching about collages and celebs (did they not understand they were in a public place?). They bought lots of wine/cava from the onboard shop and drink them just as quick. “Oh don’t worry I’ll claim for them” said the most senior one. They made it clear they worked in Media City and met celebs all the time in the studios.

What got me was, when we got into Piccadilly one of the quiet passenger sitting near me said quietly to another passenager.

Well I’m so glad our license fee is being used so wisely…

And who could blame her for saying so? I wanted to say, I don’t believe they are BBC employees, but choose to see what else would be said. However the carriage filled up with people getting ready to get off.

So I ask what is it about TV?

I’ve met many types of media people but TV just seems to attract posers, dicks and showoffs? Outside the obvious idea of the broadcast, I mean these people are on the wrong side of the camera. Maybe its a build up  Of course I’m not saying all the crew who work behind the camera are posers, dicks and showoffs. But it certainly attracts them.

Ok this is one time right? I’m very wrong right? Lets look at other times I’ve come across TV people… The Year of Making Love and that massive saga. Enough really said… And also lets not forget the Edinburgh TV UnFestival, great event but the TV festival events were something else. Although I have admit its Edinburgh in summer and its the end of the festivals. But finally its not just me, insurance companies put higher premiums on TV producers, as I found out when trying to insure my scooter. As soon as I changed my job title to almost anything but senior producer, the premiums dropped massively. If anyone asks, I’m a senior designer… Certainly not a TV producer…

Sorry to people I know who work in TV, I’m sure your one of the good bunch, your being let down by a vocal few!

Peaktime trains vs Hotels

Overhead power lines

I can happily say I have to date never knowingly paid for a peak time ticket to London.

Even when going back and forth to London from Manchester for those meetings with the rest of the BBC, I just couldn’t do it.

Two questions bugs me around this…

  1. How can Virgin trains charge more than a hotel in Central London (booked within 24hours) for a peak ticket?
  2. Why is there peak time from 3pm – 7pm if you leave London but not the same if you leave anywhere else at the same time?

The current price of an Anytime peak return is £308! This means you can get on a train anytime and return anytime within a month. Even if you don’t need that level of flexibly, the cheapest peak time return tickets are roughly £217. Yes you can get 2 singles but there still roughly a total of £210 and you must go on that train there and back.

An Anytime off peak return is £77.30 with the same return anytime within a month. Giving you plenty of flexibility (just remember to avoid the 2nd peak time).

To be fair all these prices are based on a booking within a month of travelling and are for Virgin Trains to and from London. If you book over a month before the prices do lower and 2 months before can be reasonable. Just a shame the discount fares are not that great.

So saying all that, what I worked out early on while at BBC Backstage was, if you take a off peak train and stay in a hotel, its still cheaper than a peak time train fare. Yes believe it or not, and its not one of those crappy unknown hotels, I mean the likes of Holiday Inn, Ibis, Ramada, etc. So not your elite or boutique level hotels but a good hotel with a good bed and breakfast. Plus I don’t mean booking way in advance, I mean booking within 24hours.

The only issue is you have to give up your night before to catch the off peak train.

For many this is a absolute no way/no chance. Its hard enough going down to London to spend a night or two away from the family, let alone prolong it by adding more time away. I totally understand and who am I to judge, but for someone like myself, this is a great opportunity to save some licence fee, sleep soundly over night in a hotel and wake up early for that 10am meeting. Sometimes I even get the chance to meet up with old London friends on the Sunday, which certainly sweetens the deal some what. At least it doesn’t seem like I’m using my personal time for work then.

Frankly I hate getting up early, and there is nothing better than being able to get up later and still make that 10am meeting, without worry about delays or scrapping for the last seat on a stupidly packed peak-time train.

dozo yoroshiku: welcome to the open web

hajimemashite watashin wa. Ian desu. dozo yoroshiku

My friends keep asking why I don’t use facebook? And I always respond with some quite crushing comments about the walled garden of facebook and the mentality of facebook users. Anyway once we get past that they usually ask me whats so great about Twitter? I usually respond by saying its open and public which means there isn’t this closed walled garden to hide behind. Some of my friends who have been paying attention usually say, “well I don’t want everyone reading what I write.” Then I throw in an example where having the public discourse is actually a good thing.

