Is copyright reform on the way?

Torrentfreak has a thoughtful piece about copyright reform. As you can imagine its swings towards a very liberal reform, which sounds about right to me.

Let’s take a look at what happened when the compact cassette arrived. It was sort of an analog removable hard drive with music, that you plugged into an analog music player – the new thing at the time being that you could also write to it. Cassette players popped up everywhere, in particular in a form called ghettoblasters, where you’d carry a rather large box with loudspeakers and two cassette slots around, not to mention quite a few batteries.

Note that I wrote two cassette slots. All of these players also advertised how good they were at copying cassette tapes. You’d pop in the source tape, put a blank tape in the recording slot, and hit a gigantic button named “copy”. This was a feature that was heavily advertised – the better the blasters were at copying, the more music its owner would be able to collect.

The record industry at the time went absolutely ballistic, and said “home taping is killing music” in a largely ridiculed campaign. The bands at the time gave them the finger and printed that logo with the text “home taping is killing record industry profits” instead, adding “we left the reverse side [of the tape] blank, so you can help”. Nevertheless, this was the start of the war against ordinary people copying, something that has only escalated to ridiculous levels today. (Can you imagine a two-slot DVD player being sold today that would have a huge red button marked COPY on it?)

Nice example which later goes on…

When today’s teenagers have grown up enough to be pulling the strings, do you really believe they’ll buy the fairytale stories of how the monopoly construct that all of them saw as plainly abusive, oppressive, and extortionate is needed “for the artists to get paid”? When all they saw – when all everybody saw – was a monopoly construct that silenced artists, silenced challenges to the establishment’s status quo, killed technological innovation, and made sure that rich multinational corporations could buy the power they wanted?

There’s not a chance they’ll buy the fairytale stories from the copyright industry. They’ll all remember their own firsthand experiences. And they’ll kill the monopoly entirely, to thunderous applause.

I certainly like to imagine this to be true, but it doesn’t seem to include the fact people, the average slide of people towards a conservative outlook.

Of course this is nothing compared to the works of Lawrence Lessig’s thoughts, which must be read if your interested in this area.

What is BarCampEdu?

Campus Panorama

Remember a couple of times in the past I have said this will be the last barcamp I will do.

After BarCampLondon3, I stood up and said no more from me. Others took it onwards and upwards. A similar thing happened with BarCampManchester2 and BarCampMediaCity.

Anyway I’m at it again.

BarCampEdu or BarCampManchesterEducation is a 1 day barcamp held at the Sharp Project in East Manchester on Saturday 16th November.

In the North West of England there has been BarCampManchester, BarCampBlackpool, BarcampLiverpool, BarCampPreston, BarCampMediaCity and that is just the start…

The power of unconferences can be applied to all types of subjects and in BarCampEdu, we’re applying it to further education in Manchester. Bringing together the next digital generation with those in industry now to better understand each other and the opportunities available.

BarCampEdu takes the concept of BarCamp and adds a level of education to the proceedings. When I say eduction, I do not means its a barcamp about education, rather the most of the people in the venue will be students from the major Manchester universities. MMU, Manchester University and Salford University will be all working together and contributing to a great day of talks.

It came about when I attended the barcamp about barcamp (encampment london) Kate a lecturer from City University talked about how BarCamp ticks a lot of the boxes she needs to cover in a year. When I was lecturing, I remember some of the points shes talking about. Each university will get a selection of tickets for there students and staff. The rest of the tickets will be open to the general public.

We are seeking sponsorship to go along side the supporting universities and a few surprises coming soon.

To know more the event, check out the website at Tickets to the public will go live soon.

Upfront therapy on BBC Merseyside


Back on the airwaves of BBC Radio Merseyside discussing topics of the heart.

From how much to share with your partner to a critical deconstruction of my love life, its all on BBC Merseyside (1hour 10mins in). Some how we turned from me telling/blaming the ladies of upfront about how I paid when I should have gone dutch into a live therapy session! Interesting being called a serial dater again and again. Of course thats a debate in its self… Who knows maybe we’ll go into that topic one day?

As usual its funny and good Sunday night entertainment which you can catch up on for 7 more days.

There’s a archive copy here too once the 7 days pass.

