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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:19 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
In case you didn't know, "Consulting the [Subject] Oracle" has long been a signature formulaic heading here (it goes way back; Dale started the tradition, IIRC) for Pub topics where we need info and are hoping experienced people can help.

I had not known. Good to know. :o

Nanohedron wrote:
If ever you're confused and aren't sure waiting will reveal the answer, by all means, don't hold your tongue - ask. Me, anybody, publicly, privately - doesn't matter. Whatever works for you. I guess I can understand why people might hesitate with me, because I'm known to be a bit ... irrepressible, let's call it, especially if I think you're asking in jest (your question about bears and Juggalos, or where would I put my harp, for example). I suppose it can be a bit much for some. But for me, not taking the ball and running with it is like asking a kid to ignore the candy: ain't gonna happen. Nano likes to play. But if your question is serious, so long as it's obvious to me (it usually is), I'll always answer seriously enough in kind, just as I am doing right now, and I'm confident this is true of most members here, so I'm not unique in that regard (most regards, actually, come to think of it). I might still throw in some humor - it's hard to resist - and I might rib you, but I will never dismiss, belittle or mock you in malice. Ever. None of us should, and we take a very dim view indeed of that behavior around here. It's a matter of respect. So Chiff with confidence, and consider my wild ramblings to be merely a small, if head-scratching, aspect of the bigger show. For the sake of community peace, I do try to keep my loopier moments confined to the Pub. :)


I always appreciate a balance of seriousness and silliness.

Nanohedron wrote:
If you need an explanation as to why I am the way I am, just tell yourself it must be the lutefisk. :wink:


Definitely the lutefisk. I should have guessed based on your provenance.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:21 pm 
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Kade1301 wrote:
"Dockless" means people can drop them anywhere?

Yes, in current practice [EDIT: See nine posts down for an update on this]. "Dockless" seems to be the concise term at the moment, in opposite reference to the designated dropoff points, or docks, such as in the French rental model you described. I believe the term "kiosk" is used in the Twin Cities.

The dockless corporate language uses "shared" instead of "dockless", but it confuses the issue because the docked model is called "shared", too. I'm not inclined to imitate such mealy-mouthed prancing when I mean to be clearly understood.

Here's a pic of one of our Nice Ride setups, and this one, as you can see, is very much in use (not exactly sure of the location; might be the Loring Park neighborhood):

Image

Here's a pic of another setup waiting for use:

Image

The kiosks are modular, and when set up for the season can be found in all sorts of locations, some in parklike environs such as in the pic immediately above, and some even right next to the street, if foot traffic and space for such placement reasonably allow. Due to the climate, we clear away the kiosks for the winter so as not to impede snow clearance, as well as minimize damage to the kiosks themselves. The second photo was taken in my own general neighborhood, and I'll be going to that very Lunds store later today for groceries. At seven blocks from home it's close enough that if I were just picking up a couple of items - which is what I usually do, having a very small fridge and minimal storage - a scooter would be perfect for the trip, and certainly better than hauling the car such a short distance for so little.

Please understand that I know all too well that some people don't have a choice in the matter of cars vs other modes. And even if they do, I am not feeling high and mighty about myself, nor is this topic intended as a scattershot rebuke to those not on the bandwagon; it's just that things have suddenly come together in such a way for me, and I'm sharing it. That's all.

Kade1301 wrote:
I suppose I would actually prefer that [dockless model]...

And there you have it. It's that very same initial preference that is exactly why it's caught on so well. It's really enticing, and a stroke of genius in terms of creating a ready customer base. But if you think about it (and evidently few do - at least right away - which is also part of the genius) the model also creates the eyesore of unowned units left lying around all over the place. It's a huge part of the reason for the backlash.

Kade1301 wrote:
...though I haven't yet understood where those scooters and bikes are picked up.

Anywhere, just as I said earlier. Anywhere. Rather than at designated kiosks, dockless companies simply line them up for use at any spot that works, but that's where any spatial organization ends. They have trucks driving around to pick these things up later wherever they find them, and again, I believe GPS is involved. It sounds really good on paper, but I've come to see it as surprisingly shortsighted - not only in terms of community impact, but also because the business model strikes me as highly unlikely to outlast the public and city council pressures it invites. One assumes the rental companies didn't account for this, but whatever the case, businesses don't operate in a vacuum. Some execs may have in fact already foreseen it, and are simply surfing the wave until they've gotten all the profits they can before moving on to the next scheme. It's been done before.

