Psychology of dating in the technosexual era

The psychology of dating in the technosexual era is a nice title and something I’ve been collecting stories about in my diigo group dating troubles. (diigo wants more money for it to be public, but you can look at this tag for most of it)

So my first reaction was… uhhh duhhh? Who doesn’t know this?

But then I have spoke and wrote about this to death.

Tinder is hardly original, yet it has taken the mobile dating market by storm: despite launching only last year, an estimated 450 million profiles are rated every day and membership is growing by 15% each week. More importantly, and in stark contrast with the overwhelmingly negative media reception, Tinder has managed to overcome the two big hurdles to online dating. First, Tinder is cool, at least to its users.

Indeed, whereas it is still somewhat embarrassing to confess to using EHarmony or Match.com, Tinderers are proud to demo the app at a dinner party, perhaps because the alternative – logging off and talking to others guests – is less appealing.

As I also said… It switched from physical first & personality second to personality first & physical second during the first phase of the  internet’s affect on mating. But then came the fightback, starting with social dating. Now all the big sites all have a social dating app of some kind.

 

I found the Guardian piece interesting because of one two things…

  1. Yes its absolutely right and its fair to say its still scratching at the surface.
  2. Its written by !

You may wonder who on earth is he?
Let me refresh your memory…

This reminds me of a TV show we created a couple of years ago; we profiled over 3,000 singletons using state-of-the-art psychological tests and created 500 couples based on psychological compatibility… but ignored looks and race. When the couples finally met – even though they trusted the science of the matching process – they were 90% focused on looks and only decided to date a second time if they were deemed equally attractive or worthy of each other’s looks.

Yes remember the terrible dating show I took part on (not that one!) 2 years ago? Yep that one… saying the name still conjures up a certain amount of hate and distress. The year of making love!

Clearly, psychologists have a lot of work to do before they can convince daters that their algorithms are more effective.

I found this sadly ironic, especially with everything discovered over the last 5 years. I am hoping to present a spectrum of this and other issues as a conference talk in the very near future.

Growing worries about our tech driven culture from Aziz

Friendly Conversation

You can add Aziz Ansari to the growing list of people reconsidering the effects of our technology on our culture. He joins Sherry Turkle and Andrew Keen with his latest book…

Modern Romance, an interesting book full of interesting research about how people meet, and mate, in the modern world.

First heard about on the Freakonomics podcast

I’ll be checking it out soon… as it looks like a good one.

…The rest of the book deals with online dating, dumping, sexting, cheating and snooping on your partner, all of which have been made easier by the rise of the smartphone and the private world we create behind its screen. This is territory already explored by theorists such as Danah Boyd and Sherry Turkle and OKCupid co-founder Christian Rudder, but Ansari helpfully masticates their findings down for a general audience. He is neither a tech evangelist nor a luddite: the gadgets might be constantly updating, but human nature is slower to change.

Forget the pecking order, collaborate

Simon Lumb while talking about leadership in the northern quarter today mentioned.Margaret Heffernan: Why it’s time to forget the pecking order at work

Organizations are often run according to “the superchicken model,” where the value is placed on star employees who outperform others. And yet, this isn’t what drives the most high-achieving teams. Business leader Margaret Heffernan observes that it is social cohesion — built every coffee break, every time one team member asks another for help — that leads over time to great results. It’s a radical rethink of what drives us to do our best work, and what it means to be a leader. Because as Heffernan points out: “Companies don’t have ideas. Only people do.”

Even before I watch the video I’m in agreement. This reminds me of my favourite cluetrain rule.. #7

Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy and the result of which heterarchy

I’m sure one day I’ll bring all my favourite management and leadership clues together into some kind of manifesto or at least a blog.

Thank goodness for the hackers

Philips Hue lights

I’m now a owner of the Philips Hue lights after my mistake buying cheaper Hue lights from eBay (which turned out to be the American versions) and finally converting all the lighting pendulums to standard B22 bayonets from CFL BLT 4 Pins.

I bought the Zigbee bridge from ebay too and been buying the bulbs one by one. But then I decided to buy a starter kit, as it was more cost effective and I could sell the spare zigbee bridge if not needed. Everything was fine till I couldn’t control the new lights. After a look around the web, it become clear the bulbs were locked to the zigbee bridge which it came with.

