Interview about Black Culture Applied to Technology

Ian @ BarcampLondon5 - Day 1

I was invited to do a interview off the back of the Afrofutures talk I did in Manchester last year. Its part of a group of interviews on How We Get To NextIts a good interview and thanks to Florence Okoye for the great questions which leads into my thoughts on black culture, diversity and growing up in a ever-changing world.

Here’s some interesting parts, although I have to say the whole thing is good and worth reading in full.

A little background on what made me the person I am today.

I kind of knew I was different from other people at an early age. Yes, there was the challenge of being one of three black people in a junior school, but I also found out I might be dyslexic. Friends could tell you I didn’t quite fit in — though I wasn’t a misfit. I was popular, kind of sporty, but also geeky and fiercely independent in thought. This meant I tended to find my own way of doing things, and therefore my independence was tied to use of technology. It was only later at university that I learned once and for all that I was dyslexic, and my coping strategies existed around technology.

Remembering the first time I created a webpage for my graphic design course and the conflict I faced. I feel this is similar to the perceptive media idea; its a new medium and we should/could treat it as such.

There was a key moment I will never forget when learning about the web and creating HTML pages. I did one of my design projects as a website and my college lecturer asked me to print it out. I tried to explain and pled with her that this was a different medium and printing it out made no sense. I think it was that moment when I started to side more with the tech.

The effect of dance music/culture on my life, and the start of my distaste and distrust of popular culture… If I was answering this again, I would add something about being you’re self, not what others want you to be. This certainly speaks to my inner fire for independance.

I hate popular culture. It winds me up [to] no end! I was a geek but never got into fantasy or really into science fiction. I found it too stereotypical and formulaic for me to take seriously.

I also was massively influenced by dance/rave music, which was a very different culture. I remember hating mainstream radio for not playing rave music. The mainstream press was vilifying ravers and this new culture.

They say house music is a feeling, but it’s a whole culture which didn’t get its dues till far later, and even now it’s been watered down and packaged up into something boring and generic

A little but on how I see [I don’t see as such but my mind connects them] the world as one hyper-connected system full of interesting emergent structures and challenges. It hard for others to imagine but I’m imagining its similar to the way synesthesia feels for people who have it. Its just the reality, and it only people telling you again that you are wrong, which makes you dobht.

I see everything as connected. It’s just the way my mind thinks, being dyslexic. I see technologies which are not ready for the mainstream, technologies which break rules and change the centralized power structures. They are ignored or rejected till they get too big and the incumbents have to face up to them or outlaw them, as it breaks their fragile business models.

This is classic innovator’s dilemma stuff, to be honest.

What excites me… open collaboration with open minded people, as too much effort is wasted settling peoples egos.

There are lots of interesting trends in store for the future. I don’t like to dream about [them]; instead, I follow the Alan Kay quote, “the best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Instead of inventing it, which makes people imagine people in basements doing funny things alone, I would change the last part to collaborate.

Now if only I could adapt this into my Linkedin profile…

Cocktails from a bag isn’t acceptable at that price

Which cosmo came out of a packet?

Guess which one is a fresh cosmo and premixed?

A few friends and followers pointed me towards tricks of the restaurant trade on Channel4. (s1ep4)

So I watched it and saw the part which people were referring to.

They show two cocktails being made, one fresh and the other using premixed stuff. They then blind taste it and determine which one is the premix and which one was fresh.

As you can imagine, it was clear the difference but more interestingly for me, was the price point. The person from Funkin, even suggests a price point of 4-5 pounds not the average price of about 7-9 pounds (currently for cocktails).

I get it… premix cocktails speeds things up and  allows for some consistency. Except I’m not buying this at all.

…Recent interest in all things small-batch and locally sourced has led mixologists to reconsider premixed cocktails, with even the high priests of The New York Times food section lavishing praise on the nascent trend. Don’t laugh. After all, if boxed wine can be made cool, then why not a manhattan in a bottle?

Having been a barman at a  swanky bar in Leicester Square (ok only for 3 weeks before I walked) they can really help speed up the service at a busy bar; but on the other side of the bar, don’t you dare charge me 8 pounds for the privilege. This feels like a  kick in the teeth to me, and I would always complain if this happens. Fresh is what you are paying for, not to save the bar some money and time… This is pretty much what I did at the Novotel Hotel in Greenwich, London in 2012.

Decent cocktails or nothing please

Sure Mark Boas, Michelle Thorne and Cyberdees will confirm this story to be ever-so true.

