Rethink work: less professionalism will get you ahead

Most of the time, I think quite a lot about how the workplace is massively changing. I got into a conversation recently about my calendaring and why I wasn’t using the company calendaring system.

Although its a bit of a pain for colleague, the opposite is hell for myself. Diving myself into work and personal is something which doesn’t work in my head. I know it works for many people but the lack of flexibility is problematic.

Some would say its unprofessional but like the video points at, the future of work isn’t about people repeating the same task again and again.

As my tag line goes… Sometimes I forget my world is not mainstream (yet)

My Data: Public spaces / Private data

Mydata 2019 conference card

I’m back at Mydata this year, this time with more colleagues, Publicspaces.net and the Finnish public broadcaster YLE.

If you are at Mydata, our event is in Hall H from 14:00 – 15:45 on the opening day of Wednesday 25th September.

More and more people live their lives online, and we are encouraged to view the internet as a public space. However the personal data we bring to this space can be used in many inappropriate ways: Instagram stories are scraped to target advertisement; faces in family photographs are used to train the ML systems that will scan crowds for suspects; the devices we thought we owned end up owning us; and our browsing histories are stored and scanned by governments and private companies. This creates a tension for public service organisations as they try to deliver value to audiences and users online.

In this session experts from the BBC Research & Development, Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE, and PublicSpaces will consider how to resolve these tensions, and look at some specific interventions aimed at providing value to audiences and communities through the responsible use of private data in online public spaces.

The format will be four brief talks and a round table discussion.

Chair: Rhianne Jones (BBC)
PublicSpaces and an internet for the common good: Sander van der Waal (PublicSpaces)
The Living Room of the Future:  Ian Forrester (BBC)
How public service media can engage online; Aleksi Rossi (YLE)
Data Stewardship and the BBC Box:  Jasmine Cox/ Max Leonard (BBC)

If this interests you, don’t forget to add yourself to the London event with a similar name. Public Spaces, Private Data: can we build a better internet?

Computational photography is just the start

Tree scene with sunlight
Far Cry 5 / A Run in the Park

I found it interesting  to read how Virtual Photography: taking photos in videogames could be imaging’s next evolution. A while ago I mentioned how computational photography was pretty stunning a while ago when using my Google Pixel 2’s night sight mode.

Theres a project BBC R&D have been working on for a while, which fits directly into the frame of computational media. We have named it REB or Render Engine Broadcasting. Like OBM, Object based media theres a lot of computational use in the production of media, but I think theres a ton of more interesting research questions aimed at the user/client/audience side.

Its clear computational media is going to be a big trend in the next few years (if not now?). You may have heard about deepfakes in the news and thats just one end of the scale. Have a look through this flickr group. Its worth remembering HDR (high dynamic range) is a early/accepted type of computational. I expect in game/virtual photography is next, hence why I’ve shown in game photography to make the point of where we go next.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice / Up There

Its clear like every picture we see has been photoshopped, all media we will have to assume has been modified, computed or even completely generated. computational capture and machine vision/learning really is something which we have to grapple with.  Media literacy and tools to more easily identify computational media are what is missing. But the computational genie is out of the bottle and can’t be put back.

Theres also many good things about computational media too, beyond the sheer consumption.

While I cannot deny that my real world photography experience aids my virtual photography through the use of compositional techniques, directional lighting, depth of field, etc. there is nothing that you cannot learn through experience. In fact, virtual photography has also helped to develop my photography skills outside of games by enabling me to explore styles of imagery that I would not normally have engaged with. Naturally, my interest in detail still comes through but in the virtual world I have not only found a liking for portraiture that I simply don’t have with real humans, but can also conveniently experiment with otherwise impractical situations (where else can you photograph a superhero evading a rocket propelled grenade?) or capture profound emotions rarely exhibited openly in the real world!

Virtual photography has begun to uncover a huge wealth of artistic talent as people capture images of the games they love, in the way they interpret them; how you do it really is up to you.

