Dating, lies and algorithms the primeconf talk

The short talk I did for Primeconf is now live like most of the talks on the site. I blogged about the conference here already but its funny looking at the talk from a audience point of view. Not only because there is a 3min section which is dropped in to cover some technical problem, but also because I now notice the lack of smooth transitions between sections. Putting in the books as reference was somewhat missed too, which is a shame.

I didn’t know I was running over, as the mac timer said 6:50 mins when I finished. I certainly wouldn’t have elaborated on certain areas if I knew the time. Its always best to have a countdown clock somewhere very visible for speakers. Must remember to never trust a mac with keynote…¿

So as a whole and based on the fact it is a subset of a much deeper talk. Its not bad. It would be good to explore in more detail some of the sections and bring in some of the video evidence I have. But alas that’s for another day maybe…

Thanks again to Thayer and the prime team for the invite, the amazing venue and recording the talk. The other talks are well worth watching.

No compelling evidence online dating algorithms work

Shoreditch dating backlash?

Herb highlighted this on Facebook the other day. It seems to be some shoreditch protest against online dating. I couldn’t find anything else about it, so it might all be a flash in a very small pan but they have good reason to protest.

I quoted in my Primeconf Best of British talk

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

This fact has not been lost on many others. I’m not saying online dating isn’t a bad way to meet someone (heck I still use it) however the chances are about the same as meeting someone on any of the other social networks, chatrooms, forums, etc

Online dating simply connects people, but so does Facebook, twitter, Google+, etc, etc… and they are free to use (yes they use and sell our data but at least they don’t do that and charge us for the privilege!)

The compelling part reminds me of what Derren Brown was talking about at the infamous show.

Extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence…

Herb Kim found out where the pictures come from…
It was a protest against ‘Online Dating’ by @rendeevoo – an app that encourages you to ‘Date Offline’ with one click.
As I thought it was a publicly stunt by another dating company trying to convince people to use their service not the rest… Pretty lame, especially because it didn’t make any news and I couldn’t find out who did it… Poor!

The Infamous Derren Brown

Charing Cross Road

Had the joy of going to Derren Brown’s last night at the Salford Lowry theatre with Herb Kim.

Derren asked that the details of the infamous show are kept secret, and I’m happy to keep those details quiet. However, I want to say theres a few other things we learned in the show, which intrigued me.

Its good to be geek
Although Derren didn’t go as far as to say this. He made it clear how much of a pain growing up was for him. He was bullied for being smart and clever. But it was great to hear him point out that his experience made him the person he is today and that all those popular kids end up having a boring adult life due to the lack of having to face adversity in their younger life. Of course Derren is also gay, and that caused a whole ton of additional issues in his teenage years.

Extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence
One of the things I always loved about Derren Brown was his smart observations about science and psychology. He has always been interested in psychic readings, homoeopathy, etc and shown how much of a con they really are. This time, he took things further by showing a number of the audience more than usual, while talking about the need for extraordinary evidence. It reminded me of a great film I saw ages ago Red lights.

Psychologist Margaret Matheson and her assistant study paranormal activity, which leads them to investigate a world-renowned psychic who has resurfaced years after his toughest critic mysteriously passed away.

If you get a chance to go see Derren Brown live, GO! Its a great show and baffling how even when he reveals how its done, he can do it. Feel privileged going on stage and seeing somethings from a different perspective.

Secret of luck and getting over the fear of rejection

The videos from TedXManchester3 seem to all be up now. I wrote about the event already. Which reminds me of the excellent Motivate, Learn, Do by the wonderful Carrie Green.

We at some point afterwards had a coffee and a long chat about the event and talked about each others background.

During the conversation I mentioned Derren Brown’s Secret of Luck and my thoughts on the fear of rejection. I also talked about dealing with my fear of needles with hypnotherapy (Belonephobia).

But the biggest thing was my own TedxManchester talkThe Story of Me.” Ever since my brush with death, I have not let things stand in my way. I just go for it or make things happen. People are paralyzed by their fear of what might happen, that they won’t reach out and grab whats in front of them. And thats pretty much what I did.

There were about 900 people in the venue and not a single person put their hand up. As soon as she said, I was there to help. Carrie couldn’t see me at first, so I had to run to the front and wave right in front of her. When she finally saw me, getting on to the stage was a small nightmare. The stage is made to keep people off not for me to climb on to, so with a chair and a lot of upper body strength I was able to climb up. Walk across the stage and say my name and collect £20.

Opportunity met and now £20 better off because of my push and drive to do things, others reject.

How can you still be single?!

