Breaking the rules of online dating with bristlr

At Silicon Drinkabout last night, I was introduced to John Kershaw who created a social network/dating site for people with and like beards – Bristlr. (yes this is the uniform dating style thing, basically for anybody)

  • Tell us where you are, and if you have a bear
  • Got a beard? We find people looking for beards
  • Want a beard? We find people with beards worth looking for
  • Send messages to people you match with
  • Your life now contains more beard love, you’re welcome

John seems to have got quite a few people on-board with no advertising or promotion. Its a interesting site and hits a niche really well.

How does it make money? Well funny enough me and John talked about this at length. Unlike most dating sites, he won’t be collecting and selling the data  of the users. His privacy policy seems to follow through on this

Bristlr

We take your privacy seriously. We won’t sell your data. That’s a dick thing to do.

When you use Bristlr, we collect a fair chunk of data about you, but it’s the bare minimum required for the website to function. All of the information is collected explicitly from you.

As this is the internet, our servers collect loads of info like your IP address and some browser details. We do use standard internet tracking and monitoring software, namely Google Analytics, to tell us about who is using the website.

If ever we need to use your personal information for any reason which isn’t essential to the running of Bristlr, we will ask for your consent.

We may disclose your personal information if we are required by law. But we would be super fucking unhappy if this happened.

There is a premium option (there always is!) which shows you the people you’ve yet to match with who have “liked” you.  But realistically, its the price of a coffee or theres the pyramid approach with a referrals..

Bristlr Matches screen

I’m signed up, giving it a try and of course you can give it a try too for free. Theres a referral if you like to enable me premium for a bit  http://www.bristlr.com/?referral=cubicgarden

Social Media’s Common ground

Commonground

Social media cafe Manchester was a diamond in Manchester’s tech scene for a long while. It was inspired  on Loyd Daves’ Tuttle club which was in turn inspired by my own Geekdinners. Who says you can inspire, eh?

Started in 2008 Social Media Cafe became an institution. Meeting regularly on the first Tuesday of the month, it ran for over 5 years bringing an eclectic and sometimes bizarre selection of topics to discuss. From emoji madness and a requiem for Ceefax to more grounded subjects. Through #smc_mcr, Manchester kicked off its open data journey and became a stopping off place for people passing through, who had projects and passions to share. Most importantly #smc_mcr was a place where anyone with a passion could pitch up and propose a topic that they wanted to share with others – either to inform or to find help. Because of this #smc_mcr developed an unConference format that allowed multiple subjects to be discussed at the same time.

Fast forward to November last year in the snug of the Briton’s Protection a group of ex-#smc_mcr types came together to discuss how this venerable event could be reinstated. So Common Ground was born, an event with the same #smc_mcr goodness with a more pronouncable name.

Common Ground Launch Event – On the Cluetrain

To kick off Common Ground we look at The Cluetrain and the enigmatic release of new clues after 15 years.

The Cluetrain manifesto was written in an age before social media, when user generated content was but a tiny fraction activity banded around by a tiny number of people. The Cluetrain manifesto went beyond the current day thinking of the dot com boom – 1999 and the catastrophic bust – 2001. It rewrote the rules for a hyperconnected world and it could be argued, is as relevant today as it was then.

The new clues attempt to do the same, taking our thinking into the next 10 years. The event will discuss the new clues and asks if they will have the same impact as the original clues have now. Did Doc Searls and David Weinburger, undermine or add another chapter to the brilliance of the Cluetrain?

Join us

Why the need for another event in Manchester? Its similar to the problem of why Manchester Technights started. The current selection of events are too narrow. Don’t get me wrong its great if you are really into that thing but if you want to get a variety of ideas and thoughts, then you are stuck. I bang on about diversity and how critical it is, this also starts to answer the problem of the filter bubble. You should join us and invite friends…

Event link

Welcome to the MMU Shed

The first event is Tuesday 17th February at its new home, the shed.  The Shed is a new space by MMU (Manchester Metropolitan University)  just opposite where the old BBC just off  Oxford Road on Chester Street.

Its a great space with a lot of potential for all types events and can hold between 2 and 200 people depending on the event and space you require. This does mean there are lots of spaces, so you could go back to the original unconference style of social media cafe. Theres also plenty of room, so noise won’t be a massive issue.

To be fair its a great space and just right for a barcamp, but I’m not doing those anymore (of course).

So whats the first commonground?

The first one on the 17th Feb, will centre around the Cluetrain manifesto. Julian one of the key organisers asked me for a quick summary and I sent this via my phone.

