What is it about TV people?

There is something about TV which seems to attract some of the people I personally don’t really like much.

I was on the 18:57 declassified train back from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly. Declassified meaning the whole train is one class and you can sit in first class on a second class ticket. Anyway sitting on my reserved single seat, I couldn’t help but notice the people on the seats ahead of me making a bit of noise.

As the train wound its way up to Manchester, they got noisier and nosier. There was lots of bitching about collages and celebs (did they not understand they were in a public place?). They bought lots of wine/cava from the onboard shop and drink them just as quick. “Oh don’t worry I’ll claim for them” said the most senior one. They made it clear they worked in Media City and met celebs all the time in the studios.

What got me was, when we got into Piccadilly one of the quiet passenger sitting near me said quietly to another passenager.

Well I’m so glad our license fee is being used so wisely…

And who could blame her for saying so? I wanted to say, I don’t believe they are BBC employees, but choose to see what else would be said. However the carriage filled up with people getting ready to get off.

So I ask what is it about TV?

I’ve met many types of media people but TV just seems to attract posers, dicks and showoffs? Outside the obvious idea of the broadcast, I mean these people are on the wrong side of the camera. Maybe its a build up  Of course I’m not saying all the crew who work behind the camera are posers, dicks and showoffs. But it certainly attracts them.

Ok this is one time right? I’m very wrong right? Lets look at other times I’ve come across TV people… The Year of Making Love and that massive saga. Enough really said… And also lets not forget the Edinburgh TV UnFestival, great event but the TV festival events were something else. Although I have admit its Edinburgh in summer and its the end of the festivals. But finally its not just me, insurance companies put higher premiums on TV producers, as I found out when trying to insure my scooter. As soon as I changed my job title to almost anything but senior producer, the premiums dropped massively. If anyone asks, I’m a senior designer… Certainly not a TV producer…

Sorry to people I know who work in TV, I’m sure your one of the good bunch, your being let down by a vocal few!

Questions Women In New Relationships Have

Single Black Male, why do you make me laugh so much but also shake my head so much?

For example here’s a post which had me doing both… 40 questions women in new relationships have answered. Here are the best/worst questions and answers with my own thoughts underneath. Check out the site for more…

3. How do I know if he’s just using me for sex?
He’s not. You can easily find someone to have meaningless sex without a title. (Note: If you are the type to call someone your boyfriend without actually having a conversation about it, then he may be using you for just sex and you rationalize it by calling him your boyfriend. Don’t worry it’ll make sense later.)

I see the logic, and to be honest its not far wrong

4. At what point is it appropriate to have the “where is this going” talk?
Whenever you want it to end.

5. Should I initiate that discussion or should he?
See above.

This one had me in stitches… But beyond the instant humor, that where is this going talk, certainly puts most people on the edge. You should know where its going and shouldn’t have to directly ask like that really.

8. What did he find when he Googled my name?
The same thing you’d find if you Googled your name. (PS – Stop Google’ing mofos! In a world that is losing all sight of tradition, can we at least keep face-to-face interaction as the best source of getting to know a person?!)

Keep googling but for goodness sake talk to your partner before jumping to conclusions. They deserve the right to explain themselves, even if you don’t like it.

12. Why did his last relationship really end?
The two of them were not meant to be. If you give it time, he’ll either tell you or you’ll stop worrying about it.

FFS! Stop worrying…

15. How long do we have to date before I meet his friends?
Not long but most men aren’t trying to hide you from their friends as much as they’re trying to protect you from their friends.

16. If he hasn’t invited me to meet them yet, is it because I embarrass him?
See above.

17. Why hasn’t he texted me yet? I hope he’s not with someone else.
Stop being paranoid.

Hearing this one…:) Sometimes there is a whole story which needs to be told before you can meet someone and explain the relationship. The embarrassment thing is unlikely unless you have weird quirks? And instead of “stop being paranoid” you should read about inner tantrum.

20. What if he thinks some of my friends are hotter than me?
He does, get over it.

Damm lay it out straight… 🙂

23. How he would he propose to me?
You’re getting way too far ahead of yourself.

24. Better yet, how much he would spend on a ring?
See above.

Seriously to both questions?

