Covid: It was bound to happen

EU Exit platforms hackathon

I finally got Covid19, where from exactly? I gather somewhere in Brussels or else where on my travels. Its been a super busy few weeks and my immune system wasn’t exactly in top form with the shifting sleep patterns recently.

To be clear, I am ok. Its not mild like a bit of a cold but its also not a case of going to hospital. I’ve had my 2 shots of the vaccine and a booster late last year just as omicron took hold in the UK. But I was shocked when the 2 red lines appeared on the rapid tests which has always been one red line. To be fair 2+ years without catching Covid once is good going.

My symptoms are flu like hot/cold fever, lack of focus, lots of sleepiness and something I never knew about before Covid toe! (here is much more detail if you are interested including some awful pictures)

While in Brussels, I started feeling my feet blowing up with large bumps, sometimes it became a bit painful to walk with pace. I thought it was an allergic reaction because my fingers started getting something which I would class as hives and I couldn’t even wear my Oura ring on the usual fingers. That plus my lips felt puffy and everything felt super dry no matter what I added to them.

I did do a Covid test while away on May 8th and 14th both were negative but on the 16th it was positive. So my best guess is that my body was fighting off Covid ahead of time?

Because of this all, I’m taking time off to recover. Mainly watching films and TV shows and maybe a bit of reading. Nothing which requires a lot of focus & attention.

 

Mozilla/BBC Ethical Dilemma Cafe Manchester

Ethical Dilemma Cafe Manchester through the window

The Ethical Dilemma Cafe Manchester happened last week on Tuesday 26-Wednesday 27th April. It was quite something to build, prepare and experience.

Building on the ethical dilemma cafe in Mozfest 2014, we took the idea into a real working cafe complete with the public coming and going, but experiencing the dilemma.

When I say the dilemma, what do I mean? In 2014…

The café offered popcorn, juice, and smoothies not found anywhere else at the festival, but to enter the café, you had to cross a boundary that required a ridiculous data user agreement. As part of this agreement, your personal information would be plastered through the festival’s halls hours later. This experience was about getting out of a chair and experiencing the dilemma in a real, tangible way. Would you read the agreement in order to obtain a glass of juice? Ignore the agreement and quench your thirst in ignorant bliss? Or read the agreement and walk away, and try to find snacks elsewhere because the agreement was unacceptable?

While in 2022 with the changes in how mobile phones are less leaky about data and a ton of frankly new challenges (some are explored in our virtual mozfest 2022 session), we decided to explore both the QR code and personal data sharing problems.

People scanned a QR code, signed up to a fake cafe ordering system with their email or social media login. After that, they are forced to answer a question before being presented with a QR code which can be scanned for a hot drink (or looking at the very very long receipt, cold drinks). If you went for a second, third, etc drink you will get more and much more personal questions. We had 5 levels of questions and the single 5th question was deeply personal. Is the coffee really worth it

The Digital Skills Education did a very nice video explaining the concept in a short video.

Sometimes almost by random, the QR code would switch to a public rick roll (making clear you should be careful what you scan) but most of the time you get the webapp which will use any data used.

The biggest output being the questions and answers on a screen right on the cafe bar. Of course there were some intriguing answers to our questions.

I’m still wondering who wrote the answer with my name in it?

Coffee with strings screen in cafe
What do you value in a friendship? When Ian Forrester gives chocolate 😉

The Dilemma is just the start, as there was a whole number of talks, workshops and exhibits/interventions.

The reverse metaverse in action

On the exhibits end we had everything from the human values postcards by BBC R&D and is everybody happy by Open Data Manchester to Presence robots (reverse metaverse) to the Caravan of the future.

ICO talk designing the internet for children

Talks included Designing the Internet for Children with the ICO, Keeping Trusted News Safe Online with BBC R&D, Trustworthy AI – what do we mean when we say with Mozilla.

Northumblia workshop

Talks were kept to 15mins as it went out to the whole cafe and people were encouraged to take a table to keep the conversation going afterwards. In typical Mozfest style.

ICO workshop

Finally the workshops included Materialising the Immaterial with Northumbria University, Designing the Internet for Children with the ICO, Why might you personalise your news with BBC R&D, Common Voice / Contribute-a-ton with Mozilla.