That example is now famously called “the Japanese babe” example. Unfortunately with twitter making changes to the way things are archived it may get lost, so I thought I’d highlight it on my blog so others can also use it as a example of the open web vs the closed web and or even why twitter is very powerful compare to facebook.

So I was on a train heading back from London going to Manchester. The train was busy but not crammed. I think I was sitting next to a old lady most of the journey till we got to stoke on trent. At stoke on trent things cleared up and the lady left, leaving me a whole table with plug for my laptop to myself. Anyway, the next stop a woman came aboard and I couldn’t help but notice her, she was Japanese and very attractive.

She sat down at the seat opposite me and smiled briefly, asking if the seat was free then put her laptop down and put on some headphones. She shifted around a bit and her legs touched mine under the table. She said sorry then shifted her’s while in the meantime I shifted mine too. We collided again and again saying sorry each time. In the end she settled on a position between my feet, not quite touching but close enough.

We both laughed about the footsie situation we had landed ourselves in and she put her headphones back on. She was listening to something in Japanese. How did I know? She had plugged the headphones into the wrong port on her laptop or she had dual audio ports like mine. Anyway I ended up taking off my headphones and telling her that her audio was playing out loud so everyone could hear it.

Once again she smiled and shifted her feet, so we went through the footsie thing again.

Some of you are thinking what the hell has this got to do with twitter, well hold on I’m getting there.

So we traveling to Manchester, cute lady sitting opposite me and we’ve played footsie a little bit but not much else has happened. So I decide to twitter the situation I’m in.

Unfortunately Twitter.com no longer gives you access to old tweets you may have written so I can not link to any of them. Bad form twitter!

Anyway that tweet when out and lots of people saw it, much more that I expected. Because I received lots of replies with helpful information on how I should get the ladies attention without sounding like a cock.

End of the day a guy (wish I could remember his twitter name) suggested I write on the back of a business card…

hajimemashite watashinwa. Ian desu. dozo yoroshiku

which translates to,

How do you do? My name is Ian Nice to meet you (or please be good to me).

…and slide it across the table to her.

Obviously I had no idea what it translated to and was very skeptical of doing it in case it said hi i’m ian and I’m a cock or I want to shag the pants off you or something like that. Anyway after much going back and forth with people on twitter, there was a consensuses that the mystery reply was ok enough to do. Although some people were saying don’t do it, it reads something unsightly.

So I took out a business card and wrote on the back of it the phase. With one more twitter message and lots of people saying do it! I slid the card across the table and she took off her headphones and read it. We had already hit stockport which is just outside of Manchester so we getting ready to depart the train. But she giggled nervously when she read the card, and turned to me and said…

“This is very sweet of you but I got a boyfriend already and he’s coming to pick me up from Manchester station, sorry…”

By this point the train had pretty much arrived in Manchester Piccadilly, so I had to close down my laptop and cut off twitter which meant everyone who had been wait to hear what had happened, had to wait even longer (twitter on the mobile phone in the uk was rare, plus my data plan was weekend and evenings only). She smiled sweetly at my attempt but got up and left just before I did. Later on the platform, I saw her with a guy and another girl. I just did a little slow nod to say “take care” and she smiled back. That was the last I ever saw of her.

When I finally got back online, twitter was reaching fever pitch with people wanting to know what had happened. I explained what had happened over multiple tweets and there was a lot of people saying good on for me doing it.

I have to say that a lot of them came from people who either heard about it on the public timeline (a few), checked out the strange trending topics (a few more) or saw the re-tweets from others (many). For the rest of the day I was saying thanks to people for there comments and encouragement.

The open web almost helped with my love life. Now thats something a lot of people can’t say. Imagine if it was Facebook, I would have got all my friends advice but none of them can speak or at least write Japanese. So the opportunity would have gone up in smoke, plus having loads of strangers willing you to do it really gets you going. This is something which can only really happen on the open web.

