#TechnologyFreeDay : #experiment

I am an entrepreneur, so I’m using computer, tablets and phones on a daily basis. I am also using, as anyone, my phone and other devices as an individual, to mainly interact with people on social networks, to take picture and so…

But lately, I’m also wondering about the over usage of all of this. Am I free in a sense that I use this technology to improve my quality and comfort, or am I addicted and enslaved by it ? This is a serious topic as I am an actor of this ecosystem.

So yesterday, I tried a new experiment that I called #TechnologyFreeDay. The idea is really simple : no computer, no tablet, no phone. All shut down for one big day (7th of February 2016, Sunday)

To be honest with you, it was an experiment worth to make. Indeed, it’s a strange feeling actually and all kind of questions arise.

#morning breakfast routine exploded

This starts on the morning when I used to be waken up by my alarm clock on my phone. This time, no alarm ringing whatsoever. Waking up with no constraint is really appreciable (That’s why I made this experiment on Sunday, there is no professional constraint). 

Then, just after waking up, usually I used to check mails, send some snaps, play youtube from time to time but also morning readings (books or magazine). This time, I prepared my breakfast (omelette), took my shower very quickly (due to not listening any podcast nor music) and decided to go and visit some cultural places. As I knew I couldn’t have access to my computer, I listed, the day before, few places I could go.

#museum opportunity

I took my car and park in the center Paris, at Saint Michel area.

I wanted to go on top of Notre Dame de Paris to enjoy the view, but when I reached, it was over crowded (2hours of queue). Is my time so worthless to waste it on a 2 hours queue ? I don’t think so…

So I went, by walk, to Panthéon. It was a 15 min walk, but completely different. No SMS to answer, no twitter timeline to check… I know the road by heart, but having the head up makes me see statues more precisely, look at the building in more detailed way, and looking to people too. I was more aware I can say.

#the non camera freedom

As a parisien, I know most places in Paris, but having the opportunity to visit them is a different topic. Usually, when I visit a place, as lot of people, I took pictures. But this time, my phone was shut down. I was still carrying it in my pocket, just in case of emergency. But I had no access to it, it was powered off.

Visiting a place knowing you can’t picture is somehow disturbing but also very pleasant. You are truly more focused on the painting you see, on the architecture. You know you can’t immortalize it on a picture, so you instinctively are more focused I would say, you just enjoy the paintings, the readings and all the statues.

It’s also funny, cause 95% of all the people you see hold their phone or camera, and took pictures (selfie or not). I saw someone rushing from painting to painting, just taking picture, without even looking at them firstly… It was funny. I also questioned myself, did I have the same behavior when I carry my camera? I hope not, because it looks so ridiculous.

#the bird feeder

Back home, I fixed the birdfeeder on my garden I did few days ago with recycled stuff. The birds are using it intensively, so lots of interest you may say 🙂 focused on a manual task here makes you feel more connected. Once fixed, birds were coming again few minutes later, that is rewarding 🙂

#GPS

On the afternoon, I decided to learn a new instrument. I saw few days ago a workshop happening in Paris to discover and learn the Siku, the Colombian flute. I decided to participate. And I tried to go without using any map, just with my orientation and… I failed 🙂 I reached the neighborhood by car, but I was unable to locate the street by using my orientation sense. I bearly know the area so I had to activate the GPS embedded in my car. I really wanted to avoid that, to avoid using that technology too but I realized that I made the effort to find the place on my own and was about to be late, so technology here was a needed companion (as I was 2 streets close, this helped me polluting less by reaching the place quickly instead of rounding…) I could have struggle more, ask people certainly but I decided to use the device to be helped and avoid wasting time. Instead of being addicted to it, I just used it when I needed it to make me save time. That’s all about technology, saving me time on things that are useless (like wasting time on traffic for what ?)

