So ironic being a Airbnb superhost again

Airbnb superhostI have no idea why but I was given superhost status again for my spare room which I open to Airbnb. I only raise this because its certainly not something I’m bothered about or will make a great deal of. I find it ironic as I was being told off by the airbnb algorithm not that long ago.

My User Manual

Profile pic 2019

Hi I’m Ian and I’m referred to by ‘he/him’ pronouns

Here is my user manual, as first discovered in Cassie Robinson.‘s blog post and written about in my new years resolutions for 2020. Everything is work in progress and I may move this to a page instead of a blog entry.

Last updated on 31/12/2019

Conditions I like to work in

    • I like a medium busy working environment. I find it hard to work in dead silence.
    • I like having my own desk space but pretty flexible as I can work in coffee shops or on my sofa.
    • I like to wear headphones and listen to music mixes, podcasts or audio books while working if its too quiet.
    • I like flexible spaces, with adjustable seating

The Times/Hours I like to work

  • I am trying to start my work day at 10am, I am not a early riser at all.
  • I work best in the afternoon and evenings
  • Think better at night
  • I don’t mind being contacted at most times but I will likely only respond when not busy or have the time. I expect people to respect my decisions when I decline calls.
  • My calendar is private but I prefer if things are set in my calendar so I don’t double book myself.

The best ways to communicate with me

  • Text or instant messenger (signal & text) is the quickest way to get a response from me, but you will get a quick and short reply.
  • Twitter Direct message isn’t the best due to the changes Twitter made to their APIs making my Android & Linux clients slower to get direct messages.
  • Mastodon is better than twitter for communication
  • I will answer my phone and prefer to talk over more complex issues
  • I deal with emails all week and usually respond within a week, unless I’m busy
  • Narratives are generally better than raw data

The ways I like to receive feedback

  • I’d rather have conversations than leave things unspoken or at an inauthentic level.
  • I like receiving feedback face-to-face
  • I respect people with humanity & respect, and expect the same back
  • I see all feedback as a learning opportunity so I like any feedback to include examples and also suggestions on how I / it could be better/different

Things I need

  • I love ideas sessions with people, where we can freely think about what is possible without the if’s and but’s
  • I do need a little time to reflect
  • I need longer paper work in digital form, so I can re-shape it or have an app read it to me
  • Authenticity, I find it harder to take people seriously if there is no authenticity

Things I struggle with

  • Too much critiquing and logical reasoning drains my creative energy
  • If I don’t understand the bigger picture, I find it harder to understand why I should be involved.
  • I find unnecessary opaque processes draining
  • Maintaining the status-quo
  • Surface level conversations over a longer period of time
  • Superstition

Things I love

  • Hearing what others are working on and connecting up the dots of what we are doing together
  • Human conversations over administrative tasks like replying to emails
  • Understanding peoples experiences and influences behind projects
  • Team away days
  • Blue sky thinking
  • Working on the cutting edge
  • Collaboration
  • Working “in the open”

Other things to know about me

  • I am an ENTP
  • I have dyslexia
  • I use interconnected, narrative and dynamic reasoning to make decisions on problems which are logically taxing.
  • I approach problems in a learning as doing way
  • My favorite saying is “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
  • I bring my whole self to work (we should chat about what this means)
  • I am quite expressive and say what I feel and mean quite openly.
  • Fairness and justice matters to me. If I think someone is not being treated fairly, or someone is having an unfair impact on others, I will call it out.
  • I believe hyperlinks subvert hierarchy, with a rich network of people.

My New Years Resolutions 2020

Profile pic 2019

Its been 12 years since I’ve been blogging my new years resolutions and I’m still going.

Following my review of last year… here’s my New Years Resolutions for 2020; which follows on from 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.2009, 2008 ones.

