Lets change the world?

I won't change the world....

Its not unknown for me to say “Lets change the world

But Umair Haque writes about why this kind of thinking drives him up the wall.

Auughhh. Like yours, my skin crawls every time I hear it. “Changing the world” is the latest nails on the chalkboard of Modern Life…an eye-rolling platitude…a gut-churner of a buzzword…shouted daily by thousands of high-fiving business-class wannabes in chinos…the worst invention since the Company Theme Song.

Ebola? Who cares!! Dude!! We’ll call them emergency Ubers!! Climate change? Buddy, chillax!! We’ll send the flood victims tacocopters!! No life? No problem!! Everyone can have robo-friends!! They’re better than humans!! Unemployment? Let them Taskrabbit!! Who needs a career…an education…a life…when you can be a butler?!

Don’t worry, bro!! Dude!! Don’t you get it? Digitally connected superwatches will rescue us!! They’ll make us transcendent superbeings!! The Human Condition?! We’ll app our way out!! Glory be!! Hallelujah!! Sing it with me!! We’re not just here to make money, we’re…changing the world!!

I do see what he saying and his examples picking out the mentality of Uber, Taskrabbit, AirBnB and Tinder is spot on. Maybe the creative disruption these guys hide behind isn’t really creative disruption at all?

Think about it for a moment. Do you think Travis from Uber or the creepily misogynistic guys from Tinder “changed the world” more than Jonas Salk…Galileo…Einstein…Gandhi…Martin Luther King? Do you need a brain transplant…and asoul? Are you a dummy? There have always been billionaires, tycoons, hucksters. But there haven’t always been polio vaccines…cosmologies…theories of relativity…civil rights.

Those are the guys who really changed the world, and to be fair they didn’t shout creative disruption as they went about it.

Changing the world isn’t helping your bro find a date by coding an app. Changing the world isn’t feeding your frat house by building a tacocopter. Changing the world isn’t turning life into a perma frat party by making a shot that can fulfill all your daily nutritional needs.

Things that make people…butlers, chauffeurs, maids, courtesans…debtors, sharecroppers, zombies…don’t change anything. They are merely more of the same. They redeem no human suffering; enhance no human potential; spark no human accomplishment; transform no human being. They do not create anything truly worthy that might not have been otherwise. There is no greatness, nobility, goodness, justice, or truth in them. There is merely the same old ugliness, cruelty, despair, and self-deception that has always been.

I think what I took away from everything Umair wrote is the empowerment for all. Even I have been thinking a lot more about the gotchas when using Uber and even AirBnB. Everything is tied into an algorithm, how fast you reply, how slow, collecting and build reputation for you which you have no control over. Even when you decide to opt out, its a problem. This is all without even looking at the overall societal, social and humanity effect of dancing with algorithms (as I am now calling it).

Its all very good critique and quite a bit to think about next time I shout “lets change the world!

Back to instant messaging

instant messaging sites

I bet the figure above has changed in recent times, as everybody turned back to messaging it would seem. Maybe realising that using social networks as a way to do instant messages is a bad idea (not judging, as I have been lured into a one 2 one conversation quite a few times over twitter).

I use to be a jabber/xmpp fan and when GTalk adopted xmpp, I was pretty happy. However over time the xmpp standard was built upon and in the end removed. I was one of those people who ran a client (pidgin) which supported multiple im protocols.

I considered installing pidgin again but I thought I’d give the alternatives a try. However Josh tweeted something which I wanted to consider when choosing a client and protocol.

Looking at the list I decided to try Silent Text/Phone from Silent Circle and Telegram. Telegram has clients across operating systems and devices, while silent text/phone is mainly mobile. Telegram also has the option of working within Pidgin if I decide to switch back.

For me its not that I actively want to hide secret messages, I just want the option to flex my privacy. Instant messenger for me is more private than social broadcasting platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Do I trust facebook messenger? Do I heck! I actively don’t have it on my phone along with the Facebook app.