On the Cluetrain

The cluetrain manifesto was written in a age before social media, when user generated content was but a tiny fraction banded around by a tiny number of people. The cluetrain manifesto went beyond the current day thinking of the dot com boom – 1999 and the catastrophic bust – 2001. It rewrote the rules for a hyperconnected world and I would argue is as relevant as it was then as it is today.
The new clues attempts to do the same and in some case does a great job taking our thinking into the next 10 years. The event will discuss the newclues and asks if they will have the same impact as the original clues have now. Did Doc Searls and David Weinburger, undermine or add another chapter to the brilliance of the cluetrain?

What is Fitbit trying to do?

new fitbit permissions

For a while now, I have been declining the fitbit upgrade on my Android devices. I kept tweeting fitbit to ask why on earth my digital pedometer needs access to my SMS, Camera and Location?

I can imagine, Location is passable but SMS and Camera? Really? I voted with my feet and kept the upgrade on hiatus till I heard a reason why.

Finally I got a message from Fitbit support…

So basically fitbit is trying to break its way into the wearable market with phone and messages notifications?

I think I’ll hold off on upgrading even longer now. I’m sure you can turn it off but I’m just not interested, especially since I have the pebble smartwatch which already does this and so much more.

Beware Philips Hue lights from the states

I bought into the Philips Hue system a while ago by buying the part I needed and then the lights afterwards. There are a tons of people selling the wired zeegbee bridge for as low as 25 pounds (I paid 26 for mine) then you can get a bulbs afterwards for much cheaper than the starter kit at 170 pounds.

So this is what I did…

Philips Hue Bridge

However I hit a problem, the first Philips Hue Lux light came and I could see it on the app via the bridge but couldn’t control it. I tried a lot of things including upgrading the system and rebooting the bridge. But it just didn’t response to anything I did. I thought well maybe its a dodgy bulb from ebay. However the next bulb came and I couldn’t even see it via the bridge.

I also ordered some via Amazon and they worked straight away, as expected!  I looked into the differences and found some bad news…

Philips will void warranty if 110V bulbs are used with 220V power and vice versa. Closer look at the packaging shows there maybe a problem.

Philips Hue Lux lights American packaging
The American Hue Lux – E26 bulb

Philips Hue Lux lights Europe packaging
The Europe Hue Lux – E27 bulb

So it looks like I have 2 American bulbs which I’ll have to put back on ebay at a lost (if it works at all?)

The good news is I have replaced my Philips Light/Wakeup clock with a Hue light which slowly turns on when Sleep as Android thinks its time to wake up. Apartment therapy you are wrong, using your phone as an alarm makes perfect sense, when used in the right way.

What data is personal to you?

Alex data ethics

On International data privacy day, BBC R&D has posted a video asking a bunch of smart people what data is personal to them?

As I have been working on the project for quite sometime, I can happily say there is a lot more to come. Including ways to feedback. Go check have a look and see if you agree with the opinions of our industry experts?

You might have seen the theme of the work in the blog post ethics of data and what we setup at Mozilla Festival. Expect more in the future…

 

Adam Curtis’ #Bitterlake today on BBC iplayer?

Adam Curtis’ Bitter Lake  (previewed on Charlie Brooker’s yearly wipe) is on BBC iPlayer today from 9pm. I don’t think I’ll be watching at that time (find it interesting there is a time, but I guess there has to be one), due to the Techgrumps podcast. But I’m sure to check it out soon enough.

Politicians used to have the confidence to tell us stories that made sense of the chaos of world events. But now there are no big stories and politicians react randomly to every new crisis – leaving us bewildered and disorientated.

Bitter Lake is a new, adventurous and epic film by Adam Curtis that explains why the big stories that politicians tell us have become so simplified that we can’t really see the world any longer.

Funny enough today I started the morning with this related playlist…

I was a little peed off that the doc about subliminal advertising’s results were split across podcasts… Could have done with a warning really! One for the physical playlist.

Ello and welcome to no pesky ads

inspired by ello, the network

Been keeping my eye on the move to create ethical social networks which don’t take the living piss with our data. Things like Tent.io, Known and now Ello are gathering some momentum…

We originally built Ello as a private social network. Over time, so many people wanted to join Ello that we built a public version of Ello for everyone to use.

Ello recently got quite serious about its non-ad and no selling of personal data.

Ad-free

Ello doesn’t sell ads. Nor do we sell data about you to third parties.

