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Change your life light your bike - My CBC interview on bicycle lights

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2012-11-21 23:41


tl;dr: I ride with far too many bicycle lights: 4 front facing, 3 rear facing 5 side facing. To be seen, you only need 2 lights if you ride in the city of Vancouver, but if you want to see, you also need a helmet mounted light and if you want bike light overkill :-) you can add a fancy hub dynamo and spoke persistence of vision lights.

Yesterday I was interviewed by CBC's Margaret Gallagher about bicycle lighting. Here's a blog post with the missing details since my interview will probably be edited and quite short since it will be part of a piece with other people such as a police officer and somebody from MEC (to be aired tomorrow 22 November 2012 at 7:40a.m. on CBC Radio 1 88.1 FM in Vancouver)

If Lighting for bicycles had an Olympics, here's how it would be for those riding in the city of Vancouver

(assuming you bicycle on lit streets in the city of Vancouver and not in the forest or other unlit space; I know nothing about bicycling in Burnaby, Richmond and the rest of the suburbs; if your lights are blinking please don't point them in pedestrians' eyes!)

Bronze Medal

MEC quattro on front, plasma on back, $30 (These lights are purely to be seen; they won't help you see!)

Silver Medal

Bronze plus front, rear and side helmet mounted headlamp e.g. Light and Motion Visibility 360, $190 (this is great solution to see where your head is pointing)

Gold Medal

Bronze and silver plus a dynamo hub with front and rear lights available from The World Cycles, Kissing Crows Cyclery, Dream Cycle, Bikes for All,etc.
hub dynamo info: (Shimano makes them too but the Sturmey archer design dates back to 1936 in England! it was just made lighter and better when the Taiwanese company Sun Race bought Sturmey Archer in the 2000s). These hub dynamos unlike the awkward bottle dynamos you grew up don't rub on the wheel and are very efficient and have a "stand light" feature so they stay on for a few minutes after you stop! All powered by your bicycling so no batteries required and quite powerful with the latest LED lights like the ones from Lumotec and E3.

The best lights for hub dyamos are German:

This is what I have: (Lumotec IQ CYO front; and the matching rear light)
I dream of someday owing the even brighter ones from e3

But of course my setup has even more bicycle lights, in fact it's verging on overkill, but I am quite happy with the amount of light

  • In addition to the lights from the Gold Medal level, I also ride with lights on my spokes, so called persistence of vision lights. I ride with the Mini Monkey Light which displays 25 8 bit patterns including Space Invaders which I got from Kickstarter. But you can get them from good bike shops here in the city or directly from MonkeyLectric in Seattle
  • But wait there's more. I also ride with the 500 Lumen Front Light Urban 500 (the Urban 500 is no longer available but you can get the Urban 550 which emits 550 lumens)

In the future I will have turn signals and perhaps more!

Still don't have real time geotagged photo web in 2011! Proof: lack of geotagged Vancouver photos on flickr after Vancouver Canucks beat the San Jose Sharks

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2011-05-29 22:20

We still don't have a real time geotagged photo web in 2011. Even in 2011, where there are many more geo capable cameras and cameraphones than ever, people still wait hours, days, weeks or hours to upload their photos to places like flickr as evidenced by my video of the 276 (as of this writing) photos geotagged in Vancouver on flickr taken on the day the Vancouver Canucks beat San Jose Sharks to make it into the 2011 Stanley Cup finals.

My prediction: after a couple of months, we'll have about 500 photos (up from the 276 currently posted) from this day geotagged in Vancouver and uploaded to flickr.

Video of HTML5 mashup of Vancouver Beats San Jose May 24, 2011 which is currently 271 geotagged flickr photos

Far less then the approximately 2500 geotagged photos taken during the 2010 Olympic Gold Men's Hockey day in 2010 when there were far less geo-capable phones and cameras.


Try it out yourself (you get to see my cool reverse fade :-) !)

Compare and Contrast with 2010 Olympics Men's Gold Medal Hockey Game

Das Blinkenlights - Vancouver and San Francisco Video Style!

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2011-05-25 00:08

As promised, videos of my San Francisco and Vancouver real-time HTML5 geotagged photo mashups driven by the great flickr and CloudMadeAPIs (each time a geotagged photo to the city is uploaded to flickr, a dot is posted on the map; the dot does a reverse blue fade-in and then alternates between green and red and the map alternates between orange and pink). Next up, add music driven by the neighbourhood (i.e. a different tune for each woeid, which means 26 different tunes for Vancouver).

