Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Aug 2022)

Who has power over AI - world map

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing 1 billion chinese citizens data hacked, The UK’s DWP using AI ti decide who gets universal credit and Elon & Twitter once again.

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 some fresh thoughts about federated moderation, the EU attempting to regulate those black box AI’s and clever environmental moves around reusing paper and rethinking body gels.


The Internet health report dives deep into AI harms

Ian thinks: Mozilla’s internet health report is usually across the board but this year they have deep dived into AI harms. Its not a surprise but the detail is surprising in part.

Those public cameras are everywhere, here’s how they are being used

Ian thinks: This short video from Amnesty International and Wired Magazine is simply the surveillance state utopia some have dreamed about. For the rest of us its a dystopian nightmare, but this is no nightmare… its now.

What is the matrix? Not that one!

Ian thinks: I have always found the Matrix protocol incredible and this frank interview will give you a real scope of what a open distributed protocol can actually do. The stance on bridging is certainly refreshing.

Violence guarantees success?

Ian thinks: The influence and lobbying of Uber was bad but picking through the uber files, its insane the high ranking people who have been influenced by Uber. There is something deja-vu about this?

Uber whistle-blower’s sends a stark warning for us all

Ian thinks: If the Uber files isn’t super clear to you, spend 25mins watching this Guardian video interview with MacGuann, the Uber whistle-blower.

The freakonomics tackle Crypto, NFTs and Web3 in their style.

Ian thinks: The freakonomics team look at many things from a economics point of view. Hearing their unique view on some of the battle for the next internet is quite insightful.

Canada’s Rogers outage is exactly why monopolies are a bad idea

Ian thinks: Not many saw or were affected by this almost complete network outage. But its important to remember Rogers has been pursuing the merger of another Canadian telcom.

The European Commission joins the fediverse, join them

Ian thinks: The EU joining the fediverse is refreshing but I saw so little about this trial by the EU. I really hope they don’t expect huge numbers of people because that would defeat the purpose of the fediverse.

A Game Designer’s presentation turns into a wake up call for all

Ian thinks: You can read the slides in English here and there are subs for an excellent talk which he admits would never be selected. Asking the question do we really want to live in a trust-less society, which crypto is setup to support?

Servers and heat do not mix

Ian thinks: A clear reminder that environmental change/collapse will massively affect the way the internet works and is shaped into the future. Our expectations of servers always up and instantly available needs to shift.

Shhhh, what is quiet?

Ian thinks: I have seen a few of these decentralised slack, discord, element systems. The introduction of everything over TOR will excite certain people along with IPFS support, but its clear the track record of Holmes Wilson is another key feather in the hat.


Find the archive here

England woman’s football team needs some colour?

I found this piece from Channel 4 quite interesting, especially when Sue was talking with passion and then the change of tone when talking about the lack of women of colour in the team.

Of course I know little about Football and likely even less about womens football (although that might change over time). However in 2022, something feels deeply a miss?

Congrats to the England team in their 2-1 win over Germany.

Quantum entanglement in the null sector

Mixing live in the EMFCamp null sector

I did the last DJ set of the night at EMF Camp 2022 in the null sector. It was an absolute pleasure and I really miss DJing live sometimes.

However one thing, I didn’t enable record on the Pacemaker device. It was kind of gutting because it was a good set and 90mins got extended to 2hrs, even with the mixer power supply getting overloaded half way through.

Because of the lack of recording, I remembered most of the tracks I played including the starting tune (Stella) and the last one (Anahera), I did a remix of the night also on the Pacemaker device.

Its good mix with some pace and sums up that amazing night after midnight in the laser  & smoke filled null sector.

You can hear the whole mix on my webmix garden here or with restrictions on mixcloud.