Virtually every other social network is run by advertisers. Behind the scenes they employ armies of ad salesmen and data miners to record every move you make. Data about you is then auctioned off to advertisers and data brokers. You’re the product that’s being bought and sold.

Collecting and selling your personal data, reading your posts to your friends, and mapping your social connections for profit is both creepy and unethical. Under the guise of offering a “free” service, users pay a high price in intrusive advertising and lack of privacy.

We also think ads are tacky, that they insult our intelligence and that we’re better without them.

To be fair its way off being something massive, but thats what makes it interesting I feel. I’m now on the network, so if you are interested in a invite and we are friends, drop me a email or tweet…

Blip.tv does good on its promise to archive

Mike Hudack of Blip.tv

A long while ago I talked about why I used Blip.TV over Youtube, Vimeo and other video uploading sites.

  • Upload video of any length
  • Download the archived original
  • Use there non branded flash player anywhere you like
  • Add a creative commons licence
  • Automatically add content to Internet Archive
  • Add advertising to your video (start or end)
  • Add alternative formats of the same clip

Although most of these features are now supported by the others, blip.tv was promising this in 2006!

It was a shame last year when I saw the message in my email saying blip.tv was removing my videos. I did try and download most of them, but remembered the promise of uploading everything to archive.org.

…If Blip.tv ever pulled a Yahoo/Flickr thing on its users. You could pipe them all to Archive.org and remove them from Blip. Metadata and all..

Well they didn’t exactly do a Yahoo/Flickr thing on us, but their business models changed when they got bought. But they nicely honoured their word and dumped everything requested on to archive.org. I was having a hard time finding stuff (archive.org’s search isn’t the best) but I found everything using this search. Including classics like Mike Arrington thinks the BBC should be dissolved. Remember the firestorm which came from that video and his lack of ignorant comment. Finally it was followed by this.

The only disappointment is the links around the web are now broken as redirection of blip links never happened… Maybe I should contact mike (if he’s still in CEO) to remind him, wonder if he remembers me?

Dataportability for the win…!

13 questions you should ask on the first date?

Claire asks what I feel about 13 questions you should ask on the first date.

Now before I start, I’d point out I understand these are conversation starters and therefore will be thinking about them in the context of number 9 – social objects.

A shared experience is a powerful key to being interesting to other people. For example, on the train as I am now, I could turn around the lady across the table and say “nice drawing, how did you learn to draw like that?” The social object would be the drawing… Hugh has better examples

  1.  How often would you say you bring notecards to your dates?
    I can’t take this one seriously… is the notecards a social object? Nope…
  2. Are you a Beatles fan or an Elvis fan?
    This question does give you a lot of information, its also a good way to get the person talking. Even if they look at you blankly, its still interesting. If I was to answer, I would mention the fact I spent most of my time with my head in the underground and some stuff about the Beatles, which my friends have heard a few times before.
  3. Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?
    This one reminds me of Oli‘s who would win in a fight at the beach between a Giant Squid and a Bear. Although I think they are silly, I guess that is the charm. I would advise against lots of this type of stuff because it can come across as slightly weird and kind of trivial. Maybe more of a nice ice breaker?
  4. How do you feel about chick flicks?
    Talking about movies isn’t a bad idea, but chick flick might cause slight abuse. What is the last film which made you laugh or cry is a favourite for me.
  5. What’s the best book you read last year?
    Yes this is a good question and I have been known to ask the question while speed dating.
  6. What did you think about ‘Too Many Cooks’?
    Ok this is might get back the response of a ? But if they have seen it, well I guess you can have a laugh or indepth discussion about sitcoms.
  7. What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
    Geez! Really?
  8. Do you love or hate Love Actually?
    This falls into the same area as the chick flicks and too many cooks. Maybe best left alone.
  9. Is Pluto a planet?
    Nice but odd to put in a conversation, and the reply may not be that satisfactory unless you are both really geeky about space.
  10. What’s your idea of the perfect date?
    Ok good question at long last, although it can sound a little creepy
  11. Do you have any allergies?
    Yes a little creepy but actually quite a talking point (see my last post)
  12. Star Wars or Star Trek?
    Elvis or Beatles all over again. After my display of (lack of) knowledge about both at BarCampManchester5, I can really talk.
  13. What’d you do today?
    This is a good question (although I would say it in a different way), open ended and plenty of places to go afterwards. This is the kind of question you should be going for…

How do you say I’m allergic to… in Japanese?

