Dada the People

Disaster struck SPC hosted domains this September, when the entire virtually hosted drive array at Redraw Internet vanished ! To keep things rolling in the interim we refreshed to direct traffic and more accurately represent it’s umbrella role for SPC.

90% of the damaged data has been recovered but it has been a lengthy and painful experience for all. Special thanks and appreciation to Garry Beale our long suffering connection supplier and web host. Ellis Melman was also vital to the process and without whom, repair may never have been possible. A restructuring of the hosting infrastructure, backup process and disaster recovery plan have now been completed to help us avoid a repeat performance. Jeez!

Some domains have been entirely lost (eek), with only six month old backups available. Faced with this reality in the past, we have all experienced the emotional sense of loss which quickly passes. Some things just can’t be replaced and this is most regrettable, so level out those stress points and distribute the load, back up often and practice recovery.

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Up Periscope!

amwnThis weekend YT will present a quick review of at the Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network annual conference where members of the group will meet in Athens to celebrate progress and discuss future plans for development, wider inclusion and enhancements.

AMWN node=10636

AMWNnode10636kidperiscopeUp Periscope! is a printed media campaign to run at street level which presents an opportunity for passers by to investigate AWMN and see the view from the rooftop of each node location eg. Senius 10636. Each poster presents a QRcode for easy linking to the many panoramic images stored on the WIND node database.

AMWNnode10636‘can I see my apartment from here? …then there is a good chance of making a link back.’

So it is a tool for network builders to help identify viable locations to interlink with the free information infrastructure and promote AWMN. Over 1000 high speed wireless network nodes span Athens and across Greece, linking villages and cities alike.

YT and Adnan last visited Athens during New Babylon in 2014 and set out to introduce  reStreet workshop group to the delights of file synchronization with SYNC and Syncthing, QRcodes and button badges.

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James Stevens is in Athens attending Hybrid City III where co-collaborators in next years MAZI project met together for the first time to hold a workshop at the event, discuss respective projects and get to know one another.

andreospanosadnanArmin Medosch gave closing keynote speech and just published the supporting document here!

Our work complete, here we are with Adnan, Andreas and Panos before diner at the beach.. !

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Action timed, envisioned..

Despite the numerous claims raised by UK councils and GLA to establish public wireless service for all, few examples have made it out of the boardroom and even then, fall to commercial pressure or operational chaos before long.

We are hopeful that the very recently awarded fund for MAZI project starting early in 2016, will re-energize interest and activity along Deptfords Creekside, with a program supporting development of local innovation over the next 3 years that will galvanize existing networks and promote fresh collaborations.

dage2015This image is taken from the roof above the DAGE shop on Deptford High Street, one of the dozen surviving OWN nodes which continues to offer public access and mesh with the other points in the area. It retains a unique status in London, an operational model of ‘collectively owned and operated broadband infrastructure’, but by just a thread!

Building and co-coordinating public access networks is very tricky and time consuming operation but increasingly affordable and relevant. As we wake up to the realities of state surveillance and data mining of our interactions, we may well find the recent interest in off-line networking adds a layer of obscurity that’s preferable.

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Unblock head

ODI-logo-lgApplications for the ODI – Open data summer showcase were due today at 3pm and at the last moment YT, Alexei Blinov and Ilze Black conferred on proposals for a ‘Blockchain Scraper ‘ to reveal some of the media files and other unexpected data embedded in the bitcoin blockchain.

We are proposing a 3day hackathon event at Deckspace in September to experiment with a toolbox of filters and data processing techniques to scan for patterns and scrape data from the millions of record in the bitcoin public ledger of transactions. This data, revealling media, comments and bitcoin ephemera will then be presented publicly.

radiotunerResearchers have already uncovered a range of unexpected entries and we anticipate many more to surface as we dedicate energy to the scraping task. We also hope to construct an analogue instrument to sweep along the blockchain and project findings in realtime. Alexei has a vintage radio tuner to adapt and is confident we can attach it and drive a scrolling system!

On a more sober note, radio innovator and DJ, Don Joyce of Negativeland died this week. I think he would have been intrigued by some of these innovations to inscribe media to the commons rather than the grabbing hands of copywright lawyers. When we met briefly at Obsolete in 1996 he was still bruised from the U2 Debacle and anxious we didn’t follow a similar fate as we set out our www publishing model.

Someone nicked the CD out of the FairUse book he gifted us, so if that was you, please return it!

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Why less FM?

Today we turned on the first of a series of low power FM transmitters to begin rebroadcasting our favorite online radio stations and personal audio playlists using MPD – Music Player Daemon.

We began with a tiny RaspberryPi PC running Volumio hifi audio player. Then we trawled our archives to bring together available usb drive, NAS and radio streams for transmission and will continue to extend resources and access to this pool.

Next we patched in the FM transmitter and antenna we got on ebay several years ago for just £50 and set it all up on a rooftop in SE8.

Listening in we were pleased at the basic quality of the inbuilt sound card of the Pi despite a lot of hype about need for DAC add-on eg. Highberry we will keep it simple for now.

5wfmkitWhen next in SE8 try tuning your FM radio [if you still have one] to 103FM [variable] then visit the playback interface with option to build a playlist from the collection or select a internet radio station to re-broadcast.

SPC regulars WirelesFM have recently uploaded all their radio archives to Mixcloud so we will certainly feature their shows alongside the many residual audio archives we hold. ResonanceFM have been using Airtime to manage schedules of pre-recorded material and switch to their live shows and public events using the control dashboard. Perhaps this is a bit more sane than our ad-hoc approach today but would you expect anything less? Ok we will look into running our own soon enough!

So why bother.?