When to take a break from online dating

Online Dating. Oh Yeah.

Northen Lass 32 spilled the beans and part of her heart out in her latest article.

A few months down the line, it hasn’t worked out with Mr Facestalk and I. Sadly it seems our paths are not aligned and our future selves wanted different stuff. Rather than crying onto my laptop, which I’ve done in the past – straight onto the trackpad, sending the mouse on an independent clicking frenzy powered by nothing but my salty misery. No, I can’t afford to replace that again. So I’ll simply turn to the wise words uttered by the oracles that are Orbital in their 1990s dance classic Satan: “It’s better to regret something you have done, than something you haven’t” How deep is that for a 90s rave tune?!

Deep enough I would say. The problem Northen Lass has besides the wicked tunes (don’t ever knock rave) is this…

Dating becomes less about getting to know one person properly, and more about dating the shit out of a 40-mile radius of your postcode, resulting in serial daters, on sites for years in a continuous state of “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE NEXT ONE?!”. It may not have been why they initially signed up, but the overwhelming urge to act like a kid in a sweetshop prevails and the paradox of choice sets in.

And just how do you choose who to date? How do you filter out those not suitable, ending up with your dream human? You know the one, the one that farts butterflies and rides a unicorn to work? With help from the website’s compatibility robot, it could be easy to discount someone you could really get on with based on some fairly superficial filtering options – and start to develop expectations of the perfect match a little outside the bounds of reality and good old chemistry.

We all go through it, start dating someone who really care for and invest heavily in. Maybe even introduce them to friends and family, you meet there friends and family. Its all looking good. Then… it all goes to pot, something happens and before you know whats hit you, its that awkward conversation about breaking up, and as I once said breaking up is hard to do.

Some think you got to jump back on the horse… I think not, grief comes in 5 stages. Each can blind you from what your trying to do. Aka find a partner who you will love and they will love you.

The moment you see the whole thing as a sweetshop, your not thinking correctly about this. Heck even if you do pick someone, you may end up picking that person for the wrong reasons. There’s been a lot said about rebounding and a lot of it is true.

Like I said the first time I saw her post

Chill and take your time, stop rushing and just let things wash over you as interesting experiences

Another reason for non-subscription online dating, but more to the point. When your ready, go for it.

I do wonder if online dating does contribute to that paradox of choice and illusion of the greener field beyond the gate. Wait didn’t I write a blog post about this? Oh yes…

On the side, I’ll be on BBC Merseyside again with Northern Lass talking about the issue of how much you share with someone your dating at what stage. This may become part of a single black male piece soon.

300 seconds to tell your story

Sharon O'Dea - intro

I have always wanted to help people around me, its in my blood and I sometimes end up doing it regardless of my work load (must stop doing so). Anyhow a few months ago I ran a series of events as part of the BBC’s Connected studio called BBC Connected Social. One of the events was a ignite event about design. Although I tried to get a number of women involved, I got nowhere.

This didn’t go unnoticed and to be fair rightly so… The event went ahead and was a success but I couldn’t help but feel crappy about the lack of women I got onboard. I have been known to level criticism at some events for the lack of women and diversity but I couldn’t make it happen myself.

Ever since (and to be fair before) I’ve been thinking about putting on a conference with the aim of encouraging women to give public speaking a chance. I originally thought about working with Madlab to put on such a event, specially after the last girlgeek barcamp (bracamp) and my rushed look at the success of Girl Geekdinners.

Anyway after getting a chance to hear Melinda’s (miss geeky) views on 300 seconds I joined the dots and connected people.

I believe the event matches the BBC values nicely

We respect each other and celebrate our diversity so that everyone can give their best.

I’m now super stoked to be able to say the 3rd 300 seconds event will be at the BBC, MediaCityUK.

What is 300 seconds?

300 Seconds is a series of talks by and for the digital community. We believe that digital is better when we can learn from the brilliance of the many, not just the few. With our events we hope to give our peers, and in particular women, a means of gaining confidence and experience in speaking in public.

On the Thursday 14th November, you can get your tickets now to apply to speak or just listen and support. Of course the event is open to men as well, so what you waiting for? Go get yourself a ticket and I look forward to seeing you and sharing the special surprises we have installed for the night.

