Veloviewer Explorer

I just found a new feature in Veloviewer: The Explorer score, which shows how many zoom level 14 map tiles you have passed through, and the average distance per tile. For me at the moment: 1,005 tiles, with 13.5 kilometers per tile. The ratio isn’t so interesting for me though, since I have spent whole summers biking the same routes over and over again; Havelchaussee in 2013, Tempelhofer Feld in 2014. In 2015 I have deliberately searched out new roads, and that can be seen when my Explorer data are split for each year (that’s when the ratio gets interesting):

  • 2013: 100 tiles, 24.4 km/tile (2,443 km total distance)
  • 2014: 289 tiles, 22.37 km/tile (6,463 km total distance)
  • 2015: 816 tiles, 3.7 km/tile (2,985 km total distance so far)

Actually, the ratio isn’t calculated on my Veloviewer page, so it’s raw data rather than a “score”. If the number of tiles are divided by the number of kilometers, we get scores of 4.10 in 2013, 12.9 in 2014 and a blasting 221 in 2015, with an average of 74.4 since the start.

I’m skeptical to this kind of ratio score though, because even though it was fun to see, especially my exploring efforts in 2015, it also means that your score will get lower the more kilometers you gather, as long as you don’t search out new roads for each ride. This might discourage you from going out and “eat” kilometers. Maybe that’s why Ben at Veloviewer has chosen to present the raw data rather than the ratio score that I calculated myself.

Update: Ben replies on Twitter: “initially I used the dist per tile as the main ‘score’ but as you say, often gets worse with more riding so use count instead.”

But now over to the really cool thing, because those tiles that you have passed are marked green on the heatmap. And I just think I got even more addicted to Veloviewer, because how can anyone born in the era of video games resist the urge to paint the whole map green by going after those unlucky gaps in it! Look how beautiful:

Colonise it! My Explorer tiles on Veloviewer 27 April 2015.

Colonise it! My Explorer tiles on Veloviewer 27 April 2015.

That’s it. Gotta work now instead of getting caught up in addicting Veloviewer!

New bike lock

It was a principle of mine to not even own a lock for my Caad 10. The idea being that it’s not supposed to be left out of sight for the slightest moment ever – thus no need for a lock.

But I’ve had it for almost four years now. Maybe it’s ready to be alone on the streets at times.

At least it would be practical. Yesterday I waited 32 minutes for a bus (and it was 200, the flagship line!) before I gave up (cause I wouldn’t make it in time for where I was going anyway). Walking and using local transportation is so extremely inefficient. You want to run a simple errand and it takes the whole day. Hate it!

So on my way home, I decided to buy a lock and start using my Caad 10 as an everyday bike. Having had three bikes stolen during 2014, I don’t see the point of buying another one.

So here it is, my new Abus Granit Plus 640:

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Very small, fits in your back pocket (though I was constantly worried that it would fall out when I pedaled) and still security level 12 out of 15. Cost me 70 euro, but what can you do. Weighs only 788 gram:

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And here my Caad 10 is locked for the very first time, it’s a perfect fit actually:

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That unpredictable street thug called Alditalk

I recently switched to Alditalk, a discount mobile provider, after a friend had told me about their insane speeds. They started by ripping me off because of a “technical error”, so all my 34 euro (prepaid) were gone in an instant. They later gave me 20 euro back because of goodwill. I still hate them. But my friend was right about the speeds.

First, here’s the speeds I get on my phone through my home line on wifi:

Telecolumbus 64/3 deal.

Telecolumbus 64/3 deal.

As for Alditalk, they have a very competitive 24h flat for 1.99 euro: It includes 1 GB data, which is quite generous. So you can afford to do a speedtest. Now the terms of the 24h deal is up to 7.2 Mbit/s:

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However, this is what I got:

Alditalk Tagesflat with a "max speed of 7.2 Mbit/s".

Alditalk Tagesflat with a “max speed of 7.2 Mbit/s”.

That’s wild! And totally unexpected! Of course, coverage sucks (E-plus) and the connection goes down all the time anyway; even radio streams were interrupted. But still. German internet is like a powerful but unpredictable street thug who can give you your fix, but only if he wants to and if he’s in the right mood.

Note: I prefer Germany to Sweden in almost all respects, that’s why I live here. The laws, the media, the bread. It’s like a member of the Swedish Academy who lived here for a while said: “Germany is like Sweden for grown ups.” It’s only in the area of internet speeds and prices that Germany (like many other countries, I guess) lag behind Sweden (and Japan) about ten years.

Adult shipment from Japanese Amazon Marketplace

My Amazon order from Monday 6 April 2015 also contained a couple of items from Amazon Marketplace, which are then shipped separately from those sellers (just like Amazon in other countries works). I realised that main Amazon doesn’t ship adult goods abroad, but Marketplace sellers do. So I got myself a few used adult manga …

The first Marketplace order arrived today in the regular mail. So it took quite exactly one week for it to arrive (after all, I placed the order at 23.24 on Monday last week). Finding this colourful parcel in the mail is half the fun:

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In addition, last month I had Kohei bring me my favourite manga back from his last Japan trip, after having placed an Amazon order which I had delivered to his place. It’s a lush mix of Yowamushi Pedal, Kokoro Button and Yotsuba to = manga for boys, girls and children:

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I’ve already finished the first Yotsuba volume (which is volume 3 in total). I think it takes me about 3 hours to read one of those volumes; about 30 minutes per chapter. I don’t look anything up, because Yotsuba to is so simple that I understand everything, well maybe except a few words here and there. Fireworks was the theme of this volume, very sweet.

Trying to explain the concept of bike paths to an alien

Sometimes it’s enlightening to pretend you’re explaining a phenomenon to an alien.

