Perceptive theme park rides?

Tony tweeted me about this thrill machine which uses body data to influence how the ride operates. The link comes from Mashable and I was able to trace it back to the original

“…while building this attraction I also wanted to change the usual one-sided relation – a situation where the body is overwhelmed by physical impressions but the machine itself remains indifferent, inattentive for what the body goes through. Neurotransmitter 3000 should therefore be more intimate, more reciprocal. That’s why I’ve developed a system to control the machine with biometric data. Using sensors, attached to the body of the passenger – measuring his heart rate, muscle tension, body temperature and orientation and gravity – the data is translated into variations in motion. And so, man and machine intensify their bond. They re-meet in a shared interspace, where human responsiveness becomes the input for a bionic conversation.”

https://danieldebruin.com/neurotransmitter-3000

Its a good idea but unfortunately couldn’t work on a rollercoasters, which is my thing. Or could it? For example everyones hand up in the air means what? The ride goes faster? How on earth does work? How meaningful would this be if you could actually do this?

Its one of the research questions we attempted to explore in the living room of the future. How can you combine different peoples personal data to construct a experience which is meaningful and not simply a medium of it all.

These global changes don’t seem meaningful or so useful? Maybe its about the micro changes like mentioned previous.

Of course others have been working around this type of things too.

Over 15 years of Flickr data

All those files to download

Its been a long haul but finally Flickr is beyond use for me. I briefly tried Flickr pro for a while but theres so many other options now. Its a shame but Flickr went through a lot of trouble at the end but was saved from Yahoo craziness by snugmug. But even looking at the pro account prices, I decided that after…

It was time to leave Flickr and just let it start deleting my photos, which I mainly had backed up in multiple places anyway.

I was quite impressed with Flickr’s data portability option, for example the uploaded files are exactly the same. But it would have been great if they embedded the tags into the original EXIF data. However it seems they kept the tags in account data. So with some work, it would be possible to pull the whole lot together again? I’m actually surprised no ones already done this?

10 years of data surveillance challenge

So many people are doing the Facebook 10 year challenge and I’m so happy to see the Wired’s piece asking the question of what Facebook could be doing with the photos.

Of course some people think its all blown out of proportion, cue Jeff Jarvis on Twit recently. As Leo says at the end of the clip, Facebook and others will lie and claim one thing, but from past experience we have caught them lying.

Welcome to my home cinema

Inception on the big screen
If there’s a film to try out the new projector its got to be Inception

I finally put down some money and got the Optoma HD143x, after lots of research and deciding that I will make it work somehow or send it back.

Optoma hd143x

After about a hour and half fiddling with controls, moving the unit (I tried different heights and even the coffee table) and adjusting it a lot. At one point I tried putting the telephoto lens in front of the projector lens but the lens on the projector is so large I ended up with a quarter of the picture missing.

But finally I got a widescreen 16:9 picture at 1080p/60 resolution positioned on my screen/blind. Its clear that ideally the screen isn’t wide enough

Stretched inception picture

Originally I had to set it to 4:3 stretching the picture vertically. I thought it was acceptable but then started thinking theres got to be way to fit a 16:9 picture on the screen.

Inception on the large screen
Note the [2] at the top left is slightly cut off

Then finally I found a image shift and crop feature which allowed me to position the picture at its natural ratio of 16:9. Its not perfect but it works and means I’ll keep the projector.

So next thing to do is get a long HDMI cable and replace the VGA cable for the old projector with it in the room trunking. I also need a better more solid backstop to rest the projector on. Currently its resting on my headphone case and thats not ideal. The projector only really has one support at the front and gets unbalanced when the back is up off the ground.

Inception on the large screen

The research paid off and and now I’m looking forward to hosting some nice film nights complete with 7.1 surround sound and fresh popcorn. What a great Christmas present!

This is the TV, which fits my flat

In my last post about buying a projector, I thought long and hard about getting a bigger TV as mine is 40inches and quite old as the first generation Smart TV. I use it mainly as a monitor really with Kodi and a Chromecast driving most of my media viewing. I already unplugged it from my network and don’t use any of the smart apps.

