Mobiles, social media and revolutionary technology- Part II

3rd February 2011 by

I’m a luddite, and I’m fine with that. But aside from disliking the increasingly intrusion of technology and the internet into all aspects of our lives, I do recognise that all this media can be used for good.

When people took to the streets in Iran in 2009 they didn’t call it the Twitter Revolution for nothing. Whilst Twitter didn’t spark the street protests, it was a crucial medium for getting information to others in Iran and the rest of the world.

In October 2010 UK Uncut was 70 protesters in a doorway and a Twitter hashtag. A few months later UK Uncut is a truly nationwide social movement of direct action against the cuts, that wouldn’t exist without social media. “We don’t have any money, little expertise and we’re kind of winging it. But it seems to be going well and we seem to have hit a nerve.” Twitter, facebook and the rest have made it easy for complete strangers to organise spontaneous protests. Stowing an internet connection in their pockets has enabled protesters to report on their actions as they happen. Uncut has taken to the high streets targeting those they believe have been dodging corporate tax and the staff of Vodafone, Topshop, Boots and Tesco up and down the country are familiar with Uncut faces.

It’s no surprise that when the internet went down in Egypt last week the Egyptian government was suspected of cutting access (Vodafone Egypt admitted it had been instructed to suspend services in some areas). According to Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC technology correspondent, “for millions, in countries like Egypt, the ability to get instant access to information which could change the shape of their lives is becoming as much of a human right as access to clean water”.

Last weekend’s Education Cuts March marched off their designated route and on to the Eyptian embassy where they joined the anti-Mubarak protest. And they were not kettled by the police! This is the first of the student demos to have ended so peacefully and the lack of kettling has been credited by some to Sukey,  a security-conscious news, communications and logistics support service for demonstrators. Through a smart phone and mobile phone application Sukey collects and displays real-time police and protest behaviour, and tells protesters how to avoid being contained by the police for hours. It takes it name from the nursery rythme, “Polly put the kettle on, Sukey take it off again.”

As we become more and more connected, the possibilities for exchanging information, ideas and revolutionary inspiration are expanding exponentially and reaching people all over the world. The internet really does have the potential for a democratic and free media.

Top 10 tips to retrieve your stolen bike

2nd November 2010 by

As you probably know by now, most of us at Otesha are very fond of our bikes. We spend hours discussing them as if they were small children. If someone has an accident on theirs we might ask about the hurt to the bike and the person in that order. So, we were glad to find these tips of getting your stolen bike back on

1. Report it to the police

The emergency services may not share your view that this the biggest crime ever, so call your local police station, this is not a 999 job. It helps if you have a record of the serial number of the bike (found on the bottom of the bike, where the pedal stems join the bike frame). You can report a stolen bike (or any other crime) online. The cops do retrieve some stolen bikes and often have basements full of them waiting to be claimed (you have to be able to prove ownership to do this, but this could be just by being able to give a very detailed description of your bike), so it’s worth trying.

Things to do before your bike is stolen no.1 – write down the serial number of your bike.

2. Use, the global bike registration and recovery site. It’s free to register, list a stolen bike and Stolen Bike Alerts will be sent out to the owner, followers on Facebook and Twitter, local authorities, bike clubs, and bike shops.

3. Tell your insurance company

Things to do before your bike is stolen no.2 – GET IT INSURED, especially if you bought it new, and then keep proof of purchase in a very safe place..

4. Check your lock

Some specialist locks, such as Kryptonite locks include an Anti-Theft Protection Offer. I don’t know what that means but it sounds good.

5. Check ebay

Sign up for an Ebay account and create a saved search  with a description of your bike and the make (example: Giant, roadbike). You’ll then be sent automatic daily emails if anyone posts a bike that matches your description. If you see your bike on eBay, report it to the police.

6. Check Gumtree

Gumtree sells lots of bikes. Some are stolen. Again, set up an email alert for new listings of bikes being sold that match the make and model of your bike. If you think you have found your bike on Gumtree report it to the police so they can contact Gumtree to retrieve seller information and trace the bike.

7. Tweet it

Go to My Stolen Bike and fill in your stolen bike details then click on the Twitter and Facebook icons. Your friends will automatically be alerted with all details of the bike and where it was stolen. Make sure you upload a picture.

8. Tell bike shops

Call on local bike shops with a picture and details of your bike. They are happy to help. If you’re bike is unique, like a time-trial, single speed, tri-bike, cross bike or racing bike, list it with specific bike clubs websites and forums.

9. Offer a reward

If you can’t live without your bike, post a reward for its safe return, no questions asked. People look at reward posters and the extra exposure only helps the neighbourhood to keep an eye out for your stolen bike. Sometimes the bike will be too hot and the thief will simply leave it in a public place. If someone comes forward make sure you meet them in daylight with a friend, and get the bike back before giving any reward money.

Leave reward posters near the site your bike was stolen from.

10. Move on

You’ve tried everything. You must be sick of the bus by now. It’s time to move on. Luckily there are bike recycling projects all around the UK where you can buy cheap, reused bikes. Or find your nearest police auction and get an unclaimed stolen bike, without feeding the market for stolen bikes.

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