Trustedplaces secures its future

Sokratis Papafloratos and Walid Al Saqqaf

Now their after a million users…

It's a busy space, that social/local field. Sokratis Papafloratos and co-founder Walid Al Saqqaf said that ploughing their time and energy into cost the co-founders their girlfriends. But all the struggles and the late nights were vindicated when the start-up scored half a million in funding from the new investors Howzat – a fund launched by the team behind

My hints for a million users. A decent API not just feeds, APML import and export and of course written agreement for data portability for all those million users they will soon have. Go on guys you know you want to…

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Either Googles really good, or I should be scared?

Googles good? and diet.low-carb, hummm I guess I should be scared. Google couldn't have worked this out from my gmail because I don't tend to use that much for personal emails. My google reader subscriptions and blog might be the source if this isn't just a fluke. Problem is that I can't see the same page without logging in, otherwise I would be able to tell for sure. Now if Google only supported APML then I could know for sure. Yes another reason for APML along with Tristan's thoughts on the radio labs blog.

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Amazon please for goodness sake, stop teasing us and open the UK Mp3 music store already

Amazonmp3 store

From ZDNet

Online retailer said Sunday it will begin an international roll-out this year of its digital music store that offers songs without copy-protection technology known as digital rights management. Amazon said it is the only retailer to offer DRM-free MP3s from all four major music labels as well as thousands of independent labels.

I'm actually considering getting a couple of tunes legally and I don't want a CD (believe it or not I've not a audio CD for over 10 years!). No I can't use iTunes because I'm on Linux and hey do I really want to give Apple any money? Napster, Rhapsody and iTunes don't have a great dance selection either. Beatport do have a great selection of dance music including but oh my goodness I hate that interface. Amazon please launch in the UK and kill off these bunch of pretenders.

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Conferences and Festivals you should be aware of

Get those laptops out its conference season?

So there are a stupid amount of conferences and festivals in the UK this half of 2008. Usually conference season is not till the 3rd quarter but someone forgot to mention this to us brits. This is a quick run down and expect more details on certain events as and when they come up. I've stopped at June for now but theres more to come.

Found this out via Gareth's blog about interesting events:
Febuary 1st
at the Concourse of the Appleton Tower at the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland

The Social media forum
I'm actually talking at this one. So yes its slightly shameless self promotion but also a interesting conference about the changes in the media. The slant will be towards the gemany press, but I'll be explaining why the germany media industry should be engaging their participtors now.:
Febuary 11th
at the Side Hotel, Hamburg, Germany.

Semantic Camp 2008
Lots of talk about this one, first barcamp style event in London since BarCampLondon3. First one run by someone else besides myself. Good luck Tom, I'm sure it will be a great success. Shame I can't it as it clashes with Suw and Kevins Wedding. BBC Backstage is sponsoring this event, as its just the kind of thing we believe in.:
Febuary 16th
at the Department of Computing, Imperial College, South Kensington, London.

The Guardian's Changing Media Summit
I'm actually talking at this one (only briefly and then a panel). So yes its slightly shameless self promotion again but also a interesting conference about the changes in the media.:
March 12th,
at the Victoria Plaza Hotel, Victoria, London.

Over the Air
BBC Mobile with BBC Backstage unveil 48 hours of mobile and wireless hacking. There will be more details about this event in the near future. But right now, you want to store this date in your diary because its a Friday and Saturday with yes sleep-over. So this is a chance to really experiment and try out things you've only dreamed about. Even if you've never taken a phone apart, fear not there will be tons of tutorials by leading mobile developers and providers to lead you on your way.:
April 4th
at the TBA) Central London

Abilitynet's Web2.0 Accessibility conference
A new conference, which I happen to be talking at again. This time with people like Andy Budd and Jeremy Keith. The whole conference will centre around web accessibility in a web 2.0 world. Sounds familiar maybe? Well there was backstage podcast around the same theme recently. Should be a good conference to cover some of the things forgotten about recently. .:
April 25th,
at City University, London.

Futuresonic 2008
I have never been to futuresonic but I hear lots of good things about it. I'm hoping to be talking there with the guys behind the Radio Labs. It also seems to be growing into the UK's answer to SXSW maybe?:
May 1st
at the Manchester.

Xtech 2008
This time in Dublin instead of Paris or Amsterdam but still a great conference for those involved in the cutting edge of the net. Right after Futuresonic, so I expect quite a few people to catch a flight from Manchester to Dublin on the 5th May.:
May 6th
at the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, Dublin, Ireland.

