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

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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.

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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.

Is slack actually a roach motel?

Trello into Slack via IFTTT

I have mixed feelings about Slack. Its good but I worry about the deadend nature of it. A clear sign of this is IFTTT’s recipes involving Slack. Every single recipe has Slack as the output (action), not a single one has Slack at the input (trigger).

This is the notion of the roach motel or walled garden, right?

I have been looking at alternatives; before anybody starts; YES I know IRC, yes I have used IRC in the past and more recently. I get it but I always find it not a great environment, especially for modern work, due to the obscure never-changing syntax and behaviors. I also know people who use slack via IRC and I have tried using Slack with a Jabber/XMPP client but its painful for anything but talking to individual people I found.

I looking at others and found…

But recently someone suggested trying Telegram groups and channels. Then using existing tools like Trello, Google Docs, etc.. for permanence? This may run back to the small pieces loosly joined way of working, which isn’t so attractive. But allows for diversity of uses, clients and services. Dare I say something to think about when thinking work 2.0?

Part of my worry is slack trying to be the end point for everything. Its seductive and easy like Facebook is, but scratch one of the sides and you find the walls are more concrete than expected. Yes there are permalinks, bots and markdown content but it feels very hidden?

Government’s response to the second referendum

 

Brexit
I fianlly got to see the orginial in Bristol just recently

 

I signed the much talked about petition,“EU Referendum Rules triggering a 2nd EU Referendum;” a while ago and finally it was debated…

The response is…

The European Union Referendum Act received Royal Assent in December 2015, receiving overwhelming support from Parliament. The Act did not set a threshold for the result or for minimum turnout.

The EU Referendum Act received Royal Assent in December 2015. The Act was scrutinised and debated in Parliament during its passage and agreed by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Act set out the terms under which the referendum would take place, including provisions for setting the date, franchise and the question that would appear on the ballot paper. The Act did not set a threshold for the result or for minimum turnout.

As the Prime Minister made clear in his statement to the House of Commons on 27 June, the referendum was one of the biggest democratic exercises in British history with over 33 million people having their say. The Prime Minister and Government have been clear that this was a once in a generation vote and, as the Prime Minister has said, the decision must be respected. We must now prepare for the process to exit the EU and the Government is committed to ensuring the best possible outcome for the British people in the negotiations.

So that’s it… it’s looking even less possible that the EU ref will be undone.

The nightmare is real.

The dream is real

We opened Pandora’s box and now have to deal with the negative consequences which will come in one form or another… Very fitting is the annaology of panadora box with the EU Referendum, I feel.

Today the phrase “to open Pandora’s box” means to perform an action that may seem small or innocent, but that turns out to have severely detrimental and far-reaching negative consequences.

 

Why Ade should be at Mozfest

I had a read of Adewale’s blog about Cargo cults and progressive web apps stores. While reading it, I thought this is perfect for the Mozfest space we are crurating this year. The tale of two cities: dilemmas in connected spaces.

What Ade is tackling is the notion that app stores or the walled gardens are bad and more native fuctionality is heading out on to the web. He ponders if this is a good thing or not?

I know the recent Web USB draft certainly got a few peoples noses out of joint; for good reason to be honest, especialy on security grounds. However I’m personally not convinced by the legacy background Adewale mentions.

It’s easy to forget that app stores emerged as a response to the difficulties of dealing with carriers to get your content ‘on deck’getting your apps preinstalled and the extremely closed nature of that ecosystem.

Yes that was then and this is now. I clearly remember the pain of installing apps on my PocketPC devices. It was painful and clearly early adopter like myself were the only ones who would put up with it. However legacy isn’t a good reason to back an closed garden model?  Its a call card for the open web right? I mean Adewale’s reasoning is good…

  • give an obvious place to find apps that have particular functionality (try searching for “games that don’t need wifi” in the Play Store)
  • give developers an obvious place to find large numbers of users.
  • give developers a structured mechanism for exposing the features of their app so that users can filter the set of available apps for apps that have those features.
  • give users an obvious place to review apps.
  • give developers an obvious place to accrue reputation for their apps.
  • give platform vendors a place to assert policies that drive developer behaviour.
  • give every app on a platform a canonical URL ( for example here are iOS and Android URLs for the same game).