Nexus 5 with that X factor

Nexus 5x

My Nexus 5 which I have still but developed a problem a little while ago needed replacing. With that I decided the Nexus 5x makes the most sense and tried to get one over the holiday period. The Google Play Store had a discount, but there was a problem with the store and I missed out on the discount.

However, I was walking along Tottenham Court Road in London last week and saw Google had a special display in Currys. Funny enough the price they were selling it at was the same as the discounted price. I double checked the price on the Play store and it was still higher. So I bought it in store with additional bits thrown in, including a new Google Cardboard, £50 curry gift card and a android badge (yeah I know, not my thing either).

OnePlus 2

It was a reasonable deal but it was frustrating that I couldn’t buy a USB C cable in the Currys store. This was even more painful when I finally got the phone back to the hotel and found it was USB C on both ends, meaning I could only use the wall charger it come with. Could I find another USB C to USB A cable anywhere on Totternham Court Road or Oxford Street? Could I heck. Luckily I ordered cables and USB Micro to USB C from Amazon over the Holidays, so once I got back to Manchester I could use those.

It did remind me of when my HTC One X came with MicroUSB not MiniUSB. I would ask in shops and they would bring out MiniUSB or look at me with a question mark in their heads. I’m just very surprise Currys would sell the Nexus5X and not even supply accessories.

Advice for google, insist there is accessories and cases alongside a place you sell the phones!

Nexus5X_3

Ok so my thoughts about the actual phone.

Its good! But I really miss not having MicroUSB and having to replace a ton of my cables. I also haven’t seen the benefit of USB C (yet!) yes its reversable but without my MicroUSB adapter, I felt like a iPhone user, asking for some insane cable.

The actual phones construct is similar to the Nexus 5 in feel but looks like a Moto G with dual stereo speakers. Its also a tiny bit bigger at 5.2 inches with the headphone jack at the bottom instead of the top. I won’t lie the phone is big but not like the Nexus 6P, so it just about fits in one of man hands. It is a stretch to reach the top but with all the buttons on the side theres less need to do so.

Google Nexus 5X

The finger print sensor is actually in the right place. I heard elsewhere the Moto G’s area on the back was meant to be a finger sensor, and the finger does hover there all the time. You can also train the finger sensor at different angles, positions and fingers. I think you can do up to 10 configurations and the phone will unlock and turn on once its accepted. The nice thing is you can still apply other methods, such as smart lock, pattern and many other method. The time from finger to unlock is in the less than 500ms. Its bloody fast, needs no pressure and is the same quickness as pressing the power button! I keep forgetting its there and going for my lock pattern, its just muscle memory I guess.

The screen resolution has a crazy dots per inch and it really shows. Seeing my old Nexus 5 next to the 5x is quite something. Its like when I bought the new Nexus 7 and put it side by side with the old Nexus 7. There is so much extra space and google has used this space by include another row and column of icons on the home screens. The camera seems pretty good too, but not really played with it much. Surprising detail for low light and a shaky hand in the cold.

On a whole the Nexus 5x is a great phone and I’m glad I waited for it. Now I just need to setup most of the apps again. I’m moving apps like Fitbit, Withings, etc off to my Nexus 7; as I noticed I only really use them when at home.

I’m sure once USB type C is everywhere, I’ll be a lot more happy. Also a shame I’ll have less use for my conductive chargers…

Anger upon hearing about dyslexic sperm donors turned away

Gattaca

Hwayoung told me something which knocked me for 10 in a irish bar last night.

I couldn’t believe it and couldn’t believe I had not heard about it. Then looking at the piece, we noticed it was during the holiday period (Tuesday 29th December) when nobody is paying attention.

In a practice branded “eugenics” by campaigners and a would-be donor, theLondon Sperm Bank has banned men with dyslexia or other common conditions it described as “neurological diseases” from donating.

A leaflet to donors lists a series of conditions the clinic screens for, including: attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], autism, Asperger syndrome, dyslexia and the motor disorder dyspraxia.

The fertility regulator has launched a review of the London Sperm Bank after being alerted to its practices by the Guardian.

I am sadden and angry by the whole notion… to be honest and reminds me of gattaca.

New mix: Into the outer space

Into the outer space mix by Cubicgarden on Mixcloud

Just uploaded my latest pacemaker device mix, the into the outer space mix.

The whole mix is space themed and has a narrative running through it. Most of the tunes have a space flight theme.

Enjoy!