The twisted route down the rabbit hole

Blue pill or the red pill

Herb pointed me to a piece about Redditredpill.

The man who uses the Internet handle “Redditredpill” is having difficulty understanding women after going to a nightclub with some friends. As he tells it, “girls threw themselves at us for a sip of our vodka, to sit with us, to feel wanted.” These girls had “no intent on actually getting with [him]”:

Imagine the reverse. I tried it. A table of girls, I went over to the girls on other side of club, and said ‘Hi, can I get a sip of your champagne? Can I join you?’

What was the response? ‘F— off, go away, who are you, why should we let you sit with us?’

Said exactly the same to the [women] that came up to us […] So a group of single girls on a table allowed some [women] to sit with them, rather then an attractive male, who they didn’t know, [who] actually had a table himself […]

Point is, they tried […] and failed. And I tried to go to a group of girls and that failed too, as they thought they were superior.

This may sound like the instigatory words of someone looking for a fight, sarcasm gone too far at best. But Redditredpill shared his story in earnest with a very specific community that empathizes with his perspective.

It’s more than a perspective, in fact: It’s a philosophy.

The basis of this philosophy, which underpins almost all conversations in his community, is that females get away with things by virtue of being female.

And there is a community of men who really buy in to the ideaology, that men have had it harder that women.

Yes the same women who couldn’t vote in the last 50 years for example, yes those women.

The Red Pill is a collection of ideas encompassed by what its subscribers refer to as the “manosphere,” a number of loosely-associated blogs that focus on masculinity and personal philosophy for men. At the surface level there’s nothing terribly contentious about this, but if you click around one or two layers deeper, you’ll find plenty of examples why chatter from this gallery regularly turns heads. Like this:

“You are hating women because you have the wrong expectations for them. Don’t hate someone for something they CANNOT be. Women are, by nature, manipulative, attention-seeking, inconsistent, emotional, and hypergamous. Accept this truth. Once you do, you can game women for what they are … not what you want them to be.”

The community’s name is a tip of the hat to the truth-seeking attitude in The Matrix – Keanu Reeves pops a red pill to unplug his mind from a simulated world, freeing him to explore genuine reality.

For Red Pillers, genuine reality goes something like this: Female oppression is a myth and men are the ones holding the short end of the stick. That said, men and women are inherently different due to evolution, so each gender should carry out its designated role in society. For example, females should raise children at home and men should work and have sex with women.

Like all ideologies, there are those who stand on the sidelines and those who buy into it hook line sinker. As the blog post points out, most are just interested in getting one up on women in “the game” department.

This all really troubles me because what the red pill community have done is reduced the whole of female kind down to one stereotype. Maybe there mothers were not as kind and caring as my own but surely someone along there time on this earth was, and shock horror they were female! Its far too easy and convenient to just remember the bad experiences.

If you change women/female for black you get a different take on the whole debate.

You are hating blacks because you have the wrong expectations for them. Don’t hate someone for something they CANNOT be. Blacks are, by nature, manipulative, attention-seeking, inconsistent, emotional, and hypergamous. Accept this truth. Once you do, you can game blacks for what they are … not what you want them to be.

Ok it doesn’t quite work, but you can see it working with a few tweaks?

And I’m sure there are communities somewhere online who believe similar stuff about blacks and many other races (most noticeable are the holocaust deniers). Its far too easy to blog about how the whole community are wrong, misguided, dangerous, blah blah.

What I wonder is about the self-help nature of the community. Simon already mentioned years ago how the game is really self-help for men. Self help in the context of women?

I don’t see this as a problem, IF you don’t then turn against the thing your maybe working towards?

The problem is self confidence, fear of rejection and other deep rooted things. This raises the never-ending question of nature-versus-nurture, or genes versus environment I guess. But to be honest I wonder if most of this is a crisis of masculinity? Instead of embracing, they reject and hate because its easier to hate than embrace. Once the hate starts, everything re-enforces this (or at least it seems that way).

These guys shouldn’t be hated rather shown female kind is as wildly diverse as male kind or any ecosystem. There will be some bad eggs but you shouldn’t write off that kind…

We are all different and thats what makes us human. Embrace…