Thinking Digital
New type of conference, think TED or PopTech but for the UK and your on the right track. I'm involved in this one and backstage is sponsoring the event. Actually codeworks is a BBC innovation labs partner in the north east. The line up is simply amazing and very diverse, just the kind of conference the UK really needs. .:
May 21st
at the Sage, Gateshead.

Thinking Digital Geekdinner
A geekdinner to celebrate the thinking digital conference, just a short walk across the bridge from the sage in Gateshead. Food provided by BBC Backstage. Still looking for a drinks sponsor if your interested? .:
May 23rd,
at the Picher and Piano, Newcastle

BarCampNewcastle, at long last but looks to be a good one following a great conference. Certainly a good reason to stay in Newcastle even longer.:
May 24th
at the (TBA), Newcastle or Gateshead.

The big event of the summer for BBC backstage. Mashed is 1 day of conference and 2 days of open development and fun. Unlike last year, this one is all BBC with a open inviatation for others to join us. Its going to be huge again and unforgetable for everyone who signs up.:
at the (TBA), London

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Beyond HD: 4k projection

Sunflower projected at 4k

A couple of my friends and family are very much into their True HD (1080p) content and displays. I'm not that bothered because, lets be honest I'm unlikely to buy a HD-DVD or Blu-Ray player, my primary media player (xbmc) doesn't play back HD without dropping frames (nice looking frames that they are) and I'm honestly happy with 720p from the distance I would sit. Anyway, like always there is always something better that what you can buy. So feast your eyes on 4k projection (4mpx image every frame) Tony, Che, Lucas, Nico, etc…

Two 2k projectors side by side

3712 x 1080 @ 50fps progressive. Yes stitch two 2K projectors together, give them half the image and then using machine logic display them exactly side by side. Thats what our research and innovation team have done to create a panoramic picture with the density and richness only ever seen in DLP cinemas. The pictures I shot don't do it any kind of justice, but if you thought that was amazing. Just remember the sunflowers were shot with a 8k NHK super HiVision camera and scaled & cropped for this lower quality version. So if you want to be top dog, you'd better save up your money for one of these badboys and setup because isn't going to cut it.

Rugby game on a 4k projector

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London or Manchester? Wasn’t this technology meant to make geography irrelevant?


So I've been considering moving to Manchester (Salford) for a while. For those who don't know, the BBC is moving a good part of its workforce and operation to the Salford area. Most of it will be up and running by 2012 but my department is moving up earlier. So there's some serious benefits to moving up earlier including cheaper housing and more choice about where to live. The idea of MediaCity:UK hub is nice but these types of projects can go ether way. The new BBC Scotland offices at Pacific Quay is actually really nice, but some people I have spoke to don't like the location or building. Some people have already moved up to Manchester but the question that plagues me is, should I leave the amazing city of London for Manchester? What would you guys do?

Why does it matter where I work, when most of my job involves online presence? And would you believe it or not a future tense podcast got me thinking…

Why technology has not trumped geography


Economist Tim Harford argues against the notion that computers, the Internet, cell phones and other technology have made or will make geography any less relevant.

In his new book The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World, Harford argues that in some ways, where you work and live is more important than ever, thanks to the technology that was supposed to make the whole concept of place irrelevant.

I guess this is consistent with what Richard Florida and Paul Graham have been saying for years too. A long time ago I believed we could work remotlely and do meeting via im and video conferencing. I tried it and it didn't work, even for someone like myself. Hence social events are huge and there's little better that chatting to people face to face over a drink or a meal. Now I'm starting to rethink my thoughts about setting up hotspots of creativity in the middle of nowhere. Is setting up shop in the middle of Salford going to really pull the creative people? Or are we going to get a office of pension watchers? Who knows?

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Cory on the short life span of social networks

Adding friends at unhuman speeds

Cory Doctorow came to the BBC's Festival of Technology last week and during his short time there (well Alice is ready to give birth any moment now, good luck by the way) he mentioned his thoughts on social networking sites like Facebook. I didn't have my camera turned on but I remember the thrust of the talk which was something like this.

I certainly have got fed up of people asking to be a friend. And rather that flat out reject people, I've collected a good number of people who I haven't responded to yet. It is painful when I open facebook to see there are still 45 requests to be my friend, but I do after a while log on and start ignoring the requests – simply because there are too many and i'm in a bad mood. On Linkedin I'm less strict because the data on my profile is public anyway. While on Plaxo Pulse I'm super strict about tagging people because it affects what they can see about me. I don't watch everyone who watches me on twitter or jaiku because messages sometimes go to my phone or mostly pop up in my im client.

