A world written by one slice of a very big pie

Diversity in the digital sector, its the thing which I and many many others are banging about. In recent times, I have been thinking about this a lot and even more in regards to the Mozilla Festival.

This year one of the ambitions in Mozfest is…

How can we leverage the web to include more people, across gender, class, race and age? How can we be humble yet proactive in overcoming real discrimination and exclusion?

On a related note… , sent me a tweet to his idea to put together a digital diversity alliance.

I do want to make the digital world diverse, I am seriously worried about where we are going. There are signs that things will get better for some but its clear we need to look diversity not just one segment of the whole pie. I understand this is incredibly hard but its so important that the aim is the moon not just the upper atmosphere.

Mr Robot says Fcuk society

Recently I watched Mr Robot and a few other films (I promise no spoilers) but it emphasize the problem with a mono culture for me.

A young computer programmer (Malek) who suffers from social anxiety disorder and forms connections through hacking. He’s recruited by a mysterious anarchist, who calls himself Mr. Robot.

The problem with the mono culture around the digital industry is in my mind self evident. This is bad but its going to get way worst

As software makes its way into more services and those services in turn become a larger part of our lives through law, economics, social norms plus practically through the internet of things, synthetic biology, etc. It’s important to think about software as having an opinion of some kind.

Larry Lessig

Lawrence Lessig wrote a fantastic book called code: and other laws of cyberspace. Where be talked about code as law because the law is always playing catch up to the code, algorithms, systems and ultimately opinions baked into the code. Imagine trying to reason with a drone carrying guns, when you naturally act outside of the parameters set by somebodies idea of how people should act (or is that the American police force now?). Reminds me of a colleague at work who during BarCampMediaCity somebody thought was drunk and should be told to leave. But anybody who knows him, knows thats his natural state.

united colours of benetton advert

Ah Remember those united colours of benetton adverts? Maybe Tech needs more these…?

Sounds extreme but the example is pointing at the same thing. Its unconscious bias and unfortunately its being baked into software, hardware and the services we use. But unlike us its not got the chance to recognise the bias and correct its self (as such).


Why am I not taking Toby up on his ask?


You have time to help create the best Digital Diversity Alliance in the whole wide world.  It’s not a full-time job but we need committed individuals brimming with passion and drive.

I am time poor, I have a lot of things happening including helping out at a dyslexia group in Manchester and I’m trying to commit to less stuff till I get things in a reasonable state. Its a shame but I need to be honest with myself and its not fair on those who can do a equal or a better job but can also dedicate more attention than myself. Hate to be the one hold back such a great alliance.Take good fortune Toby and if I can help in future, I certainly would like to feed into the alliance in some way. I’d like to start this by encouraging you to float the idea in a workshop at Mozfest 2015. Equally if you too would like to have a less bleak, diverse and collaborative future. Contact Toby in his post

Horizon dating, I’m doing it for the science

The good news is I have been accepted by BBC horizon!

Next week I’ll be in London taking part in the Horizon data/dating thing. I am expecting a better version of the MOSI event at least. The email I got was vague, but the questions in the sign up process were very interesting having done a load of OK cupid ones previous

horizon beer question

Heres the Beer question which always makes me laugh because of this OKTrends post.

Will my date have sex on the first date?


  • Do you like the taste of beer?


Among all our casual topics, whether someone likes the taste of beer is the single best predictor of if he or she has sex on the first date.

No matter their gender or orientation, beer-lovers are 60% more likely to be okay with sleeping with someone they’ve just met.

Here’s a few more.

are geeks sexy

Of course I like this question a lot.

nuclear war

This one of course is fun to think about in a abstract light. This what I thought first time I answered it on OKcupid.

Horizon takes on the science of online dating?

Its happening againI swear everybody has caught on to the fact dating has changed and are studying it from a data point of view.

This time its Horizon who are sniffing around doing some dating research, and they actually have someone who really knows there stuff involved. Hannah Fry… yes the same woman who did the Tedtalk about the popularity in online dating. Ironically the most scientific dating experience was using her work around popularity at Manchester’s MOSI.

But even with Hannah Fry involved  I’m nervous because of 2 experiences.