Here's one left behind (actually, two for you to muse over, if you look closely):

Image

This illustrates my objections as a resident. I really don't want this sort of thing in my neighborhood, to say nothing of my city as a whole, and I'm already seeing it. Makes me feel like I'm living in a goddamned barn (no offence to my rural brethren; I'm sure real barns are in far better order, but I think you get my drift). No company with real ties to any community would operate this way; it's just a brilliant way to get rich, and that's all, with no concern for the consequences to the community's quality of life. An attitude like that makes an enemy out of me, because this is my home we're talking about, and the rental companies should not be above being answerable to the communities they serve (that word is loosely put; rather than "serve", in this case "use" might be better). The sacred cow of "Business" is not enough justification for parasitism, and to be quite honest, parasitism is sure what it looks like to me. And now that bikes on the same dockless rental model are coming too, that will only compound the eyesore. Great. On a side note, it seems no coincidence to me that they happen to be of the same color as Nice Ride. :really:

If you think it doesn't seem like such a big deal, wait 'til it happens to you. Because of this, I'm going to be feeling like a pariah when I'm out on my own scooter, and I resent that.

Maybe one day I'll stop holding back like this and tell you what I really think. :wink:

Kade1301 wrote:
So to me it would make much more sense to own a bike/scooter and rent a car when necessary, at least as long as one lives in a city with reasonable public transport...

And that strategy is seeing a lot more use now than I've seen in the past, so you're in very good company.

Kade1301 wrote:
(as I don't I won't get rid of my car just yet...)

A-hah!

Kade1301 wrote:
Regarding spare parts: With a bit of luck Cellot does not actually produce any of the electric/electronic (or even mechanical) parts and you can get them directly from the manufacturer, the name of which, with another bit of luck, would be written somewhere on the part. Because I'm doubtful whether a lot of standardization has happened yet across scooter brands... Besides there's probably so much happening in the development of them that your model might be hopelessly outdated when it starts to break down and you'll want to buy a new one anyway. Ride and see...

Thanks. Will definitely do. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:57 pm 
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GPS is very likely.

In 2016, I went to a business software conference and ate lunch with the CEO of an E-Scooter company. He and his company were featured at the conference because their scooter relies on the software that was the focus of the conference. His company, GenZe, makes the scooters but relies on other people/companies to monetize them. When I spoke to him, they were expecting to use a similar rental/scooter sharing system like your Foot Scooters. Dockless and where one person left it, another person could pick it up.

The scooters were always connected to "the cloud" and could report usage data, alert the retailer that the scooter needed maintenance, or they could also use Geo-Fencing (i.e. restrict the area where the scooter could operate based on its GPS location).

(Edit: Unrelatedly; I was amused in talking to him because he was the CEO of Scooters with GPS functions, but thought that his smart-phone kept track of his location and offered suggestions based on his location was creepy.)


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:33 pm 
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AaronFW wrote:
(Edit: Unrelatedly; I was amused in talking to him because he was the CEO of Scooters with GPS functions, but thought that his smart-phone kept track of his location and offered suggestions based on his location was creepy.)

The saying "You can't have your cake and eat it too" comes to mind.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:51 am 
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The bicycle kiosks certainly look a lot like the French ones, except as there's no winter to speak of hereabouts, the docks are permanently fixed to the ground.

Incidentally, what stopped you from simply picking up one of the abandoned scooters, removing the GPS chip and keeping it for yourself? Apart from being an honest person... (though I'm beginning to think it would serve the company right...)

With the "pick up:drop off anywhere" policy, how do people know whether the scooter has been abandoned for the day or is just waitinig in front of a shop for the renter to come out and ride home on it? I'd be very pissed off to come out and find my transport gone (I've a £100, 1 kg bike lock)...

And frankly, if a city wants to get rid of the rental companies, I suppose they can simply collect all the scooters and impound them like cars parked in the wrong place - and fine the company for littering ;) Am I the only one who has thought of that?

Nanohedron, you might want to paint your scooter in a colour that's completely different from the rental ones...

As for the GPS in smartphones - you can always switch it off if you don't want to use it. Though I rather like seeing where I am on Google maps - on a bicycle among fields with no signposts or landmarks anywhere that's extremely useful...


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:50 am 
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Kade1301 wrote:
The bicycle kiosks certainly look a lot like the French ones, except as there's no winter to speak of hereabouts, the docks are permanently fixed to the ground.

Incidentally, what stopped you from simply picking up one of the abandoned scooters, removing the GPS chip and keeping it for yourself?


I think the wheels or motor lock up.

