Charity Speed Dating – Monday 12th June

Let's Talk About Sex

A friend from work is arranging a charity speed dating event in Manchester… yes, charity & speed dating… if you are single, whats not to like about this?

Tickets are only £14 for a night too. Oliva is after 15 men and 15 women (its a straight event) and good on TV21 for giving Oliva their room free for the night too.

Join the event and you will spend the evening meeting and talking to up to 15 different people three minutes at a time. All the proceedings go to ICS and the venue is booked for the whole evening so once the main event is over there is nothing to stop you from getting to know that special someone a little bit more.

 

The Manchester Arena bombing – Mon 22nd May

Manchester before the arena bomb
Only a few hours before darkness and the Manchester Arena bombing

Its a difficult time being in Manchester at the moment. This time yesterday (Monday 22nd May) there were sirens, helicopters and a general unknowing. I had not heard the bomb blast, as I live quite far away (25mins walk) but can see the area of Victoria from my windows. I was also catching up with Supergirl, so maybe the bang was mixed in with the sound from that.

It was my wonder why there was so many sirens which led me to look at Facebook and Twitter. Before long it was clear something terrible had happened in the Victoria area. Then it became clear it was the Manchester Arena, somewhere I had visited on Thursday (Manchester after hours) & Friday (Silicon drinkabout) last week.

It was clear there were a lot of people and children shocked, hurt and at a lost to what they had seen and experienced. A lot had no way of getting home and just needed to be reconnected with loved ones. There were people posting they had spare rooms, and I really considered doing the same but decided I should go and help out if possible.  However, Greater Manchester police’s twitter account told us in no certain terms, stay away and stay safe, this was now a live crime scene.

I stayed up till about 2am, as unconfirmed reports flew in from social media and some news outlets. Although I wanted to stay up longer, I decided this would not be a good idea. So I sent my parents a message saying when they wake up don’t worry I’m fine (which they never saw till they contacted me this morning). Posted a few tweets and went to bed.

I was in London during the 7/7 bombings and experienced similar emotions of not knowing and listening out for more/any-news. It was a terrible time and I think the watching and waiting made things far worst. Its too easy to watch the news and be in a state of panic each time you see the breaking news banner. Or read something someones posted.

This is why the next day, although keeping a slight eye on what happened, I went to work and tried to carry on with my life as best I could. I know Manchester is no stranger to bombings but I felt it was ever so important to try and keep some normality, as thats exactly what the bomber was trying to disrupt.

Of course my heart goes out to everyone involved or loved ones who are still not found like friend Dan Hett.

But you really see the dark side of organisations, politics and religon in these moments.

But of course these out weighted by moments of absolute joy and delight by a factor of 10.

I believe Manchester, like London, like Paris, like many others… won’t let these acts take over our way of life and I’m very happy to be part of a city who come together when it matters the most.

I have hope people missing will be found, hopefully alive and well. We will not fall down the path

My Estonian e-residency has arrived

estonian e-residency conformation

A while ago I was in Tallinn and applied for the Estonian e-Residency as a result of what I heard and after deciding their was enough upsides to the residency.

Well Wednesday I got a email from the Estonian Embassy in London…

This is to confirm your digital identity card has arrived to the Estonian Embassy in London and is ready to be collected.

Excellent news… I hope to be picking it up sometime in June.

A taste of what its like dating in 2017

Aziz on a first date

Sucked into a popular dating app, Dev winds up on a string of awkward, fun and disorienting dates with very different women.

Married friends tend to imagine dating now must be so exciting. Ok it is but theres lots of roller coaster moments of up and down (not that kind!); but I was laughing and remembering some of my dates while watching Aziz on a series of first dates.

Its Season 2 episode 4 of Master of None

Without spoilers; The woman checking out other potential matches for dates while on a date had me pointing at the screen shouting…

“That happened me!”

I’m sure most of the dating singletons would find at least one thing to point at and say the same thing.

Imagine if burgers were more like sushi

Taken from lernertandsander.com/cubes

To be honest I hate burgers, they feel so lazy and the trend of burger everywhere is out of control. Ok I don’t hate them but I really have gotten tired of them along time ago.

If it was wired’s little section of wired, tired and expired; burgers would be in the expired time for the local recycling/composite heap. I frankly don’t care how big or pink the burgers are, how many layers of mustard you have or what type of buns you use. Its frankly incremental nonsense and needs to go away.

Wheres the creativity?

