Swept overboard

wp-1454401204898.jpgYesterday a few of us from the Wireless Wednesday workshop visited the Minesweeper on Deptford Creek to meet with collective members and take a few photographs in advance of their fundraiser this weekend and Mazi workshops on the boat in Spring. This coincided with a visit from three representatives of Thames Tideway to meet up with concerned residents of boats moored in the area, all seeking more information. There was a tentative yet friendly exchange and a good deal of information about the timetable and nature of work surfaced as a result.

Thames Tideway is a private company working with Thames Water to build the London super sewer network. Tideway is owned by a consortium of investors that comprises Allianz, Amber Infrastructure, Dalmore Capital and DIF. The construction site in the east end will be delivered by a joint venture of Costain Ltd., Vinci Construction Grands Projets and Bachy Soletanche. This contract is known as Tideway East, with work taking place from Bermondsey to Stratford.


sea wall and iron bridge

Groundwork for the main shaft at Greenwich Pumping station opposite Creekside Education Centre has already begun. The plan is to dig an 18m diameter shaft down to a depth of 65m for the tunnel. The ha’penny hatch pathway on the Greenwich side to Norman Road will be rerouted and then possibly closed during the work, despite appearances at the moment. Mined materials will be pumped across or under the existing pathway and railway line, into the Jewsons site for processing.

Material from related shafts and tunneling construction between here and Chambers Wharf, will also be extracted here to be loaded onto 100 trucks a day or more likely, river barges for removal. By August 2016, the sea wall at Jewsons requires reinforcement to enable installation of a mooring cradle, to support the 500 GT barges, leaving little space for existing moorings!

tidewaySometime before early 2017 a channel 0.5m (from lowest riverbed level) and 8m wide will be dredged at low tide to enable large barges access at high tide. Such huge earthworks could well destabilise the riverbed for any boats normally in contact with it most of the time. Once the dredged channel is ready, the ‘cradle’ is in place and processing plant for the mined materials is operational, then there will be at least two barges per day for further five years!

So, “are you all ready?”

A ‘Greenwich Pumping Station Community Liaison Working Group’ meeting was held in September 2015 at Creekside Education Trust but unfortunately no public were invited nor attended due to communication error! Further meetings are being planned so all are advised to attend and find out more about the scale and duration of the plans already underway. In the meantime neighborhood bloggers are busy tracking the situation, improving awareness of the complexity and compromise at the scale of such intensive civil engineering. Perhaps this is a good moment to invoke DNA the recently acknowledged Deptford Neighborhood Action group!

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Olympia aspirated


YT just returned from a round trip around Greece for MAZI-kickoff meetings. Starting out in Thessaloníki for a couple of days to acclimatise and explore the city on foot, caught the bus with Mark Gaved (Open University) south to Volos.PANO_20160112_144507x1000

On the eve of the sessions we joined the other consortium partners for first of many lovely feasts in the re-animated service quarter adjacent the port and marina, where we all enjoyed first principals of Volos catering; drink tsipouro and eventually great food arrives at the table, keep drinking and the selection and frequency increases! IMG_20160115_225327Great social exchange and a wealth of information and insight on these new relationships was gathered and a sense of fun and inquisitiveness established.

Our meetings at University of Thessaloníki set out to unpack the many layered project package of the successful bid to EU. Ahead are three years research, application and monitoring of MAZI toolkit development, which begin in earnest now. PANO_20160114_094342Their Nitos lab offers a grand facility for prototyping and testing a wide range of sensor components, wireless options and engineering of suitable interfaces we will need for the successful establishment of the MAZI toolkit at the pilot sites in Berlin, Deptford, Zurich and in the wild from Athens to Edinburgh.

volos-tripPartners introduced their respective organisations, listened to each others proposals and considered the scope of collaboration together. We examined how to begin the processes of examination and annotation to best serve the needs of wider public communication and consultation with one another throughout the project. This intensive and somewhat testing experience, articulated some gaps in our assumptions and reinforced the sense of confidence and enthusiasm in one another for the tasks set.