Liftoff Space Shuttle Discovery

  1. Dark side of the Moon – Ernesto vs Bastian
  2. Orbion (Max Graham vs Protoculture Remix) – Armin Van Buuren
  3. From the Earth (Breakfast remix) – Andrew Bayer
  4. Rewind (Mikkas Remix) – Emma Hewitt
  5. Airforce One (igor S mix) – igor s
  6. F16 – Simon Patterson
  7. Intruder – Armin vs MIKE
  8. Tomorrow 2006 (Jamx and De Leo) – Dumonde
  9. Stellar – Driftwood
  10. Everythings been written – 8 Wonders
  11. Dark side of the sun – Rory Gallagher
  12. The Legacy (club mix) – Push
  13. Hole in the sky (Arctic moon remix) – Tonny Nesse
  14. Higher State – Above and Beyond
  15. Constellation (John O’Callaghan Remix) – Thomas Bronzwaer
  16. 3rd Earth (heart beat remix) – Solarstone vs Scott Bond
  17. Airwave (21st Century mix) – Rank 1

VR on a rollercoaster

Galactica_Logo_Alton_Towers

Alton Towers seems to be refitting Air with Virtual Reality glasses and calling it Galactica?

Alton Towers is to open what it claims is the world’s first rollercoaster that combines a physical ride with virtual reality, giving passengers a “customised journey into space” via headsets that use groundbreaking technology.

The ride, called Galactica, will launch in April and is the first major new ride at the Staffordshire theme park since 16 people were injured, including five seriously, in a rollercoaster crash last June.

Its a nice idea but I’m still unsure if this warrants a yearly pass. I mean I like Air but adding VR doesn’t really justify the yearly price?

I feel if they had added another coaster I might have been more interested but right now, it feels like a compromise. Heck if they had added VR to one time Th13teen, that would have made more sense.

Guess my Alton Towers pass still sits waiting for me to pick it up.

My 2015 media consumption in review

My most watched fim of 2015

During my new year resolutions 2015 review, I pointed out that I couldn’t access my year in media without some serious development of Trakt’s API. Well 15 days too late for the review unfortunately.  I saw this on twitter…

Sure enough you can now see my 2015 review in media on the web.

Lots of quantified data for my media consumption…

For 2015…

  • 686 media items played
  • 669 hours of played media

Thats a lot of media use, even I have to admit, especially since, this is does not include documentaries, youtube, vimeo, ted, chromecast use, etc…

My TV genres for the year,
my tv genres of 2015

TV wise… My most watched show is Last week tonight with Jon Oliver with 37 plays or 18 hours, 30 minutes. Generally. I clocked up…

Love and romance predicted for TEDx Manchester 2016

First date night in ages with @frankhamilton79. Dinner and a movie at @homemcr. Saw a brill German movie called West. Very happy girl :) #datenight #lbloggers #bloggers #lbloggersuk #manchester #cinema #homemcr #westmovie #movies #pictures #cinemanight

February 14th is always known for valentines day, well this year get yourself down to Homemcr. How can you get more romantic? Don’t worry I’ll make sure there is enough love for everybody…

TEDxManchester is back, and it would be fair to say I’m involved after talking at TedxManchester2 and arranging TEDxManchester originally with a bunch of great collaborators in 2009!

TEDx events were created in the spirit of  the TED conferences’ mission: ‘ideas worth spreading’. They are  designed to give communities, organisations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at a local level. TEDx events are a worldwide phenomenon with thousands of events popping up from San Francisco to Sydney. Following on from the first TEDxManchester in 2009 at the BBC, and subsequent editions at Cornerhouse and University of Manchester Student Union, we’re excited to have the first HOME edition of TEDxManchester in 2016!

Tickets go live on the 14th January

Just say hello…

Bemused 1

One day I’ll meet Sarah Ryan, as she gives some great advice, this one included. The last point resonated with me .

Just Say Hello There is a chance, dare I say it, that you may come across someone dashingly handsome or delightfully beautiful in your local coffee shop or whilst picking up a loaf of bread at Waitrose. What is the worst that can happen if you just say hello, ask for the time or ask where they purchased an item they are donning? It may seem like a daunting task but we can not hide behind our laptops & iphones forever in dating- we do have to tackle the human element to make a relationship work. Top Tip:  Try saying hello to someone new everyday, wherever, whenever. You never know who you might meet!

Absolutely…!

Sarah is right, the thing which mainly stops people is the fear of rejection. I was showing my blog about myself to a colleague a while ago and they asked me, what goes through my mind when I do the things I do?

I said, I do have that level of fear which naturally comes to everybody but I dampen it down quickly and not let it fester in my mind. I feel the longer you let it fester, the more likely you won’t act or so anything.

But on the same point, the opportunities and experiences I have had, make it even easier to do it again and push myself even further.