I know theres rumors twitter are due to spin out their direct messaging part but looking at the rest of the crowd, are we really expecting twitter to adopt a secure and private system? Their track record hasn’t be bad. Actually there are twitter direct messaging clients which is cool but how many times has twitter changed the rules of the system, how long till direct messages are treated differently?

World’s largest e-paper sign

Some of you may remember I have been asking the question, why is there no large eink/epaper displays/screens? Then I came up with a solution which could scale (maybe) by creating a kindle array.

Well someone nicely pointed me in the direction of this article which claims to have the world biggest epaper sign. As you can see its really an array but its still pretty impressive.

Its also interesting to see where else epaper is being used.

Data portability and uber

With all the recent stories about the already dubious (or maybe  devious would be more fitting) Uber. Even I am starting to question how much I can really ignore, especially the God mode (yes I was aware via friends but balancing out how much benefit it brought to myself)

Helen Keegan reminds me of what I have been ignoring (I added the links by the way)…

How about throwing their dodgy off-shore tax dealings and encouraging sub-prime loans to drivers for a shiny new car without guaranteeing any work or taking any responsibility? Or maybe the lack of insurance and vetting of drivers? I’m sure there’s a bunch of other things too. And they’re not the only big tech company behaving like this mind.

Shes right, theres a lot of black marks. To be fair it was Mr Sparks which highlighted the attitude as it was being trialled in Manchester. However if you don’t like what Uber is doing, best look at what most of the silicon valley tech companies are doing. Ok so say I wanted to leave because I am sick to the back teeth of what their CEO is doing (I left Godaddy for this reason to be fair) what happens now?

Uber Lux in Amsterdam

Delete the app fine, but what about the account, data deletion and where next? I have to start again at Hailo? Why can’t I take my  reputation with me?

Theres no way to kill the account in the app, so people have asked them to kill the account. Maybe you can trust, Uber will delete the data (haven’t looked at the Eula recently to see their policy around this).

Unless specified otherwise in this Privacy and Cookie Policy, we will retain your information until you cancel your Uber account, or until your Uber account has been inactive for a year. If you wish to cancel your Uber account or request that we no longer use your information to provide you services, please contact us at support@uber.com. Upon expiry of the one year period of inactivity, we will alert you and give you two weeks to re-activate your Uber account or retrieve any personal information you want to keep. After deletion of your account we will anonymize your data, unless these data are necessary to comply with a legal obligation or resolve disputes.

Ideally you should be able to take you’re trip data and give it to another company. Dataportability please! I’ve been in a similar position before. At the same time it should shutdown the account.

My only hope is Uber upped the game of the other taxi companies out there…

Don’t be Evil Uber indeed…!

Cloud Appreciation to the Cloud Atlas

You don’t need to plan an exotic trip to find creative inspiration. Just look up, says Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society. As he shares charming photos of nature’s finest aerial architecture, Pretor-Pinney calls for us all to take a step off the digital treadmill, lie back and admire the beauty in the sky above.

Lovely Ted talk and the interesting to hear the link to slowness, but watching the clouds makes me think about cloud atlas and the interconnectedness of life.

Beware the flying mistletoe drone strikes

TGI drone attackTom Morris drops me a message on Facebook.

Ian Forrester’s mission if he chooses to accept it.

1. Find a lady friend.

2. Go to this: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/love-air-manchester-restaurant-launches-8130613

3. Blog about it.

Although its tempting, the idea of going to TGI Friday for a date fills me with rage. As somebody said… Their food is death and sadness.

Flying mistletoe from a mini indoor drone strike seems more likely than any kind of love interest on a date. Then again you could have fun with it I guess, but its certainly not the kind of thing I would do on a first date.

Tell you what, if anyone wants to do it for a laugh and are female, I maybe interested for the sake of blogging. This always feels like the start of an adventure… Who’s up for it?

