Universal Music Makes Great Money on Uber IPO

So the Uber IPO didn’t start at the asking price, but even at around $42 some people and companies made a killing.

Some investors like Jason Calacanis, well he just has the Midas touch doesn’t he? I suppose he and Gary V would have had a chat about that one.

One that really interested me was Universal Music. It seems a bit like oil companies saying they have to diversify.

When I wrote my recent song Time Machine, I was thinking, what would I need to remember if I went back in time, well at (I think they said) something like a 1,000X, you only needed a small investment like $25,000 to never have to work again.

It’s just a shame that Universal Music didn’t invest in my songs:)

It is interesting to see the positivity having read the story a couple of days ago in Cosmos, saying that ride share companies are proven to add to traffic congestion rather than ease it.

Anyway, I guess I had better record my demo, so that Universal can have a listen:)

Posted in music, Transport, uber | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

You’ve Got To Stop Those Hacking Waze, Baby

I was told about a great new route to commute to work by a colleague and it was really good for a while. The 14km trip took about an hour by motorway and not much quicker taking the main arterial route. Then more and more people found out about it. It was nice and scenic too.

I noticed a lot of people turning into a residential side street and then farther on my journey, a large line of cars coming from another residential street all trying to get onto the main road. I also noticed that people didn’t want to let them in and wondered why.

One day I was using Waze and it told me to turn up that side street, so I did and suddenly I went from a stand still to 2 minutes of 50 kph, then guess where I turned up? About 30 cars ahead of where I would have been, if only I could get back on the main road. I had unwittingly become a rat runner!

It turns out that Waze (and Google) look at the traffic density and cleverly find alternate routes, but often it does so into residential roads that aren’t suitable for heavy traffic.

I recently discovered that in some towns in the US locals found a way to get around this. They went onto Waze on their local streets and reported that the roads were congested or even put in map errors saying roads were closed.

Tap the Standstill Button to tell Waze not to send people down that street

In some cases this can cause major problems. For example in 2017 a bridge in Atlanta collapsed. The Georgia DOT had just started a relationship with WAZE and they were one of the first Real Time Travel Information Services to inform motorists that they had to take an alternate route. That’s where the problems started.

Locals, suddenly beset with huge lines of traffic from the I-85 Interstate tried to manipulate the app by reporting false road closures. It worked for a little while, but WAZE has algorithms that notice when a road is still being used, despite information provided by ‘motorists’ and corrects for it. So the closure notes got overwritten, but were replaced by more fake closures.

This can be a real problem in a situation that is dynamic, for example where the DOT establishes a temporary detour, but only runs it at certain times. The road is shown as closed but then WAZE sees traffic going through it. This is of course a great reason for DOT’s to partner with authorities who have the official knowledge and SOP’s for managing unplanned road closures.

The challenge is of course that there are many car navigation and routing apps, all with their own algorithms and feedback loops. When there is a major event like a storm, floods, slips, it’s not unusual for people to follow the incorrect information from their navigation app, instead of what the authorities are trying to tell them to do.

Whilst people tend to trust DOT information when there is a serious event, many don’t use it or even know it is available unless they hear about it on the radio or other news media, or social media. They use Google Maps, WAZE or car navigation devices/apps from TomTom, HERE, Garmin and others and if you follow a hashtag I used to use #TheGPSMadeMeDoIt, you will find loads of stories that may astound you. My mother used to say “If someone told you to jump in the lake would you do it?” Well follow that link and you will find stories where people did exactly what the ‘GPS’ told them to with sometimes funny, sometimes disastrous consequences.

This creates the dilemma. Should a DOT provide their own travel information or allow 3rd parties to manage traffic flows. During Hurricane Florence there were stories of people driving around barricades because their phones told them to. A real challenge when you have to evacuate a million people who prefer to trust their app rather than the authority charged with managing traffic flow, especially when it is so ingrained that when the emergency hits people aren’t thinking straight, they are just trying to get to safety.

I was looking at a web site designed for families to plan for an emergency. It includes what you should have in your emergency kit, contact details for family and how you will connect if telephone lines are down and where you might meet in the event of an emergency. What it didn’t show was, where to find official, trustworthy information to allow you to relocate. I mean, if a road is under 3 feet of water, who is most likely to know the facts and the traffic management plan?

So I understand why people hack WAZE. If I lived on a street used by rat runners, I’d be tempted to create a fake road closure or traffic jam too. I’ll plagiarise the last word from Carlos Santana, with apologies.