But its merly a step in the right direction, and to be fair most these features are just merely cracks in a flaw model of the walled garden or the garden trying to emulate the web? However I do also think there are lessons which can be learned from them.

Instead of ‘cargo culting‘ the app stores we should be asking what web-centric solutions to the problem would look like. For me that means lots of competing and opinionated PWA directories rather than one central PWA Store or even a popular search engine.

This is the start of not only a good workshop at Mozfest, but also the start of a good exhibit/experience/dilemma. He (or someone) really needs to submit a proposal for Mozfest before August 1st.

Films you may have missed 2016

Here’s some films which I watched recently, which seemed to sneak under the cover for what ever reason. All worth watching at least once… I kept the spoilers to a minimum but there might be slight light spoilers, which you can get by reading the description of each film pretty much.

The Escort

The Escort

This film puts a spin on the pretty woman thing, it could be seen as the anti-pretty woman film. Our heroine/Natalie is smart, quick thinking and knows what needs to be done. Shes very practical about everything, which is kind of refreshing. You could draw parallels with the girlfriend experience but it’s much more fun and doesn’t take itself so seriously.

Interestingly all the men in this film seem to be a little dim, at least in comparrison to Natalie.

Eye in the sky

Eye in the sky

If you haven’t seen this film you are missing out on quite a intense film. The premise is simple, do they launch a targetted drone attack on a house in Kenya? One with a known terrorist that has been confirmed. But it’s complex and gets more complicated as time goes on, the exact thing you don’t have time! The pace and suspense in the film is great.

Everybody involved do a great job portraying the decision process and you can feel the tension in the air. It’s also one of Alan Rickman last films before he died.

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The Lobster

I have no words to explain the Lobster except if you liked I heart Huckabees, you will be in good company here. It’s kinda crazy but being very into how people date find it hysterical. There’s also some deep rooted messages about societys push to bring people together and not being complete without someone else. You can never be happy alone, well if you are; you get turned into a animal.

Very weird film you have been warned!

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Victoria

I saw this late one night and was kinda gripped. To be fair the first time I saw it, it was German language with no Engliah subtitles. The English parts had subtitles in German; it was quite unique from a outsiders point of view.

Victoria is a Engliah woman working in Berlin and goes out one night alone (as I have done many times). She understands a basic amount of German to get the basics done but she meets up with 3 men that night. They have an experience like no other. My instant thought was she was in danger of being attacked or worst. I kept saying “go home, leave, turn back.” What actually happens is on the verge of crazy, and makes me think hummmmm next time I go wondering the streets of Tokyo, San Diego, NewYork, Bucharest maybe I should be a little more careful?

Good film, highly recommend trying it first time without english subtitles to get the full effect of being in Victoria’s position. Being daze and confused about what they are saying; will add a lot, even if you know a bit of German.

Room

Room

This film was quite popular so I won’t be surprised if you already seen it. Imagine living in a small room for you’re whole life! Not being able to leave ever and having a young child which has never known outside that room. Its quite a unbelieveable story but its the detail which drives the drama. Can’t really think of a film like it really except maybe 10 cloverfield lane.

Even lambs have teeth

Even lambs have teeth

I’m not a horror fan (not because I’m scared of them but I don’t jump at scary bits and find gore just boring) however, I found even lambs have teeth more thriller with horror elements. Its a basic plot but it kinda reminds me of kill bill and falling down in the second part. Revenge is certainly served and it’s vicious!

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Knock knock

Temptation is killer and a bit like Victoria, you are wondering where things are going. I guess unlike that film, most people (mainly men) will be saying keep going. What the hell, what difference does a night make? Well the results of that are shocking. Yes its drama but on another level.

Good reminder to keep you’re wits about you, not cave into temptation and bloody think! When you know its going to drop you into the deep end, just stop and think! This is the lambs have teeth type crazyness without the gore.

We are your friends

We are your friends

I won’t lie it’s hated by many but I just found the film great for focusing on dj and dance culture. It’s certainly no Kevin and Perry go large but it’s not going to be a classic like human traffic. Maybe it’s more like groove crossed with the drama of go.

