Neurodiversity as a superpower?

I always loved the idea of the listening project and of course took part in it myself with the lovely Kate. The editors enjoyed the last part of conversation, which we still haven’t actually gone through with yet?

It was Kate who included me in this tweet about Leanne and Eloise talking about dyslexia as a superpower. Something I’m fully behind being dyslexic and living in a world of the neurotypical.

The Dyslexic advantage is quite something, along with the videos; in this regards. I remember Malcolm Gladwell getting a lot of attention for saying something similar in his book David and Goliath. Desirable difficulty, I believe were the words.

It’s slightly ironic, when reading about the sperm donation place which was turning away dyslexic men. I’ve also been thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of telling young children about their superpower. Can this be a good or bad thing? It’s really hard to say, especially because I don’t have kids, so have no skin (as such) in the game. But of course it doesn’t stop me from chipping in with something anyway.

I was talking with a colleague recently and we were talking about the joy of seeing neurodiverse people doing what comes naturally, instead of trying to fit in with the neurotypical view. For example, I write as I talk, this isn’t the way you write… lots of people tell me. So I tried to adopt this, but in the end gave up knowing it simply was not the way which works for me. I am obviously a lot happier because of this but I’m still waiting for the technology to catch up.

Street art in Manchester's Northern Quarter

The colleague is a very visual thinker and prefers to communicate in pictures. One of the many great things I seen is this person writing emails using gifs and very little text. Its sounds nuts but it works so well and I’ve started wondering why this doesn’t happen more often? I mean Emjoi’s are becoming more common place, I seen Gif usage increasing in spaces which support them like Instant messaging, Twitter, Slack, etc. I even have a task to install a few apps so I can create my own.

Media which expands human communication and curiosity?

Superpower or magic

How about that for a superpower?!

The allergic tales of two sweet homes

On July 20th, I went to Home Sweet Home in the Northern Quarter, it was a hot day and I was going to Madlab to play werewolf. I asked for some food to take away, as I was going across the road to play werewolf with others. Take away was fine but when I showed my allergy sheet, there was the usual shuffle from the server saying they needed to talk to the manager.

I stood there while the manager came over and she looked at my allergy sheet, taking it away to run past the chef. I explained trace was fine and I have eaten there many times including 3 weeks ago with no problems. The chef had advised that I have my chicken non-breaded as the fryer was used for fish, everything was great.

However this time around I was given back my sheet and told by the manager, they could not serve me anything on the menu. I questioned this with total disbelief, surely there is something I can eat on the menu, even a salad? No I was told, our policy has changed and we can serve anything to you. Changed in the last 3 weeks? She told me yes, and asked me to leave.

To be frank I was so upset and pissed off that I thought, I’m leaving and screw Home sweet home! They lost a customer and I only stopped short of tweeting about it because I knew there was a good chance on the July 22nd, I’ll be at the Home Sweet Home in the great northern. I wanted to see how the same company could justify its self, by hiding behind some piece of policy.

July 22nd came, I walked to Home Sweet Home in the great northern, met up with work colleagues. Ordered a cocktail and some food, showing them my allergy sheet. Server calls the manager, manager shows the chef the sheet. This time the manager comes back and recommends a few options with a couple changes. She recommends some kind of chicken salad and I said ok, not expecting much. What came out was incredible (wish I took a picture of it). It was chicken, salad, cheese, peppers and some other bits. It was positioned on the plate nicely and looked/tasted incredible. It was so obvious the chef had taken the creative challenge and jumped at it. It was amazing…

I later explained how I was turned away from Home Sweet Home in the Northern Quarter only 2 days earlier due to a policy change. The manager knew nothing about this policy change and apologised for the northern quarter restaurant. I made sure to give an extra large tip that evening, and told the manager and server to please tell the chef thank you very much for making a plain sounding salad, look and taste so great.

I do understand the stress someone with an allergy can bring to a restaurant but turning them away and refusing to even bother is just shocking, especially since the EU brought in strict guidelines (why are we leaving the EU?). It’s not like I had gone to a fish bar and expected to be served. Home sweet home is (their words) the home of the legendary cheeseburger toastie. I’ve eaten there many times and it just happens that it wasn’t long before too (under a month!)

