Where in the world is…(my privacy)?

unsplash-logoNESA by Makers

NP: Daneel – Debris (Inner Ocean Records)

Greetings, all…

I’ve been out of the blogopshere for awhile, but this topic has been brewing within me for months. As you’ve probably guessed by know, it’s on the aspect(s) of data privacy in this, today’s information age. I can go on for, seemingly, forever citing the many data breaches report on in the news over the last few years – everything from Yahoo, to the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management, to Equifax, to Strava, to the latest faux pas’ involving Facebook and Google. While they all are about personal data (or what I like to also call Personally identifiable information (PII)), what I’m going to write about here more aligns itself with location awareness data.

As we all know, the explosion of location awareness really took off with the invention of GPS, but with respect to social media, the sheer personal alignment came with marrying it to mobile phones and GPS enabled smart watches. I really took notice of it after reading an article in Wired Magazine entitled “I am Here: One Man’s Experiment With The Location-Aware Lifestyle”. This article (see the reference at the end of the post), almost ten years old, really enlightened me to the implications (good and bad) of location awareness. Fast forwarding to today, location awareness capabilities are deeply pervasive. Again, with respect to the social media world, many people see it as welcomed convenience, if not a boon. I personally don’t see it as the latter. While there are aspects and applications of it that are truly welcomed by me in some situations I could name here, the act of using it – just because I can – doesn’t interest me at all. The primary reason is because of the vast development of the technology when it comes who and how location awareness data is being collected and what it is used for. While I certainly have nothing to hide, I dislike the fact that my location awareness data, in the most innocent sense, can be used, in so many ways, to market ads to me – marketing in which I have NO INTEREST WHATSOVER. The fact that this data can be collected against my will, brokered and sold to whoever can male use of it, bothers me, bothers me to the point where I refuse to give it up, willy nilly. I won’t even get in to the aspects of how it can be used for ill purposes (geolocation meta data on photographs uploaded to the web, aggregation of data regarding every place I traveled for a day, how long I’ve been on vacation (or similar) away from my home for ANYWAY to know and for how long simply because I keep uploading pics and status everyday I am gone, checked into, established I reviewed on Yelp, or similar, ultrasonic beacons being used to assess my shopping habits and likes when in a clothing store, etc, etc). The issue I have with apps (especially those smaller companies), is while they ensure that your data is protected via their technical design and terms of service, they can no longer ensure your data will be protected in the same way if their company is purchased by another company. What happens to my, one protected data, then? Sure, this is an everyday, common issue, but still…

I know what you’re thinking….”He’s paranoid, for sure”.
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(cues Paranoia Will Destroy Ya/Black Sabbath)
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Honestly, because “1984” (and then some) has been here for a minute – I’d agree with you – to a certain extent. Now that you’ve read this far, what do you think? Is it even passe’ to be paranoid at all in this day of of the information age. Is it something we should just accep? I’ve had this conversation with two friends of mine, two I consider to be technically adept, and they both gave me some interesting opinions. They are as follows:

1) Brian Tramuel (@btramuel). He’s is an avid user of the Gyroscope app and is even found on their website with a featured story. Not only is he an avid user, but a subscriber to their pro app (Gyroscope has a free version which I use daily and really like). Essentially Brian’s take on location awareness is not unusual, hey…it may even be common – “Every one is being tracked. The net, for as long as I’ve been using it, has tons of info on me already, so it doesn’t really matter nor am I bothered with putting my location awareness out there.

3) DarrenKeith Wyatt (@myloveformusic2). He made an interesting comment regarding the concern of today’s generation vs future generations. If I recall correctly, his thought was that future generations will have a far greater concern with data privacy, in general, than this current generation. I found that intriguing, because I’d say the opposite – I think it will become SO normal in the future that the concern will vanish.

In short, we are being tracked via cellphone tower triangulation all day everyday. I’m not one to purposely hand over location awareness data freely, 24/7. I continually monitor my app settings on my phone to only use location awareness when needed by me, I make certain (as best as I can) not to embed location data in EXIF data on my digital photos upload to the internet, and a few other things, and try not to post information about my location (DIRECTLY) at anyone given PRESENT time (although it could be inferred if makes the effort of aggregating enough data points (if many) at said given time). Yeah, call it paranoid if you want, but that’s “how I roll”) (pun intended).

