We Lost The War

Since 11 years I’m living in France. Since November 2015 France has a so called state of emergency (état d’urgence). On 13 November 2015, …, due to expire after four extensions in 2017. As of 23 July 2016, almost 3,600 houses had been raided under the state of emergency, leading to more than 400 arrests, the seizure of …

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Mobile Devices, Drupal, Composer and 217 km

Beside my Drupal work at artus.com I attended the Mobile Users FFM monthly meeting on Wednesday. The group exists since 13 years and it started as the “Palm user group, Frankfurt”. Do you remember Palm? During the last 13 years the world changed and it was interesting for me me to hear stories about different types of smartphones, smartwatches, phone contracts and gadget like the Yota Phone 2.

A member of the group (@android_oma) is developing an interesting Drupal/Android/open data project. The basic idea is to collect photos from German railway stations (bike stations, elevators, facilities inside and outside of railway stations). She pulls open data from the German Deutsche Bahn with longitude, latitude and unique id numbers of German railway stations. These data should be imported/synced to a Drupal site (http://www.deutschlands-bahnhoefe.de).

http://www.deutschlands-bahnhoefe.de
http://www.deutschlands-bahnhoefe.de

With an already existing Android App, people can see railway stations where photos are missing. So far the project is in early stage, the app is not in the app store but available via in this Google+ group.
Later on the app should post the photos directly to the Drupal website by using web services. So far people are just tweeting photos (it’s easy to participate 🙂 ) (https://twitter.com/hashtag/bahnhofsfotos. Railway fans are unique, so the project is getting attention and they are planning an international version starting with Switzerland.

A day later I attended the Drupal Meeting Frankfurt and learned a lot about Drupal and Composer (http://drupal-composer.org).

Bicycle

As you may know I commute with a bike and this week I drove 217 km.

Activities for Oct 10, 2016 - Oct 16, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 - Oct 10, 2016
Activities for Oct 10, 2016 – Oct 16, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 – Oct 10, 2016

 

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Start your Blog – Today!

A blog is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first).

A conceivable simple concept.

The existence of blogs has now arrived in everyone. Blogs are read and also the traditional media take them seriously. I’ve also a blog that you are reading 🙂

When you post messages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Foursquare, CouchSurfing, DeviantArt, Ello, Flickr, Google+, LinkedIn, Meetup, SoundCloud, Tumblr, LinkedIn, YouTube and all the other platforms, then you run also something like a blog.

If you are looking for an entry (status, check in, photo, video), you realize many things. It is not easy to search, archive or download your “own” data. It is often impossible to transfer your data from one platform to another. You can not evaluate “your” data.

You also’ll realize that it is not “your” data. Depending on the conditions of use of the platform you have issued many or all rights for your content to the company that operates the corresponding service.

My data is not worth anything anyway

If LinkedIn is purchased for US $ 26,000,000,000 by Microsoft, then Microsoft paid about US $ 60 per user (User 433,000,000). Do you have a LinkedIn account? Do you also have an account with other services?

I have accounts at 12 major services where I post occasionally content. If I expect US $ 60 per service, my data is currently worth around 720 US $ on average.

Your data is worth something!

At LinkedIn, users networked to do business. Please consider briefly what kind of data you are generating : texts, photos, music, videos, your fitness bracelet, your car, your bank card, your home automation and all the other stuff that creates data .

Collect Data

Do you also have a box of keepsakes from your childhood? Any tinkering, postcards, pictures, souvenirs and other things. Sometimes it takes 30 years or longer, until you look back into that box. Often to show them to your children. Maybe you don’t have a box and store everything to your memories.

In the age of online communication most memorabilia are made from bits and bytes and are stored on data storage media, on which you have little control. That means, even if you have no box, other people you do not know personally have a “collection box with your experiences”.

Private companies, and increasingly governments, collect treasures from historical data. They are used for predictions about the future. Based on these data decisions are made by SMART algorithms. Of course, Microsoft is only interested in the details of 433’000’000 business contacts and the raw data in the case of LinkedIn. Microsoft sells software, hardware and services for this target group and 26,000,000,000 will recoup a profit.

But back to your blog project.

A private blog

Now a private blog is of course not the solution to all problems related to data and not the ultimate archiving machine, but it is a bit “more ownership” than on the platforms with their services.

When I wrote the STOP BÜPF article (German), it struck me how important any blog can be, even if it’s a small one.

This tweet lead to some blogposts of Swiss providers.


Swiss provider whether access, Web or communication provider of any kind: Please call on your clients to sign! # StopBÜPF

Finally it was possible to collect more than 50,000 signatures which is a base for a referendum against the law. BÜPF is a proposed law about censorship and surveillance in Switzerland. Have a look at this video to get an idea what could be possible afterwards (subtitles in English are available).

It’s a good feeling when you publish your text on your platform and then post the link to your platform in different services. The principle is called POSSE (Publish on your Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere).

In POSSE your content is stored on an environment over which you have control. If you refer for example to Facebook on your own blog, then Facebook “visits” your blog and copies the first words and an image and displays both in your status message. Similarly, it works on all platforms. When you offer an RSS feed, your data can be read in an external feed reader. However, the data remains under your control.

The consequence is (among others):

You are perceived. This can not prevent, because everybody wants your data and are curious what you have to say.

The longer you think about it, the sooner you’ll probably notice why it is good to have your own blog.

This is a small list of benefits:

  • It helps you to learn new things
  • You begin to think more clearly
  • You learn to write better
  • Your self-confidence grows
  • You talk more structured about topics you wrote about
  • You can make money (if you wish)
  • You can support a good cause
  • You need no prior knowledge
  • It is a real challenge 🙂
  • It’s free (or affordable)
  • You learn always something about yourself, others and the issues about which you write

How to start?

The popular software for blogs is WordPress. It works well with many other programs too and all the known and unknown content management systems, but WordPress is simply practical and has become the de facto standard.

First steps

If you do not have a blog, you can set up a blog on wordpress.com for free in minutes. WordPress.com is also a service (from the USA) and your data will be stored on their hard disks, as in the platforms described above. But you’re the one who determined about your data. You can export them at any time and import them into a self hosted WordPress installation. At this moment you begin to take over any responsibility for your data. You can import the data also into many other systems (Joomla, Drupal).

The WordPress software is open source and is developed by a large community. You can download the source code from wordpress.org and install it locally or at a hosting provider of your choice. You can also at any time move your data to another place.

Responsibility

The farther you go away from “all around carefree” services, the more responsibility you transfer to yourself. It’s a bit like growing up. Suddenly you have a car / phone / bike / boyfriend / girlfriend / family / apartment / house / boat and you learn that you have to care so that it continues to work well.

A blog is therefore also a good exercise in “grow up”.

Conclusion

You need a blog and if you already have one, then please post but your URL as a comment.