I was once believe it or not told off by someone for not “friending” them back on Twitter. I told the person, if they know anything about me they won't be offended. I follow currently 124 people and 585 people follow me. Thats almost 5x the amount of people following that me watching. So I started looking around to see what the ratio was like for other people I know.

I don't think this says much but its interesting that only scoble gets a 1x ratio, the nutter that he is.

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Xtech 2008 proposals

I have put in a couple of proposals for Xtech 2008 which is this year in Dublin. The theme for the year is the web on the go which actually fits in nicely with our thoughts about for over the air (more details about that really soon). So the way I see it is data portability is a type of movement like data on the go, in actual fact you can't have data on the go without some dataportability. Roll on the brief descriptions… .

The truth behind Data Portability
Data portability is in a way one of the greatest freedoms users and developers can have. Portability of data underpins the web of data, apis and the ability to move data to other services, platforms and devices. It is silo busting and is deeply weaved into the debate over social platforms, identity and mobile data. In this talk, I will explore the problems, solutions and gamut of policy decisions

The attention economy is only just around the corner
The attention economy was talked about at the end of 06 to death. Through all the hype, a couple of guys from down-under started to make sense of attention and proposed APML (Attention Profiling Markup Language).Unfortunately little is known about APML and there is a lot of mis-information on APML. As one of the working group members I will run through what it is, its purpose and why its important

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Developing Widgets on GNU/Linux

Compiz Screenlets

So I just noticed that Konfabulator/yahoo widgets has the ability at long last to embed HTML and Flash. Not only that there is a full HTML DOM too. If this was in there from day one, I wouldn't have given up on konfabulator widget development all that time ago.

Whats odd is that Konfabulator never made the leap over to the linux world. Actually to be honest, the current state of widgets on linux isn't fanastic (sorry i'm not a fan of gDesklets, but thats due to change with the Compiz Screenlets. Screenlests are SVG widgets written using Python (which is another reason to learn python). Jackfield is also interesting because it can run Apple Dashboard widgets and is adding support for Yahoo & Opera widgets and Vista Gadgets.

I got to say screenlets are great, they work like konfabulator widgets. So you can make widgets sit above, below or on the widget layer. I love Compiz fusion.

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Things to make you move

APML logo

I have not written much about APML for a while, partly because I've been focused on Data Portability. But I saw this a while ago and forgot to blog it over December.

Attention data is an emerging concept in web circles that focusses on making people the owners of the data about the websites they visit, or pay attention to. Currently, this kind of information builds up in the individual websites that we visit, but in most cases that information is never shared us. The Attention movement seeks to remedy that by making data about what we pay attention to available in a portable format.

That format is known as APML, or Attention Profile Markup Language. And, with some simple integration with APML providers, Engagd, we’ve now made it possible for Ma.gnolia members to build an attention profile from their bookmarks.

A new setting in your profile controls, found on the newly-renamed Bookmarks tab, allows you to turn on the generation of APML from your bookmarks feed. After the profile has had some time to build up, you can grab a copy of your profile data.

When I first read this, my finger hovered the sign up button. Yes I was that close to converting from delicious to magnolia. And lets be honest Magnolia's openID signup would have made things so simple. I bet it would have taken all of about 5mins to signup and to be using it like how I use delicious right now. Its not too late either… If anything will make me move or join a new service its going to be APML support and OpenID. OAuth support is a nice touch but not essential. RSS/ATOM, a API and Microformats should now be a given. If there not, obvioulsy the service isn't serious about its dataportability policy or you could say really care about the advanced participations.

Great news about Yahoo and OpenID by the way, I look forward to seeing OpenID support on Flickr, Delicious, etc very soon.

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The internet made me do it…social engineering at its finest

The Security Van Scam is well known but people still fall for it and simlar scams. Its got all the hallmarks of social engineering, including social complience, convincing and timing. From Schneier's great blog

on Thursday, about 9:30 a.m., a man dressed as an employee of the security company Brink's walked into a Wachovia branch in downtown Washington and walked out with more than $350,000.

The man had a badge and a gun holster on his belt, said Debbie Weierman, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Washington field office. He told officials at the bank, at 801 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, that he was filling in for the regular courier.

