I never thought I would stay at the BBC so long but today its been 17 years.
I have talked many times how little the BBC impacted in my young life as a young black man in inner city Bristol, immersed in the underground rave scene. So won’t drag that up again, except to say that drive to change the BBC is still very much there.
What keeps me going? Being in a the research and development department is key for me. Its fitting with my personality and my ambitions for a better world. A world where public service can be the viable alternative to the surveillance capitalism and government surveillance. We need different models to keep each one honest, accountable and transparent.
Working with personal data stores, human values, decentralised protocols/systems, in a collaborative manor with the likes of Publicspaces, Mozilla, Nesta, universities like Lancaster, Nottingham, etc. Keeps me excited.
So here’s to another year, maybe one day it will be 20?
From my research, in Manchester plastic types 1 (PET) & 2 (HDPE) are easily recycled. Everything else is a pain in the ass and can’t be taken from the usual council recycling pickup. I know type 4 (LDPE) and 5 (PP) can be recycled but its got to be taken to a specialist place.
I find myself now inspecting the plastic before buying it now which is a good thing. For example I didn’t know my grapes container is type 1 (PET) can be recycled but my Greek yogurt type 4 (PP) can not. Weirdly enough others like Yeo Valley use type 2 (HDPE). So guess which one I changed to a while ago.
However I got to mention the specialist recycling like Terracycle. I bought this Carex 1L refill pack, which is better than buying more plastic pumps (yes its not as good as soap but its not a bad solution). The Carex comes in a plastic bag which fills 4x pumps. But the bag can only be recycled at Terracycle centres. The nearest one for me is just under 20mins away by motorbike. Of course I’m saving them up so next time I head that way, I can recycle them all and anything else all at the same time.
I ordered my first take away in a long time, yesterday and it came in type 6 (PS) containers. Of course I can reuse them again and again but I was surprised.
Doing research into plastic recycling, really has been an eye opener.
At the intersection of activism and confectionary delight is none other than Ben & Jerry’s. The company has stood up for everything from climate change to same sex marriage to Black lives matter and defunding the police. And in June 2020, the brand took a bold stance against white supremacy, proving that in business, silence is no longer an option.
Ben & Jerry have been consistently amazing with their support for many things from climate change to systematic racism. I do wish more companies would learn from them examples. It can easily dismissed as PR in glance but their consistently is the key.
The continuous ability to be better is something which I see is missing in many places. The status-quo must be challenged and Ben & Jerrys are all about this.
I have seen Justice League a couple of times and didn’t like it at all. Pretty sure I gave it 4/10 in the end after the original 5/10. Zack Snyder’s Justice League got a well deserved 7/10 and seen it twice now.
Although not much of a comic book person but frankly I do like the darkness of DC compared to Marvel (I am aware there are many others, but its clear distinction). If you want the DC vs Marvel side, I’d suggest this review by this youtuber.
The plot is fully developed over the 4hours, yes a full 4hours. You thought Tenet, Interstellar, Dark Knight rises were long? So long there is a planned intermission. To be fair its split into chapters, so you could take breaks at natural points.
The one thing which completely surprised me and wound me up was the aspect ratio of 4:3. I actually thought I selected the wrong streaming option or something. But I get it and when its finally on the IMAX screen, I may go watch it. Even my projector screen doesn’t quite work at the 4:3 ratio.
So between the darkness, fully fleshed out character development and enough foreshadowing for a future DC universe. I’d look forward to Snyder’s vision of where the DC universe could really go.
A long while ago someone once called the game, a self-help book for men who don’t like/will take self-help. I’m still so-so on that one but seeing Mark Manson review his own book, reminded me of the two books he wrote which I actually found pretty good. (I don’t really like the man but he writes well and his examples are always useful). Not that it changed my life or anything like that. But rather I liked the down to earth advice and there was plenty of things I heard and took on board a long time ago.
