Pulseaudio filling my flat with sound

Pulse audio DLNA in action
Pulse audio DLNA in action while watching the NGI summit and using the picture in picture feature

I usually listen to podcasts during the morning but with Covid19, I have been listening to a lot more podcasts and audiobooks. I use Xbian (Kodi) to listen to podcasts and Yatse without needing to look at a computer screen.

Its a good setup, as it does my bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. I recently removed the FM transmitter and replaced it with a bluetooth transmitter finally avoiding all the interference I was getting. However when I’m watching something on my laptop, I then wish I could send the sound through the same system.

This is when I discovered puslseaudio-dlna, allowing any output from the laptop to be sent over DLNA to my Xbian and to my Kodibox in the living room. Perfect, the only issue I have is the delay which can be sometimes as high as 10seconds. I also learned it can be used to interface with the chromecast, I’m also found out its possible to wire it up to send to two or more outputs at the same time, meaning I could have a sonos type system. Extremely useful to know when next I have a party?

BarCampManchester 10 went virtual

Obviously in the middle of a pandemic, it would be a awful idea to bring together a bunch of people from different households to spend 2 days and a night together. Lucky as we all are, we have the internet.

The bright sparks running BarCampManchester decided it could work online and they made it happen with some custom coding for the session wall and a clever setup of Discord.

I haven’t been a fan of discord but was surprised once I downloaded the Flatpak version for Linux, how effective it was. Before long I was barcamp as usual. Except I had some things I needed to do in the morning. I left a note saying save me a spot on the session wall, knowing how they fill up in the afternoon. Chris pointed out, its all virtual, it would be trivial to create another space/room. Of course I mistakenly was thinking with my physical brain, welcome to the virtual. It was like Eames in inception to Arthur

Dream a little bigger

You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.

Once back I threw myself in with a number of other people not just from Manchester but around the UK. Why limit yourself to just Manchester right? Old friends showed up and we had a good old natter. The sessions were good and even ran a couple myself (one about adaptive podcasting and the other about my gratitude habit).

Of course at the end after the end talk, some diabolo time, some food and a catch up with my family. There was still enough people to play werewolf on werewolv.es with discord.

I got to say it was all good, ok its not going to beat a physical in person barcamp but once I got use to discord it worked quite well. I enjoyed it and as potentially we are looking at another 12-18 months of this pandemic, this could potentially be a good community way to run barcamp.

There was talk about a BarCampManchester11 during winter and if there was, I certainly would get a ticket and make sure theres nothing clashing. Its tricky for sponsorship but I was thinking maybe if people paid between £2-10 maybe that could really help if you were able to get upwards of 50-100 people? This could be done with Eventbrite too, making things less friction.

Could you run a conference this way? Potentially but it would depend on what kind of conference. Good luck getting the public to install discord I would think.

OkCupid doesn’t like my profile picture?

Ian's Profile picture

What could be wrong with this picture?

I got a email from OKcupid the other day and it took a little while to work out which one was removed from my profile.

Hi,

OkCupid’s photo rules are in place to make OkCupid enjoyable for everyone. We are letting you know that we have removed one or more of your photos that were found to be in violation of these rules.
The most common reasons for a photo being removed are:
1. Your face is not visible, but the photo is in your “profile photos” album
As long as the photo doesn’t break any other rules, feel free to upload it to one of your profile essays instead. We love pet photos!
2. The photo is copyright/ not yours
All photos must be of you or taken by you. No copyright material allowed, including memes.
3. The photo contains erotic content
We ask that you appear in your photos as you would in a normal public context. Because of that, we don’t allow sexy bedroom photos, underwear photos, nudity, erotic poses, etc. Swimwear photos are ok only if they are in public at a beach or pool.
4. The photo contains inappropriate content
We don’t allow advertising, publishing of private information, photos of children alone, or hateful, threatening, or upsetting imagery. Profiles with inappropriate photos may be banned in addition to having the photo removed. See our full photo rules

Please note that if you disregard our photo rules multiple times, it could result in your account being permanently banned.
If you’re shy or concerned about privacy, you might want to check out our Incognito feature, which allows you to only be visible to people you have Liked first.

Thanks, and best of luck on OkCupid!

Sincerly,
OkCupid Support

Okcupid always be selling… They can take their incognito and stick it.

Worst thing is I can’t actually get a proper answer why the computer/algorithm says no. Love to know if its gotten it all wrong and why? I thought about making some changes but don’t fancy my account getting banned.

Great to see nothings really changed…

Give the social dilemma some credit

There is a scene in the social dilemma which is quite impactful.

A character looks at her social media feed in the bathroom alone, she sighs and turns looks in to a mirror trying to understand the negative reaction shes getting. While she looked at her self a tear runs down her face.

The social dilemma

Its something easily overlooked but pretty powerful, I have to say watching it again.

I don’t like Disney but I like Abigail’s words

…I was quite taken by Abigail Disney’s words.

What’s the purpose of a company? In this bold talk, activist and filmmaker Abigail Disney imagines a world where companies have a moral obligation to place their workers above shareholders, calling on Disney (and all corporations) to offer respect, dignity and a living wage to everyone who works for them.

Disney has a long way to go to be honest.

Alton towers and social distancing?

On Sunday I went to Alton Towers as the park was open from 10am – 8pm (this is normal hours in Europe for most theme parks). Part of me wishes I didn’t bother, but as the UK is on the brink of another national lockdown I decided to drive there and back. Its not the first time I’ve done it and this time at least it wasn’t pouring with rain.

As I drove in to the car park I could see the huge long queue to enter with social distancing. I think the monorail was closed because of social distancing too. After 40mins, a bag check, temperature gun check and a check of my eticket I was in.

First stop the Smiler. This is when I spotted the sign about single riders. There will be no single rider queue due to social distancing guidelines join the main queue. I knew then it was going to suck…

Social distance markers in Alton Towers

Standing in the queue, which was extended up and around the top ridge of the Smiler compound. You could see markers on the ground of where you are meant to stand. Problem is most people were not standing on them no matter how much Alton Towers staff shout over the loud speaker system. Heck they even called out a few people and it made no noticeable difference.

One of the biggest problem with the Smiler queue is it exists underneath the ride structure and its setup to be like a maze for mice. Of course this isn’t good for social distancing at all. You could see there were obvious gaps to allow distance between the fences but people just took it as they were 2 meters from the people in front and back and that was enough.

The Smiler queuing system

I got on the ride twice and I’ll be honest twice I had to glare at the people following me to back off. I really should have worn my mask, which you only need to wear when entering the station. I honestly didn’t feel that safe while queuing. Of course all this queuing means you are in close contact with people for a long time. A hour each time for the Smiler.

The Smiler train has 4 rows of 4 seats (16 riders), I shared a row with a couple the first time (there was a seat between us) then had a whole row to myself the second time. You can easily see why queues were so long.

With two rides I looked around and saw the horribly long lines for food so decided to head over to Nemesis and Galactica (I didn’t bother going to Rita or 13). The queue for the cable cart was 60mins (Imagine it would be 1 household per cart), so I walked over. Nemesis had a queue time of 55mins and they had opened the line up to include the extended line right up in the field, last time I been up there was back in 1999! Usually Nemesis’ queue is no more than 5-10mins. The bunch of men/lads/idiots behind me stood within 0.5-1 meter. I did tell them to back off and they made stupid faces and silly noises. I couldn’t be bothered so popped my headphones on, pretty much ignored them. On the ride I had a whole row to myself again. No wonder it was such a long wait. For all that waiting, Galactica was only 30mins wait which isn’t that far off the last time I was in Alton Towers. I did share the row with another couple like the Smiler.

The killer for me was Wicker man which I have never been on and finally got the chance but there was one hell of a time cost. Almost 2 hours of queuing in to be fair a socially distance observing line. The line was moving so slowly, most people had given up standing and were sitting around. It was dire, make no mistake. After listening to 2 hours of the Guilty Feminist’s audiobook I finally got on the ride and it was clear why things were so slow. Each row had 2 seats and they were seating every other row. Meaning a maximum of 12 riders per turn, not the usual 24.

By the time I got my ride on Wicker man I decided I was fed-up and close enough to the entrance to drive home before the sunset and I didn’t fancy  driving at night through country lanes.

I’ll be frank Alton Towers is a horrible place to be during a pandemic, I felt a lot safer going to Blackpool Pleasure beach. The staff seemed a lot more knowledgeable, gels (for example there was no gel in the line for the smiler over 2 hours) and cleaning was a lot more visible.

I’m not the only one who had worries about Alton Towers.

Maybe I’ll revisit next year out of season…

BANE says wear a mask!

Thought I’d share this funny mash-up.

NO ONE CARED WHO I WAS UNTIL I PUT ON THE MASK!

On the same front if you haven’t seen Batman: behind The Scenes of The Dark Knight Trilog, its well worth watching (found via @si_lumb). I hadn’t really taken note of the impact of the alternative reality game, why so serious.

Orientation is far from binary

Rainbow colours
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

I recently rejoined the dating world again, yeah I know…

Once I finally logged in and agreed to their new terms, I was able to get my old profile back partly using my GDPR request. Its interesting to see whats changed and how awful the dating apps have gotten (really badly money driven). Thats a whole blog to its self but I also found the options of orientation and what you are looking for really interesting.

In Okcupid I was given these options for who I am seeking.

Wow this is quite something. I generally say LGBTQA+ but I hadn’t really thought that much about the + aspect.

Being curious minded I started to look into the different spectrum’s. For example the affection orientation- sexual, romantic and friendship. Its all quite amazing but I couldn’t find a map, which would have made things a little easier to understand the relationships between each one. I did find that each one had its own flag however.

In Bumble

I made the mistake of trying to be too woke. by setting my status to cisgender male, thinking this means I was assigned male at birth and identify as male. On top of this I set my settings to seek females.

However I looking while swiping around, its clear I am getting men in my feed. Its clear its not a mistake as they self-identify as male and are not seeking other male. Even if they were, I’m seeking women. Of course I changed this twice and can not change it now. Bumble said contact them and of course I have and had disappointing replies.

Thanks for contacting Bumble

Hello,

Thanks for reaching out!

If you’re seeing users of the wrong age or gender, it might be that your filter settings are incorrect. Please check that you have selected the correct filter preferences in your settings menu.

If you are still experiencing this issue please let us know and we’ll be happy to investigate.

Emma
Bumble Feedback Team

Seriously, like I haven’t triple checked my settings! I tried a few other times but got the same reply, so given up. I always liked the idea of Bumble but found the montization model far too aggressive for a casual mobile dating user like me.

To this situation has the benefit of checking out how little effort cis-males are putting into their bumble profiles. Generally its some bad pictures and little to no text. Heck I have only seen a couple who even put some basic details down.

Christian Cooper Creates Graphic Novel About Racial Injustice

If you remember the Christian and Amy Cooper incident in Central Park? It was the exact same day as when George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis by the police. I was so badly shaken by this incident, as it touched a deep nerve.

Amy apologised for whats its worth, but Christian Cooper took a lot from the experience and went one further.

Christian Cooper, the Central Park bird-watcher who was racially profiled by a white woman, has created a new graphic novel for DC Comics about racial injustice influenced by his own experience.

Amazing and so very powerful I mean his cool calm handling of the incident was just incredible, then later seeing him accept his apology was powerful and now this?

I’ll be seeking out a copy just to have and share with others.

Signal or Threema or how about both?

I have been a fan and person encouraging the use of signal over the likes of whatsapp. Its been good to me but like every piece of software there are things I would change about them. For example the whole pin code thing is not only concerning but also a real challenge for casual users.

The pin code thing and phone number thing is not that much of a concern for most but I’ve been keeping an eye on others coming into the space. Threema is one such messaging app which seems to have all the privacy and security needed backed with its strong European base in Switzerland.

I wrote it off in my mind because it didn’t have a open code base for security  experts to view openly. However that recently changed with them opensourcing the code base.

Because of this change I’m relooking at the Threema, although I don’t think I’ll be dumping Signal as a result but rather using both?

Hopefully a place for my gratitude diary

Looking into the universe
Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

tl:dr

I have been filling in my personal gratitude dairy for a while since the Thinking Digital workshop the gratitude habit by the wonderful Sarah Raad. Its been really good and useful. However I have found it tricky posting it somewhere consistently. So in short I finally moved it to a new blog and will be aggregating it my gratitude page.

Continue readingHopefully a place for my gratitude diary

I’m part of the NGI forward advisory board

NGI forward

I wasn’t quite sure when I could announce my advisory role in the NGI forward. But I was excited when chosen and accepted a few months ago.

What is the Next Generation Internet forward?

NGI Forward is a 3-year project under the Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative, which commenced in January 2019. NGI Forward is tasked with helping the European Commission set out a strategy, as well as a policy and research agenda for the years ahead.

To build an internet that is more democratic, inclusive and resilient, we need to not just create an ambitious vision for the future, but also identify the concrete technologies and solutions we need to get us there. To do this, NGI Forward’s work focuses on four key areas of activity, which together will form the “engine” of the project: the identification of key topics, consultation, policy and research, and stakeholder engagement.

You can start to understand why the excitement and the honour of being asked to advise of this great initiative.

The project is being run by Nesta who are also part of a lot of other great initiatives like the decode project.

Nesta leads NGI Forward, the strategy and policy arm of the European Commission’s flagship Next Generation Internet initiative, which seeks to build a more democratic, inclusive, resilient, sustainable and trustworthy internet by 2030.

This work requires the support and guidance of a broad community of experts and practitioners, and to help us achieve this we are excited to announce the establishment of our Advisory Board. Our Advisory Board members have been chosen to help us have the biggest impact we possibly can by connecting us with new networks, guiding our ideas and giving critical feedback on our plans.

NGI policy summit

I have a lot more to share in the near future but I also wanted to make sure people interested in a more democratic, inclusive and resilient Internet are also aware of NESTA’s Next Generation Internet: Policy Summit which is 28th– 29th September 2020 and is free to register.

What is your vision for the future of the internet? Very pleased to support and attend the , organised by the EU Commission, @NGI4EU and @Iamsterdam – register at: https://summit.ngi.eu/ Europe can create a better future for the internet! If you want to get involved, join my colleagues from @NGIForward and @Iamsterdam at the on 28-29 September. Register for free at https://summit.ngi.eu/

The/our social dilemma documentary

The social dilemma

I just watched the social dilemma.

I have to say its actually very well produced and gets the points across in a way which I feel might actually cause some thought. We have heard this before in many different places but I liked the family story which gave it some well needed context. Although it does go maybe a bit too far in the story. Heck I was wondering if the son was about to get himself a gun…

My only really issue is its very American focused except Myanmar which received a short segment. The insiders don’t reflect the diversity of wider society but of course that speaks volume. But Cathy O’Neil said it best,

Do we really want to hand this problem over to technologists who helped create this problem?

Unfortunately that kind includes the well meaning Tristan Harris and many others on the documentary. Its interesting who isn’t in the documentary, such as people like Douglas Rushkoff, Doc Searls, Clay Shirky, etc.

Is it the business model, is it the economic model, shareholder value, lack of governmental pressure, legal regulation, monopolistic practices, undemocratic markets? Or is it actually a bit of all of them?

So its a 7/10 its good but I feel After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News (2020) has the edge.

I guess the biggest question is what happens next? Will people actually act after seeing the documentary? Thats the big question.

Little note: I enjoyed the older sister reading The Age of Surveillance Capitalism on the sofa. I didn’t spot Cathy’s Weapons of math destruction and there was attribution to Natasha Schüll’s Addicted by design