While slightly ranting about them at work, Roberto suggested Ian’s Angry burgers and then Jimmy suggested cube burgers to fit with Cubicgarden.

This is when I thought why can’t burgers be more like Sushi? (Don’t you dare mention those miniburgers!)

Sushi

Small cleverly crafted pieces which combined make a full meal. So instead of slapping stuff into a burger bun and hoping it will stay intact, you can make super tastie mini pieces. It could be that you make them like lego or the little piece itself is the burger as such (like Sushi)

Yes its not a burger but heck its about time we moved on and frankly burgers are not going away, so lets try something different…

Welcome to Ian’s Square burger bites… maybe?

I freely admit I always wanted to eat sushi but can’t due to allergies, so maybe this is whats missing. The care and attention of sushi but with something simple like burgers?

Changing perceptions of dyslexia #Madebydyslexia

#madebydylexia
Jody shared with me news of Richard Branson’s new charity Made by Dyslexia

Sir Richard Branson launched a new charity, Made by Dyslexia, at the world’s first “dyslexic sperm bank” this week, a concept created and produced by Y&R London. Made by Dyslexia is a global charity led by successful and famous dyslexics, and its purpose is to help the world properly understand and support dyslexia.

Absolutely!

Made by Dyslexia will campaign to change perceptions, so that dyslexia is seen as a different way of thinking rather than as a disadvantage. Working with experts and successful dyslexics, it will develop campaigns, tools and tests to explain dyslexic thinking. Many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, artists, and tech professionals are dyslexic, including Sir Richard Branson, demonstrating that dyslexic people can achieve great things when they focus on their strengths and get the right support in school.

Indeed… Recent reading of the dyslexic advantage further confirmed to me what I already knew. Dyslexia in the right environment can be a huge advantage.

The “sperm bank”, while not accepting actual donors, was chosen as a theme and setting for the launch because some sperm banks have not let dyslexics donate until very recently, and have even described dyslexia as a “neurological disease”, highlighting how far peoples’ understanding of dyslexia still needs to change. One in ten people are dyslexic, accounting for more than 6.5 million people in the United Kingdom, so this is a major issue.

Yes that sperm bank which was deeply depressing news and I already wrote about.

So great to poke fun at the stupidity of that sperm bank story.

2nd May 2016, the day when I undressed on TV

are you a good kisser - undressed

It feels so weird that a year ago (Monday 2nd May) I took part in TLC’s Undressed programme. Family and friends said I was crazy; heck even I started to think I might be a little crazy stepping too far out my comfort zone.

Most people haven’t seen the show but its episode 9 of series 1 if you subscribe to TLC UK. I did try and do some showings at my house but also did a showing at BarCampManchester7 which went alot better than I’d thought it would.

The whole experience was certainly unique and I did end up writing most of it on the train home to Manchester right before the next day catching a 6am flight to Berlin for Mozretreat (this year it was earlier and in Tallinn). Me and Jess also recorded a podcast which is worth listening to. I still think my undressed misunderstanding is undertandable?

Now my contract with TLC is up (well it was up the moment it was on TV really), I am seriously thinking about revisiting the idea of First Dates as a background dater. Originally I was going ahead with it then Undressed got in touch and the contract (see I read those contracts) didn’t allow you to be on another dating show (although I did declare the Horizon dating experiment too but they didn’t seem to care).

Its not about being on TV as I keep saying… Its those experiences which take you out of your comfort zone. Its seems consistenly every year there is at least something. 2015: Japan, Listening Project & Horizon, 2016: Undressed, 2017: Ireland in a Camper Van, 2018: who know?

Watch this space!

Thinking about Estonian’s e-Residency

Tallinn, Estonia

I was in Tallinn, Estonia most of this week for MozRetreat. Tallinn was a wonderful place and surprised me no end.

On the first full day we had a Alex Wellman who filled us all in on Estonian’s e-Residency program (one which I wrote about a while ago). I was certainly interested and it was great to get the full details and answers to my personal questions.

Generally its mainly setup for businesses and freelancers wanting to work/trade within the EU. For myself theres few reasons to take part in the program but its highly likely after considering everything, I may go ahead and do it, mainly for these reasons.

Estonia’s E-Residency program

  • Being slightly tied to the EU as the UK leaves
  • A verified digital identy useable to sign legal documents
  • Beta testing a truly digital redidency/citizenship system (exciting!)
  • Not having to give up my british citizenship
  • Freelancing support within the EU if my career takes a turn
  • There maybe a chance to setup a bank account in the EU in the near future

The Alex Wellman made some good points but ultimately its a bit of a leap into the unknown with the chance of more advantages coming in years to come.