Let’s say you have an alien by your side who doesn’t know what a car or a bike is. You would say:

These are two means of transportation for humans. One of them is powered by fuel, the other one is powered by human energy. Get it? (You have to be pedagogical with these aliens.) In the first case, no human energy at all is needed. It doesn’t matter if the road goes up or down, you basically just push a button and lean back. Whereas in the second case, only your own energy is what moves you forward. So everything that slows you down – upslopes, curves, road bumps – will demand more energy of you.

The alien now has a clear image of the two means of human transportation. Then you ask it:

Let’s say you want to separate these two means of transportation. You want to build two different types of roads for them. Now, let’s say you build one road that is straight and smooth, and another road that is curvy and full of road bumps from tree roots. Which one would you give to the fuel powered type of transportation, and which would you give to the human powered one?

That’s too easy! the alien would reply. Even I get that it would be better to give the straight and smooth road to the human powered method, because it would demand less energy from you, and the only energy you got is your own. Whereas the fuel powered method can make do with a less smooth road, since you just push a button to move forward anyway.

Then you explain to the alien that it is the opposite way around: The road for human powered things goes in crooks and circles around the straight road for fuel powered things, often crossing it every few hundred meters, causing extreme loss of human energy. In addition, these winding “roads” are so cheaply built that they quickly deteriorate, with tree roots penetrating the surface in a way that doesn’t happen in the more expensive road made for fuel powered things.

The alien is of course shocked! Then it realises:

Oh, I must be missing something. Maybe the fuel powered method is very sensitive to bumps? Maybe every tree root in the road makes the fuel powered thing really uncomfortable to drive? And the people on the human powered things don’t mind these roots?

And you reply that no, it’s actually the opposite way around in this case too; the fuel powered things – and by now you can reveal to the alien that they are called cars – actually weigh a thousand kilos and have thick tires and heavy suspension, whereas the human powered things – ok, they are called bikes – are extremely sensitive to tree roots and other hindrances in the street.

But then I don’t understand at all, the alien says. On my planet we’re fostered with a very logical way of thinking, but this isn’t logical at all to me. If what you’re saying is true, then why are the roads for what you call “bikes” often made of uneven stones, while the road for “cars” next to it is smoothly paved? And why is the “bike road” constantly interrupted by cobblestones, when the “car road” is not? The alien shows you a photo:

11 February 2015: Street vs bike path on Adlergestell east of Grünau, just before Schmöckwitz.

Why? The logical alien doesn’t get it. And frankly, neither do I.

Svenska medier är som en mobbande högstadieklass

Tyskland är Tyskland och saker fungerar utan att staten vill lägga livet tillrätta för alla. Biskopen i “Fanny och Alexander” är inte framme och hytter med pekfingret på samma vis. Och åsiktskorridoren i tyska medier är betydligt bredare, debatten intellektuellare och mognare. Svenska medier framstår mer som en mobbande högstadieklass.

— Oscar Swartz i Expressen

Das Feld

Grillen am Tempelhofer Feld

Is it a festival? No, it’s just a Saturday evening on Tempelhofer Feld. The first really warm one this year.

Bicycle manga

Amazing, Akira Yomoyama has released his previous doujinshi booklets + a new story in this beautiful volume, so thick, with perfect print quality and a tasty obi!

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So fresh it's not even officially released until next week! (15th April 2015)

So fresh it’s not even officially released until next week! (15th April 2015)

As for the shipment:

  • Monday 6 April at 23.24: I place the order on Amazon.co.jp.
  • Tuesday 7 April at 5.27: Amazon ships it from Japan.
  • Friday 10 April at 14.40: DHL delivers it to my door in Berlin.

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This is perfect post-ride entertainment now that Yowamushi Pedal has ended! And perfect timing wheatherwise, people are strolling around in t-shirt today in Berlin, and some are wearing shorts.

You can buy Akira’s bicycle manga here. It costs 907 yen (about 7.12 euro) and you don’t pay the eight percent sales tax that people within Japan have to pay. Shipping to Europe is 1,400 yen ≈ 10.99 euro.

Genrekunskap

Så var det dags igen. I morse återgav en kändis de negativa ord som en okänd man uttalat om henne på nätet. Det finns så många exempel på detta att jag tycker det är dags att börja se det som en genre.

Och jag har svårt att förstå poängen. Poängen med att sprida dessa bittra tirader till så många fler lyssnare. Är det meningen att vi ska chockas och oja oss? Vilja göra något åt det? Jag vet inte.

När jag var tonåring berättade Lena Philipsson i en intervju att det alltid var några bröliga killar som skrek otrevliga saker under hennes konserter. Intervjuaren (var det Jacob Dahlin?) pressade henne: Vad var det de skrek? Men Lena stod på sig på sitt envisa sätt. Hon sa ungefär: “Nej, jag vill inte säga det. För det är att ge röst åt en väldigt liten grupp idioter.”

Dagens kändisar verkar ha motsatt strategi. Alla dessa program där kändisar eller skribenter tittar allvarligt in i kameran och läser högt ur hatbreven. Alla dessa bombastiska kungörelser om att nu, nu har jag fått nog, nu slutar jag blogga, eller vad det nu är de gör. Och sedan börjar de igen.

Jag anar nästan … ett slags stolthet. Över vad? Kanske att man är tillräckligt viktig för att locka till sig hat? Eller för att situationen är viktig överlag, man är föremål för ett allvarligt samhällsproblem? Man är i centrum? Ja, något sådant anar jag. Narcissism. Mode. Näthat som accessoar. En exklusiv sådan som bara de hetaste kändisarna lyckas frammana, och som därför måste exponeras.

Kalla mig cynisk.