I won’t lie I was peed! I took to Twitter to tell Philips what I felt…

Locked internet of things devices, deeply worries me! Philips say they do it for security reasons but frankly thats balls.

After the steam had stopped pouring out my head and I put the bulbs back in the box to send back tomorrow. I looked around and found people talking about a app called Lampstealer. It seemed to factory reset the bulbs so the old bridge could discover it like normal.

The problem… It ran on Windows and OSX only.  Of course the hackers got us covered!

When you buy two Philips Hue light start kits, you have the problem that the lights are already paired with the bridge in each starter pack. When you search you will find a lot of people whining about how unfair this is and people talking about the “Lampstealer” OSX app that Philips released to fix it. I tried using the lamp stealer app but it would never find my bridge. I could also not use QuickHue which supposedly supported the lamp stealer function because it was compiled for OSX 10.8 and I still run 10.7.x. And compiling it from source with xcode didn’t work, likely due missing libraries and other mistakes I made since I’m not too familiar with Xcode.

I found out that the solution was really really simple, and requires no OSX, java or advanced rocket science. Place a bulb of the second starter kit into a socket within 30cm of the bridge from the first starterpack. Telnet to port 30000 of the bridge and type:

[Link,Touchlink]

The light should blink a few times to acknowledge the hostile takeover.

I did it and now I’m sitting pretty with 7 Philips Hues all tied to the zigbee bridge I bought from eBay. Everything is now working correctly and I’m looking forward to playing with the geofencing and ifttt controls. I just need to sort out my lampshades now…

To Alton Towers or not to Alton Towers

I have owned a yearly pass for Alton Towers and Thorpe Park theme parks in the UK for a few years now. Its been well used over the last few years. The last time I went was in late March before going to Tokyo.

Soon after I got back, the smiler crashed and everybody and their mum pointed me at the news. Its pretty shocking and it does make you think but to be fair Rollercoasters are not meant to crash in this kind of way.

I did pay for another years pass before this all happened but haven’t picked it up yet (it becomes active once you go to a theme park and use it). I’m not quite sure how I feel about picking up my yearly pass especially since the smiler is still closed and looks to never be back…?

The years pass doesn’t start till I pick it up but I wonder how Alton Towers will react if I decided I wanted my money back?

In reflection, the Japanese way of triple checking everything before letting the train leave the station, is quite sobering to read and think  about. My reaction in light of the smiler accident is slightly changed.

  • Will I be back at Alton Towers at some point? Yes
  • Will I ride the smiler again? Yes but it looks unlikely it will survive
  • Am I upset with the way Alton Towers have handled this whole thing? Yes

Airbnb’s new slightly creepy advert?

The nextweb say airbnb’s advert is a little creepy…?

And I have to say there are not wrong… Not quite sure what to make of it. Of course Airbnb have their reasoning.

But if you do book my spare room, please don’t think…

Sleeping in my spare bed will fill you in on my dreams. This really sounds like the promising start of horror film…?! Honestly what on earth Airbnb? Human? More like scary movie?

Match, OkCupid, Tinder and now POF?

Swallow your fish

Big news on the online dating scene… The picture above sums it up

The Match Group, the global operator of digital dating products such as Match, Tinder, OkCupid and Meetic), and a subsidiary of IAC, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase PlentyOfFish for US$575 million in cash.

Yes if you didn’t already know IAC own Match, Okcupid, Tinder and now Plenty of Fish.

Plenty of fish has had its ups and downs… but $575 million isn’t bad for a dating service which was independently run and managed. Remember Instagram was sold to Facebook for just under double that at $1billion, which goes to show.  The community aspects certainly made it stand out from the rest and this was emulated by some of the others. While the freenium approach back then was quite unique.

Cheers Chris for the heads up

Dyslexia the reality of daily life…

IMG_1425

I had drafted this blog for a while now and rewrote it a few times, then I read Chris’s blog post about Aspergers and decided it was time  to post it and be done thinking about it. I’m split the post up. This one about daily life. The other about love. Of course they both intersect.

I am a proud dyslexic, I came out (as such) along time ago and even have it in my blog subtitle. I write openly, hoping this will encourage the many other dyslexics and generally more neurodiverse people to come out (in lui of a better word).

