This time next week I’ll be at #mozfest 2016

Global Village at Mozfest

It’s that week heading into the Mozilla Festival. As usually I’m pretty hectic with things to do and think about. Every year I think why do I put myself through it?

Spacewrangler is something which takes some time to explain and I tried to do so previously and here. But I explain it as running your own conference within the wider framework of the Mozilla Festival.

Its hard work but ever so rewarding!

There is no other time or place when you can put together a mini-conference with sessions and exhibits; schedule everything in the open and fly in great workshop speakers locally & around the world. It’s quite amazing and every year I think how is this even possible?

For example in the Home section of dilemmas in connected spaces.

There are 24 sessions which are a mix of workshops, talks, games and exhibits. They have all been scheduled by myself and I have personally checked all the sessions to be sure they fit with the narrative of the home and the wider dilemmas in connected spaces narrative.

BBC R&D’s partnership with Nottingham University is clealy evidenat this year with Homelab Kitchen meets Databox and Broadcasting through objects both appearing in the line up.

Preparing for Mozfest 2016

I especially find the openness of the whole festival and Mozilla incredible and inspirational. Everything from the open calls to the curation of the sessions. Its a very open process… Its a logical conclusion of most of the values built into barcamp, hackdays and other community centrered events.

Mozilla recently announced the complete lineup/schedule for the festival, which was a bit of a scrable because sometimes things are not quite settled till the actual day. Its the beauty of the festival, things can shift and change; but there is a tension with people wanting to schedule their time to get the best out of the festival.

This year we (myself, Michelle, Jon, Micheal and Dietrich) will build on the previous 2 years and intergrate even deeper with the rest of the festival. If you thought the banyan tree was great, you seen nothing yet! In the space, dilemmas in connected spaces, we have a camp site, the secret garden, a studio and of course the home complete with a post Brexit political experience setup and run by Alex and Peter.

Global Village at Mozfest

Mozfest is a experiece and a half, and always a highlight in my calendar.

You won’t want to miss this years festival and tickets are still available, but be quick as it always sells out.

The alternative classic trance set

I mentioned in my trance set from July, that I had recorded two trance sets; and was deciding which one I preferred. The full’on classic trance set won out but I wanted to share the alternative one too. It pretty raw and short but I quite like it, especially since I love out of the blue by system F so much that it was played twice!

Enjoy and remember sharing is caring!

  1. Communication 2 (armin remix) – Armin Van Buuren
  2. Pearl River (vocal mix) – Johney Shaker
  3. Love Stimulation (Pvd Love Club mix) – Humate
  4. Please Save me (Push remix) – Sunscream vs Push
  5. Seven Cities (V-One’s Living Cities Remix) – Solarstone
  6. Out of the Blue – System F
  7. Avenue – Paul van dyk
  8. I can’t help myself – Lucid
  9. Sunrise (Here I am) (Ratty mix) – Tenshi
  10. Grooveline (Matt Darey) – Blockster
  11. Gamemaster (Matt Darey 1999 Remix) – Matt Darey Presents Lost Tribe
  12. 1999 (Gouryella mix) – Binary Finary
  13. I’m in Love – Star Party
  14. Out of the Blue – System F

Photo credit comes from lneprz.

First to try Uber’s cash payment?

Uber Lux in Amsterdam

Last week Sunday 9th October, Uber really wound me up on the way to a dinner with Herb, Amber and Rick. The Tram didn’t seem to be going to Castlefield and I was late for the dinner, so I decided to use Uber. That was the idea but I spent about 20mins trying to enter in my new credit card information into the Uber app while it complained my postcode wasn’t a zip code.

Yeah thanks for that Uber! No idea why its forcing me to enter a zip code when it knew I was in the UK, had a UK credit card and lived in the UK. Most of the world uses postcodes not zip codes by the way.

Anyway, I tried connecting my Paypal account via the already installed Paypal account. But nothing happened (I wonder if my 2 factor auth was confusing things). So I saw the option to use cash.

Usually I don’t have cash on me but this one time I did; and I ordered the Uber with the cash option, the same way you order it normally. When the Uber came 5mins later (I did think, I could have walked there in the time I spent doing all this) the driver took me to the restaurant and I handed over £20 to which he struggled to get the change for. So I ended up giving quite a large percentage tip, no problem.

Honestly I was surprised it worked, as I always thought of Uber as credit card only. While waiting for the Uber, I did search for using cash with uber. But didn’t know till Chris tweeted tonight, I might have been one of the very first in Manchester to try the option.

From the MEN piece.

The cash option has already been trialled in Singapore in a bid to attract more users, and now Manchester is set to be the first city in Europe to undergo the experiment.

In a statement, the private hire firm said: “We’re excited to announce that Manchester is one of the first cities – and the first one in Europe – to offer cash as a payment option for all riders in Manchester.