About 4 p.m., when the real guard showed up, a bank official told him that someone had picked up the cash, D.C. police said. The guard returned to his office and told a supervisor that he did not make the pickup at the bank. The supervisor called a Wachovia manager, who in turn notified authorities. Police were called nearly 11 hours after the heist.

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Data Portability Video

DataPortability – Connect, Control, Share, Remix from Smashcut Media on Vimeo.

Written, designed and edited by Michael Pick,

Music – “Bongo Avenger” – Eric & Ryan Kilkenny: CC Attrib. Non Commercial

Hands photo: Scol22 – Stock.xchng

Additional images: istockphoto

Animated Flourishes: Andrew Kramer

So I was impressed with the production value of the video but felt it needed more snap. Chris asked what I meant by “snap?” But I think you will know what I mean and agree, it certainly needs more snappyness. Not that I'm slagging it off, actually its really good and well worth sending around to people who don't know or understand the whole data portability movement.

I've also finally put in a Xtech 2008 proposal for Data Portability at long last. Here is my short description.

Data portability is in a way one of the greatest freedoms users and developers can have. Portability of data underpins the web of data, apis and the ability to move data to other services, platforms and devices. It is silo busting and is deeply weaved into the debate over social platforms, identity and mobile data. In this talk, I will explore the problems, solutions and gamut of policy decisions

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Some amazing TED talks recently

TED ideas worth spreading

Don't get me wrong, TED talks are always great but just recently there have been some simply un-missable ones, here's my top three.

Underwater astonishments: David Gallo on

David Gallo shows jaw-dropping footage of amazing sea creatures, including a shape-shifting cuttlefish, a pair of fighting squid, and a mesmerizing gallery of bioluminescent fish that light up the blackest depths of the ocean. Recorded March 2007 in Monterey, California. Duration: 5:21.)

The mystery box: J.J. Abrams on

Filmmaker J.J. Abrams traces his love of the unseen mystery — the heart of Alias, Lost and the upcoming Cloverfield — back to its own magical beginnings, which may or may not include an early obsession with magic, the love of a supportive grandfather, or his own unopened Mystery Box. Recorded March 2007 in Monterey, California. Duration: 18:02.)

Why aren't we all Good Samaritans? Daniel Goleman on

Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, asks why we aren’t more compassionate more of the time. Through psychological experiments and a story of the Santa Cruz Strangler, he shows how we are all born with the capacity for empathy — but we sometimes choose to ignore it. Recorded March 2007 in Monterey, California. Duration: 13:13.)

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Point home – a new ui for windows mobile phones

Point Home in action

I installed Point Ui's Home tonight because it was one of those things I've been meaning to do. Anyway, after 2 seconds I was amazed. The user interface design is slick and smooth without being too in your face. They have taken interaction, icons and patterns from the tango project and put them to good use. Everything just works so well, that its hard to explain without a video, And I would shoot one if it wasn't so late. I only wish it was a little more stable and there were controls to change the colours. The blue is a little too blue for my personal tastes. More detail about point home below…

Home's intuitive controls and highly responsive user interface makes using your device a breeze. Here are a few of the key features Home has to offer:

  • Control your device via touch or your thumb with the directional control
  • Smart Lists Navigation ™ with bookmarks allows you to easily locate an item in even the largest lists
  • Choose the slide navigation that suits you
  • One touch access to calls, email, text messages and music
  • Easily see who and when calls were received, made and missed
  • Using the Applet Ribbon ™ you can easily access the time, tasks, appointments, calendar and up to date weather forecasts and current temperatures
  • Easily manage your sound, wireless, battery and device settings
  • Easy create new emails, text messages, multimedia messages, tasks, appointments, documents and spreadsheets
  • Load and switch between running applications effortlessly

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8 Random Facts About Me (tagging meme)

Somethinkodd Diabolo

James Cridland tagged me in the blogging meme by the same name. Yes its been a while but I've been pretty busy with lots of other stuff. Unlike James I know what a meme is and I like the idea of memetics, which I first heard via Susan Blackmore. Anyway I'm sure James actually does know what a meme is and its on with the rules.