    1. Head further a field with the scooter
      Missed this last year, so its high time for a ride into Europe. I have plans to stay with a friend in Rotterdam then drive around and maybe into Belgium & Germany for some coasting. However, more importantly if the secondment was to go ahead. I’d highly likely drive my scooter in the Netherlands.
    2. Visit another new country
      Fitting with the previous one. Luckily last year, I finally got to Italy for the first time, but that was pure chance I think. There’s a lot of places I need to go including Norway, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia, etc in Europe. One thing I’m doing for sure is South Korea & Japan (again) in April with my partner this time.
    3. Make some changes to the flat
      As mentioned previously, I have bought a few bits for the bedroom including a new desk. I bought a lot of my furniture when I first moved in and its time for a few changes now I’m much more settled in.
    4. Host film nights at mine
      I have my new projector, the surround sound system and even the popcorn machine to go with it, so its time to actively do some film nights. For real this time!
    5. Spend less time in the UK / Live in a new country
      As mentioned previously I’m putting together a strong case to move to Amsterdam for a year. Unlike previously its not just because of Brexit. There is a unique opportunity under the BBC to bring together other public focused organisations for a wider “public service centric network.
      This also fits with my previous resolutions around being a stronger advocate for New forms of Value/Public Service Internet/Team Human; and even more with find the others. Making this a reality is going to be difficult but if it works out its going to be amazing for many reasons I can only imagine right now.
    6. Find the others and connect them
      Directly related to the previous one. I mentioned in my 2019 new year resolutions about . Its not so much team human per-say but a more non-perfect human outlook on the world. There was something which Eric Nehrlich wrote a long while ago. Find the others, its been echoed by Douglas Rushkoff here and here.
    7. Play a new sport somewhat regularly
      I love Volleyball and could play it over and over again, but I know people around me don’t dig it as much. So I’ll try a new sport as long as its not Football, Rugby or Cricket. Mainly to bridge between people around me who may like to play something different. Currently Badminton, Basketball or Netballl are looking most likely. However with moving to the Netherlands,Korfball and Handball (which I played in the past) could be new options?
    8. Drink more fizzy water
      I have fallen love with carbonated water. Maybe its the amount of time I spent in Berlin but regardless its great stuff and much more healthy than most of the stuff I use to drink. I decided to invest in a SodaStream after seeing the amount of plastic water bottles I was recycling. This year I’m going drink a lot more carbonated at work, home, out and about. Its 25% health related and 75% because cold fizzy water is just the best!
    9.  Look after myself better
      I’m going to start walking more, I noticed how many more steps I do when going for coffee with colleagues at work. Parking in the multistory and walking to work actually adds another 1500 steps daily. Manchester is pretty walk-able and public transport is pretty good to be honest. I’m still waiting for the UK transport laws to change to allow things like electric scooters. This also fits with my drink more water one.
    10. Be even more aware of the environment and what I can do to help
      Following the fizzy water one too, I’m far more concerned by our lack of ability to recycle and reuse what we have around us. We recently had compost bins in our flats which were emptied into one large compost for the recycling. However if one person misused the compost, the compost would not be emptied and was left rotting. As you can imagine over 200 apartments, that compost wasn’t emptied for weeks.
      So I’m going to see what else can be done from my end. Maybe theres somewhere else I can drop my compost? Maybe there is something else which could be done? Who knows but its worth explore.
    11. Put my money/resources where my values are, with platforms like Patreon
      Theres a lot of things I like reading and listening to and its about time I started supporting their use and development through systems like Patreon. A few years ago I finally kickstarted the Pebble 2 smartwatch, till that point I never joined Kickstarter. In an ideal world, they would gain support through the public service network but we are a long way from that in certain countries. One example I keep thinking about is the Guardian which have lots of options for payment and will take anything to support journalistic freedom.
    12. Change my email signature with important information
      I’ve been thinking about adding pronouns to my different things for a while. I have already added them to my mastodon profile and will slowly add them to other profile information where I can.
      Theres been a lot of talk about work life balance and self care recently and I agree with lots of it whats been said. But I also would add a level of self awareness can really be useful if possible; to this end I’m going start he-himby publishing a user manual for myself, which will be linked to in my email signature and elsewhere. Outlining all the meta things which can’t fit into a signature.

A review of my 2019 resolutions

Me with birthday ballons

2019 has been quite challenging for me and I know many others!

Looking from the Quantified Self point of view

  • My sleep deficit over the whole year has massively decreased to 36 mins,   My average sleep this year has been 7 hours 20mins (down from 2018). Average deep sleep has been 4.03 hrs now only 48% of my sleep.
  • According to Gmail I have had 54,325 conversations, have 33345 emails in my inbox and sent 7241 emails this year
  • Have 111,540 photos and 3,971 photos albums in Google photos.
  • Tasks wise I have 267 open tasks and completed 2,876 over the year
  • Been on 52 trips including Manchester, Edinburgh, London, Bristol, Guernsey, Madrid, Amsterdam, Venice (first time in Italy), Berlin, Helsinki, Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, Nottingham, The Hague, Bath, Newcastle this year.
  • According to Trakt, my most played show is Supergirl and film was John wick 3, Most listened to podcast is the Daily Tech News Show.
  • I spent 655 hours watching films (16.2 a month) and 300 hours watching TV series (37.5 a month)
  • This year I started a gratitude diary which now has 7,303 words

Regardless of the data he’s the review of my new years resolutions from 2019.