31. I wonder what his ex-girlfriend looks like?
Stop lying, you’ve got Facebook like the rest of us.

Indeed! Just like you googled his/her name, damn straight you did! See number 8.

37. Do I embarrass him?
Do you talk when you’re out with him? Yes? Then, yes.

Oh man… 🙁

39. What would he do if I slipped a finger in his ass while we’re doing it?
Either punch you in the face, blow his load, or reveal to you that he’s bisexual.

Oh man! Rolling on the floor laughing at this one, seriously…! LOL

Joining the Plenty of Fun wagon again

I’ve decided to join POF again, thought I’d give it a try wondering if the lack of maths in OKcupid profiles might be changing the aspect of the site… looking at the site, it still looks a royal bloody mess. Not quite as bad as it use to be, but generally its always makes me really miss the smooth look of OkCupid.com.

Filling out the profile has been interesting. If you want to fill in extra fields in the profile, you need to be a paid member. Theres lots of other bits paid members get on top of free members, just like Alist on Okcupid. I had a bit of shock when I found my mention of Cocktails blanked out, because it might be a rude word. So it now reads “…enlightening conversations over****ails

Great!

I also filled in their 70 questionnaire/data capturing/Chemistry test. The results are pretty good (but of course we’ve all aware of how this can work)

Does this sound like me…?

As someone with high self-confidence, you feel quite comfortable interacting with other people. Indeed, you find the company of others very stimulating and enjoy meeting new people. Your relaxed demeanor in groups makes people around you comfortable too. Perhaps because you feel comfortable talking about yourself, others tend to enjoy being around you and perceive you as socially competent.

The confidence that helps you feel comfortable talking to people also spills into your own personal beliefs about yourself. Although you have several strengths, it’s likely that you also acknowledge and accept your weaknesses. But unlike some people, you take full responsibility for your actions—you rarely regret things you’ve done in the past and are not embarrassed easily.

Perhaps the defining feature that sets you apart from most people is the exceptionally high standards that you set for yourself. Your competence in social gatherings as well as at work should provide ample evidence for this. With these characteristics, it’s very likely that people come to you for advice and generally think of you as someone with leader-like qualities.

Hummm maybe POF have started to put more emphases on the algorithm side of online dating?

Anyway we shall see how things turn out, I’m hoping I don’t get those late night messages/bootycalls which I have no idea how to read or respond to. What messages you ask? You will have to wait till the book is written…

Heterarchy

In my new years resolutions for 2014, I made a mention to the fact my bets are against hierarchy and traditional. And maybe there is a word which sums this up? The full thing was…

Live the life I choose
Its become clear to me that career and life progression is going to be less that ordinary for me. I’m going to have to carve my own path through life and that means working in an adhoc style sometimes and being true to myself. I won’t lie, life is pretty good right now. Although it may seem like I should be working towards things, I’m always reminded of the Cluetrain rule #7 – Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy. As I believe in the hyper-connected world we’re moving into. My bets are against hierarchy and traditional. Maybe there is a word which sums this up?

Well Davelab6 informs me, the word I maybe might be looking for is… Heterarchy… (from Wikipedia)

A heterarchy is a system of organization replete with overlap, multiplicity, mixed ascendancy, and/or divergent-but-coexistent patterns of relation. Definitions of the term vary among the disciplines: in social and information sciences, heterarchies are networks of elements in which each element shares the same “horizontal” position of power and authority, each playing a theoretically equal role. But in biological taxonomy, the requisite features of heterarchy involve, for example, a species sharing, with a species in a different family, a common ancestor which it does not share with members of its own family. This is theoretically possible under principles of “horizontal gene transfer.”

A heterarchy may be parallel to a hierarchy, subsumed to a hierarchy, or it may contain hierarchies; the two kinds of structure are not mutually exclusive. In fact, each level in a hierarchical system is composed of a potentially heterarchical group which contains its constituent elements.

Ok thats one heck load of information wrapped up in something quite profound. What does this mean in simpler terms? Lets say more practical terms…

Numerous observers in the information sciences have argued that heterarchical structure processes more information more effectively than hierarchical design. An example of the potential effectiveness of heterarchy would be the rapid growth of the heterarchical Wikipedia project in comparison with the failed growth of the Nupedia project.[3] Heterarchy increasingly trumps hierarchy as complexity and rate of change increase.

