Youtube isn’t the place it use to be?

Will smith is a youtuber now

I had the absolute joy of attending the 12th Thinking Digital Conference. One of the speakers Chris Stokel-Walker so called YouTube Investigator, raised a number of interesting points about the evolution of youtube from its history as place for cat vdeos, pirate videos and silly antics; to a place with 1.9 billion monthly views, algorithmic bias and massive hollywood stars (Will Smith is on Youtube, bloody heck?!)

Chris made the point “youtube grew up faster than hollywood” alongside the fact its one of the most desirable career paths for young people currently and the vast amount of video being uploaded is unthinkable now. 4 months of youtube uploads will have you watching till the year 8096!

Youtube litteracy

He’s right, our media literacy around this all is seriously lacking, and its very clear while reading theverge piece I recently read.

How many black UK podcasts hosts are there?

The Black Detour

I was having a chat with someone (don’t have his card to hand) during a event in Salford University. We were talking about the perceptive podcasts application and podcasting industry in general. I was talking about how podcasting is/should/could be a different medium. There is still the opportunity to do new and interesting things with the format which suit/challenge the audience.

This lead into a discussion about diversity and how the established people are never going to be that interested. We zeroed in on ethic diversity

What we need is more diversity and new voices; not just in front of the microphone but as producers.“I power-phrase him saying.

This headed to towards a long discussion about how many black podcasts we have heard? I instantly talked about…

Then he dropped the bombshell, “what about the UK?

I found it very difficult to name any off the top of my head, so decided to asked the twit/fed-verse

A few people got back to me and I thought I’d share…

Then I found, podcasts in color which lists podcasts from people of colour (because actually its not about just one race). Its hard to work out which ones are UK but I found these.

There are many more but they don’t seem to be updated recently.

So the short answer is yes there are UK black podcasts but not as many as I would have liked. I’m planning to go back through this list and resources to find new podcasts to subscribe to.

podcasts in color

Interestingly James from podcast news pointed me at a piece of news about diversity in podcasts.

Dane Cardiel from Simplecast is “working closely with Dan and Jared on an initiative collecting input from podcasters of colour for the 2nd Annual Podcasters of Colour Networking Event at Podcast Movement 2019.” If you’re a podcaster of colour interested in participating in discussions later this month, here’s a form to fill in.

I missed my chance but good to know others are thinking about similar things.

Tokyo always looks incredible

Tokyo always looks incredible, except when you have a dirty lens

Davide Sasso's picture of tokyo in the rsain

From Creative boom

In his series, Tokyo Dream Distance, Davide Sasso wandered the streets of Tokyo at night, capturing the neon-lit streets, reflected in the rain.s

Inspired by his favourite films – Blade Runner, Akira and Enter the Void – as well as video games like Final Fantasy VII and Snatcher, these photographs are seductive, nostalgic yet manage to capture the modern vibrancy of the world’s largest city.

The pictures are stunning and well worth looking have a look at. But I have to say and no disrespect to Davide, Tokyo just looks incredible at night full stop. Its a shame my lens on my camera wasn’t clean as theres lots of smear marks in my photos.

Smuged Tokyo street

Chidi and The Good Place

The good place cast

A podcast listen to now and then is the Nod, the latest episode (doesn’t seem to be on the site yet) talked about Chidi from the good place.

This week Eric talks with Cord Jefferson, a writer for NBC’s The Good Place, about how Blackness is depicted in the afterlife

Its a  good interview exploring stereotypes of black characters and I got to say Chidi is a excellent black geek. Just what we need more of…

The horizon dating experiment on TV again…

Horizon dating

It was Valentines day a little while ago and while I was busy. I guess someone at the BBC thought it would be a good idea to put up the Horizon Dating Experiment again.

I got a whole bunch of people asking me if they saw me on TV recently… Well yes you did and there is a story worth reading behind it all. I’m not the only one who blogged about it too. To be fair it all started with Rachel Clarke who pointed it out the call to me after my bad experience with the Year of making love.

Horizon dating experiment

To be fair although its back on Telly again, the best example of where the Horizon dating experiment popped up has to be on a plane at 36000 feet. Found via my good friend Claire

Back of a airplane seat

 

Favourite new podcasts I’m currently listening to

Me listening to podcasts in madrid
During Mozilla Festival last year Annabel Church ran a session about podcasting. The session included a look at the diversity of podcasts we listen to. It was interesting to share our podcasts with each other.
So in the same vein, I thought I’d share some of the ones I’m listening to at work, on the go or in the mornings when getting ready for work . I included the RSS feed because some of them have that frustrating apple podcast link and I need the RSS for my smarty pants podcast system.

Anna Sale explores the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation.

