Breaking Bad: The fan edit movie

Two intrepid fans of Breaking Bad have condensed its 62 episodes down to a 2-hour film.

Its quite something to be fair, I know lots of people have slated it but its not that terrible. I mean theres is no way you can convert 62 episodes of one of the best TV series into 2 hours without some serious slicing and dicing.

Obviously you should watch the whole series back to back but its worth watching to see the key bits from another fans eyes. Also makes me wonder what I would cut and keep…

See Ghost in the shell at midnight?

I have to say I’m pretty excited to see the Ghost in the Shell live action remake, that I bought a ticket for the 1 minute past midnight (0001) release on Thursday morning in the Odeon IMAX.

When I bought my ticket, the cinema seemed super quiet with only 12 people, which is suprising. So you have plenty of time to get you’re ticket and join me.

Maybe you don’t like the idea of going to the cinema late at night but I kind of love it. To be fair I watched Interstellar at 5am, Dark Knight rises at 8am, etc and I quite like it. Of course I would only do this for films which I felt was worth it, and I think Ghost in the Shell is certainly one of those.

I mean just look at the first 4:44mins

Storj: A p2p decentralised storage model

Storj: Decentralizing Cloud Storage from Storj on Vimeo.

Storj is an open-source, decentralized, cloud storage platform. It is based on the cryptocurrency Bitcoin’s (BTC) blockchain technology and peer-to-peer protocols. The Storj network uses its own cryptocurrency, Storjcoin X (SJCX), while its front-end software supports the use of other digital currencies such as Bitcoin and more traditional forms of payment like the dollar. Unlike traditional cloud storage providers, Storj keeps data spread across a decentralized network eliminating the problem of having a single point of failure. It also encrypts all data making it impossible for anyone, including Storj, to snoop on users’ files without having a user’s private encryption key. In return for offering storage space to the network, users are paid cryptocurrency.

Imagine storing all your private data across other peoples drives in encrypted form? Imagine getting paid to store this encrypted data?

Well this is Storj and its frankly quite an amazing concept whoses time as come.

This is a very attractve setup for someone like me with many terabytes of storage and hyperfast broadband. Unlike the risks of running an Tor exit node, everything is strongly encrypted and the host has zero knowledge of whats being stored or transfered.

I already have an account as I’d be interested to see how it works. First heard on Steal this show, how the swarm will beat the cloud.

Deep in the hawkdale valley mix

There was a mix I did while in Iceland which got me excited while walking around the streets of Reykjavik. It was nick named Reykjavik freezing after the Helsinki scorching tune from Super8 and Tab.

While on the Golden circle tour, I spent a bit of time redoing the mix on the coach back from the Haukadalur valley, the home of the geyser (also known as hawkdale). Everything worked and although this mix is far shorter than my usual mix lengths, its a good energtic mix with a combination of Trance, Tech-Trance and Dubstep. I especially love the mix of DJ Culture into Amino Acids (they worked just too well)

Hopefully you will find it as exciting as I did mixing it. Heres the complete playlist

  1. Rage Valley by Knife Party
  2. Torque (Klauss Goulart remix) by Grube Hovsepian
  3. The End (Beatman and Ludmilla remix) by Hyper
  4. Stealth Bomber (Chris schweizer mix) by Bryan Kearney
  5. Higher State by Genix
  6. Whites of her eyes by Simon Patterson
  7. Dj Culture (Joey Beltram remix) by Kevin Saunderson & Joey Beltram
  8. Amino Acids by Tau-Rine
  9. UFO by Shogun
  10. Mass Noise 2015 by Fred Baker & Seb B
  11. Ecstasy by Eddie Makabi feat.Einat
  12. Centipede by Knife Party

A different kind of holiday, thanks Kate

Holiday with Kate in Ireland

Almost 2 years ago me and Kate took part in the BBC listening project and part of our recording was broadcasted on BBC Manchester and BBC Radio 4.

We’ve been thinking about how to take each other out of our comfort zones for a while and Kate finally pulled the trigger first. So everything was set, Kate had sent her list of things I should bring without telling me where we were going or what we were doing. Some said it was exciting, some said I was crazy…  What ever it was, I did so and without falling to the temptation to find out exactly where by peeking into my parents email (my parents insistented on knowing, just incase. I may have disappeared without telling them a few times in the past).