I’m truly interested on your take, your opinion…feel free to leave a comment or two (or ten).

Thanks for the read,
Fresh!

References:
1. I am Here: One Man’s Experiment With The Location-Aware Lifestyle (Wired, 2009)
2. GPS on Wikipedia
3. Ultrasonic Tracking – A Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast
4. Gyroscope – The Operating System For The Human Body

Farewell, FuelBand….it’s been a sheer pleasure.

Greetings all,
It’s Friday, 10:31PM EST to be exact, and I’m glad that the start of a long(er) weekend is here.

This post is about the end of a journey, a journey that began with the use of what became a fitness tracking device I became very fond of. While I won’t rehash all my feelings about it in this post, I’ll provide links to previous posts that you can read, should you be so inclined. The beginning of the end of the journey began on 20 April of this year. That is the day that Nike officially shutdown the Nike Plus website and pulled the Nike+ Connect app as well as the iOS NikeFuel and Moves App from the app store. The API was no longer available for quite sometime and the Nike Fuel Developer Site was also shut down. What this meant for users of the Fuel Band, Nike GPS Watch, and a number of other legacy Nike fitness tracking devices was that they were no longer able to sync their data or change any current user profile data to the Nike website. This also meant that once the device’s memory was full, it would essentially become useless. The day the announcement went up on Nike’s site, there was mixed emotions around the interwebs. Those emotions pretty much centered around two camps: 1) I haven’t used mine in YEARS/It broke, and 2) Being pretty much upset that Nike discontinued all support (even though they stopped selling it new years ago). With bearing much repeating, Nike and Apple eventually agreed to integrated NikeFuel into the four OS apps – Nike Fuel, Moves, Nike Run Club (NRC) , Nike Training Club (NTC). With April 30th arriving, Nike Fuel and Moves got the boot from the app store. Along with that, the Nike Training App ceased to generate NikeFuel points from their workouts (which I was not happy with – especially going back with the dolts at Nike Support who took about four Twitter messages to finally answer my question “Will the NTC app continue to track NikeFuel points because you didn’t make that clear in your website announcement).

That said, I was only able to track NikeFuel points via the NRC app…the issue there is…I’m not a regular runner, so that wasn’t going to me any good in tracking on a daily basis. As you’ll see from the previous posts below, I had already cobbled some math together that would allow me to “estimate” NikeFuel points derived from Apple Watch calories so this was going to be my way of tracking Fuel points once the Fuel Band ceased to work. I wore the Apple Watch and the Fuel together from 1 May to tonight (it’s still on my wrist). Since then, I became an admin in the Apple Watch Fitness Fans Group on Facebook, and continually posted my stats and photos of the band in that group.

Since since the website and apps were no longer available, I had to now log my daily Fuel points manually. Since I have a wee bit of knowledge in using Excel, I developed a spreadsheet to enter the daily goals into. I also created a graph that was a mild facsimile of the one used on the Nike Plus site. In a notes column, I entered anytime I logged Fuel points by using the NRC app, along with any workout exercises that added to my daily points.

This has been going since 1 May. Graphical data for the past four months. My Fuel Band user buddy, Hope asked me why I won’t continued until the band’s data is maxed out. I decided to only track dated for whole months. The band is giving me the “Memory Low -Sync Now” warning, which means it can be filled up anyday now, so I’ve decided to call it quits tonight, the last day of the month. Here’s what the data looks like since May 1.


Monthly Avg.: 2265
Exceeded Goal by: 67.7%


Monthly Avg.: 2299
Exceeded Goal by: 76.7%


Monthly Avg.: 22384
Exceeded Goal by: 77.4%


Monthly Avg.: 2142
Exceeded Goal by: 58.1%

And the grand total Nike Fuel Points earned (23 Sep 17 through 31 Aug 2018): 641,206

I spent the last week of July in Jamaica, came back in August and slacked off – hence the lower stats. LOL. nike has stated in its Fuel Band FAQ the band can go for about 30 to 45 days (max) without before the memory fills up and needs to sync with the website to empty the memory I believe I was able to extend that time frame because as of May 1st, my daily goal was only at 2000 points and the highest goal I reached in the past four months a little over 4000 (as seen above).