Now thats certainly something which makes a lot of sense/a way of life for me and I’m sure many others out there.

Thanks Dave for sending this my way, always nice to put a name or title to something you feel is important. Interestingly there is a link to a podcast from ITConversations. So may have to fire that one up and listen sometime…

Avoiding a Tantrum over online dating

Everyone does it, yes even you and me!

You send off a message to someone of interest be that person a potential date, partner or even spouse. Then before they can respond you are cursing the air and everything. Why have they not responded, surely they must have seen the message? Maybe they are ignoring you or too busy doing what? Suddenly the mind starts to wonder…

In online dating this can be pretty bad as Dating site reviews points out in Avoiding an Inner Tantrum

a man looked at his phone, then sighed loudly. “I can’t believe I haven’t gotten a response yet,” he complained to his companion. “I texted her ten minutes ago.”
“Maybe she’s in another room and hasn’t read it yet,” offered the companion.

The man scoffed. “What is this, the eighteenth century? But no, she’s read it, the phone tells me that it was seen. The question wasn’t that difficult. I can’t believe she’d just ignore me. She does this all the time, too. In fact, last time -” He cut off in mid-sentence as his phone chimed. “There!” he exclaimed. “She says she was in her car and couldn’t text while driving.” He and his companion were silent. Finally, the man spoke. “At least she had a good reason,” he said.

If you think the man was being bratty and boorish, you’re not alone. However, we’re all guilty of a little of that behavior, especially when it comes to waiting for responses to first-contact emails. When we send off a message – particularly to someone we’re interested in – it’s not uncommon to sit there, drumming our metaphorical (or literal) fingers, hoping we’ll get an answer immediately.

I have witnessed this behavior in myself in the past and many times in other people including ex-girlfriends (no names).

When Northern Lass 32, wrote the piece which first got me writing, I could hear frustration but also a bit of inner tantrum forming (hey we’ve all been there). Even if you read some of the data about the differences in replies women and men get on online dating you can sense a little bit of inner tension. Everyone is different and this seems like a good use of gossip or anonymous blogging (if there is such a thing now?) Let off a little bit of steam.

As I started out saying, everyone gets them and but its really good to take note of when your starting to boil inside and ask almost unreasonable requests of someone else.

I generally think everyone is super busy, too busy to reply to my message, email or tweet. Actually one of the beautiful things about twitter at the start was the ability to reply to a tweet at your own leisure rather than a instant message on someone elses clock. Now if you reply to a tweet days later, people wonder what the hell your doing or even what you’ve been doing in the meanwhile? (oh how the mind wonders…)

With online dating, your contacting someone who might not be interested, just got into another relationship, just went on holiday, going on holiday, just had someone in their family die, just been admitted into hospital, moved country, lost there phone, had a broken internet router or any number of other things. Some of these might sound silly, but I can tell you for a fact they have all been used as excuses for why women haven’t got back to me.

The science behind love?

We all know there is a geeky side to love. Being a tiny bit datasexual (although I can’t imagine LGBTQAI+D ever happening) I can’t help but read about things like Chris and Amy’s exploits and think there is some science behind a part of love, even if its not all explainable in an algorithm. Another story which I believe came from Tim Dobson again, comes via Lifehacker, why Love makes you feel loopy is also talked about.

…being attracted to a person is a lot like being on drugs. The release of chemicals into our brain and body creates an altered mental state in which we both perceive and behave differently than we normally would. While no individual substance can single-handedly control your brain, here are just a few of the different chemicals swimming through your brain when you see a pretty person, and how they affect you.

Like the chemistry of love talk by Helen Fisher, The main factors are…

Adrenaline: When you see someone you’re attracted to, your body releases adrenaline into your system. Adrenaline is what’s responsible for causing your heart to race or your hands to sweat. Adrenaline puts your body on high alert, sending oxygen-enriched blood throughout your body, and prepares you for immediate action

Dopamine: When you feel elated, giddy, or pleasure, dopamine is the culprit. This is a double-edged sword, though. Dopamine is responsible for rewarding stimuli, which nurtures habit-forming behaviors.