Anyway Friday with one last blog warning people that I’ll be offline and not to worry. Kate and myself drove off to Holyhead. She told me a few hours earlier that we were going to Dublin, Ireland on St Patricks day (perfect planning Kate). Once on the ferry and remembering how seasick I get, especially on such stormy waters (so stormy irish ferries cancelled the ferry we origianally were booked on due to the stormy waters), Kate outlined some of the things for the day. Mainly go to the hotel, drop our luggage, grab a nap, then head out and enjoy St Patricks day in Dublin.

That night was pretty hectic and although I remember most of the evening and night, it certainly included a 3am walk through temple bar, finding irish people and convincing strangers that the word estrogen was more sexy that pecs (long story, ask Kate).

The next morning after a lovely breakfast, we hit the road again. I had no idea where but we were going south. It wasn’t till Kate asked to use google maps on my phone to look up a place called Lazydays, google described it as a VW Camper hire site. It didn’t sink in till we got there and we were introduced to our own VW Camper called Daker.

VW camper DAKARI honestly thought we were just going to ride some horses and then head to a another hotel, b&b or guest house. But this blew my mind.

Daker had bedding, electricity, a fridge, gas hobs, 2 spaces for seperate beds, moveable seats, a cold water sink, etc etc. It was full of lots of mod cons. I worried it would get cold while sleeping, oh was I wrong!

I made a joke a few times it was like the cover of layer cake, bright yellow and frankly it attracted a lot of people where ever we went. You could see peoples heads turn as we drive by…

We took to the open road and headed to south Ireland. We stopped a few places to eat, pick up some cheese, wine and supplies; then headed to Hook head lighthouse in Wexford. I learned from Sue (Lazydays) and Kate’s conversation, you can pretty much camp anywhere in Ireland aka we were wildcamping, a concept I certainly wasn’t aware, never would imagine of or ever tried.

Holiday with Kate in Ireland
Look how close we parked to the cliff edge!

I got the full effect of wildcamping when Kate parked up between the rough sea and the lighthouse which was already in full action. That night we had maybe too much wine and cheese from Vine restaurant in Wexford; but more importantly the howling wind shaking the van and there was this fear the top which pops up, would blow away in the middle of the night. On top of this, having no where to actually use the toilet in the middle of the night was just too weird! That night, I tracked a total of 4 hours sleep and only 2.5 hours of deep sleep! On top of that I woke up 9 times and my sleep cycle was a joke.

I certainly was out of my comfort zone….! I have no problem with admitting that!

Holiday with Kate in Ireland

Wildcamping certainly isn’t for me, I thought as I sat opposite Kate in the oldest lighthouse in the world and had breakfast. It was challenging waking up and doing the tour of the lighthouse, but I didn’t see the point of leaving before checking out the place we had camped under last night. Afterwards it was a long journey around the River Barrow to Waterford. Yes there is a little ferry but frankly me and Kate agreed it was best not to take the ferry with the rough waters and the journey around would be more fun.

Once we found the camper site, Dunmore East and I could finally have a hot shower, things got better again. There was even sunshine as we walked up and down the small waterfront.

That night I slept far better with 8hrs 20mins of total sleep and about 5.5hrours of deep sleep nicely split up into even sleep cycles. I appreciated being only 10 meters from the toilet block, no stormy winds and there being no chance of the roof blowing away.

Now this is a type of camping just outside my comfort zone but I could cope for a day or so.

Holiday with Kate in Ireland

Lots of things happened over those 3 nights/4 days including losing to Kate twice while playing pool, teaching kate how to play texas holdem no limit poker, talking frankly about dyslexia, writing postcards, ordering off the menu cocktails, etc, etc… We squeezed a lot into those days. But although I’m very very happy to be at home in the warm and with hot showers. It was certainly an adventure which I won’t forget.

I was honestly blown away by the camper van and thankful for the night in Dublin. I know Kate spent a lot of time driving and pretty much arranged everything way in advance. I also know she could have picked some really crazy stuff for me but decided not to. She was a great partner in crime to have on our shenanig-tour

Ireland also surprised me, I was expecting some weird looks but generally it was fine and I didn’t ever feel in-danger from people or the environment. Ok the ferries did make me feel sick and that first night of wildcamping was plenty but otherwise I was pretty cool with things.