You’ve got to stop your hacking WAZE, baby
Before I stop following you
You’ve go to change, baby
And every closure that I show is true

You’ve got me running in traffic jams all over town
You’ve got me sneaking and peeping, rat running around
This can’t go on
Lord, knows you got to change, baby

Posted in #TheGPSMadeMeDoIt, accidents, Accurate Map Tracking, aggressive driving, Apps, Best GPS, Best Practice GPS, car hacking, Car Nav Caused Crash, Car Navigation, cars, cheap gps, cheating GPS, Communications, commuting, congestion, crowd sourced data, distracted driving, driver behavior, driving, driving app, earthquake, emergency, Flood, Foresight, freeway, Google maps, Google Mobile App, GPS, GPS Accuracy, GPS Car Nav, GPS Excuses, GPS MAde Me Do IT, GPS Maps, GPS Nav, GPS Navigation, GPS Problems, Hacker, Hackers, Hacking, Hacks, HERE, Intelligent Transport Systems, location based apps, Location Based Consultant, Map apps, Map data, Mobile Apps, Mobile Maps, mobile travel apps, Motoring, motorway, nav accident, nav apps, Nav Maps, Navigation Maps, Navman, road trip, RTTI, safer driving, safer journeys, Smart City, Technology, TomTom, traffic, traffic congestion, Traffic Control, traffic demand, traffic design, Traffic Information, Traffic jam, Traffic Management, Traffic Optimization, Transport, Travel, Travel Apps, travel demand management, Travel Information, tsunami, Unusual Traffic, Urban design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Can Pick Your Neighbors – Don’t End Up with Neighbors from Hell!

I have another video coming up in my series of 5 Top Mistakes People Make When They Are Buying a House. It’s about neighbors.

This one has been on the market for months

I have been recommending that people talk to the neighbors of a property they are seriously interested in, both in my latest book and in my video series on YouTube. If you’re interested in reading the book for free, you can do so online at LinkedIn by clicking here.

Among other things they are a great font of information about the neighborhood as well as things the vendor might not tell you about the house you are looking at buying. If the neighbors like you, they may tell you things the vendor doesn’t want you to know, likewise you’ll find out if you gel with your potential neighbors.

I’ve said it before. People like to live next door to people like them. Don’t you?

I have an awesome neighbor. He vetted every person coming down the drive to look at the houses we eventually bought. If he didn’t like the look of them, he cranked up the heavy metal and played it full bore. When we arrived he came out to greet us and we hit it off instantly.

He is the neighborhood handyman and has helped probably half of the people in the street with something. For me it has been a few things that I couldn’t do, like pruning a tree, because I am waiting or ACC to approve back surgery for an injury I had last year. For others it is all sorts, from gardening to helping with car repairs, cleaning drains, building fences, you name it. He’s always there with a smile.

I have a long driveway and if someone comes down that he doesn’t recognise, he wanders down to greet them and check them out. Once he caught a couple of teenagers wandering down our driveway and peaking over the fence, he came and grilled them, seeing them off the property. They belonged to a new household in our cul-de-sac which had lots of people coming into the house and leaving with brown paper bags, which we suspected weren’t for school lunches.

He went and greeted the parents of the teenagers, welcomed them to the neighborhood and basically told them that walking down neighbors driveways was not a great idea unless they were invited and that if they were law abiding citizens, they would be welcomed to the neighborhood with open arms. He even invited them over for a drink. He went on to say that when there had been people behaving suspiciously, he had reported them to the Police, but of course he wasn’t implying they were doing anything wrong.

He also said he had noticed that they had a lot of visitors and was wondering if they were running a home business, something other people do in the street, for example one of them is a health practitioner, helping people with migraine headaches. He only got a mumbled response to the negative on that question.

Interestingly, about 6 weeks later, they moved out quite suddenly.

Neighbors can make or break your family home. I have a daily alert for stories about neighbors, good and bad. Here are a few, just from this week:

A paranoid schizophrenic neighbor in Birmingham stabbed his neighbours to death.

The number one cause of neighborly disputes. Fences.

How someone dealt with noisy neighbors using a very novel solution including naked mannequins.

A man who was infatuated with a neighbor shot up her home after she turned down his sexual propositions.

According to this story, if you move into a neighborhood with a lot of obese people, scientists say you have a high risk of filling out yourself.

Kloe Kardashian says you should love your racist neighbor. Personally I don’t need a racist neighbor.

I’ve been looking for ‘good neighbor’ stories in the digital media. I’m sure they are there, but they seem to be a lot less than the unhappy stories.

I’m not suggesting that a high percentage of neighbors are bad neighbors. I am suggesting you find out a bit more about them and from them, before you make an offer on that new house. It seems obvious right? So why do most people not do it?

Posted in Australia Real Estate, burglary, Buyers Agent, Buying a Home Research, Buying a House, Buying a House Mistakes, Canada Real Estate, First Home Buyer, home, house hunting, Lifestyle, Mistakes Buying a House, neighborhood crime, Neighbors, Neighbourhood Crime, Neighbours, New Zealand Real Estate, People, property, Real Estate, real estate agent, UK Real Estate, US Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Percentage of Real Estate Houses For Sale Are Sold to Buyers?