Serotonin: When you can’t seem to get someone out of your head, serotonin is usually to blame. Or, more accurately, a lack of serotonin. This same drop in serotonin creation is present in people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Testosterone: The levels of testosterone (which fluctuate regularly) affect attraction in both genders.

Estrogen: A multitude of studies have shown that female attraction is affected in a variety of ways by the estrogen and the ovulation cycle.

I’d really like to see a TV or Radio documentary with this level of depth. The piece is worth reading as theres a lot more to the quotes I’ve grabbed.

The quality of OkCupid has gone down for me?

Opimal Cupid

I love OkCupid, its been consistently good for me and for me been streets ahead of the other dating sites. But things are starting to change (as you’d expect). Besides Okcupid being bought by Match.com a while ago its been ticking on, however the industry and environment changed.

Little things changed like the end of journals have happen but the big fear was to switch to a paid subscription model, which hasn’t happened (yet).

So its largely stayed the same…?

However, not so fast… OkCupid lives on its matching algorithm and although you can debate how effective this is compared to other ways to match people… OkCupid stands out for its algorithm, as even Chris (found via Tim who also recommended I read reddit too), the man who hacked OkCupid points out.

OkCupid was founded by Harvard math majors in 2004, and it first caught daters’ attention because of its computational approach to matchmaking. Members answer droves of multiple-choice survey questions on everything from politics, religion, and family to love, sex, and smartphones.

On average, respondents select 350 questions from a pool of thousands—“Which of the following is most likely to draw you to a movie?” or “How important is religion/God in your life?” For each, the user records an answer, specifies which responses they’d find acceptable in a mate, and rates how important the question is to them on a five-point scale from “irrelevant” to “mandatory.” OkCupid’s matching engine uses that data to calculate a couple’s compatibility. The closer to 100 percent—mathematical soul mate—the better.

Hacking online dating is nothing new, we’ve all heard about Amy, the woman who hacked online dating?

Chris’s story is something special and quite elegent…

Chris McKinlay used Python scripts to riffle through hundreds of OkCupid survey questions. He then sorted female daters into seven clusters, like “Diverse” and “Mindful,” each with distinct characteristics.

First he’d need data. While his dissertation work continued to run on the side, he set up 12 fake OkCupid accounts and wrote a Python script to manage them. The script would search his target demographic (heterosexual and bisexual women between the ages of 25 and 45), visit their pages, and scrape their profiles for every scrap of available information: ethnicity, height, smoker or nonsmoker, astrological sign—“all that crap,” he says.

To find the survey answers, he had to do a bit of extra sleuthing. OkCupid lets users see the responses of others, but only to questions they’ve answered themselves. McKinlay set up his bots to simply answer each question randomly—he wasn’t using the dummy profiles to attract any of the women, so the answers didn’t mat­ter—then scooped the women’s answers into a database.

And thats the nub or pressure point.

For any of this to work you need people filling out the surveys… I for example have answered over 700 questions. The problem is I’ve seen a dramatic drop in the number of answered questions and more people with zero questions answered.

OkCupid works best on those answers rather than scraping the profile for data. Chris’s hack wouldn’t work without the data. I’d be very interested to see what kind of results you would get now compared to then…

Anyhow Chris’s story is fascinating, specially when you consider the method and drive. Don’t think I’ll be buying the book yet but if your a maths wiz go for it.

I don’t really know what to do about the data problem for myself. I’m tempted to try Plenty of Fish again, see how much its changed (or not). Frankly I have had little to no interest from Tinder, so maybe time to remove it from my androids. Hacking Okcupid isn’t a bad idea but maybe in a way to remove the time wasters.Heck I even had my first speed dating recently where I wasn’t matched with anyone. Luckily one woman was interested in seeing me, so it wasn’t all bad. I’ll save what happened with another one for my book.

I do keep reminding myself it might just be the season or time of year too. These things seem to cycle.

One of the many worst profiles on OKCupid

The OKCupid profile you won't believe

I think this came from Tdobson or Technicalfault. (Really need to start using Diigo’s annotation feature)

First thing… Good on Cracked for doing this.