Holiday with Kate in Ireland

Of course its now my time to take Kate our of her comfort zone on a holiday away. The concluding half may not happen till next year now, as I think a massive eastern metropolis is required. New York & Vegas was an option but it won’t have the same impact I don’t feel. Nope its got to be Tokyo. I mean I’ve always wanted to go back, so this might be the perfect excuse.

As Kates pillow says… Adventure awaits!

Adventure awaits
Kates pillow she slept on throughout the holiday

Massive thanks again to Kate and all the people I met along the way including Sue from Lazydays, the people in Hook Lighthouse, the people we messed with in Dublin, etc, etc… But biggest thanks goes to Kate for making the effort and planning everything out but giving enough slack to allow for flexibility around my own concerns. Thank you again Kate and look forward to raising the bar soon…

Es…tro…gen!

Some little highlights of the holiday in Iceland

I recently went to Iceland for a holiday. It was quite an eye-opening experience. The landscape was very different to what I’ve ever experienced recently and the cost of food and drink was shocking. The people were mainly friendly and the Reykjavik although small was full of interesting corners and little boutique stores.

Rather than writing a bunch of stuff, I thought I’d pick out some interesting points in my many photos (over 800 believe it or not) I took.

Iceland

The food in Reykjavik was bloody expensive only topped by the price of alcohol. I never quite got to the bottom of why everything consumed was so expensive but a normal meal which would cost you about 20 pounds here, would come to closer to 35 pounds there.

Theres some odd things I found too, including the pork scratching puffs on the meal above.

cIceland

The Harpa is an amazing concert and conference centre and is stunning to look at and be inside of. I was there for a whole just snapping away and gained access to a private party, as I just wonder around. Decided not to take the free champagne as that would be too much I felt. Especially once the black tie party started coming in and someone took to the piano.

Iceland

At Harpa I was able to soak up some jazz from a visiting group from America. They were good but felt slightly stiff in their white shirts and ties. Afterwards the local Reykjavik jazz band took to the stage in a much more colourful attire and to be fair they were a lot better.

Iceland

Because of the barren landscape (learned all the things we think of as trees in Iceland are imported, as their trees are usually about waist high and more like bushes), the transport very different. They ranged from crazy moon buggy truck like things to Nissan leaf electric cars. I gather the price of electric is quite cheap due to lots hydro-electric and energy from the natural landscape.

Iceland

Iceland is a beautiful country but so weirdly different. Everywhere you looked was mountain rages which were huge. Always covered in snow and surrounded by clouds. Unlike elsewhere I have been, there this black material which I think was like tar. It was amazing and very robust unlike soil/dirt I have seen elsewhere.

Snow was everywhere and there was lots of frozen water but interestingly it was easy to get around because the roads and pavements in Reykjavik were heated from the naturally hot water. Snorri was talking to me about how much closer to the environment you are growing up in Iceland, and it shows

Iceland

Seeing the Northern lights I have already spoke about, after going hunting with Snorri was simply amazing. It was a great experience and so great being out with a total pro was enlightening to say the least. An experience which I will never forget…

Iceland

Dawn in Reykjavik was also beautiful, and I was lucky enough to be in a Airbnb room with a skylight which opened wide enough to maybe even climb out of. So one morning, I woke up to use the toilet and snapped a few shots before going back to sleep.

Iceland

Reykjavik and most of most of the icelandics seemed to have quite an interesting sense of humour. Its kind of deadpan funny and refreshing

Iceland

I also find the icelandic humour playful too, as seen in the single gloves dating site and coloured houses.

Iceland

The street art of Reykjavik was great to see and plentiful. Brian said a lot of the bigger stuff comes from the Iceland Airwaves festival, which is a big thing every year. I imagine in a small city like Reykjavik it really would take over.

Iceland

I still find the new Icelandic traditional of Hotdogs after a night out, very weird. I guess others would find the same of the british idea of kebab’s strange. Heck I find the idea of gravy and chips weird enough myself.

Of course things like the Swimming in the outdoor pool while it was 3-c, the Golden Circle was great and generally I was lucky not to be caught in a snow storm or even much rain. It was cold yes but not as bad as I thought it would be. I took too much winter clothes but really enjoyed myself, even with the weirdness of my airbnb experience once again.