  1. Stella (original mix) – Jam & Spoon
  2. The Day will come (8 wonders mix) – Arnej
  3. Shnorkel (Thankyou City Remix) – Ido Ophir, Miki Litvak
  4. Open up (full vocal mix) – Leftfield
  5. Feels Like Home (marco v dub) – Meck feat. Dino
  6. Sleeper in Metropolis (Club Mix) – Anne Clark
  7. Go (Extended mix) – Protoculture
  8. Opulence – Simon Patterson
  9. Intruder (original mix) – Armin van Buuren vs. M.I.K.E.
  10. My Beat (Ambassador extended remix) – Blaze
  11. Whites Of Her Eyes (Original Mix) – Simon Patterson
  12. Ecstasy – Eddie Makabi feat. Einat
  13. Casino Fire – Matias Faint
  14. Dolores – Indecent Noise
  15. Tears (Protoculture Remix) – Dakota
  16. Floyd (extended mix) – Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor
  17. Music Is More Than Mathematics (extended mix) – Protoculture
  18. Anahera (extended mix) – Ferry Corsten presents Gouryella

Imagine kinetic powered LED diabolo?

I head about, a football which during the day can be used like a football and then at night used as a light.

I have always liked the idea of kinetic energy and always wanted things like kinetic energy watches. However the light ball really got me thinking about the LED lights on my Diabolo.

Kinetic energy on a diabolo is not a problem, so some of it could really be used for something else, like to keep a LED kit going almost endlessly?

I thought this must be done right? But from what I can find there are no LED kits or Diabolos which actually use kinetic energy at all. I did find a yoyo which doubles as a charger for your phone. If you know of one, do let me know as I’m considering prototyping one out of a kinetic wheel or something else.

Of course not as noble as the light ball but could be interesting?

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (July 2022)

Re:publica 22, is this the real life

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed reading about how Conti ransomware has issued in a new era and as always the sorry state of social in the Scientific America and the FT.

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 Mozilla rolling out total cookie protection worldwide, EU making USB-C the standard for mobile and the recent gains in Quantum technology.


The silence is deafening on Roe vs Wade

Ian thinks: America’s decision on Roe vs Wade is deeply shocking but can you hear the silence from the tech companies who are on the very sharp end of this all. Very few public announcements, even today.

Those scams are always there

Ian thinks: The new griftonomics podcast is something wotth subscribing to. In this episode there is a genuine discussion about how laws must catch up with the new range of cyrpto based ponzi schemes.

Re:publica is always worth the wait

Ian thinks: Re:publica is one of those conference full of thoughtful conversations. Its mainly in German but most have been translated into English and captured in a playlist.

The real issue is open vs closed

Ian thinks: The consistent bashing of RSS in podcasting has recently gotten pretty bad. Dave cuts right to the heart of debate and outlines the advantages of ownership.

Ending a monopoly is almost always a good thing

Ian thinks: I’m always interested in how the mainstream picks up subjects like tech monopolies. Jon Oliver would have made Cory Doctorow pround with well thought out arguments, many we could use.

W3C’s Ethical web principles

Ian thinks: I was not aware of this till someone pointed it out during a meeting. Really positive to see it develop and who is on board with these core principles.

Google is never far from controversy when it comes to AI

Ian thinks: What is it with Google and AI? LaMDA is a curious tale but there is a much deeper problem of AI Bias which hasn’t been picked up by the other outlets in connection with the story.

Enough of the Web 3, its all about Web 5 now

Ian thinks Jack Dorsey’s raves about Web 5 is quite something. Although easily ignored as bluster, there is tiny bit of sustenance which shines some light on other community efforts. Just ignore the crypto stuff and focus on the decentralisation.

All about DIDs

Ian thinks: Talking about Web5 and other community efforts, Decentralized identifiers or DIDs is something the W3C have been working on for years. Explaining them is difficult but this does a good job trying to covering most questions.

The W3C become a public interest non-profit?

Ian thinks: Its a mouthful and I did wonder whats broken? But then reading through the future changes from a speed and adaptability point of view. It all started to make a lot more sense.


Find the archive here

Checking out Lisbon for a digital nomad

Filter coffee & Pastry

I should have done this earlier but I am in Lisbon seeing what it might be like if I was actually to move to Lisbon for up to a year as a digital nomad.

If you have tips for places I should go and meet like-minded people, do give me a nudge on Mastodon or Twitter. I did notice this is happening tomorrow.

I have been to Portugal quite a few times previously but only spent 2.5 days in Lisbon and really enjoyed it. Not only that I find the Portuguese pretty relaxed and easy going, with the benefit to myself that most people can understand some English (which massively helps me). The process is quite straight forward compared to other digital nomad visas at least.