Killer Prom Date - Dig The Grave Black & White

I opened OKCupid to find a message which brought a smile and with some time a puzzled look to my face. The message was…

I’ve lurked your profile on and off since we spoke. How can you still be single?! :)

The lady in question is lovely but the distance is too far and shes quite young. Whats the rule again? (Half your age and add 7?) Ok if I go by that rule it wouldn’t be so bad, but I generally go for slightly older it has to be said. But she’s quite mature, going by the things in her profile.

But as I said, I had a puzzled look after a while.

I answered her message with…

Honestly… I think my modern attitude and values seems to cause conflict with women my age. I tend to go for older women but they also tend to be in relationships or have old school views. Distance tends to be a problem and for some reason I end up falling for the same type each time…

Keep lurking…

I thought about it quite a bit since and even had a discussion with my sister.

First thing, I’m not one of those guys who believes I should be in a relationship. This isn’t a goddamm right of being born. Secondly I know the lady in question meant it as a honest question rather than a slap in the face.

So why am I single?

Some suggest I may actually like dating (well I do enjoy meeting new people). Others say I just haven’t found the one (yeah right, I don’t believe in the one) others think I might be a secret playa and even a womanizer! (cheers sister) Of course I totally disagree (although I can see the haters, laughing this one up). Another friend in Manchester thinks I’m making everything up and I’m actually not going on dates. MancNewgirl recently said I was a ex by ex… “Dating Expert by Experience”  something she came up with on the spot. I certainly liked that, and fits nicely with my unofficial tag line of the wikipedia of online dating.  Wikipedia because my advice is made up of lots of experiences and trust me its not made up. Sheila promised a book to me which explains exactly why I’m single (but even after 4 years) I still have not seen this mystery book? (I don’t even know the title of it). Some say its the clothes I wear, I have already had a offer to take me shopping for new clothes in a Queer eye for the straight guy remake. Although I agree, sometimes I should get the clothes out the washer/dryer a little quicker or do a tiny bit of  ironing (which I bloody hate).

All interesting but brings me no nearer to understanding why I’m single. I mean who wouldn’t want to go out with a modern geeky gentleman who has modern views and is a feminist? I get I’m not exactly in shape and have a face which is better for radio. But I’m confident, funny, smart, tall, dark and handsome?

My sister also suggested my comfort with female kind might be putting other women off? I can’t understand why, and to be honest if a potential women is put off because I have quite a few friends who are female. Then that’s simply crazy and I’m not going to give up being friends with women because of her insecurities. The fact I might have dated a few of them might be some area for concern but within the first hour of chatting with me, it should be clear there is never going to be anything questionable

This whole thing reminds me of a Single Black Male post I saw a while ago. Am I a picky or patient dater? Maybe I am too picky and settling isn’t such a bad thing? This also seems consistent with my recent lack of speed dating dates. The ones I’m interested in, don’t seem to be interested in me? Don’t even get me started on my very bad tinder activity. But at least the online dating side isn’t going so bad.

The idea of settling does bug me and give me much to think about. On the whole, I feel too young to settle (don’t ask me what age this changes as I have no idea). However everything I read seems to indicate this isn’t necessarily the case, for example this is something I read while putting together slides for Dating, Lies and Algorithms recently.

“The future will see better relationships but more divorce,” predicts Dan Winchester, the founder of a free dating site based in the U.K. “The older you get as a man, the more experienced you get. You know what to do with women, how to treat them and talk to them. Add to that the effect of online dating.” He continued, “I often wonder whether matching you up with great people is getting so efficient, and the process so enjoyable, that marriage will become obsolete.”

Why settle at all? Now some of you may say “Well this is typical of your generations lazy self-centered and selfish attitude. In my day, we had kids by the age of 22” And it would be hard (but certainly not impossible) to debate against the first part of the statement. But bear in mind I was married at the age of 23! Its not like I wasn’t open to everything.

There seems to be a connection between education (will find the reference later) and the amount of kids you may want/have… Now you could take the statement above and say well I’m being selfish but I disagree, my parents (I’m sure many others did the same) encouraged their kids to pursue their dreams by getting a decent education and making something of themselves. That push to better thy self, leads to finding a partner who is equally ambitious?

Why would you settle for less?

Amateurs not killed the professionals, Andrew!

Andrew Keen Interviews

I was in the bar after Primeconf with Chris Dymond and Hwayoung.  Discussing something and somehow me and Chris mentioned Andrew Keen. If you don’t know Andrew Keen, he’s basically the man who’s been shouting about how the professional sector is going to be swallowed alive by the amateur sector. From Wikipedia…

He is particularly known for his view that the current Internet culture and the Web 2.0 trend may be debasing culture

Well 8 years later, his book The cult of the amateur seems as silly as it then. In actual fact we were discussing how the amateurs have moved across to pro-amateurs. An example is blogging! The number of blogs like mine has certainly dropped and most are now “professional.”