  1. Head further a field with the scooter
    Again I missed this one and its very unlikely this will happen before the UK leaves Europe.  Theres still an idea of visiting my  friend in Rotterdam then drive around and maybe into Belgium & Germany. But this may change massively if I move to Amsterdam?
  2. Ride a roller coaster in yet another country
    This also didn’t happen this year, although I did go to Madrid again and ride lots of coasters in the scorching 41c sun. Also I decided to give the rollercoaster park in Helsinki a miss this year. Next year I’ll be in looking out for coasters in other countries including South Korea.
  3. Look after myself better
    Didn’t do so badly but theres a lot of room for improvement. I do a lot of walking when away from home but Volleyball isn’t as intense as it use to be due to not being in the team now.
  4. Spend more time in the UK
    This happened I think and my partner agrees.
  5. Enter the bake off at work
    This is a yes, I baked some banana bread with chilli chocolate inside and it was very nice except when I took it to work things didn’t quite turn out as expected.  But I did get six peoples vote and there’s photos of the caroline reaper chocolate volcano cake here.
  6. Explore more about the brain using neuroscience
    This needs some work, as I didn’t go to any events this year at all from memory.
  7. Do more with my Estonian e-residency
    I did extended my e-residency another 2 years and I do use it as ID when entering some physical businesses. Its not quite what I was thinking about but it slightly counts. I did also look into using it as another form authentication for some services and finally setup a email address for it.
  8. Explore the future of decentralised and distributed systems
    I spent a weekend at IndieWebCampBerlin and the following days at Republica19. It was quite an amazing and my follow up to R&D with a lunch time lecture with this presentation.
  9. Make some changes to the flat
    I finally started by finally removing the filing cabinet to the local dump, getting a large Billy bookcase in my partners new car (with the roof down in the Manchester rain). I bought a sitting and standing desk which is smaller but yet to put it up due to having the existing one still in place. I didn’t realise my Jerker desk is over 20 years old! I’ll be offering it on ebay in the new year if anyone is keen to have it?
  10. Host film nights and more dinner parties at mine
    This needs to happen in 2020, I had a couple of evening with my new projector, but nowhere what I was hoping for. My partner and friend had not seen Inception so we had fun with that one evening. Another friend suggested she had never seen Kill Bill, so that could be a back to back session with the projector and surround sound system.
    When it comes to the dinner parties front, theres been a bit. Likely the best was the chocolate tasting party which was great.
  11. Work on the dating book
    Since Hannah offered her copy editing skills to help make it a real book, I have done what I can. She suggested ghost writing the book and we have agreed thats a way forward. When I last spoke about the book, I saw 11+ chapters of my previously badly written nonsense, rewritten and re-imagined. Its going to be amazing!
  12. Be a stronger advocate for Team Human
    This is summing up so much of 2019 for me. Not only in daily life but in work. Its appeared in presentations, in talks I’ve given and the way I go about things. Ok its not really about team human but new forms of value or rather. Its one of the reasons why I’m considering a secondment.

Happy Holidays to family, friends and followers (2019)

Happy Holidays card
Image taken during 2019 from my window

Here is my holiday card for the festive holiday period; for family, friends and followers. Happy Holidays and although I’m concerned about 2020 from a political and technology point of view. I’m also aware 2020 is a new decade to really embed some of the smaller changes into our future.

Enjoy the festive period and lets fight for the future in the decade of 2020.  2020 needs to be about humankind or even not faceless corporations, fake promises, lies and political manipulation. The era of human values and when we reverse global warming.

Eating out with an allergy can be hellish (part 1 of many)

My first Japanese meal with allergy card

Recently I have had a number of experiences while eating out which have caused me some real concern. I have an allergy to quite a few things as most of you know if you been following my blog for a while.

A colleague suggested I should blog about my experiences in different restaurants while a friend also pointed out that I should be reporting them.

I like both ideas I just need to find more time to do both.

So I thought I’d start by blogging about a few recently and maybe in the future create batches of blogs with the worst offenders reported to the environmental health agency.

Wagamamas Media City UK, Salford

I didn’t have a big problem with Wagamamas and not really had too much of a problem in the past. This time I wasn’t that pleased about the fuss while taking my order (chilli chicken) and finally when the food came out. Wagamamas draw numbers on your paper place-mats which is fine and helpful. This time I got a big A which later when asked meant allergy (I could have guessed that) but the one I was more confused about was the AA to the side of it. Later they explained that AA meant Against Advice to reflect how I had asked for the standard chicken not the super plain chicken with nothing on it! There was no way I was doing that!

IMG_20191111_134935
3 A’s. Allergy and against advice…

My meal took a long time to come out, compared to my colleagues.

