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Archive for September 2008

As we may feel – english version (I am nothing without co-workers)

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I am not yet ready for take-off to Porto. As always a lot of things remain to be done. One of my students –Matthias Käppler– finished his diploma thesis about an ANDROID-based application named CAPTCHR. It covers some basic aspects of the URBAN SYNC ideas and we only wait to lay our hands on the long-awaited Google Phone by HTC.

In the meantime I have to write the review for his thesis. And since he has to wait for me he was so kind to do the announced translation of the essay! THANKS! here we go:

In 1945, US-American engineer Vannevar Bush published an essay entitled „As We May Think“. Even today, his work is still considered to be an exceptional blue-print for contemporary software systems that underly our globally interconnected information society. However, it’s the year 2008, and social networks have conquered the living rooms of both adults and our children. The omnipresence of our most private data, which is broadcasted globally by all kinds of devices, has led to an inconsiderate, blatant form of self-promotion. „Goodbye privacy“, the critics warn: an era of „Me-streams“ and „24/7-life-logging“ is proclaimed by its advocates. We are eager users  — Homo ludens, anyone? — however, in which ways this affects us is vaguely known at best: on the edges of ardor and technological criticism, where it overlaps and frays out, silence and emptiness dominate. What will it mean to us, how will we feel in a world where our most private moments are exploited for perfect match-making, et cetera, the list could go on endlessly. Hence, we courageously head for a self-experiment, throw ourselves into prosperous life with full gear, and see what happens …

Written by urbansync

September 30, 2008 at 3:12 pm

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As we may feel – Wie wir fühlen werden

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People often asked me about the motivation, scientific goals or even artistic approach underlying Urban Sync. Since some of these people are either bloggers or PR-related people I wrote a little essay (in german) trying to give a brief introduction why I want to perform this project.

Im Jahr 1945 veröffentlicht der amerikanische Ingenieur Vannevar Bush ein Essay mit dem Titel As We May Think – Wie wir denken werden. Es gilt bis dato immer noch als grandiose Blaupause für Softwaresysteme aktuellster Bauart, die unserer weltweit vernetzten Wissensgesellschaft zugrunde liegen. Doch wir schreiben immerhin das Jahr 2008, soziale Netzwerke eroberten die Kinderzimmer (SchulerVZ) und dann das elterliche Begehren (Wer kennt Wen). Die Omnipräsenz privatester Daten, die ubiquitär von Alltagsgeräten in die Welt gestrahlt werden haben zu einer gnadenlosen Selbstvermarktung geführt. Goodbye Privacy mahnen die Kritiker, das Zeitalter des Ich-Streams und 24/7-LifeLoggings wird von den Befürwortern ausgerufen. Genutzt wird fleissig, Homo ludens allenthalben, was es mit uns macht, bleibt ein wenig im Vagen und an den Rändern von Technologiekritik und Überschwang, dort wo es überlappt und ausfranst, herrscht Schweigen und Leere … Was macht dies mit uns, wie werden wir uns fühlen in einer Welt, in der der privateste Moment zum perfekten Matchmaking genutzt werden könnte, etc. pp., die Liste lässt sich gar uferlos weiterführen. Also schreiten wir mutig zum Selbstversuch, werfen uns vollinstrumentiert ins pralle Leben und schauen was passieren mag … to be continued …

(I try to provide an english translation as soon as possible!) Done! Thanks to Matthias.

Written by urbansync

September 26, 2008 at 1:22 pm

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How do GSM, Bluetooth and WiFi look like?

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I did a 5 min recording of the audio signal of the GHz scanning device. By sending SMS, downloading images via bluetooth from a mobile phone to a laptop and activating the integrated AirPort I created typical artefacts in the GHz Space. After this I did an import of the audio file into AUDACITY which is a cool open-source audio editor. The big bursts in the first half are the SMS messages going out and coming in. In the middle you can see the bluetooth session. And at the end the fine lines results from activating bluetooth at a mobile phone and the bursts at the end result from activating/deactivating the WiFi of the laptop. So much for the indoor test case. But basically this is the principle for my out-of-the-lab recording of connectivity signales in urban areas.

Written by urbansync

September 25, 2008 at 1:40 pm

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GPS and the consequences

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Yesterday my iBlue 747 GPS datalogger arrived. After charging the device it went to my bag at 5 pm. I was into several activities: driving home, shopping, picking up kids, driving to a parents meeting at school, driving back home, getting stopped by the police, sleeping, bringing kids to school this morning, driving back to the lab.

This morning I managed to install the PC-based drivers and applications to have a curious first look. And I was really pleased with the results, especially the speed profile was kind of interesting. Scooter, car, walking, sleeping … it was easy to guess when I was using what, except for sleeping there was too much “action” computed. (The height profile could be something interesting for my private usage since I am a lousy cyclist.)

Being a Mac addict I searched the net for USB-drivers and apps supporting the iBlue. Finally I am trying at the moment the GPS Mac Travel Recorder which imports the data over the USB and has several export facilities to CSV, GPX, KML, KMZ. It is terribly slow. In addition I plan to use GPS-Babel and a small gpsplot-script to export to gnuplot.

Anyway I am happy to have a cool setup now for the GPS stuff!

Written by urbansync

September 12, 2008 at 11:52 am

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