Its a new type of media, with new sensibility and a new type of craft…

Of course its not all perfect.

https://twitter.com/iainthomson/status/1165755171923587072

A couple of powerful talks I have heard recently

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQOm6efNVW4

Its powerful and critical advice for all by Wade Davis (Netflix VP of inclusion). With only 40 views, it deserves so much more attention.

Also while watching a bunch of new videos, I came across the incredible talk from the Festival of dangerous ideas. Alicia Garza and Stan Grant – Why Black Lives Matter

#BlackLivesMatter has become the call to action for a generation of US human rights activists to denounce the violence and prejudice still experienced by African Americans. In the wake of the violent deaths of African Americans Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and many others call for change is insistent and consistent. So what does need to change in politics, in the media and in everyday lives to transform race relations and ensure justice and recognition for all?

Looking back at Republica 2019 and IndieWebCampBerlin

A personal view from republicamp

It was a while ago now since I was in Berlin for both IndieWebCampBerlin and Republica19. As I needed to report back to BBC R&D, I created a slide deck which I finally gave today at work. It would have been earlier in the month if I wasn’t sick when it was arranged.

I posted a modified version of the slide deck on slideshare, but its pretty much there. Of course like most of my presentations, its better with me delivering it but you can get a sense of what I found interesting and why.

The slides are divided into 2 parts. Indiewebcamp is slides 4-23 and Republica is slides 24-73.

Enjoy!

Less than a month till the 50th anniversary of the moon landing

The Moon FestivalIts less than a month till the world celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing. The moon festival now has a ton of events for everyone including Maverick Women & the Moon with the amazing Margaret Atwood, which I will be at. Some events are sold out but theres a good number of tickets left.

Its also worth saying this is excellent for the Woolwich/Greenwich area of London.

Look forward to seeing you there???

Where are all the Electric Maxi-scooters?

What is a maxi-scooter

I do enjoy my Honda Silverwing scooter but I keep thinking its time for a Electric vehicle. Especially seeing how it currently wouldn’t pass the new London ultra low emission zone and frankly its time for more environmental focus.

The problem I see is there are two extremes when it comes to electric motorcycles/scooters.

At one end you have your electric scooters (don’t look up electric scooters, as you get something very different and questions of where to ride them). I remember looking at scooters to hire in Berlin, thinking where the disc breaks and will car drivers actually see you on such a small thing? But at the other end there are electric motorcycles like the new Harley Davison livewire. But theres little in between.

What is needed is maxi-scooters which are electric powered surely? However I have had such a hard time finding them.

The closest I can find is the BMW Cevolution

 

Node volume 01 ebook

NODE VOL 01 is a new, independently created zine for the NODE community. It contains many of the subjects we talk about here; decentralization and P2P technologies, open source, do it yourself tutorials and hardware design, cutting edge technology and more.

This first volume is 150 pages long, and, it’s packed with features on P2P projects, such as Dat, Beaker Browser, Ricochet IM, Aether, and more. There are many tutorials showing projects like the new NODE Mini Server, how to 3D print long range wifi antennas, how to chat via packet radio, and how to do things like Libreboot the Thinkpad X200. There’s also a handy open source directory at the back, along with lots more.

I do like watching N-O-D-E, and its great to see all the episodes in one place to read through at our leisure, in the form of a freely downloadable ebook. If you don’t use DAT, theres a copy here. You can also get it in paper from the shop.

The Quantified Self archive all in one place

Get inspiration and ideas from hundreds of self-tracking projects documented in our community archive, searchable by tools and topics.

Its great to see all of the quantified self videos, presentations and show and tells in one place. Its quite an archive of media and worth browsing through. I had the joy of seeing some of these live at the Quantified Self conference’s.

Here’s some of my favourite ones.

Three Years of Logging my Inbox

Mark Wislon notices that his inbox correlates directly with his stress level. After passively tracking this for three years, he decides to actively shift how he sees his inbox account and learns how he’s controlled (and been controlled by) this stream of angst. He also discovers a very important life lesson: he’s addicted to email.