The pandemic isn’t my fault, its also not my fault I’m terrified of medical injections. But it is my responsibility that I have my vaccine injection. In my mind its unfair but its overridden by my responsibility to myself, family, friends and society.
The questioning of death is a important one I learned 11 years ago. I said then and now, I want to push my limits but not in a jump out the plane or climb a mountain way. I’m much more interested in socially pushing myself.
So as a whole I would recommend the audio/e/books, even if you don’t like the punk rock style of Mark himself. I know lots of people love his style and the heavy swearing, I don’t care so much for it, however what comes out from his brain is a wealth of experiences and connecting it with a better way to be more human.
So I bought a bar. Before I even open it, I didn’t realise it was milk chocolate bar. Something which is very off putting. I am wondering if the 6.4 million scovilles is slightly cancelled out by the milk and sugar? But more importantly, I’m wondering if it will be actually good to savoir?
I described it to my friend Hannah the other day like this from my mind… A Indian vindaloo curry is very hot but ultimately has little taste, especially the after taste just being fire. While a Madras, Dopiaza or Rogan Josh is hot but has a great after taste which you are pleasing to have. One is just hot for the sake of hotness while the other one is measured, warming and flavor-some. Don’t get me wrong, you can have very hot food which is flavor-some (curry goat for example) but Instant regret sounds like it might be all heat and little substance?
I promised to do a full review and maybe a video of me eating both sometime soon?
Ian thinks: I’m not so sure how much is honest in this video but Paypal, are not just saying the right thing but actually doing. Such a important difference from a lot of the D&I efforts being talked about now.
Ian thinks: Its great to hear the UN is considering a move away from GDP to natural capital. Its about time the alternatives are taken deadly seriously, for the benefit of us all. Of course BBC R&D are researching Human Values in a similar mind.
One of the things I thought about today while out in the sunshine is how much/little is the UK government doing about automated systems they are encourage? Do they even understand the implicit bias with the systems they are putting in place? Surely one look into that will tell you there is systematic racism baked into everything and putting a smile on it all, saying everybody should learn from us is certainly not helpful at all. Maybe they should read how to be an antiracist? Or would that also be classed as “personal opinion?”
At the start of March, the Mozilla Festival 2021 started for 2 weeks of Mozfest joy. Unlike previous years this was the year it went completely virtual. There was a lot of concerns how it would work in a virtual space? But we didn’t need to worry, it kinda worked.
I got a early bird ticket so the schedule was opened up to people like me. It was extensive and downloaded all the calendar events for sessions I was interested in. Unfortunately I missed the book a seat part and when I went back weeks later most of it was booked up (my own fault).
The Mozilla team worked very hard to keep the feel of Mozfest with a central place to start (the Plaza), the schedule with all the sessions, a number of social spaces (Mozilla slack and spacial chat), skill shares everyday and art/media tracks running throughout the whole 2 weeks. It was full on, just like Mozfest always has been. Its FOMA overload, but don’t worry there is a help desk – which seemed to be almost 24hours a day via slack.
I did go into a couple spacial chats and check out a skill share but most of my time was sat on zoom and many miro boards during sessions. To be honest I have a love hate relationship with miro but I finally got around to half liking it once I spent time with it for my own session. I did find miro bugging me to signup kind of annoying however.
One shame this year was the Mozhouse events seemed to be dropped from the schedule. This meant the publicspaces conference was missed from the schedule, although it was scheduled around Mozfest months ago. The festival has always been a big magnet for people and the 3rd party events which sit around the festival for example 2 years ago.
Because Mozfest was over 2 weeks, I paced myself and made the decision to carve out time for the festival. It was a good idea as my working hours were running to about 10hrs a day. Luckily most of the sessions had a hour break between them, allowing time to catch up with emails, slack and other work stuff.
Sessions ran from a early 7am – a late 11pm GMT, hopefully catching a lot of countries around the world. I imagine over that 14hours, only New Zealand might have been tricky to attend sessions?