Kade1301 wrote:
With the "pick up:drop off anywhere" policy, how do people know whether the scooter has been abandoned for the day or is just waitinig in front of a shop for the renter to come out and ride home on it? I'd be very pissed off to come out and find my transport gone (I've a £100, 1 kg bike lock)...

It's just waiting outside a shop, then the renter still has it on the clock, so it's not available for others to rent (legally). Or the renter has released it, by choice. Operating co. "Bird" doesn't allow you to lock them. They'd have you report as stolen if someone walks off with it.

Kade1301 wrote:
And frankly, if a city wants to get rid of the rental companies, I suppose they can simply collect all the scooters and impound them like cars parked in the wrong place - and fine the company for littering ;) Am I the only one who has thought of that?

The cities are doing exactly that - impounding.

BTW, here's an example of Bird's Rental Agreement: https://www.bird.co/agreement

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:02 pm 
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Kade1301 wrote:
Incidentally, what stopped you from simply picking up one of the abandoned scooters, removing the GPS chip and keeping it for yourself? Apart from being an honest person... (though I'm beginning to think it would serve the company right...)

Isn't it enough that it's banal? I'm no example of high couth, but even I have some personal standards, not that those pay the bills.

But I'll explore the question for a moment, and I'm sure I'll have missed something. Were I to seriously entertain theft, the practical reason I wouldn't do it is that I'm not technical enough to overhaul the thing for private re-use, never mind doing so to to my satisfaction. Even if it's easy, I'm not all that motivated to go to the work of learning how to modify what almost nobody knows anything about anyway. Not being a natural at it, who would guide me? The rental company techs? The only other person I know who might be capable wouldn't approve, either. And making it foldable's out of the question, so that's a no-go from the start. Aside from that, then there's a desire not to advertise my theft: If you look at the Bird units, you see that they have exposed wires set in a particular way, and given the prevalence of the Bird type, its wiring will be at least subliminally familiar to all. Brands with exposed wiring tend to all have their own more-or-less unique arrangements, and I'm going on the assumption that most of these arrangements would be difficult to change well. So even repainted, anyone with an eye would say, "Aha. There goes a scooter thief on his ill-gotten Bird." They might cheer me on as part of the Resistance, but a Bird, fercryinoutloud? Really? As if scooters weren't lame enough already, I should have to ride poorly-disguised stolen goods with dorky wires sticking out a mile? Please. I have the shreds of my remaining dignity to consider. And the Lime scooters are even easier to spot. I prefer flying under the radar better than that.

Which leads us to the subject of getting caught. I'm not a fan of jail and the courts. Been there, done that; after a while one awakens to the possibility that one has much better things to do with one's time than spend it in lockup over petty larceny.

I suppose if I were to steal a rental as an act of political defiance (a difficult rationale for me to put together, but let's set aside reason for a moment), I'd crudely spraypaint it olive drab for all to see. That would be fierce. But this ain't exactly Mandela-scale stuff, so ... nope, not really all that interested. Until it really comes to that, I'm fine with keeping my activism relegated to the court of public opinion.

Kade1301 wrote:
With the "pick up:drop off anywhere" policy, how do people know whether the scooter has been abandoned for the day or is just waitinig in front of a shop for the renter to come out and ride home on it? I'd be very pissed off to come out and find my transport gone (I've a £100, 1 kg bike lock)...

I think the corporate presumption is that you're riding rentals primarily for a bit of fun, not so much for extended practical use. An unattended scooter is simply asking for it whether it's owned or not. At the rates Bird charges for long-term continued use - $100 for 24 hours - you might as well buy one instead and keep an eye on it. As I said earlier, if I'm not allowed to bring a folded-up scooter with me into a shop - especially tucked away in its bag - then I'll either simply not go in, or will have taken other transport instead if it matters that much to me.

Kade1301 wrote:
And frankly, if a city wants to get rid of the rental companies, I suppose they can simply collect all the scooters and impound them like cars parked in the wrong place - and fine the company for littering ;) Am I the only one who has thought of that?

I'm sure you're not the only one who's thought of it; earlier I used the analogy of litter, myself. And in Minnesota, the definition of littering is actually quite broad in application: for example, a hunk of solid snow or ice flying off your vehicle in winter is a very real potential traffic hazard, and as such is legally considered littering even if no one gets hurt. Driving behind a semi trailer on the freeway in winter always carries a certain amount of excitement with it; you never know when you'll see a huge plaque of hardened snow rise majestically from the trailer top, go airborne, and sail into you. If it stays pretty much in one piece, it's an epic sight, and when it lands the thud hits you right in the viscerals. Psychopaths might be exhilarated, I expect. If it lands on your windshield and is luckily just snow, normally your view won't be obscured for long at all, but things happen fast on a freeway, so the excitement is basically of the terror type, and rightly so. But semi trailers being big and a pain to clean, so long as I'm not dead and maimed or my car wrecked afterward, I'm sort of sympathetic.