Using Relationship Data to Navigate a Chaotic Life

Fabio Ricardo dos Santos is gregarious and likes to be around people. A lot of people. But he had a nagging sense that something was out of balance. To better understand why, he began to track his relationships and interactions. He soon found that out of the people that he knows, only about 14% are what he considered to be important relationships and that they made up 34% of his interactions. He felt that this number was too low and it spurred him to spend more time with that important 14%. But he didn’t just track his time with people and the number of interactions. He expanded his system to include the quality of his relationships and interactions. He found that this made him focus on face-to-face interactions and video chats over emails and texts.

Leaning into Grief

Dana Greenfield’s mom was a surgeon, professor, researcher, entrepreneur, blogger, tennis player, and a mentor to many medical students. Unexpectedly, she passed away in February, 2014. To help her process her mother’s death, Dana began tracking every time she thought of her mother by writing down what triggered the memory, the mood it inspired, etc. Watch Dana’s talk as she shares her experiences of using self-tracking to better understand her own grief and the role her mother continues to play in her life.

What I Learned By Building

Dawn Nafus, an anthropologist, reflects on some observations of what self-trackers actually do when they make sense of data. Dawn’s observations led her to ask: what tools might support more diverse ways of working with data? This short talk describes what she’s learned while engaging and building tools for the QS community.

Tracking Punctuality

Sebastien Le Tuan is a recovering “late-oholic.” He is typically always late to friends and family events. One day he had a conversation with his dad that made him realize what effects his tardiness has on his personal and professional life. In this talk, Sebastien describes how he started tracking his punctuality and what he has learned from the process.

Sleep Patterns

Laurie Frick is a visual artist that make work, objects, and installations that relate to brain rhythm. In the video, she presents her amazing work on daily activity charts and sleep charts translated to art. She measured her nightly sleep for over 3 years using a ZEO eeg headband and has almost 1000 nights of sleep data.

Can’t You See I Was Falling In Love

Shelly Jang used GMvault to look through 5 years of Google Chat logs to hunt for signals that she loves only her husband. She looked at whom she messages, the time of a day, and the words she uses. She was able to extract meanings from innocuous metrics like “delay in response” to show whether her or her future husband were “playing games” at the beginning of the relationship. In the talk, she shares what she learned from her project.

Grandma Was A Lifelogger

When Kitty stumbled upon her grandmother’s diaries and started to explore the daily entries, she was struck by similarities with her own life and habits. Kitty is a modern-day lifelogger. She tracks places, events, mood – a variety of different personal data streams. Reading the diaries, Kitty saw that her grandmother used her daily entries as logs – tracking the details of where she went, what she ate, even the boys she kissed. In this talk, Kitty shares what she discovered, and the lessons she learned.

A Photo Every Minute: One Year Later

Rob Shields has been wearing a camera phone around his neck that takes photos every minute. He has been doing this since August of last year. In this video, one year later, he talks about what has changed, what’s new, the things that have been working, and some of the stuff that haven’t been working. He also shares some data from his experiment.

Tracking Street Harassment

Valarie moved to San Francisco when she was 29 and she was not prepared for the city life. She was really freaked out by the trash on the streets, by the way the taxi drivers drove, and how expensive everything was. But the thing that freaked her out the most was street harassment. Street harassment is any action or comment between strangers in public places that is disrespectful, unwelcome, threatening, or harassing and is motivated by gender or sexual orientation. She was surprised with how many times she was harassed while walking around. To better understand what was going on she started tracking these instance.

We Are All Going To Die: How Is Our Digital Life Preserved

Mark Krynsky started a blog about six years ago. On his blog, he wrote about live streaming and impetus and how he was trying to aggregate social data into a single timeline. The blog evolved over time, and it wasn’t just about social data–it was also about life blogging. Since then, he learned about Quantified Self and started thinking about the future of his data, what’s going to happen after he dies? In this talk, Mark discusses digital preservation and how he created an action plan for his digital data after his death.

