Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Aug 2021)

Solar protocol

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing more centralised downtime, seeing a surge of ransomware and hearing about Voice as a vector for attack.

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 reading about the path aware networking proposal (Scalability, Control, and Isolation On Next-Generation Networks), Google providing an element of transparency and artificial intelligence used to restore the missing parts of a Rembrandt.


Digital Infrastructure as the core of the European internet

Ian thinks: There is so much good thinking here from Nesta’s Katja Bego. This why the infrastructure is so important as a base for privacy focused better/smarter systems.

Labelling retouched photos

Ian thinks: This is great news and hope it spreads to other EU nations and further a field. Although it should also cover video and audio and highlight whats in the metadata too.

You have YouTube regrets? Join the massive line

Ian thinks: So many of been horrified by where Youtube recommendations can lead you, and this crowdfunded campaign speaks volumes. Will Google do anything about this, its very unlikely.

Our digital legacy in data

Ian thinks: Elaine is right on the button, if you think the data ecosystem is bad now, what happens when most of the dead outnumber the living on social networks. Those terms and conditions need a massive reform.

Steve Wozniak on the right to repair

Ian thinks: Although its a cameo video and its Wozniak, I do think his thoughts are genuine. Does this make much of a difference in the right to repair? Unlikely.

Have you noticed the price increase of Uber?

Ian thinks: I wonder how much of this is the drivers, public understanding of the gig economy and the investors finally wanting their return on investment?

Those apps are selling your most private data

Ian thinks: Its funny but with a deadly serious message. Its also well researched too, its good to see the data ownership/misuse is getting attention everywhere. Even the daily show.

Its time to make the decentralised systems more common and friendly

Ian thinks: Although I don’t agree with everything said here, there is a need to change things and for me it comes down to user experience.

A new future for Solar power

Ian thinks: Great to see the advancement in the use of solar power technology. Using rocks personally surprised me but makes a lot of sense.


Find the archive here

The BMW C-revolution maxi-scooter reviewed

I have been on the BMW list for the last 3 years to test ride the BMW C Evolution maxi-scooter. My Honda Silverwing 600 is great but I’d like to try a proper sized electric maxi-scooter because the small scooters are just not right for someone my size and I’m not going on the motorway with tiny wheels. The big electric motorbikes are huge and not practical for me (I covered all this previously when talking about Maxi-scooters).

While watching the review, it didn’t sound good. Yes I like the off the line speed (get away from you car drivers, who are too busy looking at your phones). The lack of space was a big deal breaker for me, as I’m consistently packing my scooter with IKEA and shopping stuff.

Charging isn’t such a big deal but then again, I went on a ride to Wakefield via Barsley and Dunford Bridge yesterday all on a tank of petrol. Not sure the E-scooter would survive the journey, not because of mileage but because most of the roads are national speed limit and of course the M1 is 70mph, which would quickly drain the battery. Funny enough the BMW isn’t that much more heavy than my Silverwing

Judging by this and other reviews, I still want to test ride it but won’t be buying it (especially new!). Keeping my eyes open for other electric maxi-scooters but its not looking good on this front.

Wait for generation 2 it seems

Fixing the pebble buttons by leaning on the community

My Pebble with Sugru

I am still holding on to my pebble 2 smartwatches, although I have said in my new years resolutions. I was going to find an alternative to the pebble watch.

I still haven’t found anything. I had hoped the new Android Wear 3.0 and the Fitbit buy might have done something positive in this space. However its not happening.

There was a study I took part in recently from Dr. Susan Lechelt of Edinburgh University about IOT & connected devices after they become non-supported, unusable, broken, etc. Of course I won’t go into details but through-out the study it made me revisit my ongoing task to fix the pebble smartwatch.

Broken pebble 2 smart watches

The pebble community is incredible, you only have to look at rebble to see how amazing. iFix it came up with guides to fix most of the most common problems including my pebble 2 button failures. So with this, I finally decided to skip the 3D print your own buttons which I had planned once I get back into work and bought them at Shapeways.

Pebble 2 and new buttons

After ordering 2 buttons and identifying two of my pebble 2 watches really just need new buttons, I’m ready to go this weekend – or maybe one of these weekends in summer.

Looking forward to extending the life of the pebble smartwatch like how I have extended the life of my Pacemaker device way beyond its limitations.

Its too hot to work in my flat

I have said my piece about Islington Wharf multiple times including recently in a piece for the Sunday Times (!).

I usually disappear to a coffee shop in Manchester, but I didn’t want to risk going out on Freedom day (if I could say it with a super ironic voice I would). Especially just a head of my 2nd Covid19 vaccine. I know so many people are so looking forward to not wearing a mask, social distancing, etc but I’m still carrying my mask and using it when going into places or walking around Islington Wharf.