So anyway...here, at least, extending the definition to include carelessly abandoned rentals isn't much of a stretch; people could trip and fall, hurting themselves. I think that's all the rationale you need. Another example of how brilliant this dockless rental model is, is that the issue of ultimate liability for hypothetical littering charges (is it the company? Or is it the user?) could keep the courts tangled up for who knows how long. In the end, though, I think it is the companies that would be held liable on the basis of inducing the problem.

Kade1301 wrote:
Nanohedron, you might want to paint your scooter in a colour that's completely different from the rental ones...

I've considered it. Camo would be sharp. But until I decide, the Cellot name is blazoned large on the front of the steering column, and on the deck as well. I'll start with relying on that first.

For the steering terminology, I like "column" better than "tube". Ask any Scot why. :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:28 pm 
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Went to the convenience store, and what should I see but an abandoned Lime rental, right there smack-dab in the way for everyone to walk around. The user just couldn't be bothered to move it aside a couple of feet. He should've defecated there too, while he was at it.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:05 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Went to the convenience store, and what should I see but an abandoned Lime rental, right there smack-dab in the way for everyone to walk around. The user just couldn't be bothered to move it aside a couple of feet. He should've defecated there too, while he was at it.
Sorry, that only comes standard in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:09 pm 
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kkrell wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
Went to the convenience store, and what should I see but an abandoned Lime rental, right there smack-dab in the way for everyone to walk around. The user just couldn't be bothered to move it aside a couple of feet. He should've defecated there too, while he was at it.
Sorry, that only comes standard in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Oh, we'll catch up, I'm sure.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:05 pm 
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The plot thickens! Mpls has just made a bid to beat the current dockless model at its own game. Nice Ride is now including dockless bikes too, licensed and authorized by the city. But the difference is that while there are no kiosks, you still have to return these bikes to designated locations or face a monetary penalty. So this model's in between the two. These bikes will be recognized by their signature blue color. If this succeeds, it means kiosks may one day no longer be deemed necessary at all (unlikely, as Mpls has an overmanaging fetish that some would say is rivaled only by Singapore). The impact on the current prevailing dockless model remains to be seen, but it's a good start in demonstrating how it really ought to be done for the sake of all. If Bird and Lime et al. want to continue their presence here, they may find that conforming to Nice Ride's model is the only way to survive the pressure. I hope to be able to say, "Well played."

St. Paul isn't part of this yet, but I think they're waiting to see how it goes in Mpls first. It's only been a month since since the e-scooter concept arrived on the scene here, and now just look at the fracas. There wouldn't have been one but for Bird and Lime and their ilk.

I caught this on the local news just last night, and the word "dockless" was bandied about liberally, so the word's firmly established as a part of the discussion. And because of Nice Ride, "dockless" no longer implies "Leave it where you like." It just means no kiosks. Now we'll need a more specific term for the leave-it-where-you-like model. Somebody come up with something. I'm tapped out.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:18 pm 
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Yesterday I saw 2 company trucks picking up Birds from residential areas. The Bird & Lime websites also have applications to become chargers for the scooters. Take them home, charge them, put them back out.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:39 pm 
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kkrell wrote:
Yesterday I saw 2 company trucks picking up Birds from residential areas. The Bird & Lime websites also have applications to become chargers for the scooters. Take them home, charge them, put them back out.

If it weren't for the negative side, I could admire the whole concept. After all, they look fun as all heck, the degree of customer convenience is revolutionary, and it creates jobs; but as part of the community fabric, it's too flawed for sustained acceptability. They're going to have to ramp down the convenience aspect a tad. The customers can be trusted to adjust, and maybe they'll even see the light.

You know that abandoned Lime I mentioned? I confess I wanted to stomp it.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:20 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Now we'll need a more specific term for the leave-it-where-you-like model. Somebody come up with something. I'm tapped out.

Hmm. How's "free exit" sound? I'd like something easily understood that the rental companies could be happy with, but it's hard.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:21 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
Now we'll need a more specific term for the leave-it-where-you-like model. Somebody come up with something. I'm tapped out.

Hmm. How's "free exit" sound? I'd like something easily understood that the rental companies could be happy with, but it's hard.


Free range?


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