Strava, segments, and tracking

A few years ago, Strava visualised the GPS co-ordinates in their data and displayed the locations of secret bases. A change of privacy settings later and, apparently, all was secret again. The Guardian has just run a story on using segments and GPS locations to show individuals within the bases through re-purposing the segment function.

One question that does arise is the re-presentation of the exercise route. At one level this is down to Strava or whatever mapping system being used. I am waiting for Nate Tkacz‘s Being with Data for further reading here. A second one is: what does social running mean here? Are we dealing with running with others and the question of social within a network science consideration, where we are all parts of the graph. From what I understand, the segment allows one to define a social area and then device users (and I doubt this crosses devices) become nodes that can be connected and so made social. If the latter, then my social connections are being defined by the algorithm(s) and not by my own connections. For example, I may run near someone on a regular basis but we have never met and may not even acknowledge each other’s presence as we are too busy listening to music devices and focussing. The segment provides the conditions to apply a social nature that does not exist.

May be there is some mileage in looking at the Strava API, and others, to see what they allow and how they allow it. Critical theory might then be applied to it. There are privacy and security concerns here but, for me, it gestures to here to a post-cookie tracking environment where devices provide more detailed data about the person and contextual data through understanding GPS and placing the data in context. Facebook’s Beacon and Pixel are bad enough in the browser, yet these devices raise both DH and computational social science questions about being human in both big data and the metaverse.

Sonification, Schemas and Microdata

In an ongoing experiment, I am playing around with representing sonification in HTML to enable sharing it within a webpage, focusing on the Event and AudioObject schemas. Following some currently unpublished thesis work, I was curious about trying to model the thing that I was writing about and putting it into the mark-up to allow […]

Notes on recent blogs

A post on Slashdot pointed me towards the post, High-Performance Mobile System-on-Chip Clusters, on the ACM blog. Posting here as a sticky note for a potential project. However I am also aware that this might become part of the notes graveyard, Notes apps are where ideas go to die. And that’s good.

Critical Making and DIY zine

I have just come across Garnet Hertz’s ‘zine, Two Terms: Critical Making + D.I.Y, on his Concept Labs website. Still reading at the moment but the move to making as part of research is a theme that resonates.


Posted as a reference, this Guardian article on the idea of post-theory science based in Anderson’s end of theory in big data but also with machine learning makes some valid points. Bernard Stiegler’s Automated Society (Polity, 2016) covers some of the same area but from a Humanist perspective.

Distant listening of Green Day

I am not sure world needs this but it exists. The YouTube video, every green day song playing at the same time, and it turns Nicholas Cook’s concept of distant listening (2013) into a reality. I am not a huge Green Day fan – some bits good, some not – and found it hard to […]

Causation, Correlation, and Method

Another short post but John Naughton’s latest column in the Observer is another one for book marking, Yes, DeepMind crunches the numbers – but is it really a magic bullet? . The computational achievements are there but the underlying question about how one understands it still need the scientific method. I might argue that, in […]

The Cost of Electric Cars…

Another short bookmark post but this time about the mining of raw metals currently required for electric cars and the various economics therein. I am reminded of a chapter in Kate Crawford’s Anatomy of AI about lithium mining and Natasha Bernal’s article about lithium mining race in Cornwall. The recent work on phones has sparked […]

Tappigraphy as method?

I am bookmarking this as no doubt if I have time, I will forget the piece. A useful, if slightly unnerving, article about tappigraphy in the Observer, The dawn of tappigraphy. It raises important issues of ethics and privacy, but raises questions in my mind about responses. Hmmm…

Signal the Unheard City at the Resonate Festival

The text here is the rough copy of the Unheard City presentation at the Sampling Sounds of Coventry’s Future at Common Ground as part of the Resonate Festival. The project is supported by The University of Warwick Institute for Engagement and the WIE City of Culture Programme and the Warwick-Monash Alliance Catalyst Project Creating the […]