A Bill of Rights in Cyberspace

Jeff Jarvis from Buzzmachine has published a bill of rights for cyberspace. To be honest I actually quite like them, I’m not sure about cyberspace. I’d also love to hear Jonathan Zittrain’s view on the last right, I think its ok but could be better written.

point and click for cyberspace

A Bill of Rights in Cyberspace

I. We have the right to connect.

This is a preamble and precondition to the American First Amendment: before we can speak, we must be able to connect. Hillary Clinton defines the freedom to connect as “the idea that governments should not prevent people from connecting to the internet, to websites, or to each other.” It is this principle that also informs discussion of net neutrality.

II. We have the right to speak.

No one may abridge our freedom of speech. We acknowledge the limitations on freedom of speech but they must defined as narrowly as possible, lest we find ourselves operating under a lowest common denominator of offense. Freedom is our default.

III. We have the right to speak in our languages.

The English language’s domination of the internet has faded as more languages and alphabets have joined the net, which is to be celebrated. But Ethan Zuckerman also cautions that in our polyglot internet, we will want to build bridges across languages. We will want to speak in our own languages but also speak with others’.

IV. We have the right to assemble.

In the American Bill of Rights, the right to assemble is listed separately from the right to speak. The internet enables us to organize without organizations and collaborate and that now threatens repressive regimes as much as speech.

V. We have the right to act.

These first articles are a thread: We connect to speak and speak to assemble and assemble to act and that is how we can and will change the world, not just putting forth grievances but creating the means to fix them. That is what threatens the institutions that would stop us.

VI. We have the right to control our data.

You should have access to data about you. And what’s yours is yours. We want the internet to operate on a principle of portability, so your information and creations cannot be held prisoner by a service or government and so you retain control. But keep in mind that when control is given to one, it is taken from another; in those details lurk devils. This principle thus speaks to copyright and its laws, which set the definitions and limits of control or creation. This principle also raises questions about whether the wisdom of the crowd belongs to the crowd.

VII. We have the right to our own identity.

This is not as simple as a name. Our identity online is made up of our names, addresses, speech, creations, actions, connections. Note also that in repressive regimes, maintaining anonymity — hiding one’s identity — is a necessity; thus anonymity, with all its faults and baggage and trolls, must also be protected online to protect the dissenter and the whistleblower. Note finally that these two articles — controlling our data and our identities — make up the right to privacy, which is really a matter of control.

VIII. What is public is a public good.

The internet is public; indeed, it is a public place (rather than a medium). In the rush to protect privacy, we must beware the dangers of restricting the definition of public. What’s public is owned by the public. Making the public private or secret serves the corrupt and tyrannical.

IX. The internet shall be built and operated openly.

The internet must continue to be built and operated to open standards. It must not be taken over or controlled by any company or government. It must not be taxed. It is the internet’s openness that gives it its freedom. It is this freedom that defines the internet.

Ada Lovelace Day: Why Do You Share?

Tara Hunt

Tara Hunt is passing around a survey which I believe is ok to share. It takes 5mins and the results are already up and worth looking through.

I also didn’t get around to posting it due to a error on my blog, Tara Hunt is my finding ada. Shes a pretty amazing lady and know not everyones favorite but you have to agree, shes always got something good to say. She’s also been a massive supporter of encouraging more ladies into the tech scene and putting her nose into areas where its not welcomed. She truly breaks down barriers and is a leading expert in her field of social media and marketing. For someone with such a massive cv and impressive background, she can certainly kick back and enjoy a drink after a long day. I was actually shocked the other day to find out Tara Hunt’s real age, she always seemed so mature that I had assumed older. There’s no edge to Tara at all, she is exactly what you see. I would love to see her talking to the next generation more often, as she as so much more to give.

This is why Tara Hunt is my Finding Ada for 2010.

11th May: Malcolm Gladwell Live in Manchester

Malcolm Gladwell

The author of What The Dog Saw, Outliers, The Tipping Point and Blink.

Described by The Observer as ‘The most influential thinker of the iPod generation’, best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell returns to the UK with a new live show to mark the publication of his new book What The Dog Saw. This is a rare live opportunity to see Malcolm’s brilliantly entertaining amalgam of storytelling and intuitive thinking, which has captivated UK audiences both in the West End and on tour.