But I love my view across Manchester, and can’t really think about putting a big TV in front of it. The projector screen is a nice compromise.

Then today from CES, came the perfect TV for me, however I have no plans to buy it, what ever price tag it has on it. Also I don’t fancy being the early adopter on this one, I’ll wait for the 3rd generation and massive price drop.

Which projector fits in my flat?

My home cinema setup

I love home cinema and the idea of a projector is one of those things I always wanted but couldn’t afford. A while ago I (well my friends wife did and I helped) put up a white Tupplur blind from IKEA. Then I bought a really cheap XGA projector.

It kind of works but I have to put the projector on the coffee table and quite high. As its XGA (1024×768) and not even WXGA (1280×768), the picture is cut off when playing a film and of course its analog inputs only which is a real pain. So finally its time to get a new projector.

This should be easy but I realise I might be asking for the impossible?

  • Full HD 1080p projector
  • HDMI inputs
  • Less than £500
  • The ability to beam 4 meters and fill but not over shoot a screen of about 2.55m diagonal (2.1m width x 1.45m height)

The last part is the biggest issue, the current projector over shoots the screen massively and the only way I can make it fit is with a telephoto lens I bought recently.

The macrolen attached to my old projector
Telephoto lens attached to my current projector

So I’ve been looking up throw distances, and it seems to be roughly the meters I want the projector away (4 meters) divided by the second number in the projectors ratio (usually something like 1:62). The number resulting is the width of the image.
For example the perfect number is 4 meters divided by a nice projector throw ratio like 1:1.9 gets you 2.1 meters at 4 meters distance.

Theres lots of projector calculators online, I’ve been using this one. They are great but when looking up projector prices in the UK, its always difficult to get the throw ratio. This is important because even if projector central can filter by throw and other things, the prices are all over the place.

The telephoto lens in effect

After much looking, comparing and searching (I’m surprised theres no way to compare this type of data easily actually, the best site I found for this is Projector Central which allows you to search based on key features). I decided to order the Optoma HD143X HDMI 3000.  I’ve decided to give it a try and be prepared to use a telephoto lens again to get the picture down to a reasonable throw size. Searching and comparing was eating up my time, when I should have been doing other things. So I’m glad that all done now and just happened to nab one as the price went up again. One of the online retailers had not changed their price quick enough, luckily for me.

Worst comes to worst, I could always get a bigger blind, setup a white sheet or just send it back and go looking again.

Fingers crossed it will fit perfectly, otherwise another trip to IKEA is on the cards.

Did Netflix scorched the earth of interactive digital narrative?

Netflix - Black mirror
Bandersnatch

Everyone is talking about Black Mirror Bandersnatch, and to be fair after watching 5hrs 13mins of it seeing every version/variation. Its quite something. But even before it launched there were problems.

I agree its slick but its also very interesting to read Charlie Brooker’s thoughts on the experience of creating it.

Creator Charlie Brooker told The New York Times that he won’t be making more interactive episodes of the Netflix series – so no more difficult cereal choices in the future.
Asked what advice he had for anyone attempting to make interactive TV, Brooker added: “Run away. It’s harder than you think.”

I wonder if Bandersnatch will ultimately cause people to avoid IDNs (Interactive Digital Narratives) or adaptive narratives. It would be a real shame if it did but as Tom says in reply to my thoughts earlier today

I do wonder if Netflix has slightly done some damage by doing something so extreme? Something of a firework which everyone saw and caused a fire as it rained on peoples head?

Maybe James is right along with Tom? Explicit Interactive Digital Narratives has been done to death. You only have to look at the stuff Marian was doing in the mid- late 2000s with shapeshifting media.

I can predict in a year or so time, people will have forgotten Bandersnatch (packed away on a top shelf as James says) but this isn’t good news for all those other productions and experiments which may not be as smart but genuine a pleasure to be part of.

Would funding for IDN dry or boom because of Bandersnatch? Hard to tell at this stage.

What I would like from Netflix is some data/numbers on repeat viewings, paths people take, etc. If I was writing a paper, this would be a good experiment to be in on.

What on earth is a Cubicgarden?

