Whats it like to be a Airbnb host in Manchester?

AirBnB kinda sucks

Zoe pointed me to the medium blog One year hosting on Airbnb.

I thought was actually quite interesting, so I thought I’d do something similar but maybe less quantified.

I moved to Manchester 8 years ago and moved to my own flat 6 years ago. I bought a two bedroom flat mainly so I could have family & friends over without building a bed in the living room each time. Originally it was going to be my computer room complete with server and all type of tech. But I ended up putting a sofa bed in there and never really using it much. It was a bit of a waste to be honest, and I always felt a little bad about that.

As one of the earliest movers to Manchester from London as part of the BBC’s move to media city UK. I saw the potential for maybe renting my spare room to people moving up and finding their feet. Heck I’m right by Piccadilly station and they were building a new tram station by me (new Islington) making getting to media city easy as pie. There is a private Facebook group for movers and I kept an eye on that for potential people.

There was quite a few people doing the same and they would list their places on spare room and elsewhere. I was going to do the same but never around to it. I didn’t really want someone for months at an end because I wanted the flexibility if a friend wanted to stay over. I had previously had a flat mate (Tim) and he was great (saving my life and all) but I said to him that I was going to live mainly alone. It was something I just needed to do

I had heard of airbnb but thought of it like couchsurfing which another friend (Dave) had used a lot. It was somewhere between needing to put my spareroom somewhere to show people on the Facebook group and half looking for a flat mate, partly from the guilt of not using the spareroom much. That make me actually look into it and ultimately put up the listing.

Skies above Manchester
Double in Manchester City Centre

My listing was very honest, maybe too honest. The photos are a little crappy and I didn’t stage anything (no ironing of the sheets, photo retouching, etc). I also didn’t use a wide angle lens like airbnb’s photographers do. Nope the room is small but has a proper double bed, some draws and a mini wardrobe. I decided the biggest selling points of the flat was the separate bathroom (I tend to use my on-suite for everything), the amazing views, its location and my flexibility. This is why I made the first photo a sunset from the living room. I keep thinking I need do better about the photos but frankly i’m happy with the little extra money and I’m not doing it to get rich (unlike some people)

On that front, I actually add restrictions to put certain people off.

  • You can not book my room on the day. I had enough of last-minute requests and frankly the kind of people putting in the request seemed a little sketchy. The weirdest one is a man who wrote a message like I had already accepted his request, he wanted to know where to go to meet me!
  • I always get into a conversation with the person. If I get a bad feeling I make an excuse and reject their request. I need to know they are coming to Manchester for a purpose not doss at mine, eat my food (there is a story there) and drink all my cocktail spirits.
  • I wouldn’t do instant book, for the reason above I don’t use instant book, I need to get a feel of who the person is. I’m also ruthless with checking their previous bookings, social media profiles and offline ID. My bare minimum acceptable is a verified phone number, email, at least one social media profile. I need a good photo of the person and one or two positive reviews. If no reviews I’d need to know they have done the offline ID check. It’s off-putting but it’s my home and I want to know exactly who they are. Also I checked with my insurance and this is important if Airbnb’s insurance doesn’t cut it and I need to use my own.
  • All guests need to go through verification. I turned this on because it made sense for me.
  • I charge over the recommended price. Airbnb has data on all the places similar to yours and how well they are doing. The algorithm then calculates a recommended price which will attract people and earn a good return. The problem for me is I don’t want a lot of people, I don’t need the room always in use. It’s optimised to get more people and thats not for me. It also requires you really change it quite a bit or rely on them changing the price. I swear a few times I seen the price go as low as 19 pounds a night, this is not workable for me.
  • I have a list of things which I’m allergic to which I have listed on my profile. The big one is no cooking baked beans in the flat. I can deal with almost anything else but I can’t have that in my flat. To be fair most hosts don’t let people cook, but I think thats pretty tight (imho) and unfair if you are there for over a week.

Some numbers. To date I have had a lot of enquiries for my spareroom (73, I took the time to respond to). Some months it’s every week some months I get nothing. I have had 15 people in the years I have been doing it. The average stay is about 3-4 nights and I mainly get males (unsurprisingly), but had a good number of females. If you count actual bookings, its not far off half. But its only because Caroline rebooked many times. My next guest is female. Exact earnings I do know because Airbnb does tell you but I’d rather not say, but it’s worth saying I did look up the maximum you could earn before paying excess tax and I am quite a way off. Paypal did think I was doing some money laundering and cut me off for a while, which was painful.