If you were thinking of buying a home in a particular suburb, a good place to look before you leap is the local print magazine right? So I had a look in our local magazine, thinking as a buyer, how would I pick a Real Estate Agent that would help me get good value?

Here are excerpts from some ads I found in this month’s magazine:

“Vendors are accepting that the market has moved in favour of buyers and are trimming their expectations as to the price they will accept.”

“Buyers appear to be confidently returning to the more settled and realistic market.”

“Want to sell for top dollar? …The best chance of maximising your sale price.”

“Whether you’re buying or looking to sell your property an d need a successful sale in today’s changing market – Call Us”

“It is a good time to sell before the cold month’s set in”

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I Bought a Two Story House, There was the Story Before I Bought the House and the Story After I Bought The House

Have you heard of buyers remorse?

Wikipedia defines it as ”
Buyer’s remorse is the sense of regret after having made a purchase. It is frequently associated with the purchase of an expensive item such as a vehicle or real estate.”

The most common reason for it, I believe is lack of knowledge, training and experience on the part of the buyer. Real Estate Agents are trained in the art of selling. They are equipped to sell you the house they want you to buy. They know how to sell the sizzle. They know NLP. They know how to create FOMO. They are trained negotiators, they can even play you off against each other.

Unless you have a Buyers Agent, and they are few and far between in some countries, you as a buyer have very little experience. You probably haven’t even read a book about buying a house. You have no systems, you have people around you with opinions and you don’t really have enough money to get what you want.

Many say it’s impossible for young people to buy a house today. That’s not true, people are doing it. But you need to be smart.

In the following short video, I will arm you with some information to help you understand how Real Estate Agents work and some ideas on how you can get them to work a little more to your (and their) advantage.

After you have bought, it’s all yours baby. If you’re not happy, if it doesn’t really meet your needs, it needs too much work, the neighbors are loud and have 4 dogs, the commute to work takes forever and public transport is even worse, guess what? In hindsight maybe you could have been better prepared

The following short video can help you with that. It’s FREE. I’m not trying to sell you anything. I’m just trying to level the playing field a little in your favour.

If you have bought before, I’d love you to share some tips and experiences. If you’re in the industry, share your feedback. I know there are lots of great Real Estate Agents out there. Tell us why working with you is good for buyers and vendors.

I’m keen for comments and questions from you.

Posted in Australia Real Estate, Buyers Agent, Buying a Home Research, Buying a House, Buying a House Mistakes, Canada Real Estate, commuting, Family, First Home Buyer, home, house hunting, Location Based Consultant, Location Based Education, Millenials, Mistakes Buying a House, neighborhood crime, Neighbors, Neighbours, New Zealand Real Estate, Paying too much for a house, People, Real Estate, real estate agent, Selling a House, The Location Guru, Traffic jam, UK, UK Real Estate, US Real Estate, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I think an Autonomous Vehicle Won’t Be Able to Reliably Guess Where a Pedestrian Will Go

In 2016, Volvo ‘promised’ that we would have ‘Deathproof Cars’ by 2020. That’s next year! You may also recall that about this time last year, an Autonomous Uber Volvo crashed and killed a pedestrian. According to the NTSB the car spotted the pedestrian 6 seconds before it hit and killed her. Volvo then said that their system relied on the ‘driver’ who was watching a movie on the entertainment system to apply the brakes in an emergency situation. Is that reasonable when they are allowed to watch TV. I often don’t hear someone speaking to me when I am engrossed in something.

The insurance industry is very interested in risk with driverless cars, especially given the same brand, Volvo, said in 2015 that they would indemnify drivers of AV’s. That’s pretty cool because imagine if for the lifetime of the car you didn’t have to pay any insurance. That’s a pretty good saving on the premium you pay for these vehicles.

So back to pedestrians. While I’m waiting for approval for my back fusion surgery from ACC, I go for a daily walk. I have found a fairly flat walk to our local beach, which is part of my core fitness regime.

In New Zealand we drive on the left hand side of the road so you would think that pedestrians facing others would also make way for them by keeping left. Not so in my experience. Some think that way, but most just walk where they walk, it may be that they want to be farther away from traffic or they just don’t think about it at all.

In busy urban environments many solo walkers have developed a system where they can avoid bumping into other people. They often make eye contact, make an almost imperceptible move towards the left or right and monitor to see if the other person has likewise recognized this and moves the other way. Usually this works so well we are almost unaware of the communication.

It works a large percentage of the time, but if a hundred people are at a busy crossing, I bet that at least 2 people will do that St Vitus’ Dance where they both go to the left, then they both go to the right and then they stop in front of each other and apologise, like ants sharing information as they march to the food store.

On my walks I find people who are oblivious, deep in thought, or perhaps listening to something through their headphones or noise cancelling earbuds. They don’t move.