Taken from lernertandsander.com/cubes
Do any of these look like cubicgarden’s?

I thoughts it was about time I formalised this challenge a bit.

For a long while people have asked what is a cubicgarden? I have smiled and never let on. Then it got to a point years ago while in London when I said if someone can work it out I would buy them dinner (not anywhere stupidly expensive but a nice dinner in a good restaurant). However, if they lose the challenge they have to buy me dinner.

People have a year to work it out or forfeit a dinner with me.

I give out a couple clues which are…

  • Its something from the 80’s or 90’s
  • Its/they are in a game

If someone can name the game (not even find the actual cubicgarden) I would finally post the solution on my blog for all. I won’t accept auto-generated lists of games from the 80’s and 90’s, just in-case you were thinking being smart.

Its interesting that no search engine can find it or work out what it may be… Machine learning wouldn’t have a chance without intimate knowledge of me and my background.

So far a few people have taken up the challenge including Jon but failed to name that game. Maybe it should be something to put in my will?

My New Years Resolutions 2019

Ian PORTRAIT at work

Its been 11 years since I’ve been blogging my new years resolutions and I’m still going.

Following my review of last year… here’s my New Years Resolutions for 2019; which follows on from 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.2009, 2008 ones.

  1. Head further a field with the scooter
    Missed this last year, so its time for a ride into Europe hopefully before the UK leaves Europe! I have plans to stay with a friend in Rotterdam then drive around and maybe into Belgium & Germany for some coasting.
  2. Ride a roller coaster in yet another country
    Very fitting with the previous one but if not, I like the idea of checking out more theme parks in Europe especially after the huge success of 2018.
  3. Look after myself better
    I generally look after myself but its time to be thoughtful and conscious about this all. I’m getting older and should really spend more time thinking about myself with an eye on the future.
  4. Spend more time in the UK
    Ok the last year I spent a lot of time outside the UK. On rough count I hit about 12 weeks this year outside the North of England alone (but I do go to Bristol and London quite a bit). I can’t believe I took almost 30 different flights this year! Although I love it and take care of myself, I have to admit thats a lot. So I’m going to try staying closer to home for this year.
  5. Enter the bake off at work
    My work place does regular bake off’s and the theme sometimes is something interesting which I could do bake/cook around. So I’ve challenged myself to join one of the bake offs this year
  6. Explore more about the brain using neuroscience
    I do want to explore around this but now I binned off Funzing recently, so need to look a little wider. Maybe setup some search filters, keep an eye on eventbrite and meetups.
  7. Do more with my Estonian e-residency
    As said in my review of last year, I have a task to extend my e-residency card to 5 years which I need to do ASAP, likely in the next few weeks. After that I also have a task to look into self-signing using my Estonian e-residency.
  8. Explore the future of decentralised and distributed systems
    This one is a combination of 2 of my  previous resolutions. Exploring the future of online dating with decentralise more. So more mastodon and more exploring Indie web technologies like Bridgy and Kinds. I’ve been really interested in these things for a long while.
  9. Make some changes to the flat
    Its been a while and although I made some great changes to the living room, its time to focus on the bedrooms. I can’t believe I got a configurable IKEA desk from over 18 years ago, which needs to be replaced as it’s too big and I hardly use it now. I’d like to get the server in a better position and remove some tired furniture.
  10. Host film nights and more dinner parties at mine
    I have a task to sort out my current projector or get a new one (this is looking more likely, any hints on cheap long throw projectors is welcomed). I already have a 130inch projector screen but it needs to go back to IKEA as the mechanism is broken. Once this is all done, then it makes total sense to host film nights.
    On top of this, its been a while since I had a party at mine, so maybe I’m moving from party to dinner parties?
  11. Work on the dating book
    I have been working on a book around my dating experience for a long time and its about time I just got it written. Especially since Hannah offered her copy editing skills to help make it a real book. So far its been great I need to write more
  12. Be a stronger advocate for Team Human
    This is a follow-up to previous years. The podcast I listen to Team Human is a celebration of ourselves as people (messy, diverse, etc) not robots (perfect, tireless, etc). This has importance for the problems we are all facing around diversity and inclusion. It also ties into the mental health epidemic we are seeing too. My recent addition to the inclusive top 100; is perfect timing?