Looking at my Uber app, Cash is an option just as it was over a week ago.

I have given up telling Uber support the difference between a postcode & zip code. I found I could edit the old credit card entry rather than add another one. This meant the postcode would be set already and the other things I could enter without causing validation errors.

Trust, Context, Magic & Empathy at Thinking Digital Manchester

Thinking Digital Manchester 2016

You have to give it Herb Kim and the rest of the Thinking Digital team. They always seem to pull off a great conference. Thinking Digital Manchester 2016 is another great example to add to their pretty flawless record.

I felt there was a theme running through this years #TDCMCR… Trust, Context, Magic and Empathy

I have always wanted to take to the stage of Thinking Digital and 3 years ago I joined Adrian at Thinking Digital Newcastle when the Perceptive Radio got its first public showing during a talk about the BBC innovation progress so far, since moving up the north of England. I got the chance to build on 3 years ago and talk about the work we are doing in object based media, data ethics and internet of things. I’ve been rattling this around my head and started calling it hyper-reality storytelling.

Thinking Digital Manchester 2016

Usually I take quite a few good pictures but always reliant on other peoples photos when I take to the stage. However this time the lovely Kate was there to snap photos on my own camera.

Thinking Digital Manchester 2016

The only down side of Thinking Digital Manchester this year seemed to be the technology. In Sarah Drinkwater’s talk the battery went on the microphone which needed to be swapped. In Clara Gaggero‘s talk the clicker really had fun and games. Luckily they replace the batteries before I took to the stage.

Thinking Digital Manchester 2016

There was some great talks and the selection was spot on, but the talks which really got me mind mapping and nodding my head were these ones.

Amber Case

Thinking Digital Manchester 2016

I had the joy of having dinner with Amber, Herb and Rick on Sunday night, when we “nerded out” according to Herb Kim. I never really bumped into Amber before but it was crazy the amount of people we knew in common. We had to send a picture to Dietrich who I’m working on Mozfest with.

You could get a sense of the same kind of people who influenced Amber including Tantek, Searls, Rushkoff (which I keep referencing but not wrote nearly enough about). She talked about designing calm technology (marking this one under empathy & trust), which reminded me of the slow movement in ethos. She pointed out the term comes from a paper published by Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown of Xerox Parc in 1996. Its been revised here too. The attributes of calm tech intrigued me further and summed up some of my bigger thinking around data ethics.

  • Quietness is important
  • Technology should amplify the best of technology and the best of humanity
  • Technology should communicate not speak
  • Technology should respect social norms

It felt like this could be a useful framework for judging the mental impact of technology, something Sherry Turkle talks a lot about. The attention economy is something I do talk about quite a bit and although there is a lot of discussion about it. I do think it defines a lot of the choices I make.

Really interesting talk with plenty to take away, look forward to the next time I bump into Amber.

Sarah Drinkwater

Thinking Digital Manchester 2016

Sarah’s talk was a good one and gave me joy hearing the core message of Great things happen in groups. Something I subscribe too deeply when thinking about collaboration and community. It also brought me back to the BBC Backstage community group I managed a long time ago, especially when she ran through the core learnings

  • Listen
  • Build on what already exists
  • Don’t own culture or community
  • Be flexible
  • Keep delighting
  • Stay human

Stay human echoed Amber’s talk when she mentioned “Machines don’t act like humans – humans shouldn’t act like machines

The thing which tipped the balance for me about Sarahs talk was about lifelong learning and the changes in our work lives. I referred to this in a blog post reporting back on my thoughts on Futurefestblog post reporting back on my thoughts on Futurefest and called it millennial thinking. I think the experience revolution was right on the money.

Clara Gaggero Westaway

Thinking Digital Manchester 2016

I bumped into Clara and her partner during the Thinking Digital dinner and we had a chat about some of the work she had done previously for the BBC. It was clear she was full of experience and when she mentioned a colleague who had left recently, knew I would have to drop into their studio next time I’m in London.

Clara’s talk was a summary of the work they had done over the last decade and she tagged them by Context,  Empathy and Magic. She showed a bunch of work with Blackberry and made it clear context isn’t enough, you need Empathy. She was right and made the point very strongly in the work they did for Samsung around phones for older people (so-called silver phones). I love how they tried different things and realised what the problem area really was instead of reinventing the phone.

Just when you thought it can’t get any better, Clara unveils the magic. Bit planner, a calendar which is physical and digital. This is something I have personally explored in some of the research I have done at BBC R&D with the physical playlist machine. The ability to have a physical and digital working together at each of their strengths is ideal and currently feels like magic.

Ironiclly a day later Paul Coulton from Lancaster University a partner on the physical playlist machine, tweeted about the latest version of the physical playlist machine.