Most of my guests are from the UK but I’ve had a couple from the states and western europe. Once again if I was doing things by time, Portugal would be the biggest percentage by far with the UK second and America third. I don’t tend to get many people just wanting to party, mainly becasue of the restrictions I have put in place I believe.

Incidents? Nothing major my front door has been left open, somebody complained I didn’t have enough takeaway menus (I have none to be fair) and I have found something very surprising in the fridge one day.

I have heard of some real bad stories and to be fair my own experience in Japan does remind me how bad things can get. Also how tricky getting help out of Airbnb can be. I would do everything I can to fix things myself before embarking on getting help out of them. Although to be fair they have quickly modified peoples reviews when they break the guidelines (not deliberately or maliciously)

Positive experiences, I have many!

Catherine was the first woman who stayed at mine and she was wonderful, shes also the one who finally convinced me I should finally go to the ballet I was thinking about. Darren was so pleased about the place and was kind enough to let me cousin and friend stay in the living room while he was there. I don’t even know where to start with Caroline…

She certainly stayed the longest at just over 3 months but was a pleasure to be around. We had some great conversations and had a routine of watching the Affair together. She certainly became more like a flat mate than a airbnb guest which was fine, except I needed to redecorate my flat, which also involved storing stuff in the spare room. It was a shame to see her go, but things were not working out for her career wise too.

All of these people wrote me glowing reviews and gave me a lovely present to say thank you. Caroline even wrote me a number of lovely post it notes during the months, one still exists on my noticeboard. Will have to encourage more guests to do this after seeing Rehan’s book.

Having Vivid Lounge downstairs is incredible and always gets super high praises from guests, no wonder it was voted one of the best thai restaurant in Manchester recently. Most of my guests drop in there for drinks or food at some point. I’m actually writing this while sipping a coffee in Vivid, trying to get use to British Summer Time

I would encourage everyone who has a spare bed in their house to list their space on Airbnb (if that’s legal in your country). It’s a great way to boost the economy of a city/country because there are thousands of other tourists who like to visit different cities but are not able to do it because the hotels are too expensive.

As for me, I am deeply honoured to have been a host for the hundreds of guests who stayed at my apartment and gave me a chance to contribute to their first amazing experience of Amsterdam.

I would echo most of Rehan’s thoughts.

But I have to say you have to sensible about everything. I know friends who have taken on Airbnb and been unflexible or not willing to trust the person with keys, etc. Trust is a two way street and my faith in humanity is strong, but I’m not blinded by making huge amounts of money. This is the classic money clouding judgement/decision making process. Yes you could make quite a bit of money but you will end up taking more risky people and do you want the hassle of replacing stuff after someone decides to have a party in your flat with a bunch of friends or even people they met that night?

I know theres a lot of tension about Airbnb, especially with what Berlin did, others are sure to follow suit. Some of the Manchester flats management agents won’t allow Airbnb to happen within their flats. But as I said previously, we need to think differently about the people who are renting a whole apartment or house from those like myself who are renting their spare room or a sofa in the case of Rehan at first. Its a great way to meet different types of people and its always a interesting talking point in conversations, dare I say it could help make you interesting?

Best of Thinking Digital Newcastle 2016

Thinking Digital 2016 Newcastle

Yes I know its actually Gateshead but Herb Kim did call it TDCNCL after the newcastle train station short code? This also cuts out the confusion with Thinking Digital Manchester & London.

I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get to Gateshead for this years Thinking Digital as its harder to justify with the Manchester one right on my doorstep. But there is something about the venue and atmosphere in the Sage which just makes a already excellent conference, great! Hall 2 in the Gateshead Sage is compact but the arrangement of seats just makes everyone feel like part of the event. This year was different as this year Thinking Digital went ahead with the 1.5 day format. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work but it seemed to work…

The workshop on the first day kicked off procedings. I signed up to the clearing the air workshop which I felt could have some good tips for running workshops and meetings in a more formal manner.

I wasn’t disappointed as I came out with lots of different techniques for getting a constructive meeting for all. At one point, I asked a question of Alison and she got where I was going with it down to a tee. You mentioned neurodiversity and started to give tips considering a range of diverse people.