Not kept up with what Andrew’s point is now but frankly he was wrong then and I called him out at multiple events for this view. I have also called out a few people for a similar and embarrassing point of view (no names, but they know who and should know better!)

2 conferences in 1 week (Sheffield Doc Fest & Primeconf)

This week just passed and I got to say it wasn’t half as bad as it seemed on paper or at least my calendar.

Sheffield documentary festival

Variable Documentary preview

I headed across to Sheffield on Sunday to give a talk with Tony Churnside at the Sheffield international documentary festival about Perceptive Media. It very went well and I kind of wished I stayed over so I could keep some of the conversations going and there was plenty else going on which I wanted to check out.

The festival seems to take over the whole city and the weather was great on the Sunday and Wednesday. Wednesday I didn’t talk but rather supported some collages who showed an early preview of the variable length documentary.

Next year I hope we will have a lot more to show, and next year I hope to spend more time at the rest of the festival.

Best of British / Primeconf

Primeconf: Best of British

This conference which started out on kickstarter and became a real conference arranged by long time friend Thayer Prime. It was a bit of a crazy idea but the result was something worthwhile and maybe the start of something new and interesting.

The speakers were as you can imagine by the title, British speakers.

It really was something special, and it was a joy to be a small part of the whole event.

I gave a shorter version of the dating, lies and algorithms talk I have been wanting to give. So look out it may be back sooner or later as a more involved talk. It went down well although I certainly did take out all the personal stuff and non PG-13 stuff to fit with the code of conduct. Something which sadly later in the day seemed to have got forgotten, with swearing and a questionable slide.

Regardless, I learned a number of things including Priya is behind changify.org  (something which we tried to do ages ago in the form of wedreamthecity) and could be helpful with gentrification and communities. Some other stand out presentations include Pete Duncanson, Chris Thorpe, Herb Kim, Dr Tom Crick, Amy Mather and a special mention of Mazz Mosley’s super low budget style of presentation. Love it! Good to finally meet her too.

Is Thayer going to do it again? I certainly think she should… I’m actually thinking Herb and Thayer could create something which is special? The venue was great (Royal Institution, yes the one they do the Royal Christmas lectures from!) and a good turn out.

Both events were well worth effort of attending and speaking at… For such a packed week going to London twice and Sheffield twice, I actually feel ok. Just a shame my treat of going to Thorpe Park wasn’t anything like when going in March/April.

Patent reform starts with bold pioneers

Tesla Visit 2

You got to hand it to Elon Musk CEO of Tesla motors. He just opened up the patents they had on the electric car for anyone to use.

When I started out with my first company, Zip2, I thought patents were a good thing and worked hard to obtain them. And maybe they were good long ago, but too often these days they serve merely to stifle progress, entrench the positions of giant corporations and enrich those in the legal profession, rather than the actual inventors. After Zip2, when I realized that receiving a patent really just meant that you bought a lottery ticket to a lawsuit, I avoided them whenever possible.

So it sounds pretty interesting so far… Specially the stifle progress part.

Given that annual new vehicle production is approaching 100 million per year and the global fleet is approximately 2 billion cars, it is impossible for Tesla to build electric cars fast enough to address the carbon crisis. By the same token, it means the market is enormous. Our true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world’s factories every day.

We believe that Tesla, other companies making electric cars, and the world would all benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform.

This is pretty incredible and its amazing to see and hear, bold and  altruistic sound decisions like this from the very top.

Google along while ago talked about Patent reform but then they bought Motorola’s mobile patents and we heard nothing more till very recently.

Maybe one day we’ll see many more bold moves like Tesla’s?

America and the beautful game?

Canada vs Team USA Woman's Semi-Finals in Football

What is it with the United States of America and the “beautiful” game of Football?

I like many others always wondered why American’s just don’t get football. Interestingly on the eve of the World Cup, those freakonomics guys explores the issue with some substantial depth and some things I never really considered… Well worth a listen.

With the 2014 World Cup getting underway in Brazil, we’ve just released an episode called “Why America Doesn’t Love Soccer (Yet).”