Vancouver real-time flickr cloudmade html5 mashup:


Try it out yourself! (may take some time for photos to appear since dots are only added when photos are uploaded to flickr geotagged in the city of vancouver):

San Francisco real-time flickr cloudmade html5 mashup:


Try it out yourself (may take some time for photos to appear since dots are only added when photos are uploaded to flickr geotagged in the city of san francisco):

Das Blinkenlights w/CloudMade APIs of Vancouver & San Francisco real-time geotagged flickr photos: use map.removeOverlay()

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2011-05-20 00:35

To the three :-) people in the world who care about blinking lights on a CloudMade Map : Evidently CloudMade and the web browsers can't handle  large amount of overlays i.e. 1000s of them :-). So the solution is to map.removeOverlay() before map.addOverlay(). If you don't remove the overlay before you addOverlay() then the browser slows down and leaks a large amount of memory.

I'll post a video later of the incredible Das Blinkenlights :-) but you can try it yourself. Just click on one of the following URLs to try it yourself (the map will be all black until somebody uploads some geotagged photos which could be anywhere from 1 second from now until an hour from now):


Foodtree video from my N900 at DCV11 is shakey - need a portable steadicam

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2010-07-23 07:29

I love taking taking videos and streaming them real-time from my N900  like the following one from DemoCamp Vancouver 11 of awesome Vancouver food provenance startup foodtree. But they are too shakey. Anybody got any ideas for a cheap and cheerful and portable steadicam?


CrowdTrust - My New Job

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2009-05-24 23:06

Moving Forward with CrowdTrustMy new job is at a Vancouver-based startup, CrowdTrust, a company that is aiming to get people to "network what you know" something that I have informally called "more than twitter and delicious, easier than blogging and public and private and everything in-between".

My job title is "Chief Products Officer" which is a grandiose title for person in charge of all things product related (except of course the developers). 

CrowdTrust is a Ruby on Rails based web application with a Firefox only  toolbar and there is a "pre-Roland" public  PROTOTYPE that you can check out.

It doesn't show you the true power and promise of what CrowdTrust can do so I won't be pushing the prototype hard, but it's a fine starting point.

I am (obviously) responsible for all product releases going forward and therefore would love your feedback, ideas, and constructive criticism to make the future releases of CrowdTrust the best they can be. In the words of Dave Winer, "Let's have fun!".

Oh and one more thing :-) ! We are hiring Rails developers (email if interested)!

End of my Bryght Era

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2009-05-20 20:59

May 15, 2009 was my last day of work for Raincity Studios and with it of course my involvement with Bryght ended as well. It's been a great ride! Thanks to all the Bryght Gals, Guys, customers, investors, friends and of course the folks at Raincity Studios. I am certain that the "Bryght Children" will in their own way (in a small "Fairchild children" way, haha!)  continue to make their mark  (e.g. Rilli, Bootup Labs, and I predict many many more). My next post will be about my new job but for now a few random thoughts and reflections (apologies to the great people I have omitted!):

  • I'll never forget moving day into the first Bryght offices at 525 Seymour with the folks at EQO (also gone).
  • Bryght Light developed by Adrian and the rest of the Bryght team was and is a Drupal milestone. I can't to see what the fine folks at Lullabot and Acquia  and WorkHabit and the other fine folks doing Drupal hosting come up with. Not to mention what happens with Development Seed, Adrian and  the other folks developing Aegir. Aegir definitely ups the proverbial Drupal hosting 'ante'.
  • Speaking of WorkHabit, I will always be impressed by their VPS hosting partnership with Bryght. As far as I know Bryght VPS was the only Drupal-centric VPS hosting from a Canadian company, one of the few in the world and probably the first. Nobody did it better. Thanks to Richard, Gary of WorkHabit, incredible system engineers and sysadmins: Narayan Newton and Ben Holt. Learned some great lessons:i.e. always iterate, automate and listen to the market!

Herewith some random Bryght photos to end it off in a visual style! Ciao Tschüß!