On the first day we went long with our partners Open Data Manchester as we hosted their first meetup since the start of the pandemic. Mozilla’s VP Bob added a excellent talk to the meetup which was very well received.

Open Data Manchester meetup in the Ethical Dilemma Cafe

In the usual Mozfest style there was plenty of great moments for example when the traffic warden came to check out the Caravan of the Future.

The Caravan of the future attracts a traffic warden

There was plenty of interest in the reverse metaverse (presence bots), which was one of the projects which run through out the 2 days. Like the original ethical dilemma cafe, we wanted to expose people to work in progress rather than a museum, where everything is perfectly working. When they worked it really worked well.

The reverse metaverse

To get a real sense of the reverse metaverse / presence bot, I recorded Jasmine for a short while with a remote person.

The number of algorithm bias projects was also of much interest including  The Shape of Trust, The Entoptic field camera and Does it really understand me?

Does it understand me?

Does it understand me, is a speech to text system trained using the similar/same algorithms as the Amazon Alexa. It was so weird to see how when it got the wrong word, it guessed with something so strange. Like Deliveroo and Kindle?

Having the public come into the space was a positive, as many of the regulars popped in and end up going to a workshop or checking out a few of the interventions. Even better was having the staff of the feel good cafe joining in and enjoying the event. There’s a few times, when I overheard people asking what was going on and then the staff suggesting checking out the loom, human values postcards, etc.

The concept really came together well over the two days. Its something which will come back in other forms. Keep an eye out for future iterations of the ethical dilemma cafe soon.

Coffee and Dilemmas in Manchester

Massive thanks to everyone involved in the Ethical Dilemma Cafe, so many people from the Mozilla Foundation, who took over a hotel in the northern quarter (it was so strange seeing people I usually see on Zoom or in London only 10mins away from my home), all the partners who took a leap of faith with the concept bringing their research and passion to the cafe. The cafe and the amazing woman (can’t remember her name) who really went with the concept. All the people who helped promote it and encourage others to join us over the 2 days. My colleagues who pulled out a number of stops to make things like the coffee with strings, reverse metaverse bots, etc. All amazing along with the talks and workshops, which nicely fitted with our partners. Thanks to the security guard who worked 2 full days and his presence was just right. Finally thank you to all the people who traveled sometimes from quite far to make the event, because without you there would be no ethical dilemma cafe.

There is likely people I have forgotten and I have deliberately not named anyone in-case I miss anyone by name. But I thank everybody especially Sarah, Lucie, Jasmine, Marc, Henry, Iain, Julian, Sam, Laura, Paul, Jesse, Bob, Steph, Lianne, Jimmy, Bill, Zach, Michael, Juliet, Georgina, Todd, Charlie, etc.

Go watch: Everything, Everywhere, All At Once

Everything everywhere all at once
Everything everywhere all at once, on the IMAX screen and opened by the directors

I had the absolute joy and pleasure of watching Everything, Everywhere, All at once preview at the IMAX in Leicester Square. Finally after much delay, although it officially comes to the UK May 13th.

There is so much I can say about the film but I gave it 8/10 because its truly incredible. Not only is the multiverse and quantum science really interesting in it, not only is the film a genuinely different from everything out there, heartfelt (Its super touching in parts) but also funny as hell (absolutely hysterical in parts, and doesn’t take its self too seriously).

I’d love to talk about it but don’t want to spoil it.

Honestly go watch it on the biggest screen you can! Watching it in the IMAX (it was formatted for IMAX) in row C (I know it was insane but fitting for the insanity which was unfolding) it was just full on!

You might also note in the picture above both directors opened the preview, which was a total shock because I knew the BFI IMAX in Waterloo had a Q&A with the director’s (the Daniels) but this was a big surprise!

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (May 2022)

This land is your land

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed reading about the not well known dangers of databrokers, likewise the surprise? inequality effects everyone, and hearing the details of Facebooks paid smear campaign,

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with the power of community, Reddit’s /place working together and different ways to do notifications.