  1. The year of making love – I mean I couldn’t believe it was actually the BBC behind this smoking cluster of a show. I should have known with it being aired on BBC Three.
  2. How to have more sex – Ok it was ITV and I guess it was the first time I had speed dating but seriously, when the guy tapped me on the shoulder in Brighton during the d.construct after party I was so shocked.

Saying all that, am I going to sign up?

Yes I did… I really hope its not a mistake I will regret! Now time for 150 questions, in the style/vein of OkCupid. I have a feeling I could be in for something interesting…

horizon goes okcupid on us

Inception as a TV series?

inception the cobol job

Myself and Chris were talking about a number of things at breakfast in Vivid Lounge as we do. We got talking about the Marvel and DC universe and the state of cinema and TV media.

I mentioned, TV is the new cinema.

Forget what you’ve read about cinema’s dominance over the small screen. Television has plenty to teach the movies about characterisation, storytelling and breaking new talent.

And the differences and experience between Cloud Atlas and Sense 8 for the Wachowskis. TV allows for build up and character building cinema can only dream about. This is especially good when thinking about universes such as the Marvel one.

Chris said he would love to see inception as a TV series? I obviously am in total agreement.

This isn’t anything new but it certainly got me thinking about other films which could be better told in a TV series and heck a game/experience?

It strikes me that any film with plot device like eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, chronicle, etc… could work. Similar to person of interest, where small things happen every episode but theres a over arching plot leading to something much bigger.

An ex-assassin and a wealthy programmer save lives via a surveillance AI that sends them the identities of civilians involved in impending crimes. However, the details of the crimes–including the civilians’ roles–are left a mystery.

I mention person of interest because the director is Jonathan Nolan, who is Christopher ‘Inception’ Nolan’s younger brother.  Who knows maybe a Inception TV series isn’t as far fetched as first thought?

Why the ability to understand spoilers is perceptive media interesting

Most people don’t really care about spoilers till they are spoiled by somebody or something they read. Its incredibly frustrating to not know something and be in that state of wonder then somebody break it for you. There are many great spoilers out there like, the ending of lost, breaking bad, etc. I remember joking but with a quite a harsh tone for friend and family in hospital not to tell me the end of Lost.

The problem is with all the media channels we have, its more difficult to put yourself in a bubble and discover the media conclusion in your own way. This is something others have thought about a lot and this chrome extension is a interesting take on the problem, unfortunally it only works within the Trakt.tv site.

Trakt.tv but without the spoilers. Titles, screenshots and comments are all able to be obscured by this extension. This extension aims to prevent as many spoilers as possible on Trakt.tv with very customisable options.

Ok nice but whats this got to do with Perceptive Media?

Perceptive Media is most effective when there is a semantic understanding of the narrative, plot arcs and implicit desires of the audience.

With spoilers, if you knew where the audience was up to and how long ago they watched it (both Trakt.tv can do). You can infer what to hold back from them, so they are not spoiled of the next big surprise or twist. You can also let the stuff which isn’t important or seen already pass the filter instead of trying to hold it all back and frustrating the audience.

Basically spoiler prevention paves the way to a understanding of media in the way needed for perceptive media. Today its titles, screeenshots and comments. Tomorrow its popups, adverts, etc. In future how about parts of the news, articles, posts, parody, references to plot twists, etc…?

Get involved in Mozfest 2015!

Mozfest 2014

Mozfest, oh Mozilla…!

Get involved in Mozfest 2015 – Proposals!

Last year we put out a call for participation but this year we have been so distracted with the changes, summer and other stuff, that we haven’t blogged or tweeted about the call for 2015’s mozfest! (our bad)

Our focus this year is around civic, community and social sustainable practice. We will explore the tension between the public and private in our creation the connected library. Its going to be quite different from last years focus on data ethics, but don’t worry its there in part.

In addition Mozilla are keen to see sessions that explore: 
  • Privacy and the web
  • Ethics of the web
  • Web literacy
  • Economy of the web
  • Inclusion and the web
  • Environment and the web
  • Future web now
  • Place and the web

So if you can please please read this blog post and then fill in the call for participation before it closes on Monday 31st August (I know I know! at least its BST+8) If you need more time, please please get in touch with me on twitter or email,ASAP…

This year things have changed, quite a bit. This year we are much more deeply involved and actually took part in a mozretreat in deepest darkest Fife, Scotland.

