Post Pam Warhurst to Wikipedia

Pam Warhurst

I received this in my Flickr Mail the other day…

Have you thought about uploading one of your Pam Warhurst pictures to Wikipedia? Her profile ( doesn’t have one and I think would be a good fit.

FYI: I am publishing a quote using this picture, credited, on Feb. 27 on my blog

Must have been a slight mistake because looking for the quote I had to do a tag search for Pamela Warhurst. Finally I found this page. Right day wrong month.

“There’s so many people that don’t really recognize a vegetable unless it’s in a bit of plastic with an instruction packet on the top.” — Pamela WarhurstHow we can eat our landscapes

To be honest I’d love to have one of my pictures used for the wikipedia entry but its a real pain uploading to wikipedia when you forgot the account details (*smile*). So once I sort out the login, I’ll make the changes to Pamela’s entry. May have to do the same for a few other people…


Epic Werewolf – This Halloween…

EPIC Werewolf

This Halloween, there is only one place to be…

Four times the deception, four times the lies and four times the paranoia. It’s a social game which you can easily pick up but is impossible to master. This Halloween we show social engineering like never before…

Islington Mill for some Epic Werewolf with Larkin About… All part of the Manchester Science Festival

Decentralised networking is hard, no really?

Sydney, January 2009

Straight out of the “No Sh*t Sherlock…” book….

Although I think its amazing what developers do, I can imagine how hard it must be to write decent decentralised software. The Diaspora guys spell out how difficult it is… which Adwale likes to make sure I and others fully understand.

  • If you build a decentralized application, you actually need to ship software. You need to package, test, create installers, test on a variety of platforms, write defensive code to work around misconfigurations your customers are likely to create, etc. For a centralized website, you can often edit files in place on the production server.
    Result: decentralized is 10x harder at least.
  • Somebody somewhere will run every single version of your app that you ever shipped. It will be badly out of date, full of security holes (you fixed years ago), outmoded graphics etc. It will cost you additional support, and your brand will suffer. Almost nobody upgrades to the latest and greatest within a life time it seems.
    Result: decentralized is less functional, less pretty, and less secure.
  • Decentralized software is much harder to monetize. You can’t run ads on somebody else’s installation. You can’t data mine your users (because most of them aren’t in a place that you have access to, it’s somebody else’s installation). You can’t do cross-promotions and referrals etc. You can charge those people who install your software, but there’s a reason most websites are free: much better business.
    Result: decentralized produces less money for you, so you have less investment dollars at your disposal.
  • Database migrations and the like for decentralized apps have to be fully productized, because they will be run by somebody else who does not know what to do when something fails 15 minutes into an ALTER TABLE command.
    Result: decentralized is 10x harder at least.
  • Same thing for performance optimizations and the like: it’s much easier to optimize your code for your own server farm than trying to help Joe remotely whose installation and servers you don’t have access to.
    Result: decentralized is slower, more expensive, and harder.

Frankly although I take the points… If you want to stand out in a clearly over crowded field, and one which has a major elephant using up all the space. You need to think differently (to quote someone we all know too well).

This means doing the difficult things which no one understands and owning the platform!

Your business model should/could be charging other developers to build and be creative on top of your platform. have got the right idea, charge the developers who then create the experiences. Your focus should be on managing the platform and supporting their creativity. Anything else is greed and/or lack of focus.

What do I mean by creativity? Think about Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck innovated on top of the Twitter platform and in the end the platform twitter bought them (stupid move). Tweetdeck for a lot of people made twitter usable at long last. The amount of news rooms I’ve been to and seen tweetdeck with a million panels open is untrue. The same isn’t true now… Tweetdeck guys innovated on top of Twitter and instead of sharing revenue with them or something. They bough them…!

A quote which comes to mind is something like…

The train company thought they were in the railroad business, what they didn’t get was that they were actually in the transportation business.

I really like twitter but frankly their control/greed/whatever is getting out of control. While on a panel yesterday at the London transmedia festival in Ravensbourne College. I was sat with Danielle from Tumblr, Bruce from Twitter, Cat from BBC and Doug Scott from Ogilvy. Although its tempting to make a few comments about there change in stance, I passed. Although I did notice say something which could be seen as slightly negative. Doug said how useful Twitter is for understanding users and I agreed but I said,

“Well its important to remember Twitter is only explicit data, implicit data is the stuff people really want to get there hands on…”

Anyway, the point stands and its hard to see how Twitter will get into the implicit data game at this point. If they acted like a platform, maybe someone else would do the innovation for them. But back to the main point why would you do it on someone closed system?

