I’m in the Inclusive top 100 #IB100

I’m extremely happy to be announced as one of the top 100 most influential Black, Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) leaders in the UK tech sector. The list, produced by board appointments firm Inclusive Boards, was released today at the House of Commons as part of the official launch of the Inclusive Tech Alliance.

I have been sitting on this news for quite some time as it was embargoed from publication.

Inclusive Boards Logo

I’m unsure who(m) nominated me (lots of names come to mind) but I am very pleased they did. Maybe it was something to do with my keynote at Afrotech earlier this year? Maybe it might be something to do with Afrofutures a few years ago? Or maybe its a combination of different things and just me and my outlook. Its clear as day I have been fighting for diversity and inclusion at work and everywhere I go, its critical and I’ve become less and tolerant when theres a willful lack of it.

I say tolerant and it might be a strong word, even the wrong word but I do feel very strongly about it and every-time I read the figures of actual levels of racial diversity it just eats me up inside. There’s a real push to increase gender diversity which people keep confusing with actual diversity.

I’m always reminded of this picture when thinking about gender diversity in tech. Like gender, like sexuality, etc (Likewise for Neuro-diversity but thats another story.). Racial diversity needs an equal amount of people pushing for it too. The inclusive tech alliance can help make this a reality. Never underestimate how important this can be for young BAME children living in forgotten parts of the country wondering about their place in the future. I was reminded of this very recently in Macedonia of all places…

The Alliance has been set up in response to new research by Inclusive Boards that will show the sector is significantly lagging behind others on diversity within senior leadership. The founder of the Inclusive Tech Alliance (ITA), Samuel Kasumu, who is also a member of the Prime Minister’s Race Disparity Advisory Board said:

“Technology is increasingly playing an important role in driving our economy and there is a great need to ensure that everyone can fully participate in the jobs and opportunities technology brings. Ian Forrester and others featured in this list today are role models that will inspire the next generation, and hopefully help to improve diversity within the sector.”

I can do better, we can all do better, and being part of the inclusive tech alliance, will help greatly to get the message of diversity and inclusion out there. Especially in the tech sector which seem to shy away from the arts. A sector which dominates so much of our modern lives but fail badly with diversity.

Without technology I would be a very different person and I want to help many others realise there true potential without prejudice and without fear. If I can be a part of this, I will hopefully inspire others to join us as we drive the much needed change…

I won’t be at the event in the house of commons, unfortunately. But look out for the full list of people in newspapers and online.

Thank you!

The pebble maybe water resistance but not spa resistance…

Dead pebble

Sadly its the 2nd Pebble smartwatch I have lost to my love of spas. First one died during a spa visit in the Midland hotel, weirdly about a year ago. I instantly got another one exactly the same as my kickstarter version. It worked great but I didn’t learn the lesson and kept wearing the smartwatch at spas and swimming pools.

Then a few days in a hotel spa in London and Liquidrome in Berlin, caused my smartwatch to fail again.

Dead pebble

Looking at the damage I think its the intense steam of the steam room (to be fair, was in the steam room for over 30mins) mixed with the heat of a sauna. Then floating in a salt water pool just killed it for good. I really should have done the bag of rice trick but I was mitte, Berlin and well bags of rice wasn’t easily available at midnight while leaving Liquidrome.

After a few days in Berlin with no smartwatch I realised how much I missed it and looked online to get a replacement. Black pebble 2’s were closer to the 400 pound mark, while the white one was less than half that brand new. So I got a white one.

All the my pebbles
From left to right, My dead pebble from 2017, then my new white pebble and finally the one which just died in Berlin

I did spend some serious time looking at alternatives to the pebble but couldn’t find a decent alternative for anywhere near the price. My list was simply this…

  • Non LCD, so I can get more than 3 days battery on a charge
  • Basic apps to do sleep/fitness tracking, read Google tasks, etc
  • Clear display in sunlight and darkness
  • Replacement straps which are not custom to the device
  • Android WearOS support to get notifications, etc

Nothing too complex but the smartwatch still seems lacking in diversity. As most seem to be clearly copies of previous with beefed up specs. I even consider the Fitbit charge but I hated the straps and the size was massive.