The characters are a little wolly but it doesn’t matter as the music speaks for everybody in this movie.

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Race

Such a great film and Jesse Owens story is so amazing. Facing the racism from the germans is one thing but also from your own nation and team mates is hard to take. Its crazy to remember even in 1936, there was such vicious racism in the states. If you are not outraged, sadden and uplifted by the end of the film, you need to check your human attributes (no spoilers). It is an incredible story and told extremely well in this film. Do not miss this, its one of my films for 2016.

Also don’t forget my beautiful broken brain, which I have wrote about previously

Nostalgia is the enemy of progress?

Nostalgia: Nostalgia Shelf

I first heard this on the psytech podcast, as I’ve been thinking about the reasoning behind family members decision to leave the EU. As you’d expect its been said many times before and it seems Steve Jobs certainly wasn’t a fan.

Don’t get me wrong nostalgia has its place, but starting to wonder if its has a lot to blame for a lot of the ills of the world? Without saying so, I realise my argument following the study of how men prefer women who are not smarter than themselves; is entwined with this.

I understand, it’s very comfortable and it clearly makes people feel better in a forever changing world; conjuring up positive memory and providing that boost of positivity.

participants who were induced to feel nostalgic also expressed more optimism of the future.  This optimism is related to two other factors.  First, nostalgia makes people feel more socially connected to others.  This social connection boosts people’s positive feelings about themselves.  That increase in self-esteem then increases feelings of optimism.

This set of studies suggests that nostalgia can play a beneficial role in people’s lives.  When times are tough, it may seem as though things may never get better.  By focusing on positive times from the past, though, people may help themselves to be more connected to others, which can give them the resources to be more optimistic about the future.

Later on we go on to find the numbers not so great and context had a lot to play in this all.

But back to the question, is nostalgia getting in the way of progress? It seems maybe depending on too many factors.

My father likes watching old rerun shows. If it wasn’t for flicking between the news at 6pm and my mother’s enjoyment of soap operas, the TV might stay on ITV3 all the time (for those outside the UK, wikipedia describes ITV3 as a channel mainly aimed at the over-35 audience, and much of its output consists of reruns of older ITV drama series and sitcoms). It does wind and worry me a little. But I understand the nostalgia factor.

However I catch myself doing the same too. How many times have I watched Inception, Trance, Interstellar, etc? It’s not much different really, is it? or is it?

For all the films I do re watch, there’s a ton of films/tv I try to watch. Heck I have given some dog horrible films a try including sextape, tapped outthe do over, pressed, taking stock (although I did find it slightly funny and the stunning Kelly Brook stars in it)… I’ll have to check trakt.tv but the percentage of new to re-watches is quite high, from some rough and bad spreadsheet messing for 30mins on a train…

Out of a pool of 1540 films (going back to 2011!) I watched 1749 films. The average seems to be 0.6666666667? I very much realise my maths skills are pretty rubbish for this stuff, but if I was watching the same thing over and over again, it would be a much higher number. I was actually surprised at the high numbers of new vs re-watched.

Yes this is just media and I guess you could run the same thing with places I go to drink, work in the northern quarter, have brunch, etc, etc… Although most of us think of this as familiarity rather than nostalgia?

Nostalgia creeps in with culture of course. I already wrote about my feelings spending time in Japanese society and many thoughts Sherry Turkle has about the influence of technology in our lives. Its far too easy to say…

Well we use to easier… to get a job for life in the past”

You use to be able to… leave your front door open”

I prefered it when… you could smoke while you worked”

Is this toxic? Its hard to say. But I certainly try to stop myself or caveat what I’m about to say, when I feel it coming up.

But I’m drawn because I’m also very aware we should also look to history to stop making the same mistakes again and again. Remember what a divided europe use to look like?

Our embarssment is destorying people’s lives

I just posted a blog about undressed which I tagged #nsfw, as I recognise certain people will find the whole premise a little difficult to stomach? So because of this, I thought I’d post a blog I have had as draft for a long while.

Sex works rights… Why?