My allergies are long but not so bad, there are many people far worst than myself. I tend to avoid vegetarian and vegan food because of the nuts, peas and beans. Heck if I can survive Japan with only one allergic reaction, home sweet home I can find something on the menu which I can eat! I’m very tempted to go back to the northern quarter one and see the reaction this time around!

Shame on the northern quarter for such a shocking response… Being turned away from eating is just bad news! Not even trying and almost being pushed out the door is just terrible!

Wellbeing is more important than checking your dating app

Woman looks at her phone wondering

I was reading no bad dates just good stories and read the point about Bumble.

Bumble is full of feminists?

And this is a problem why? Sweet Jesus, a dating app that puts women in the driving seat, whatever next? Quick guys, delete it – don’t let the vagina army overthrow your seat in power.

I liked the concept of Bumble, love to meet more female feminists being one myself and know there was a massive backlash from the manosphere (read with caution!). But it should be a dating site I’m regularly on.. but I’m not?

When I first signed up it was early and there was little people from around Manchester on it. Then suddenly there was a ton of supermodel type women showing up. Most men would have loved it. But something didn’t seem right, I couldn’t tell for sure but it felt like quite a lot might be fake (from previous experiences and what I’ve read, it certainly seemed possible)?

Fake profiles is a quick way to keep people on the site and interested, or keep them using the app?

Fake match profiles

That was off-putting but then they changed the terms so if a woman messaged a man, had 24 hours to reply. Encouraging/forcing you to look everyday at least. This for me is not the habit I can not see a positive outcome from. I understand some of the reasoning but it feels unsustainable, at least to my mind? I check my dating profile only once or twice a month (to be fair this is very low), unless I’m chatting with a woman or planning a date of course. I have to question the benefit to the people using Bumble vs their ability to tell investers they have a large number of uniques per day?

I have to say checking your dating app everyday can not be good for your wellbeing; be it bumble, okcupid, tinder, grindr, hinge, pof, etc. It leads to cognitive burnout, which is something a lot of regular daters talk about in different terms. This is why the idea of a online dating break is a real thing.

Cognitive burn-out

Regardless, I’m willing to give it another try, but frankly if it’s not a big improvement I’m not going back; another good idea executed badly in faviour of business? Maybe its time for total distruption as mentioned previously?

Using Google translate on a date?

Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong

Yakkapp or rather Martin tweed me a link to someone’s first date which involved a language translator app.

Blind date in Korea, spoke no English. We only talked w/ translator apps. Something he wrote translated to, “I drink pain.” #WorstFirstDate

I dont know the ins and out of the date or the setup, but Lindsey Nothstine’s tweet got me thinking about my experiences of Google translate in Tokyo and would that work in a dating scenario? Skype’s translation feature is pretty epic but certainly breaks the flow of conversations.

It might not be perfect but like I said about Google translate perviously. It opens up the world to you like the man (trainer) I was talking to in the maid cafe. There was no way he could wonder up mount Fuji looking for Pokemon’s scenes (how ironic following Pokemon go’s launch) alone without being able to speak or understand Japanese.

If Google translate can help you to go new places, meet new people or even date them; it can’t be that bad surely…?

File this under pushing your boundaries…?

Update…

Forgot to add that in the movie Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong (which is pretty much Lost in Translation for Hong Kong and well worth watching – Cheers to Nico for the recommendation).

There is a scene when they discuss meeting people in other countries and using Google translate to communicate. They also talk about going on a first date with 3 spaces, two for the couple and one for the translater.

This is what disruption of online dating looks like?

202. Girl
Be on the lookout, distruption could be around the corner

Elisa of queekd.com recently challenging me about my thoughts on online dating, especially after watching my TedXManchester talk about the same subject.
I concluded that the dating industry needed a serious kick up the backside and the only way this is going to happen is if you change the model. I then mentioned what P2P protocols did to media sharing. Instead of centralisation, you can have a more decentralised and even a distributed approach to online dating.

Easily said, but what do I mean?

I was trying to find examples of what I meant but it’s very difficult googling for them as they get lost in a sea of other stuff, some of it very weird.