In the little Scottish fishing village of Anstruther, at the edge of nowhere, 40 community facilitators met to think about the future of Mozfest.

The upshot is a slightly changed Mozfest, which is no bad thing after 5 years of doing what it does well. Many people thoughts and ideas were squeezed into the retreat and the result was a slightly changed programme thoughts for the future.

Mozfest has always had a participatory community focus but there was a feeling things had gotten a little fragmented with people going to one track and not really checking out other things going on the floor above and beyond. Is there a way to have both the community participatory focus and something which encourages people to explore? So things have changed,  what exactly is complex  but luckly I don’t need to because Michelle has done this in her blog post.

Mozfest is a collection of participatory experiences.

As organizers, we set a framework for others to design and host these experiences. This builds on a set of learning principles as well as elements that can be combined to make the overall Mozfest program.

The main program elements are:

  • Session (an experience or activity)

  • Pathway (a series of sessions)

  • Space (a series of pathways)

So last year we were space wranglers and build a couple of spaces for people to experience and learn in (the framework). We also pulled together sessions and thought about how they connect and build on each other (aka we were doing the pathway role without realising it)

What are pathways, besides a series of sessions strung together? Well Michelle outlines the idea fully in another blog post. Basically pathways are like the lines on a train maps with interchanges to take a different route to the same goal.

Its going to be one heck of mission working this all out but frankly BarCamp and Mozfest shouldn’t really work but they do, extremely well!


Facebook is the village campfire?

M. Night Shyamalan's Village

M. Night Shyamalan may have lost his movie mojo but the village is a apt example.

Got to love Oli… He wrote about his return to Facebook and yes I did reply to his thoughts in a blog. To which he replied to in a new blog, stipulating Facebook is the campfire

Imagine living in a village, in your own cottage, doing your own thing. You wave to your neighbors, see them at the odd social event and maybe gossip when you meet. Nice huh? One night somebody builds a fire and a few people drift out and sit round the fire, singing songs, telling tales, toasting marshmallows, all the stuff you’ve seen in American summer camps that probably never actually happens.

Over time, more people join in the evenings, and the quality of the chat drops off a bit, and a few people are a bit arsey, but it’s nice, warm and social. You don’t have to do much if you don’t want, but you’ll get the odd beer or marshmallow and hear the little bits of news, a pregnancy, a holiday, who’s been snogging who etc etc. There are claps on the back when you crack a joke. Everybody faces into the fire.

Not going out to that fire is tough. It’s not that people forgot about you, or don’t want to see you or hear your news, but they do forgot that they haven’t seen you, or told you their news. They shared it round the campfire after all. You might still have people round to tea occasionally, or pick up the phone to speak to them but that easy comradery is missing. That warm glow doesn’t reach far either, in fact it’s very much a walled garden.

When I think of the campfire, I think little village and nice for a while but then its time to get out. Time to leave, explore and move forward. Maybe thats what bugs me a lot about using Facebook. Its all people I know and its too comfortable. I can talk about the filter bubble and data ethics and facebook messing with the news feed. But its all too comfortable. Theres nothing challenging your views, nothing making you explore (except the occasional event).

I would go as far as to say Facebook is making you a boring old sod. Remember, when I wrote how to be interesting ages ago. I wrote…

Talk to someone new at least every week

Good luck doing that on Facebook…  Even with a massive number of friends on Facebook, Facebook will filter out most of them. Yes welcome to the village campfire.

As I said above, M. Night Shyamalan may have lost his movie mojo but the village is a perfect example.

The population of a small, isolated countryside village believe that their alliance with the mysterious creatures that inhabit the forest around them is coming to an end.

If you not seen the film, you are not missing anything and I’m going to kind of spoil it for you right now for you. The mysterious creatures are other people and they exist in the outside world of the internet. That campfire keeps pulling you back but sometimes you just need to get out discover the milestones of freedom by getting out of the village and that super comfortable campfire.

Its nice to visit every once in a while, catchup, get warm and decide to leave. Do you want to hangout there and be known as the one who never leaves?

I thought not… Moderation Oli, limit your time at the Facebook campfire!