Interestingly, I found my mask so much more breathable in the heat than the surgical mask I had to wear when getting the 2nd jab. Once again I had the power of music (Binary Finary’s 1998 this time) and Anbesol to thank for a good experience.

Climate collapse not Climate change

I have been thinking about this for decades (being from Bristol the environment wasn’t far my mind) but it was mid 2010 (after my brush with death), when I grappled with the true fact.

I’m going to live in/experience climate collapse in my life time (next 10-25 years)

Its really hard to face but I made some peace with this fact over the last few years (using the 5 stages of grief). Don’t get me wrong I absolutely don’t like it and trying to do what I can (maybe I can do more/we can all do more) but the fact is we have passed the point of no change a long time ago. Its been what can we do now to make thing not even worst. I say this in a privileged position in Europe within the global north. But its super clear there is no place on earth which won’t feel the collapse!

The Paris agreement is a long way off and just like the pandemic, countries seem completely incapable of working together.

I don’t have solutions except from now on its going to be called Climate collapse not Climate change. I understand the power of language and I know the language around climate crisis has been discussed to death. Collapse is much more clear where things are going and you can’t help but question disagree or agree, it challenging and starts a conversation.

No more climate change, its time to face up to climate collapse.

Sleep books compared

Why we sleep by Matthew Walker

I noticed there has been a lot of hype and discussion around the book why we sleep by Matthew Walker.

Neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker provides a revolutionary exploration of sleep, examining how it affects every aspect of our physical and mental well-being. Charting the most cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs, and marshalling his decades of research and clinical practice, Walker explains how we can harness sleep to improve learning, mood and energy levels, regulate hormones, prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes, slow the effects of aging, and increase longevity. He also provides actionable steps towards getting a better night’s sleep every night

Its a good book but I didn’t find it as in-depth and as interesting as

The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience by Dr. Guy Leschziner

The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret world of sleep by Guy Leschziner.

Dr. Guy Leschziner’s patients, there is no rest for the weary in mind and body. Insomnia, narcolepsy, night terrors, sleep apnea, and sleepwalking are just a sampling of conditions afflicting sufferers who cannot sleep–and their experiences in trying are the stuff of nightmares. Demoniac hallucinations frighten people into paralysis. Restless legs rock both the sleepless and their sleeping partners with unpredictable and uncontrollable kicking. Out-of-sync circadian rhythms confuse the natural body clock’s days and nights.

Then there are the extreme cases. A woman in a state of deep sleep who gets dressed, unlocks her car, and drives for several miles before returning to bed. The man who has spent decades cleaning out kitchens while “sleep-eating.” The teenager prone to the serious, yet unfortunately nicknamed “Sleeping Beauty Syndrome” stuck in a cycle of excessive unconsciousness, binge eating, and uncharacteristic displays of aggression and hyper-sexuality while awake.

With compassionate stories of his patients and their conditions, Dr. Leschziner illustrates the neuroscience behind our sleeping minds, revealing the many biological and psychological factors necessary in getting the rest that will not only maintain our physical and mental health, but improve our cognitive abilities and overall happiness.

I’m sure many will disagree, but I’d recommend The Nocturnal Brain over Why we sleep. Although I will admit it is a harder read, due to some of the experiences explained in some detail.

Media you may have missed in the first half of 2021

Parallel film, woman looks into mirror repeated into infinity

A few times a year I mention some films and shows you may have missed. The list came pretty useful during the Covid19 pandemic, when friends said there was little on. As usual I’m looking at the stuff which gets missed in the mass media.

Movies

Together

Together
I mentioned liking locked down a while ago, this is the BBC equivalent with less nonsense at the end. Its good and worth watching.

Wrath of man
This came out of nowhere but I found it a good watch. Not the best of Guy Richie but its a good heist and good to see Jason Statham in a serious role.

Horizon line

Horizon line

I shared this with a friend who flies light planes, I don’t think she was impressed but the drama is high and there is a feeling it can’t get any worst throughout. It does…

Cruella
Emma stone makes this so so Disney movie actually good. To be fair I am not a Disney fan but this and Soul were actually good.

Stowaway

Stowaway

Stowaway seemed to come with little press, even with a good cast. It could be seen as another gravity and it wouldn’t be far off but its got depth and humanity.

Plan B
Classic teenage hi-jinks but with 2 women in an American state where the morning after-pill isn’t easily available. Fun tale with unexpected conclusions.

 Long Weekend (2021)

Long weekend

This film is a romantic comedy/drama but with a level of depth which of course is revealed at the end. Its a surprise and impactful.

Parallel

A mirror, the multiverse, greed and betrayal. What more do you need to check it out? Surprising film out of nowhere.