From the start

I always knew I was different when I couldn’t spell short words, the lessons made little sense and I was easily distracted by other stuff. The words had a code/pattern which made no sense to me. By the time of primary school, it was clear something was different about me.I couldn’t follow peoples voice directions without translating it into a map or something visual.

Tying laces, ties or knots was a small nightmare mainly due to trying to remember which hand is left and which is right. Because of this I became slightly ambidextrous which would confuse things further

My primary school  did send me for dyslexia testing but I never finished it and so my dyslexia wasn’t officially diagnosed till over 10 years later at Ravensbourne College while trying to write my final year dissertation. This means I had no help, allowances or support all the way through secondary school and most of my college life.

Reading was also difficult for two reasons. The line lengths and the words. My mum would regularly take me and my sister to the local library and I managed by reading lots of non-fiction.

In that period of time, the seed was set in my mind and I read up about dyslexia and found coping mechanisms which centred around using computers to remember everything I couldn’t remember or spell. I bought a  2nd hand HP 200LX pocket computer with my saved up paper round money and used for lots of things. That was my first and I followed that with the Compaq Areo and Ipaqs.

Time management

I am notoriously bad with time. But thats only half the story. The reason why I’m so bad is because I tend to pack a lot in. To give you an example.

I live all of about 10mins walk from the Piccadilly Station (the major station for Manchester) Knowing its only 10mins away I tend to leave about 15mins before the time of the train leaving, I should really leave 20mins before to be sure. But what typically happens is knowing I can make it in 10-15mins, I end up doing stuff right up to the last minute I can leave. Maybe I can send off a few more emails, put bleach in the toilets, empty the recycling, etc, etc. With that I end up rushing to catch the train.

The way I see time is more elastic than others and this does seem to be dyslexic trait.

Time management is very difficult, if not impossible for many Dyslexics.   This is not due to them being lazy, thoughtless or uncaring. Dyslexics are right-brain dominant thinkers and live in the present. The past and future belong to the left-brainers.

A Dyslexic tends not to look at their life in any kind of a systematic way. They are often called “free spirits”, “flighty” , “unfocused” or “easily distracted” .

Welcome to the flow

I also tend to get fully immersed  in things and tend to forget about time as I enter the flow state. Luckily the flow state tends to be with other people as we bounce ideas around.  So its not directly responsible for missing the train most of the time but there are many times when chatting with somebody or some people, that time will just slow down and I wont even realise what time it actually is, meaning I’ll miss the last train or bus home.

Flow is a interesting state and there are certain people I feel the flow with more than others. The other night at a party I was pleasantly surprised to meet a women who I suspected was dyslexic but look through her book shelf confirmed it. We talked till 3am and to be honest could have talked the rest of the night easily. Insert joke about two dyslexics in a cafe never leaving.

I’m curious about everything and find creative people  quite attractive (this is where the sapiosexual stuff comes). I do find people concreted in reality a bit boring and tend to ignore them a little. I find these people too straight-laced and too conformist for my thoughts. I am not conformist… I’m black, I’m dyslexic and a self confessed geek. I have found my as a bit of spokesperson for the all of those things at times in my life. People come to me with stereotypes in mind and I break them in half. I won’t lie, I kind of enjoy the look on their face when I challenge their stereotypes.

Know thy self is what they say, and to be honest through my life experiences I do know who I am.

Working with dyslexia

I feel my mind is consistently on the go, bouncing from concept to concept. A few people in the organisation, have said “we pay you to think” and I frankly that plays to my strengths.  I am so grateful to be in a job which fits but I know so many dyslexics people who struggle with their job positions.

BBC R&D is very academic and frankly I haven’t chosen a  academic course for my life. Luckily the research world is in the middle of being radically changed by the internet (like most things) and this means conceptual thinking and collaboration is better treasured. If I had applied to join the department in the past, my cv/application would have been binned. But I was adsorbed into the department with my position as BBC Backstage.

I find work is full of people who are bound by the tangible and my unique selling point is the intangible, forward thinking and the essential need to collaborate. This why I partly find academic papers interesting (building on other ideas) and ever-so backwards (why are they so hard to write?)

I have little time for non-collaboration, I actually think every project I have ever done in BBC R&D, have been done with an external organisation of some kind. Information security love me, as I use tools which have collaboration baked in. They must have a fit every-time I try something new but I do take security seriously and struggle through end user licence agreements to understand whats really going on.