So why now am I telling this tale? Well I’m moving flat and I found the business card with the writing on the back. It is a shame I can’t link to all the tweets made during that period of time on the train, but you can imagine what it was like. It certainly made me think a lot more about social media. In actual fact it was one of the drivers for my twitter dating service – tweet foxxy or tweethookup (as it was first called), which I later sold the concept of after my talk at ignite Leeds in 2009. I’m actually surprised this is the first time I wrote this down?

Phones on a plane and Free Wifi on GNER Train

ishida's seat from London to Edinburgh

Our good friend Rachel Clarke who now lives in New York (the movie piracy capital says the MPAA) asks Phones on Planes?

No. Please no. At least put them in a booth or something so the rest of us don’t have to hear them say ‘guess where i am, on a plane’.

I have to say, I don't quite think this is such a bad thing. Ideally there would be a restriction on high volume talking not mobile phones. Yes they seem to induce high volume chatter but if your using your mobile for Data then thats a whole different story right? I just look forward to the day when I can finally text my friends to say I'll be arriving at Chicago O'hare in 30mins rather than waiting till I'm through customs. Although, like most people I also turn on my phone the moment I get off the plane. Another reason for mobiles on a plane is the fact that airplane phones already exist. They hardly used because once you swip your card, you can feel the timer eating through your money. The cost aspect as applies to in the air wireless which has stupid prices attached. I think having the ability to use your own dataplan/phone will finally break those stupid in the air monoploies.

Talking about Wireless. I thought I'd give a big thumbs up to GNER's Free Wireless onboard the train between Leeds and London Kings Cross. This is how I'm currently replying to all my emails and blogging. Its also pretty damm fast, the upload speed is bad (ping times of 1000 to my network) but general browsing and IM are good. From what I'm reading the Wifi shouldn't be free but trust me it is and there's no blocked ports or anything. I was able to VPN into my network using Hamachi and VPN into the BBC. Oh I also forget to mention there is power on some of the carriages in GNER and it also seems First Trains in the North of England. So from now, when traveling up to Northern England, I'll be traveling by train! This is great because I've been meaning to cut down on my air travel and I end up feeling terriable after flying. It may take longer on the train but its comfitable and you can actually relax with a reasonable amount of leg room.

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Traveling on public transport in London

Theres something about public transport which I like. Ah yes the ability to sit down and read and listen without too much interuption. I swear I'm pretty much going through my whole 240+ RSS feed subscriptions in one journey too and from work. So yeah pretty much within 2hrs I'm able to tag all the interesting entries which I wish to read or look at later.

Its not only my RSS which I'm able to go through much quicker now. I have actually added more podcasts to my subscription because I'm going through them pretty quickly now.

As a lot of you know I've now moved to Woolwich and that means I need to get a totally different train into London now a days. I was, still am (will always be) nervious of reading my aggregator via my laptop on the train. People get mugged for a lot less and I've been pretty lucky so far. I get some really weird looks and I cant work out if its either my Firefox Tshirt or the laptop? Now I know the social enginnering tshirt would certainly cause a second glance but I cant work out if its just that sly glance of I know that logo, I use that browser at home too or more what the heck is he doing on a train to dartford with a laptop? Who knows? Interesttingly on the way to work this week me and Dave were talking about taking apart BBC's unencypted Digital TV signals and the licence which this can be done under, yeah usual geeky culture politics stuff that we tend to talk about. When this women (cant remember her name right now) stopped us and asked if we had heard of Creative Commons. Honestly me and Dave gave each other a double look (like you only see in Cartoons) and said yes, absolutly! During the course of the conversation which went from Greenwich to London Bridge we touched on Boingboing, gaming, Licencing and a few more things. I did give her my business card before she ran off into the crowd of people pushing there way to work. Although Sarah wasnt that pleased about that. She has not emailed me yet, but it was great to have a geeky conversation on the train.

I did have another conversation with some stranger on the train this week but it was very very odd and maybe not worth getting into.

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