Searching

Searching

This is a little older but I missed it first time around. Its a good film capitalising on modern technology as an advantage and disadvantage. Well crafted and nicely put together.

A storybook ending

I’m pretty sure most people have never come across this one but its 18mins of clever crafted storytelling layered nicely on top of its self. You want more but you don’t need more.

TV

Loki

Loki

Ok I know a lot of people are watching Loki but its worth mentioning if you missed it so far. Its really good, funny and clever. Likewise  The Falcon and the winter soldier I didn’t really pay attention to the Falcon and the winter soldier. I am so glad I did check it out as the last episode genuinely left me with a tear in my eye. Its worth watching seeing what happened on social media after Euro 2020.

Time

I heard people grumble that Time was too harsh? I think its not but I did think its got links to the grittiest prison drama I have ever seen, OZ. Prison is no walk in the park and its important to remember that.

Russian doll
Russian doll

Recommended to me from friends, after talking about time looping films and TV. This one is a good and smart one with a strange ending.

Love, death and robots

The little known Love, Death and Robots was great in season 1. Season 2 takes the same impact with some great storylines you would expect in Black Mirror.

Startup

Startup

I missed this first time round but its good and clever. I watched all 3 seasons over a period of time and enjoyed it a lot. Shame it ended too soon as it was going somewhere. But its worth viewing for the tech drama.

Calls

Based on the French original. Its hard to describe this show. Its like nothing else on TV, mainly visualisation and voice overs. If I say Einstein-Rosen bridge you might get the general drift.

The irregulars

The irregulars

This new take on Sherlock Holmes is actually seems a bit strange but the story is quite intriguing. The show didn’t make it to season 2 which is a shame as it had the right amount of mystery and drama.

Soulmates

This is very much like black mirror but instead of each episode being completely different concepts, this is the same concept throughout. What if an algorithm could tell your one soulmate? The rest is drama like you can’t imagine.

When the dead out number the living in social networks

I can’t say how good this TedX talk is, so many good points in a short video.

I noticed in dropbox terms and conditions a while, if you were to die and didn’t make very clear who your designated executors are and that you want them to gain access to your dropbox in your death. They will be denied access.

A valid court order establishing that it was the deceased person’s intent that you have access to the files in their account after the person passed away, and that Dropbox is compelled by law to provide the deceased person’s files to you

In short, if you don’t state your intent, dropbox can/will block access to your files. Or in short its won’t be simply hand over your password, as they can revoke your account if they think its been accessed by someone else than yourself. Of course this will most likely be decided by algorithms not humans.

Thats just the start…

Isolation in the fast lane mix

Diabolo tricks in the garden

After a week or so in isolation although negative throughout, I turned to the Pacemaker device for a new mix. Something different from my usual progressive trance style. There’s some tunes I’ve been playing out recently mixed with some classic trance, all at a slightly uplifted 133-134 bpm. Listen out for the Armin van buuren mashup of Eat Sleep Rave repeat drumming through Grotesque.

Enjoy the mix, which is another entry in the locked down, mixing out album of mixes.

  1. Mezzanine – Gareth Emery
  2. Go Fast! – Organ Nilsen
  3. Invasion (ASOT 550 Anthem) – W&W
  4. Strange Bends (Kyau & Albert remix) – Sebastian Sand
  5. Go (Extended mix) – Protoculture
  6. Made of love (Extended mix) – Ferry Corsten feat Betsie Larkin
  7. The system – Inertia
  8. Take everything (Extended mix) – Emma Hewitt
  9. Floyd (Extended mix) – Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor
  10. Halcyon (Alex M.O.R.P.H remix) – Andy Moor
  11. Eat sleep rave repeat vs Crushed vs No good (Armin van buuren mashup) – Cosmic gate & Mark Sixma vs. Fatboy slim
  12. Grotesque – RAM & Alex M.O.R.P.H

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (July 2021)

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing Amazon’s destroying unsold goodsICO’s concerns over facial recognition and Tiktok sneakily changing there privacy policy.

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 ethical ratings for fashion brandsthe introduction of the solar protocol and even Google has temporarily halted their privacy sandbox plans.


The future of the browser conference

Ian thinks: There is so much to take away from this community run conference, as I wrote in a blog. I’m sure you will find lots to take away too.

We know what you did last lock down

Ian thinks: The FT’s short black mirror like interrogation feels like drama but its all real and possible now with the cloud of always on IOT devices. Makes some seriously good points

Report those dark patterns

Ian thinks: The Electronic Frontier Foundation goes on the offensive asking you to report those dark patterns. Similar to what Mozilla and others have done too.