Community door deliver fills in gaps

Ian thinks: This reminds me of the community WiFi initiatives, which filled in the gaps of big internet companies which refused to support smaller communities. However I can see these growing, with the backlash against generic speedy delivery systems.

The metaverse’s architecture is simply lazy

Ian thinks: In my recent Mozfest session about the metaverse vs public service internet. I was highly critical of repeating the same mistakes of the physical world in the virtual world. I’m not the only one.

Lessons for a metaverse

Ian thinks: On a similar note, there are plenty of lessons for virtual space creators, but I wonder how many are actually paying attention?

P2P fashion renting, focuses on the community

Ian thinks: Not my usual interest but shrinking fast fashion’s carbon footprint is interesting. However its the community focus and peer 2 peer model which elevates it into this line up this month. Expect this business model to be duplicated over and over again.

Sunshine technology

Ian thinks: This BBC Click episode is focused on solar technology and there are some impressive developments. The limits are made clear but frankly I’m reconsidering my next pair of headphones.

Channel 4 sell off shows the misunderstanding of public service business models

Ian thinks: Much has been written about the recent announcement to sell off Channel 4 but the misunderstanding of the business model of Channel 4 isn’t just embarrassing but shocking that people assume the model is one way.

Leap frogging with 3D printing and communities

Ian thinks: I always liked the idea of leap frogging in tech but things tend not to stick unless there is influence from governments or a ground swell of community support.

Secrecy as a means of monetization?

Ian thinks: The joy of tinkering, making, and sharing is part of the human condition. In modern times, this creative freedom too often is stifled by secrecy as a means of monetization – from non-compete laws to quashing people’s right to repair the products they’ve already paid for.

Twitter is not a digital public space

Ian thinks: The whole Elon and twitter saga is simply boring, and I do not buy Elon’s idea of Twitter being the public square. Paul’s piece sums up some critical thoughts around this all.


Find the archive here

What do you value most in a friendship?

Question on screen. Question: What do you value most in a friendship? Answer: When Ian Forrester gives chocolate ;-)
Question: What do you value most in a friendship? Answer: When Ian Forrester gives chocolate 😉

Seen completely out of the blue while in the Mozilla/BBC Ethical Dilemma Cafe last week. I had to do a double take when I saw my name.

Question: What do you value most in a friendship?
Answer: When Ian Forrester gives chocolate 😉

The screen was part the ethical dilemma, where people use a QR code to register for free hot drinks but in return they need to answer personal questions getting more and more personal/intrusive the more hot drinks you have.

Do I know who wrote the answer?
Actually I do not, but I have a small number of people who I do think it could be…

Ethical Dilemma Cafe Manchester through the window

Look out for a full blog post in the next few weeks.

Is BeReal as ethical as it says?

I am super skeptical of any new social network claiming to be more ethical.

These days social media seems to be full of pictures that have been filtered, photoshopped or altered in some other way. But that’s not the case with BeReal, which is all about sharing an unaltered snapshot of your life in real time.

That means no filters, no editing, just an authentic look at what users are doing at any given moment. Wrinkles, messy hair, smudged makeup (assuming you’re wearing any at all) is all on show for your followers to see. The real you, in other words.

Its a interesting idea but I do wondering about the public shaming and nudging part of the app to get you to post on the app’s schedule. Something to consider…

Its going to be a busy few weeks again

Ethical Dilemma Cafe Manchester through the windowIts been a very busy few weeks and theres little let up heading into May.

I noticed I haven’t blogged for a while. Not out of choice, its just been a super busy time.

Between the creation of the ethical dilemma cafe in Manchester, developing the adaptive podcasting app and web creator (more on this soon), suffering with a cold (not covid, I even got my first PCR test just incase the 4 rapid tests were all wrong), my birthday and dating an amazing woman (now my partner).

Of course I’m ok but its amazing how things I use to do all the time like booking trains, hotels, flight, etc have become more tricky than in the past. In the coming month I’ll be in London, Bristol, Newcastle/Gateshead (for the covid delayed Thinking Digital conference), Brussels (for the Exit platforms hackathon) and maybe even Amsterdam (for the in person Publicspaces conference #2). I’m also trying to go by train when ever possible!