So I need to spend time time really getting to know what its really like in Lisbon, under all the tourist stuff.

I keep reading how Lisbon is a hub for startups and the tech/creative scene is booming but so far I’m struggling to find much. However I finally found my first cafe with people working on laptops and speaking different languages (not just Portuguese and English).

Hopefully my wandering around some of the co-working spaces will be fruitful today. It seems around Bairro Alto is where I need to be going?

Any pointers are super welcomed!

This can not be legal?

locked in restrictors from the outside
The wire placed on the outside, restricts the window from opening

Imagine this happened to you? (This did happen on Thursday 16th June)

You have a terrible night from suspected flu and have to cancel plans to head down to Bath for a festival you are talking at. You are slightly concerned it might be Covid but having recently survived it, expect its not. Regardless you are hot and cold then decide to leave your 31c bedroom for a living room with a bigger fan and window which opens wider.

In your light dressing-gown, you attempt to open the window which you left open the night before. Thinking well maybe I got it wrong, heck flu does that to you. You go to the window and its stuck, looking at the inner restrictors which can be taken off if you choose so with a little key, which was given to us. The restrictors is off but one bent like someone pushed the window back on its self under some pressure from outside. This something which couldn’t have been done with the wind you puzzle.

external restrictors
External restrictors to stop the windows opening

Its not long after trying the window you come to notice a white plastic wire attached to the outside window and the outside frame. The temperature is high (31.8c) and the 20inch fan is simply blowing around hot air in the apartment. You start to wonder why this has happened?

You start to think its the window cleaners or builders as a temporary solution for me opening the window off its inner restrictors. So you look at the facebook group for the development. This is when you see a large thread about the exact same thing, which has happened to others.

So of course I demand answers from the management agent (who didn’t know anything about it) and also the owners (Waterside places). It turns out that at some point they may need to put extra restrictors on windows for when they are changing the glass on the building but failed to gain any consent from any of the residents. It was decided the day before and that was it! Zero notice.

This is the email response I got from Waterside places…

Hello Ian,

MS will be removing these first thing tomorrow and a formal notification of this will follow next week before any restrictors are reinstated.

Apologies for the inconvenience caused today. We have acted as soon as we were made aware of this.

Thanks

Joshua *******
Resident Liaison Manager
Islington Wharf Phase 1
Waterside Places

In the meanwhile I had already started cutting my way out, I just don’t trust that they will do it the next morning. Plus its still a greenhouse in my flat.

cutting restrictors
Myself actively trying to cut away at the plastic and metal from the inside

The biggest problem is anything which could cut the cord was too big to fit between the window and the frame. So ultimately I was left to using tiny pliers, knifes, etc.

The next morning, they did remove the restrictors but they float around like they can be reapplied at any time. Foreshadowing whats coming back soon?

restrictors removed and damaged
The external restrictors removed and my internal one is damaged now

Here is their message the next morning, with some kind of apology?

Dear Residents,

You may be aware that Morgan Sindall Construction installed window restrictors on a number of Block B apartments yesterday. The purpose of these restrictors was to ensure that the mast climber could safely operate on the façade of Block B without clashing with open windows.

Due to the high temperatures currently, residents raised concerns regarding available air flow into your apartments.

Accordingly, Waterside Places immediately instructed for these external restrictors to be removed promptly yesterday, and we have had confirmation this has been completed this morning.

We are awaiting our contractor’s revised proposals for dealing with the safety of the mast climbers. We will come back to you shortly on how we intend to proceed, ahead of the restrictors being re-instated and sincere apologies to those affected.

Kind Regards,

Apologetic? Not really

For me this is exactly the problem with our development. Its great we finally got the result but they have zero respect for the residents and our home.

Window cleaning at Islington Wharf
Window cleaning at Islington Wharf from many years ago

Due to the architecture of Islington Wharf, when we have window cleaning (meant to be 3-4x a year, lucky if we get even 1) the window cleaners abseil down the building. All residents are informed this will take place and to not take their windows off the safety restrictors. This mainly works but there is lots of notice beforehand. Obviously this wasn’t true of a few days ago and I like others think this might actually be illegal?