#music gather people

I went to this music workshop, and felt very connected to people, truly. 3 hours dedicated to discover this columbian instrument called Siku I would probably never try otherwise. I could have stayed home, watch a movie or play some game but went out of my comfort zone, meet people that share interest in this instrument and talk with them. There were kids as well as adults. Again, during the break, I saw kids playing with smartphone, adults sending message and so… It’s very interesting to observe all this behavior that I would probably do as well if I was not doing this technology free day. By observing them, I was in fact observing myself (in terms of behavior).

No phone, no messages, the only possibility left is to interact with human being. I’m close to people I guess even when I have my technology assistance, but without it, you are even more. You discover people, listen to their story, to their life, to their experiment, getting the most out of it. It’s priceless.

#the waiter

On my way back home, I decided to diner at a soup bar then to drink something, on a café facing Notre Dame I used to go with friends. I knew the director there, but our interactions was limited to courtesy ones.

I sat down on a table, and started to sip my drink, listening to live Piano music while looking at the huge Notre Dame monument. I had no choice but to focus on my senses: what I see, what I hear, what I taste. People were talking about an undefined number of topics, in any language I was able to understand thanks to the few languages I speak. Some were interesting, some were just useless. I guess that what happens when I gather with friends, sometime we probably talk about things that are pointless, sometimes about dreams and projects 🙂

Then a group of Asian tourists walk by the cafe, and the director says « come here, Paris is dangerous, it’s safer here » . I knew he was referring to the Paris attacks last November. So I started interacting with him and we talk quite a long about the events and he explained me how he dealt that night. His Café was highly exposed, he had 6 waiters there and all the customers…He barricaded the café and things… I know this could sound pointless, but if I was into my smartphone, I would probably never had this human interaction nor this real life testimony. Most importantly, I would never know this person, his name, and his point of view.

#back home

You are home now, but again, no mail to check, no message to send, no story or picture to share! Books are your best friends here. No blue light to keep you awake but the natural sleep cycle taking over 🙂

#conclusion

This was an excellent experiment I would probably try to make it weekly routine.

I really think we are starting to be weak with all this technology by not living the moment, but trying to artificially capture a moment that is uniquely aimed to be shared. So this experiment is all about «  toughening up ». No technology slavery or assistance unless it provides a real benefit.

There is one downside of this experiment I believe: it’s about close circle interaction. I wasn’t able to contact my family nor my friends and was unable to be contacted too. In case of emergency, this is really the worst. But this true disconnection really gives you the understanding of what should matter in life, and we are talking here about quality life.
As Paulo Coelho says in his book called Aleph : « Oublie que tu vas raconter cela aux autres. Le temps est ici. Profites-en. »

OpenPark – solving the Parking issue in the city

Recently, I was the studying the Beacon technology, and more precisely the Eddystone format.

Beacons are cheap devices that could be deployed anywhere that has a meaning for your business, for the city but even more importantly, for the user. (If you want to know more about beacons, I gave a talk at DroidconParis in november 2015, so check out the video).

I also participated at a hackathon on Intelligent Mobility early October 2015 in Bordeaux, France. There, I exposed two solutions for solving a global problem that lots of cities are facing (regarding the Public Parking Places).

ITSBordeaux

I made the local news 🙂

Problem

I live in a big city, and if you are a car driver living in that kind of big city, you should probably know that it’s a nightmare to find a public parking place available. We often waste a huge amount of time looking for a place, we get stressed, we pollute, we generate congestion. That should end, and for good.

Solution #1

Of one the solution could be to deploy and glue Beacons on the field and thus, equiped each public parking place with a beacon. The beacon would have an extra proximity sensor that could detect whether a car is parked above it or not. Thus, we could have, in real time, a network of availability places in the city.
Based on this real time data, a simple mobile application could then drive you to the nearest public parking place in the city.
It is a cheap investment for the city (glue-ing a beacon on each place) but could dramatically de-congestion the traffic.

Cons of solution #1

The solution #1 is cost effective but has some limitation. Firstly, an enhanced beacon has to be designed. This enhancement requires R&D to include a power efficient proximity sensor on top of the beacon.
Also, the beacon has to be rugged so is won’t break out on the car’s weight. Also, it has to be protected from weather (snow, rain…). So this enhanced beacon requires some technical challenges.