Tracking and Improving My Sleep

Quantified Self organizer and cognitive science researcher, Daniel Gartenberg, is interested in sleep and his passion is this idea of not just tracking sleep but actually being able to improve sleep. He also makes sleep apps. He started tracking his sleep after his business partner contacted him on a recent scientific finding, where basically one could enhance deep sleep auditory stimulation that replicates the frequency of one’s own brainwaves when in deep sleep. In this talk, he shares his tips on tracking and improving his sleep.

Owning My Quantified Self Data

After years of collecting Quantified Self data, Aaron Parecki began moving more of his data onto his personal website rather than letting it sit in someone else’s cloud. This insures that his data will stick around even after apps and devices go away.

Put on your own Moon Festival event?

Moon 50 Festival

I’m still very excited to be a digital adviser on the Moon Festival for all reasons I mentioned in my previous blog and so much more.

One of the things I suggested for the Festival was the ability to run it in different locations. It made sense to me, as it is the moon and such a momentous date in history can’t be limited to London alone. Of course London is a great place to have such a event with the Greenwich observatory and the GMT timeline in the night sky.

So with my experience running BarCamps, TedXs and other decentralised/distributed events. I was able to talk the amazing Livia into trying to distribute the event into other cities and countries.

So many of you got in touch to ask how you can be part of Moon Festival and too often we had to say no because of time and money which we hated to do because let’s face it, you had some really brilliant ideas. And so we decided to open up our programme to the world.

Livia has the full very friendly guideline for the proposals on the same page.

It makes a lot of sense for the likes of artistic events like Future EverythingAbandon Normal Devices festival and the Manchester International Festival (to be honest I’m really surprised there isn’t a event in this years line up) to say the lest. Of course thats just around Manchester events! I’m wondering about all those centres like FACT, Home, MOSI, etc. Of course it could be anywhere, any city, any town, any community, any country!

Not got plans for the 50th Anniversary of the moon but can’t make it to London? Don’t fancy Bluedot? What you waiting for? Try running your own… Don’t hold back let your creative juices flow!

I personally was thinking about a storytelling event like the Moth around the Moon and our relationship with the moon. If anyone is interested in the proposal in Manchester let me know.

The Moon 50 Festival

Black Mirror choices can be snooped on?

Magic box

I have so much to say about Bandersnatch, most has been written here. But its clear that Netflix haven’t given up on the medium and even doubling down on it.

Something popped into my feed about some researchers paper saying you can snoop on the choices of people using Netflix’s interactive system. I’m hardly surprised as its typical network analysis and GDPR requests. But it reminds me how important the work we have done with perceptive media is.

I best explain it as delivering (broadcasting) the experience as a contained bundle which unfolds within the safe space (maybe living room) of the audience. Nothing is sent back to the cloud/base. This is closer to the concept of broadcast and means the audience/user(s) and their data isn’t surveil by the provider. This is exactly how podcasts use to work before podcast providers started focusing on metrics and providing apps which spy on their listeners. I would suggest the recent buy out of gimlet media by spotify might point this way too?

Of course the broadcast/delivery model this doesn’t work too well for surveillance capitalism but that frankly not my problem; and all audience interaction should be (especially under HDI) explicitly agreed before data is shared or exported.

I might be idealistic about this all but frankly I know I’m on the right side of history and maybe the coming backlash.

Best of the recent TEDxManchester’s

TedX Manchester 2019

Last year I never got a chance to write about TEDxManchester 2018, partly because I tend to take pictures with my camera and its the new venue (Bridgewater hall) policy not to allow cameras in.

Regardless I went to TedXManchester 2019 (without my DSLR), and thought its about time I got back into blogging some of the best talks, especially as they are put on youtube now. Because they are on youtube so quickly, I created a playlist with the best TedXManchester videos. There are a number missing and its worth saying the list is highly opinioned. Theres some key ones from previous years gone by including my own and Carrie’s super popular one.

But I wanted to give credit to the best ones this year and last year.

2018

Last year the outstanding talk was form Vikas Shah’s How to save your own life.

