I created this map of my Tuesday bike ride to experiment with different ways to visualize gps data (my route is the heavy black line). This time I used GPS Visualizer , a free online application that converts gpx files into svg maps that then can be converted to JPEGs. The process involves too many steps at this point, but the result is not too bad.
In the face of scary writing deadlines, biking has been good therapy this week. Last night I took my Jamis out on my recently discovered route to Walden, and this time I charted my progress with a new Cateye bike computer and my gps device. While this may seem geeky, at least I’m not actually connected to the Internet as I cruise through the backroads of Watertown. Yesterday Robert reminded me of a site I ran across a few months ago, Bikes Against Bush, which describes a wired biking project that will take place during the RNC in NY. Participants will be able to send messages via the web to the bike which then will print them on the sidewalk in water-soluble chalk.This experiment in turn reminded me of Magicbike, a project that turns bikes into wireless hotspots, both as performance art and as an effort to overcome the digital divide.
“magicbike is a mobile WiFi (wireless Internet) hotspot that gives free Internet connectivity wherever its ridden or parked. By turning a common bicycle into a wireless hotspot, Magicbike explores new delivery and use strategies for wireless networks and modern-day urbanites. Wireless bicycles disappear into the urban fabric and bring Internet to yet unserved spaces and communities. Mixing public art with techno-activism, Magicbikes are perfect for setting up adhoc Internet connectivity for art and culture events, emergency access, public demonstrations, and communities on the struggling end of the digital-divide.
Bikes Against Bush is a one-of-a-kind, interactive protest/performance occurring simultaneously online and on the streets of NYC during the upcoming Republican National Convention. Using a Wireless In
Last night I went on my second ride on my new bike, and since I didn’t have much time, I decided to experiment with what I’ve started to call a “random ride.” In this case, I started out toward Watertown and once I got toward Arsenal Street, I began to make navigational decisions on a whim, with as a little deliberation as possible. This method led me on a 45-minute ride through the winding back streets of Watertown and Brighton in which I tried to stay off the main roads and follow the shifting flow of street patterns and traffic.
This morning I cruised downtown on my dad’s old Schwinn to photograph the the 8-foot tall, 500 pound chainsaw statue of Marge Gunderson from the movie Fargo which stands on the second floor of the Fargo Theatre. Given my feelings about the movie, I thought this was a fitting way for MGM to honor Fargo after the Coen brothers’ hijacked the city’s name for their movie.
This afternoon dad and I drove about 30 miles south of Fargo to the farm that my grandpa worked for 34 years and where dad grew up. The muddy roads prevented us from getting much closer than the southwest corner of the land, now clearly marked by a street sign. I couldn’t help notice that even out here in rural Minnesota, the signage is better than just about any part of the Boston area.
On our way there, we stopped to see several remnants of Lindgren family history:
Next time I’m able to visit this area, I need to create a better map of all the layers of family history that still exist here and to spend more time understanding what it means for the Lindgren’s to come from this place.
Dad attended this school where his mother was the teacher from 1946-1948.
This McCormick-Deering threshing machine was last used by my dad and grandfather in 1949 when dad was 10. It sits in a stand of trees on one of the Johnson brother’s farms, about 30 miles south of Fargo.