Being in the UK, I can do almost everything online and then do the interview and pick up my new digital identity in the Estonian Embassy in London.

Its seems all worth while for 100 euros, form filling and interviews.

Updated… I’ve applied

estonian e-residency conformation

I just hope the photos I sumbmitted were good enough for the process.

Platonic friendship is totally possible

The Friend Zone
I was lying in bed reading my eink tablet while listening to a podcast. One of my saved blogs to read was from doctor nerdlove – Why men & women can never be just friends is bullshit.

I swear I was pretty pissed off (like Dr Nerdlove) reading about how the state of platonic friendship was a lie and how men will always want it to be more. Heck Hans Fiene who wrote the original piece Dr Nerdlove was reply to; goes on to justify everything as not only being biological but bad for society. Seriously WTF!

Let’s review the logic on display here. Male relationships are inherently transactional. Men barter time for friendship with other men. Men cannot be friends with women because they need to fuck her. Therefore, by not dating or fucking them, women are cheating men by not giving them the goods that men have been paying for. 

In Fiene’s world, a woman not putting out for her male friends is bad enough. But there’s a worse crime being committed: because he’s stuck in this quagmire, he’s not fucking other people. And to be sure: that’s not his fault. He’s just too stupid to overrule his boner.

No. For real. That’s Fiene’s argument.

Repeat the “We’re just friends” mantra a thousand times. It won’t rewire the circuits of the male mind. All it will accomplish is deluding you into thinking he’s content to stay in the Friend Zone quicksand and deluding him into thinking he can break out of it by sinking even deeper.

But let’s get back to the premise. Men are trapped in the Friend Zone because being told that they’re just friends isn’t enough to make them realize that she will never sleep with him. Being friends is the trap that women, bless their hearts, can’t help but ensnare men into because Lord love ’em those boners are just SO POWERFUL. It’s only because women don’t frame the rejection in just the right way  – as is incumbent on them – to free men from their snares.

Of course its not just Hans crazy ideological view, I see it everywhere. Even my friends talk about the friendzone like I’ve been put in it like a naughty child. Most of the time its for the best of both people and friends is not lower on some imaginationary ladder. Its also not to help me ascend the status hierarchy!

My biggest problem is people treat love as binary. You are either in love or not/you are in or out. If you have been paying attention you will know love is much richer than this, it also doesn’t count for evolution, society and cultural changes.

Ruth Libby quote from Hackers film 1995
God gave men brains larger than dogs so they wouldn’t hump women’s legs at cocktail parties – Ruth Libby ~ hackers 1995

As a male feminist who isn’t a slave to his dick and can engage his brain, I find the whole discussion hateful of women and wholly offensive to both sexes. Men and Women can be good friends full stop, if one chooses to take it one step further or backwards, thats just relationships (sometimes unequal).

Typifying people (male & female) is just bollox and it needs to end here!

Real shame about Siren…

It was slightly sad to see Siren a dating app where females get to browse profiles and ask questions of males in a safe enviornment; is no more.

Its a shame as it really was one of those dating apps I had hoped would gather the attention for good reason, bumble seemed to eclipse it for reasons I’m unsure it deserves. They certainly were blogging and saying all good things. I was just waiting for it to come to the UK and of course Android.

I especially liked this post about what a feminist app would look like.

Here at Siren, we like to consider ourselves feminists, and on the surface, it might be easy for us to claim to be a ‘feminist dating app.’ After all—we’re a tech company founded by fierce, empowered women of color, aimed at fostering intimacy and undermining the culture of objectification that runs through so many dating apps. But is this enough?

In light of current national and global political circumstances, we feel it is incumbent on us to declare that no, this isn’t enough. Feminism is an ongoing process, not a special club or a badge to wear with pride. So here are a few of the ways we are challenging ourselves to earn the title “feminist dating app,” and as always, we welcome your feedback on how we can better fulfill this mission.

Great words and I had planned on blogging about this much earlier in 2017, especially point 5.

MEN CAN BE FEMINISTS, TOO

We get it—all this talk about empowering women can be intimidating for men. Does our emphasis on the struggle for women’s liberation mean that we hate men, or respect them any less than our female, or nonbinary members?

On the contrary. We’ll be frank: men, we need you, too. There are conversations that will never catch on with the culture at large without male allies amplifying our voices, and let’s be honest—sometimes you guys are sexy as hell, to boot!