The other day I was in North Tea Power with my headphones off as usual, working away on visual perceptive media. I heard a women next to me talking on the phone, but she happen to say….

Things would be so much easier if there was one ontology for everything….

After she finished, before the fear crept in, I repeated back to her the statement and added a question mark to it (aka raised my voice at the end) From that moment we were off talking for about 20mins. Learned a lot about her and she may have learned a lot about me. Such a lovely conversation we had…

Funny enough (on a related note) Sherry Turkle has been popping up here and there recently…

I bought her excellent book Alone Together and haven’t started on the new one, reclaiming conversation.

I was listening to the Tech news today #1418 special with her and happen to tweet it, when Martin pointed out she was on Radio 4 at that exact moment (the beauty of serendipity and being open to it)

So I checked it out,  BBC Radio 4 today,. Interesting stuff… Expect another blog entry about this and more Sherry Turkle thoughts soon..

7 maybe 8 cheap date ideas in Manchester

Sunday Morning in Castlefield

Lauren’s blog always tends to catch my eye (specially the #ocadoandchill one) when reading through my RSS feeds. Unfortunately the feed doesn’t quite work as it should but her cheap date ideas got me thinking instantly…

How about 7 Cheap Manchester Date ideas? (got to be one better that London)

  1. Go for coffee or tea at one of the many coffee shops in Manchester
    3:1
    The Northern Quarter is a joy and its amazing the range of coffee shops where you can just sit and chat with a date for along time with no hassle. Be sure to buy regularly as you don’t want to be a leech on their business model. Its also worth mentioning Cholton is also worth visiting and now on the tram line.
  2. Visit HOME MCR, the royal exchange, the central library, etc
    Floating Points
    I love the royal exchange and its a great date location, as I have said previously. Home use to be the Cornerhouse but recently they moved to a new venue which is almost as unique as the old venue. In Home you can visit the exhibitions, have drinks, have a complete dinner and watch a film or theatre play,  Its a great space, relaxed, social  and ever so great for a whole day of activities if your date is up for it.
  3. Go for a wonder around Manchester city centre and look up
    42nd Street
    Manchester has such a variety of different areas and styles of buildings. You can wonder around the Northern Quarter, Spinningfields, Castlefield, Oxford Road,  Victoria, etc and get a very different sense of the buildings and styles. You just need to look up… All are walking distance from each other although there is plenty of public transport.
  4. Wonder the many canals of Manchester
    Manchester - Castlefield in Spring
    You can wonder for miles around the canals and frankly find yourself in some very interesting parts of the city centre and further. Yes there are some you might want to avoid (around Piccadilly’s redlight area)  but its all generally quite safe during the daytime and its quite romantic, wouldn’t you agree?
  5. Eat cheap at one of the many Indian restaurants
    The Curry Mile, Rusholme, Manchester
    Yes you could go down to curry mile, but there are these very cheap places such as this and that in the northern quarter. I wouldn’t recommend just going there alone, but it might make a good break from wondering Manchester. I mean you can’t beat £5 for 3 curries.
  6. Visit MOSI,  Peoples museum, Whitworth gallery or any of the many other museums and galleries
    Untitled
    Manchester has some great galleries and museums including MOSI (museum of science and industry). My favourite has to be the Whitworth gallery which simply wonderful and is always full of interesting exhibitions.  Even better if its a nice day, you can sit outside or have a picnic in Whitworth park, which is right alongside and closes very late during the summer months.
  7. Visit one of the many festivals
    Sharing Art
    Manchester loves its festivals! You only have to wait a month and you got the future everything, urban dance, food&drink, abandon normal devices, comedy, pride, etc, etc. And of course the grand daddy of them  the international festival every 2 years. Every single one has such a great number of events and for not a bad price at all. Still remember taking a date to see Marinia in the withworth gallary. That was so surreal but unforgettable.
  8. (OK one more extra) Play board games in Zifferblatt or any of the many other nerdy places
    Manchester Street Monopoly
    Not really my thing and I don’t like Ziffer for reasons already mentioned; but I will admit it could be a good place for some game playing with endless coffee and cakes. There are also many other places to play boardgames, etc which occupy Manchester city centre such as fanboy5. Also theres nerdy places like Fabcafe. holdfast and a bunch of game driven bars like 2022 (table tennis), Kosmonaught (table tennis), Marble (chess), etc… Great fun for a date along with drinking…

I didn’t mention parks, the pennies, bury market, weekend brunch, football, the underground tours, graffiti tours, shopping, cycle tours, etc… I’m sure many others have ideas, and all without mentioning netflix and chill.

Thoughts and ideas of a dyslexic designer/developer