It was Saul Cousins I think, who said this workshop wasn’t his first choice but he was very glad he choose it as a second place. Because I got agreement to come at the last minute, I had less choices but I was very happy with what I got back. I also found parallels with what me and Marie had done at Thinking Digital Manchester last year. We all seemed to be hovering around the same ideas.

As usual I tend to pick out the best talks and give them credit.

Thinking Digital 2016 Newcastle

Mikko has spoken at Thinking Digital Newcastle a few times if I remember correctly and everytime I have nothing but praise for he talks. He’s got a endless supply of stories from the dark side of data security. This time he’s focus was on ransomware, this seamenly new type of crime. Seamenly because as Miko pointed out the AIDS malware was writen many years earlier and did the exact same thing.

During the end of his talk, I was also thinking about the lack of diversity in devices and services. This came after Mikko mentioned some ransomware which searches for Apple time machines and encrypts that too. I guess the job is made easier by most Apple users using the defaults? Easy of use or opionated design being exploited?

Lots to take away, but the main one being don’t click those links in emails (yes this was drummed home through-out the talk)

Thinking Digital 2016 Newcastle

Sarah I hadn’t actually come across before in real life but I was a little bit aware of her in passing through things I had read surrounding ethics of data, blockchains and idenity blogs. Herb set her up and she explained not only what a blockchain was but also why and where they are useful. It was a hard task but Sarah did a good job without getting too lofty.

I caught her briefly afterwards and said what a great job she had done and that we must get together and talk about the databox work, which I believed UCL are a part of. Hopefully next time I’m down in London and schedules work out.

Thinking Digital 2016 Newcastle

Edward is a drummer influced by the prodigy album Music for the Jilted Generation, who then wanted to create house music using drums. Yes it sounds kind of insane but true. I mean how do you bang out a consistent 130 beats per minute over the course of 4-8 minutes? Thats pretty serious before you even consider all the other stuff which goes into house music.

Luckily with the advances in technology, its become a lot easier to control more elements from any interface you are happy to use. Ed performed and showed how it all works. I was certainly bouncing my head around as he played.

Ed contuned the great legacy of music at Thinking Digital.

Thinking Digital 2016 Newcastle

James talk frustrated me mainly because Microsoft Bing seemed to be capturing contextual data but for the simple (I say simple but compared to more interesting uses) sake of a better search result. This wound me up because I’m sure I tweeted something like…

This is only half the puzzle.

This is something I’ll touch on in my presentation in Bucharest. You need both contextual data and adaptive narratives. Google’s effort to understand the semantic meaning behind web pages, allows them to adapt the search results. Hence I ask (regularlly in Manchester) “should I take my umbrella with me?” It knows where I am, knows roughly where I’m going and the weather report. Rather than send me a weather pre made weather report, it answers back with a tailor answer drawn from the data its understood.

I’m not saying this isn’t what Bing is also trying to do but it didn’t come across that way. I felt they were missing the bigger picture.

Thinking Digital 2016 Newcastle

Tom is usually the final talk but after 9 years doing many things including lighting his sweater on fire, coming back from the future and many other interesting antics. He injected his style of famous style of humour into the emoji debate.

Funny and enlighening? Thats Tom Scott.

Thinking Digital 2016 Newcastle

Katherine talked dispelled the crap (litterally) of whats going on in our gut. She talked about the microbiome and how it all worked. It was a good talk which honestly I hadn’t really considered or thougth about before. It was good to hear most fermented veg was as or even better than those probiotics yogurts which are all the rave now. More Kimchi and Miso is something I wrote into my mindmapped notes. Never really been a fan of those yogurts, always left feeling slightly sick.

The best image has the be the one below which sums up more than anyone would ever want.

Thinking Digital 2016 Newcastle

With Tom moved from his regular slot, I was wondering who could possibily end Thinking Digital on a high like previous years? Step forward MT Rainey OBE.

I knew nothing about MT, but it become very clear that she had worked with Apple and Steve Jobs in the very early days. I simply can’t do her talk any justice in my review as she covered many accounts of meeting Steve Jobs. She also touched on the multiple films including the latest one (steve jobs) and the Ashton Kutcher one (Jobs). She felt the latest one (Aaron Sorkin’s) was more correct but Micheal Fassbender got steve very wrong. He was more like Ashton Kutcher, which to be honest makes a lot of sense.