A year later Vikas tweet is a perfect description.

I felt the talk was extremely brave, powerful and honest. The mental health message was powerful.

2019

This years outstanding talks were difficult to pick one. I was torn but decided although everyone loved Ged Kings talk I wasn’t super keen. I found Andrew Szydlo and Jon Carmichael’s fantastic but its not online yet so decided Katherine Ormerod spoke to me like Emma Harvey’s “Whoops, I changed the world” at TedxBradford.

Although I don’t let social media run my life, and use it a certain way which bother some. I find the continuously running theme of living life with these digital tools interesting. There was a talk just before with Chris Bailey (this is from TedxLiverpool) which was good but felt too preachy for my palliate. As I write this blog post in a coffee shop, I’m watching a woman taking a selfie with her tiny dog to a social network. She took about 12 photos before finally settling on one to post. I find the whole thing strange as posted about before, and I wonder how many are in control, following fashion, doing so out of peer/social pressure, etc…

Re-decentralising the internet recording at Futurefest

Futurefest 2018 panel

I had the pleasure of being on the panel of re-decentralising internet at Futurefest, last summer. (when England was still in the world cup and the weather was super warm) Feels like so long ago. I’m quite glad its audio only because I was sat in the sunshine sweating a lot!

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.

Thanks Katja!

Imagine if the Curve card supported all those transport and store cards?

The Curve CardI have been using Curve for a while now. I first came across it when Tom Cheesewright talked about it at a second degree dinner I hosted. I was still amazed by Monzo but it lost its shine once it became a current account for me. So I finally got a Curve card thanks to Tony Churnside for the referral.

Its been very good to me, and the trade off in sharing my transactions in return for not carrying around all my cards is good for me. I do generally carry around one more just in-case, but its been fine except a couple times, where I needed to tap again.

If I had a company credit card, a curve card would be essential, especially since the receipt feature works almost as I need it for my expenses.

Having used it for a few months, I started thinking it would be great if curve supported NFC travel cards like Oyster. Its something I’ve thought about previously. Of course the London Oyster system supports NFC payments directly, so maybe I should return my Oyster cards anyway.

But imagine if it supported other NFC cards? Yes you can use your phone to do this but I don’t want to use my expensive phone compared to a cheap piece of plastic which I can freeze in a instant? Store cards is more tricky as most are still swipe not NFC but could be very cool?

Update…

https://twitter.com/imaginecurve/status/1102500000020525056

27-28th Feb is Manchester’s first Storytellers United Hackjam

storytellers united hackjamOn the Wednesday 27th – Thursday 28th February in Manchester’s first Storytellers United Hackjam.

The hackjam is run with support from BBC R&D and BBC Academy, MMU’s School of Digital Arts (SODA), Storytellers United, Popathon, University of York’s Digital Creativity labs and Creative England.

Its a 36 hours hackathon around responsive/perceptive/adaptive media experiences. Participants work as a team to brainstorm ideas, create prototypes of their own storytelling experiences. They will compete against the clock, not against each other sharing knowledge and expertise as they go. They won’t be alone, as they will have some excellent mentored by industry experts sharing their knowledge and experiences. Its all part of BBC Academy’s Manchester Digital Cities week.

The hackjam is only part the story. On the late afternoon of Thursday 28th Feb there will be a mini-conference titled Storytelling in the Internet Age. Where promising prototypes will be demoed to the audience.

Collaborating together

Ideal participants are from the creative sectors such as,

  • Freelancers, Sole-traders and SMEs working in new media fields combining data with media,, may have tried twine, eko, inkle, etc
  • Producers and Directors interested in adaptive and non-linear narratives, may have tried twine, eko, inkle, etc
  • Developers and Designers with an interest in audio & video combined with data and used javascript libs like the VideoContext.js, Seriously.js, etc
  • Students and Academics with a deep interest in object based media, adaptive narratives, interactive digital narrative
  • Artists exploring mixed media and non-linear narratives

Tickets are free but an expression of interest, with no guarantee entry.

See you there!