It’s the injustice which winds me up. Like the debate around Ecstasy, I haven’t got any skin in the game (if there was a better word I’d use it) but I can see the logical conclusion without social/societal bias.

The idea of sex workers is something which makes people go red. run away or ignore the whole thing. It’s frankly shocking and so crazy that we haven’t grown up enough to talk about this in a practical way. I mean there are many peoples lives at risk simply because we go all red when thinking about sex.

There are sorry parallels with the sorry state of sex education in schools.

Everyone has an opinion about how to legislate sex work (whether to legalize it, ban it or even tax it) … but what do workers themselves think would work best? Activist Toni Mac explains four legal models that are being used around the world and shows us the model that she believes will work best to keep sex workers safe and offer greater self-determination. “If you care about gender equality or poverty or migration or public health, then sex worker rights matter to you,” she says. “Make space for us in your movements.”

Valerie Scott always wanted to be a sex worker and has extensive experience in her chosen profession. She is a founding member and legal co-ordinator of Sex Professionals of Canada, a sex worker rights organization. She has been a passionate advocate for her colleague’s human, civil, and legal rights for the past 30 years. She has testified at Canada’s Senate and at several Parliamentary committees. She has spoken at numerous community meetings, colleges, universities, and conferences about the humanity of sex workers and the need for full decriminalization of adult sex work.

Both are powerful talks, and well worth watching. Deep down it’s about the rights of people to live a life without violence, fear and shame.They both talk about New Zealand which  decriminalised sex work and rejected the legalisation model used in Sweden. The reasoning is very sound and very enlighten.

Hopefully more countries will follow suit or at least try (similar to the legalisation of drugs maybe?) because right now the whole sex work industry sounds like a total mess. (just like the UK right now, to be honest) Too many people (mainly women) are caught in the middle one way or another. Frankly we all are letting down these people by simply not listening.

Get ready to get #undressed on 15th July?

Ok so I can safely say that thing I mentioned a few times and then went quiet on… (NDA’s , secrecy, etc). Undressed Is coming to the UK on Friday 15th July. As you can imagine and see, I took part in the experiment hence why I couldn’t say anything else about it, but now its got a transmission date.

Of course I still can’t tell everything but all will be revealed soon enough.

There is a blog I wrote on the train home which I’ll post once its gone out. But as I told the production team, I don’t watch TV much and never owned Sky, Cable or any subscription service since 1999 with ondigital. So I won’t actually get to see it live. I’m sure my friends and enemies will fill me in on all the details and I’ll be very aware of the spotlight effect, as I watch myself in the trailer (yes that is me..). It was quite an experience and one heck of a story to be told. But besides the blog I got more plans in store.

It’s interesting to watch the trailer, to see the range of other people they did experiment with. I was always told it would be different ages, different bodies, different genders, etc. So no lies there at least. Because the italian version certainly isn’t so representative.

Run a session in the tale of two cities at Mozfest

Global Village at Mozfest

The call for proposals is up and Mozilla are asking for diverse, interactive and workshops from the savvy public. This year the proposals can be in French, Spanish and Arabic. Also this year the theme in the physical area is the Tale of Two Cities

A tale of two cities

Dilemmas in connected spaces

This space will allow makers and learners to explore these dilemmas through a series of interactive experiences and mischievous interventions. Participants might nap on a squishy chair that generates sleep data; cook a snack in a connected kitchen where appliances only sometimes do as you say; and hack on IoT hardware.

The theme builds on 2014’s ethic dilemma cafe and raises the stakes by forcing people to consider the choices we all make during our digital and physical lives.

Are you a consumer or maker? Rather do your bit in the open garden or prefer the confort of a walled garden? Want everything free or rather pay what you like? Rather device automation or manuel control?

Each one of these have different factors and considerations, and we will let them play out as physical spaces. We’d love to see workshops which explored these types of decisions we make with our physical & digital interactions. There are many more we haven’t even considered, which I know you will…

Sessions don’t have to be super sketched out, we can work it up into something special together. You will also be able to see how we discuss and select sessions on Github, as we did last year. Radical transparancy could be a nice dilemma to explore?

You know what to do… Put in a proposal before August 1st

Thoughts and ideas of a dyslexic designer/developer