Love, Sex & Alienation in Manchester

I heard about the Manchester Spring through Facebook (via Josh R) of all places. I guess he saw the topic (Love, Sex & Alienation) and decided I would be interested.

What are relationships? Why do we seek them out, and how can they enrich our lives? Spring invites you to a thoughtful matinee discussion on the borders and nuances of human interaction. From anthropological, biological, social and philosophical perspectives this event will explore the sticky and personal terrain of love, sex and alienation. What do human relationships have the potential to be? What do they look like when they’re going well?

The speakers were… Rosie Wilby and Don Milligan

It was the first time I had ever been to a spring and to be honest first time I had really heard of them. The subject reminded me of geekstalksexy event we put on years ago. Rosie talked about her experience and feelings about non-monogamy, as she did for BBC Radio 4 and elsewhere a while ago.

This view point on non-monogamy didn’t go down quite as smoothly as I thought it would with quite a left leaning audience. To be fair the spectrum of non-monogamy was boiled down to pretty much cheating or poly (we all know theres so much more to this field). The conflict was moved up a level when someone suggested that there was no way you could get the same level of love from multiple people and that you maybe poly people might be wasting their lives trying.

This was seriously upsetting and as a non-poly person, even I was slightly shocked at this. Thankfully a lady passionately responded and made the person rethink their narrow view.

Rosie then made the excellent point that even if you don’t think its for you, we must be supportive of peoples choices. She compared it to what people said in the 80’s and 90’s about queer people and the feminism movement right now. And she was dead right!

We must support peoples rights to make well informed decisions about what works for them. If that be serial monogamy, non-monogamy or anything else. As long as its not harmful to others and everybody involved are giving informed consent (something we talked a lot about on LoveGrumps yesterday which you unfortunately won’t ever hear due to the bandwidth issues we experienced).

Rosie was full of good points and she made one about communication and having the confidence ask for what you want and don’t want. I was going to make the point that its usually a relationship break up when the people involved stop communicating.

Then the talk turned to children, logical families, emotional faithfulness, assumptions about relationships and what we learn from media about relationships. A lot of ground was covered and likewise Manchester Spring looks like a interesting place for these types of conversations.

Who Cares?

Something Rosie said stuck with me long afterwards. It was the nature of love affair friendships. She made the point that she has a friend who she only watches films with, a close friend she goes out with, another one she knows is really into something she loves, etc, etc. The instant answer is… “yes but those don’t involve having sex/sleeping with them?” But is a relationship not complete without sex? Who are you to say the relationship I have with my friends and family doesn’t count? Point is, could it unrealistic to expect one person to fill all those roles. Maybe Helen Fisher is right? lust, attraction and attachment can be/is better achieved by multiple people?

I am personally not poly, into open relationships or anything on the map of non-monogamy but know quite a few people who are and considered what it would be like for myself personally. Could I really cope, would I end up jealous and twisted, do I have the maturity to really say what I want? Its a interesting one. Maybe we are more non-monogamous than we actually think?

One thing for sure is I wanted to talk about what a interesting weekend I had, but found it difficult to talk about it in a frank and open way. The idea of non-monogamy is still cast in the murky world of the unknown, maybe its time to be honest with ourselves and stop living the hollywood dream. Maybe we’ll feel so much better for doing so?

Does online dating work?

"Does Not Work"

It’s a simple question and a common one — one whose answer could determine the fates of both a multi-billion dollar industry and millions of lonely hearts. It’s a question that seems distinctly answerable: we have user data, surveys, clear metrics for success or failure, entire books full of colorful charts.

And yet, just this week, a new analysis from Michigan State University found that online dating leads to fewer committed relationships than offline dating does — that it doesn’t work, in other words. That, in the words of its own author, contradicts a pile of studies that have come before it.

Starts the Washington Post article… This is the start of much of my thoughts dotted throughout my blog. A while ago I stood up at a conference and said

There is no compelling scientific research indicating online dating algorithms work.