Lovely quote to consider in her talk about Steve Jobs…

Ideas are a powerful patient for a brand

And the observation about lack of woman in Apple and the movies

It was another great Thinking Digital and I got to give John Thorp, Irini Papadimitriou,Will Dracup and Joe Faith credit for some very good talks too. I believe all the talks can be now watched here.

The 1.5 day format worked, my only grumble is when I go to Thinking Digital Newcastle, I tend to take most of the week. This means I’m fully present in the conference, open minded to all the talks and thinking about the connections. With a day lost, I felt the need to get back into emails during my stay, when usually I would leave it to next week. But I do totally understand. So over all it worked…

My beautiful broken brain

I first heard about the documentary my beautiful broken brain via mindhacks. I then tracked it down and finally watched it. Lotje was 34 when she had the same kind of brain injury as myself. I ended up calling it #mybrushwithdeath.

Watching the documentary was unreal not only because there was so much I could relate directly to. The process of what she remembered and what she doesn’t really got me. I was in tears. There is absolutely no doubt I was incredibly lucky. The mix of reality and non-reality was frustrating to say the least, but I certainly didn’t have the big problem Lotje had with reading.

Some people will say why film it? Maybe the same people who asked why I would get on stage and do a TEDx talk about my experience? You only have to read the reviews to start to understand why, telling such a personal story is so important.

As a survivor of multiple strokes including a major hemorrhagic stroke in 1999 just 13 days after my 37th Birthday and a massive hemorrhagic stroke 2011 just before Christmas I can relate to the lady in this film, I went through and I am still going through a lot of what she had experienced from her stroke. I found this movie very good at explaining what we as stroke survivors are going through. I would highly recommend this movie to people who are interested stroke experiences and want to understand what we are going through because it is truly hard for us to explain to others what it is like to live life with our beautiful broken brains.

If I was to sum up the documantary, it would be the line from Lotje herself…

I’ve learned I’m strong, accepted my vurnability and focus on what matters…

Beautifully said…!

A step on the way to Diversity?

I understand why the Huffington Post, posted the picture of their editors meeting and to be fair they never actually said it was about diversity. But myself and others looked at it and thought a few things.

There seems to be a lack of black women at the table. To me this reflected the poor state of diversity in the tech sector generally. It almost seems like the 25-30% asian is right on in this picture too. Then you have the issue of them seeming to be middle class and most likely all from a similar class of university (I’m totally guessing and sure will be proven very wrong). Moss code, spells it out in a way I wouldn’t quite go as far.

The diversity in laptops might seem funny, but its indicates a deeper problem I keep seeing. The lack of diversity of thought, fear of individualism and group think. They might as well be wearing the same clothes and the same style hair. Its like those white ear buds, it went from I’m in the same club to a mass thing and you can’t possibily consider another colour. Sad but true

It might seem harsh and there is absolutely no disrespect to Liz Heron or the Huffington Post editors team. Honestly I could walk into most places and find far worst, but its important to note we have got a long way to go and I’m more welcoming to diversity which is not simply replacing one group with another.

It had to be said sorry…

Speaking at Bucharest technology week

Bucharest - Dâmbovița River

This week Thursday (26th May 2016), I’ll be speaking at Enterprise-IT Summit during Bucharest Technology Week, a celebration of the positive impact technology can have on our personal and professional lives. Its going to be at the Athénée Palace Hilton, in Bucharest.

I’ll be talking on the future of contextual and adaptive media. Something we are really understanding along with others, as you can see in this call for participation for a workshop on Monday 13th June.

You can browse the event agenda and full speaker line-up on the website.

I have never been to Romania or eastern europe till I went to Poland last year. but I am really looking forward to meeting all the great people involved in the digital & tech scene out there. Will be fun to testing their creative thinking in a little workshop following my talk on the same subject.

Mixed reality with compound documents?

WebVR-Logo

There is something quite exciting which i dont think most people have spotted. VR is nice and getting alot of attention recently. In theory, webvr could be more flexible that other vr engines because it’s the web; the browser’s are use to compound documents. While the other engines have to build all this stuff into their engines. My guess this might be the 2nd or 3rd reason why GearVR supports WebVR? It kinda already works in the lastest Firefox & Chrome, even works on Android Chrome (works for me without the dev version of Chrome, try it yourself)? Although polyfill might have some use here.

The nature of a compound document can enable multiple types of technology to be triggered from the same source. Say for example I could mix webvr with the geolocation api, orientation api and the webaudio api. Can you imagine the crazy experiences you can build with those things? I believe the JavaScript can run at the same time as everything else but this might be browser dependant.