Decentralised network systems are harder but will drive much more interesting creativity… I can see how this might be at odds with setting up a business, startup and having investors etc… But I’m sure I could make a argument that its better in the long run…

Okcupid turns matchmaker with your Roommate?

Old flatmate search

The last time I seeked a flatmate properly…

This surprised me when I first heard that Okcupid was going to have a go at fixing the roommates market

Not satisfied with running the best dating site on the planet, OkCupid parent company Humor Rainbow appears to be launching a service to help match up potential roommates. If Humor Rainbow can pull it off, the process of searching, finding and vetting potential roommates is about to get a whole easier, fun and more interesting.

I think they can pull it off because they understand data and like the devastating effecting they’ve had on the dating market, they are not just drinking the Tim Oreilly’s Coolaid but living by it.

Data is the Intel inside – Tim Oreilly

Its a real shame they got bought by because I would have loved to see how far they would have gone with there data stance (heck someones got to do something)

Its maybe a good time to say I’m considering a flatmate again…(last time having one may have saved my life – Thanks Tim) Specially now I have a bed in the spare room which doesn’t eat up all the space in the small 2nd bedroom. Ideally its suited to BBC Staff coming up from London and wanting somewhere to live before getting to know Manchester (and deciding to live in Cholton or Didsbury)

Of course if the right person came along I’d consider a longer term arrangement, but we’ll see…

Do Location-Based Dating Apps Really Matter?

Good question

I wrote about OkCupid locals beta a while ago and said it was quite interesting to see the person on the phone in real life. This isn’t anything new but to see the hetrosexual world get there own thing even for a short while was interesting. Now there’s too many of them… Okcupid, Plenty of Fish, Meetmoi and even Zoosk has gotten into the field. You can now have that Bluetooting experience you’ve always wanted thanks to these apps… However are they actually used beyond having a giggle with your friends?

Another good question…

Well it seems like all this stuff, with so many different networks, the love of your life could be sitting next to you and you wouldn’t know because of the lack of interoperability between the services and their apps.

The reason why grindr did so well is because every gayman up for a bit of fun had it installed. Pushing out all the rest of the apps. If you were available and up for it, grindr was the app to have.

But back to the original question… Do they really matter?

I personally have removed Okcupid’s app from my phone because of the drain on battery and to be honest many people I know turn off the functionality. Privacy concerns and the fear of being stalked by some crazy ex may have a massive effect here? But frankly few people are openly using it and even if they are… there very unlikely to be on the same network as you.

I hate to say it but it looks like this one was the bluetoothing story all over again. Some people will have fun with the idea but for most people it will be another dream/fantasy/nightmare waiting to happen…

Pacemaker device upgrade

Pacemaker Device

If you’ve not seen the Pacemaker Device (pmd) had a official firmware update over the last few months. This is great news because this shows pacemaker device isn’t dead, and there might still be a lot more life in this ground breaking device.

The firmware is beta but to be honest it feels very stable to me just like the leak pacemaker firmware from over 3 years ago. One of the major additions is the ability to scratch which I’ve not played with yet, but theres plenty more stuff…

  • Scratching (Vinyl Mode) – Enable it under (Settings, Mix Control, Vinyl Mode). Simply touch the edges of the navigation pad on the Pacemaker to scratch your music.
  • Beat Lock/Sync Mode – Enable beat lock by holding the P-Button down and pressing Play on the second deck. The second deck will be synced to the same tempo as the first and held there until this process is repeated.
  • Sync Tempo – Hold the P-Button down and press Cue on the second deck. The second decks tempo will now match the tempo of the first deck.
  • Beat Jump – Enable beat jump by holding the P-Button down and pressing ‘REW’ on a deck. ‘Beat Jump Enabled’ will be displayed. Repeat this process to jump backward in time in the track or hold the P-Button down and press ‘FWD’ to jump forward in the track. You can change the length of the jump by holding the P-Button down and pressing the ‘REW’ and ‘FWD’ buttons simultaneously. Great for creating a ‘stutter effect’.
  • Fixed Loop Length – Set Fixed Loop Lengths in (Settings, Mix Control, Fixed Loop Length) and all loops you create will default to that length.
  • Snap Loops – Set this on under (Settings, Mix Control, Snap Loops) and all loops that are created will be snapped to the nearest beat.
  • Digital Output (Play mode only) – Requires an A/V cable (Digital out where video should be) and this mode only works on the line-out channel (Hardware limitation)

Its quite easy to upgrade and on Linux, you just need to follow the Mac instructions.

