Bike for Sale – Nottingham Cruiser

Bike for sale

I’m selling the first bike that introduced me to the best way to get around London.

In brief

  • £180 o.n.o. for the bike including lights and locks
  • Raleigh Panache (1980s mixte frame with dual down tube)
  • Frame (seat tube) is 21″ (53 cm), but as it’s a mixte frame, you don’t really need to worry about the standover height. I’m 5’4″ (162cm) and this bike is a little bit too big for me. But certainly test ride it first.
  • Recently fully serviced at London Bike Kitchen by me
  • For collection from Hackney
  • Contact me at becky@theleadingzero.com with any questions, viewing requests, or offers
  • New/replaced items in the two years I’ve owned it
    • Rear wheel
    • Front and rear tyres
    • Chain
    • Headset
    • Handlebars and grips
    • Brake levers
    • Brake cabling and housing
    • Gear cabling and housing
    • Saddle

Bike’s Known History

I bought this bike (then named The Pink Lady) from Re-cycling in Elephant & Castle in the summer of 2011.  I strongly discourage you from ever going to that shop.  I certainly paid too much for the bike which they claim they fix up before selling on.  They definitely didn’t do that with this bike and their customer service was just abhorrent.  At that point I knew nothing about bike maintenance and didn’t know that it was in pretty poor shape.  I ended up taking it to Bike Works for servicing about 6 weeks after I bought it.  I got a puncture about 8 months after that and had the rear wheel replaced at Cycle Surgery when they fixed the puncture (I couldn’t even change a tyre at that point in my cycling maintenance knowledge…).

The following summer I bought another bike that was a bit zippier (Phil) and The Pink Lady went into storage at my flat.  I’ve since learned a ton about bicycle maintenance, thanks to the London Bike Kitchen.  I’m working on building a new bike (just got a Surly Cross Check frameset for a steal!) and can’t justify keeping The Pink Lady. I took the BYOB (Build Your Own Bike) course at the Bike Kitchen this past June.  I dismantled the bike, cleaned and replaced components as necessary, and then put her back together.  I swapped out the drop bars with their horrible brake levers for sit up and beg bars.  The new saddle was sitting around the Bike Kitchen forever and looks like it belongs on a cruiser, which inspired the new look for the bike.  I think it’s now the lovechild of a 1980s Raleigh bike and a coastal cruiser, so The Pink Lady has been rechristened The Nottingham Cruiser. (Raleigh was founded in Nottingham.)

Frameset on stand

The bike during the BYOB course at the London Bike Kitchen.

It comes with front and rear fenders and a rear rack.  I think this bike would work well for commuting and general errands around London.  That’s what I originally bought her for and she did me proud.  I think she’s now in the best condition she’s been in for a decade.  I’m selling her for £180 o.n.o. and including the lights and locks I originally bought for her.

Included lights and locks

Locks and lights included with the bike.

Installation at Tate Modern

I’ve been working with Melissa Matos of TRUSST and Vase to create a jacket that projects multiple viewpoints from the wearer onto the walls of the Tate Modern’s South Tank as a part of Hyperlink. Jacques Greene will wearing the jacket during his performance from 8:30 on Friday.

The jacket is from Rad Hourani’s collection and Rachel Freire has been working with me to integrate the tech into the jacket. I’ll post more details about the build process after the performance.

More info about the event can be found at the Tate website and on Wired.

Campus Party Berlin and Music Hack Day Reykjavik Hacks

This is long overdue, but this past August I attended Campus Party Berlin and in October I participated in the Reykjavik Music Hack Day in Iceland. It was my first visit to Berlin and I’d also never been to Iceland before – and late October is not really the best time of year for a visit – but I loved it and can’t wait to go back to both places.

Campus Party was a weird experience. It’s an overgrown LAN party that has turned into a conference. My strongest associations with LAN parties are from high school where my male friends would hold 24 hour LAN parties at each other’s houses playing various video games in their parents’ basements. Girls were explicitly not allowed to attend and were never invited to play. Campus Party wasn’t a a complete throwback to those days and the organizers had tried to better accommodate a variety of participants. Though I know the intentions were good, the execution was just awful.

Leading a Codasign Arduino workshop at Campus Party.

Leading a Codasign Arduino workshop at Campus Party.

I attended Campus Party to lead a workshop on Arduino and to give a talk. The workshop was meant to be for 20 and ended up with about 60, but everyone had a good time and I hoped learned a bit. When I proposed to give a talk, I was asked to give it on the “Women in Tech Day”. I was a bit confused as I didn’t propose a talk that had anything to do with gender, but it was clarified that they were trying to fill all the parallel stages with women speakers on the same day. I know they were trying to increase visibility, but it ended up creating a ghetto. As a result, there were almost no women speaking the rest of the week and I had to miss several other women speakers because of my own talk. I even missed the networking event set up by the Berlin Geekettes as it was away from the venue and against my speaking slot (meaning also that most women went to that event and not my talk). I know it was an attempt to increase the visibility of women in tech, but I think it ended up worse than if they hadn’t bothered at all.