It’s still a bit of a theory, but this could enable true mixed reality or (VisuoHaptic Mixed Reality if you must). Not that crappy stuff you currently see. Still like to see magic leap myself but to be honest Project foxeye interest me.

I’m looking to research this area with a bunch of smart people…

Classic Pebble meets OS 3.0

Late last night my pebble watch got a firmware upgrade to version 3.0 of the Pebble software. It required a reboot and the new pebble app on my phone. I have been wanting this upgrade for a long while since I first saw the timeline feature.

I’m very happy to say its a incredible interface for a smartwatch.

Take back your lunches

lunch

How long do you take for lunch?

Personally, I take a full hour…

I consciously take my full hour or sometimes a little more, to balance the amount of time I sometimes work (I quantify my work time with hamster time tracker, so know how much time I have worked)

I very rarely eat at my desk, although many of my colleagues do it regularly. To be fair I have mentioned eating at the kitchen table (we have communal kitchen tables on each floor) but they always blame meetings or not enough time.

Take Back Your Lunch. In the best of worlds, that’s something we all ought to do every day. At the very least, I want to urge you to take back your lunch on Wednesday, and then on every Wednesday this summer, wherever you are. To find out where people will be gathering – or if you’d like to organize a Take Back Your Lunch Meetup in your city or town

Sounds good to me, reminds me of some of the early breakfast meetups there use to be in London.

Alien intelligence like plant intelligence?

Future Everything 2016

I never got around to writing about the Future Everything conference which is a shame because it was another good conference with plenty of interesting topics and conversation. I really should share my mindmap which is full of interesting thoughts and ideas I picked up while listening to the various sessions.

In the intelligence section Darius Kazemi talked about the bots he creates and how they deliberately don’t have human characteristics. He then raised the question of what is intelligence which is always fascinating (I could spend a whole post just about that alone) but he then pleaded that we should stop trying to humanise them, referring to them as alien intelleigence.

When we are building artificial intelligences, whether they’re corporations or recurrent neural networks, we are building alien intelligences.

There was a bunch of good points like how can we programme them to be human if we don’t really know ourselves? There was also a really good discussion about the ethics, responsibility and diversity of the creator and what is created. This was explored much further by Lydia Nicholas and her work into ethical frameworks for data use.

But I found it interesting to read Matt Locke’s post pretty much saying a similar thing. AI like plants?

…I’m here to talk about a network of conversations that we can’t hear. The garden around us — blossoming fruit trees, thick borders, and fresh cut lawns — is also communicating, an ecosystem sharing information and competing for resources using a grammar and vocabulary that is completely alien to us. Wright thinks we can learn from the way plants talk to design better networks of bots — the intelligent agents that are being hyped as the way we’ll communicate with our tech ecosystems in the future. Instead of building bots like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa in our likeness, he believes the answer might be to stop trying to make bots behave like humans altogether.

It’s also interesting the parallels between Darius’s comment about not really knowing whats going on inside the complex neuronetworks we are generating and Matt talking with Tim about the science of plants communicate and it wasn’t till recently we could understand how this actually worked.

Both are worth listening and reading, then consider the parallels.

Accelerated intimacy & relationships?

There is something which happened last week, which I can’t talk about publicly (yet!). But it has me thinking quite a bit about accelerated intimacy and intense shared experiences.

It’s that swept of your feet feeling, which is amazing; but the question remains if it can turn into something more sustainable and longer running? I’m always reminded of that scene at the end of Speed (1994) with Jack (Keanu Reeves) and Annie (Sandra Bullock).

Jack: I have to warn you, I’ve heard relationships based on intense experiences never work.
Annie: OK. We’ll have to base it on sex then.
Jack: Whatever you say, ma’am.

Ooooeerr!

Blockchains for online dating?

Thinking Digital 2016 Newcastle

I was listening to Sarah Meiklejohn from UCL talking Blockchains at Thinking Digital Newcastle 2016. I tweeted an idea I’ve been thinking about for a while…

Blockchains for online dating… The crux of a blockchain or a distributed ledger is a way to encourage trust in a sensible networked way. Chris asked…

So here is some logic behind my thinking… I’m doing that dyslexic trait of having to reverse explain how I got to where I am at; although I recognise not the only one thinking about this.