Well the new analysis by Michigan State, leads nowhere new. The answer to the question is complex…

We don’t actually know.

Some of the reasons for that ambiguity are clear in this latest study. For starters, there’s this greater cultural issue of how we define relationship success: Is it marriage? Is it monogamy, a la Patti Stanger? Is it what OkCupid’s data team calls a “fourway” — four messages back and forth between two semi-interested parties? That’s a tough one to parse, and different studies have defined it different ways

So the success criteria isn’t clear but if one thing was clear it would be around matching algorithms.

Most paid sites claim, for instance, that it’s their highly scientific matching algorithms that lead people to serious relationships; in his 2013 book on the subject, however, the journalist Dan Slater concludes that most of those claims are bunk. (“Everyone knows that all personality profiling is bull****,” a former Match executive told him. “As a marketing hook, it works great.”)

And as I’ve been banging on about for years… Why pay for online dating? They simply make bumping into random people more likely, just like most social networks.

In reality, dating sites are most effective as a kind of virtual town square — a place where random people whose paths wouldn’t otherwise cross bump into each other and start talking. That’s not much different from your neighborhood bar, except in its scale, ease of use and demographics.

Hence the popularity and rise of the social dating apps and services.

Visual Calendar for Tablets

visual calendar

I have been looking for a way to combine calendaring, tasks and mindmaps. It just happened that I was searching around and found visual calendar for tablets.

Visually link the things you plan to do, creating logical chains. Think Mind Map for your project turned into actual tasks and dates, or events and appointments from your organizer presented in an intuitive, task-oriented way.
You can easily see all your events arranged in time, prioritized with color and categorized with icons, linked together.
Events created in Visual Calendar appear instantly in your Google Calendar. If you already have something planned in Google Calendar, Visual Calendar will import that in on first launch.

Its £3.99 but the feedback isn’t too hot. And I’ve not even considered the lock-in and portability issues

I can only assume because its a new concept and the app isn’t too mature. But I was wondering if it would be possible to take Mindmup and combine it with Google Calendar or something else?

LoveGrumps?

geeky and sexy logo...

You may have heard or subscribed to Techgrumps in the past, and we are thinking about bringing that back. However there’s an appetite to do a version of techgrumps for love, sex and relationships.

Think geeks talk sexy crossed with Techgrumps with discussion and ranting. I think the pick up artist will be the main theme of this first podcast.

To kick it off, we are recording this Sunday evening/night maybe on Hangouts. If you are interested in taking part, get in touch with me or tommorris on twitter.

Firefox OS on a new phone

Firefox OS upgrade

One of the big things which came out of the Mozilla Festival was the brand new Firefox phone, the flame… I heard about it but to own a version was frankly kind of exciting. I believe they gave out about 500 to the people who attended the festival. You also had to be there early on Sunday morning if you wanted one.

Unlike the previous version which was made by Geekphone and was technically a developer edition, this one was closer to 4.75 inches. The build quality had also been upped from the previous one.  When in my pocket, it feels very much like my Nexus 5 but a little less polished. A little frustrating to move the power button to the top instead of the right hand side to match the Nexus 5.

Firefox phones

When you open up the phones back cover (because you can do that, the novelty!) you find not only a micro SD card slot but also 2 sim slots! 2 Sims in Europe, what on earth? How great is that? I can finally buy a crappy sim from another country and still use my number for everything else. I currently have my work sim and a spare pay as you go sim in place. Another thing which surprised me about the phone also was the NFC support. Now that was something I was not expecting at all. Haven’t tested to see if the Bluetooth is 4.0 LE (looks like it maybe 3.0) or not but everything else looks good. It feels like last years chipset, not quite but comparable to my HTC 1X.

Enough about the hardware how does it work? Well I have to say its not bad. Compared to the previous one, its far more quicker and snappy. Its was pretty much what you experienced on the previous phone but quicker and more responsive. I say it was… because recently I got an upgrade pushed through to the next version of Firefox OS. Now its zippy and looks quite a bit different from what Android, iOS and Windows phone are doing.