Wall climbers for the works
Wall climbers for the works on the new glass replacement

Wall climbers, abseiling window cleaners, whatever it may be. You can’t actively restrict peoples windows from the outside.

All this just days after the 5th anniversary of the absolutely tragic grenfell tower fire in London. Also, my partner made the excellent reminder, that UK Government guidelines around Covid19 still suggest you to have windows wide open for a good flow of air when meeting people inside.

From a city boy point of view: EMF Camp 2022

EMF Camp complete with Lasers
The lovely picture of EMF Camp 2022 from the Null Sector complete with lazers!

I have always wanted to go to Burning man but don’t think I could ever do it due to the extreme heat. I remember hearing about a similar type event in the Netherlands (what the hack) ages ago then soon afterwards Electromagnetic Field in the UK.

EMFCamp is hacker conference over 3 days in glorious sunshine complete with power and wifi to your own tent. In theory it sounds amazing right? Well it is but for a city boy like me, its less appealing. However this year I put in a free 2hour workshop around Adaptive Podcasting and it was accepted. I had planned to stay in a hotel and go back and forth with my scooter (although I didn’t really fancy those country lanes in the dark.

However my wonderful partner suggested going together and somewhat glamping in her huge tent. On top of this we had a bunch of friends coming from Manchester, so we created a mini village together. This with fridges, BBQs, power and amazing wifi made my festival/camping experience well worth it. Can’t imagine doing it any other way now.

Ian and Alison together in the sun
Glamping it up with my beautiful partner

I’ll be honest we packed too much and the second tent was useful for our bags, duplicate items and things we didn’t need.  If it wasn’t for my partner and friends it likely would have been a completely different experience.

Because of this I had a great time. Everywhere I went I bumped into old friends from all over – going way back to my time in London and the many conferences I went to during the BBC Backstage days. It was a total blast and I’m sorry to anyone I missed.

So much talking and socialising, I didn’t get much time to join the talks and workshops. However I did attend a few including one about trackers (music mod trackers), although with my Ubuntu Dell XPS slightly broken at the moment (it doesn’t know any of the onboard devices including the keyboard unless plugged in) it was going to be a big hassle installing an Amiga emulator on my Chromebook just to run Protracker. Instead I spent time trying to find a Android app, then blowing away my Debian setup on the Chromebook and starting again (for some reason I couldn’t sudo at all). Once I got that working, I ran the incredible Fasttracker2 and Milkytracker.

Eugenie von Tunzelmann on stage

We also got to see Interstellar on the big screen again, although I really wished I brought my sock hat and gloves! But the Q&A with the SFX artist was great, even if the question I wanted to ask might have spoiled the film for others (of course I didn’t ask it). I think the assumption was that everyone had seen it but the moderator asked and lots of hands were raised saying they had not seen it before, including my partner.

On the Sunday I got to a few talks including Why is it so hard to do nice things that make a difference with other people? Which I did enjoy even if time ran out, however the whole talk is here.

I do have to say my biggest highlight was djing live in the null sector. I followed a DJ on a laptop playing hard house till midnight so the BPM was high but I started with the classic Stella and the shock to the dancefloor was self-evident. So I threw together some tech trance and kept the BPM about 135-ish. Unfortunately I forgot to record the pacemaker set as I was messing around with the mixer and trying to make the transition smooth.

Djing live with the Pacemaker device at EMF Camp 2022
Djing live with the Pacemaker device at EMF Camp 2022

The slot was the last one of the night (0000-0130) and it was about 0115 when I asked how long I got left. He replied well legally we need to stop at 0200. So I played for 2 hours-ish… I say-ish because there was 4 mins when the electricity to the mixer was over loaded and people were trying to fix it. Also I had planned 90mins and was absolutely bursting for the toilet. Unlike a club where the toilets are only a few minutes away and most DJs would stick on a longer track (in my case 11mins of Acid Trax might have worked in retrospect) I knew the toilets were outside in the camp site somewhere. So at 0156 from the end, I faded down Ferry Corsten’s Anahera (only the very end). Although the crowd shouted one more – one more. Packed up quickly and make a quick exit.

Loved every moment of it and lots of people wondering what on earth the pacemaker was… Its 15 years old and still going strong!