I have been planning out Mozfest 2016 and wanting to create something like my wall at work, which syncs between the wall and a digital manfestiation of the same thing. In the ideal world both would sync no matter what changes but at least with bit planner you can sync the changes to the digital copy.

Very smart and can’t wait to have play with it. My only hope is she made it quite open, so we can hack on it and hopefully improve it. Me and Imran were talking about adding NFC to remove the taking a picture part of it.

Clara expect me around soon to see what else you are up to and explore what you might do with perceptive media and objects.

Sam Aaron

Thinking Digital Manchester 2016

Is there anything I need to say about Sam and SonicPi which hasn’t been said before?

I think Sam is a great person and you can’t help but be enchanted (magic, you see) by what he is able to create and very quickly. But what I love about Sam is he always ties what the sonicPI and live coding to the solid mission of digital literacy for young and old. Because of this I have been trying to get him involved in DJ Hackday as I believe the mission of democrasitation of remixing and digital literacy overlap well. In trying to convince him to get involved, he made a bit of crack about djing on stage which wasn’t missed by myself.

Sam you are going to be involved in some way for sure, even from a far…! Always great and always lovely to have some music during thinking digital.

Jennifer Arcuri

Thinking Digital Manchester 2016

Jennifer pretty much blew up the stage with her bright and californian style of talk. I had never heard of her before but by the end I was very convinced. The weird thing is at the dinner the previous night, I had seen her but never quite got the chance to talk to her as I was talking to Ed Barton about mixed reality most of the evening.

She talked about Hackers and made it very clear the differences in this murky world which most people don’t really venture into. She gave some great examples including Aaron Swartz. It was suprising how few people had heard about hacker culture outside of the mainstream nonsense.

Ultimatley it was a exciting rallying call for the curious, modifiers, hackers to make, break and do for the pursuit of knowledge. I’m hoping to check out a few of their courses when they have a place in Manchester, because knowledge is power and protection. I also want to explore and see whats the limits of possibility when it comes to internet of things.

James Veitch

Thinking Digital Manchester 2016

There is little I can say about James except, Herb was asking me why I prefer Geek to Nerd. James is hysterical and is a one man performance in himself. I can’t work out if its a magic act as such or just him.

He just seems to nail it at the right moments. Lots of laughter and so very relavent to the internet age. You really could imagine a whole night with him like how nerdcore with girltalk became a thing. Maybe a different kind of standup show.

At the afterparty, I got a sense if its an act; he’s pretty amazing at it. It always reminds me of the chinese man with the fishbowl (and more) in the prestige (spoilers!). But like Ros Bell says maybe its time already?

Another thing about Thinking Digital is the showing of (it would seem) random videos from around the web played to the audience after coming back from breaks. One of those videos was the DNA Journey.

It kicked started a bunch of tweets and to be fair quite a lot of emotion all aroundI had to dry my eye a little before getting on stage, poor Clara who had to follow that, luckily she had a great talk.

Although these were the ones which touhced me. I have to give credit to everybody who talked. Myles Dyer, Ed Barton and Amy Zima were very noteworthy. Got to love Herb geeking out with Dave Asprey on stage about the bulletproof lifestyle…

Thinking Digital Manchester 2016

All said and done, the TDCMCR crew did a excellent job again. As Thinking Digital moves into its 10th anniversary, it will be fancinating to see where it goes next.

Great work again Herb and Co.

What are hyper-reality experiences?


I talked previously about mixed reality but the consensus seems to be VR+AR = Mixed Reality… it looks like that ship has sailed and no matter what I say nothing will bring that back. So I have started talking about hyper-reality when discussing perceptive media across objects and things.

You could say its like a theatre cast in your living room and starts to answer some of the questions about perceptive media killing the shared experience. Theres already people hacking things to media, BBC R&D even experimented a long time ago in this area with the famous dalek example and of course the Perceptive Radio was just the start. The second version of the perceptive radio, did actually include more connectivity options to reach out and interact with devices in the local space such as Philips Hue lights, bluetooth devices, etc. It seems so simple but the big difference is they are reacting to the media rather than being thought about at the script/narrative level. With object based media (media+metadata) we can get to level much richer and interesting than ever imagined perviously.

Imagine what would happen if the director/writer could start to specify these type of experiences, the same way a director chooses to show certain characters in certain light, angles, etc. However the big difference is it can be contextual, flexible and scalable for 1 or many more people. How about that for a shared experience?

Of course this  brings up many ethical questions, data dilemmas, and questions about graceful degradation and progressive enhancement for media experiences. But I’m going to side step that in my blog for now. There are too many questions and research is well underway.

Ethics of personal data videos

Hyper-reality (or shall I call it hyper narratives, certainly can’t call it hypermedia) extends the narrative into the real world. This is fascinating because;

I contest this is closer to alternative reality gaming and the very popular immersive theatre works such as sleep no more. A problem with both is the scalability and consistency of experience, but whats great about them is the unique and shared experiences.