IMG_20160117_123538 Those left standing continued on to a trip up the Olympian mountains in central Greece, a unique opportunity to visit community wireless project Sarantaporo.gr. We met it’s key protagonists and heard first hand, from locals about their hopes and fears for the future.  Improvements in the interlinking of settlements has already animated relations and revealed more ancient rivalries of village life. The children and more specifically grandchildren of longest lived residents are the most enthusiastic adopters of the new services in place, now much more willing to visit from nearby towns and cities than ever. IMG_20160117_132232Further promotion of mountain existence and wider expansion of the impressively well distributed quality broadband is underway. . Quality broadband access has been granted by regional university in Larissa and the project has already delivered to eleven of the many dislocated villages. Population depletion of recent decades now shows strong signs of reversal as a consequence of economic turmoil and these homegrown successes. The sense of goodwill and courage demonstrated was an inspiration and energis for the MAZI we now embark on together.

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Ice scraper

block-chain_C_sludgeOur block-chain research group have begun work on an experimental project to scrape Bitcoin block-chain, understand the data stored and learn how to facilitate recording of new information there in the future. This week, SPC commissioned a dedicated multicore server to begin the work of unpacking and mapping the millions of Bitcoin transactions that have already been recorded.

block-chainC-detailWe are using an 8 core 3ghz Xeon server with 32gb ram, running linux and Spark Apache. Following Jeffrey Thompson’s excellent example, the script loads Bitcoin blocks into Hadoop for exploratory analysis.

These extraordinary images are the first rendered outputs we have from the script, showing the stack of bitcoin block-heights, relative to one another – as of December 2015.

Using iPython and Jupyter notebook to step through, it operates on an off-line Bitcoin block-chain, reporting on each block, collecting some vital statistics and helping us improve on information extraction procedures.

blockchainBdetailNext step is to process the binary hash arrays we have already extracted which make up each block, into a more malleable  database format. The resilient distributed dataset is a logical collection of data which can be partitioned across machines and optimised for massively parallel access to ‘big data’ librarys.

Block-chain mapping will help with our ongoing work to reward peer to peer drive sharing, first described in August 2015 as Shards of Sharing. Later this year we still hope to have your torrent wallet tracker ready for use, but until then, the mapping work goes on!

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bookscannerEarlier this week Maydayrooms hosted ‘Militant Technics‘ a fascinating string of critical interactions and introspection over three days at the cafeteria on the top floor in their Fleet Street den. The aim was to develop tuition modules, extend understanding of respective library projects and explore opportunities to improve on in house archive ‘activation’ practices.  We started with beer and a great mushroom risotto, thanks to Rosemary !

Sean Dockray of (Aaaaarg/Public School); Marcell Mars and Tomislav Medakmemorybook (Mama/Memory of the World); Sebastian Luetgert and Jan Gerber (Pan.do/ra /Pirate Cinema) joined friends and members of MayDay Rooms collective on Monday for ‘Back to the future‘ a public discussion on the legal challenges to open access distribution in an age of ‘takedown notices’ and other proprietorial threats posed to online information sharing.  (audio recording was made)

pandoraYour local library is also under threat, but this has ever been so! Act now, to protect you collections, share books and be the media, challenge hegemonic assumptions protecting commercial control over access to information, your quality of public life and freedom rights.

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Now as December starts there are several threads to lead us into 2016 that we have been discussing with friends and associates.

tidewaysiteThe shaping up of Deptford Creek pilot for Mazi has already resulted in a series of encouraging exchanges and outline planning with local projects. Creekside Education Trust, Minesweeper Collective and Birdsnest Pub have all expressed interest and we are looking forward beginning work with them and others as we go along. Mid January YT will meetup with project partners in Volos to sort out details for the first phases.

notcollossas YT also traveled up to visit Open University to meet with Mazi partners there and made a short visit to the National Computer Museum at Bletchley Park with Mark Gaved.  Mark has been working on Salsa a system of bluetooth responders which we like very much..

During 2012 we worked on research project DeckspaceTv and then up to early 2014 adopted emerging data synchronization tools during operation of reSync which are now both again available in report form. YT will return to Transmediale in Berlin this year as we are collaborating to present a day of offline network development presentations and talks from it’s leading exponents.

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Dada the People

titandisobeycroppedcontrastDisaster 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 Slacktivist.co.uk 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  Consume.net 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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