A Sushi Bar in Wakayama, Japan [October 2010]

Chris broke to the news to me about a girl who died eating at Almost Famous while we were eating in TGI Fridays (yes I know I said I wouldn’t go back after dronegate which end with somebody hit in the head but it was one of our regular Friday drinks). I was wondering why TGI Fridays was taking my nut allergy extremely seriously, alot more than last time, Chris then broke the news about the death.

The 18-year-old collapsed on Withy Grove in Manchester city centre on Friday night shortly after eating at the restaurant’s site in the Great Northern Warehouse

Police have launched an investigation after a teenager died from a suspected allergic reaction following a meal at the well-known burger bar Almost Famous.

The 18-year-old woman collapsed on Withy Grove in Manchester city centre on Friday night shortly after eating at the restaurant’s site in the Great Northern Warehouse, on Peter Street, off Deansgate.

Police were called to the scene and the teenager was taken to hospital but she died on Monday.

Its tragic, I have eaten there a few times and although I don’t know what she was allergic to, it certainly focuses my mind around my trip to Tokyo. When I say I am scared of dying, I certainly was not joking!

The inquest was told that she had begun to feel unwell near the Printworks, on Withy Grove, shortly after.

When it became apparent she may have eaten something she was allergic to, she used her inhaler and her epi-pen, which gives a shot of adrenaline to treat severe allergic reactions.

But they had no effect and she collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest.

An ambulance was called shortly after 8pm and she was taken to the A&E at Manchester Royal Infirmary before being transferred to the intensive care unit. She died on Monday.

The Home Office post mortem revealed the provisional cause of death was hypoxic encephalopathy – damage caused to the brain by oxygen starvation – due to anaphylaxis – a severe allergic reaction.

The amount of fish and seafood the Japanese eat and consume is no joking matter for somebody allergic to themt. Although I’m a fan of the new EU rules which have come into effect this is a timely reminder its not perfect and of course I won’t be in the EU.

I found some cards which someone has nicely put online.

japanese shellfish allergy

japanese nut allergy card

I still need to find the same for Beans and Peas but theres a lot of useful tips and people trying to solve the same problem.

You shouldn’t have much of a problem in Japan, as long as you can communicate your allergies and you know how the substances you are allergic to are written. Food allergy awareness is about on par with the U.S.

Oh and the answer to the question I asked is…

The word for allergy in Japan is アレルギー – pronouced a-RE-ru-gee, a loan word that’s pretty close to ‘allergy’ if you say it out loud. (It was taken from German (Allergie), as were many medical terms.)

The eve of night mix

The eve of night mix by Cubicgarden on Mixcloud

This is a mix I did over the holidays but just had the chance to upload it. Lots of new tunes mixed up in the usual fashion. Enjoy!

  1. Grotesque (Alex MORPH and RAM mix) – RAM
  2. 3rd Earth (Heatbeat Remix) – Solarstone vs Scott Bond
  3. Solarcoaster (Protoculture Remix) – Solarstone
  4. Running up the hill (jerome isma-ae bootleg) – Placebo
  5. Tears (Protoculture Remix) – Markus Schulz pres. Dakota
  6. Take me away, into the night (purple haze remix) – 4 Strings
  7. Humming The Lights (Full Version) – Armin van Buuren presents Gaia
  8. Connected (Craig Connelly Remix) – John B feat Kirsty Hawkshaw
  9. Love Never Came (W&W vs Armin van Buuren More Intense remix) – Armin van Buuren
  10. Diss! – Ferry Corsten
  11. UFO – Shogun
  12. Refused – Mark Sixma & Jerome Isma-Ae
  13. For the moment – Solid state
  14. Alliance (Original Mix) – Andy Tau Pulstate
  15. Heal – Electrique Boutique
  16. Sundown (Sneijder Remix) – Thomas Bronzwaer
  17. The Ultimate desination – ARDI
  18. Ecstasy – Eddie Makabi feat. Einat

Women Are Sexual Predators too

The apparently benevolent hangover of sexist attitudes does women no favours. If women are to own their own sexuality, they must also own their potential to be sexual predators with all that this implies.

From the Festival of Dangerous Ideas: Alissa Nutting’s Women Are Sexual Predators. Its a great talk and Alissa really outlines the appalling double standards. Within the talk there are parts which further my thoughts about why I’m a feminist. Equality extends both ways.Its a complex equality…

Got to say the festival of dangerous ideas looks really good, will have to look out for it this year.

Thoughts and ideas of a dyslexic designer/developer