There was a period when a whole bunch of sites with domain names like…

youshoulddatejo.com, smartandhandsomeian.com and samwantstodateyou.com etc… (not real sites of course) Were the rage for a short while, they would pop up now and then. These people without knowing it could have changed the dating field. They all seemed to contain similar elements and it wouldn’t take long for someone or myself to modify microformat hresume into a hDating microformat (I’m not going to talk about Microdata or RDF/A as its outside the scope of this post, but yes to both). semantically rich data published on the web as way to bring a distribution model to online dating.

Steven Pemberton @ TWAB2010
Why you should have a website

I am always reminded of Steven Pemberton‘s XTech 2008 talk, Why you should have a Web Site.

The nice man from the BBC filmed it and put it online. “Provocative and contentious” said one reviewer, who later said “I should never have doubted Steven Pemberton” and “Steven Pemberton was right”. Another said “The crowd completely disagreed. In hindsight he could not have been more correct.” and “grows more relevant with each passing year”. Text of the talk here.

Steven was talking about the advantages of machine-readable Web Pages and his point knocks right at door of the walled gardens of the social networks. Swap social networks of facebook, instagram, etc for Match.com, EHarmony, OkCupid, etc’s walled gardens… and you got the same problem and same solutions?

Online dating has taken all its bad habits from social networks and to be fair most of the social networks have learned from online dating in the same way. I once talked about dataportability in online dating and to be fair everybody laughed.

But imagine if profiles were part of the public internet? When I mean public, I mean not hidden away behind a walled garden (hidden/private web). Because really what are you paying for, if you are paying at all?

I can hear you panic or even laugh… Here’s questions which might be crossing your mind

Friend of a Friend project (FOAF)
Think FoaF for dating
  • I don’t want my profile to be public!
    This is fine, I understand some rather not be so open about their status. It doesn’t have to be connected with the rest of your online profiles by the way (this is down to you)
    It doesn’t necessarily need your name or even a public photo of you (there are many ways to verify someone without such information, think about what PGP, GPGP Escrow services, Ebay, Airbnb, etc do). Also like FoaF you can even hash or encrypt parts to avoid spam, catfishers, stalkers, etc. Maybe hide parts of your dating identity till its required. Theres endless possibilities, which I haven’t even explored.
  • How do I message or email someone, and what happens if things go south?
    South meaning, things start breaking up or you want to stop them messaging you. This is a partly solved problem. There no need to have you’re real email address. Services can step in and provide emails or instant messaging solutions which expire or forward on transparency. It could also be done with a standard protocol and encrypted for further privacy. Off the Record already does this, for goodness sake lets not build new protocols (badly or jokey) to do already solved stuff! (Yes this is what most dating sites are doing now)
  • How do I trust what I am seeing or reading?
    The same is true of most dating sites now, how do you know the picture isn’t a catfish, they really are the body shape they say or show? How do you know the picture isn’t 10 years ago? All the dating site/service is really offering you is access to single people (not that is always true of course)
    This is where the idea of a blockchain for online dating could come in quite useful, to verify with reputation, but if you don’t trust the technology. You can opt for something else… or even build your own! You only have to look at the people who have hacked OkCupid (Amy Webb and Chris McKinlay’s). Imagine what they could do if not restricted to the wall garden and the systems they could write for the rest of us.
  • But its easier to pay the money and sit safely within the closed garden?
    Safely…? Total illusions. But yes its easier, but you are limited by how much you are willing to pay. The open way you can have access to many more profiles, better ways to filter them and theoretically better solutions which you can share with friends.
    This way also puts more emphasis on you to do work, but I can imagine systems and services like wordpress, medium, squarespace, etc doing the heavy lifting for you.
  • How would I search?
    You don’t think some startup will jump into this arena? If not one of the big search giants?! The beauty is if you feel one is better than the other, you can easily switch. No rubbish claims, which can’t be verified. Just imagine when gocompare/money supermarket get involved to show you the best sites to find what you seek. Or imagine crowd sourcing this all.
  • But dating site x’s algorithm is great
    Don’t worry there will be multiple services jumping over each other for your money, data or other things to prove they are the one you should use. Some will be highly manual, some will be heavily automated. Currently there is no urgency to fix, innovate or try something different. Its not all bad news for dating services, they can run their magic algorithms on the public data set.
  • But my dating service offers X, Y and Z.
    Thats nice but have you thought how effective X, Y and Z actually are? Are they a distraction or actually making dating life better? Regardless… there is the perfect opportunity to have a ecosystems of services blossom and offer unique services on top of the open, machine readable profile network.
Future of Fabrication
Distributed models are sustainable?