Here are the rules:

  1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  2. People who are tagged need to write a post on their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules.
  3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
  1. My first computer was a Commodore 16
    Not a Commodore 64 or 128, 16 as in 16k of total memory. My father bought the C16 for me when I was about 7 and I loved it. I use to play games then started to get into basic programming. I still remember the weird rounded tape cassette recorder thing and the blocky as hell graphics.
  2. I have worked in some odd places including… Equinox Discotheque in Leicester Square
    I was between jobs and I only lasted 3 weeks before quiting. I learned how to pour drinks correctly and how to make a lot of cocktails. I was only paid 3.70 a hour because you were expected to make a ton of money in tips. This only worked well if you were a attractive woman. The best tips I got in one night was 20 pounds while my female equivilents were getting upwards of 100 pounds a night!
  3. I use to have hypersomnolence and now sleep Apnea
    This is a sleep disorder where I pause snoring and breathing during the night. This makes sleeping difficult and a couple of the side-effects are loud sleeping, morning headaches (like being hangover), trouble concentrating, decreased sex drive forgetfulness, nocturia, etc, etc. Now you can see why working later in the day works better for me. I have also had surgery to try and correct it but its had little to no effect. Most people think its down to weight but actually I've had this since I was really young and thin. I even know people who are very fit who have this same problem, you can imagine its a problem for the partner who thinks your dying while you sleep.
  4. I'm a Diabolist
    Whats a diabolo? Well it actually means the devil with two sticks but really its a Chinese Yo-Yo. It looks like a egg cup with a string and sticks. Anyway, I learned how to do the Yo-Yo during the coke-cola yo-yo days and got fed up because everyone had them and everyone knew how to do most of the limited tricks. So I picked up on this thing called a wow ball. It turns out the wow ball was a cheap version of a diabolo and before long I was doing most of the same tricks with a full size diabolo. When I was younger, I use to enter competitions at holiday camps and have won a couple of times including a few holidays. I'm going to start putting up videos of me doing the diabolo on to videojug or more likely sclipo, so look out for it. Although might have beaten me to it (I love that light path idea).
  5. I can skateboard and rollerblade
    Yes believe it or not. I can skateboard and I use to skateboard to work and college everyday. Roughly 5+ miles a day. Could I do any tricks? Well basic jumps and thats about it. By the way I can also rollerblade ok.
  6. I think I can ski but have never tried it on snow
    Yes its odd eh? I can actually ski but I've only ski'ed on dry slopes and grass. Grass skiing is pretty cool but those boots are damm heavy.
  7. I don't know popular music
    I don't know my led zepplin from my rolling stones. Seriously I don't know much about rock or pop music. When I was young I use to listen to dance music and hiphop. I was deep in to my dance music too, I stopped listening to radio when GWR changed there policy to no rap, less chat (thanks Miles for the correction). This meant the end of Sandy Martin's disco tracking and no more dance music on local radio. Radio 1 was interesting to me but I only listen to pete tong when I was older. I was never into the MTV actually I turned my back on it and The Box because it had no rave music. I did for a while check out that show after the Fresh Prince on BBC 2, the one with Normski (good on the BBC for taking a risk with such a show, maybe this lead the way towards 1xtra?) and I was a avid watcher of the Hitman and Her (check out the episode where pete and michaela go to Eclipse in Covertry!) and after it BPM (which I can't find anywhere). I went to clubs and raves alot, the magazines I read were eternity and knowledge, the music I listened to was rave. I just didn't have the time for other music because rave culture was so involving.
  8. I have never taken any drugs stronger that caffeine and I don't like Beer
    As you can see above, I was well into the rave and dance culture, but never ever took any class A, B or C drugs. Hell I didn't even drink beer. So although I was surrounded by drug taking I never got involved. It was strange because I educated myself about drugs at a early age and while the press was having a field day about evil ravers and dealers following the Leah Betts death I was seeing strange through the bull. Although I could see ecstasy wasn't this evil drug, I just wasn't interested in taking it because for me life was wild and weird enough, plus I just loved the music. About Beer. I bought them for friends when I was younger simply because I looked old enough to pass for 18 when I was 13 (yes I was bad). So I always got a taste of their beers. I never liked it and trust me I've tried loads of beers. I even last week tried white or wheat beer, which I thought was nasty. Once when I was at a holiday camp, I bought a tray full of drinks for a group of new friends and the security guard tapped me on the back and asked if I was buying drinks for underage teenagers? I being a little shocked that he had not guessed I was also underage answered no its all for me. So he stood there for about 10mins while I slowly drank most of the drink! That was the first time I had tasted Bitter and boy oh boy was I almost sick. Beer tastes like crap to me, I don't get why people like it? The only beer I like is Ginger Beer.

I'm nominating…. (without checking to see if they have done this already)

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