The Verge recently did a whats tech podcast which talks about immersive theatre, alternative reality games and the logical future of this stuff. Like the psychtech podcast episode 44, it highlights a lot of my current thinking and how all these things are connected. I always said the Internet of things needs a narrative because right now it all feels to service/utility. Even Google’s home project lacks that human-like narrative.

Internet of things needs a narraive

Some will sniff at this blog post but hyper-reality is the best word I can think of to explain what happens when you mix media objects, physical things, storytelling and context together.

Building virtual worlds is nice, augmenting the real world is better. However in my mind the future is those who explore the cross over of things, devices and media. Can you imagine the incredible levels of immersion?


Perfect 1000? is this really a thing?


Ryan congratualted me on having 1000 facebook friends.

Ian did you know that you have exactly 1000 friends at the moment on Facebook? Any time you add someone you now are going to have to delete someone else to maintain this perfect number! … You’re part of an exclusive club!

I said “Ha! Is that really a thing?

Of course it’s a thing haha when you have the perfect 1000 why would you want anything else?

I have never heard of this and had not really noticed I was now at 1000 friends. I’m assuming this maybe fits with some of the stereotypical very mild traits of OCD, people think about? Same as when some people like solid numbers, absolutes, perfection? To me it makes no difference and I’ll carry on adding friends adhoc.

Dj Hackday: Jan 14/15th 2017 in Manchester

Remixing a part of who we are - Doug Belshaw

In my last mega blog post about Futurefest, I talked about millennials thinking.

Millennials charactistics include

  • Multiple things going on
  • More likely to do things they are passionate about
  • Blur work and play and enjoy it

This very much applies to something I’ve been trying to get off the ground for a long time (5 years!).

DJ Hackday, is a hackday for not only for DJs but for remix culture.

Remix culture, sometimes read-write culture, is a society that allows and encourages derivative works by combining or editing existing materials to produce a new product. A remix culture would be, by default, permissive of efforts to improve upon, change, integrate, or otherwise remix the work of copyright holder

My personal thoughts are, DJ culture was new exciting and things were moving and changing all the time. We had vinyl, record players and mixers. But people were innovating and doing new things on top of that. Then the technology changed from spinning discs (Vinyl, CDs heck even Minidisc if you must) to Solid State/Digital. There was a lot of push back and there still is… But you can’t stop the future.

However we adopted the digital methods to do exactly the same thing. You can see this in the vast amount of digital dj tools, 2 decks and a mixer. Skeuomorphism hell! And it needs to die! Because a good 20 years after the first Mp3 dj software (virtual turntables by Carrot innovations). The interface, method and general approch is exactly the same.

2 decks and a mixer (kinda) – 1996
2 decks and a mixer with extras – 2016

That’s more than half my life time! That has to be some kind of a joke!

Ok under the hood things have changed but not far enough and wheres the distruptive changes? The DJ world still seems to be stressing out about auto BPM? Its happened get over it. For a whole culture built on innovation and creativity, it seems highly ironic?

5 years ago at Mozilla Festival I convince the lovely Michelle Thorne of this and I was able to run a prototype of DJ hackday during the festival. Out of it came a DJ first multitrack stem/format called 8trk.

But this was just scratching the surface of a much larger problem with DJ/Remix culture. I put together some slides which horrible to read back through as they are 5 years old, but its been super useful when talking to people and companies about what DJ hackday could be about. It was due an update and thankfully I can finally tick this off my list.

While talking to many people and companies over the years, some of got it and some have asked why isn’t it part of Music Hackday?

I have spoken to the Music hackday people about DJ hackday and made a very clear distinction between what they are doing and what I’m trying to to.

My estimations is the internet 1% rule applies here.

The 1% rule is a rule of thumb pertaining to participation in an internet community, stating that only 1% of the users of a website actively create new content, while the other 99% of the participants only lurk. Variants include the 1-9-90 rule (sometimes 90–9–1 principle or the 89:10:1 ratio), which states that in a collaborative website such as a wiki, 90% of the participants of a community only view content, 9% of the participants edit content, and 1% of the participants actively create new content.


In the case of DJ hackday; out of 100 people…

  • 90 will be consumer (lurkers/watchers)
  • 1% will be makers (creators)
  • 9% will be remixers (editors)

Music hackday cators for the 1% and of course moving remixers and consumers into makers. DJ hackday is moving consumers and makers into remixers. Its a very viable area with plenty of people doing interesting great things already. Everyone we have spoke over the last 5 years have gotten the concept and really want to see it become a real things now.

Myself and Simon have started a Lanyrd page to start building support and getting more people interest. Its also one of Mozilla Festival’s Fridge events, which is fantastic as it shows the progession from its small prototype to a full blown event and Mozilla are always a supporter of remix cultures.