Fri19Nov2004 Dinner with Dave Winer at Phnom Penh - Boris, KrisWalking to New Town Bakery - N95-1 image - 035Buying a Europe to North American adapter - 07/12/2006Bryght walk - Downtown to Strathcona 05June06 - 7Loyalty Fidelity Broccoli digitally cross processedDrupal - OSCON 2005 T shirt sneak peekPre Gnomedex - 22June2005 - 12New Raincity Studios Offices - Album Cover Pose IIPhones for Fearless-20081223-129Adrian arrives in Vancouver - 2Walkah plays with N91 - 17112006096Puregin aka Djun at OSCMS

Skyte 1796 - In Phase One

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2009-01-18 16:32

Q&A Knight Foundation's News Challenge Last Night Oct 6, 2008 w/Susan Mernit

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2008-10-08 03:06

Here's the Knight News Challenge Question and Answer with Susan Mernit portion of the video (i missed the last few questions because I ran out of disk space, this video was 800MB!). I think it answers a lot of the common questions and shows how Susan is an engaging, articulate and savvy person.

Knight Foundation's News Challenge Last Night Oct 6, 2008 w/Susan Mernit

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2008-10-07 14:32

Read the whole thing from Richard to explore some possible Vancouver applications to the Knight News Challenge. And if you couldn't make last night's meetup last night, after the jump I have embedded a cameraphone video recording of Susan's Knight News Challenge presentation below. Susan's a really great speaker (so my video doesn't do her justice) and really articulated the program well and made me want to apply or at least jot some ideas on the Knight Vancouver wiki page.

QUOTE [From Just a Gwai Lo | Knight Foundation's News Challenge: What Project Would You Like to See About Vancouver?

Last night I attended a presentation by Susan Mernit (Twitter) about the Knight News Challenge, an initiative by the Knight Foundation to promote democracy and discourse through innovative digital (and social) media projects.


Mobile Camp Vancouver 2 is this Saturday at WorkSpace

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2008-09-04 10:20

Ooops forgot to blog about Mobile Camp Vancouver 2 unconference (topics and sessions decided the day of, all welcome from users to hard core devs to artists and sales and marketing folks!)

Here are my session ideas

    • session on SIFT Mobile Muse social media aggregator for SMS, video, photos, etc
    • Bug Labs - my Bug arrives in late September, app brainstorming session
    • BIKUX - linux stamp/beagle board/crazy apps on a portable connected
      solar powered Linux computere brainstorm session (e.g. games and geo
    • Reinventing Nokia mobile  - Brainstorming session on cool
      things Nokia could/should do in light of the iPhone, Android, etc - I
      am going to Finland on September 8th for a Nokia Conference and might
      be able to give this feedback to them directly

As well i'd like to work with John Biehler, Parveen Kaler and others on some iPhone sessions:

1) state of jail break

2) tethering

3) app development commiseration (that NDA s*xors)

4) what's on your iPhone i.e. fav apps

See you all on Saturday September 6th at WorkSpace in Gastown!


Bicycling With Amy Walker to all Car Free Vancouver 2008 Venues on June 15, 2008 and streaming video from my bike

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2008-06-13 20:40
Car Free Vancouver 2008 Brochure - Riding with Amy Walker on June 15, 2008

Wearing my Mobile Muse 3 technical evangelist and Fearless volunteer hats, I'll be riding my bicycle with Amy Walker, publisher of the fabulous Momentum magazine about all things bicycling, as part of Car Free Vancouver 2008 starting from the Fearless Mobile Booth on Commercial Drive at 12 noon Sunday June 15, 2008. We'll ride to all the other Car Free Vancouver venues (Main Street, the West End and Kitsilano) and stream video live from my bike to the internet.

Check us out at:

How you can help:

  • Come on down and participate! It's free!
  • Take photos and videos and blog about it and tag it: cfvd08

Finally for techies, here's a diagram of how the technology works!

Car Free Vancouver 2008 Streaming Napkin Diagram 110620082191

TransitCampVancouver Session Pitch Videos

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2007-12-12 09:26

In true BarCamp fashion, everybody (from guru to enthusiast to transit user to activist to everything in between) could pitch their session and we collaborated on the TransitCamp Vancouver schedule together.

They are all tagged transitcampvancouver or you can see them below (the original MP4 file is available if you are flash challenged.