Hope to go back, maybe with some food and drink of my own…

The gig economy is killing us…

banksey Street art

Found via christian heilmann

This sums up so much of the problems with the so called sharing economy. Normalising what is simply not right, even if you are a super millennial and survive on red bull, soylent and bullet proof coffee (heck we all been there, some of even lived to tell the tale).

Normalising this lifestyle is frankly crap and will end up killing more people (especially men who are too proud, stuben, old fashioned, alpha or just stupid to admit there is a problem). I’m see it too much and ultimately the only people who gain are the short sighted, hyper capitalistic services which want you to consume more, act like a there algorithms suggests and live a meanless life of little reward and social capital. Yes and then you die!

Choose a bloody life!

I know trainspotting t2’s choose life speech got slated by some but the core of realism is all there including the zero hour contracts

Choose life
Choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and hope that someone, somewhere cares
Choose looking up old flames, wishing you’d done it all differently
And choose watching history repeat itself
Choose your future
Choose reality TV, slut shaming, revenge porn
Choose a zero hour contract, a two hour journey to work
And choose the same for your kids, only worse, and smother the pain with an unknown dose of an unknown drug made in somebody’s kitchen
And then… take a deep breath
You’re an addict, so be addicted
Just be addicted to something else
Choose the ones you love
Choose your future
Choose life

Although not a zero hour contract, its something to keep in tabs on. I would almost go as far as to say this idea they sell is the middle class zero hour nivania. 

Careful who is selling you the candy…

Finally, the northern lights…

The Northen Lights above Reykjavik

I have always wanted to see the Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights but never really seeked them out till this trip to Iceland.

Brian sent me a DVD and was more determined than ever to go and see them. Last afternoon, Brian the great man that he is, introduced me to the man/legend Snorri Por Tryggvason. Snorri is an incredible man, who talked about his joy of capturing the northern lights and how he’s always raising the bar in his pictures & movies. Some of the pictures on his phone were incredible especially the ones with a formation of distant stars nicely positioned in the background. He’s a humble man with tons of experience under his belt.

At some point Snorri, looked at the cloud cover for the area. He suggested chasing/hunting the Aurora and asked if I wanted to come? I hadn’t really thought about hunting for them in the way storm chasers do, but I jumped at the chance. So it was set, 9:30pm pick up and we drive out of the city to chase down the northern lights in between the clouds.

I got quickly cooked, eat and put on 5 layers on my top half and 4 below. Wore two thick socks and my gore-tex adidas trainers. I was ready for the elements at -1. Snorri took me to some great spots tourists miss out on, while keeping an eye on the skies.

It was the 3rd place (Elliðavatn) when we started to see the green rays in the sky, so awestruck I fumbled with my Nikon D3200 manual settings while kneeling into some thick snow. Snorri snapped a great photo of me trying to get things ready (its a fantastic picture, and shows how much experience he has to grab such a photo with my own gorilla pod). Snorri then helped me setup my camera just in case of a second showing. We didn’t have to wait long as they danced around the sky again 5mins later. Shame I didn’t level the camera correctly, but it’s easily fixed when shooting in 24 megapixel raws.

The Northern lights was stunning and with the city in the distance, it was quite an amazing experience. I was surprised that although it was cold, lying in the snow wasn’t as bad as I’d first imagined it would be (those waterproof clothes had done their job well).

As I drove back with Snorri along some frankly amazingly snowy roads which only a 4×4 should take. We talked about what had led me here, my brush with death, life and my next Holiday with Kate, it was a wonderful experience and I can’t praise the man highly enough for his knowledge, experience, friendly conversation and patience. It’s a true geek who always wants to better themselves but also wants to share the knowledge along the way; as he has in icelandaurorafilms. Of course Snorri’s not stopped there, his latest project is FlowVR – meditation technology.

I feel extremely excited (so much that I can’t sleep at 2am), lucky and amazed by last night. Something I will never forget!

Updated… Here is that shot from Snorri with me taking the shot above.

me taking a shot of the northern lights
Yes that’s certainly me with that distinctive sockhat and large coat, nealing in the snow…

Where to go in Iceland?

Iceland

Its partly might own fault, I knew I was going to Iceland at some point but never really looked into where to go? I mainly think about finally seeing the northern lights but what else should I be doing? I’ve been looking into a bit on and off but not really spent the time working out what I should be doing when not looking into the night sky.