Solution #2

The solution #1 is a good candidate for solving our issue, but requires more engineering. The idea is to find a solution that is simple and easily deployable. That’s solution #2.

Instead of deploying and glue-ing beacons on each public parking place, what about having a beacon inside each car, in the glove compartment ? This beacon would stay is the driver’s car and paired with driver’s smartphone. So, whenever the driver is parked and is leaving his car, his smartphone is able to detect that he is moving away from his car (because beacon is all about range, so you can easily detect that you are in or out of the range of your beacon).

Having this information, your smartphone knows that your car is parked now and that in this precise location, the parking place is no more available.
Similarly, when you are getting back to your car, your smartphone will detect the beacon and then consider that you will leave the parking place. This information could then be broadcasted and anyone who is looking for a parking place in the area could be notified of that availability.

What’s next ?

I highly think that this will solve for good the issue of parking your car in any big city.
In term of investment, the city could give away a beacon for each driver, for free. The investment is really low compared to the issue it is solving (less pollution, less congestion, less stress, more happyness).

If you want to be part of that adventure and make the world a better living place, please contact me, I would be more than happy to have your collaboration.

 

 

 

Citation

Pursuit of Truth

The true value of a man is not determined by his possession, supposed or real, of Truth, but rather by his sincere exertion to get to the Truth. It is not possession of the Truth, but rather the pursuit of Truth by which he extends his powers and in which his ever-growing perfectibility is to be found. Possession makes one passive, indolent, and proud. If God were to hold all Truth concealed in his right hand, and in his left only the steady and diligent drive for Truth, albeit with the proviso that I would always and forever err in the process, and offer me the choice, I would with all humility take the left hand, and say: Father, I will take this one—the pure Truth is for You alone.

 — Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

État

Elon Musk biography – contrasting but inspiring

From time to time, I have the luxury to take some vacation. This summer (2015), I spent some time on the mediterranean coast in Turkiye and took with me the Elon Musk biography from Ashlee Vance as a beach book. Well, what a life !!

Elon Musk Biography from Ashlee Vance

(Re)Discovering what Elon Musk has done is quite disturbing, in a sense that the phrase « nothing is impossible » took another meaning while reading the book. The guy is so motivated by changing the world that you can not remain insensitive to his moves. Life is definitely too short, but it could appear that some people are trying to make the best out of it. And this is absolutely required.

Not only he has a greater vision on changing rigid industries (such as automotive or aerospace) for people’s benefit, but he is also a tremendous risk taker, investing all his money into his companies and the products he’s building. You can’t do that if you don’t BELIEVE in whatever you are investing your time to. It once again confirms what I experienced from myself, that « money is not an asset, it’s a flow ». It has to be invested in a way that it could help you support your projects and then generate great value for humankind.

However, there is also a side of the persona that I truly dislike. I have a very high respect for every human being, whoever he or she is. And I felt, from time to time, very shocked on how Elon Musk behave with people, pushing them under extreme stress and consuming their time for a bigger cause. Life is beautiful, and even if you are building amazing products, I highly believe that you have to let people enjoy their life, enjoy what matters for them. It’s their lifes, not yours, let them be. For instance, at page 177, it appears that one employee has missed an event or meeting to witness the birth of his child. What a beautiful event not to miss. However, Elon Musk was very disappointed and said «That is no excuse. you need to figure out where your priorities are. We’re changing the world and changing history, and you either commit or you don’t ».
It’s perfectly fine if you invest all your time to something, but this has to be a free choice of yours, not a choice under pressure.
I am very careful about this aspect and relationship with people; and I believe that success or commitment doesn’t required you to behave like Elon Musk or Steeve Jobs towards employees.