I’m chopping at the bit to get my ticket, this is one I certainly can not miss, neither should you.

Piracy sounds too sexy, say copyright holders

Pirate child

From ArsTechnica

For years, we’ve heard complaints about using the term “piracy” to describe the online copyright infringement—but most have come from Big Content’s critics.

As noted copyright scholar William Patry argued in his most recent book, “To say that X is a pirate is a metaphoric heuristic, intended to persuade a policymaker that the in-depth analysis can be skipped and the desired result immediately attained… Claims of piracy are rhetorical nonsense.”

That may well be true, but copyright holders have long preferred the term, with its suggestions of theft, destruction, and violence. The “pirates” have now co-opted the term, adopting it with gusto and hoisting the Jolly Roger across the Internet (The Pirate Bay being the most famous example).

Some of those concerned about online copyright infringement now realize that they may have created a monster by using the term “piracy.” This week, at the unveiling of a new study for the International Chamber of Commerce which argued that 1.2 million jobs could be lost in Europe as a result of copyright infringement by 2015, the head of the International Actors’ Federation lamented the term.

“We should change the word piracy,” she said at a press conference. “To me, piracy is something adventurous, it makes you think about Johnny Depp. We all want to be a bit like Johnny Depp. But we’re talking about a criminal act. We’re talking about making it impossible to make a living from what you do.”

Translation: we should have chosen a less-sexy term.

Gutted, they built up this stupid image of pirates and its totally back fired on them. Another win for remix culture I would say. Heaven knows what they will come up with instead.

Should you play money poker with friends?

I say no. I think there’s too many things which can go wrong in a game especially when money in involved.

Victoria Coren seems to disagree but considers that social rules should be considered up front.

First, you have to decide whether you and your friend are happy to play fully against each other: trap-checking, check-raising, punchy value bets, the lot. If so, don’t be surprised if your friendship turns a little tense for a while. But there is no need to tell everyone your life story. Plenty of casino cohorts know each other and, if you’re playing straight, there’s nothing to announce.

If you are not prepared to treat your friend as any other opponent, you shouldn’t play on the same table. I am still stuck in an ancient tradition with my old mucker The Sweep: if we are heads-up in a casino pot, we check it down. That kind of thing must be announced, but should be avoided. Luckily, The Sweep is a total rock. If he so much as breathes on a pot, I fold everything but aces anyway.

Its getting a little like this when playing Werewolf with friends too.

Pacemaker + Sonodrome devices better explained

how pacemaker and sonodrome device can work

I thought I was pretty straight forward with my thoughts about using sonodrome devices with the pacemaker but some people did ask for a clearer description, the picture above this should be all you need.

So instead of plugging the Pacemaker straight into a amp, you plug the line out into the input of a your Sonodrome box. The Sonodrome box can be anything you want to build, I really want to build a Flanger Effect box on my first go, something I love playing with when djing but is sadly lacking from the pacemaker right now. Once you attach the output of the Sonodrome box to the Amp your away pretty much. I know you can buy effect peddles which do the same thing but there usually so heavy, made for bands, use external power and look like crap. What I would build would be unfussy, simple and small enough to throw in the bag alongside the pacemaker for live events.

A couple words of warning however.

The Sonodrome box, needs to deliver totally clean sound when not in use, because un/plugging it mid set would be a nightmare. So no amplification at 0 I guess. The Box should aid that feeling of movement, so big fat buttons and the like. They also need to be pretty solid when mounted, as there expected to get quite a lot of abuse.

There’s also some advantages to this type of setup, like taking a 3.5inch stereo jack on the input but having a selectable 5.5inch jack or even a XLR on the output. The projects seem pretty straight easy to follow. The one idea which really interests me a lot is the wiimote one. With bluetooth and a few selectable effects it should be straight forward to farm all the changes to the accelerometers on a wiimote instead. Although I can kind of imagine how it would work, I have no idea how much work it would take, maybe I’d be better asking someone to build it for me and paying them instead. Any takers?

Makerfaire 2010

On my way back from Makerfaire 2010 and thankfully I can decompress on the train back. The event was a hit with plenty more makers that last time. Surprisingly the event took place inside the science centre instead of millennium square which the science centre circles and was the venue of the last one. One of the downsides of the move to the science centre is the cost which was about 4 pounds per person. There was the question would

Some very cool things I saw….