I figured any profile with photos of a beautiful woman would get a few messages from men whose boners were willing to overlook her personality. The captions on her photos were just as draped in red flags as her profile was, so there’s no way they were totally clueless as to how awful she is, but sure, I figured, maybe she’d get a couple of messages a day from people with especially low reading comprehension.

She got 150 messages in 24 hours.

With my social scientist hat on (not really, but I wish I did have one) this shows what a large portion of the online dating market is like. Think i’m joking? Look at the popularity of Tinder and the recently redesign of the local feature in Okcupid’s own app.

All of the messages she gets is seriously screwed up. They are well worth reading for entertainment value alone. But every time I read them I can’t help but hold my head in my hands!

Seriously men of Okcupid.com grow some balls, what the hell are you doing messaging this woman!!!!! She sounds like a bunny boiler…  And even worst how can you contact someone so awful after she makes it so clear shes not interested. Worst still wants to do damage to you!

My faith in man kind is on the ropes (of course I’m only joking)

Why online dating sites don’t verify their users?

Getklex pointed me at a link about online dating in the east.

Online dating site OKCupid has found an inexplicable number of men happen to be exactly six feet tall and there are four times as many people who claim to earn $100,000 per year as there should be. False advertising, or misrepresentation, is standard in any marketplace; the dating market is no different.

While American dating sites have taken a laissez faire approach to lying, Asian dating sites have implemented serious measures to keep users honest.

China’s largest site, Jiayuan.com, ran into a huge PR problem in 2011 when a man swindled a woman he met on the site. This incident intensified Jiayuan’s more general reputational problems due to lying on its site. So Jiayuan developed a means for people to verify the claims they make on their profiles. Users can provide documents to the site, such as government-issued ID cards and paychecks, to back up their claims. Those willing to pay additional fees can have an in-person interview that gives a higher verification rating on the site.

Verification is one method of insuring who your about to contact is somewhat genuine. And its not just eastern dating sites which use it. There are a few paid dating sites which do verification and one or two other types of sites including AirBnB. Actually in AirBnB its a big advantage to have many pointers to your true and social identity including a verified ID.

Verification online dating sounds good, so why hasn’t happened?

Simple answer…. Greed!

The third explanation, which I think is probably most important, is driven by the economics of the online dating business. Dating sites (and, for that matter, other online markets) are largely a fixed cost business. A company has to design the site, the user interface, and the matching algorithm. Though a site needs to add more servers as it grows, scaling is a relatively easy and low cost proposition if customers start arriving in large numbers. But verifying individual users’ height, income, education, and the like has to be done customer-by-customer. Verification kills the scalability of a dating site.

Its too costly and only the serious ones who can afford to do verification. This means your skinnychristianmodeldating.com derivative won’t have the resources to do this. But more importantly from there point of view why should they? Oh sorry did you think the site was on your side? Oh sweet how naive you are… As many say, you are the product. They couldn’t care and why should they? Even the Eastern sites have done it under PR pressure. Maybe the rising tide of complaints will do the same in the west?

It can be as simple as Paypal’s take one penny from a credit card?

I like the idea because even on my dating profile I have a link to my personal blogging (maybe one of the reasons why I don’t get as many visitors as I use?) This for me proves I am real, the pictures are real and you can get a better sense this person your connecting with is real. In the face of catfishing and scammers, this has to be a good thing right?

Why I still blog?

Its been over 10 years since I started blogging… I actually started in 2003 after I started working for Ravensbourne College. Here’s my first post (as such). I forgot to celebrate 10 years but I forgot, plus I originally started blogging offline then uploaded posts from the past about 2004ish. I’ll celebrate when I hit 25000 posts maybe?

I saw Suw’s piece on blogging in 2014., which is reply to David Weinberger’s (yes one of the writers of the Cluetrain) blog titled slightly sad elegy for blogging. Suw was one of the early bloggers in London. Chocolate & Vodka was famous in a small early community and hit the mainstream quite a few times. It also elevated her into circles only available to the elite, and happily Suw kept it real and called bollox when it really was (who could forget WeMedia!)