No one is perfect of course, and anyone is free to like or dislike some aspects of your peers. But you have to see these judgments as a learning and keep the best of it for yourself. One of the other quality that I appreciate from Elon Musk is his ability to take decisions very quickly. I feel sometime very annoyed to take a decision, especially for useless stuff like buying clothes on store or choosing the menu at restaurant. Well, this is in a way very ridiculous because you are consuming time in predicting what could be the best for yourself without being sure. And to be honest, you could never have the answer of that prediction in advance. The only meaningfull step is to take decision quickly then pivote if your experience is not as expected.

The book is full of learning that you could apply to yourself, through the protagonist’s life (if you are willing to extract whatever matters to you).
So I definitely recommend you to read the biography. You will feel inspired in a high level, and this is all the more helpful if you are an entrepreneur willing to make a better world with amazing products.

Let me code, let me create !

I am a mobile developer. Developping software is an art through which you express your creativity.
But before creating anything, an unecessary amount of time is often wasted to setup, to administrate and to manage environment (development, integration, production & so…). 

Let me describe you the big picture:
Once uppon a time, when a was young and uncarefull about neither time passing nor producing value, I would have done a thousand things before even coding a single line of code to fulfill my idea.

  1.  I would have started by installing a Linux distribution (ubuntu to name one) onto an old dusty desktop machine laying into a locker.
  2. I would then have installed all necessary software to develop into the targeted plateform (android, maven & so.)
  3. I would then have installed a Source Version Control software, such as GIT, to access and store my ‘precious’ code. This would also have implied configuring ssh server and managing allowed/denied account to commit.
  4. Then, I would (or wouldn’t) have installed and configured a continous integration system, such as jenkins.
  5. To access my code from everywhere, I would have of course setup all the required network routing (configuring iptables, configuring some virtual hosts to route subdomain names, one for svc, the other for jenkins). To do so, I would necessarely have configured some domain name pointing to my self hosted desktop computer.
  6. Exposing my desktop server to the world, I would have configured some banning policy to block brut force attacks (fail2ban is your friend)
  7. And more !

This is all fun and full of learning, but let’s remind my primary goal: Expressing my creativity through coding.

  • Have I done something close to that goal ? Not at all.
  • Am I a sysadmin ? Certainly not.
  • Am I looking as a sysadmin so far ? Kind of…
  • Am I wasting my time doing so ? Regarding my primary goal, definitely.


Most of the time, your enthutiasm stops there in a subtile manner. Indeed, you are so proud and exshauted of having setup all the environment that you convince yourself that, from now one, you can start developping anytime (converting your idea into something concrete). So you take some rest and know that you could start coding in a few days, anytime. Your primary idea slowly evaporates. You have done nothing, except wasting your time.

You don’t want your idea flying away, do you ?
Experiment brings you wisdom.


#1 Code is not the value, Execution is
You slowly understand that your code is not the value as you naively think, but you realize that the value is in fact in the Execution of your idea.
Trying to secure your code into your own CVS system hosted into your own server is so unecessary at this stage.

I would recommand you to host your code into hubs (github, gitlab, bitbucket), costing you few dollars per month and bringing you the required level of security.
I would personaly use github for my open source projects an gitlab for my non foss projects.

Cost : 0$ (gitlab) to few dollars

#2 Continious Integration into the Cloud
Continous integration is, for me, a « can’t go without it » thing (regarding the project). Instead of going through the installation described above, I would definitely recommand you to go with online PaaS, such as Cloudbees. It fills all my requirements (Android support, Maven).

Cost : 0$ (free plan)

#3 Organize your development
You can not develop all your features at once, nor starting one before finishing the other. It is better to complete small batch of features sequentially, in an agile manner (definition of ready, definition of done). This helps you avoid dispersing and will benefit you. Then, again, there are online tools that will definitely help you being 
effective (kanbanflow.com for free, http://kanbanize.com for free, Jira Agile 20$/month). I would choose Atlassian for my needs.

As you can see, you can easily start developping, in a peace of mind manner and effective way, for 0$ per month (or few dollars). Your only concern is creating value serenely.
  
Don’t forget : 
The value is not the code, the value is the execution.