Important Milestones for life

My first diabolo

Yes thats me with my first diabolo at school

Another one of those thought catalog pieces, this one about important milestones you can have in your life besides getting married. There is 40 of them but reading through them got me thinking…

Going through a painful breakup and refusing to let it drown you; instead, deciding to find growth and strength from it.

Absolutely… They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I would certainly say my painful breakups have made me a much more resilient person. I kind of feel sorry for those who haven’t been through such a breakup. Its when you really find out what you are made of. Its also a reality check on had bad things can go.

Taking your parents on a vacation. Or even just out to dinner, because this is finally your chance to be the one who can treat them to something, rather than the other way around.

Love being able to treat my parents, looking to do it more in future. But its wonderful. I know many people who unfortunately can’t do this for different reasons.

Reconnecting with an old friend that you’ve always regretted losing touch with. Being the first one to reach out, to tell them you miss them, to make an attempt to see them again.

Its so great to catch up and talk over experiences and changes over time. Its also great to reach out and break the silence with more than a like or a +1. Real human connection.

Giving a heartfelt, well-written, meaningful speech as the Best Man or Maid of Honor at the wedding of someone who is very special to you.

Oh yes… still remember doing a adhoc speech at a wedding and later the grooms father came up to me, telling me I was such a good influence in his sons life. Even I was blown away by this.

The first holiday you spend with friends instead of family.

Oh I remember this well, holiday in Ibiza with friends in 1998, kind of hated the holiday but it was a learning experience. I went back to Ibiza 3 years later under my own steam.

Going on your first vacation with a significant other – paid for by you two and you two alone.

Indeed, spent much time going to different parts of America and Europe with my partner at the time. By this time I was already living in London alone, so it wasn’t such a big thing for me.

Having certain luxuries that you like to spend your hard-earned money on once in a while, like super soft bedsheets, or a massage, or a really delicious bottle of wine.…And getting to the maturity level where you can tell the difference between treating yourself, and being financially reckless and irresponsible.

Absolutely… this is something I have been thinking about a lot. I have got to a point where I can afford more of the things and experience I would like. But something stops me and I think it is my inner compass about being financially reckless. I would like a pair of the Nike Air Huarache (Triple black) but at £90-130, it feels reckless and reminds me of the kids who’s parents bought those ugly Rebook Pumps at £140. And then go their trainers stolen (if you not heard of this, where have you been?)

Telling someone you love them without knowing for sure whether they love you back.

Oh yes… dare I say it… The fear of rejection, something I got over a long time ago. Life has gotten better since that day. Can I remember the first time? Maybe when I was 13 years old, I said I loved her without really knowing what she would say and to be honest really knowing what it really was about.

Traveling to a city you’ve always wanted to explore, and paying for everything on your own dime.

I have no idea where to start, so many cities. I think going to Cardiff was the first city where I wanted to go and I went complete on my own steam. I went clubbing in Cardiff at the forum, to the sounds of speed garage. Since then I obviously moved to London and to Manchester. But more to the point I went to international cities alone and explored under my own steam. They include Amsterdam, Berlin, New York, Toronto, Las Vegas, Chicago, Paris, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Barcelona, Dublin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Brussels, Hamburg, Warsaw and of course Tokyo!

Finding that one book that changes your life, even if it’s in the smallest way possible.

We were talking about this one just today with something I’m collaborating on with some great people. There are so many great books I have read. This is a hard one as there is many. I guess the big one is Derek Powazak’s Design for Community. Reading that book and following the links lead me to meet my ex-wife online. But there are many other books including free culture, strange attractors, rebeccas world, emergence, the long tail, the tipping point, the art of deception, paradox of choice, no logo, smartmobs, hacking the xbox, we the media and so many more…


Stem based mixing again

Si Lumb sent me a link to a BBC News piece about Stem based music mixing. Always something interesting, especially since 8trk

Of course I sent LJ Rich and Si a few links to 8Trk which we developed at Mozfest 3 years ago as part of Dj Hackday. Of course Native instruments has been mentioned by me before but it seems to be getting some traction?


Marching to the beat of my own drum

Time To Walk Like A Rebel

I had a read of Thought Catalog over breakfast in Vivid Lounge and came across this post which I certainly could identify with.