Firefox OS upgrade

Now the icons are very big and super colourful. To be honest although Iike it, I would reduce the size if it was my only phone. People like Aral will hate the setup process because there are some gotcha’s which still disappoint, but as a whole Mozilla have listened to the critical feedback and tried to improve the user experience a lot.

The biggest problem I find with Firefox OS is the lack of apps. Its frustrating as it should make grabbing parts of websites or services easy (or maybe I’m missing something).  Don’t get me wrong the marketplace has much more that it use to have but its no where near even the Microsoft app store.

That is the one thing holding back Firefox OS. I do believe the web as a platform for development is a good one but the APIs are not there yet. For example I looked at the Web NFC API spec and found this. I’d love to write something to take advantage of it but its still not there for serious use.

I did notice that some of the things like Ubuntu unity webapp stuff does seem to work with the phone too. So I assume it got supported by the W3C? This brings me a bit of joy, because I can write simple stuff which will have utility across Ubuntu and Firefox phone. My hope is since I have Firefox installed on my Android, some of those features will also happen on Android.

As a whole, I like the Firefox phone, it reminds me how important it is to be free of the clutches of the big 5 stacks who hoover up data for their own means and lock you in forever. Firefox OS can be pretty much run like a feature phone if required but there is the ability to sync and have accounts if you so wish. If the flame really is meant to be a 100 dollar phone, its not value for money. I would happily have paid about that for it, as a 2nd phone. Looking forward to the next update… Good work Mozilla.

Not wise to brand all pick up artists by the same brush

Keychain

As most of you know I use to have an inherent hate for pick up artists. And it wasn’t till Geeks talk sexy where my views started to become a little less harsh.  However I am seeing a conflicts in both directions.

One one side myself and female friends have noticed how bad (generally) men are about coming forward and asking women out on dates. I use to put this down to the fear of rejection but I have been told again and again…

Dude, dating is an American concept and you never really going on dates. In my day, we use to hangout and just end up together.

To which I usually bite my lip and hold in my inner rage.

When online dating, if I’m talking to a woman and the idea of going on a date is a big turn off then, I call them timewasters.

Some people are very comfortable with just chatting and chatting, but to be honest, although I’m cool with chatter, texting, phone calls, etc. Its got to be a face to face meet which decides things. And I know I’m not the only one who thinks this… of course timewasters can be male or female.

On the other side, they are too forward (or just want one thing) and as one friend says, their first line is one of the following…

Can I bum you? Do you like it hard? You will beg for more…

(and trust me,  this is the stuff I feel comfortable with posting, its gets a whole lot worst!) I still find it hard in which century its OK to be so direct and simply offensive. I mean its not like they are showing off to their mates, I knew very few men who share their dating chatter with friends. Its almost like they need to be the stereotype of a super alpha male to make themselves and their egos feel good? Daily Mash has a piece I found via Olivia Solon about this type of behavior.

BRITAIN’S sleazy men have confirmed that they are just performing as their amusingly ribald alter egos.

So whats the problem? Is it that men are incapable of being themselves (rather beat their chests and live in the past)? Fearing living in a world where testosterone isn’t need as much? I don’t know the answer, but there is a problem with male society. And I’m not the only one to notice this…

Its well recognised females are rightly finding themselves in a better position that ever before (and rightly so).  As I mentioned before human kind urgently needs the diversity of thought and ideas. But likewise its clear men are struggling to cope with these changes.

Whats all this got to do with pick up artists? I hear you all ask? I know Josh R would love to know…

I’m going to be clear about this… Not all pick up artists should be treated with the same brush. There are some really nasty nasty screwed up people preaching spiteful stuff and theres communities who lap it up.  But like or not (and I really don’t) some are doing encouraging self believe, being respectful and even treating people as equals. Some techniques do work on a number of people in the same way advertisers understand enough about the human brain to make you want and desire objects. Now granted they are not all really calling themselves Pick Up Artists but they are providing a similar service.