So if you are a man who dates women—or would like to—we’re glad you’re here, and we have created resources especially with you in mind.

Absoultely… Everything they said amplified and times it by Tony Porter

I imagined Siren was too early, but looking at the following story it seems VC and the startup culture were part of the problem? Its a crying shame but will keep an eye out on what they do next.

Another call for distributed online dating?

13 years at the BBC and many more to come…?

Stay wild stylised

Linkedin reminded me that its been 13 years since I joined the BBC.

Time has passed by pretty quickly.

I started in BBC WorldService New Media, as a XSL developer, then moved to BBC Backstage 2 and a bit years later. After 4 years, shut it down as it was adsorbed into BBC R&D.

Leaving card from WSNM

I have seen friends & colleagues come and go. Seen 4 director generals, about the same amount of heads of new media/digital/future media/design and engineering; people I once worked with rise through the ranks and people move forward on to do great things.

Ultimately after 13 years, you would have thought why do I stay?

small crop BBC Ariel article

Well its simple as this…

…the work I do is the kind of thing I would want to do and keep on doing. Retirement seems kinda weird to me right now. My life has always been a blur of leisure, pleasure, work and play. Its where I’m most comfortable and I know work life balance is something people talk about a lot but doesn’t bother me so much.

If that was to change, I would certainly consider elsewhere. Its also not one of those things where I’m super comfortable; far from that. I relish the fact my position requires new challenges, every-time. I still break the rules when its logical in my head much to the ignorance of others. But I also set new ground by doing the unthinkable

Podcast group

I still have a hard time explaining what I do in a few sentences and will keep the title senior firestarter, as long as possible. I won’t lie Brexit has made me really think about leaving the country but another public service broadcaster would be ideal.

Here’s to another 13 years? maybe?

Thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way and all the people I have helped in equal measure.

Me & Kates Lazy days camper experience

Me and Kate in front of our camper van

I wrote about the amazing holiday Kate set up for me as part of the listening project.

I shared some of my photos with Lazy Days Campers and they blogged about me and Kates holiday. Its funny to see someone blog about me and Kates holiday and I thank Sue for dong so…

Kate’s plan was to take blogger Ian on an unplugged weekend camping over St. Patrick’s day in Ireland. Ian had no idea what was in store and we loved the look of surprise on his face when they rolled into Lazy Days to collect their camper…

Sue also asks the question…

Here at Lazy Days we can’t wait to hear the next chapter of this great story… where will Ian take Kate “out of her comfort zone”…???

Very good question but it certainly involves going to the far east for a culture shock like Kates never felt before. It won’t include a camper van but if I could, I would… Can’t beat Lazy days campers however… Maybe a capsule hotel would be as close as it gets?

APRIL FOOLS Herb Kim is fine: SORRY!

Herb notBulletproof Kim

Updated on April 1st – 1159 BST

It started out as a weird idea I had while looking into bulletproof coffee. I wanted to give it a try but realized most of it including coconut milk and other things which would put me in hospital for a long time. This got me thinking, imagine if Dave Asprey suddenly discovered a coconut allergy and ended up in hospital, which lead me to think maybe as a April fools joke Herb Kim could be the subject of the near death as he is the person who came up with the name.

I always knew death is a very touchy subject for many/most people. But I guess I became more comfortable with my own mortality since mybrushwithdeath. In retrospect I didn’t guess how bad things would get.

Me and Herb talked about it in detail a while ago over dinner and twitter. He agrees it would be slighly fun and frankly its April fools, so can easily be dismissed (so we thought). I honestly thought the fake photo which I put together in Gimp using one of my own from Thinking Digital Manchester last year and a picture of coffee cup from pixabay would be taken apart in seconds. Then created this blog post saying Herb had died rest in peace.

On top of all this, I did recruit some friend to also send/share/be in on the joke.

It was pretty early I got a reply from a few friends saying they won’t take part and this was unwise. But I thought, it will be fine most would realise what day it was and ignore it or even play along?

Here’s the original blog post…

Its so sad to hear Herb Kim died today, rest in peace Herb and hope you are forever bulletproof in the afterlife.

Herb creator of the Thinking Digital conference, a whole ton of TedX’s, good friend and person who came up with the term bulletproofcoffee.

It was about 0900 when I got my first call, asking is this true… I pleded I didn’t know the details. Then a second one a hour later with text messages. Then some messages on facebook once this blog post had been posted. Then there was the direct messages and twitter questions… By 1000 I was ready to confess all!