Ensure your Pacemaker has at least 20% charge before starting this process. Download the firmware by clicking here

  1. Connect your Pacemaker Device to your PC via a mini USB cable.
  2. View the Pacemaker drive so you can see the folders on the device (like you would with a memory stick)
  3. Find the .Pacemaker folder (it might be a hidden folder so you might have to enable viewing of hidden folders).
  4. Copy the firmware you downloaded into this folder.
  5. Safely Eject the Pacemaker Device
  6. Your Pacemaker should now reboot and install the firmware – this might take several minutes. Do not unplug your device during this process.
  7. Once completed the device may either need to be ejected again from the computer, or it may display a screen as if it has just been turned on and is ready to mix.
  8. You’re done – Let’s Mix.
  9. Be sure to post your comments over in the official forum thread here, to show your support to the team.

Pacemaker upgrade complete

Here’s my pacemaker with the latest Firmware updated…

Firestarting Oreilly’s Tools of change

I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at Oreilly’s Tools of Change conference in Frankfurt last week.

Tools of change or TOC for me has become the place for interesting innovations centred around publishing. Of course it makes sense because Oreilly themselves are mainly a publisher and are leading the field.

The sessions I mainly attended were around innovation in the publishing space. However a bulk of the talks centred around DRM (restrictions and rights) and moving digital workflow through-out. There was a feeling that something wasn’t being talked about and that thing was Amazon. In the same way Apple came into the music market with the savour, there was a feeling the same might be coming true.

I attended quite a few sessions but I didn’t speak up till I attended a session titled… Innovators Track: Innovative Business Models. I started tweeting some things which I thought were fair. And then I thought, well I’m going to make my feelings known rather than stay silent. The crux of my complaint was I felt like we were at a sales pitch and I wasn’t the only one who felt it. A guy I was standing next to turned to me and said, “never send your sales staff to a conference…” And you know what he was darn right… Anyway I asked my question, which was something like “Ummmmm, wheres the innovation and creativity in what you guys are doing?” That didn’t go down too well but Sophie Rochester who was due to chair the panel I would be on later, skillfully asked the question and also make it clear this wasn’t really about creativity and innovations and our session later would be the place for that. She also suggested that from a outsiders perspective it may not look like much but it was. I say nothing more, but people at lunch kept saying agreeing with me…

After lunch I went to the Outsmarting Piracy session with Ruediger Wischenbart; Jens Klingelhöfer; Sergey Anuriev; Richard Mollet; Joe Wikert. It was very interesting… At one point I was shaking my head thinking goodness this is more head in the sand stuff but then they spoke to Sergey who was russian and gave a good talk about the fact 90% of all ebooks are traded over the dark/under net. They actually work with the pirates to advertise and learn more about there audience.

Some people scoffed, but its the best they can/could do… This was followed up with Joe Wikert from Oreilly who gave the non-DRM rational. Richard Mollet piped up and said how he was advising the UK government against relaxing DRM and the like. Some lady asked the question of the panel, are any of you guys pirates? Everyone was a little startled. Then one by one, they said yes I have done something in the past which could be classed as piracy. Everyone except Richard Mollet. He refused the notion that he may have engaged in any level of piracy. I think that was when I lost it and asked/told the question saying.

“I am ashamed to be British and have you and people like you advising the UK government without any knowledge or understanding of the hardship and pain the average person has to endure with the likes of DRM!!!”

He used the crappy excuse that he’s never killed anyone but can still have a view on the punishment.

Anyway this DRM discussion carried on in the main hall as the DRM Debate with Joe Wikert and Bill McCoy.
Clearly the Book/Publishing industry is trying to grapple with DRM and those who get rid earlier will thrive at the expense of those who are too late to change.

The reason why I was speaking is because my panel session was centred around the concept of Perceptive Media or more specifically Perceptive publishing. Slides are of course on Slideshare. I shared the panel which was titled Innovations in Storytelling with Dan Franklin from Random House; Justin Keenan and Jennifer Lee from Plympton. It was moderated by Sophie Rochester again.