It was fine and to be fair I took the mick a little when they came around and kept asking how I was doing.

In short less fuss would be nice, I felt a bit crap about the whole against allergy thing. Like it would be used against me if anything happened. Its not as bad as the Leaf sign a contract thing however so it was minor

Manchester Chinese Restaurant, Chinatown, Manchester

The next day after the whole Wagamamas thing, I went to lunch with a friend. Having Chinese at lunch quite different for me but I went with it. Been interested in the results of having a larger meal earlier in the day.

Now to be fair I didn’t actually disclose my allergies because of the fuss the day before and I ordered 3 meats (pork, chicken and duck) with egg fried rice. It was pretty straight forward and checked with the waitress if there was peas in the fried rice, which was a no.

It wasn’t long before I could feel my stomach feeling rough from the food. The back of my throat was feeling scratchy and I was consuming a lot of free tap water. Time to pop a single antihistamine see if it will get better. About 10mins later it was getting worst, I needed to take 2 more antihistamines and head home.

At home I was sick, luckily not violently sick but enough and soon after I was out for the count for about a 90mins.

It was my fault for not saying but I didn’t want the fuss of the day before.

Las Iguanus, Royal festival hall, London

I never really had a problem with Las Iguanus, like Wagaamams these chains are not too bad about having allergy menus. Because of Manchester Chinese Restaurant I decided to disclose when the waiter asked if anyone was veggie or gluten intolerant.

The results were a little usual.

Usually they switch so only the manager can take my order, everything has be explained to me about trace amounts in the kitchen… etc.

IMG_20191125_184056
#allergenaware?

This time I had to read a disclaimer on a tablet and click yes I understand. I looked for the whole we are not responsible and you wave your rights stuff but didn’t see anything like that. I was quite short but also small. I have good eye sight so could read it all clearly. Once I did that, I could look at the allergen menu on the same tablet screen. Lots of scrolling back and forth but what I ordered was so simple (Tacos with meat and veg) it was pretty much allergen-less.

Afterwards my food took a long time to come out but was good. It was clear they were busy and although I had to click the button it was reasonably quick and didn’t need the manager to check through things.

To a Tea, Farringdon , London

This place is what prompted me to write this blog today. I went in for lunch and choose something which was meat free. At each table there is a tablet with the menu and the ability to order from there. I looked at two things (mac & cheese or vegetable tart/frittata).

At the bottom of the screen was a message saying…

IMG_20191126_131044

Food Allergies and Intolerances Please speak to our staff about the ingredients in your meal, when making your order. Thank you.

So I did and it was an awful experience. I just don’t understand why the ingredients are not listed on the tablet. It could be perfect but no…

First there was no Mac & Cheese so that was out. Then I wanted to know what was in the frittata? They couldn’t tell me. I was low on time so I ordered and check if it had most of the things I expect might be a problem. No Nuts, Beans and Peas I was told. So I ordered (I should have left and gone elsewhere but I already had my flowering tea). When ordering I had a problem with the menu, as I had to add 2 salads to it too. In the end I choose Mushroom & Greens and then Tabbouleh. Checked again about the common stuff which might be added.

IMG_20191126_130507

No worries, when it finally came it looked like it had pesto on it. Checking before I touched it was basil. Started eating the salad and it was fine. However when I took a bite of the frittata, my spidery senses went wild.

IMG_20191126_132056

I asked they what is the ingredients in the frittata which seemed to be made on site or not far away. They couldn’t give me an answer except vegetables and pastry. Not at all helpful in anyway. I gave them my allergy card and the chef went back stage to check if it was ok. They returned with a box full of tabbouleh and a new frittata, muttering something about some cross contamination. I paid and left with my food box, later I had the tabbouleh no problem but one bite into the new frittata, instantly sent my allergies going.

It wasn’t all bad the tea was very good…

Expect more of these in the future.

Exploiting technology or exploited by technology?

Mobile payments

In my Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Oct 2019) I wrote brief bit about the curious tale.

Exploiting technology or exploited by technology?
https://www.ft.com/content/e8a177d4-dfae-11e9-9743-db5a370481bc
ian thinks: curious tale, but it does raise a question about digital access and backups. Least we forget about power and when things go technically wrong.

The FT puts things behind the paywall, so here’s a copy I made on wallabag.

Its a number of mistakes which leads to £476.50 fine and a wrongful conviction. This made me reflect on my own usage..

I personally don’t use my phone to pay for things and like the idea of the Curve card because although the mobile app is useful, it can be used without my phone. I do have a card attached to my phone but never use it.