I owe my current career to blogging. Without it, I would never have developed an interest in how people connect through technology, and never would have met all the people who helped me turn that interest into a job. It is not an overstatement to say that without blogging — and without on Freenode — I would not have founded ORG, would not have met my husband, would not have started Ada Lovelace Day, and so on. I am incredibly grateful to blogging for all that.

I also owe a hell of a lot to blogging. My jobs, promotion into BBC Backstage, BarCamp, lifestyle, reputation, confidence, etc… I didn’t meet my ex-wife through blogging but as a side effect of reading a book (design for communities) recommended by bloggers. Things like the Cluetrain only came on my radar due to the act of reflecting back via my blog aka in a public permanent way. Heck I met Suw through her blogging, united with Kevin (Suw’s husband) through blogging values and spoke at their wedding years later!

You only have to look at the different New Years Resolutions which I’ve been doing since 2008 to get a glance of the act of being public has had on me personally.

But as both have noted, there has been a massive decline in long form blogging. I say long form because remember Twitter is meant to be microblogging but to me and many others it feels like its leaving the world of blogging long behind. You could also say the amount of bloggers (in the traditional sense of a person who writes a blog, or weblog) has exploded. But then also has the community of blogging?

The decision between tweeting and blogging are distinct in my mind. But the lack of time is also a issue. However the big issue is the lack of reading I’m doing now I’m on the scooter again. I actually look forward to the times when I’m on the tram, as I can read some RSS again.

I wonder too if my lack of blog writing is related to a lack of blog reading. My RSS reader became so clogged that I feared it, wouldn’t open it, and ultimately, abandoned it. And then Twitter and now Zite arrived to provide me with random rewards for clicking and swiping, showing me stuff that I had no idea I wanted to read. Instead of following the writings of a small cadre of smart, lovely people whom I am proud to call my friends, I read random crap off the internet that some algorithm thinks I might be interested in, or that is recommended by the people I follow on Twitter.

To be honest, I never really heard of Zite till recently. That and Quartz all seem interesting but I never use them. I do use Feedly but only as a place to sync my own RSS feeds since Google reader shutdown. I know there is the filter bubble effect but frankly I’m not too bothered at this moment. The people I want to read and follow are much more interesting that what some algorithm (which thinks it knows me) throws up.

I personally use feedly in chrome on the rare occasion that I’m reading from my laptop otherwise I’m using gRSSreader on my tablet for straight up RSS reading. Instapaper has come into its own for me over the last few years with me being able to just stack interesting things together in a queue for later consumption and further thought. So much so, that I feel like I lost a big part of the experience when my kindle broke. Now I’m scanning ebay looking to pick up a basic Wifi Kindle paperwhite, so I can read instapaper on the go. Amazon’s free email service is unbeatable and I can’t imagine having a ereader without it now.

I do wish I had more time to read and write back in my own blog. So in my new years resolution

Surround myself in higher thinking…

Is a direct plan to tackle that.

Ultimately I’m going to keep blogging for years to come, maybe heck I’ll celebrate 20 or 25 years of blogging. My views online for anyone to read is still something which kind of blows my mind. Jon covers most of the points in the early part of his blog.

Presence, Community, Disruption.

Blogging was just one of mechanisms for delivering the promise of the Net that had us so excited in the first place. The revolution is incomplete.

HTC 1x battery usage!

HTC 1x battery on super low usage

This is another problem I’m currently having with my HTC One X. Its not unique to that phone but frankly right now, it won’t survive half a day without being charged. This is fine when your at work but out and about its a nightmare.

Luckily I have a external battery pack but today I went to Brunch with friends then headed to Volleyball training and games for 5hours. I looked at the phone and it said 14% battery left. By the time I went to Warrington Ikea and drove back the phone was at 6%!

I have already turned off Wifi, Bluetooth, NFC and GPS. Most of the time off the charge, the phone was in my volleyball bag doing nothing. I hadn’t even looked at the screen for a few hours while I played Volleyball. I also set the CPU speed down using a root app to set the CPU down a lot (Max clock Freq – 640Mhz down from 1.2Ghz) so when it is running it shouldn’t be using much CPU.

I’m at a lost what else to do, but I do wonder if Aviate is maybe causing part of the problem, time to switch to the standard launcher?