Lasers! Some of the guys from the spraycan project had built a multi-colour laser out of a standard green laser, a red dvd laser and blu-r laser. Using special mounting mirrors between them all, You can see the whole lot on this forum specially setup for laser makers. Some of the others are equally impressive and dotted all over the forum. Will I make my own laser? who knows maybe some day in the future. Maybe I’ll start by strip down my toy red laser and add a couple other Red DVD lasers to a baseplate and then try adding a controller. Hummmm one for a rainy day me thinks.

Sonodrome create bespoke audio hardware and software which fit into small pocket size tins. What I like about them is the size and ability to add it to my pacemaker output. So I could live mix on my pacemaker and plug into one of these pocket size tins for some crazy filtering. Heck I can even chain them for some real fun. Talking to the guys behind Sonodrome its possible to do some stuff with wiimotes as a controller, so look out for some hacking in that area by me soon.

Sugru is interesting shame the guys can’t seem to make enough to make it into the shops.

Lastly Steampunk magazine. I’ve never really engaged with steampunk culture or anything like that. I’m more a futuristic kind of a guy in these departments, hi-tech trainers, hi-tech fabrics all dark colours. Anyway it was interesting to think about and the woman’s dresses and corsets are well something else!

Of course there was tons and tons of other things at Makerfaire but theres really caught my attention. The whole event was amazing and I look forward to 2011.

Pleo Autopsy video from Makerfaire

Pleo is one of those super hightech toys which people seem to love or hate. It draws a lot of attention because its beautifully life like. But how would you feel if you saw Pleo taken a part by a maker? There’s a manifesto which makers always quote,

If you can’t open it, you don’t own it

That might be the case, but its a little freaky watching the poor Pleo stripped of its skin. Now to be fair the Pleo was half working anyway but to see it lying there with its eyes looking out across the camera, is almost too much to bear.

I remember a long time ago when I was at an event in London and some jurk comes on stage and flying kicks a Aibo off the stage. He shouted, its not real as the crowd all held there mouths gasping. It was certainly one way to start a debate about humans putting there feelings onto objects. A very interesting debate which I can’t help remember after seeing this video. Thanks Elin Roberts for posting it.

Fianlly had a feel for the Boxee Remote and its excellent

The Boxee remote

I had the chance to play with the all new Boxee Remote and I was very impressed. It feels so light (it may or may not have had batteries in it) but solid enough to take some abuse like people sitting on it and being dropped off sofa edges on to stone floors. The top edge with the navigation is very mac like with the basic amount of controls to do most things. But then if you roll over the remote your greeted by a full qwerty keyboard. The keyboard is lower that the edges so even when lying flat the buttons don’t touch. Being all RF is good because the keyboard is very usable when not facing the screen. Although the remote is a good size I do wish it was a little thicker. I’ll be buying one for my xbmc setup as soon as there available.

Three changes got me thinking

Hulu launched a new series called if I can dream. Its some 90210 crappy series but whats interesting is the fact there is no geo-ip on the media, making it a drama series that anyone can enjoy no matter where they live. You only have to look at something like Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog to see what happens when you got a well produced hit with no geo-ip.

I also saw TV product placement ban has been lifted in the UK. Commercial broadcasters will soon be allowed to accept payment for promoting branded goods in hit TV shows.

The promotion of alcohol, tobacco, gambling and foods that contain high levels of fat, salt or sugar will still be banned. The BBC will remain banned from promoting any products.

Product placement is already widespread in films, notably James Bond movies, and on American TV shows, including Sex and the City and Simon Cowell’s American Idol.

Both ITV and Channel 4 welcomed the lifting of the ban. An ITV spokesman said: “ITV welcomes the government’s announcement today to permit limited product placement in UK-made TV programmes. While we do not necessarily agree with the restrictions placed on certain categories, it is a step in the right direction as it will deliver additional revenue for investment in original content in the UK.”

Honestly I watch so much American tv that this makes no difference to me and to be fair with a new revenue model available, maybe more of the copyright owners will be less precious about who sees the media.