My sleep cycle has become a bit of a mess and things keep pushing earlier starts into my calendar. If I could show a graph of my quality of sleep, sleep length, weight and effectiveness… It would be so telling.

I’m keeping a eye on this all and have a holiday booked for Lisbon. Not using my airline credit which was a total con for short haul flights. Ultimately I had to pay a large fee from the airline credit and I was able to book with another airline for cheaper than the fee! What a joke!

So in the next month, expect more quiet time while I work things out and relax in between. I really hope to sort out the webmontizated DJ mixes and heck even do some more mixes, as the incidental contact high is great but its time for a new mix. Good thing about traveling is more time for mixing.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (April 2022)

 

EULA for the Ethical Dilemma Cafe

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing Apple’s lack of regard for the Dutch ACM, understanding the motivations of young people hacking now and people being reminded about cafe working etiquette

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with people dumping their smartphones along Cloudflare providing a free webservice firewall and Twitter joining TOR


Mozfest Ethical dilemma cafe Manchester tickets are now live

Ian thinks: Understanding the ethical dilemmas we face every day online has always been difficult to explain the harm. Putting them into physical spaces really brings home the dilemma. If you are in Manchester in late April, grab a free ticket and join us.

Rallying call for a equitable digital public space

Ian thinks: Reading this piece, I couldn’t help but think about the digital realm with the ever growing divide between rich/poor. Not only with money but time and knowledge The digital divide is live and sadly growing..

The inspiring documentary about internet life for young people in the Netherlands

Ian thinks: I was able to watch the whole documentary at Mozfest this year and was impressed with the different methods used by parents and young people working with the current internet.

Who is really looking at the infrastructure of a metaverse?

Ian thinks: Found via this years Mozfest while talking about the metaverse vs the public service internet. The folks at Matrix, are building a truly interoperable infrastructure for a real metaverse.

WordPress is the dark matter of the web?

Ian thinks: This good interview with Matt Mullenweg, WordPress founder and so much more. Really makes clear how wordpress is not only greatly estimated but also its positive impact on the web.

Indigenous teachings finally influencing our sustainable future

Ian thinks: People turning towards the deep learning from indigenous people is a good thing. I would like to see much more of this sooner rather than later,

Its all about the Scenius?

Ian thinks: I first heard about Scenius at Mozfest this year, Brian Eno coined the term to summarize how communities not individuals are responsible for innovation.

Europe makes its intentions very clear with the Digital Markets Act

Ian thinks: The EU’s Digital Markets Act is a very bold legal policy which could have the similar impact to GDPR? Although people can’t stop talking about opening Apple’s iMessage, its worth remembering the DMA hasn’t been fully drafted yet!

Cory and Ethan chew over a better internet

Ian thinks: A lot is covered in a short amount of time. However they both settle on the practical problems of the current and future internet. The legal battles, societal frameworks and the web3 bubble is used to chill what the future internet could be.

Keeping the Ukraine cyber secure early on

Ian thinks: The mission to harden and keep Ukraine as secure as possible earlier, has played a big role in stopping the cyber invasion of Russia and maintaining a functioning country.


Find the archive here

Mozilla/BBC Ethical Dilemma Cafe Manchester opens 26-27th April (tickets are available now!)

Book your tickets for the Ethical Dilemma Cafe 2022 (Manchester)

March has been so busy and I really enjoyed the start of the month at the Mozilla Festival 2022 virtual (which reminds me I must write that up, maybe in my new conference new style as suggested by Bill Thompson).

However as previously mentioned a slice of the Mozilla Festival is coming to Manchester (not London!) in the form of a fringe partner event.

More information will be revealed but you can now book tickets to guarantee your time in the cafe. Simply click register for ticket.
We are limiting the numbers for the safety and comfort of everybody including the volunteers and staff. We will also follow the government guidance on Covid19.

Ethical dilemma cafe 2014

Don’t forget to check out #mozfestedc (Mozilla Festival Ethical Dilemma Cafe) for more announcements.

Remember a healthy internet means a healthy society and a healthy you.

Summer in Manhattan cocktail

Summer in Manhattan
I have been drinking a cocktail I made during the pandemic lock down last year. Its my take on the classic Manhattan.