Day later with some twitter messages, I had some advice from people thinking it could be the phone trying to get a GSM signal. However it wasn’t that I don’t believe if you look at the screenshot at the top. losttourist recommended a application which tells you whats keeping your android awake and therefor killing the battery. I installed it and interestingly…

Eventbrite why you keeping my phone awake

So I deleted Eventbrite and will be monitoring what happens…

In actual fact I’ve gone back to the idea of using my phone for the things I really need and the Nexus 7 for everything. The Nexus 7 has plenty of battery and I generally carry both around.

Perceptive learning resources

Future of StoryTelling

For the last few Wednesdays I have been watching the Future of StoryTelling hangouts online. I first heard about them from Matt Locke and Frank Rose last year when I gatecrashed a planned hangout with Perceptive Radio.

The Future of StoryTelling speaker Hangout series continues on Wednesday, January 15th, with a discussion about interactive gaming, and how great entertainment can transport you from your daily life and immerse you in another world.

You can watch the whole thing here on youtube. and last weeks with Google creative labs Robert Wong. This weeks Including my question which is based off my noticing, interaction and narrative keeps getting thrown around together when they are quite different things.

The guest this week was Microsoft’s Shannon Loftis, General Manager at Xbox Entertainment Studios. She said a lot of things I agreed with but switching narrative for interactive, paused me to think about the origins of Perceptive Media.

I’m not going to say Games and interactive experiences are not storytelling. I would be very wrong, but what I’m surprised at is Microsoft have this amazing device with cutting edge sensors and they sound like they are doing some perception. But they are only using it for Games? Shannon even talks about the golden age of Television then slides off into Games again.

Real shame…

Anyway there was a question asking about what this all can mean for children. Most of the guests give some answers which I couldn’t disagree with but Charles Melcher (founder of future of storytelling) jumps in with something quite profound.

I clipped it and put it on Archive.org but its something I’ve been thinking about since the early days of perceptive media.

The beauty of media which adapts, responds or as I prefer preconceives the audience and the context. Is it can unfold one way and unfold another way for someone else. Like Charles, I’m dyslexic and sometimes just can’t get my head around learning resources which are written for a majority of people.

I understand why its been that way. The cost of creating multiple versions of a learning resource is going to be a bad idea from a resourcing idea. But that only applies if you build your resources in a solid non-flexible way (like a blob) your going to run into the same problem described.  However if you have something more fluid (generative) or object based you can change aspects on the fly.

Simple example, a Book (any book) vs a Ereader (like a Kindle). I’m sure I’ve talked about this before but line lengths is a common issue with people who are dyslexic. We tend to loose what line we’re on for a split second.

I can reshape the lines lengths to make it more readable for myself (thats interactive). An Ereader with sensors could follow my eyes patterns and reshape the line lengths and fonts to give me the best reading experience (now thats perceptive). This all works because the text is digital and therefore an object which can be manipulated.

Back to Charles, a resource which can be manipulated by a person is good but one which can be manipulated by a process of data and sensors is even better (if they are working to aid you). Combining/aggregating resources together gets you to a position where you can weave a story together. I won’t bore you with my campfire == perceptive media equals and this is what humans do thoughts. But I do feel this is the future of storytelling. Charles vision is achievable and its something I’d love to talk to BBC Learning about in more depth.

I’ll be honest and say not only has this one got me writing but I also started writing after hearing Robert Wong talking last week about leadership and inspiring people.

Let Her… talk to you

Her.

A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that’s designed to meet his every need.

This is a really good film. Some parts are funny and some parts are tragic. But this isn’t a review of a really good film but rather a look at the technology in the film her. There might be some mild spoilers and I would recommend not reading till you’ve seen it in full.

When I first heard about Her, I thought oh no here comes another S1mOne. Don’t get me wrong S1mOne is ok but gets a little silly in parts. Her on the other hand is smart and although it does go towards the obvious, it pulls back and finds a new more interesting path.

Adrian sent me a link to wired’s piece about the UI design in her.