Do this and you will end better and with somebody special…

Tyler (Owen Cook) is a example. Between some of the interesting stuff like, “How Rising From A Prison Of Depression / Social Anxiety / Negativity Is Like Crawling From A Pit” where he actually talks about his own depression in a reasonable way and makes a really good case with the dark knight rises. Is Tyler’s secrets for picking up hot girls at crazy parties and chaotic environments.

Calling people saddos and looses isn’t going to help and to be honest its too easy to write them off like that. Once you do, its no big surprised to see how the redpill and many other female hating communities pick them up strays so easily. Its like cults who prey upon those shunned by society. You got to look deeper than that, what can we do to bring them into the light? Bit of a plug for Flirtology and the Manchester flirting weekend which helps people who may be clueless or just lacking in experience.

Some of you are saying why can’t Tyler just leave the picking up stuff and keep the self confidence stuff? I would agree but frankly men are stubborn and the idea this could lead to somewhere, is a powerful motivator. If Tyler did just videos about self help (his inner game – geez really?!), very few would watch (love for somebody to prove me wrong!) This for me has parallels to religion, is it a necessary evil… for the greater good? Who knows?

Manchester flirty weekend

Most of you know we are putting on the Manchester flirting weekend. At the moment we have lots of women signed up but far too few men. Why is this? And its not just our event, its a common problem across the sector of relationship, women sign up and men crawl through afterwards. At the very least the pick up artists are encouraging men to get out there, step up to the opportunities and not just sit back and then moan about things from the currently dominate position.

I never will really support what the pick up artists  do (although I grapple with it constructively in my head all the time) , but at the very least they are making men sit up and think about their lives and place in modern society. This is why I have been known to write posts on Single Black Male and read more enlighten people like the rules revisited.

Its time to wake up and I don’t mean in a flipping red pill nonsense way.

Get a grip and stop blaming others for you’re lack of progress. Stop comparing yourself to gender stereotypes and be honest with yourself. Sexuality is a spectrum and be comfortable with yourself before heading out to seek a partner.

Storing Mindmaps by date

Tedxliverpool mindmap in google calendar

Been  looking for a way to store my mindmaps, connect them to calendar events/ meetings all with the minimum of stress. Then I happen to look through Calendar Labs and saw this…

Event attachments
By Sundaresan V and Oana F – Mar 2010

Attach a Google document, spreadsheet or presentation to your event or upload a file from your computer. Important: guests do not automatically have permission to view Google Docs attachments. You must share each attached document.

As Mindmup already stores the mindmaps on Google Drive, it should be easy enough to link them to calendar events. Therefore making it easy to find them and easily retrievable. I’m not sure if this is the case if its somebody elses calendar request but theres only one way to find out.

Well it certainly saves me building some custom solution with my own version control system (had thought about running a XMLDB or NoSQL db locally and creating Xlinks to the mindmaps. And this could be done because Mindmup is open, has a API and is using standard technologies.

Doesn’t quite solve my Evernote connection issue, plus its really a binary blob rather than a nice mindmap but alas its the best I can think. I was going to give Google Keep a try for storing notes, so maybe that might do something better with it.

Calendar Zero?

Kevin’s right. Oversubscribed calendars are the new overflowing inbox. Remember my email inbox after coming back from my brush with death.

You should have seen my Calendar during September and October. I would share but I would need to blur so much of it, it wasn’t worth sharing, but I did get from Google Dashboard this figure –  over the past 28 days I attended 115 events, 146 hours total,  It wasn’t even funny. Thank goodness for ical subscribe, but this did mean if it wasn’t in my calendar, it didn’t happen. (not exactly ideal for somethings)

I’m not stranger to calendaring hell of course.

Thoughts and ideas of a dyslexic designer/developer