I’ve always been interested in the study of mementics and find Aprils fools
a interesting thought experiment especially in the face of fakenews and the growing worries over algorithmic personalisation; and our desire to share it.

I sit having breakfast at 1136 worried I went too far and people will absolutely hate what I started. It was always meant as a april fools joke and maybe I went too far? Someone suggested I should have said Herb was kidnapped or something so out there you can’t help but laugh and realise its a joke. Death is too far and I had crossed that line.

So this is my massive sorry to everyone

…who was worried and messaging Herb to ask. It started out as a joke between friends and quickly spun into something else. I never meant to worry people but its crazy how quick these things move. On the good side it shows how much people care for each other that they will get in touch and find out rather than just clicking.

Of course Herb was across everything and family memers knew in advance. This was not a publicity stunt to increase the profile of bulletproof coffee, I just thought it was a good catch; Herb ‘not bulletprood’ Kim.

Sorry everyone again… Won’t be doing anything like this again! Ever!

Some little highlights of the holiday in Iceland

I recently went to Iceland for a holiday. It was quite an eye-opening experience. The landscape was very different to what I’ve ever experienced recently and the cost of food and drink was shocking. The people were mainly friendly and the Reykjavik although small was full of interesting corners and little boutique stores.

Rather than writing a bunch of stuff, I thought I’d pick out some interesting points in my many photos (over 800 believe it or not) I took.

Iceland

The food in Reykjavik was bloody expensive only topped by the price of alcohol. I never quite got to the bottom of why everything consumed was so expensive but a normal meal which would cost you about 20 pounds here, would come to closer to 35 pounds there.

Theres some odd things I found too, including the pork scratching puffs on the meal above.

cIceland

The Harpa is an amazing concert and conference centre and is stunning to look at and be inside of. I was there for a whole just snapping away and gained access to a private party, as I just wonder around. Decided not to take the free champagne as that would be too much I felt. Especially once the black tie party started coming in and someone took to the piano.

Iceland

At Harpa I was able to soak up some jazz from a visiting group from America. They were good but felt slightly stiff in their white shirts and ties. Afterwards the local Reykjavik jazz band took to the stage in a much more colourful attire and to be fair they were a lot better.

Iceland

Because of the barren landscape (learned all the things we think of as trees in Iceland are imported, as their trees are usually about waist high and more like bushes), the transport very different. They ranged from crazy moon buggy truck like things to Nissan leaf electric cars. I gather the price of electric is quite cheap due to lots hydro-electric and energy from the natural landscape.

Iceland

Iceland is a beautiful country but so weirdly different. Everywhere you looked was mountain rages which were huge. Always covered in snow and surrounded by clouds. Unlike elsewhere I have been, there this black material which I think was like tar. It was amazing and very robust unlike soil/dirt I have seen elsewhere.

Snow was everywhere and there was lots of frozen water but interestingly it was easy to get around because the roads and pavements in Reykjavik were heated from the naturally hot water. Snorri was talking to me about how much closer to the environment you are growing up in Iceland, and it shows

Iceland

Seeing the Northern lights I have already spoke about, after going hunting with Snorri was simply amazing. It was a great experience and so great being out with a total pro was enlightening to say the least. An experience which I will never forget…

Iceland

Dawn in Reykjavik was also beautiful, and I was lucky enough to be in a Airbnb room with a skylight which opened wide enough to maybe even climb out of. So one morning, I woke up to use the toilet and snapped a few shots before going back to sleep.

Iceland

Reykjavik and most of most of the icelandics seemed to have quite an interesting sense of humour. Its kind of deadpan funny and refreshing

Iceland

I also find the icelandic humour playful too, as seen in the single gloves dating site and coloured houses.

Iceland

The street art of Reykjavik was great to see and plentiful. Brian said a lot of the bigger stuff comes from the Iceland Airwaves festival, which is a big thing every year. I imagine in a small city like Reykjavik it really would take over.

Iceland

I still find the new Icelandic traditional of Hotdogs after a night out, very weird. I guess others would find the same of the british idea of kebab’s strange. Heck I find the idea of gravy and chips weird enough myself.

Of course things like the Swimming in the outdoor pool while it was 3-c, the Golden Circle was great and generally I was lucky not to be caught in a snow storm or even much rain. It was cold yes but not as bad as I thought it would be. I took too much winter clothes but really enjoyed myself, even with the weirdness of my airbnb experience once again.

Hope to go back, maybe with some food and drink of my own…