When Berlin was raw, unresolved and club culture ruled

90's Berlin

I am quite lucky to have visited Berlin in the 90’s. Ok it was at the very end of the 90’s but only 10 years after the Berlin wall had separating East and West Berlin (1999). It was quite a different place from now, but thats true of most of the cities in the world right?

I happened to have been in Berlin during the nineties.berlin exhibition last week and unlike Helsinki’s Amos Rex, actually got a ticket and visited.

It was quite something, the first room blew me away and taught me things I hadn’t really thought about but Carl (my East Berlin friend) had mentioned a few times. For example the impact of the clash of west and east on the police force and law. It was amazing to see and read about the world famous Tresor, which I never visited partly because I was somewhat musically intimated by such hard techno at the time.

90's Berlin

My dreams of visiting the Love Parade were lifted and then sunk as I read about the parade then heard about the commercial downfall of the parade. A lesson other parades should consider. When I actually planned to go in 2004 but it was cancelled. Always put Burning man and Love parade on my wish list but Love parade was actually do able. At least it was till it was shut down in the late zeros. Missed out on that one.

90's Berlin

I personally found the talking heads really interesting to hear, as there were a variety of them including a artists, swatters, police officer, hooligan, politician, djs, etc. I found Westbam and Danielle De Piccicotto really interesting as they mentioned Dr Motte, who I had heard of but completely forgot about. Also Westbam mentioned Eastbam, which makes sense there would be a Eastbam.

90's Berlin

My only issue I felt was the Berlin wall and the selling of parts of the wall. It felt really strange especially since the whole exhibit felt very critical of the whole gentrification of Berlin. I wasn’t the only one who felt this too.

90's Berlin

As a whole the exhibit is mind blowing and well worth the money to go visit. I would like to spend more time there next time as I got rushed through the last part due to the exhibit closing. The bot info system worked good and beats downloading some app or relying on QR codes.

It certainly captured some of the rawness of Berlin in the 90’s and made me realise how unresolved everything was back then. Still love Berlin.

A spy under the tree for the holidays?

The Observer on IOT and spying

Quite enjoyed Guardian’s piece about the raff of home iot devices coming to the home these holidays.

If you’ve so far withstood the temptation to install a smart speaker in your home, worried about the potential privacy pitfalls and a bit embarrassed about the notion of chatting aimlessly to an inanimate object, brace yourselves. This Christmas, the world’s biggest tech giants, including Amazon, Google and Facebook, are making another bid for your living room, announcing a range of new devices that resemble tablets you can talk to.

It was a real welcome surprise to read/hear Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino too. Her new book Smarter Homes: How Technology Will Change Your Home Life is pretty much on the money.

“It’s very clear what they’re trying to do: sell you more stuff through third-party use of your own information,”

The fear about whether or not such devices are actually always on causes some users to relegate their smart speakers to corridors. “Think about where in the home you want to use these things, particularly if you think they might be listening all the time,”

I had the joy of capturing some of Alexandra’s early thoughts while putting together the ethics of personal data video interviews back in 2015.

I think the only thing missing from the article is a link to Mozilla’s buyers guide, which charts in a friendly consumer fashion whats actually going on underneath the surface of the iot devices we may get over the holiday period.

Travels with Pacemaker… live from Skopje

Travels with Pacemaker Skopje
Taken by Adriangradinar

Its rare when I get the opportunity to Dj on a big stage in front of a crowd live but I certainly do enjoy it. This time it was live from British Council’s PlayUK 2018 in Skopje Macedonia. Someone couldn’t make it and I said well if you need a DJ I’m totally up for it.

Very enjoyable, shame I didn’t have longer and I started mixing during the sound test meaning I didn’t hit record. I did consider hitting stop and then hitting record but people were dancing and well the mix was pretty simple.

Another busy month or so

Its going to be another busy month or so…

Tomorrow we start to Build a healthy public service internet in the first forum during Mozfest weekend. This will be further explored at Mozfest in the decentralised space on Saturday afternoon.

Not long afterwards I’ll be going to Skopje along the same lines as last year when I was in Sarajevo. This time we have the results of last years workshop, the living room of the future.

Then Berlin for Most wanted music with a adaptive narrative conference talk more focused on audio than video and our first perceptive podcasting workshop. Now this exciting but scary as its completely beta and being developed right now.