A review of my 2018 resolutions

Ian Forrester #ib100

2018 has been quite different in a good way.

Looking from the Quantified Self point of view

  • My sleep deficit over the whole year has massively increased to 367 mins,   My average sleep this year has been 8 hours 2mins (slightly down). Average deep sleep has been 4.03hrs now only 48% of my sleep.
  • According to Gmail I have had 47,769 conversations, have 27,280 emails in my inbox and sent 7241 emails this year
  • Have 60,460 photos and 3,220 photos albums in Google photos.
  • Tasks wise I have 212 open tasks and completed 2,635 over the year
  • Been on 52 trips including Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, Skopje, Brussels, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Dublin and Edinburgh this year.
  • According to Trakt, my most played show is Doctor Who and film was Avengers Infinity War. Most listened to podcast is the Daily Tech News Show.
  • I spent 236 hours watching films (19.7 a month) and 409 hours watching TV series (46.6 a month)
  • Spent 847.9 hours working in Media City UK, 104.2 hours working in many coffee shops in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, 82.9 hours in Liverpool, 40.5 hours working on a train and 73.3 hours working at home. Theres a very long tail with lots more locations like hotels, Nottingham Uni, York Uni, Berlin, Dubin, Ravensbourne, etc.

Regardless of the data he’s the review of my new years resolutions from 2018.

This didn’t happen, maybe Kates appetite for adventure has dimished?

Either way, I’m also quite impressed with work friend Jimmy Lee’s travelroulette to Hong Kong. I keep seeing good prices to fly from Manchester in early 2019.

  • Head further a field with the new scooter
    New Scooter, new waterproof wear, its time for a ride into Europe before the UK leaves Europe (said with a very heavy heart)

No go on this one. I had planned to head to Rotterdam to visit my volleyball friend Barbara then drive around the Netherlands and maybe into Beligum and north west Germany? Going to some theme parks on the way, before going back to Rotterdam and then back to Hull.

  • Ride a roller coaster in another country
    Closely related to the previous one, its got to happen in 2018. I love them and its time to go further a field to see what others are doing.

Oh I busted this resoultion mutliple times over.  Starting with Parque Warner Madrid and Parque de Atracciones de Madrid.

Then in my next trip to the nordic countries I went to Gröna Lund

Then hit my person best of 49x times on one ride by visited Tivoli theme park in Copenhagen, Denmark.

49 times on the Demon, people asks why didn’t I do a round 50? Well I did try but the ride closed just as I made the last journey. Unlike UK parks, the park was open very late 11pm so I took it easy and stopped for food, etc. So I wasn’t trying to break some personal record or anything. Just going around and around enjoying each ride.

Then I thought it would be just too rude to not visit Linnanmäki in Helsinki, Finland while attending Mydata 2018 which happened next door! Although I didn’t like much of the rides and it opened at 4pm?

Then finally I got to Port Adventura Barcelona, Spain. A very popular theme park with Rollercoaster fans.

253 rides in another over  country…

Truly smashed this one into pieces and loved every moment.

  • Go to a new part of the world

This year I got to two new countries. Finland and Macedonia. Both suprised me, the Finnish was fancinating and massively different from the Swedish in many ways I didn’t quite get till I was there. Also great to see old Manchester friend Gabrielle while I was there.

Macedonia was also really interesting and I couldn’t help but link what I saw in Romania with Macedonia. One of the highlights was seeing and walking around a set of flats (centar) which I had only really seen on the screen while creating the living room of the future.

  • See more comedy

I got to the Edinburgh Comedy Festival with my partner this year. The last time I was in the fringe festival was in 2007 during the TV Un-Festival.  This year I did a lot of comedy from Edinburgh to a more local Cholton Chuckles.

Very enjoyable and something I’d like to keep this going for sure.

  • Explore more about the brain using neuroscience

This didnt happen enough, I went to a MCR Talk: Retrain Your Brain but not much more, something to explore more next year? But I’ve given up on Funzing as the last event was pretty poor.