Well, tomorrow starts tracking Fuel points via the Apple Watch. I was fortunate enough to connect with a Sr. Data Scientist at Nike who worked on the Fuel band, who was kind enough to vet my math and provide some comments and suggest corrections for the conversion to be as accurate as possible, considering difference in accelerometer technology between the Apple Watch and the Fuel band. For those interested (see my previous posts via the links below on how I got started with this), I use this simple formula to continue tracking NikeFuel points using the Apple Watch:

[AW calories x 3.84]/0.892]
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In addition, I was able to connect with some other employees that worked on Fuel band development, I was told that Nike had some discussion about releasing the Nike+ Connect (desktop) app as open source, but later found out that it is not on their list of priorities. There have been a few people who were able to establish bluetooth low energy (BLE) connectivity with the band and log certain types of data. There’s a software engineer I connect with on Twitter who has been working on doing the same in his spare time but, again, that is low priority.

On a whim last night, I decided to do one last Google search on the band, this time via Behance’s website. Behance is a portal for creators of illustration, photographic, animation, and product design content. To my surprise, I came across the work of Valentin Dequidt and his “recent” concept idea for a Nike Fuel Watch. Totally fell in love with what I saw. Here are two graphics of it.

For the entire concept, click on the link below.

NikeFuel Watch Concept – Valentin Dequidt

Well that’s it. It is officially Sept 1 (12:09 am). Goodbye Fuel Band 🙂 There never was and will never be another fitness tracker that will take the approach to fitness/activity tracking the way you did. The advertising Nike put into it’s ecosystem was phenomenal.

Nike Fuel Band "The Inside Story" from New North Sound on Vimeo.

It was a long post I know. I appreciate you taking the time to read it!

peace!
Fresh!

References:
1. The NikeFuel Band SE in 2017: Band On The Run
2. Apple Watch calories to NikeFuel Points: An experiment
3. Nike Discontinues NikeFuel Legacy Devices and Software

The Phone Zone – Lessons in Reduction

Greetings and good evening….

As is often said, “Where did the month go?” Three more days until we enter in the last quarter of 2018. It’s just after 9pm and it was a long day at work – two hour meeting followed by coming up to speed on various aspects of the current mission I’m working on, via a lot of reading. Top that off with the fact I should have gotten my tail in the bed earlier last night.

In any event, those of you that have been following my many blog posts this month, Darrenkeith and I have been on an accountability journey regarding this sabbatical we’ve both taken from Facebook, Instagram, and a few other social media sites (save Twitter), waxing philosophically as we go. As said earlier, what I thought (in the beginning) was spending too much time engaged in social media turned out that the result of that was the lack of putting my phone *away and out of sight*. I’m convinced now that is the crux of the issue – an issue that I’m glad became clear during this sabbatical. I’ve read and shared a few articles with you on the subject already and came across one that I shared with Darrenkeith this morning. It was interesting because it involved a handful of subjects who sought to deal with this particular issue in their own, separate ways. I’ll share a link to that article below. I’d be interested in reading your comments on the article. in addition, there is a podcast that I recently listened to that provides fantastic insight and balance on the exact topic of this blog post, it talks to considerations of persuasive technology.

Suffice it say, I’ve come up with a number things I plan to put in to play in hopes of dealing with the same, in a way that I hope to prove beneficial. That said, if I am a lot slower in getting back to you via text, Messenger, Twitter DM, and the like, as Jermaine Jackson sang “Don’t Take It Personal….” (it truly isn’t)… just attempting to return to a time, long, long, ago (LOL) of less distraction from mobile device-ism, less “device dopamine hits” and more movements towards being in a “tech-less” moment and goals achieving state.

In a few days, I’ll reactivate my FB account and deactivate my personal Instagram account but keep two music production Instagram sites for branding purpose – the only difference this time is that neither FB or IG apps will be back on my phone. All (what I continue to be) my best photos will be seen from my Flickr account from here on out. The pleasure of blogging from my own “theater” has returned this month, so be on the lookout for this relationship:

content creation > content consumption
(where content = blogposts/music/podcasts/photography/code/film score music and video)

Come 1 Sept, the rubber (of the sabbatical) meets the road (of reality) – let’s see what sticks after a month off.