Literacy, language and memory

This is the stuff everybody thinks about when they think about dyslexia but there’s other elements which you may not think about. Consistent with most dyslexics my short term memory is bad. Trying to remember a phone number, ip address or email is a little nightmare. I changed my voicemail to reflect this issue.

Reading out-loud from a book or text is a nightmare I don’t have to visit too much since leaving school. Sometimes I forget the problem till I get up and start reading. For example I read a chapter from my book in a get together and the feelings of trying to do it came flooding back. Its the reading and speaking outloud, its not being in front of a small number of people or talking. I do that all the time and learned to ditch speaker notes and find my own style which just happens to be best practice for presentations.

Learning a different language is painful to say the least. I don’t know if its a dyslexic trait but I have such a hard time trying that it seems almost pointless. Thankfully the technology has my back, as I found out in Tokyo.

The future is intangible

I am seriously blessed to born in a age where whats in your head isn’t a sign of intelligence. However not everybody has got the message yet.  The nature of business has changed and being authentic and collaborative is key. Its also very clear a diverse workforce is better than a monolithic workforce.

I met a woman once who wrote a academically sound paper as a series of videos. She passed her PhD with the series of videos and her fight to get it accepted is something I’m not unaccustomed to.

I’ve had to fight for many things in my life and to be honest I will never go down without a fight. Being dyslexic is a card which I was dealt and there are advantage and disadvantages. Especially when it comes to my social and love life…

Could I imagine life not being dyslexic? Heck no!

(To be continued soon…)

What conversations would you put in the national archives?

Chatting

Kate pointed me towards the BBC Radio 4 listening project which is touring and coming to Manchester in October.

The Listening Project is a partnership between BBC Radio 4, BBC local and national radio stations, and the British Library.

Capturing the nation in conversation

We are asking people up and down the country to share an intimate conversation with a close friend or relative, to help to build a unique picture of our lives today. Some of these conversations will be broadcast across BBC radio and archived by the British Library, preserving them for future generations.

I like the idea of this and funny enough I started listening to 33 Voices which reminds me of the sadly gone IT conversations.

There is something about conversations which are fascinating, its what made podcasts so raw and  interesting…

Nothing like a overheard conversation although there are ethics too, maybe its the reason why I don’t use headphones when in cafes and on standard class trains?

I look forward to hearing more and maybe even contributing to the project in some way.

Time to be creative, BBC Microbit

The BBC has had a bit of rough ride recently especially in the press and with the 600 million they have to take on and the cuts announced.

With all news stories like this, its easy to feel and think the worst. But its important to be positive and think about the way forward. The BBC must innovate and be creative about what happens next.

Talking about creativity, the BBC Microbit project finally was launched and it was great to finally see the concluding chapter to BBC Micro. I’d love to see a micromen style tv show about the many many years of getting this project to launch. So many people were involved in the process and they must all be proud to finally see the project come to this stage.

Ant's talk on 'BBC Micro for the 21st Century

I still remember Ant Miller’s talk about the BBC Micro for the 21st Century at BarCampBrighton3 which Rain blogged. I’m not saying that was a turning point or anything but was one of many many people trying to make the BBC understand its essential position in the 21 century by looking at its legacy with the old BBC Micro.

If I tried to list others it would go on for ever! I did 4 years ago create a mindmap of all the people doing something and influences, be interesting to look back at now. A few core people stick out in my mind when talking about this project

Michael Sparks, Howard Baker and Jo Claessens. These 3 people are deservingly front and centre of the microbit shot above. For me personally they put their blood, sweat and tears into the BBCmicrobit. They pushed and pushed, and made it work. They are embryonic of what the BBC needs to do now and into the future! A future which of course will be open!

Of course I can’t help but mention Alan O’Donohoe, which had little to do with the BBC microbit, but  following the BarCampMediaCity BBC Code lab stunt and momentous rise upwards, had a (mainly) positive external influence. Very interesting to hear and read some of the blogs and opinions back in 2012.

The BBC Microbit is a long list of creative things only the BBC could do. Its great to finally see the positive and negative feedback but ultimately the biggest critics will be the  year 7’s who use it this coming September.

The BBC needs to keep knocking it out the park and build a better future for us all.