  • Only eat artisan chocolate unless its Kitkat, Twix or Maltesers

So this worked out well except I broke it a few times with some poor chocolate choices. One such time was eating a milkyway out of a box celebrations, there was no Twix left and I didn’t realise Teaseers were Maltesers.  But I have been pretty good most of the time and its really changed my tastes when it comes to chocolate. Now I find milk chocolate far too sugarly and milky, almost sickly.

Cocoarunners has done a excellent job providing different types of chocolates monthly and the range has been super impressive. Theres a blog post previously highlighting my favourate ones.

  • Do more with my Estonian e-residency

I have a task to extend my e-residency card to 5 years which I need to do ASAP, likely in the next few weeks. After that I also have a task to look into self-signing using my estonian e-residency.

  • Make better use of the online services I have paid or invested in

Started to reduce the amount of services but theres a lot more that can be done. But this year I have been making my home server more stable which runs Plex, Tinytiny RSS, etc.

  • Be more daring in matters of the heart

So my partner asks…
“More daring?”
“Yes more daring” I reply with a slight smile

I have been dating my partner for almost 10 months now and like all relationships its needs work, time and effort. Luckily my partner is understanding, patient and caring…sometimes! (smile!)

  • Explore the future of online dating

Still very interested and theres some chatter about doing something around this with a potential new project in 2019. Although I’m not dating myself, theres still a moral problem I see and would like a hand in changing, regardless of my own status. Decentralise dating for the win of team human!

  • Decentralise more and use POSSE more

This has happened, especially since I starting using Mastodon.

However Facebook dropped support for third-party tools to automatically share posts to Facebook Profiles, which is annoying and means my facebook is very quiet. Twitter also changed their API breaking a lot of my linux twitter clients forcing me to use the web interface. This meant my use of twitter has dropped too.

So generally I’m doing less POSSE because each platform is locking down their systems.

My best Cocoarunners Chocolates of 2018

My best chocolates of 2018 from Cocoarunners
These are some of my best selection of chocolates from Cocoarunners monthly delivery

Following this years new year resolution…

Only eat artisan chocolate unless its Kitkat, Twix or Maltesers.

I signed up to the monthly Cocoarunners chocolate box and its been great. Out of the box, I found the above Chocolates really noteworthy in taste, texture, etc. I guess I should have written a review for each one but its hard to do this, so I kept a photo of the ones I would easily go for again.

From top left and across to the right line by line.

I have to give another shout out to these chocolates which simply blew me away

42374300494_cf9e4d1192_c

  • Georgia Ramon – Carolina Reaper Chili 70% – Just incredible taste, really powerful impactful chilli taste but the dark Chocolate is good quality and pretty tasty too. Real compliment to each other.
  • Manufaktura Czekolady 100% Ghana Grand 100% – I describe this as simply the best 100% dark chocolate you can ever get. Never had anything like it, and although I like 100%, this one really makes you wonder if there’s a mistake and it’s actually 85-90% instead.

I’ll be continuing my subscription to Cocoarunners for another year for sure…

This is not Plex on your GPU

NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang announces the Quadro RTX GPU

I hadn’t really thought Plex Media Server could massively benefit from a GPU, to be fair its not really a thing you put in a headless server? But after reading about it, I gave it a try by borrowing a Nvida Quatro PCI-express card and after some small issues getting the propitery drivers working gave it a try.

I thrown together a shell script to log the CPU and GPU heat to a text file called heat.txt

while true; do date >> heat.txt ;
 nvidia-smi -q -d temperature |
 grep 'GPU Current Temp' >> heat.txt; sensors |
 grep -e 'CPU Temperature' -e 'CPU Fan Speed' 
-e 'MB Temperature' >> heat.txt; sleep 10; 
done

I know theres a better way but it was quick and dirty.

From the short tests I did, it seemed the CPU kicked into high gear for a minute or two before it hands off to, what I thought was the GPU. However… During a stream encode of 4k h.264 content to 1080p h.264, while directly streaming at the same time. I got these results.