There is a problem with online dating (not pointing to the white elephant in the room, as I have many times before); how do you know who you are contacting is really who they say they are? This has given rise to not only the 419 scams, catfishing but also sexortation scams. Also most of the research/hacking (amy webb/chris mckinlay) has been done through the loop-hole of people being able to just fire up (you can automate this, I’ve witnessed scripts) another profile.

There has been questions in the past why online dating sites haven’t done more to protect their users? Some of the Asian dating sites have started to verifiy their users, others are following, Tinder did so for celebs and even Badoo just launched photo vertification. Each is a very clunky solution and usually an after thought added on.

How about if you could see the interactions between the people on the dating site? There actions verify who they are, the patterns speak volumes. Want to send the same messages out to 1000 people, go ahead but we (all) will see. Currently that data is only accessible by the owners of the site/service. Would that be a step too far into radical transparency?

Would that influence the way people interact? Knowing the interactions (not the actual messages/content) were publicly logged and could be looked at by anybody in the site?

One of the things I quite like about OKCupid & POF is the notion of the visitor. basically you can see everybody (unless they are paid members and turn off the visitor option). I quite like this because it makes you more careful about who you click on and view, knowing they will see this too. But with a public ledger system, others could see this too. This would solve my issue when trying to find the most popular person on OKCupid and throws up the question Hannah Fry talked about in a TED talk about finding love with mathematics and I experienced at MOSI.

Too many steps forward? Ok how about we hide the end points, like in a traditional blockchain system. You don’t see the interactions but you do get stats about how many times that person has fired out messages, what kind of reaction they got, etc.

Basically blockchain or distributed network ledgers could tweak human behaviour slightly towards something more positive for everybody? It’s an idea but something I’d like to see tried at the very least, expecially because its a total wild west out there right now.

Some accountability for some of our actions, isn’t a bad thing I have to say.

The berlin airspace mix

berlin tv tower

Another mix, this time recorded mid-flight on the way back from Berlin yesterday. It actually lasts about the time of the whole flight. Its a mix of some tech-house with tech-trance. Straight out of the Pacemaker, not even normalised or anything. Its a odd bunch of tunes but mixed up and enjoyable to listen to.

  1. Afro-ride – Leftfield
  2. Flutes (Sasha remix) – Hot Chip
  3. Watch out (deep south remix) – Ferry Corsten
  4. Switch (Oliver Klein & Peter Jurgens remix) – Beckers
  5. Higher state of consciousness – Josh Wink
  6. Answering machine (album version) – Green Velvet
  7. Special K (timo maas mix) – Placebo
  8. Paper Jet – John Tajada
  9. Shoreside – Streetcleaner
  10. Jelly Tracks (Rippin & Drippin mix) – Oliver Klein
  11. Revolving Doors (club mix) – Ronski Speed
  12. Blood Angels (Chris Leibing mix) – John Starlight
  13. Rewind (Mikkas Remix) – Emma Hewitt
  14. Nine ways – JDS
  15. My Beat (Jan Driver mix) – Blaze
  16. Brush Strokes – Simon Patterson
  17. Whites of her eyes – Simon Patterson
  18. Out of the blue (progressive trance mix) – Future Breeze
  19. Suru (Marin Roth Electrance remix) – Super8 & Tab
  20. Moments – Dimension

Exposing online dating lies with burritos

dating-against-humanity-46-638

It started as a April Fools’ Day Prank but it may have exposed something they never talk about online dating. The truth that the matching algorithms are actually rubbish

Almost every major dating site (including several Burrit-oh took a swipe at in a press release) touts the importance of sophisticated matching algorithms. They’re praised as the most effective way to pair people based on some “deeper” measure of interests or personality that guarantee “real” compatibility.

But Burrit-oh? Well, it’s anything but sophisticated. The algorithm is as basic as it gets, and it’s built on the flimsiest of foundations, and yet… users are still hitting it off. This supports the finding, long promoted by social scientists, that matching algorithms aren’t really science – they’re just good marketing. Behold, the unbeatable power of the burritos.

Burrit-oh, exposes the fact that once you connect people around something (burritos, beards, film tastes, journey to work, type of phone, almost anything) they find interesting (social object style). The chances they will fall for each other; birthday paradox style as much as the custom expensive algoithms. Aka those custom algorithms most of the dating sites go on about so much is bollox and what are you paying?