10 years since the London 7/7 bombings

Evening Standard 7/7/05

Its hard to imagine all the things which have happened since the day I rode my scooter into the BBC Worldservice at Bush House. I remember driving along with Sarah on the back and being overtaken by about 10 police cars and in one hell of a rush. I was near Waterloo and I thought something isn’t right.

By the time I got into work, everybody was standing around watching the tvs. Nobody quite knew what was actually going on, but I remember not being able to leave for our own safety by about 1030.

As like now, I was a keen blogger and I blogged things I heard and read at the time.

Most of the links go nowhere but its really interesting to read out my thoughts following the everything which happened that day.

Well all I personally can say is, tomorrow I will be returning to work and will happily ride the train, tube or a bus. This terrible event points to the fact we helped America in the unjust war were still involved in, although a majority of people here were against it. I do worry that there maybe more attacks like this, but I wont let the fear take over my life in this wonderful multicultural city. The people who planed and executed the bombs are nut jobs and can claim to be of what ever religious background they want. But the fact remains that people who were killed and injured were of all faiths, religions, colour and background. Tomorrow we shall see both sides using the London blasts for there own means but also tomorrow we shall also see a city going back to work with its head up high. Yes I do sometimes love London.

Indeed! It was a scary time to be in London but really focused my views on the war and the government. 10 years later, I feel not much has changed in government I feel, actually its worst. My follow on blog also sounds angry and upset at the same time. Not sure if a year later I felt less upset or just more accepting of what happen? At least the video still exists on archive.org.

So sad to know peoples lives were lost and many many more people are still affected by the result of the ideology of a few nut jobs.

What do neural networks dream?

Neural net dreams

Neural net “dreams”— generated purely from random noise, using a network trained on places by MIT Computer Science and AI Laboratory.

James at work pointed me in the direction of Google’s neural network project.

Artificial Neural Networks have spurred remarkable recent progress in image classification and speech recognition. But even though these are very useful tools based on well-known mathematical methods, we actually understand surprisingly little of why certain models work and others don’t. So let’s take a look at some simple techniques for peeking inside these networks.

We train an artificial neural network by showing it millions of training examples and gradually adjusting the network parameters until it gives the classifications we want. The network typically consists of 10-30 stacked layers of artificial neurons. Each image is fed into the input layer, which then talks to the next layer, until eventually the “output” layer is reached. The network’s “answer” comes from this final output layer.

The results are right out of a trippy dream or a hallucination.

Inceptionism: Google goes deeper into Neural Networks

What is the imdb party game?

A Shot, Anyone?

I played this game yesterday night at a party and thought it was worth writing up because I couldn’t find it anywhere. I’ll have to credit either Mike, Karolina,  Steve or Sharon for the party game.

The game works like this…

  1. Everybody sits in a circle with their mobile phones. One player  (the loser from the last round) picks a film from imdb.com. announces the film title and year to the circle.
  2. Everybody else types the predicted imdb rating of the film announced into their calculator app or write it down on paper.
  3. Once everybody (except the player who announced the film) is done, rating predictions are revealed to everybody around the group
  4. Highest and lowest are noted and the player who announced the film reads out the actual imdb rating.
  5. The player with the furthest rating from the imdb rating loses and needs to drink a shot of vodka. The loosing player then goes on to pick the next film in the next round.

Other rules…

  • Cheating by looking up the imdb rating is punishable by a double shot of vodka.
  • Players can challenge the player who announced the film title if its too obscure. That player must read out a description and the top actors in the film. If nobody recognises the top actors, another film must be picked.
  • If there is a draw of any kind, the players in the draw have to guess the rating of a sequel or prequel. If there is no such thing, a related film must be found.

Variations…

  • While people choose their rating, the film picker can read out the first public review, a quote or piece of trivia. Film covers can be shown of theme music played.
  • Vodka can be substituted for any other spirit or any other forfeit

My 5 years since party speech

Thanks to Josh for recorded my slightly drunken speech at my 5 years since BBQ/party.

I wish I’d thought about it as there would be some stuff about the secret of luck, self confidence, pushing boundaries and breaking social norms.

Thank you to everybody who turned up and made it up to Manchester. It was a blast and I’m so humbled how many people made it, even for a short while.

Thank you all again!!!!

Thoughts and ideas of a dyslexic designer/developer