I’m back in Berlin not long afterwards for a look at object based media and how machine learning can work together for the future of storytelling, quite similar to TOA 17 but more exploring and more I can talk about now compared to then.

Finally wrapping up with a critical panel discussion titled New platforms, new ways of storytelling at the future of the book in London. I expect a few things I said at Oreilly’s Tools of Change in 2012 are still very relevant. But also Perceptive podcasting will be much more mature by then.

All exciting but quite a bit in one go…

Dormouse Chocolate now has a shop in Manchester

Cocoabeans

A hidden chocolate shop is now open just off Deansgate https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/food-drink-news/hidden-chocolate-shop-manchester-dormouse-15283210

I read about dormouse chocolates in my feed and was excited to hear they have opened a shop in Manchester. I met them at the cococarunners event in takk a while ago and quite liked their chocolate although generally too milky for my personal tastes but they have darker too and they are good too.

My trainers have a problem

Adidas springblade problem highlighted
Noticed the green glue which makes clear the problem with Adidas Springblades.

I love my Adidas springblade trainers but the fault in them is pretty major.

Originally I thought it might be a technical problem with that one trainer but it turned out to be much more that just a one off. I actually bought 2 of them in different colours and slightly different style but had to send one back to Adidas for a full refund. They also offered a refund on the other one but I wanted to keep it as I kinda hoped superglue would help things. They did give me a part refund anyway.

They were excellent about it all, can’t point the finger at them for customer service. but I’ve carefully wore the other pair.

Adidas springblade trainers

However in almost a 2 years since I bought them and wearing them here and there mainly during summer, I looked at them again to see if I could fix things with glue, sponge or something else. I noticed something else was not right with the other shoe too.

To explain from the pictures; the blades (as they are called) are quite solid to support the weight of the wearer. The blades are set at a angle, so they slightly bend giving an amazing but slight bounce to walking and running. I can’t tell you how amazing it feels, and I’ve worn all types of trainers including Nike Air. I still remember wearing them on a walk form Check point charlie to krutzberg while on the Mozilla retreat in Berlin.

Adidas springblade trainers

But the rigidity nature makes it not good with the usual bending of shoe. There is some give but not enough and ultimately the rigid blades break away from the base unit. Not in a loose your heel in a street vent style but rather it cracks away from the base. This is where I was applying super glue but it would last a certain amount of time before the glue would break again.

To be fair the reviews are not that impressive either, no idea what they would write if they had it longer. To me it was  clear as day for me when the blade break had happened on the opposite shoe in the exact same manor.

I think Adidas may have gone too far with the blades and the Adidas A3 & Bounces were a better idea for general use. Especially when it came to traction with the floor. Having too little actual contact with the floor made any hint of rain on the road a hazard for walking on. It s a real shame because they are incredibly engineered trainers.

Some will say over-engineered? Maybe thats why I love them so…?

A thunderstorm in Barcelona mix

On the first night of the holiday in Barcelona, we were hit by something of a biblical thunderstorm. It was super humid, so its hardly surprising.

There is a video but it was so rainy you can’t really see much, so got the Pacemaker out and started mixing late at night. The mix was much longer but I had to cut it back due to some very dodgy mixing as I likely started to fall a sleep.

Enjoy the mix

  1. Nightmare (Original Sinister strings) – Brainbug
  2. Opium – Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor
  3. Strike – Signum
  4. Prosac – Dj Tomcraft
  5. Delores – Indecent Noise
  6. Intruder – Armin vs MIKE
  7. The Oblivious – Muhamed Sherief & WAAJII
  8. Mass Noise 2015 (Stephen Kirkwood & Mark Friel remix) – Fred Baker & Seb B
  9. Helsinki Scorching – Super8 vs DJ Tab
  10. Opulence – Simon Patterson
  11. Whites of her eyes – Simon Patterson
  12. We are one (Instrumental mix) – Dave 202
  13. Seven Cities (V-Ones living cities remix) – Solar Stone
  14. Labyrinth (Paul Keyen remix) – Lee Cassells
  15. Perfect Wave – Peter Martin presents Anthanasia
  16. Brush Stokes – Simon Patterson
  17. Love Stimulation (Oliver Lieb Club mix) – Paul Van Dyk
  18. Surveillance – Jordan Suckley