Finally, See Saw launched which is meant to be the UK Hulu but to be honest it feels very much like iplayer of early 2009. Where’s all the social sharing features which we all use everyday? Wheres the RSS feeds and API? Nowhere to be seen. Somebody please write a XBMC and Boxee plugin for this, so I consume it in a rational way.

The Data Visualisation Manchester Weekender

So as you may have already seen, Data.gov.uk, BBC Backstage and Manchester Digital Development Agency (MDDA) will be running an ‘unconference’ focussing on data visualisations. The unconference will team up 100 developers and 100 designers to create diverse and imaginative data visualisations from open data. The aim of the event is to facilitate an unusual opportunity allowing the diversity of the two traditional job roles to bring together imaginative use of open data sources.

The website for more information and to sign up is dvwm.weebly.com

Whats the schedule?

April 9th will see a pre-party get together at a central Manchester venue (TBA)

April 10th will be the first day of the event complete with open sessions to help get you inspired

April 11th will be the day when you can show off your visualisation on stage

This may also help answer your questions?

  • It will be a mix of hackday/mashed with a unconference type event, its the same format as we have used for Over the Air 2008
  • There will be lots of coding, designing and general hacking.
  • We have secured a venue in central Manchester which will allow over night stay, so theres no need to worry about hotels on the Saturday night.
  • A small but good amount of food and drink will be available, but if you ever feel hungry for more theres plenty of shops and restaurants in central Manchester.
  • The venue isn’t far from Piccadilly station, so getting to and from the South, East and West should be pretty easy.
  • Anyone coming into Victoria Station should change on to the tram heading to Piccadilly.
  • The event is totally free but requires signup beforehand and confirmation from the organisers.
  • Visualisations don’t have to be just virtual, they can be physical too.
  • You can use the hashtag or tag – DVWM to find related stuff
  • Yes its in Central Manchester not Central London
  • Yes we all love open data

Interested designers and developers can find out more and apply for an invitation via the DVWM website.

Even more films you may have missed

Angel A

American Gangster – I love this film, its very clever in so many ways. While your somewhat rooting for Frank/Denzil who is super smart, modest and a entrepreneur with the nerve to take on everybody at there game. Your reminded that he is a drug dealer and making a living selling junk to people in his own community. Even the police didn’t believe a black man could be capable of getting to such a position and because of that they would focus there efforts on the Italians and other drug barons.

Strictly Sexually – This movie has pretty much come out of nowhere and has been downloaded tons of times according to different sources. Its very difficult to find on DVD due to its limited shelf life in the states. Anyway the plot centres on 2 woman and 2 men who have a one night stand. The woman so fed up with how complex relationships can be, decide to paying for a couple male escorts for the night (so no feelings involved sex). They meet our 2 guys at the bar and it all goes well but the next day when the woman try to pay the guys for the night, the guys are not best pleased. What follows is a complex relationship of trust and distrust. Its all shot pretty simply but the storyline and characters tend to keep you interested. Worth seeking out.

Legion – This is a new one which I fear will get missed in the push for the big blockbusters like Avatar. Its the end of the world, angels have been sent by god himself to take vengeance out the human race however in a cafe someway out side of LA works a woman with her unborn child. That child will save the world and one of the angels decides to go against god to give the human race a chance of survival. Its quite a simple plot but its visually stunning, interesting in a thrilling way and never stopping.

Ca$h – Sean Bean in this one is creepy as hell. Its all starts with a bank robbery that goes slightly wrong when they (including sean bean) have to ditch the money off a bridge. The money falls on the bonnet of a passing car, when the guy opens the case and sees the money he decides finders keepers. Unfortunately the bank robbers brother also played by sean bean tracks the guy down and demands the money back. The guy and his wife have spent a good lot of it already but return as much as possible to the brother whos now basically moved in with them. However there short about 20,000 dollars which is about 1 or 2% of the whole lot. Rather that count his loses like his locked up brothers begs him, he demands every pence be returned no matter what. As you can imagine what happens next. Another undiscovered hit with punchy dialogue and social compliance at the heart of the film. Its odd having Sean Bean play both brothers but what kills me is how anal someone can be over the money. You will be screaming at the display while watching this one.