In case you hadn’t noticed, mass media is a closed door to all but your ennobled lovelies, so don’t wait till the FM band only plays the same tune, polluted with adverts, predictable playlists and inane banter, make a station of your own and take to the airwaves pronto!

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Shards of sharing

1satoshiOur small group of blockchain researchers has been investigating how to reward one another for hosting each others encrypted data, 1Satoshi at a time.

What the hell are we suggesting?

It’s a proposal to store and share information and media in common, by processing data into small blocks or torrent ‘shards’, which are recorded on a 1Satoshi blockchain and shared amongst network peers. Sounds familiar?

The 1Satoshi application is a file wallet that will co-ordinate the tasks of processing the files you want to store and retrieve. It will also manage the sorting and reprocessing of data shards for reassembly, respond to file requests, and account for exchanges.

The shards are homogenised into a cryptographically secure torrent ‘sludge’ and pumped between peers, securely seeding all the available data to the network, whilst providing the originators co-ordinates for later full retrieval.

Bittorrent technology is a highly optimised, well established and useful system for managing the sharing of files. Each file is split into a number of identically sized shards for transportation and listed in the torrent file in hashed format. This list is then used to reassemble the file once all the parts are together. Any peers with shards of the file can offer delivery on request. Peers with full copies are ‘seeding’ and those with shards ‘leeching’. The torrent client application monitors the state of ‘interest’ and ‘choking’ of the exchange and reports each file transfer completion.

The Bitcoin network reports on transactions in a similar way, locking and unlocking a payload of information using cryptographic keys called Satoshi, so named after the inventor of Bitcoin. There are 100,000,000 Satoshi per Bitcoin, that’s a lot of cryptographic potential and the root of its valuation as currency! A minimum transaction fee of 5460 Satoshi has been set to cover the ‘cost of work’ overheads. The dust of other exchange is therefore not being recorded in the Bitcoin blockchain. Announcements to the network for smaller transactions still result in an OP Return which we will utilise for our 1Satoshi initiative.

So what is the value of a universal secure storage commons?

As a 1Satoshi peer, you make spare drive space available, which is then filled with a sludge of 1Satoshi torrent shards, each holding a block of encrypted data, each  from different origins. Peers successfully responding to a shard retrieveability test from other peers, collect the 1 Satoshi in credit.

The 1Satoshi wallet processes, tracks and relays your data. So for example,  a one gigabyte file is processed into 62,400 shards, each containing 16kb of data. It also creates a hash for each shard then shared amongst the 1Satoshi peers. The essential location, assembly and metadata information that allows for full retrieval and reassembly into your file, is written securely to the 1Satoshi blockchain.

Some amazing online resources exist to explain in detail the role miners, relays and routers play in the Bitcoin process. Our 1Satoshi wallet will feature a Block Explorer to monitor the flow and illustrate the state of play. Other views of the system in use, it’s trackers, statistics and innovations on the blockchain will feature in a suite of open source software.

More , much more needs to investigated and understood.  We would like to acknowledge the inspirational work continuing at Coinspark, StorJ and Namecoin as well as the many hands at play on both torrent and blockchain futures.

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All iterated

In the warm up to this years Party in the Park a series of promotional and fund raising events have been lined up by this years party protagonists. Such great success in 2014 has propelled the ambition for this year, not least to raise the modest development and production cash needed with a kickstarter appeal. (where is that?)

Minesweeper logoMinesweeper collective will be instrumental in the print and promotional aspects of the event. They already hold screen printing workshops on Tuesday and Thursdays and are set to run next PITP craft workshop on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14st June and then monthly.  Get yourself an introduction to the screen print process and print a few of your existing garments with PITP 2015 artwork. Back at the Birdsnest you can see exhibitions of their print and sculpture work. Here is a review by Yoshizen!

Madcap coalition have completed the move to storage and workspace on Norman Road and will begin preparing the series of community enclosures, tents and stages needed. Planning meetings for this years festival are being held on Mondays 6pm at NXL. Funding is needed for Generators, Toilets and Tenting and the call for volunteers will be made shortly.

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Adhere to this

Strands of the recent ‘offline networks’ panel @ Transmediale, prove to be of ongoing fascination as this meme builds momentum.

Projects like Superglue and Qaul shed contrasting light on the needs of open wireless networks with their respective software developments.

TP-LINK TL-WR710NOur very own SuperGlue-SPC unit is in use during weekly Wireless Wednesday Workshop at bitspace. Here is Danja presenting Superglue at recent floss4p2p event in London. It’s firefox and chrome plug-in enables live WYSIWYG editing of html and image upload via the web browser. Your graphics, text and custom code can be customised to extend the basic web hosting and page authoring functionality on offer.

Qual software is available for most operating systems and will build you a spontaneous mesh network, reconfiguring the network adapters of your local PC’s for wired and wireless connections interlinking peers automagically. This level of network infrastructure manipulation won’t be to everyone’s taste but is very progressive thinking.

Both projects are still in development and show how small groups of individuals can make progress with open source code, add-hock collaboration and minimal resources.

We are looking forward to working with these systems and more during MAZI project research later this year should funding allow.

If you can’t follow all this, please get in touch!

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Ubiquiti-LocostationPrior to the remodelling of Denmark Street this year,  YT stepped across the rooftops with Daniel of Peerpoint to set up and distribute access options to the 1gb capacity fibre service available at the ESOL school there.

It’s now distributed over high speed wireless links between buildings and for local business needs in the surrounding areas of Soho, Bloomsbury and St Giles.

denmarkstreet2014-2kIf you can see your place in this panorama and are seeking a top quality broadband connection for your space then get in contact soon for more information on how to link up easily, quickly and economically.


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