Death, Sex and Money is highly produced American public radio and Anna Sale really has the non judgemental tone needed for some of the sensitive subjects which are covered. Great podcast material always

RSS – https://www.wnycstudios.org/feeds/shows/deathsexmoney

Risk podcast

RISK! is a live show and podcast where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share in public

Talking of death sex and money, imagine if there was podcast which was a cross between that and the Moth. That is pretty much RISK and its great listening, with lots of quite quiet laughing at work.

RSS – http://feeds.feedburner.com/risk-show/yWzy

Team human

Team Human is a manifesto—a fiery distillation of pre-eminent digital theorist Douglas Rushkoff’s most urgent thoughts on civilization and human nature. In one hundred lean and incisive statements, he argues that we are essentially social creatures, and that we achieve our greatest aspirations when we work together—not as individuals.

Team human is just a fantastic listen, real high level conversation with a grounding in common sense. Such great guests and well worth it to hear Rushkoff’s thoughts at the top of each podcast.

RSS – https://feed.pippa.io/public/shows/teamhuman

After on podcast

The After on podcast is described as series of unhurried conversations with thinkers, founders, and scientists. Like Teamhuman, its great to hear the conversations about the future. Not every episode is as interesting to me as others but when they are, its perfect.

RSS – http://afteron.libsyn.com/rss

The guilty feminist

Each week Deborah Frances-White and guests discuss topics “all 21st century feminists agree on” while confessing their insecurities, hypocrisies and fears that undermine their lofty principles.

This is essential listening for everyone, a combination of the live events cut together for the podcast. Its just perfect to hear the insecurities, hypocrisies and fears that undermine the sometimes lofty principles of a feminist in the 21st century. Funny but so insightful always.

RSS – https://guiltyfeminist.libsyn.com/rss

Revisionist HistoryMalcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History and broken record

Anything Gladwell is always full of insight and interesting. Even the most unlikely of subjects can be great. He’s gone of and started Broken record, which is ok but prefer Revisionist honestly.

RSS – https://feeds.megaphone.fm/revisionisthistory

If you know anything about TorrentFreak and Jamie King. Then you know filesharing, decentralised tech, copyright, etc are common themes. The guests are pretty incredible with the depth of the always on podcast but with a slight political insight of team human.

RSS – http://stealthisshow.com/feed/podcast

Darknet diaries
Darknet Diaries: True stories from the dark side of the Internet.

Following up from Steal this show, comes a format which is great to hear. Each episode is a single story told extremely well focusing on the hacking, cracking and related fields. Its actually very accessible without loosing the details which matter. Each episode is pretty compelling and you can feel the darkness as you listen.

RSS – https://feeds.megaphone.fm/darknetdiaries

Following Reni’s amazing book Why I’m not talking to white people about race. I found out she followed up with a series of podcasts. I haven’t had the chance to listen to them all yet but its well worth listening to and sounds a bit like the old guardian token series. I also find the nod podcast good but this is better, as its more focused.

RSS – https://audioboom.com/channels/4947699.rss

Mozilla IRL podcast

Because Online Life Is Real Life; Host Manoush Zomorodi shares real stories of life online and real talk about the future of the Web.

Excellent podcast from Mozilla, explaining different parts of the internet through a combination of stories, interviews and news stories. Really well put together and interesting to experts and novices on the internet.

RSS – https://feeds.mozilla-podcasts.org/irl

Did Netflix scorched the earth of interactive digital narrative?

Netflix - Black mirror
Bandersnatch

Everyone is talking about Black Mirror Bandersnatch, and to be fair after watching 5hrs 13mins of it seeing every version/variation. Its quite something. But even before it launched there were problems.

I agree its slick but its also very interesting to read Charlie Brooker’s thoughts on the experience of creating it.

Creator Charlie Brooker told The New York Times that he won’t be making more interactive episodes of the Netflix series – so no more difficult cereal choices in the future.
Asked what advice he had for anyone attempting to make interactive TV, Brooker added: “Run away. It’s harder than you think.”

I wonder if Bandersnatch will ultimately cause people to avoid IDNs (Interactive Digital Narratives) or adaptive narratives. It would be a real shame if it did but as Tom says in reply to my thoughts earlier today

I do wonder if Netflix has slightly done some damage by doing something so extreme? Something of a firework which everyone saw and caused a fire as it rained on peoples head?

Maybe James is right along with Tom? Explicit Interactive Digital Narratives has been done to death. You only have to look at the stuff Marian was doing in the mid- late 2000s with shapeshifting media.

I can predict in a year or so time, people will have forgotten Bandersnatch (packed away on a top shelf as James says) but this isn’t good news for all those other productions and experiments which may not be as smart but genuine a pleasure to be part of.