I’m staying in Reykjavik in a lovely Airbnb loft and I’ll be seeing Brian Suda a for a few days at least. But which other places should I be seeing?

You have to remember I won’t be driving, so reliant on local buses and I’m not super great at the outdoors as the week afterwards will make clear. Theres a ton of tours to different places but over the week, I’m wondering which ones are must sees and when in Reykjavik, where should I eat and drink? Don’t forget I have those allergies.

Take this as a bit of a lazyweb or crowd sourcing, love to get peoples thoughts; but its got to be soon as I’m off soon.

 

The silent generated power mix

Orange Sky

Another mix for those keeping up… This one is a more chilled mix, which I’ve been playing with on my recent travels. Theres some new tunes and some very old ones for your listening pleasure. Love those times with the pacemaker device

Its a nice mix ramping up and down in places, but I especially love the last 2 tracks Mass Noise and Generate, which don’t mix well but work so well. Talking of tunes which don’t mix… Anomaly is a great tune but a bloody nightmare to mix, seems the bpm shifts quite a bit. Anyhow, what a tune! Enjoy!

  1. Fractal – Bednar
  2. Troy (Push remix) – Sinead O’Connor
  3. Arisen – Arksun
  4. Prosac – DJ Tomcraft
  5. Mirrors – Trilucid
  6. Body Of Conflict (Cosmic Gate Club Mix) – Cosmic Gate
  7. Call the Galaxy Taxi (Martin Roth Nu Style remix) – Plastic Angel
  8. A Thousand Beautiful Things (Gabriel And Dresden Tec – Annie Lennox
  9. Anomaly (Eeemus’s Higgs Boson Remix) – Gordey Tsukanov
  10. The Strings That Bind Us – Arnej
  11. The Day Before – Basil O’Glue, Gordey Tsukanov
  12. Mass Noise 2015 – Fred Baker & Seb B
  13. Generate – Eric Prydz

How to run two Whisper systems Signal clients on Linux side by side

Running two signal clients on Ubuntu
Running two signal clients on Ubuntu without the stress, made one d.ark and other light themed to remind me which one is which

I’m very sure I’m not the only one with 2 mobile phones (heck I really have 3 actual active SIM cards in 3 phones but thats another story).

I have chosen not to use WhatsApp as their EULA doesn’t fit well with me, so instead I always suggest Whisper Systems Signal client. I have many reasons including a linux web client but I have been wondering why one client couldn’t support multiple accounts? Especially since you can easily and securely verify the phone to the desktop client, using a generated token.

I’ve been wondering if I could run two signal apps or run them under different system users… then it dawned on me, its using Google Chrome’s app framework, maybe I could use Open Source Chrome aka Chromium to do the same? Surprisingly without having to setup another user account for the Chrome store, I was able to download Signal again and make Chromium launch it.

Now I have 2 completely separate signal apps which are linked to different phones but using the same Ubuntu desktop environment.

I know it might seem obvious but there seems to be a few people asking for multiple users using a single signal desktop app. I also saw if it could be installed in Firefox, but it looks more tricky that just hitting install from an app store. Sure my tip will work for MacOSX and likely Windows too?

Little tip for friends and followers which I thought was worth sharing… Now get yourself on Signal

​Cambridge analytica: The Rise of the Weaponized AI Propaganda

cambridgeanalytica

I’ve been studying this area for a long while; when I talk about perceptive media people always ask how this would work for news?  I mean manipulate of feelings and what you see, can be used for good and obviously for very bad! Dare I say those words… Fake news?

Its always given me a slightly unsure feeling to be fair but there is a lot I see which gives me that feeling. In my heart of hearts, I kinda wish it wasn’t possible but wishing it so, won’t make it so.

It was Si lumb who first connected me with the facts behind the theory of what a system like perceptive media could be ultimately capable of. Its funny because many people laughed when I first talked about working with perceptiv whose mobile app under pinned the data source for visual perceptive media; I mean how can it build a profile about who I was in minutes from my music collection?

I was skeptical of course but the question always lingered. With enough data in a short time frame, could you know enough about someone to gage their general personality? And of course change the media they are consuming to reflect, reject or even nudge?