Capitalising on the recent interest in the Get Down on Netflix, which sums up a bit of why DJ/Remix culture is important. I created some simple teaser posters. Expect a proper poster in near future but right now, its about getting the word out. And we’re really targetting those who never thought of themselves as DJs or participating in remix culture. People like you!

As the year counts down towards Winter, I’ll be looking for people to help and other companies to join the DJ Hack. We already have some great names (tbc) and starting to sort out venues for the night events. Of course we already have the MMU Shed for the main hack which is a great space for a hackday. The actual hack dates are Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th January, with a social event on the Friday 13th January and post hackday party on Sunday evening somewhere we can try out some of the hacks.

If you are interested in helping out on the day, know a great venue, like to support in some way, set a challenge or want to come help organise it. Get in touch…

Feel free to ping myself a tweet or drop a message via email, my contact form, comment, etc… I’m quite easy to get hold of.

Futurefest 2016 took me by surprise


I have known about Futurefest for years since the first one in Shoreditch town hall about 3 years ago. But was never able to attend due to clashes with the London Design festival which runs around the same time of the year. This time around there was enough time between them and not really being involved in LDF besides attending events, I had the pleasure of attending and presenting the work I’m pretty passionate about.

Having looked at the programme briefly online, I was very convinced this would be great use of my weekend, even so close after IBC 2016 and Mozilla Festival 2016. The variaty of talks was something you only really see at the better established conferences like Thinking Digital, and all for not a lot of money in my view.

I was pretty blown away by the gender split, I first thought it might be because I spent 6 days in a heavily male dominated IBC but I started to do a rough count in my head. It was 60/40 split towards female, amazing…

The first part of my day involved working with Victoria K to fix my presentation which had been converted over to Powerpoint with the usual weird and wonderful problems you get when moving between Libreoffice & Powerpoint. We straighten it out and embeded the videos. I could then relax and attend the sessions.

Unlike most conferences, the sessions were weirdly positioned, with some starting at times like 1505 and 1150, then they would run for 15, 30, 50mins. There was also no set time for lunch or breaks, you had to work it out yourself. This made networking less possible but I quite liked the idea of no formal lunch time as I tend to eat later than most.

My session was titled Data ethics in the time of perceptive media, and I almost missed the start of it due to talking in the speakers green room. Luckily Nesta’s Lydia found me chatting away and we made for the glass box room. Just enough time to mic up, drink some more coffee and sip some water.

I moved quickly through my 58 slides in less than 20mins (20 seconds a slide) giving more time to get Q&A from full packed in audience. I didn’t realise that the talk would be so popular but people told me they couldn’t get in and had to watch from the outside of the glass (sorry if you were not able to get in). The questions, I had already kind of prompted in the later end of the presentation but people got the idea BBC were doing everything to research how to stay trusted but also carve out the new opportunities in a very open way.

After the talk and Q&A, I had quite a few interesting conversations from people asking and enquiring into how deep we were research into the ethics of data? Of course I gave a massive big up to Rhia, Lianne, Maxine and other research scientists we have in BBC R&D. The discussion moved from personalised drama to personalised learning using perceptive media. Which is when I always link or mention the Psyteach Podcast episode 44Is Perceptive Media The Future Of Education?

The Futurefest really did surprise me, the line up was great on paper but I wasn’t sure if they were  able to pull off such a ambious schedule of talks. On paper it started to look like the festival of dangerious ideas which I have been a fan of. Mixing Love, work and play together really is a tricky combination to get right, but Futurefest/Nesta got it about right. No matter what some white man says, Futurefest was a well deserved glimpse of the future, especially after the male dominated experience of IBC.

Millennial was talked about a lot, I realise although I’m much too old to be claiming to be a millennial. I likely think like a millennial (if we are going to tag a generation in this way). This became clear in sessions Work beyond the workplace, Women will rule the world and Design your own life.

From my vast notes in a mindmap (would share but they only make sense to me), millennials charactistics include

  • Multiple things going on
  • More likely to do things they are passionate about
  • Blur work and play and enjoy it
  • Like to reinvent themselves

This doesn’t seem to uncommon to me, but to be fair the people I tend to surround myself with likely subscribe to a bits of these notions too.

The sessions which really stuck out for me were.


Work beyond the workplace by Anjali Ramachandran

This talk started out with AI isn’t going to kill off our jobs and via Dan Lyons new book (I’m still gutted I missed him when he was in Manchester) Distrupted, we ended up reestablishing a new business culture. I had heard of but never really looked into it properly. Something to add to my task list. It all felt reminiscent of Blaze at Thinking Digital Newcastle 2014. I was hoping to catch Anjali about this.


Design your own life

I really enjoyed this talk and quite enjoyed the nature of having the social space outside the main rooms in the open air. Its the kind of thing I enjoyed about BarCamps (sessions spaces in weird and wonderful places). Nesta’s set designer was doing a great job.