Think about the way search engines innovated on the structured data and offered better matches as a result. The important part is, if you don’t like what a certain service is doing  or how they treat you, you can just move elsewhere without the fear of loosing access to that person still.

Interestingly OkCupid allows you to make your profile public (very few do), so you could see it without logging in. For example, https://www2.okcupid.com/profile/beach-s?cf=regular. I have considered making my profile public before but theres not quite enough benefit to me currently. OkCupid use it as a marketing tool and there’s little you can do once you view it. Its clear OkCupid was setup to break some of the legacy behind online dating but when they sold to the Match group, that drive to change things changed focus.

Me with Canvas
Ownership?

What I’m suggesting is similar but on your terms. There are other advantages such as having access to the biggest market of daters, personalised choice, better tools than one dating site can/want to create, bespoke advice and guidance from people who really give crap. This could issue in a new era in the art of match making!

But it doesn’t stop there, oh I’ve just scratched the surface. I feel a lot of the endemic corruption in online dating is due the centralised model.

Imagine if you could aggregate that profile into the legacy dating services. Almost a IFTTT recipe or Atomkeep? to update parts of your legacy profile on a schedule or manual push.

You could allow tinder to use one photo, OkCupid to upload 4-6 photos and a deeper description, Match.com only my photos marked professional and the deeper description.

What I’m talking about is Vender relationship management applied directly on to online dating, putting the users in control.

All is possible if you rethink the current setup. unfortunately the controlling companies (MATCH group currently own 27% plus of the online dating market and they own, OkCupid, POF, Tinder and many more) have zero interest in changing much. On top of that daters seem quite lazy and less interested in working for dates?

As you can imagine, there isn’t much in this area but I did find fermat. Its a p2p matching platform. I have yet to really look and see if its doing things how I would imagine

Manchester’s first Cocktail Festival

cocktail hour

For seven days in August, Manchester is throwing its first ever cocktail festival.

Now, we’re a city who enjoys a good slurp on a classic concoction, but even we didn’t see a dedicated festival committed to this refined drinking trend coming.

From August 8-14, Manchester Loves Cocktails (yes, yes it does) will bring together more than 20 fine drinking establishments from right across the city for a full week of unique cocktails and more than 40 special booze-themed events.

Why? Because as the founder of Manchester Loves Cocktails Nick Fox says: “The standard of cocktails in Manchester are now on par with top bars of London and New York.” That’s why.

Best of all is the cocktail price tag – each one setting you back a handsome £4.50 with your festival wristband.

Some questions…

Whats taken so long, where do I sign up and whos with me?

12th Aug, the date we’ve been waiting for…

I asked the question if anyone would want to see me date? But it was related to First Dates, now you get to see more than you expected… The undressed date some of you have been waiting for is… Friday 12th August. I got the email telling me it will be shown, and I will receive a DVD in the post after TX (transmission), which I was surprised about.

I still have not seen a whole episode from the start to the finish uninterrupted. The press coverage has been interestingly negative but it still seems to hold a reasonable user rating in places. Had hoped to have a few friends around for a live showing, but it’s not going to happen at least till the DVD gets sent out or my friends work out how to copy from their Sky+ boxes. Undressed is also now on TVDB and themoviedb.

Unreal TV show

I may have a surprise in store along with the blog I wrote on the train back up to Manchester. It’s all very fitting as I watch season 2 of unreal (undressed/unreal, similar right?) and been thinking more about the manipulation in reality TV. Most people are very surprised when I tell them, it was all shot in one go with no interruptions except the screen asking questions and prompting what to do next.

Pokemon goes dating

Pokedate

It had to happened… dating service which takes advantage of a new craze? Of course!

A new dating service called Pokédates has been created to help “Pokémon Go” players find love while catching Pokémon.