According to what I’ve read and seen in the following pieces about Cambridge analytics, the answer is yes! I included some key quotes I found interesting

The Rise of the Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine

Remarkably reliable deductions could be drawn from simple online actions. For example, men who “liked” the cosmetics brand MAC were slightly more likely to be gay; one of the best indicators for heterosexuality was “liking” Wu-Tang Clan. Followers of Lady Gaga were most probably extroverts, while those who “liked” philosophy tended to be introverts. While each piece of such information is too weak to produce a reliable prediction, when tens, hundreds, or thousands of individual data points are combined, the resulting predictions become really accurate.
Kosinski and his team tirelessly refined their models. In 2012, Kosinski proved that on the basis of an average of 68 Facebook “likes” by a user, it was possible to predict their skin color (with 95 percent accuracy), their sexual orientation (88 percent accuracy), and their affiliation to the Democratic or Republican party (85 percent). But it didn’t stop there. Intelligence, religious affiliation, as well as alcohol, cigarette and drug use, could all be determined. From the data it was even possible to deduce whether deduce whether someone’s parents were divorced.

Some insight into the connection between Dr. Michal Kosinski and Cambridge Analytica

Any company can aggregate and purchase big data, but Cambridge Analytica has developed a model to translate that data into a personality profile used to predict, then ultimately change your behavior. That model itself was developed by paying a Cambridge psychology professor to copy the groundbreaking original research of his colleague through questionable methods that violated Amazon’s Terms of Service. Based on its origins, Cambridge Analytica appears ready to capture and buy whatever data it needs to accomplish its ends.

In 2013, Dr. Michal Kosinski, then a PhD. candidate at the University of Cambridge’s Psychometrics Center, released a groundbreaking study announcing a new model he and his colleagues had spent years developing. By correlating subjects’ Facebook Likes with their OCEAN scores

What they did with that rich data. Dark postings!

Dark posts were also used to depress voter turnout among key groups of democratic voters. “In this election, dark posts were used to try to suppress the African-American vote,” wrote journalist and Open Society fellow McKenzie Funk in a New York Times editorial. “According to Bloomberg, the Trump campaign sent ads reminding certain selected black voters of Hillary Clinton’s infamous ‘super predator’ line. It targeted Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood with messages about the Clinton Foundation’s troubles in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.’”

Because dark posts are only visible to the targeted users, there’s no way for anyone outside of Analytica or the Trump campaign to track the content of these ads. In this case, there was no SEC oversight, no public scrutiny of Trump’s attack ads. Just the rapid-eye-movement of millions of individual users scanning their Facebook feeds.

In the weeks leading up to a final vote, a campaign could launch a $10–100 million dark post campaign targeting just a few million voters in swing districts and no one would know. This may be where future ‘black-swan’ election upsets are born.

“These companies,” Moore says, “have found a way of transgressing 150 years of legislation that we’ve developed to make elections fair and open.”

The Data That Turned the World Upside Down

When it was announced in June 2016 that Trump had hired Cambridge Analytica, the establishment in Washington just turned up their noses. Foreign dudes in tailor-made suits who don’t understand the country and its people? Seriously?

“It is my privilege to speak to you today about the power of Big Data and psychographics in the electoral process.” The logo of Cambridge Analytica— a brain composed of network nodes, like a map, appears behind Alexander Nix. “Only 18 months ago, Senator Cruz was one of the less popular candidates,” explains the blonde man in a cut-glass British accent, which puts Americans on edge the same way that a standard German accent can unsettle Swiss people. “Less than 40 percent of the population had heard of him,” another slide says. Cambridge Analytica had become involved in the US election campaign almost two years earlier, initially as a consultant for Republicans Ben Carson and Ted Cruz. Cruz—and later Trump—was funded primarily by the secretive US software billionaire Robert Mercer who, along with his daughter Rebekah, is reported to be the largest investor in Cambridge Analytica.

Revealed: how US billionaire helped to back Brexit

The US billionaire who helped bankroll Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency played a key role in the campaign for Britain to leave the EU, the Observer has learned.

It has emerged that Robert Mercer, a hedge-fund billionaire, who helped to finance the Trump campaign and who was revealed this weekend as one of the owners of the rightwing Breitbart News Network, is a long-time friend of Nigel Farage. He directed his data analytics firm to provide expert advice to the Leave campaign on how to target swing voters via Facebook – a donation of services that was not declared to the electoral commission.