Is a truly blind date a real thing?

Blind Date 2

Mr30notsoflirty recently wrote about The magic of a blind date, which I had some thoughts about. Too many to put in a tweet.

These days, blind dates have become a rare commodity. In an age of social media, it’s so easy to share a photo or run a little background check on Google or Facebook. You can’t even search on Tinder without judging someone based on your so-called FB friends.

A truly blind date has become an endangered species… you actually have to try hard to maintain that mystique, that surprise, the opportunity to meet someone you know nothing about…. with no judgments or preconceptions, just the excitement of the unknown.

I read this and laughed a little, only because I was about to go one hell of a first date. No idea who she was where she was from or anything. However I do get mr30’s main point, it’s easy and very tempting to Google the person. I mean why wouldn’t you? Knowledge is power right?

Yes its power but it certainly encourages creeping thoughts too.

There have been women who have googled me, as I tend to use cubicgarden for most things.

I tend to prefer the this me, love me or hate me; although I totally understand identity is fluid and in certain contexts you may want to adopt a different identity.

Anyway sometimes I find out they have made up their mind on something they have read. No chance to reply just see you later. It’s a shame for them really; this is why I’m a little more flexible about these things. Heck I have ignored somethings as I don’t want to judge too harshly, giving the other person a chance at least. I know most people are not like me. That’s why I’m sympathetic to what Mr 30 has written.

Serendipity is great (it makes us so feel alive, even if we are living it through others I guess) and that’s what makes blind dates exciting.

I’m hearing Mr 30, but question how blind the dates are there is a someone/something doing some filtering and matching on something. Even if random, each person usually want to know why they should go along. Even if it’s the verbal/written equivalent of “she/he/they are perfect for you.” (I could delve into the match maker expert/algorithms problem but won’t today).

Can you imagine, the opposite? “Well she/he/they are a random single person, it could work?” No neither can I…!

I once went on a first date purely on the notion the woman needed to fulfill a dating quota for a wager. Never met her before, never ever heard of her… But it was the connection with the sister, which I had met before; which had me convicted. Any member of this family must be worth a first date. And no I didn’t Google her… I should put that date up on dating yarns.

Was it truly/totally blind? Well I guess, most would say yes but there’s always something connecting or a relation. How strong that is dependant on the threshold of the people/end points. If we are talking about truly blind then that threshold needs to be zero… ha! Now that would be interesting. Although I know friends who have contacted people on OKCupid with the highest enemy percentage for kicks and giggles.

I contest, there never was truly blind dates, there’s always something which connects you. it’s just hope low your threshold can handle.

Pacemaker mix: Journey to Langworthy

A new mix which I did while heading to a friends house over the weekend (obviously in Salford). It was done while taking the tram and walking in a bit of rain. Another journey with pacemaker.

Hope you enjoy and thanks to raver_mikey for the photo on flickr.

  1. Moving Mojave – Orjan Nilsen
  2. Humming the Lights – Armin Van Buuren pres Gaia
  3. For the moment – Solid Stone
  4. Eternity (Darren Tate mix) – Orion vs Ayla
  5. Hello (Jerome Isma-Ae remix) – Above & Beyond
  6. Jump the last train (Vadim Zhukov dub mix) -Young Parisians Feat Ben Lost
  7. The Labyrinth (part one) – Moogwai
  8. Tomorrow 2006 (Jamx and DeLeo mix) – Dumonde
  9. Running up the hill (Jerome Isma-Ae remix) – Placebo
  10. Bulgarian (Signum remix) – Travel
  11. City of Light – LTN
  12. Intuition – Marninx Pres Ecco

Updated: I also included a remix of this mix using slightly different tunes but with a similar feel, called the Mediacity sunshine & snow remix. I used it as background music for my ride in the mountains recently.

  1. Breathe (Blake Jarrell Remix) – Anna Nalick
  2. Cobalt – Protoculture
  3. Eternity (Darren Tate mix) – Orion vs Ayla
  4. Hello (Jerome Isma-Ae Remix) – Above & Beyond
  5. Jump the next train (Vadim Zhukov Dub Mix) – Young Parisians Feat Ben Lost
  6. The labyrinth (part one) – Moogwai
  7. Running up the hill (Jerome Isma-Ae bootleg mix) – Placebo
  8. Rush Hour (no intro edit) – Armin Van Buuren

Thoughts and ideas of a dyslexic designer/developer