50 years since the Olympics Black Power salute

1968 Black Power Salute

The 1968 Olympics Black Power Salute was a political demonstration conducted by African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos during their medal ceremony on October 16, 1968, at the 1968 Summer Olympics in the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City. After Smith and Carlos won gold and bronze medals, respectively, in the 200-meter running event, they turned on the podium to face their flags, and to hear the American national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner”. Each athlete raised a black-gloved fist, and kept them raised until the anthem had finished. In addition, Smith, Carlos, and Australian silver medalist Peter Norman all wore human rights badges on their jackets. In his autobiography, Silent Gesture, Smith stated that the gesture was not a “Black Power” salute, but a “human rights salute”. The event is regarded as one of the most overtly political statements in the history of the modern Olympic Games.

One of the most powerful statements in history and its so weirdly ironic looking at the NFL players taking the knee at the same national anthem.

Actually… in the same article

John Carlos and Tommie Smith made headlines across the world when they raised the black power salute on the podium after winning in the 1968 Olympics. That protest brought them death threats, and they were expelled from the games.

Lot to take away and think about…

How good is the Oura ring tracker?

Its a nice looking device, seems to work well but at £300+ its a high price.

I do find the back story interesting however, especially since its been floating around the Quantified Self community for quite some time.

My usual worries about data-portability, app access (the android app looks like it needs work), etc all come into play but as a replacement for myband2 and sleep tracking on my pebble smart watch. It does interest me.

I don’t usually wear rings but I did obviously have a wedding ring and also did try wearing one of those cheap NFC rings.

The way of the finnish mix

Another Pacemaker device mix from Finland, this time a lot longer and a lot less polished but its got a certain charm which I quite enjoy. Note the Helsinki scorching remixes, as it would be rude not to play it in Helsinki. Theres quite a few classics in this mix and they still sound good.

Enjoy!

  1. Love Stimulation (PvD love club mix) – Humate
  2. Intruder – Armin vs MIKE
  3. My Beat (Jan Driver mix) – Blaze
  4. Opium – Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor
  5. Reflection (Extended mix) – Ferry Corsten
  6. Mass Noise 2015 – Fred Baker & Seb B
  7. Running up the hill (Jerome isma-ae bootleg) – Placebo
  8. Helsinki Scorching – Super8 vs Dj Tab
  9. Ligaya (Hiver & hammer remix) – Gouryella
  10. Circles – Robert Nickson
  11. Against the Flow (Astuni & Manuel Le Saux Extended relift) – Stine Grove
  12. Madagascar (Ferry Corsten mix) – Art of Trance
  13. Delores – Indecent noise
  14. Out of the Blue – System F
  15. Everythings been written – 8 Wonders
  16. Imagineer (Alex M.O.R.P.H remix) – Lange
  17. Gouryella (Extended mix) – Gouryella
  18. Without you (Dogzilla dub mix) – Dogzilla
  19. Helsinki Scorching (Alex Morph remix) – Super8 vs Dj Tab
  20. Who’s knocking (Ferry Corsten remix) – FB featuring Edun
  21. Higher state – Genix
  22. We are one (instrumental mix) – Dave 202

The intruders in Helsinki mix

Can’t even tell you how many mixes I have done over the last few trips but I’m slowly picking out the good ones and uploading them to my Mixcloud account.

I really enjoyed doing this mix on my pacemaker while enjoying a coffee near the Amos Rex, and happened to capture the scene of space intruders (really models dressed up in space clothes) climbing over the outside. Its a short one and you will see intruder by Armin vs MIKE is in there twice, as it was fitting with the stampede of space intruders.

  1. Madagascar (Ferry Corsten mix) – Art of Trance
  2. Love Stimulation (PvD love club mix) – Humate
  3. Running up the hill (Jerome isma-ae bootleg) – Placebo
  4. Reflection (Extended mix) – Ferry Corsten
  5. Mass Noise 2015 – Fred Baker & Seb B
  6. Intruder – Armin Vs MIKE
  7. Opium – Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor
  8. Blood Angels (Chris Liebing Mix) – John Starlight
  9. Amino Acid – Tau-Rine
  10. Intruder – Armin Vs MIKE
  11. My Beat (Ambassador extended remix) – Blaze
  12. The Expedition (Indecent noise remix) – Armin Van Buuren and Markus Schulz