Cambridge Analytica, an offshoot of a British company, SCL Group, which has 25 years’ experience in military disinformation campaigns and “election management”, claims to use cutting-edge technology to build intimate psychometric profiles of voters to find and target their emotional triggers. Trump’s team paid the firm more than $6m (£4.8m) to target swing voters, and it has now emerged that Mercer also introduced the firm – in which he has a major stake – to Farage.

Some more detail as we know from the other posts previously

Until now, however, it was not known that Mercer had explicitly tried to influence the outcome of the referendum. Drawing on Cambridge Analytica’s advice, Leave.eu built up a huge database of supporters creating detailed profiles of their lives through open-source data it harvested via Facebook. The campaign then sent thousands of different versions of advertisements to people depending on what it had learned of their personalities.

A leading expert on the impact of technology on elections called the relevation “extremely disturbing and quite sinister”. Martin Moore, of King’s College London, said that “undisclosed support-in-kind is extremely troubling. It undermines the whole basis of our electoral system, that we should have a level playing field”.

But details of how people were being targeted with this technology raised more serious questions, he said. “We have no idea what people were being shown or not, which makes it frankly sinister. Maybe it wasn’t, but we have no way of knowing. There is no possibility of public scrutiny. I find this extremely worrying and disturbing.”

There is so much to say about all this and frankly its easy to be angry. But like Perceptive Media, it started off out of the academic sector. Someone took the idea and twisted it for no good. Is that a reason why we shouldn’t proceed forward with such research? I don’t think so…

My highlights of TedxManchester 2017

TedXManchester 2017

I had the joy of being one of many in the main theatre in Home for TedXManchester 2017 (number 5 I believe?). Once again arranged and produced by the incredible serial successful event organiser Herb Kim and the thinking digital team, with a varied range of people plucked for their interesting stories, projects or surrounding concepts. I got my ticket late because the first lot sold out in under an hour! But I was very lucky and looked forward to the line up without really looking into each speaker.

Of course last year was special to me, as I took to the stage to tell the tales of dating in the new millenium with dating against humanity. But it’s always interesting to sit in the crowd and experience the whole thing as an audience member.

The whole event was good but here are the talks which really stood out for me.

Mr Bingo

TedXManchester 2017

I had no idea who Mr Bingo was or what he had done, till he took the stage. He is just a funny guy who does funny things with analogue media; like drawing extremely rude things on cards and posting it to people who request them. I mean he’s trolling them but only because they requested to be trolled. Sounds like self abuse almost?

Its weird but I thought the whole thing was hysterical. I took a shot of one of his cards and been getting a little attention for it, can’t think why? (pleads innocence but of course I know why!)

Sophie Scott

TedXManchester 2017

There was a host of things Sophie said which was fascinating, but the bit which stuck for me was the detail about our attention and our voice. She told us when we talk our brain turns off the listening part. I’m sure this isn’t strictly true but an interesting thought, specially when thinking about how we hate hearing our own voices and why certainly people tend not to realise others are making points too.

She then went on to suggest our voices are wired for much more than just communication, using beatboxing as the ideal example of our voices as instruments.

Lots to take away and well delivered…

Jennifer Arcuri

TedXManchester 2017

There is little I can say about Jennifer which I haven’t already said about her at the last Thinking Digital Manchester. She talked passionately about hacker culture and how important knowledge was in the internet connected world we inhabit. Always a pleasure and wish I could make it to the first HackerHouse/Madlab course in March.

Jonathan Kay

TedXManchester 2017

Jonathan was a weird one and divided people from what I heard in the break later. He started his talk/act at the back of the stalls by heckling Herb as he gave his introduction. Then moved forward to the stage followed by a remote camera person, so people in the upper levels could see what on earth was going on.

His aim of the act was to get the audience to speak to each other and heck even touch each other (I know shock horror!). Ok at one point he did suggest kissing the person next to us but that didn’t go down so well. It was entertaining and the bigger point of actually talking to the people around us, wasn’t lost on myself and others.

What really brough the whole thing home to me, was the fact a friend sat in the seat next to me was feeling extremely uncomfortable about the act and wondered if someone would be picked out of the audience; because that would be terrifying. Thinking back to Carrie Green in TedxManchester3 and I said would it be so bad?