Anyway, my slides for my talk:

During Campus Party Soundcloud hosted an Audio Hack Day. It was very small, just 11 hacks, but that was nice change from the huge attendance of most Music Hack Days. After the hack presentations there was a Q&A session for the audience and hackers to discuss the hacks in more detail while the judges deliberated. I made a doorbell that plays a different doorbell sound from Freesound (and thanks MTG for the headphones!). The full hack listing is up on github along with the code.

View from the whale watching boat outside Reykjavik.

View from the whale watching boat outside Reykjavik.

The Iceland Music Hack Day was one of the best organized hack days I’ve ever attended. Much credit to the organizing team! The hack was located in a local university which also hosts a hack space in the basement, Hakkavelin. Having a hack space and its facilities so close to the hack day was great and gave physical hacking a much bigger presence than it would have otherwise had. My team for my hack ended up including two lovely lads from the hack space – Gummi and Jason.

Reykjavik viewed from the walk to Reykjavik University.

Reykjavik viewed from the walk to Reykjavik University.

I brought along something like 30m of digitally addressable RGB LED strips leftover from a previous project. Each LED can be programmed and controlled individually to be any color. I didn’t have grand plans for them when I arrived, but inspiration struck for our team when we combined the LEDs with a coat rack (and we weren’t the only coat-rack-hack).

Testing LED Display from Becky Stewart on Vimeo.

We created a makeshift LED panel by draping and taping the LED strips onto the coat rack and diffusing the light with napkins from the breakfast buffet. We then controlled what the lights displayed via Processing and an Arduino communicating over serial. I wrote a little Processing sketch that queried The Echo Nest for artist images and then let you browse them and select one. It then was sampled to fit on the “digital poster” of LEDs.

There were a couple issues that could have been sorted with a bit more time, but we found a compelling demo image and it was good enough. The displayed images consistently came out too red. I think this could have be calibrated into submission, but the sampling method I implemented was incredibly simple. I think just a touch more sophistication in the algorithm would have gone far. But Dark Side of the Moon saved the day.

Wallify – Music Hack Day Iceland 2012 Hack from Becky Stewart on Vimeo.

Badgify at MIDEM Hack Day 2012

This past weekend I participated in a Music Hack Day-esque event. It’s not quite a regular hack day as it is not an open invitation – you have to apply and have attended a hack day before. It’s because it’s a higher pressure event and you’re expected to output a quality hack with a good demo by the end of it for the music business conference attendees. The hack day is also much smaller – 30 people instead of 100+. The result was that it was easier to meet the other hackers and the demonstrations went just amazingly well. Everyone was well spoken and gave a clean demo.

Rebecca Stewart
Photo by Thomas Bonte

I worked with Suzie Blackman to produce Badgify. It was an Arduino and Android hack inspired by an Internet of Things approach. There are many ways to broadcast what you are listening to: Spotify, Last.fm, Facebook, This Is My Jam, and so on. But all of those services require online connectivity for others to learn what music you are listening to. Our hack lets you share what you are listening to with others in the same physical space as you. Using Bluetooth, your Android phone can communicate with a LCD screen “badge” that you can pin on your coat or bag. It displays the artist you most recently listened to (and scrobbled to Last.fm).

Below is the video of our presentation and a video of the badge and app in action. Our presentation is about 37 minutes in.

The hacks have also picked up a little bit of press.

I’m really glad I attended. Last year’s event was the first MIDEM Hack Day and it was invite-only; there wasn’t an application process. I was vocal in my disappointment in conducting an event this way and was happy that an open application process was adopted for this year. I wholeheartedly encourage you to apply next year.

Soft Circuit Singing Pig with Wigs – Part 4 Construction

Pig in black wig

The patterns for the pig and all the wigs are from Knitting Mochi Mochi by Anna Hrachovec. The knitting of the soft circuit pig was largely unaltered from the original pattern. The main adaptation was that I needed to access the inside of the pig. The original pattern knits the pig from tail to snout and stuffs the pig before casting off and closing up the body. I added an opening and a flap to the underside of the pig by working the body flat instead of in the round for the section between the increases and decreases. I cast on 5 stitches at the end of the row and cast them off again before joining the body in the round and continuing on to the head. This gave me a flap so sew snaps to create a clean closure.