A variety of TV networks now broadcast European club matches all year long. MLS, or Major League Soccer — the U.S. and Canadian professional league – continues to grow. Next year it will add a twentieth team,NYC-FC, or New York City Football Club, which is co-owned by the New York Yankees and Manchester City,which has won England’s Premier League two of the last three seasons.David Beckham, the sport’s biggest star of the past few generations, is trying to start another MLS team, in Miami.And indeed, if you take a look at a magazine rack this week, it’s hard to find a magazine without the World Cup on its cover. Every four years, we hear the same mantra: this time, soccer will really take root in the U.S., the way it’s taken root elsewhere in the world. But let’s be honest. It probably won’t. Many of the people who are most fanatical about the sport in the U.S. have some kind of ties to Europe or South America or Africa.

My own experience also has me puzzled.

When I first met Sarah, I went to the states in 2002 and besides the mild culture shock. The lack of news about Football was shocking. You got a major world wide event and there was little to no mainstream coverage! Heck the funny thing was, America actually made it to the quarter finals that world cup. But no one in America seemed to be aware or cared. I think I actually found out more about the American team in Wired magazine at the time.

Also during the London 2012 Olympics, there was very little interest. I think the female football may have gotten more support than the male one? Of course they then went on and won the female football competition… Will Football one day make up America’s top 5 sports? Maybe but its going to be a long while before I can see that happening. Which seem a bit of a shame…

The BBC a long while ago did some research into people and tv sport. There were a few different groups, and the group I recognized myself in was the ones who get caught up in big sporting events like the worldcup and olympics. I feel the universality of it really unites and ignites something in most people around the world. Even those who don’t normally follow sports.

Solomon DUBNER: Well, it definitely unites the whole world because it’s in some ways it’s a universal language. Almost everywhere in the world plays and follows football, in every country pretty much. And it just unites everyone somehow, it’s kind of crazy.

Making your playlists really tangible

Tangible Playlist machine

Today my Desert.FM playlist went live to the front of the site.

Wrote about Desert.FM a while ago and also talked about the CX Tangible playlist machine/project with Lancaster University.

I connected the two of them in my mind, but it wasn’t till I saw the link to the spotify playlist. Thats when it really hit me, I could easily/will be creating a physical playlist for my desert.fm playlist. Then when its done, I’ll customise the playlist band to reflect my  music choice (unlike this).

Tangible Playlist machine

The tangible machine we built supports BBC iplayer, Spotify and YouTube. (BBC Redux and others were considered and may make it in to any updates). I noticed there is a slight difference in the Spotify version and my whole list but as I imagined Spotify hasn’t got everything. However Youtube can nicely fill in the rest, just as the guys on Desert.FM have done. For example Time to get ill by 4 Hero, which doesn’t seem to be on Spotify?

I can see a unique little collaboration coming from this, how great would that be? Imagine it, you create your list on desert.fm, it prints a nice band out for you and creates adds NFC tags to it. You then get it in the mail. Or even better you create it for someone else, you design the band and they send it out to a contact. Just need a nice way to mass produce the machines :)

Tangible Playlist machine

I can’t wait to explore video playlists and share some of the great ideas we’ve been thinking about.

Keynotes from QSEU14

I mentioned the keynote speakers in my blog post about the Quantified Self Europe 2014 review. The videos are now available with transcripts on the QS site.

The Weight of Things Lost by Kaiton Williams

_RAJ2158

How do we incorporate the perspectives of the many who can’t participate here, are overlooked and marginalized, but whose lives will eventually be affected by practices that spiral out from ours?

Such a great quote and excellent to hear Kaiton talk about this in detail.

Quantified Self Europe 2014

Leaning Into Grief, by Dana Greenfield

Wondering how to hold tight to her memory, I would spend time in her basement office, meditating over her huge collection of books, files, multiple white boards and notebooks and calendars, awards, and gifts from patients. I thought–there must be a way to capture it all. she had already left such a profound footprint in the world—between her websites and students and patients. How could we make it last a bit longer?

Even yesterday at the Quantified Self Manchester meetup, there was some discussion about how uncomfortable Dana’s talk was to watch due to the subject matter.

I thought it was incredible and very telling that even now it divides people.

25 Things #OnlyinManchester says Buzzfeed

I don’t really look at Buzzfeed because frankly its, well. pretty bad… Anyway Sarah Moran sent me a tweet to say I was on Buzzfeed…

Ian, you’re on Buzzfeed!

Really? I thought? thinking spam, but then I had come across Sarah’s tweets before. So I checked it out, expecting to be mentioned down the page. I wasn’t expecting to be at number one!

“Oh Manchester, so much to answer for,” especially judging by the #onlyinmanchester hashtag.