I think the point was made…

Helen Czerski

TedXManchester 2017

I have heard Helen a few times at previous Thinking Digital’s and honestly every time I hear her talk, she just oozes wonder and excitement for science and the universe. You can’t help but feel excited when she talks. Always enlightening and always reignited my interest in sciences.

Michelle McGagh

TedXManchester 2017

I don’t know what to say about Michelle, except wow and wtf! basically Michelle decided not to buy anything for a year. She did point out buy nothing day which is the same day as black friday; but one day is easy right? Why not spend nothing year?

This really got me going because she made very good points about our quick fix consumer culture and the logical conclusion of this all. But unlike the a preachy lecture about how bad we all were, she put herself through a year of trying to live it.

The results were funny and sometimes tragic. I’m not very frugal at all but I typically don’t spend much money on buying stuff. Tend to spend more on experiences and doing things. But recently I made the decision that if was getting old or causing too much effort to keep it going, I should trade it in earlier than later. I’ve spent too much time, fighting to keep things going when I should have just got rid of it and moved on.

So to hear someone actively trying to not to spend anything, and not because she couldn’t afford it – was a little shocking. The full extend of her frugaleness was quite something and reminded me of when I left the hospital almost 7 years ago and seeing my bank balance, because I simply had not spent a single penny except paid my usual bills etc; It was amazing… Maybe there was something to it, I thought as she left the stage.

Andy Burnham

TedXManchester 2017

It was a surprise to see Andy Burnham on the TEDx line up, knowing how TED doesn’t like politic talks, but I have to say although he spoke with passion and made some good points. I couldn’t help but feel the us and them argument a little too simplistic. Centralised power does have a tendencancy to turn corrupt but there is also some good things about it too. If I was talking to Andy directly, I would point to examples like the states, where each state can pretty much set their own rules but the united states system can over rule them; and in some cases thank goodness otherwise slavery, marital rape, etc would still be enforced (although then you get crap like the bathroom nonsense, with the centralised power making backwards decisions).

I also think Andy a few times pointed the finger at the south vs the north, when what he really meant is the country vs westminster. Anyway it was interesting and good to hear, even if I’m not certain on everything said.

Dan Machen

TedXManchester 2017

I liked Dan’s talk, it was a number of things I’ve been thinking a lot about. Attention and Intimacy. I was surprised he never mentioned Sherry Turkle but the quote from William Bernbach was a good place to hand a lot of thoughts. I had never actually checked out Tristan harris, but after Dan’s talk I had a deeper look at him.

Very interesting stuff which I agree about quite a bit (expect a longer blog about him soon). I’ve also been thinking about people not platforms, putting more emphasis on human time and less on productivity. It’s all very interesting in the face of machine learning and AI; I can feel the quantified self/movement (they are quite different) right in the middle of all this, along with data ethics.

Back back to Dan’s talk, I did find the point about the smartphone being a hammer and would we take our hammer out in a meeting? Put it on the table? Interesting… To be fair when he talked about it, I did picture the business card scene from American Psycho, when he mentioned the hammer on the table.

Lots to take away and think about…

TedXManchester 2017

Of course there was plenty more good talks including Isaiah HullVolker HirschSquirrel NationTash Willcocks and Ukebox; which made the ukulele actually interesting. The only one I didn’t enjoy was Nic Cary from Blockchain, which actually has made me want to move my bitcoins from my blockchain wallet to somewhere else. I was actually thinking maybe its time to have my own personal offline wallet?

Another TEDxManchester with plenty to think about and another high bar for TEDx’s to try to achieve, well done to everyone involved.

Liverpool Life talking about Perceptive Media

I have recently spent a quite a bit of time in Liverpool, mainly for work but also slightly for pleasure . There were a few lectures/talks at FACT and Liverpool John Moores University.

Most of the presentations are on slideshare, as per usual but I also had joy of being interviewed as part of a podcast talking about object based media.

Of course most was edited out but there’s a big chunk of the interview, mainly focused on the experience of perceptive media, which sits right on top of object based media.. They described it as on the verge of a revolution, no less.

You can listen to the whole thing online at the Liverpool life audioboom channel from Feb 24th.