10 Signs You March To The Beat Of Your Own Drum

  1. You have a strong distaste for the status quo.
    Its less of a distaste, more a lack of interest in a system which rejects and marginalizes people because they are different.
  2. You lack respect for authority figures.
    I’m more skeptical and wary of authority. Partly down to previous experience but it can also be an advantage in compliance and social engineering scams.
  3. You can objectively look at both sides of an issue.
    Yep its a bit strange, as I can always play the devils advocate. It tends to frustrate.
  4. You’re passionate about learning
    I’m all about life long learning and admitting I quite enjoy learning.
  5. You’re always up for a good debate.
    This plays right back at the devils advocate things, I won’t lie a good debate is how you learn and refine.
  6. Sometimes people think you’re crazy.
  7. You’re always refining your ideas.
    Through debate, discussion and collaboration.
  8. You limit the amount of media you consume.
    This one is something I find interesting. People always wonder why I haven’t heard about this and that. I mean how could I not know about this and that? Interestingly the Freakonomics covered something similar a few weeks ago in a podcast.I do limit how media I consume, by limiting the number of time I spend looking at Facebook, Twitter, etc. I’m also a chooser, so I don’t just put the Radio/TV on and watch whats on. Likewise I’m choosy on what and where I spend my attention.
  9. You fear being average.
    Doesn’t everybody? I do wonder if most people think about this?
  10. You’re never bored.
    Indeed, theres so much that can and should be done. Be it physically, mentally or elsewhere. Life’s too exciting to be bored…!

Great stuff… and I leave you with this… Thanks Chris

Mindmapping the VR space

Chris McCann started mapping  out the VR ecosystem on his medium blog. I found it interesting but noticed a few missing things. I was going to craft a tweet to him but decided actually this might make better sense in a mindmap, because the stated aim is…

I wanted to get a better understanding of all of the different players and how the whole ecosystem fits together.

So I created a mindmap using the excellent mindmup and I got a chance to try out their new atlas service to show and share. I’m already thinking about collaborating with people I know and connecting some of the items together. I also wouldn’t mind doing the same on the AR side of things.

New heights?

Dave Mee sent me a link to the New York times piece on the new league of giga coasters.

Just How Tall Can Roller Coasters Get?

This is not a rhetorical question these days..

Theme parks have engaged in a dizzying quest for height in recent years that has spawned a number of roller coasters as tall as skyscrapers. Altitude rather than velocity has become such a defining characteristic that rides that take advantage of their soaring heights have been given a name befitting a mammoth frame: the giga coaster.

Enthusiasts use the term to apply to a roller coaster with a drop of 300 to 399 feet, meaning that its riders fall the length of a football field. (Anything beyond 400 feet and you’re in strata coaster terrain.) Four of the five giga coasters in the world are in North America, at theme parks all owned by the same chain, Cedar Fair Entertainment (the fifth is in Japan).

On the face of it, I was thinking wow this looks like a good ride… But then I looked into the actual facts.

Fury 325 Carowinds (USA) March 25, 2015 325 feet (99 m)
Millennium Force Cedar Point (USA) May 13, 2000 310 feet (94 m)
Steel Dragon 2000 Nagashima Spa Land (Japan) August 1, 2000 318 feet (97 m)
Intimidator 305 Kings Dominion (USA) April 2, 2010 305 feet (93 m)
Leviathan Canada’s Wonderland (USA) May 6, 2012 306 feet (93 m)


Fury 325 is only a few meters taller than Millennium Force and Steel Dragon 2000 (which I had the pleasure of going on while in Japan). I trust its a great ride but hardly anything to shout about. Its also 15 years afterwards!

Loved Steel Dragon 2000 and the big one at Blackpool but for me its about doing more with less space. You only have to look at the Nemesis or the late Smiler. Heaven knows how they were able to fit 14 inversions in the space usually reserved for a duck pond in most American theme parks.

Welcome to Scotland…

One of my new years resolutions knocked off again…

Scooter into another country or new area
Last years trip down to Bristol via Snowdonia was amazing and I got to go do it again but go further a field. The issue really is weather but I think early summer in Ireland or up through Scotland could be fun. I’ve also been thinking about how I have never been to East Anglia (except Kings Lynn), so maybe its time on the scooter?