Animation of the pig being knit

Continue reading

Soft Circuit Singing Pig with Wigs – Part 3 Code

Pig in mohawk wig

To summarize the previous posts, I made a singing stuffed animal that happens to be a pig. It sings a different song according to the wig it is wearing which functions as an electrical switch between VCC and ground. This change in voltage is detected by an Arduino Uno. This post will go over the Arduino code that I wrote.

The full source is up in github. Please take it and do as you would like with it. Let me know what you get up to with it.

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Soft Circuit Singing Pig with Wigs – Part 2 Circuit

Pig in beehive wig

The interaction design for the singing pig was to have a different song start playing when a different wig is placed on the pig. The pig needed to stand by itself without being connected to anything else and the wigs needed to look like nothing out of the ordinary (ordinary wigs for pigs, that is). I wanted the way the wigs attach to the pig to be no different than any other stuffed toy, but they also need to pass current and electrically trigger events on an Arduino. Metal snaps were my go-to item as they very nicely interface between “hard” components (things you normally associate with a circuit) and “soft” components (conductive thread).

Continue reading

Soft Circuit Singing Pig with Wigs – Part 1 Overview

Animated gif with pig in different wigs

I come from a family serious crafters. I’m the only child that didn’t go to art school (though I guess music school isn’t that left field). My sister is currently studying at Savannah College of Art and Design basically learning how to design awesomeness. When she visited me in London this past summer, we came to a rather strange agreement: she would create a mounted deer head art piece for me and in return I would make her a stuffed animal pig with different wigs that sings (she also requested ninja-capabilities, but I had to draw the line somewhere). We agreed this in July and then didn’t really speak of it again, but we both understood that we needed to produce our gifts by Christmas.

This started when she was thumbing through my copy of Knitting Mochi Mochi by Anna Hrachovec and came to the pig with wigs (you can see one of them on the book cover in the upper right corner). We had been playing around with my Sing-a-ma-jigs earlier. I think the Mochi Mochi Land patterns are yearning to be mashed up with some electronics, and when my sister concluded independently of me that the pig should sing (a project I had wanted to do but didn’t have time to devote to at the ITP Camp last summer), I believed I had no other choice than to make it so.

The result is a pig with glowing eyes and the on/off switch as the tail. When the pig is on and there aren’t any wigs on its head, nothing happens beyond the pulsating eyes. When a wig is snapped onto it, the pig sings the song associated with that wig: a black wig sings Bad Romance by Lady Gaga; a beehive sings Tik Tok by Ke$ha; and a mohawk sings Superbass by Nicky Minaj.

And this is what my sister made me (sorry, not a brilliant photo):

Paper mache deer head

As it was a rather large project, I’m breaking up the documentation into multiple blog posts (circuit design, code, and construction).

5 Years

My brain hurt like a warehouse, it had no room to spare
I had to cram so many things to store everything in there

Five years ago, well a couple weeks shy of five years, I began my PhD research under the supervision of Mark Sandler at the Centre for Digital Music (C4DM) in what was then the Department of Electronic Engineering at Queen Mary, University of London. We were a group of 30 or so researchers spread across two offices with a shiny new Listening Room to use in our research.

C4DM in November 2009

C4DM in November 2009

Now we’re something closer to 60 researchers associated with the group spread across four offices (once the construction dust is settled on the new office space). We are also now a part of the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science and within qMedia. Along with the Listening Room is a new Control Room and Performance Lab to be used with the Media Arts and Technology doctoral training centre.

Rocking out in the Listening Room

Yves and Matthias in the Listening Room in April 2007. Not many people know this, but Yves is a particularly talented trumpeter.

This September will commemorate 10 years of C4DM as a research group, and it will be the first September since 2005 that I will not be a researcher within it. I submitted my PhD thesis in July 2010 and have been a postdoctoral research assistant since then. It’s been an amazing time, but universities need turnover – they thrive on a continuous flow of new people with new talents and passions – so it is time to move on.

Presentations on MIR to the public at the Dana Centre.

Presentations on music information retrieval to the public at the Dana Centre as part of the OMRAS2 project in 2008. Photo taken by Elaine Chew.

I’m not going very far (in fact I’ll be back tomorrow for a meeting), but it still feels like a significant change. I’m not ready to publicly announce my next steps, but I’m happy to talk with you in person about what exciting things I will be up to past August. I’ll be talking about my new venture at the C4DM 10th Anniversary Event: Past, Present and Future, so come along to that! Even if you’re not bothered about what I’ll be up to, come along anyway! There’s also an evening event.

C4DM stand at the Big Bang in 2010

The C4DM exhibition stand at the Big Bang Science Festival in 2010.

Goodbye, C4DM!