There is the Alpha Male (I have fun with them, maybe there is a little alpha in me too). They want to show their domination by deliberately not moving even after that eye connection. They want me to move, but I don’t. That confuses them because it works most of the time. I find that often if I look them firmly in the eye, they will grudgingly move at the last possible moment.

There are the directionally challenged people who can’t walk in a straight line.

There are people who suddenly change their mind. You see them all the time in supermarkets and shopping malls. They are walking in a certain direction as you walk behind them, then they suddenly turn around and walk smack into you, perhaps thinking that they are the only person in their little world.

In those malls you also have the person facing you who hasn’t moved for 5 seconds, pondering their next purchase. Suddenly they remember where they are and why, and march straight into your face.

The same happens with people crossing the road. I think I’ve seen everything. People step on the road and step off. They go half way across the road and change their minds. They go all the way over and change their minds. They stand and move as if they are going to step and don’t. They run across the road. They ‘silly walk’. They stop in the middle of a lane waiting for someone else.

I’m sure you get the point by now. I keep going back to Dan Ariely. People are predictably irrational. How do you train a car AI to understand how people will behave, when the people don’t understand themselves?

Marc Hoag of the Autonomous Cars podcast had an interesting thought about the insurance topic in Episode 83. There are more elements to the human problem. Humans programmed the computer algorithms. People installed the sensing equipment. Someone has to make sure that firmware upgrades are installed. I wonder if Volvo thought of those things when they made their ‘promise’?

So if humans will bump into each other more than 1% of the time and they create the ‘intelligence’ to stop cars bumping into each other; and in an autonomous vehicle crash, they still want to blame humans for the fatality (if I recall correctly they blamed both the pedestrian as a first reaction and then the hapless TV watching ‘driver’). Then there is a risk of human fault inherent in the system, and I haven’t even mentioned the people who built the computer or the LiDAR system as an OEM for the car manufacturer who installed it after having an argument with the boss, or the dense fog or ambient light that stopped it from sensing effectively.

Bottom line? There are many unresolved issues that need to be addressed before insurance companies are prepared to cover driverless cars. I wonder if they will consider them more risky than human driven cars for a time?

So humor me and try this exercise when you get the chance. When you see someone walking the other way on the pavement next. Walk on the same side of the pavement and don’t veer. See what happens. Of course don’t do it when they are supervising children and don’t in any way risk that anyone could hurt themselves. Most of the time we do have a pretty good human radar guidance system, but it takes two to tango and I bet you will do a dance with someone in the near future if you try this.

I welcome your comments.

Posted in accidents, Artificial intelligence, Autonomous cars, Autonomous Trucks, Car 2 car, car accidents, car crash, car insurance, car safety, Car Technology, Communications, Concept Car, connected cars, distracted pedestrians, DistractedDriving, Driverless car, Driverless Cars, driverless vehicles, driving, future car, Futurist, insurance, insurance risk, Intelligence, Intelligent Transport Systems, IoT, ITS, LiDAR, Motoring, People, people tracking, safer driving, safer journeys, safety, Smart Car, Smart Cars, Smart City, the future, traffic design, Transport, truck safety, uber | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thousands of People in England and Wales to be GPS Tagged

I just read this BBC story where after a 17 months pilot, the MoJ is going to put tags on thousands of criminals, mostly in preference to community sentences which are obviously expensive to manage.

In the past they used GPS to monitor people on home detention, with alerts being triggered if they leave the proximity of a geofence around their homes.

This is smart because a lot of these criminals are recidivists and many are stupid enough to commit more crimes even while wearing the tags, which also have tamper alarms.

This makes it easy for Police to gather evidence after a crime has been committed and I suspect, based on the numbers they are talking about, that this is likely to be more common than sending Police out when these criminals have breached their parole or sentence conditions.

Why? Because tracking the alarms of thousands of people is also very costly and is often the fatal flaw in GPS tracking systems like this. Budget is generally provided for the hardware, but not enough is provided for a security company or other agency to monitor alarm activations. So most people are tagged, a radius geofence is set up around their place of residence and that’s it until its time for it to come off again.

Posted in ankle bracelet, bad gps, best GPS trackers, Best Practice GPS, burglary, cheap gps, cheating GPS, Crime, Crime Prevention, GPS, GPS Accuracy, GPS Ankle Bracelets, GPS Anklet, GPS Anklets, GPS Apps, GPS Excuses, GPS features, GPS Police Tracker, GPS Problems, GPS Test, GPS Track People, GPS Tracker, GPS Tracking, neighborhood crime, people tracking, Personal GPS Trackers, Personal tracker, Police, Police tracking, Prisoner ankle bracelet, track crime, Track parolees, Track Thieves, Tracking Apps, Tracking criminals, tracking missing peopl, Tracking stolen property | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment