Data-portability and the data transfer project?

data transfer project

Its over 14 years since the dataportability project was founded by a bunch of well meaning people including myself. It was a challenging time with vendor lock, walled gardens and social guilt trips; to be honest little changed till very recently with GDPR.

Data export was good but user controlled data transfer is something special and one of the dreams of the data portability project. Service to service; not because there was a special agreement setup between the services but because you choose to move of your own freewill; makes so much sense.

This why I was kind of sceptical of the Google data transfer project. But on deeper look its pretty good.

In 2007, a small group of engineers in our Chicago office formed the Data Liberation Front, a team that believed consumers should have better tools to put their data where they want, when they want, and even move it to a different service. This idea, called “data portability,” gives people greater control of their information, and pushes us to develop great products because we know they can pack up and leave at any time.

In 2011, we launched Takeout, a new way for Google users to download or transfer a copy of the data they store or create in a variety of industry-standard formats. Since then, we’ve continued to invest in Takeout—we now call it Download Your Data—and today, our users can download a machine-readable copy of the data they have stored in 50+ Google products, with more on the way.

Now, we’re taking our commitment to portability a step further. In tandem with Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook we’re announcing the Data Transfer Project, an open source initiative dedicated to developing tools that will enable consumers to transfer their data directly from one service to another, without needing to download and re-upload it. Download Your Data users can already do this; they can transfer their information directly to their Dropbox, Box, MS OneDrive, and Google Drive accounts today. With this project, the development of which we mentioned in our blog post about preparations for the GDPR, we’re looking forward to working with companies across the industry to bring this type of functionality to individuals across the web.

All sounds great and the code is open source on Github for anyone to try out. The paper is worth reading too.

However! The devil is in the data or rather the lack of it. As the EFF point out theres no tracking data exchange, the real crown jewels. The transfer tool is good but if the services don’t even share the data, then whats the point?

Best rollercosters I’ve ridden, so far…

Jetline at Grona Land

I make no secret of my love for Rollercoasters, heck some call me a rollercoaster nerd?

I can trace back where it comes from but I just feel so alive when faced with the moment of impeding doom. Going around and doing it again and again, is exciting too. You get to feel the adrenaline rush and understand what the coasters design and imprecate it fully from different ride positions. On that topic, I’m a back seat rider. The pull of the coaster and the intensity is just amazing. Its a real shame when you are placed somewhere in the middle.

The rollercoaster geeks like me, tend to use some online resource to keep a eye on new coasters and where to head next. I found rcdb.com is great for this. I have considered hacking up a self quantified/tracking system like trakt.tv to capture how many times you have been on a certain ride, when and maybe which position. Instead I keep a track in my head while in the queue and post it to twitter…

For example from Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens

And from Stockholm’s Grona Lund

Theres a better way to do this i’m sure… I started wondering if my aspersions to do something with Mastodon or Micropub & Microformats, could fit with this too? Terms look ok too if its a free app, shame theres no api but the pages are simple enough to turn into a large xml store or what ever.

It could recommend stuff to you and you can start to pick out unique elements which you like or don’t like. In the my case looking through my rides I really hate Vertical Chain Lift Hill’s like you see on Abismo. They are trying to be too clever and actually feel really crap and short for me to enjoy.

Anyway a project for another day…

So with that out the way, here’s my top rollercoasters across the places I have been.

United states

Déjàvu

Six Flags great America

Vertical Velocity or V2

Deja Vu (no longer exists)

Raging Bull

Its funny because I have been to many parts of America but not really seeked out rollercoasters, so the main ones are in Vegas and Six Flags great America near Chicago. Six Flags is typical of a American theme park with lots of rides packed into a space. There were lots of choices for coasters but V2 and Deja Vu caught me, when I could stand the long queues. Raging bull was nice too but was less keen on the restraints, likely now I’d be cool with them.

Las Vegas

Speed: The ride (no longer exists)

Massive fan of LIM (Linear Induction Motor) and Hydraulic Launchs, so speed the ride is right up my street. I’d also add it was the best ride on the Vegas strip by a long way.

Japan

Steel Dragon 2000 at Nagashima

Nagashima Spa Land

Steel Dragon 2000

Spa Land is one of the best parks I have been to. Its large but not Alton Towers trek around the park size. Within the park is lots of rides including a bunch of thrill and extreme rides. However the crown of Spa Lands is Steel Dragon 2000, which hits a top speed of 95mph on the way down its almost 95 meter first drop (5th highest in the world currently) Then theres a 75 meter hill and drop straight afterwards. Thats higher than the whole of Blackpool’s Big One (62 meters drop). At almost 4mins for a ride, its still the longest track in history and the gravitation force over the hills is insane! There is nothing like it and it eclipses everything else in the park.

Fuji-Q Highland

Eejanaika

Fujiyama

I went to Fuji Q after Nagashima Spa Land and although its got some great coasters, I think I preferred Spa Lands. Fuji Q’s big ride at the time was Takabisha but I wasn’t convinced by it. Felt similar to Saw the ride in Thorpe Park (another one I was so-so about). I did like Do-Dodonpa but after going on Stealth lots of times, this felt poor in comparison. I noticed they changed the hill into a loop now, which might be better but at the time it was a hill.

Tokyo Dome City

Thunder Dolphin

If I could build a rollercoaster, I would do it like Thunder Dolphin. Right in the middle of a city but go big. The Dolphin is a rare surprise but it shuts early due to noise I expect? Its quite thrilling riding through a city centre in this way and quite special.

Spain

Parque Warner Madrid 126

Parque Warner Madrid

Superman / la Atracción de Acero

Stuntfall

Parque Warner Madrid, is a great park. Its not massive but they nicely grouped all the big rides close to each other for easy access to other ones. The theme nature of the park was good and very late opening really helps space out the day. The only thing is its quite a long way out of Madrid which means a coach or car only. The park is packed with rides but the two selected are the best. Stunt drop is just so much fun while Superman is as close to Steel Dragon 2000 as I’ve gotten in recent times.

UK

Alton Towers in 2015

Alton Towers

Nemesis

Smiler

Out of all the theme parks, this is the most visited one. I like Alton Towers but its estate is vast making repeat rides tricky. For example; the distance between Smiler and Nemesis in time is at least 15mins by cable cart! Walking would be 20-30mins. However the number of extreme rides are plentyful. The SW (Secret weapon) series of coasters have been record breaking and a genuine joy to have in the UK. Nemesis for me is still the best inverted coaster I have been on. Its quite insane its 22 years old and hasn’t lost its roar and intensity. Its the reason why (almost) all other inverted coasters don’t appear in my list at all. Even Batman the ride although similar lacks the landscape which features so much in Nemesis. Nemesis is basically cut into the side of hill to keep it below the treeline. You can see similar with the Smiler which isn’t tall but super compact crossing over its self many times. I would include Oblivion and Air but they have fallen out of my ride book in recent times.

Thorpe Park

Stealth

Swarm

Thorpe park is a nice park and its small enough to quickly get high numbers of rides in a short time. Although it doesn’t have enough big rides in my opinion. I use to have a merlin year pass which meant I could go to Alton Towers & Thorpe Park over and over again. So on a long week in London, I would head to Thorpe Park on Friday or Saturday with my luggage then get the tube back to Euston for my train back to Manchester.

Blackpool pleasure beach

Infusion

The Big one

Blackpool is so close and unlike most UK theme parks, opens late. Its got some good rides but I haven’t been on the new Icon ride yet.

Drayton Manor

Shockwave

Its been a long time since I took a ride in Drayton Manor, but I won’t forget Shockwave which is one of the only stand up rollercoasters in the UK.

Sweden

Jetline at Grona Land

Gröna Lund

Insane

Jetline

Grona Land isn’t a thrill seekers paradise but its small opens late and you can easily run around to the entrance of each ride really easily. Jetline was surprisingly old skool but also had quite exciting elements including the out and back via a tunnel. Its also quite a smooth ride at the start. Insane is a winged insane coaster, even I had to take it easy after the 11th time. Its the first time I have been in a ball coaster and after a few breaks, quite enjoyed it.

Denmark

Dæmonen

Tivoli Gardens

Dæmonen

To be fair Tivoli Gardens isn’t really a extreme roller coaster park, but the one ride they do have is like a mini Superman / la Atracción de Acero. Same maker and coasters, just much shorter time and much less extreme.

Hetiquette? Seriously?

Chiquita Bananas

I could not believe what I was reading when I saw eating Bananas without breaking it up was in some circles could suggest you were gay?

I eat bananas but do tend to break them into 2 or 3 pieces mainly because its quite unmanageable to fit one in my mouth. But this absolutely nothing to do with my sexuality or sexual preference!

Hertiqette is total stupidity and absolute nonsense, but for some (sadly) its a way of life.  The idea of gender on a spectrum has yet to take hold.

I was already surprised/shocked/annoyed at the banana thing then I read further.

Richard Hammond, a very manly, very heterosexual man who drives fast cars on the Amazon motoring show The Grand Tour, said he didn’t eat ice-cream: “It’s something to do with being straight.”

This is total bollox! Then we reach the drink thing…

2010 study, Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche, found that when men have to make a snap decision about what they consume, they choose whatever their intrinsic preference is, even if it’s coded “feminine”. They’ll opt for that tasty pink drink at the bar instead of a more manly-seeming whiskey, for example.

And I will never forget the date when I ordered a pint for my date and a cosmopolitan for myself. Some random man came up to us and said think you got the drinks around the wrong way? We laughed it off but actually how flipping rude was that guy and how dare he impose his narrow-minded views on a random couple?

James Wilkie, assistant professor of marketing at University of Notre Dame, who co-authored the study, explains that women aren’t as sensitive about making appropriate choices because they’re not penalized in the same way that men are. “If anything,” says Wilkie, “a woman might get compliments if she orders a more manly drink at the bar.” We live in a culture which rewards acting in stereotypically ‘male’ ways and punishes ‘female’ behaviour. Sad as it may be, this extends to the manner in which you eat a banana.

This is all such bollox and needs to die. Sooner the better!

A Scandinavian midsummer sky-night dream mix

Recorded on Adelsö Island, Stockholm on 22nd June during Midsummers night.

Track selection is something of the best tunes from previous mixes. I did a few mixes while in Scandinavia so expect more soon. In the meanwhile enjoy the Scandinavian midsummers skynight dream mix

  1. There is no law – Messiah
  2. Reflection (extended mix) – Ferry Corsten
  3. Shnorkel – Miki Litvak & ido Ophir
  4. Night in Motion – Cubic 22
  5. Opium – Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor
  6. Labyrinth (Paul Keyen Remix) – Lee Cassells
  7. Anomaly (Eeemus’s Higgs Boson remix) – Gordey Tsukanov
  8. Grotesque (Alex MORPH and RAM Original mix) – RAM
  9. No Fear (Phil Dinner remix) – Chapter XJ
  10. Uncommon World – Bryan Kearney
  11. We are one (instrumental mix) – Dave 202
  12. Headliner – Jornvan Deynhoven
  13. Everythings been written – 8 Wonders
  14. The Dark Knight – Khomha
  15. The Oblivious – Muhamed Sherief & W.A.A.JI
  16. Neba – Ferry Corsten presents Gouryella

The Living Room of the Future at the V&A Museum – Free Tickets available now!

Living room of the future at the V&A

Lots of people missed out on the Living room of the future project at FACT. It was great and the 60+ groups, then it kept running another 10 days afterwards at FACT in Liverpool.

Of course even with an impressive number experiencing the living room, it always made sense to move it to other locations.

This time I’m proud to play my part in bringing the living room of the future to the V&A museum London during the London Design festival.

Living room of the Future at FACT

Data is changing our lives but what about our homes?

Services like Netflix and YouTube personalise our entertainment, and devices like Alexa control our home with voice command. But do you ever think about how much data they know about you and your loved ones?

Do you wonder where personal information is stored, how safe it is, or how household devices interact with each other, and you? And, in the future, how much will your living room know about you?

We invite individuals, couples, families, and groups of friends to explore these questions at V&A’s digital weekend as part of the London Design Festival.

The Living Room of the Future is a short interactive cinematic experience after which, you’ll have a chance to share your thoughts.

Tickets are available now and they are completely free

Grab one now and book yourself a seat in the living room of the future.

Living room of the Future at FACT

Dataportability and Dock.io

Dock.io stack

You may have gotten an invite to dock.io which is a service which reminds me of the late atomkeep;

Atomkeep helps users sync their profile information on social networks, job boards and other Internet sites. Users gain a streamlined way to validate and control their social identity across multiple sites.

The nice thing about the Dock.io is they are doing things more correctly. The potential of blockchain is being talked about everywhere but its great to have these services showing the actual potential.

I always found Atomkeep interesting but found it heavy on the trust and apis. Dock.io benefits from dataportability and GDPR, as I was able to get my Linkedin data dump and drop it in dock.io. Export and import, now thats good! Dock.io reminds me of openhumans as you can have applications which run on top of the protocol which then talks to the actual data.

So far so good, sure to write more about it soon including the use of Ethereum and IPFS.

Douglas Rushkoff and live team human podcast

There is a author who have been following for many years/decades. His name is Douglas Rushkoff and to be fair I have written about him a few times including the new book at the time, throwing rocks at the google bus.

It all started when I read the Ecstasy Club when I was much younger then Media Virus and Cyberia.

I had no idea about Team Human which he’s been doing for a long while but during FutureFest (blog coming soon) I got talking with Douglas and he mentioned there was a live recording for the podcast in London a few days later on Monday. I was able to juggle a few things and go along with a friend.

Team Human LIVE from Brick Lane, London

It was quite a thoughtful and intellectually stimulating night which I don’t need to describe it because the first podcast is up.

What if we stopped thinking about the future as a noun and started thinking about it as a verb? We can future together!
The second part should be with Rupert Sheldrake, whos TEDx talk was banned from TED.

I’m now subscribed to Team human and look forward to hearing how things turned out…

You could be flirting on dating apps with paid impersonators

Cognitive burn-out

When I first saw the post about people flirting with paid people acting on your behalf. I won’t lie, I was quite shocked. But it makes sense, online dating is draining.

Online dating takes effort, and effort equals time,” he continued. “With [dating apps’] explosion in popularity, it means that you have a huge dating pool at your fingertips, but you’re also in direct competition with everyone else in your area. So if you want to have a chance at meeting your most intriguing matches, you need to have the best possible profile, photos, and messages.”

Although I understand it just feels unethical in a way I can’t describe. Its  similar to my reaction while reading OkCupid founder Christian Rudder’s book Dataclysm about the response rate to generic messages vs organic messages.

The company’s practices may be unethical—but they’re not illegal. Once the company obtains the client’s permission to impersonate them online, there are no laws against what Closers do.

Instead, it’s left to individual platforms to crack down on fake accounts. OKCupid, for instance, makes it clear in their terms of service that third parties are not allowed to open accounts, and it’s not uncommon for clients’ profiles to get flagged and deleted. But from a legal perspective, unless a Closer harasses or threatens a match, exposes a client’s confidential information, or asks for money, everything they do is legal according to US, Canadian, and UK law.

But legality aside, these cut-and-paste flirtations perpetuate negative gender stereotypes, and they reinforce an oversimplified (and destructive) view of romantic expectations.

Its well worth a read

You could be flirting on dating apps with paid impersonators

Why are so many Londoners leaving for Manchester?

Mist shrouding Canary Wharf this morning

Interesting bit from the Manchester Evening News about people moving from London to Manchester.For me as someone who moved 10 years ago, it was quality of life.

“For the same amount of rent I now live in a city centre flat, it’s still a novelty to be able to live so close to the centre.

“I had to catch a train and two tubes for the 7 mile journey to my office, spending £40 a week to top up my Oyster card. Now I have just a 20 minute drive from home.

“It was a struggle to save any money, but now I can afford to have a car and go on holidays.

“I think people are becoming aware of the fact it is no longer necessary to build your career in the capital, there are many opportunities for graduates in Manchester.”

London is great but it was becoming more and more difficult to buy a place, are if they theres plenty of opportunities but what use if you so tired travelling or broke paying for taxis to get home? Although I was happy to see and use the night tube in the past few years.

I spent 8 days in London recently and I do like London but the quality of life I have right now blows away what I had in London. Yes I wish Manchester would sort out its transport system and there could be more places to go without drinking or loud music.

What does it mean to be a man?

Terry Crews

“Don’t be weak. Don’t be small. Don’t be poor. Don’t be emotional. Don’t be feminine. Don’t be aggressive. Don’t be unapproachable. Don’t be sexist. Don’t be patronizing. Don’t be entitled. Don’t be unemotional. Don’t be big. Don’t be loud.”

What does it mean to be a man in modern time, is a question which keeps popping up again and again. Things have change for the better I would say but every once in a while the old fashioned legacy comes fighting back. Better known as toxic masculinity

One such thing is the nightmare which sexual harassment, abuse and rape. Its one of those things men don’t like to talk about, mainly the notion that it makes them less of a man? What ever that really means?

Now I hear some of you say, “Surely Ian, no one would give someone a hard time for encountering sexual harassment?”

To which I would say, where have you been?

So although most men have the right attitude for women, this is totally reversed for other men. Perfect example is 50 Cent’s mocking of Terry Crews’ sexual assault is no surprise given the toxic masculinity engulfing African American communities.

To be fair I careless what 50 cent thinks or says but its a example of what I see and hear too often when men get together. Its a typical pack mentality with each one outdoing each other with what they would have done, or how it wouldn’t happen to them. Yep the usual nonsense…

Dr NerdLove sums up my thoughts so well, that I’m going to say little else about it; theres also audio only if you prefer it like I do.

I don’t have absolute answers but belittling men victims of such abuse can’t be the right way…!

There are serious problems with masculinity but not talking or trying to outdo each other isn’t helping at all. I would also add there is a lot that can be learned from feminism, regardless of what others may think.

Re-decentralising the internet one step at a time

2 sides of the internet

You may have noticed a lot of blog posts about decentralising the internet? Last year I had the pleasure of spacewrangling the decentralised space at Mozfest, and I wrote down my reasons why I switched from the privacy and security space while in Tallinn. This year I won’t be spacewrangling (although I’m very happy to see Mark and Ross still involved in the wrangling)

Here’s the call for action.

Can the world be decentralised?

In this parallel dimension, people self-organise into open groups that create art, write code, and even build cities. Their technology runs on consensus and their society is fuelled by data. But data is not just a resource — it’s an extension of individual identity and collective culture. People give informed consent to data gathering and enjoy transparency of use.

Journey to a new world and bring back powerful, resilient technology; explore radical, paradigm-shifting ideas; and take part in cutting-edge discourse. Explore protocols like DAT, IPFS and ActivityPub, alongside ideas such as net neutrality and proof of stake. Experience decentralised platforms like Matrix and Mastodon, and support the equal commons of all.

Let’s discover this wonderland, together.

I do have things I want to submit and the deadline is August 1st. So you got some time to put something in, and it doesn’t need to be super detailed, just enough to explain the overall idea. Get in there and submit now!

Buckminster Fuller's quote
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete

My thoughts about important this really is goes super deep, as I’ve seen how the internet has been hijacked by a monolithic culture of private businesses with a winner takes all attitude.

Of course I’m not the only one thinking and talking about this. Many people and organisations are, including the W3C, Mozilla, Dot Everybody, BBC and Nesta to say a few.

I’ll be joining a critical panel about this exact thing at Futurefest this weekend. Tickets are still available and to be honest 2 years ago I was blown away by the festival topics and speakers.

The internet isn’t where we want it to be. With power increasingly centralised in the hands of very few players, citizens have little say in where we want the internet to go next. But challenging existing dynamics won’t be easy: we find ourselves caught in the crossfire between the dominant American models (driven by Big Tech) and the increasingly powerful Chinese model (where government reigns supreme). Is there scope to create a third, European model, where citizens and communities are in charge?

In this session, we discuss alternative trust models for the internet. This session is part of the European Commission’s Next Generation Internet initiative. We will hear from Manon den Dunnen, strategic specialist at the Dutch National Police, Ian Forrester, Chief Firestarter at BBC R&D and Marta Arniani, innovation strategist and founder of Futuribile / Curating Futures. Chairing will be Katja Bego, senior researcher at Nesta and coordinator of the Next Generation Internet Engineroom project.

Sounds like a very good panel right? I can’t see many punches being pulled either. Get your ticket now.

TED2018_20180414_1RL3522_1920

Finally something else related which I saw recently is Baratunde Thurston‘s New tech manifesto.

This project is based on the Medium feature for its “Trust Issues” series launched in June 2018. That feature was written by Baratunde Thurston, focused on data, and titled:

A New Tech Manifesto: Six demands from a citizen to Big Tech

The third place? I think I found aspects of it in Urbandeli?

Urban Deli, Stockholm

I wrote this post while in Urban Deli but forgot to post it, till I left Stockholm…

I was looking for somewhere to have brunch in Stockholm and came across Urban Deli. When I got there for brunch I realised it was actually a Deli not what I was expecting. But I stuck with it and was super surprised when I was told anything bought in the deli shop could be consumed in large section of the bar. The shop is packed full of many things including take away meals, a mini butcher, cheesemonger and fishmonger. They have lots of fruit and healthy goods.

Ok I’m not doing it justice but imagine a mini-shop, bar, cafe and hotel? was pushed together and it opened early and closed very late. Then throw in decent wifi, nice seating for groups and individuals eating, working on their laptops, playing chess, having a business meeting or watching the world cup. There’s communal tables and little two person tables, power sockets everywhere and microwaves in case you need something heated up!

Urban Deli, Stockholm

Yes its pretty amazing and I can’t see how it can work but it really does. No idea if its profitable but for me this is as close to the 3rd place as it comes. Its slightly worrying as its super seductive but its not a public space/place. There is a security guard who wonders around making sure everyone is playing by the rules set by them.

Urban Deli, Stockholm

I could buy a load of food from the shop and have a little party with friends. Because its open late, it makes a great alternative to the usual busy bars and pubs. Most cafes don’t open late as there isn’t enough trade late at night? Only the other day did I discover Chapter One tea/book shop opens till midnight every night in Manchester; but its not exactly busy after 10pm

Maybe the Scandinavian culture suits this setup but what ever it is, its a very cool concept and works well.

Urban Deli, Stockholm

Following up I had a chat with one of the staff about the setup and they told me Urban Deli is a new concept and its been running for 2-3 years! It started with the bar, then the cafe, then the shop and the hotel joined later. The hotel is about 130 rooms below the complex and they just added a roof terrace this year. The shop stays open till 1am. He also mentioned they sit next to a bunch of big businesses which have employees who work sometimes very late, so the microwave and pre-packed good food made sense in more than one way. Think Google canteen but not just for staff.

Fascinating concept and place, urbandeli