The talk by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, was deeply funny but also full of interesting points while flogging their book (which I did end up buying, but missed the opportunity to get it signed). The crux of the talk was using design methodology to design your own life. Research, prototype, evaulate and repeat. This is where some of the Millennial thinking popped up. They also described other traits which they saw as positive for designing your own life, a strong sense of curiosity and natrual intuition (something which I’m less and less of, sadly). They also dropped something they called dysfunction beliefs, which I’ve been refering to as old fashioned thinking in the past.

There was so much captured and said, I think I’m going to wait till I actually read the book. Shame I didn’t get it signed.


Shifting identity

This was part of the theme Future love and I have to give credit to the whole theme, which was expressed in a adult and smart way. Sex and the office had Cindy on the big stage and was great, but shifting idenity really pushed things into a new terriory.


Gender fludity is a area few people talk about and I was exteremely proud to witness Bill Thompson,  chair a tricky subject in such a playful way which made everybody feel at ease.


The very idea of male & female was kind of torn up, as Bill suggested was the promise of the early days of cyberspace. Everybody on the panel talked about gender on a spectrum, being the new normal. Interestingly a woman, who was born legally a boy talked about the external desire to be extremely feminine. As she said, you could switch gender but don’t you dare float in the middle!

Changing people’s world view was dropped in by one of the panelist, along with be a roll model, communication through demonstration and of course tollerence. Pretty sure it was Cindy who said “look in who you are, that’s the only way to know who you are.” I totally agree, which reminds me of… Of course, this is extremely difficult or potentially dangerious for some people in some places (sadly).


Very fitting end to a incredible panel in most other conferences but certainly contender for the best panel from Futurefest. I glad I missed out on hearing Brian Eno for this panel, it was so worth it.


Love as risk

Frank Furedi deserves a mention because his understated talk seemed to hit all the right buttons. Once again I was franicily mindmapping. My ears really picked up when early in the talk he mentioned “Women who love too much.” A certain friend (they know who they are) has recommended it to me but I’ve never read it. (Keep meaning to dust off my kindle library card option).

Frank slowly deconstructed how we want/have turned love into something safe, predictable and machine like. We want certainly but love is a risk, as Frank says “love is meant to be dangerous, its a risk

I asked Frank the question myself, Simon, Jane and Anna had talked about a month or so earlier. Frank was quick to add more and point out we have rengated love to a transaction. His most powerful example was partner over lover. There was also mentioned about Japanese sex lives (video).


Women will rule!

This is when I first saw the debate platform and what a debate to have on it. It was Cindy who mentioned how training data wasn’t diverse and ended up killing women and children. Weirdly enough I heard a whole podcast from 99 percent invisible about the problem with averages. She also made it super clear as the host, this isn’t about women per-say, but rather diversity and it starts with young women.

I found Cindy extremely powerful as a host and she really got things moving with quotes like “History is white washed by white men” and “Old pastie men


I can imagine how alienating this might all sound to white men. But frankly the time for tip toeing around the subject has gone and passed. The woman from the apprentice, Melody Hossaini got a bit of a backlash for trying to fit in to the systems rather than fix or reinvent them. Especially around the idea of quotas in jobs. Bridget Minamore was right on the button with her passionate rebutal of Melody’s thoughts on quotas.


The debate was good but just as it heated up, time was up. I would have paid to see more of this debate.

Other sessions worthy of note included Cindy’s only provocative talk from the Explore stage. I’ve said far too much about Cindy in this blog and the previous oneprevious one, but she had such an amazing influence.

BBC’s Colin Burns on the debate stage for From design thinking to design playing. Where Colin explained the design process using an imaginary fish.


Dj Spooky’s Future of love music, which really gave a real understanding into the way he thinks as zipped around his ipad from application to application.


Anne-Marie Imafidon’s the future is young women, which was only bettered by the discussion on the debate stage.

Futurefest took me by total suprise and it was incredibily good value for the price. I have compared it to Future Everything and the Festival of Dangerous ideas; I’m sticking with that because the diversity of the subjects and ideas was incredible. A welcomed change to the line ups and style of conferences we’ve gotten use to. Something between a festival and conference with a sharp edge which got people thinking.


Thanks to Lydia for convincing me a long while back to get involved and the rest of the team for a great conference. Glad I could play my part, and I’ll be back next year likely under my own steam unless I got something which fits with the themes for 2017.

Legendary Cindy Gallop at #futurefest


Everyonce in a while you meet someone who makes you take stock. That person is Cindy Gallop who I had the joy of meeting and hearing live at Futurefest 2016.


If you don’t know Cindy Gallop you might want to check out her TED talk, make love not porn and I’m surprised I didn’t mention her talk in no fap. I reconised her in the speakers lounge but wasn’t sure where from. Then after the first talk, I knew where from.


Almost everything she said had me nodding my head and thinking she is ever so right. From the panel discussion about shifting identites to women will rule.

She was so open and honest about everything. Some of the best parts include her thoughts on the crisis of people not talking about sex and other related things. This came up in Sex and the office: the future of love and work. She made the great point of the increase in sexual ignorance. Pretty sure she made the point about China’s increase in sexual diseases too.

Her thoughts on equality, diversity and inclusion was simply breathtaking.

I imagine many people will not be happy with this but frankly Cindy tells it as it is… blowing shit up, changing things as she goes.

Expect a full blog post about Futurefest soon…

Why I stopped caring about what most people think about privacy

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Simon Davis’ post about “Why I’ve stopped caring about what the public thinks about privacy” is such a great piece. I’m sorry to Simon but I had to copy a lot to give the full context.

To put it bluntly, I’ve stopped worrying about whether the public cares about privacy – and I believe privacy advocates should stop worrying about it too.

Unless human rights activists and their philanthropic backers abandon their focus on public opinion, the prospects for reform of mass surveillance will disintegrate.

I’ll go even further. Unless human rights activists and their philanthropic backers abandon their focus on public opinion, the prospects for reform of mass surveillance will disintegrate.

I’m aware that these thoughts might sound wildly contradictory – if not insane. Over the past three years I’ve tested them out on audiences across the world and experienced waves of disbelief. That’s one reason why I’m certain those ideas are on the right track.

In summary, my belief is that too many of us are obsessing about whether X percent of people change their default privacy settings, or whether Y+4 percent “care very much” about privacy – or indeed whether those figures went up or down in the last few months or were influenced by loaded questions, etc etc.

As advocates, we should never buy into that formula; it’s a trap. And for funding organisations to think that way is a betrayal of fundamental rights. A program director for a medium sized philanthropic foundation told me earlier this month that her board had “given up” on privacy because “we can’t measure any change in people’s habits”. I don’t see that equation being used as a measure of the importance of other rights.

In the failed rationale of opinion and user behaviour statistics, the relative importance of privacy depends on the level of active popular interest in the topic. According to some commentators, privacy is a non-issue if only a minority of people actually adopt privacy protection in their social networking or mobile use.

Imagine if that logic extended to other fundamental rights. It would mean that the right to a fair trial would be destabilized every time there was a shift in public sentiment. And it would mean that Unfair Contract protections in consumer law would never have been adopted – replaced instead with a “Buyer Beware” ideology.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying public opinion isn’t relevant. Nor am I saying that public support isn’t a laudable goal. We should always strive to positively influence thoughts and beliefs. It’s certainly true that for some specific campaigns, changing the hearts and minds of the majority is critically important.

The struggle for human rights – or indeed the struggle for progress generally – rarely depended on the involvement of the majority (or even the support of the majority).

However, on the broader level, there’s a risk that we will end up cementing both our belief system and our program objectives to the latest bar talk or some dubiously constructed stats about online user behaviour. Or, at least, the funding organisations will do so.

It seems to me we’ve been collectively sucked into the mindset that privacy protection somehow depends on scale of adoption. That populist formula is killing any hope that this fragile right will survive the overwhelming public lust for greater safety and more useful data.

I’ve noticed an enduring (and possibly growing) argument that public support for privacy is largely theoretical because relatively few people put their beliefs into practice. Conversations on that topic tend to dwell depressingly on public hypocrisy, with detractors pointing out that the general population fails to use the privacy tools that are on offer. Even worse, whole populations avidly feed off the very data streams that they claim to be wary of. Apparently this alleged public disinterest and hypocrisy invalidates arguments for stronger privacy.

(As a side point, I don’t believe that the situation is so black and white. People have become far more privacy aware in recent years, and their expectations of good practice by organisations have increased. People change their behaviour slowly over time, and yet there has been real progress in recent years.)

I also (generally) am less caring of what the general public think about these issues. In recent times, people have convinced me to join different services and tactfully decline. I do sometimes forget my world isn’t the mainstream, and wonder why are we still having these discussions.

Don’t get me wrong, its always interesting good to have the discussion, especially because most people still see privacy in a binary way but when pressed are much less binary about their decisions. A while ago I started calling it data ethics as privacy alone leaves the door open to worries about security for example.

Context and experience has a lot to do with it and in the discussion this becomes much clearer. Just ask anyone who has had their idenity stolen, hacked or abused. Most of the public will never (luckily) experience this.

I’d chalk this one up as listen to the experts

The time traveling web


I read about W3C’s project Memento a while ago but its become a reality recently.

The Memento protocol is a straightforward extension of HTTP that adds a time dimension to the Web. It supports integrating live web resources, resources in versioning systems, and archived resources in web archives into an interoperable, distributed, machine-accessible versioning system for the entire web. W3C finds Memento work with online reversion history extremely useful for the Web in general and practical application on its own standards to be able to illustrate how they evolve over time

Its smart, simple and great because it works on top of http, instead of creating a whole different way of doing the same thing.

I can already imagine memento powered twitter service or memento powered BBC redux service.

Flying into storms

Landing after a storm
The scene after landing in Manchester Airport

Finally back from Amsterdam after IBC 2016; the weather was incredible. Weather wasn’t far off in the UK it seems. However on flying back to Manchester, we hit a massive storm. The flight was only meant to be 55mins but we were up in the air for 90min.

On tweeting the above, Andrew sent a tweet.

On the review, it certainly looks about right, I certainly spotted a coast line.

Flying through and around a storm

To be fair once we finally landed and I tried to get a train home, I found out the train line was flooded and no trains were running from the Airport. They said the same was true of the tram but James seemed to get through? Ended up getting a Uber and being very surprised it wasn’t surge pricing. Felt a little sorry for most of the other people who were stuck waiting for trains. I was a little miffed but I didn’t know how bad things could have been or was in Manchester.

Another busy period

Ordinary life does not interest me

For the next few weeks I’m pretty busy. My calendar looks like I may have eaten something I’m allergic to and threw up. Leaving you with that pretty nasty thought.

Some of the highlights include…

Its not so much that I’m doing lots of big stuff, rather all the little bits in between some interesting events. For example getting Visual Perceptive Media on BBC Taster in a sensible way. Writing a paper for TVX 2017, arranging DJ Hackday 2017, etc, etc…

The amount of blogging and tweeting might drop as a result. Sure my 5.5 tweets a day has seriously dropped, but I’m blaming Twitter for that.

I always said an ordinary life does not interest me, and there is a certain amount of hustle involved with this all.

More magic leap thoughts

I have been aware of magic leap for ages but since Dave sent me the piece about magic leap; I’ve been looking at more of their work and approaches.

This is when I watched the recording of Graeme Devine at the games for learning summit.

The over all idea of mixed reality I certainly would agree with… The important part is talking about worlds and experiences. Nothing about screens or devices. I would suggest the statement…


Mixed Reality is the mixture of the real world & virtual worlds. So that one understands the other. This creates experience that cannot possibly happen anywhere else.
– Graeme Devine

…as the Moon shot.

It certainly something I’m also thinking a lot about when it comes to perceptive media. Experience which are simply not possible. The only way this is possible is with the combination of the real and virtual/media world. I’m still inspired by some of the thinking behind alternative reality gaming; mixing reality with directed and scalable experiences.

I also found their company ethos of…

  • People are first
  • What we make will be better, not always new
  • The experience really matters

Quite interesting…

We need a magic leap for the other senses

Good friend Dave mentioned Magic Leap and sent me a link to how it may work. I had a read and although it was a reasonable read, I was less impressed than I maybe should have been. I get Magic Leap is the thing lots of people are getting a little moist about, its seems incredible but I share a small amount of the view-point of the blogger..

Regardless if it turns out to be a consumer success or not, this is the first example of real innovation the tech industry has seen in some time. I am extremely excited to see what happens next for them and looking forward to the shake up this will put on the industry in general.

To be clear, I’m not down on Magic Leap, it is innovative but its more of the same. I only really interested in disruption right now. Something the tech industry needs (imho).

I already mentioned my thoughts about mixed reality and it hinges off the fact it’s not just visual and audible. I draw your attention to the interaction design rant (Touch), Smell and media (Smell) and of course the deeply problematic (Taste).

This paper‘s summary, sums up my thoughts, I feel…

The senses we call upon when interacting with technology are very restricted. We mostly rely on vision and audition, increasingly harnessing touch, whilst taste and smell remain largely underexploited. In spite of our current knowledge about sensory systems and sensory devices, the biggest stumbling block for progress concerns the need for a deeper understanding of people’s multisensory experiences in HCI. It is essential to determine what tactile, gustatory, and olfactory experiences we can design for, and how we can meaningfully stimulate such experiences when interacting with technology. Importantly, we need to determine the contribution of the different senses along with their interactions in order to design more effective and engaging digital multisensory experiences. Finally, it is vital to understand what the limitations are that come into play when users need to monitor more than one sense at a time.

Being able to drive and combine all these things together (even in a basic way – multisensory) has the potential to be far more exciting and immersive than Magic leap could even dream about. And its happening in dark and acdemic corners (I was maybe more excited by the vibrate API draft than learning about how magic leap may work – sad, who knows?). I’m sure they might be thinking the same but the fascination of the tech industry is on higher density A/V. Multisensory is moon shot. Being able to drive these on demand in an ethical, sustainable and contextual way is something I think a lot about with Perceptive Media. Being able to enable anyone to create their own experiences to share is the next thing.