A pie butty from @leosfishbar WTF! #onlyinmanchester http://t.co/emUZBvsU

I said it then and I’ll say it again… WTF! Seriously… This is insane, just like chips and gravy! *lights the flamebait/fuse and runs away!*

Gatecrashing a party with confidence

Tim Dobson is on a roll recently, another recommendation sparks a quick blog post.

Not sure what the programme is but its fascinating to see the gatecrasher techniques being used on camera. This also plays on the ability for most people not wanting to see conflict. If you can push through the imposer syndrome somethingwhich was talked about at the recent BraCamp by Technancy. Gain some confidence I can certainly see it working.

The lack of conflict can lead to situations like compliance (which is a true story), I wonder how much further he could have gone with the gatecrash? Maybe order more drink, order more food, leave without paying? Who knows? Dare I say, its worth looking at The Psychology of Being Scammed.

Ok! The dark side left alone, this reminds me of the fun challenges Celeb and 40days does. I saw him at TedXManchester3 and thoughts about pushing yourself outside your comfort zone was fascinating.

Tim asked if I could do this?

I would give it a go, but to be fair I can’t imagine i’d get far because I don’t quite have the tolerance for ignoring things. The lady not buying anything would have me walking away, heck I would have bailed and said “oh my goodness wrong table, sorry guys…” with a cheeky grin of course… Although I have gatecrashed parties and leaving do’s before.

Interestingly Alan told me at BraCamp, the timeline of how the BBC CodeClub hoax got going and how Raspberry Jam and Hack to the Future grew and grew. It started by gatecrashing a leaving party for George Auckland in MMU.

It goes to show… gatecrash but do it for good!

Learning from nature with biodiversity

Biodiversity

I had attended the Manchester girl geek barcamp (aka BraCamp) on Saturday at MMU. It was well attended and great to see so many people and it really makes me think there is till room for another Manchester BarCamp?

There were a range of good talks and I did a few myself including one about diversity which was a bit of Blaise’s amazing talk from Thinking Digital and my thoughts from Singleblackmale. I thought I didn’t do a good job explaining where I was coming from, but I left enough room for debate afterwards.

I got speaking to Laura Gordon afterwards to see what she thought of the talk, see if I drew enough web between the two (on paper) quite distant subjects. Laura said something so profound that I was scrabbling to write it down in Evernote afterwards.

She basically said, yes… In biodiversity in life/nature/tech is essential. Then proceeded to give examples of what happens when there is little or no biodiversity. One such example was what happens when you get pure bred animals.

I had never really thought about diversity in these terms before, but I was aware of biodiversity however hadn’t linked the two in such a way. Thank you Laura!

A few cool events over June

I don’t know about you but my June is pretty packed solid. But theres a raft of events which you may not know about. Here’s a few… (I really feel like I should turn them into microformats or rather RDF/a)

The Best of British Prime Conference – Friday 13th June at The Royal Institution of Great Britain, London. I will be talking about Dating, Lies and Algorithms, as I mentioned before.
Tickets and details are available and if you use the discount code of iknowaspeaker you may get a nice little surprise on ordering tickets.

Sheffield Documentary Festival 2014 – running from 7th – 12th June in Sheffield. Myself and Tony will be presenting at the Shefdocfest (8th June) about Perceptive Media. And Matt Brooks and Rhianne will be showing off a research preview/alpha of the previously mentioned variable length documentary (11th June).

Film Data HackathonAbandon Normal Devices (AND), in partnership with the BFI are running a weekend (28 – 29 June) hackathon about everything cinema  – from selecting the right movie, to how we watch them, and what we think to how we share our thoughts afterwards and everything in between. Tickets are available now.

More Bubbles Than Balls reception - for drinks, conversation and a celebration of all things Urbanista. Tuesday 24th June 5:30pm – 7:30pm at Velvet Central, 2 Mount Street, Manchester M2 5WQ.
Tickets are free and can be booked.

House Party 14 – is the first unofficial housing fringe event, providing a grassroots alternative to the annual CIH housing conference in Manchester on Tuesday, 24 & Wednesday, 25 June.
The waiting list is available.

Re:Fest! - Tuesday 17th and Wednesday,18th June at the Black-E Community Centre in Liverpool. This is the second Re:Fest! event, building on the success of last year’s event in Nottingham.
Find out more and book free tickets.

TVX Hackfest – June 25th at Culture Lab, Newcastle University. ACM international conference into interactive experience for TV and new media experiences is 26-27th June but there is a hackfest before hand.
To find out more including team sign up.

Derren brown is back in the Lowry theatre in Salford Quays with the new show infamous. Very limited seats left…13-21st June

Thanks Jane and Hwayoung for the heads up…

Thoughts and ideas of a dyslexic designer/developer