Ask The Gurus Pitch from Stephen Rees:

Monica's suggestion pitch:

JMV's fun transit swag and art pitch

Ian King's 'how to participate and advocate' pitch

Communities Connecting via Transit

Transit Numerology

SPEC listens

Open Data for Transit

Improving Transfers in Transit

Software in Transit

Nomenclature in Transit

Jitneys and alternate transit

Improving the transit rider experience

Unwiring transit

Learning Transit Lessons from other cities

TransitCamp Vancouver was fab! Thanks Karen

Submitted by Roland on Sat, 2007-12-08 22:51

Karen Fung, organizer! 20071208-95- TransitCampVancouver07

Thanks mostly to the hard work of Karen (Karen rocks; thanks for the hard work and great organizing!), today's Vancouver Transit Camp was fab! An atmosphere of respect, lots of great people and lots of insights learned! More later (my videos (200MB of videos take over an hour and half to upload!) are currently uploading to and I have 2 flickr sets: one from my N95-1 cameraphone and one from my 20D)

Raincity Studios acquires Bryght

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2007-11-21 08:34

I am glad I can finally announce that Raincity Studios has acquired Bryght. Needless to say I am stoked and already enjoying working with my new colleagues. Working with Bryght has been great, the best job of my life and I am sure it will be the same at Raincity.

From my Raincity acquires Bryght story on


We can finally take the wraps off something we have been cooking up for a while. Raincity Studios has acquired Bryght (press release)! The expanded company will operate under the Raincity Studios banner and the Bryght name will live on through the hosting products (i.e. Bryght Light Sites and Bryght Virtual Private Servers will continue). Raincity Studios will also continue Bryght's work in leading edge technology like Jabber / XMPP and OpenID. And of course, all Bryght guys are now Raincity guys!


Mark Pesce loves his Meraki mesh

Submitted by Roland on Sat, 2007-09-29 13:21

Australia, San Francisco, Vancouver - an eternal golden braid or should I say mesh :-) ?
From hyperpeople » Blog Archive » Mob Rules (The Law of Fives):


Four months ago, a small startup in Silicon Valley named Meraki (Greek for “doing it with love”) for unveiled a cute little device, a wireless router that they simply named the Mini. Inside it has a RISC CPU running a custom version of LINUX which handles all of the routing tasks. That’s where it gets interesting. You see, Meraki have pioneered a new technology known as “wireless mesh networking”. You can power up a Mini in anywhere you like, and if there’s another Mini within distance – and these devices can reach nearly half a kilometer, outdoors – it will connect to it, share routing information, and route packets from one to another – all without any need to configure anything at all. Add another, and another, and another, and all of a sudden you’ve created a very wide area WiFi network. Only one of the Minis needs to be connected to the Internet as a gateway; the others will find it and route traffic through it. The Minis are small – and they’re also cheap. For just $49 dollars US, you can order one complete with an Australian wall wart. That’s cheaper than most access points out there, and because of the mesh networking, it does a whole lot more.


Canucks Outsider Live will videocast live Game 6 using

Submitted by Roland on Sat, 2007-04-21 15:23

The Canucks lost Game 5 tabernouche :-) ! So instead of a 1 hour show, starting 4:45p.m.-ish Pacific Dave Olson and the awesome hockey pundet gang will be covering the entire game in a LIVE video stylee as we promised on CBC Radio's On the Coast yesterday. Check us out at or

Canucks Outsider Live Videocast with on Saturday at 5p.m.

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2007-04-18 07:27

Technology willing, Dave Olson and I and his awesome cast of hockey pundits will be doing a live Canucks Outsider webcast using Saturday at 5p.m. Pacific to coincide with Game 6 of the Canucks/Dallas Series. Dave and the gang will be commenting live on the game on video over the internet!

Fingers crossed that there won't be a Game 6. If there's no Game 6 we'll still go live for a couple of hours as I am sure we'll have tons to say about the quest for the Stanley Cup.

[Gear help: If anybody has a 4 mike mixer and a couple of mics, I'd love to borrow them for our 'cast. Contact me roland AT or call me at 694 729 7924 OR leave a comment].

In Vancouver Sun last Saturday about The Blogger Code of Conduct

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2007-04-18 04:22

Blogging this so it doesn't get lost when it goes behind the Sun's r*diculous paywall. Digital identity is not all of the answer but it is part of it. And for the record I don't believe in the blogger code of conduct but I do believe in moderating comments.

FROM Vancouver Sun:When bloggers get in each other's face:


Roland Tanglao of Vancouver's, which offers tools to help create interactive online communities, believes that the solution to the problem of anonymity online might be for a universal online ID as advocated by another Vancouver firm, Sxip Identity.



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