The general ingredient list is…

  • 50ml rye whiskey (bourbon)
  • 25ml sweet red vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • orange peel, to garnish (optional)
  • maraschino cherry, to garnish (optional)

However I made two changes…

  • 50ml rye whiskey (bourbon)
  • 25ml fireball cinnamon whisky
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • orange peel, to garnish (optional)
  • maraschino cherry, to garnish (optional)

The taste is obviously deeply cinnamon with a strong taste of bourbon and a small hint of orange. The name speaks for its self.

I did try making it the other way too, switching the rye for fireball but it was a little much cinnamon, but still a interesting taste.

Enjoy!

Surely sludge = friction?

While hearing Cass Sunstein talk about his new book Sludge, I thought surely this is fiction?

Not knocking it, I’m already known for saying friction can be a good thing.

One of the things I really like about the design guidance is the time to stop. A lot of the time we rush design in a frictionless way but we need to deliberately add friction.

Ian Forrester speaking at the ICO Privacy by Design 2021 conference

Web Monetised DJ mixes anyone?

Its Mozilla Festival 2022 virtual week and the grand WebMontisation experiment is underway.

While thinking about the experiment and the ability to tip people, I thought about this aspect within mixes. Originally I thought about it per mix as WebMontization is page level, although there are plans for link level monetization in store.

Then I saw a bunch of Hyperaudio experiments with WebMon. This got me thinking imagine if every artist/label had a payment pointer?
Its not like we don’t have the precise timing metadata, especially when recording a mix digitally.

WebMon Mixing

For example here is the Pacemaker editor, which gives you exact times of when tunes are used and not used. The mix is my latest one, the incidental contact high mix, I do love that mix!

With the advantage of metadata lookup, it wouldn’t take a lot to correctly identify the tune and auto discover the payment pointer of the artist/label. For example here is Protoculture which is appears 3 times in the mix. With something like hyperaudio, it would be pretty straight forward to automatically send a stream or micropayment to the artist/label everytime the track is played within a mix.

With all this in mind, I’m thinking about creating an experiment.

If I was to do a mix using creative commons attributed licensed music, with all artists who have payment pointers. Then provide it through hyperaudio on my site.

Wouldn’t that be a really interesting experiment?

Following what Coil & Mozilla have done with the tipping experiment, I could use payment pointers for a number of charity’s instead?

Coil tipping

My first tip went to Hyperaudio!

Its certainly feel like a perfect DJ Hackday project?

I have refined the idea on the WebMon community site

Project description

The existing models for distributing DJ mixes is frankly painful with many DJs having to fight with take-down notices and copyright flags.
I am investigating ways to self-host and share DJ mixes with the care and attention of what a DJ would like to bring to the mix, and include a way to pay the artist/creator of the music in the mix.

Ways in Which I Am Web Monetizing These Resources

Currently I am Web Monetizing the whole of the site but I am going to change the audio player to HyperaudioLite and take advantage of the new feature to pay per section of the audio.
As a DJ, my main interest is to share the mix with as many as possible without limits and constraints. I will turn off WebMon for myself and use the payment providers of the artists instead. As I expect many artists have not heard of WebMon and so I recommend using payment providers of charities and non-profits instead (same ones Mozilla have used throughout the Mozilla virtual festival).

As more artists and labels start to support WebMontization and get payment pointers. It will be easy to reroute the payments to the new payment pointers and even split payments between groups/collaborations.

Ideally I’d like to see this fit within the fediverse systems like funkwhale, reel2bits or Castopod enabling support for future forms of sharing, ignoring and distributing.

If you are satisfied with what you’ve got, you’ll have a good life

VW volkswagen van on the beach

I was reading through the Guardian and spotted this story titled, A stranger who lived in a van gave me money by Brigid Delaney.

The key part being…

I asked her why she gave money away to strangers and she said that giving made her happy, and that the secret to a good life was not to want more than you have. “If you are satisfied with what you’ve got, you’ll have a good life,” she said. “Too many people want what they don’t have, so they spend their whole life working so they can get the next thing. But that doesn’t make them happy – so they never get satisfied and they are always after more money to get the next thing that might make them happy.”