Thanks for bearing with me….

:::oceans of rhythm:::

Fresh!

References:
1. Tech Titans Dish Advice About Phone Addiction – Great Escape – Medium
2. This World My Life – Darrenkeith
3. “Persuasive Technology” from Let’s Know Things – A podcast about context and the news.

NP: Lovely Standards/Amel Larriuex

Social Media Sabbatical (SMS): Day 23 – 23 Aug 18 – Using less social media – Pt. 3

Greetings all…

Long work week, but the good thing is one more day left, until a two-day break from it all. So, as those who have been keeping up know, I have eight more days until this FB/Instagram/Reddit/etc social media break OFFICIALLY ends. One major thing I have learned up to now is that it turns out it wasn’t just the social media scrolling that I thought was the issue. What I believe the truer issue is…constantly having the phone in my hand which leads to said scrolling every time I subconsciously needed that “dopamine hit”.

I came across an interesting article a few days ago that I purposely saved for this blog post – one that I find totally ironic. The title of the article is

Use the New Tools in iOS 12 and Android 9 Pie to Fight Your Phone Addiction.

I think you may be able to understand why I find this ironic. I do get it, in that the said features in both operating systems are supposed to make you aware of how much time your spending surfing, scrolling, clicking, and the like, in hopes that, in time, you will spend less time doing it. Thing is, the very thing it is trying to get you to do…involves the same tool you are trying to get away from.

For me, I have no interest in the tools. What I do have an interest for is continuing what I have attempted over the last week and that is just to “put the phone down”. Foundationally, it’s that simple…no?

My mom is staying with us for sometime, I sat down to eat dinner after I came home from work today and (this is a perfect example) pulled out my phone to check my Twitter feed while my plate was in front of me. In true “nother mode” she says…”Can’t you eat without your phone in your hand?” She was timely (as usual), but this time…so very, very correct.

That has been my biggest insight out of this sabbatical…admitting that I subconsciously had some form of FOMO, something I always said I didn’t have. Realizing and admitting it’s something to be dealt with, I’m up for overcoming the challenge.

Thoughts?

Thanks for the read…

peace,
Fresh!

Social Media Sabbatical (SMS): Day 20 – 20 Aug 18 – Using less social media – Pt. 2

Another workday Monday has come and gone. It was productive, tedious but productive. This morning, the usual diatribe occurred between me and my brother in podcasting/tech/photographer/music, DarrenKeith regarding our social media use, or lack thereof. The discussion was briefly about plans of usage when returning back to FB and IG after this break is over. Strangely enough, I stumbled across this Twitter post and thread today:

The OP stated essentially the same thoughts I’ve been having regarding my return to Instagram. The only thing different between her and I is that she has a successful business that she’s been using FB and IG to promote. Me, all I have are two secondary IG counts used for branding my music production activities as a personal artist and one half of AfterSix Productions.

Reading the thread further solidfied my thoughts about deleting my personal IG account. Only two IG followers reached out to me since 1 August to ask about what happened to my IG account (there are 5 followers total whom I let know ahead of time that the sabbatical was going to take place). As of this writing, I’ve already requested IG send me a download link to retrieve all my content. That site will be deleted no later than 31 August 2018 at 11:59pm. The other two IG accounts will remain. As for FB, I’m considering what I will do once I returned regarding how much time I will actually engage there. Twitter will remain, as it provides a relatively high ROI. Flickr will become my platform for photosharing.

Well, studies say that it typically takes 21 days to form a habit. Tomorrow marks the 21st day of sabbatical from both FB and IG. We’ll see how valid, IRL, those studies are…

Peace and blessings,
Fresh!

Social Media Sabbatical (SMS): Day 18 – 18 Aug 18 – Using less social media (?)

Greetings readers…

Eighteen days in of disengagement from Facebook and Instagram. I’m starting to think about, increasingly, my reasons (and associated ROI) for returning to Facebook. I’ve not had the desire to even check it at all, so there is where I am right now. There are two groups I am an active admin in, which are both low maintenance, so my reasoning for returning (or not) is based on that fact. None of my co-admins have contacted me about an issues going on so….