Grenta Green all the way from Manchester along the M61 and M6. Thanks Kate an d Paul for putting me up. in the Yurt.

Screw social convention, skateboarding isn’t just for the kids

I have been known to skateboard, but of course I’m over the age of 30 and social convention dictates skateboarding is for skater kids and emo teenagers.

Well I called total bull on it! A while ago Ross bought me a skateboard for memory sake and I went out and got it upgraded. Some people were shocked to see me skateboarding.

Mike sent me a link to a Guardian piece about the new trend for adults to be riding skateboards.

Skateboarding is enjoying a mid-life surge in popularity. The sport that was once the preserve of the cool or alternative is now becoming decidedly mainstream, as evidenced by the fact that adults can now take skateboarding classes. At least they can in Brooklyn.

Maybe I should join a skateboard class, be great to finally learn how to Oli after so many years…

Skateboarding is enjoyable and frankly Manchester city centre is ideal for it, in-between the anti-skating board architecture.

When Tinder met Vanity, we all got popcorn and watched

TechCrunch Disrupt Europe: Berlin 2013 (Day 2)

…at the helm of the company that’s changing society in ways they can’t stop, or even fathom because they’re right in the middle of it. Scary.

Tinder (which I have written about and am now somewhat convinced will be seen as a bad bad joke in many years time) was recently written about in Vanity Fair and… Oh dear, tinder took to twitter to complain!

The best deconstruction of the whole thing comes from David Evans over at onlinedating insider.

I couldn’t even bring myself to finish the VF article. Story after story about relationship-challenged New Yorkers. Men in New York treat women terribly and brag about it in Vanity Fair. Wow, you don’t say?

The VF article is a retread of a topic that’s been beaten to death by the media and dating bloggers for almost two years, but VF decided to hang out with a bunch of New Yorkers who rack up Tinder sex-mates like there’s no tomorrow and talk to them like they are adults or something. The writer clearly emerged from a cave last week and the first thing they did was go on a Tinder date and now she’s scarred for life.

Tinder is simply a throw back to old skool dating (when it was al about looks and not the personality), but it doesn’t stop a whole host of articles, posts and shows being written about it… even in mid 2015! Tinder has become the symbol of our misogynist culture much like how the game was a few years ago?

“It’s an eye-opener and validation of a woman’s worst fear. The guys are swiping right to hook up and it’s all just a game.” Give me a break. The women who enable men to behave this way are just as complicit in the degradation of modern courtship as Tinder is. And Tinder is at the bottom of the pile, along with Ashley Madison.

Add gamification and repeat

The gamification of online/social dating can be scary stuff which I’ll cover in my TedX Talk early next year… Don’t miss it, its going to be pretty wild…! Ironiclly it will be on Valentine day, so expect a blood path of broken hearts and trashed dreams

Its so clear there is a problem, as many people including Sherry Turkle and even comedian Aziz Ansari’s modern romance, identifies. They wonder about current social impact of not just its users but on the mating process as a whole!

David really gets into to the metric problem of the throw away action of a swipe.

What is the equivalent of a right-swipe on a dating service? Replied to emails? If I email you and you email me back, that’s a match. Sam Yagan at Match told me that years ago. Back when he was the Co-founder of OkCupid, and they always said Match wasn’t worth the money and nobody should have to pay for a dating site

…Tinder’s definition of a match as two people physically moving their fingers about a quarter of an inch to the right compared with writing and responding to emails. Comparing swipes to responded-to emails is ridiculous; they’re not even comparable. But we’re talking about Tinder here, so anything goes.

How about this. Whenever two people like or favorite each other’s photos on a dating service, they are a match. Is that comparable to Tinder mutual swipes? I don’t know and I really don’t care anymore. And neither does anyone else, because all I read about in the media are stories about people on Tinder hooking up three times a week and 25 million matches a day.

He’s right, no body is really thinking about what the metrics mean when  writing about Tinder. It might as well be 25 millions acorns! There is so much more David writes in the post but I love the ending line, and I’m really starting to agree (even though I know a few friends who have successfully had serious relationships via tinder)…

Tinder is the worst thing to ever happen to the online dating industry. End of story.

Thoughts and ideas of a dyslexic designer/developer