I left project immerse to the very last day and was my last Mozfest event I did. Lance Weller blew my mind with things I have never seen Miro or Zoom do before. The future of immersive virtual theatre, I reckon so? I wish I could blog about it but I don’t want to spoil it. Lance also has a ongoing virtual show which I’m signed up to for April. It was fantastic end to 2 weeks of the Mozilla festival.
The 2 weeks of Mozfest was great. It was a shame some of the sessions which claimed to be full were not. I noticed this changed a little bit later but I missed the social aspect, which slack and spacial chat just doesn’t cover. I quite liked the vibe of BarCampManchester 10 which could be done if narrowed down by the spaces. I noticed Creative AI had aspects of this but its something which could apply more widely if next year is the same?
There is a question which came in 2017 when Mozilla picked Slack over Matrix & Mattermost (which they were using internally). The questions comes up again, about using Zoom, Miro, Slack, etc. Like the publicspaces conference, balancing the practicalities with the values is hard work. But maybe next year if its virtual/hybrid, Mozilla could really lead the charge here.
When I first knew it was going to be 2 weeks (well really 12 days), I gulped but it worked out well. I never felt rushed and having most of the sessions recorded is super handy, as I’m finding now watching the ones I missed (plus I found the youtube secret playlist which means I can easily watch them back on my chromecast). Not every session was recorded of course and its a little strange when the breakout sessions happen. Ideally the recording should have been paused but the whole festival is community focused and I’m happy its not clean cut because that would have gone against the ethos of the Mozilla Festival.
Talking about the community, it was great to see a minimal amount of sillyness/zoombombing. Also the welcoming of so many different people, cultures, languages, etc. This was also the year when neurodiversity really kicked into high gear!
Where does the festival go from now, is a big question…
I’d like to see a hybrid conference next year. I certainly want to see a combination of the reach of Mozfest 2021 with the social parts of the last 10 years. However, please Mozilla keep the pretext system as it worked so well and hopefully we can finally have a permanent record of all the sessions over the years (one of the things I quite liked about using Github)
Massive thanks to everyone who made the virtual festival so good (especially looking at you Sarah & Mark!). Those working behind the scenes making sure things run smoothly. To all those spacewranglers who likely didn’t know if it was going to be in person, hybrid or virtual. Of course all those people who ran the sessions.
Really making good on ethos of… Arrive with an idea, leave with a community!
Got to give it to George Monbiot, in 5mins he sums up so much which is wrong with the consumerism. I did wonder where he was going with the Salmon but in 5mins it was a take down of our capitalist society.
I never got the cult of celebrity, even the cult of sport really. Yes I thought Micheal Jordon was amazing but couldn’t give a rats what they put their name on. Maybe that attitude also applied to the online world, where I’m not so bothered about popularity and therefore not interested in celebs or follower accounts.
Can’t quite put my finger on what happened in my younger age which drove this in me but glad it happened.
In the early days of covid19, I can’t tell you how many times I heard people attach China to Covid19, like that was ok?!
No its not ok and its disgraceful as it paves the way for all those hate filled people to pipe up thinking there inner thoughts are now acceptable. Its not and never should be! This is a hate crime and should be tried with the gravity it deserves.
We generally need to stop this, for example naming the variants where first identified. Kent, South African, Brazilian variants. Nothing good will come from this! I understand its easier to say than variant B117 (the one first discovered in Kent) but zero good will come from this… I promise you this.
I have been asked by friends and family what I do and I reply with a number of research questions. One of them boils down to researching what is the public service internet? When you start to break this down, theres a number of aspects including the physical network, protocols, apis, etc. But theres also the network of collaborators.
The Publicspaces conference kicked off in fine style. Originally Thursday 11th March was the European conference with Friday 12th March being the Dutch one. However things changed, which worked well. Heck I even learned a tiny tiny amount of Dutch during the conference, while managing a panel and taking part on another one.