Thu 20 Dec 20:23:51 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan: 1650 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +71.0°C
> MB Temperature: +34.0°C
Thu 20 Dec 20:24:01 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan:: 1599 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +68.0°C
> MB Temperature: +34.0°C
Thu 20 Dec 20:24:11 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan: 1261 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +59.0°C
> MB Temperature: +34.0°C
Thu 20 Dec 20:24:21 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan: 1167 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +54.0°C
> MB Temperature: +34.0°C

A while later once the transcoding stops

Thu 20 Dec 20:37:40 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan: 725 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +37.0°C
> MB Temperature: +35.0°C
Thu 20 Dec 20:37:50 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan: 724 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +37.0°C
> MB Temperature: +35.0°C
Thu 20 Dec 20:38:00 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan: 725 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +37.0°C
> MB Temperature: +35.0°C

As you can see with proper testing it was clear the GPU isn’t being used for transcoding (unless the CPU magically is doing something else, but looking at Htop, its clearly Plex transcoding). This was confirmed when doing more research on the issue.

Seems the problem I got is the AMD processor and if I was to swich it to a Intel one it should work with the Nvidia GPU?

So this brings me to the idea of maybe changing parts of my server.

Si pointed me at PC part picker which is alright but I don’t really understand why some Linux operating systems are not listed under operating systems? I listed most of my parts here and to be fair changing the CPU, motherboard, case and of course getting my own GPU might be a good idea?

The call of the Barcelona sun mix

One of my mixes from Barcelona I didn’t upload first time, so I re-uploaded it for the collection. Lots of familiar tunes mixed together with some classics such as Tears and Hello. At just over the hour mark, its a nice energetic mix to add to the collection.

Enjoy!

  1. Helsinki Scorching – Super8 vs Dj Tab
  2. Against the flow (Astuni & Manuel Le Saux Extended Re Lift Dub) – Stine Grove
  3. Hello (Jerome Isma-Ae remiix) – Above & Beyond
  4. Avenue – Paul Van Dyk
  5. Labyrinth (Paul Keyen remix) – Lee Cassells
  6. Embrace (Ferry Fix) – Embrace
  7. Nebula One – Warren K
  8. Frosted (Foreign Force remix) – Kyamoto
  9. Shelter (Photographer remix) – Dash Berlin feat Roxanne Emery
  10. Ecstasy – Eddie Makabi feat Einat
  11. Tears (Protoculture remix) – Markus Schulz presents Dakota
  12. Nailed (James Dymond remix) – Paul Webster
  13. Valhalla (tonerush remix) – OneBeat
  14. Its time (ferry corsten’s flashover mix) – Ferry Corsten
  15. B29 (extended mix) – Attila Syah & LTN

Cruising at 35000 feet mix

I was able to rescue one of my mixes from a flight from Helsinki. Its a little rough and ready in parts but theres some excellent tunes and mixes. This one needed a lot of work because the crossfader was in the wrong place for critical parts of the mix.

At just under 2 hours it certainly a long musical ride into trance

Enjoy!

  1. Empty Cities, Dead Ghosts – Fictious Riceboy
  2. Big Sky (Agnelli & Nelson Remix) – John O’Callaghan Feat. Audrey
  3. Gallagher
  4. Bulgarian (Signum remix) – Travel
  5. Hello (Jerome Isma-Ae remix) – Above & Beyond
  6. J’ai Envie De Toi (protoculture remix) – Armin Van Buuren presents Gaia
  7. The Oblivious – Muhamed Sherief & WAAJII
  8. Journey (extended mix) – Iversoon vs. Alex Daf vs. Glus
  9. October winds (deep care november mix) – Six Senses pres Electric Nova
  10. Labyrinth (Paul Keyen remix) – Lee Cassells
  11. Please Save Me (Push Remix) – Sunscreem Vs Push
  12. Love stimulation (Pvd love club mix) – Humante
  13. Resound (Original Mix) – Thomas Bronzwaer
  14. Shadow World (Original Mix) – Thomas Bronzwaer
  15. Refused – Mark Sixma & Jerome isma-Ae
  16. Rapid eye (R.E mix) – Circa Forever
  17. Orange sky – Signalrunners presents Syndica
  18. The Pride in Your Eyes (Martin Roth Remix) – Tillmann Uhrmacher