“And it never stops,” I said, getting her drift. “The treadmill. The person is actually never satisfied. I guess that’s capitalism …”

Its something I think a lot about with my geek lifestyle… Of course this isn’t a lazy way of saying you should have less or compare yourself to others.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (March 2022)

Flag of Ukraine

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing the cyber-war alongside the disinformation war and of course the physical blood shed of war in the Ukraine from Vladimir Putin. It makes delivery drivers dancing for likes and Tinder changing prices based on personal data look even more pathetic.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with the incredible resistance from the Ukraine people along with People leaving Facebook, enzymes eating plastics and  Android getting tracking protection.


Thoughts about the digital public sphere

Ian thinks: I still find re-reading Bill Thompson’s entry into the book “Building a European digital public space“, still full of wisdom and insight for the future of the digital public ecosystem.

The rush to virtually own your home has started

Ian thinks: On the face of it, it seems like a load of nonsense but the harms are clear as you read further and consider how the big tech corps always buy the smaller startups.

Mozfest’s grand webmontization tipping experiment

Ian thinks: Adding tipping to Mozfest is going to be a interesting dynamic for the mainly virtual festival this year. To take part you just need one of the pay what you like tickets.

O’reilly’s thoughts on Web3, interesting technology but get ready for the crash

Ian thinks: Tim O’Reilly has been asked a few time for his thoughts and this piece for CBS, certainly has put the cats in with the NFT pigeons.

The technology is questionable but the community is real?

Ian thinks: I do find something of hope in this article, as it explores the community side of the web3 hype. If the community spirit can outlive the huge speculation, that might make it worth while?

The deep worry of the fact checking systems

Ian thinks: Following Facebook fact checking the British medical journal, I found the EFF thoughts spot on. Saying you are fact checking isn’t nearly enough. Sadly a lot of people assume that is enough

Faster internet isn’t the panacea for a better society

Ian thinks: Although the paper seems slightly different from the news piece, The notion of faster internet as ultimate end is a bad mistake. Infrastructure is only part of the solution not the panacea.

Friction can be a good thing

Ian thinks: Last year I gave a talk about friction-less design and how it was partly to blame for the lack of control people have on the internet. This piece adds even more impact to the lack of friction.

Synthetic biology and needs a public entity?

Ian thinks: Amy’s new book The Genesis Machine, sounds far reaching but Amy raises a lot of points about who is driving synthetic biology? I kept wondering about a public entity besides Governments and Corporations.

Matrix’s swarm mode is truly terrifying (spoilers)

Ian thinks: There is so much about Matrix 4 which speaks about the current and future state of technology and society. Clearly swarm mode activating sleeper bots from a therapist who manipulates our feelings says plenty


Find the archive here

The Grand Mozilla Festival Web Monetization Experiment is go

I was aware of this also being a Mozfest ambassador but at the end of last week it was announced. The grand Mozfest 2022 web monetization is go.

In short every Mozfest ticket holder will receive a free coil account with 5 dollars of webmon funding. On top of all the usual coil benefits, you will see changes in the virtual mozfest with the ability to tip speakers for their workshops. Tipping is quite new but a interesting addition to webmon.

Bet you wished you booked yourself a ticket for Mozfest now?

You are in luck, there are still tickets and the advantages of being involved just got a lot better!

Erica’s video sums it up with that huge dog and cute kitty.

What is The Grand MozFest Web Monetization Experiment, you ask?

It is an experiment to see how the creative minds of MozFest Community can apply the Web Monetization Standard to their MozFest resources and assets to raise money for an Internet Health initiative of their choosing, inclusive of their own work.

What Does this Mean for MozFest Attendees?

This means that every MozFest attendee will receive a 6-month pre-paid Coil account* stocked with $10 US worth of tips to use on Web Monetized resources and assets at MozFest, in addition to $5 US / month of micropayments to stream to Web Monetized resources and assets that you spend time on each month.

I look forward to seeing how the experiment changes how virtual Mozfest works in 2022 and beyond (maybe). Its certainly something which I can imagine many others conferences try and copy in years to come.

It happened and I have updated my Coil account after getting my email from Mozilla

https://twitter.com/cubicgarden/status/1496657712570155013