Now, my brother-in-tech/podcasting/photography/music, DarrenKeith, sent me a very on-point article from one of my favorite radio shows, Marketplace from American Public Media. This article and podcast is entitled Americans, including tech insiders, are using less social media. Suffice it to say, the gist of the article actually said things I’ve heard in passing over the last six months, but I did learn some interesting things from it. One was the aspect of flat out quitting social media vs limiting your use of it (the same commentary was something discussed in a Twitter thread with one of my followers, Brian Tramuel, which started from an article he posted and I referenced in my own blog post that evening.

If you’re so inclined, let me know what you think of the Marketplace article. Some of the commentary definitely has me continuing to solidify my approach to using social media, whenever I return.

Have a great day/evening/night

Fresh!

#100DaysOfCode – Goal Setting (You must crawl before you can walk)

Greetings all….

Some of you know I’ve been participating in the #100DaysOfCode campaign from some of the previous posts on this blog. I’m learning to code in Python, and though this is the third attempt over the last few years, this campaign, as well as a totally different outlook than before, has allowed me to travel further along than the last two attempts. The accountability (if you will) to this Twitter-based campaign has worked well, broadened my network of those striving to do the same, and has provided a good dose of regular motivation. That’s all well and fine, but after 23 days in, and coming across a few articles, I’m realizing what I am missing (which is not specifically campaign related). What missing is the long term goal.

I listened to a podcast two weeks ago that REALLY walked down my street. In short, it’s the story about a current developer who is a little older than me, but the key, common characteristic is age – and how many figure that at a certain age, it’s too late to accomplish certain things. After listening to it, it provided (and still does) great motivation to debunk that attitude. If your interested, you can listen (or read the transcript): I’m 56 and learning to code. Here’s an epic beat-down of my critical inner self.

That said, I’ve decided to step back and provide some answers to some unknown questions. The journey to accomplishment involves sequence that I actually heard a developer talk about in a podcast two weeks ago that really hit hone with me. That led me to the questions in my outline, which look like this:

The Sequence
1. Goal Setting
2. Hard Work
3. Pain
4. Enjoyment
5. Goal Accomplished

The Questions
Q1 – What’s the motivation for me to learn Python (or any other coding language)?
A1 – The mptivation is to learn Python is that its specialty includes scientific computing. I want to be able to apply scientific computing to help solve problems I may have the opportunity to in my career at some point. Secondly it is to master a language that I could use in a career change or consulting scenario. Thirdly, it is to be the base coding language for supporting technical hobbies like Arduino project development

Q2 – What short and long term goals I hope to achieve?
A2a – Short Term: To become proficient enough where I can code programs to solve a variety of problems, contribute to open source projects and develop websites using the Flask frameoork (or similar framework that I finally decide will be most beneficial). To learn to apply the well know scientific computing libraries to help in coding well written programs.

A2b – Long Term: Provide services to those in need, do some form of consulting. Increase regular contributions to open-source projects

Q3 – What methods/activities do I plan to execute to in order to achieve the goals?
A3 –

Q4 – How do I plan to execute self-management (in order to most efficiently use the time available to me) to apply the methods and activities?
A4 –

The third and fourth questions may appear simple to answer but it’s the execution that I really need to make sure is realistic. So, here I am. It’s Saturday night, and I will get to some coding after I publish this, but will take the rest of the weekend to make sure I answer the questions. This really needs to get done, because doing tutorials, learning, and even working on my current coding project is fine, but without a realistic and tangible end in sight, I may not be taking the best approach.

We all want to arrive at the destination, but we want to make it the trip efficient and positive (despite roadblocks, detours, setbacks, etc). I strive to, though I may not always achieve, “work smarter and not harder”

Thanks for the read….

Fresh.

“Stop….’Internet Time’ ”

Sorry about the corny MC Hammer reference in the blog title 🙂

So..this past Sunday, I happened to glance at my watch. It’s a Pebble Time Steel that I purchased over in 2016, new, for well under $249. There are tons of watchfaces that users have developed for the Pebble line. I noticed that this particular watchfa ce (many are customizable to show various aspects of data you’d like to see on the watch) that it was showing the date twice. I clicked on the watchface settings on my phone to replace one of the date settings with something else. I noticed, in the menu, something called “Internet Time”. I’d never heard of it, so I set it to show that. “Pretty cool”, I thought but…..what is it? I immeditely searched Google and here’s what I found.