EMF Camp site

EMF Camp was great generally, even for a city boy like me. There were some interesting situations but as a whole it was great with good people, good facilities and a wonderful partner to explore something new with too. As EMF is once every 2 years, its very likely I may go back.

Massive thanks to everyone and the massive amount of volunteers which make the whole festival work. I’ll be back but not too soon…

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (June 2022)

Digital Literacy for Seniors

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed reading how Paypal wrote the crypto playbook, seeing the incredible insecurity of smart locks,  and is Bluesky going anywhere soon?

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 FT mentioning Mastodon, The right to repair research and the Lumous system identifying all those hidden camera in hotels.


Our password-less future is one step closer

Ian thinks: Everyone is throwing their weight behind FIDO and its looks extremely useful. Finally something which is user friendly, easy to use and secure.

Can you really trust that mental health app?

Ian thinks: Mozilla’s research into those apps many people used during the pandemic and varies lockdowns is simply a horror story. There has to be a better solution which doesn’t rely on misplaced trust?

Period tracking apps are tracking you

Ian thinks: On a similar note to the previous one, the consumer reports article is full of very useful tips to protect you. These are good for almost every single app I would say.

Dove uses deep fakes to really tell the story

Ian thinks: Dove’s self esteem project is consistently doing great things for society. Deep faked mothers talking to their daughters while sitting next to their real mothers is just incredible and so well thought out.

Proton taking on Google with a privacy edge

Ian thinks: Andy Yen Proton’s CEO gave a talk in the European Parliament hinting at this announcement. Taking on Google with a non surveillance business model is intriguing as scale isn’t as critical for success?

The time is now says PublicSpaces

Ian thinks: The Dutch collation, Publicspaces had their 2nd conference in May and a good number of the English language sessions are well worth your time. Always challenging and full of good threads to tug on.

Literacy, the forgotten side of our digital world

Ian thinks: This is a sobering and some what recently forgotten side of the digital revolution. If left to market forces, I can’t see things getting any better. Only a public service internet can really make the difference.

Regulating Algorithms?

Ian thinks: Although the register adds a level of snark to the idea, there is something which does speak true. Regulating algorithms could really provide a level of trust, comfort and agency which just doesn’t exist right now.

Education to promote agency?

Ian thinks: I love these projects explaining and educating diverse communities to take control of the technologies to avoid being the disadvantaged by them.

Learning the lessons of the past for the future of the internet

Ian thinks: In the middle of the hype, there is very little looking back and learning the lessons of previous generations. Dare I say it, those who don’t learn their history are doomed to repeat it.


Find the archive here

Diabolo poses captured

Diabolo pose

During the pandemic, I picked up the Diabolo and did a lot of practicing. First in the community garden during the lockdown and then when things opened up again out and about.

I have a ton of videos with my go pro 5 session camera but every once in a while I found a certain shot which looked quite impressive. Especially during dusk with the camera pointing into the last of the sunlight.

Although I uploaded a few to Youtube, I really found the single shots worthy of saving alone. Especially when setting the GoPro to 90fps to get even less blur. In the past I likely would have used flickr but with my interest in the fediverse, it made sense to sign up to pixelfed, which I may self host in the near future.

I decided to use the biggest instance of pixelfed for now, as moving shouldn’t be a problem and of course I have the originals and they make export and nice and easy.

I’ll be posting more there now summer is on its way.

The excesses of Berlin’s club culture?

I found this documentary by DW quite a find, especially with my early history of clubbing in Berlin just before the millennium.

I have heard so much about Berghain, which I have never been to but remember it being called something else (Ostgut/Snax?). It certainly wasn’t a place I was that interested in going to as a young twenty old to be fair.

The drugs is something worth talking about. I remember going to raves and the absolute dangerous politics around drugs testing. Its not ideal but with the drugs laws as they are, anything to help drug users make more informed choices is important I would say. I remember spending lots of time in the rave first aid rooms (mainly with a asthmatic attack) and seeing ravers who have had spiked pills, overdosed, etc. I couldn’t understand how the laws could be so mindlessly and badly written in the face of reality.

Would Jennifer and Carlo have made the choice to take the ecstasy knowing the dosage was so high? Who can say? But I like to think they might have reconsidered taking two?