The launch of the service comes after the wildly successful release of augmented reality mobile game Pokémon Go, which has gripped millions of people around the world.

Pokédates aims to get single Pokémon Go players to meet up at a prearranged “PokéStop or “PokéGym” before exploring their city for Pikachus, Squirtles, and the elusive Mewtwo.

This fits the frame of, there is a dating site for everything (and I mean everything!). For example, after Brexit came Better together dating which was profiled nicely in the Atlantic.  Heck theres even a trump dating site!

Snowden & Bunnie against the law

Quite a few people shared with me Forbidden Research
at MIT Media Lab. It going to be streamed live, which I hope to be tuned into. Its got Edward Snowdon and Bunnie (yes the orginal xbox hacker!)

In a world where seemingly anything is possible, there are still lines of inquiry and research that—for a host of reasons—remain forbidden. Exploring restricted scientific and cultural topics in the face of social and moral constraints requires a willingness to buck the rules; to disobey them conscientiously. You don’t win a Nobel prize by doing what you’re told, but there is a fuzzy line—sometimes obvious only in retrospect—between disobedience that helps society and disobedience that doesn’t.

Sexoration is now in the Urban Dictionary

test 2

I defined sexoration in the urban dictionary a while ago.

Sexoration

A type of dating scam which involves exchanging pictures and videos with a target. Then blackmailing them later in return for money or some other type of currency.
Works directly with Catfish, as the shared pictures are usually ripped from elsewhere. Also similar to Ransomware in impact. She contacted out the blue, it felt like it was for sexoration

I used it in my TEDxTalk: Dating against humanity

Is this a made up thing?

Although the video above isn’t strictly sexortation, you can see how blackmail crossed with catfishing can lead to a dangerious place. Its a very real thing, you only have look at the Skype support site. Its super destructive and one bad mistake can cause the endless worry and pain. I simply gave it a name which made sense from what I heard and seenUrban dictionary agreed.

Undressed first watch

Its taken ages for me to finally watch part of TLC’s undressed, mainly because I don’t own Sky, Cable or BT. I cut the cord on subscription TV over 15 years ago. Since then I have been seeking other ways to view it, I would have imagined it would be online somewhere but it doesn’t seem to be the case (I won’t say anything more about how I watched it, but  hyperfast broadband and friends helps)

I didn’t see it from the start to the end, but I saw enough to learn its a lot shorter than I first thought it would be. There didn’t seem to be a lot of the build up you get with Channel 4’s First Dates which is a shame because I imagine it will suffer because of this. Its too easy to point the finger and shout nonsence or garbage when its cut a certain way.

sub-buzz-19087-1468580009-3

Interestingly the Buzzfeed piece made me laugh just like the Vice piece which I commented on previously.

Thats about all I can say for now, sure once I watch the whole thing. I’ll comment in full.

Pokemon Go: Return of the ARG?

Looking out my window watching small groups of people playing Pokemon Go and listening to yet another podcast talking about it. I started thinking does the mainstream success of Pokemon Go, indicate it would be time for alternative reality gaming (ARG) to make a come back?

I mean there’s been a whole ton of successful ARGs in the past and the dynamics got watered/broken down into transmedia (which isn’t meant in disrespect, but a must read from Dan Hon); but they are quite different beasts (pun intended). Looking back at previous ARGs they didn’t take advantage of mobile. Mobile data was expensive and was quite unreliable back in the early days. This is before you even look at many of the other things mobile can give you.

Of course there’s a lot of debate if Pokemon Go is augmented realty or location based gaming. The later would put it in the same ball park of Google’s Ingress and many others. But does it matter? There will always be privacy concerns (here’s a fix for those early adopters) and those who seek to take advantage for their own gain; but it’s certainly getting people out and about, for now at least.

If I was to design a ARG say for example We Dream The City (swear I wrote about it somewhere, but maybe I haven’t yet? findery.com is close);  I would be using the phone and building in functionality which brings groups together into little adhoc clouds like Firechat. Pokemon go shows there is appetite for these types of games and the technology can scale to this extent. Now’s a good time to build these systems and hopefully think about what useful things we could do for local community and society, not just collecting virtual goods?