Dogging: A love story – English movie with a bold title but not so bold plot. Dogging a love story is really a combination of different peoples lives and scenarios around dogging. Its tied together loosely but does generally work. I actually think if they kept it away from dogging it might have turned out to be a better film but yes it would have lost its shock. So what is the plot? Well a journalist is researching the dogging scene which his flat mate is a part of. Somehow he get mixed up with a lady who is also new and not sure about the whole thing. The lady is amazingly cute and when they first met in a cold car park love is in the air. After that its a swings and round abouts till they finally meet and say what they should have said the first day they met. Yep its a love story with a load of weird twists and stereotyping of people who go dogging. Although I’m quite down on this film, I got to say it is worth watching. The ladies are the type you would love to live next door to and the guys except our romeo character are either total nerds or cocks.

Up in the air – This film could only be made in the 2000’s, there so much in it about everyday life in the 00’s. Theres so many little humorous touches like when the couple have hotel sex and then get there laptops out to work out when they can next get together. The loyalty card stuff is classic stuff and generally air travel stuff for people who travel a lot is great. George Clooney is fantastic in this film and the people around him are certainly pulled into the halo effect. The plot is quite interesting and fits the it could work in the 2000’s theme. George spends most of his time on planes and airports going to companies to help them professionally sack people. This requires flying all over the states and communicating with base for where to go next. Most people hate this but george loves it and loves the road warrior lifestyle. However this is all under threat with a recently joined graduate who decides to make a push for the company to use voip technologies instead. George is then given the chance to get the graduate up to speed by his boss before they move over to voip. In the time the grad and george spend flying places, many things happen and they both get a lesson about the human condition. Its all very warming at the end, but its ok because theres lots of prickly issues through out the film. Don’t miss this one.

Creation – The story of Charles Darwin as he struggles to find a balance between the theories on evolution which he’s discovering and the religious relationship with his wife. To be fair it does drag on a little in places but generally its well worth watching, specially for the parts involving his child where he’s forced to explain to her what a impact his studies could have on the world. Yes its a period drama but with so much more purpose.

Angel-A – This is a weird one, its shot in black and white and is totally french. Its takes place in Paris and is somewhere between drama, comedy, romance and fantasy. André is owes too many people too much money, to top that he’s american and his passport has been stolen so he’s in for a really rough time. So rough, that he decides to jump off a bridge and end it all. However on the exact same bridge is a leggy blonde super model. She jumps and he saves her. So thankful, she agrees to be his side kick and help solve his problems. As you can imagine there is a lot which happens afterwards but I won’t spoil it for you.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt – Yes I know its a remake but if you’ve not seen the original film noir version, then this one might be a lot more accessible. The film starts off as a standard court room drama centered around a murder and before you know it things have twisted and changed right before your eyes. I don’t want to spoil this one either because its really worth watching. Specially now you got a really good line up of stars on board for this excellent remake.

Case 39 – I’m not usually into horror because I find them boring but this was much more leaning towards the thriller section. Theres not much to it, over worked social worker checks out a case where the parents try and kill there child by putting her in the oven. Child is saved and queue the start of a very difficult relationship with the social worker. Thats all I’m going to say… Worth watching on a sunday night with the lights down, it will take you by surprise.

Some nice cool things happening on a ubuntu box near you now

This is the new look Ubuntu or rather the new default theme in Ubuntu 10.04. I’m not totally convinced, I prefer my own sand and jade themes but its good to see the brown theme will go away.

Ubuntu seems to be one step closer to a semantic desktop with the use of Gnome Zeitgeist is Gnome Activity Journal, zeitgeist-filesystem and other bits…

Zeitgeist is a service which logs the users’s activities and events (files opened, websites visites, conversations hold with other people, etc.) and makes relevant information available to other applications. It is able to establish relationships between items based on similarity and usage patterns.

Nice (check out this great video) but can I get the thing working? Well I got the engine running but I can’t get the activity journal working. Luckily it looks like it will make its way into Gnome 3.0 (which we will have to wait for 10.10). If your a KDE user don’t worry there’s also a Semantic desktop strand coming your way.

Me menu is like a idea I had a long time ago. I always wondered why you couldn’t set your status in one application and for the others to also pick that up. So from memory the picture I mocked up was me editing my status in Gwibber and it automatically updated my Skype and Pidgin statuses too. Well now Me menu pretty much does that. Oh and did you see the next generation of Gwibber? Kind of looks like Tweetdeck but not.