WebMix: Webmonetization + Dj mixes for the next internet

Mark and Ian at Mozfest 2018

While recovering from Covid, I got a little time to finally sort out the WebMix idea which I also wrote up for Mozfest earlier in the year.

With the incredible and generous help of Mark Boas of Hyperaudio, I was able to use Hyperaudio lite to make clearly mark up a list of tunes in a DJ mix. Its what I’ve been looking to do for ages to move away from Mixcloud,

My finally setup was something I was playing with for ages but mainly via a self installed wordpress on my raspberrypi. I found problems when installing hyperaudio and in the end decided to go with a static website. I choose Publii as it had a linux client and I could just write the HTML easily (so many use markdown and other things, which would have made working with hyperaudio more difficult than it needs to be)

With the site creation out the way, I needed somewhere to host it.

Originally I was going to use Yunohost but I couldn’t find a simple webserver to just host the static files, instead I found a proxy server, which points at my NAS, which is running a very simple webserver. Of course the NAS has plenty of space, its also where the mixes sit, has a excellent redundancy and backup system.

The result of the experiment all sits here – https://cubicgarden.info/mixes

Digital Italics WebMix

The core part of WebMix (as I’m calling it) sits in hyperaudio’s transcript and webmontization support.

Hacking hyperaudio’s transcripts

Originally I always saw Hyperaudio for its ability to tie a knot between the written word and the audio (& video). It wasn’t till I saw a demo of the WebMon functionality is when I understood it could be the thing I need for DJ mixes.

With correctly written HTML, I can tell Hyperaudio what it should do, and with Mark’s help we had a prototype up and running.

Here is an example of the code from the quiver in the underground mix.

<li class="active" data-wm="$ilp.uphold.com/B69UrXkYeQPr">
<span data-m="0">Activator, I know you can (That kid chris mix) - Whatever girl</span></li>
<li data-wm="$ilp.uphold.com/3h66mKZLrgQZ"><span data-m="127000">Air traffic (Erik De Koning remix) - Three drives</span></li>
<li data-wm="$ilp.uphold.com/B69UrXkYeQPr"><span data-m="445000">Chinook - Markus Schulz pres. Dakota</span></li>
<li data-wm="$ilp.uphold.com/3h66mKZLrgQZ"><span data-m="632000">Opium (Quivver remix) - Jerome Isma-Ae &amp; Alastor</span></li>

Each tune has a time configured using the attribute data-m, this is  in milliseconds. As I have all the data in the old CUE files I created a long time ago. Mark helped me out with a nice script which saved me manually copying and pasting. (I also considered writing a XSLT to do the conversion). In between sleeping and relaxing with Covid, I got a number of mixes up, changed the theming and finally got to grips with the static file uploading process, and the results you can see on the site.

Current webmix site

Payment and royalties

You will also notice each tune/list item also has data=”wm” attribute with a $ilp (payment pointers). Currently they are pointing to myself and Mark Boas. Obviously I would change them to the payment pointers of the artists/producers/djs involved but I don’t know any which have them so far. Which leads nicely on to the next challenge for WebMix.

I did/do have a plan to do a mix with dance music from artists which have payment providers but that is still in the pipeline. Along side this, myself and Mark thought about some kind of database/airtable/spreadsheet/etc with payment pointers crossed linked to their discogs profile.

WebMix active on my site

Maybe this is something which could be done in the next grant for the web call for participation?

Back to the current experiment, here is Opium (Quivver Remix) – Jerome Isma-Ae Alastor. You could imagine one payment provider decided between all involved which could be used to pay for each time its played on the site. (I am very aware this is very simplex and the royalties of music is a total nightmare!) but the point of the payment pointer is to hide the complexity behind one simple payment pointer, how its divided afterwards is up to each of the parties involved. I’m imagining a management agent, organisation or even dare I say it DAO; responsible for the payment pointer. There’s already things like revshare, which means you can have multiple people/entities behind the payment pointer and theres interest in this space. Long tail economics certainly could benefit here.

Anyway its a long complex area which I’m best staying out of…?

The main point is its all working and expect more updates soon… I know Mark has other ideas, while I still need to get older mixes up. I also would like to tie the whole thing to something federated or at very least setup a activity-pub feed.

Maybe I should be more ill more often?

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.