A few weeks into the making of Her, Spike Jonze’s new flick about romance in the age of artificial intelligence, the director had something of a breakthrough. After poring over the work of Ray Kurzweil and other futurists trying to figure out how, exactly, his artificially intelligent female lead should operate, Jonze arrived at a critical insight: Her, he realised, isn’t a movie about technology. It’s a movie about people. With that, the film took shape. Sure, it takes place in the future, but what it’s really concerned with are human relationships, as fragile and complicated as they’ve been from the start.

The film is certainly about people and our relationships in the age of artificial intelligence. Reminds me very much of the book which imran gifted me which I’ve still not read completely, love in the age of algorithms.

But whats really interesting is the simplicity of the technology. Pretty much every interaction is with voice. There’s little interaction with screens, although there are giant screens in some of the shots. Even the camera which the main character uses looks underwhelming simple. I can only suggest in the near future we started to solve the power/battery problems of today.

We decided that the movie wasn’t about technology, or if it was, that the technology should be invisible,” he says. “And not invisible like a piece of glass.” Technology hasn’t disappeared, in other words. It’s dissolved into everyday life.

Here’s another way of putting it. It’s not just that Her, the movie, is focused on people. It also shows us a future where technology is more people-centric. The world Her shows us is one where the technology has receded, or one where we’ve let it recede. It’s a world where the pendulum has swung back the other direction, where a new generation of designers and consumers have accepted that technology isn’t an end in itself-that it’s the real world we’re supposed to be connecting to.

I think Wired is right, the movie is a total U turn on the likes of Minority Report and Blade Runner. There is a great scene where our main character is lying on the grass in a field. He’s talking to the AI like she is lying right next to him. The cinematography actually applies it from the camera angle.

The technology is there but it feels like that Internet of things dream, the technology is embedded everywhere. Not the Google Glass style future. something much closer to ubiquitous…

All of these things contribute to a compelling, cohesive vision of the future — one that’s dramatically different from what we usually see in these types of movies. You could say that Her is, in fact, a counterpoint to that prevailing vision of the future — the anti-Minority Report. Imagining its world wasn’t about heaping new technology on society as we know it today. It was looking at those places where technology could fade into the background, integrate more seamlessly.

After that Wired goes into depth about the User Interface being vocal and how its a perfect fit for the cinema. I don’t disagree but its only one of many types of User Interfaces which can be available. I do agree its a nice depart from touch interfaces which is in most films.

But the AI isn’t simply voice alone (this has been done many times in cinema too), its context sensitive, its perceptive! This is what brings the sense of magic to the exchanges. The AI seems like she is there talking and taking it all in. All those subtle gestures, human expressions, etc. They are all taken into account, making the AI seem very human.

…we’re already making progress down this path. In something as simple as a responsive web layout or iOS 7′s “Do Not Disturb” feature, we’re starting to see designs that are more perceptive about the real world context surrounding them-where or how or when they’re being used. Google Now and other types of predictive software are ushering in a new era of more personalised, more intelligent apps.

Arthur C. Clarke said…

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Her is does have a magic quality, its not the best film I’ve seen this year but its one which I do think will cause a trend showcasing different user interfaces in movies, instead of defaulting to the usual push/pull/touch interfaces.

Its well worth watching and enjoying, just don’t think about S1m0ne beforehand.

Google buys a Nest

Well well, remember when Kevin Rose interviewed Matt Rogers from Nest… very telling indeed

It just hit and everyone on twitter is saying Google buying Nest for 3.2 Billion dollars is far too much.

I think its high but not insane.

Here’s why… Google has been a data service for a long while, they aimed to revolutionise the mobile market, kicked started the driverless car thing, recently bought Motorola’s manufacturing arm and now there making a real play for the internet of things by buying Nest. They also did this before Apple got there polished hands all over them. I’m actually surprised they didn’t do something in this area already.

The internet of things powered by the juggernaut of cloud based data and logic is something closer to the reality of the semantic web (or even the singularity dare I say it) than anything before it.

Can you even imagine the data, usage patterns and algorithms which will be built. And its all in the home! Trust me 3.2 Billion isn’t too bad.

Scary or exciting?

Who knows but like Google Now it will divide opinion. The best services always do.

As for the big price tag? Well like Youtube, I’m sure in years to come it will look like a total steal.