Sophie Rochester gathers together an incredibly talented group of creators in a panel devoted to innovations in storytelling! From the futuristic personalization taking place at the BBC’s Perceptive Media, to the masterfully interactive work of RH’s Dan Franklin, to the engagingly addictive genre fiction serialization of Plympton – this session will give you a glimpse at how some of our best technologists and storytellers are working together to craft ever richer “reading” experiences.

The session was genuinely full of interesting ideas and innovations from all around. I think I tweeted I would really like to work with the rest of panel one day.

Oreilly conferences are so well put together and I felt well looked after but not smothered. Oh have I missed them… Look forward to attending another one with more innovation from BBC R&D.

Perceptive Media at TedXBristol

This is my high level talk I gave for TedXBristol.

The powerpoint is a little screwy on the presentation but generally you get the gist. Its also the ones where I decided to mock up a clip of the introduction of Flashforward to give a instant view of what Perceptive Media could do.

I’m waiting to see how long it is till the video clip is taken down off Youtube for possible copyright violations (which I feel is totally wrong and it fits under transformative works). I used the same videos at Oreilly Tools of Change to amazing effect, although I do feel with more time I should have found some text to change slightly. Maybe I’ll do this for the writer workshops at the end of the month?

I could swear I wrote up my feelings about TedXBristol somewhere already, but can’t seem to find it right now.

Either way, I’m very happy to see it online and look forward to the feedback from people interested in Perceptive Media. I thank the team for inviting me and I look forward to spending more time in Bristol in the near future and good to see Bristol growing its digital community…

Looper Directors Commentry

Looper poster

I heard about the director’s commentary for looper via my rss reader and though it was well worth a another watch anyway after watching it at the Salford Cinema Club first time.

The idea is quite simple… Download the extra track to your phone or mp3 player. Go to the cinema again and  watch the film again with the extra sound track.

Johnson has recorded a commentary track that is meant to be heard in-theater. (Of course, he strongly cautions against listening to it on a first viewing.) Considering that the new film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis has a much higher profile and a plot better suited to directorial untangling than Bloom, Johnson was besieged by requests from fans to repeat the experiment.

The Looper commentary is a totally different track than the version that will be included on the eventual DVD/Blu-ray release. This version is more technical and detailed, meaning don’t expect any anecdotes about how the actors got along or what the weather was like during filming. There’s an introduction up top that instructs users on how to sync up for the optimum viewing experience

The only problem I had was the introduction says to pause and unpause when the tristar logo comes up on the screen. In the UK it wasn’t Tristar, it was something else. Which caused a moment confusion and then a delay. It wasn’t too bad a delay but certainly meant seeing something then the director referring to it a second or so later.

The other thing is the volume… My headphones are a bit low and in the cinema it was sometimes hard to hear the director talking.

Overall it was a good experience and I would recommend it for films like Looper, Donnie Darko, Inception. Yes you can wait for the DVD/Bluray but its like having a friend nudging you with useful facts in the cinema.

Could this be a signal of things to come in the future? Don’t think so but if the syncing is cleared up it could open the door to much more interesting experiences and heck even personalised experiences layed on top of a mass medium. You could certainly see Perceptive Media in such a role…

Is Metrolink ripping us off?

Metrolink in Manchester map

I went to the Sharp Project today for BBC Connected Studio which was great. But I noticed something with my travel there.

I have a year travel card which allows me to go between Piccadilly Station and Media City. However my pass actually says From City – To Eccles. I assume this allows me to go anywhere between Piccadilly or Victoria and Eccles. Sounds great but today I wanted to go to Central Park on the Oldham line (Rochdale on the one above, which includes lines which are yet to be finished)

As it was outside the city zone, I decided to pay for the extra 2 stops. 2.20 pounds worth of travel. I’m sure it was the same price as buying a ticket from anywhere in the city zone including Piccadilly. In fact it would make no difference that I had a year travel card (in theory)

Ok forget the cost, what I don’t understand is why there is no zones like Transport for London? Frankly Central Park is closer to central Manchester than Media City and Eccles.

The other day I went down to Cholton and totally forgot that my year pass only covers me between Media City and the City Zone. If Metrolink had caught me, who knows what it would have cost me in a fine. But to be honest I would have argued against it because frankly its a stupid system without zoning.

My thoughts is because Metrolink choose not to add zones, they are earning money from those who have spent money opting for a week, month or year pass and do happen to go other places.