The full’on classic trance set

I recorded this mix a while ago, on my travels. I decided to do it after Si Lumb recommended listening to Gareth Emery’s classic set from Gods Kitchen. Myself and Si had a chat about the tunes he used and Si pointed me to listen to his own classic mix sound  of cloudbreak.

Both were good but I couldn’t help but feel there was plenty of tunes missing from the mixes. So I present another pacemaker mix first of two mixes using just classic trance tunes.

Photo credit comes from lneprz.

Enjoy the retro tunes and don’t forget, sharing is caring!

  1. Vision Control – Marino Stephano
  2. Love Stimulation (Pvd Love Club mix) – Humate
  3. Gamemaster (Matt Darey 1999 Remix) – Matt Darey Presents Lost Tribe
  4. Seven Cities (V-One’s Living Cities Remix) – Solarstone
  5. 1999 (Gouryella mix) – Binary Finary
  6. I’m in Love – Star Party
  7. Pearl River (vocal mix) – Johney Shaker
  8. I can’t help myself – Lucid
  9. Redemption (Max Graham mix) – Conjure one
  10. Please Save me (Push remix) – Sunscream vs Push
  11. Airwave – Rank 1
  12. L’esperanza (Armin van buuren Mix) – Airscape
  13. Sunrise – Here I am (Ratty mix) – Tenshi
  14. Cafe Del Mar (Three n one remix) – Energy 52
  15. Out of the Blue – System F
  16. Avenue – Paul van dyk
  17. The Legacy (Club mix) – Push

Vice rips the clothes off undressed

Undressed UK

A certain person (rather not say at the moment) sent me a link to the vice piece about undressed… of course its going to be so snarky but also funny, so I had a read. Here’s some highlights…

Surprisingly it is not. Undressed feels like an odd peek 20 or 30 years into a dystopian future, when couples are picked via a database of their likes, dislikes, genetic inclination and blood, marched by armoured police into designated romance rooms, and instructed to kiss and undress. Congress and children follow. The state has abolished the concept of natural love. Big Brother is watching you. Big Brother is watching you fuck.

Ok yes I can see a Black Mirror episode with these as one of the storylines. You only have to fast forward whats happening in Tokyo with the local government paying bars to put on dating nights.

…watch First Dates and all the girls who have come down to Manchester for it are thrown by the idea of eating a meal with another human being. Is this 2016, now? Is it so savage out there that girls can’t even get a date? Do we communicate exclusively through dick- and tit-pics, now, never having to meet? Has technology thrown us so low?

They are litteraly writing the Black Mirror episode.

Watch enough reality TV and you will see that the motivation people have for going on it splits neatly into three:

  • They are an idiot;
  • They want to be famous;
  • They have a weird mental blockade caused by some damage in their past, emotional or physical or otherwise, and they need – deeply need – to work this through by going on television, somehow television is the only thing that can cure them, they need to hold their nose and dive into the icebath of TV, and like Jesus it will cure them;

I had a good laugh at this one…

My motovation didn’t fit into any of these 3. I am curious and as you will read in my blog post once I can post it, and to be reading previous ones. I kind of pushed myself into it as it would be a interesting experiment.

Some could/would say mybrushwithdeath might have something to do with it and sure I would agree. However I don’t have a weird mental blockade and certainly don’t want it cured on TV (not that I believe it anyway). Regular readers know how much I hate TV culture.

Theres a lot more I want to say but I can’t right now…

Viewers might find this disturbing

Manchester Ferguson protest

The last 2 weeks have been difficult to take. Theres been too much I have wanted to say and so much I have wanted to do. I have been thinking and deeply worried we have taken a few steps backwards in evolution.

For me two videos have summed up so much, and I do worry they exist in spaces like Facebook.

Video one is the shooting of Philando Castile, a black man in St Paul, Minnesota. #Blacklivesmatter but you can clearly see this isn’t the case, in a city I have visited and actually enjoyed in the past.

The second video comes in the days after the EU Referendum or Brexit. It shows a racist tram abuse at 8am in the morning in Manchester.

Each person who filmed the killing and abusive attack, showed incredible bravery to stand up and put a camera in the face of such situations. If you are old enough to remember the Rodney King beating, its important to remember George Holliday who filmed the beating.