When using mobile tickets for flights and planes, I put them into google drive meaning if my phone is dead, broken or stolen I can still get the tickets with my other devices or another persons device. For this reason I avoid all apps which only display the ticket in side of it. For example the trainline app’s eticket isn’t ideal, hence why I tend to get paper tickets still. When travelling via a plane, I find most of the airlines have a copy you can get via PDF with the 3D barcode included. This goes straight into Gdrive and synced with dropbox on all my systems.
This is also why I prefer services which work offline because mobile/wifi access can be patchy and I don’t want to be reliant on network access to get into my password store or for the 2nd factor. Google maps offline has been a massive help in the past and I haven’t had a bill like I got in America in over 10 years. Shame it doesn’t sync the offline maps to my other devices

I always tend to carry around a battery pack and have a stash of cables in my laptop bag and try and keep the phone charged enough. Especially when going somewhere for a while. Everyone use to follow the ABCs (always be charging) but we all know that’d not great for lithium ion batteries.

Seems a lot to think about but so far its served me well…

Make the bold move and take a risk?

With all the chaos of the UK government right now, along comes a video which speaks to me.

My advice is to go for the bold move and take a risk. And if that risk means putting yourself way out there in an interview, or if that risk means having to move to a city you weren’t sure you wanted to live in, or if that risk means trying a field that wasn’t your first choice, do it.

That move is on my mind a lot.

Complaints are welcomed at Channel4

We’ve made a film featuring our talent bringing to life genuine complaints which viewers have made about them. We understand that not every programme, or even every presenter, is going to be everyone’s cup of tea. That’s because Channel 4 was set up to be different, to provoke debate, take bold creative risks and represent unheard voices from all around the country. So sometimes we may cause a bit of a stir, but that’s part of our job.

Do like this video, Channel4’s humour around feedback is very welcomed.

Heartbreak production’s Romeo & Juliet

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Got to hand it to the heartbreak theatre experience. Myself and my partner planned to experience their outdoor theatre play of Romeo & Juliet in Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens, Didsbury but the Manchester weather is never sympathetic to outdoor events, so we watched it in a church hall instead.

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Regardless it was great to see and very enjoyable, certainly deserved a note on my blog. Really fun and great to see improve working well for this talented group.

There was a feedback paper form but with no pen to fill it in, it seemed like a better idea to blog it instead.

The truth behind the UK’s biggest recycling myths

recycle symbol

Wired magazine have a piece about the myths of recycling in the UK. Quite a interesting reading, as a lot of the truths behind the myths are quite surprising.

Receipts are recyclable – False

The UK still hands out 11 billion receipts every year, and around 50 per cent of these – printed on shiny, thermal paper – are not recyclable. This is because they’re composed of more than one material and contain a combination of potentially harmful BPA and BPS chemicals. If they were recycled, these chemicals would be released into the environment. So, always put these in regular waste.

This one surprised me a lot because I’ve been known to shred all my receipts and then throw the lot in paper recycling. Won’t be doing that any more!

Petiquette in coffee shops

Petiquette at Ezra & Gil

As you likely guessed from previous posts, I’m not a dog person at all. I’ve been bitten too many times and are generally nervous around them. But I get there are people who love their dog like its their family members (ok I do find that odd).

But I find dogs in cafes questionable.

I have seen dogs on seats, chairs and table tops. Witnessed and left as they have barked the place down, attacked each other, seen them walking around loose with no lead. Its seriously not a place where I feel comfortable and I’m sure others feel the same; even the dog lovers.

This is why I was impressed to see Ezra & Gil’s #Ezrapetiquette (even if it looks like Ez-rape?).

  1. Ensure your dog is housetrained.
  2. Your dog is well behaved & can sit, stay & come on command.
  3. Your dog is kept on a lead at all times.
  4. Make sure your dog doesn’t disturb other customers.
  5. Your dog is kept on a floor & away from food.
  6. Your dog is not anxious & uncomfortable around people.
  7. Pack waste bags incase of any accidents,
  8. Dog Lovers – please ensure you ask owners permission before petting their dogs.

This might seem very obvious, but like many conferences include a code of conduct. Some people need a little reminder and theres got to be a clear expression of whats accepted and not. Dogs on tables and chairs wouldn’t be accepted if I was writing one.

Following my partners dog bite in the hotel, I re-read the dangerous dogs act again, and found this part very interesting.

Under the Act, it’s illegal for a dog to be ‘out of control’ or to bite or attack someone. The legislation also makes it an offence if a person is worried or afraid (the term is ‘reasonable apprehension’) that a dog may bite them. So it’s important to ensure that your dog is kept under control at all times and in all places.

Something to remind dog owners of as I head for the door next time.