Tell me I’m wrong…?

Thanks to Chris who left a comment on my Facebook with a link to this news article from the MEN.

Metrolink set to move to new ‘zone’ ticket prices

Greater Manchester’s tram system could be split into London Underground-style zones within two years. The plan is for the new system to come into force when ‘smart’ fare-payment cards – similar to the capital’s Oyster cards – are introduced in 2014.

Tram stops would be allocated to a zone depending on how far they are from central Manchester. Fares would vary accordingly – with journeys crossing more zones costing more. The proposals were due to be discussed by transport leaders tomorrow.

A view of the zones

I knew I was right…!

Cloud Atlas USA Oct 2012, UK release Feb 2013!


I tweeted

If true, expect another #donniedarko. Bad mistake not to go worldwide first.
‘#CloudAtlas‘ gets new UK release date

A friend asked me to explain

Cloud Atlas is now due to be released in the UK, a good 4 months after the American box office! This is crazy and frankly insane in this day of age (and with such a big movie)

What did I mean by quoting Donnie Darko?

Donnie Darko did pretty badly in the American box office, it was later released in the UK and did really well. So well that by the time it was released on DVD in America, the buzz from the UK and other markets translated to really good DVD sales.

Donnie Darko had its first screening at the Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2001, and debuted in United States theaters in October 2001 to a tepid response. Shown on only 58 screens nationwide, the film grossed $110,494 in its opening weekend.This may likely have been the result of the movie containing major scenes involving a plane falling out of the sky, and thus coinciding with the Sept 11th terrorist attacks, many distributors and theaters were unwilling to house the film at that time.By the time the film closed in United States theaters on April 11, 2002, it had earned just $517,375.It ultimately grossed $4.1 million worldwide.

The film was originally released on VHS and DVD in March 2002. Strong DVD sales led Newmarket Films to release a “Director’s Cut” on DVD in 2004. Bob Berney, President of Newmarket Films, described the film as “a runaway hit on DVD,” citing United States sales of more than $10 million.

What would Perceptive publishing look like?

TOC in Frankfurt

Perceptive Media was titled that because there was always a feeling the same concept could be applied to many more things than just broadcast. Although the BBC doesn’t really have a deep history in publishing, we do have a very deep history in narrative…

What would Perceptive Publishing look like?

My interview is actually worthy of a quick read

We have only scratched the surface and do not know what else it can be adapted toward. In BBC R&D, we watch trends by looking at early innovators. It’s clear as day that ebook reading is taking off finally, and as it moves into the digital domain, why does the concept of a book have to be static? Skeuomorphism is tragic and feels like a massive step back. But Perceptive Media is undoing the limitations of broadcast. It certainly feels like we can overcome the limitations of publishing, too.
Tools of Change for Publishing (

As the readership starts to involve more electronic devices such as ereaders like the Kindle. Why limit the scope of the story to a single narrative? Why not have the narrative play out with local references? Change and morph depending on the time of the day? How about a story which truly challenges the way you think or see the world?

These are the type of questions I’ll be exploring at Oreilly’s Tools of Change Conference in Frankfurt, Germany.

Innovators Track: Innovations in Storytelling

Innovators Track curator, Sophie Rochester gathers together an incredibly talented group of creators in a panel devoted to innovations in storytelling! From the futuristic personalization taking place at the BBC’s Perceptive Media, to the masterfully interactive work of RH’s Dan Franklin, to the engagingly addictive genre fiction serialization of Plympton – this session will give you a glimpse at how some of our best technologists and storytellers are working together to craft ever richer “reading” experiences.

Ian Forrester, BBC
Dan Franklin, Random House UK
Justin Keenan, Plympton
Jennifer 8 Lee, Plympton
Moderated by Sophie Rochester, The Literary Platform

I look forward to joining Tools of Change Germany later today…

Who thinks this is a good idea?

Tribute to Steve Jobs | We are orphan...

One of the most stupidest things I’ve heard of late…

Finding the next steve jobs… Will i am and Simon Cowell cashing in on a dead man’s legacy more like it. Not only is it insulting to the intelligent working on new and cutting edge things but also a nasty thing to do on the 1 year anniversary of steve jobs death in my view.

To be frank its as dumb an idea as offline netflix… At least its not as offensive as Simon Cowell and Will i am jumping on a bandwagon.

Follow the money… or rather follow the naff ideas to eternity? Stupid…!