From Wikipedia, Swatch Internet Time (or .beat time) is a decimal time concept introduced in 1998 by the Swatch corporation as part of their marketing campaign for their line of “Beat” watches.

Instead of hours and minutes, the mean solar day is divided into 1000 parts called “.beats”. Each .beat is equal to one decimal minute in the French Revolutionary decimal time system and lasts 1 minute and 26.4 seconds (86.4 seconds) in standard time. Times are notated as a 3-digit number out of 1000 after midnight. So, @248 would indicate a time 248 .beats after midnight representing 248/1000 of a day, just over 5 hours and 57 minutes.

There are no time zones in Swatch Internet Time; instead, the new time scale of Biel Meantime (BMT) is used, based on Swatch’s headquarters in Biel, Switzerland and equivalent to Central European Time, West Africa Time, and UTC+01. Unlike civil time in Switzerland and many other countries, Swatch Internet Time does not observe daylight saving time.

Here’s Swatch’s official website explaining internet time

Apparently, I missed this boom of the 1990’s that Swatch was attempting to start, however, it was riddled with approaches that never held much water and didn’t prove to be as useful as Swatch had hoped. This article laid out a few of the advantages and disadvantages.

The Wikipedia article gives the full history.

Be that as it may, it’s kinda quirky, and has gone by the wayside, but I think I’ll still display it.

Cheers,
Fresh!

Social Media Sabbatical (SMS): Day 13 – 13 Aug 18 – Google Tracking/Data Harvesting

Now Playing: Fluid – Drown in the electronic sound of instrumental hiphop, future soul and liquid trap – on SomaFM.com

Greetings good people.

Happy Monday, or whatever day you are reading this. Glad this workday is behind me, not because it was particularly hard, but my sleep patterns have been messed up ever since the attempted Parker Solar Probe launch attempt I blogged about two days ago (off patterns are exacerbated by not going to bed as early as I should have over the last few nights). Can’t believe I napped not only on Saturday but on Sunday as well. Gotta break that. After some coding tonight, I’m flat out turning in, within the hour.

Well, thirteen days into this sabbatical and the insight has been becoming clearer. My tech/podcasting/blogging brotha DarrenKeith, are continuing to discuss this journey we are on, exchanging relative articles to the “cut back” and the resurrected freedbom of spending less time on “the scroll”, creating more content through blogging, etc. Nothing wrong with consuming content, but my desire is to always make sure I am getting an ROI that results in moving me forward in the goals I’m trying to achieve.

Today a particular article referenced the age old story of how social media sites use us as product, harvesting the data collected from our likes, searches, and similar to share with marketers in order to show us more ads about they THINK we like. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

On a similar note, I ironically came across a somewhat disturbing (yet not not new) article about how Google tracks your movements, even when you have Location turned off. I thought having Location turned off meant exactly but according to this article, that is not entirely true. I won’t get deeply on what the article states, as I think you’ll get a clearer understanding if you read it, but the short of amounts to something I did last year, despite what my iPhone settings are, and that is to go My Activity – Google and adjust your location and Web App activity settings there, accordingly, for all your Google profiles. As you read the article, you will read about Google’s “Google-ease” (as I call it) stating that they are quite clear about how to keep your timeline activity and similar private, however (like Facebook’s famed chameleon privacy settings) that clarity is not apparent to the average Google user. So, yeah…read the article and adjust your My Activity settings as necessary.

“How do I do that?”, you say? Check this out.
Make sure check out the Google Dashboard page of the site as well I’ve had my location and web activity tracking on lock since last year.

POST EDIT (16 Aug 18): AP News updates the above story saying the Google has updated the erroroneous language on their Help page. The article is here.

POST EDIT (20 Aug 18): Reuters News reports of the first lawsuit, here.

Ok folks, “that’s all she wrote, the pencil broke”…I’m out.

Be good…
Fresh!