Vestager’s vision for the a digital Europe

Ian thinks: I highly recommend the Re:publica conference and seeing Margrethe Vestager again in her new role outlining her vision (with some tech hiccups) is good. I also recommend looking around the playlists to find other good talks including these audio essays and this talk about Silicon values.

Ian thinks: The ICO makes a big change to the EU cookie banner, interesting to hear the American tech view on this all.

When people can sit together

Ian thinks: Enabling physical public spaces with more thought and care for the community. You can’t help but smile and wish playful public spaces existed near you too.

Mozilla puts your data to use for a better society

Ian thinks: This is impressive, although not completely new there no better time to have a trusted company shepherding your data into good causes you choose.

Another internet outage, raises questions

Ian thinks: The outage of Fastly earlier this month has stoked fires about how centralised the internet is for lots of people. I personally didn’t notice much due to the decentralised services I use.

Social graph as a key to change?

Ian thinks: Every once in a while a start up makes some bold but well meaning claims. The notion of the social graph on a blockchain although not new is worth keeping an eye on to see where it goes.

Experience some fairly intelligent machine learning

Ian thinks: A.M. Darke’s piece makes all those silly harmless throw away decisions, very real by the end. There is also a Q&A hosted by the ODI well worth watching to understand more.


Find the archive here

Toxic masculinity at a level I can’t comprehend

Man with wheeled suitcase

A few things have based through my wallabag/read it later which has sadly surprised and sometimes shocked me. I doubt few wouldn’t (but sadly I know there will be a few who are not)

I read about the Mystery of wheelie suitcase (how gender stereotypes held back history of invention) in the Guardian and couldn’t but could believe it.

Why have some brilliant innovations – from rolling luggage to electric cars – taken so long to come to market? Macho culture has a lot to answer for

Ok it was in the past but as the piece says at the end…

Today, less than 1% of UK venture capital goes to all-female teams. Among the very few women who do get funded, a very large majority are white. Of course, venture capital isn’t everything – there are other ways to fund and scale innovation – but the fact that men, more or less, have a monopoly is certainly a symptom of an economy where women’s ideas are not heard.

So lets be honest little has changed, if you haven’t been paying attention.

Talking about history I found Do NOT Pass GO! with Tim Harford, super enlightening.

Lizzie J. Magie (played by Helena Bonham Carter) should be celebrated as the inventor of what would become Monopoly – but her role in creating the smash hit board game was cynically ignored, even though she had a patent.
Discrimination has marred the careers of many inventors and shut others out from the innovation economy entirely. Could crediting forgotten figures such as Lizzie Magie help address continuing disparities in the patenting of new inventions?

Coming back to this decade, this Vice piece titled Anti feminist gen-z boys who hate women, had so much in it I was sadly disappointed. I always hoped the next generation would learn the mistakes the previous had made. Of course as a whole things are getting better, its just disappointing to read.

Half of young men in the UK now believe that feminism has “gone too far and makes it harder for men to succeed”. These are the results of a significant study published in July 2020 by anti-extremism charity HOPE not Hate. The study, Young People in the Time of COVID-19, surveyed 2,076 16- to 24-year-olds on their ideological beliefs.

Then when you think its can’t get worst.

This totally shocked me. I discovered it via A.M. Darke’s fairly intelligent machine learning. It was one of the examples and I wondered what on earth is septic masculinity? I clicked and was horrified at how awful and low some parts of masculinity has gone. Warning its not nice at all.

Welcome to the Manchester high line

Manchester castlefield viaduct

The news broke a while ago about turning the Castlefield Viaduct into its own High line public garden.

Its a great idea and to be honest I wondered for almost decade why it had not happened already. The disused bridge was growing wild for a long time but was far enough away from the train and tram bridge to cause no problems. Even getting on to the bridge was pretty simple except the artificial barrier blocking the way.

Castlefield is a good place to be when its sunny in Manchester and the planned garden is going to be quite something and I’m just glad its going to be public not some private space for footballers and the wealthy.

Sexy beasts, another fad dating show, yawn…

I heard Netflix had commissioned the dating show, Sexy beasts (Remember it was a BBC Three show in 2014)

Sexy Beasts is a new dating show where real-life singles sport elaborate makeup and prosthetics to put true blind-date chemistry to the test.

There seems to be a bit of stir about this one, although lets be honest its another fad dating show. Will it go beyond a couple of seasons? I very much doubt it. Its certainly not a first dates, which just keeps going and going.

People need to remember just like dating services/apps, everything is very fickle. Anything new gets attention and is seen as innovative. Well I guess they couldn’t strip any more clothes off people. Sex has been done, doing it in the dark had mixed success, trying to turn dating into a soap has had mixed sucess and attempted to go large has had zero success. Bring on the next fad, tons of make up and masks to hide their true looks.

Yawn!