Would funding for IDN dry or boom because of Bandersnatch? Hard to tell at this stage.

What I would like from Netflix is some data/numbers on repeat viewings, paths people take, etc. If I was writing a paper, this would be a good experiment to be in on.

Digital licence woes and problems ripped large

https://www.flickr.com/photos/will-lion/2593488374/i

Digital licensing and ownership has been discussed in the past a lot, back then it was therotical. But its interesting to revisit the discussion in more modern times with the new ecosystems which have become common place.

Ok fair enough it’s from Torrentfreak but still interesting a read.

The digital world has made it much easier to buy and consume entertainment.

Whether it’s a movie, music track, or book, a shiny “buy now” button is usually just a few keystrokes away.

Millions of people have now replaced their physical media collections for digital ones, often stored in the cloud. While that can be rather convenient, it comes with restrictions that are unheard of offline.

This is best illustrated by an analogy I read a few years ago in a research paper by Aaron Perzanowski and Chris Jay Hoofnagle, titled: “What We Buy When We Buy Now.”

Our listening project conversation in full

Ian and Kate

Remember ages ago when a slice of me and Kate’s conversation for the listening project ended up on BBC Radio Manchester and BBC Radio 4? There was much more to the whole conversation and you can understand how I ended up ruff camping on a Irish cliff face in a camper van.

Holiday with Kate in Ireland

It will be forever in the National Archives for generations to hear.

Conversation between friends, Kate and Ian, about the benefits of travelling and the differences in what they want from a holiday.

The Listening Project conversations collectively form a picture of our lives and relationships today. Recordings were made by BBC producers of people sharing an intimate conversation, lasting up to an hour and on a topic of the speakers’ choice.

Kate and Ian have been friends since 2007. They met when Ian moved to Manchester from London. They talk about the benefits of travelling and the differences in what they want from a holiday – Ian likes the big city buzz whereas Kate prefers the quiet of the countryside. They discuss Airbnb, a home rental website that Ian uses to rent out his home. They also talk about the differences and similarities in their personalities.

Films you might have missed in 2017

https://twitter.com/OnePerfectShot/status/948320757876183042

One perfect shot have their best movies and it prompted me to rewrite about some of the films you may have missed last year.

Marshall

This is court room battle with Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. At a time when racism denied him the ability to represent a client. Its smart, sometimes funny and sometimes tragic. Its a excellent watch and compelling story shot well.

The Show

This was a surprising film. The cinematography isn’t great and the story tends to lag in some parts but as a whole the film actually spiked my interest. Not for the faint hearted but not the usual nonsense horror you see.

Detroit

If you haven’t seen Detroit, I don’t know what to say to you. Everytime I watch it, it makes me pretty sad to know its all based on real memories. Its super compelling and the pacing is perfect, with elements of lag to add emphasis to the scene.

Radius

Surprising indie film, about a man who kills everyone within a certain radius of himself. As the film unfolds, we get to learn more about him, her and why. Its cleverly unfolding with enough pace to keep you interested. Easily missed but a real gem.

The Wall

I don’t usually like war films but this one involves 2 people and a voice (check the credits!). Doug Liman’s director touch makes the deadly cat-and-mouse tension so thick you can feel the sand in the air. Its amazing what you can do with a good story and a good director.

Gifted

This film can be summed up as a fight for a child’s freedom or the fight for her gift. Somewhat feel good but its got a strong message about living and freedom. Don’t miss this film!

2:22

I quite enjoy these types of films, its like groundhog day, one of my favourite shows which got canned was daybreak. Time looping with different tries ending in the same or very similar results.

Extortion

Drama with some horrific cliffhangers which gets you wondering what on earth you would do? Really got me, especially some of the twists and turns.

Aftermath

Best Arnie movie in a long time, I would say. Its slow building film not about the accident of the mid airplane crash but the need for closure & resolution. Based on a real mid aircrash, its excellently done with each character transforming over the course of film. Surprising ending too

Jungle

I wasn’t sure I could see Harry Potter in the Jungle but this surprised me at how harrowing this film is. Bit like Extortion, it makes you wonder what you would do – although you won’t catch me in a jungle to be fair. Think of this film like 127 hours and touching the void. Another true life story dramatised

25th Anniversary of Ghostwatch

https://twitter.com/cubicgarden/status/909093729004343298

I saw this in Kim by the Sea after volleyball today. As I tweeted it, I realized many people wouldn’t know what it was because they were too young, not born or wasn’t in the UK to see it unfold live.

From Wikipedia

Ghostwatch is a British realityhorror/mockumentarytelevision film, first broadcast on BBC1 on Halloween night, 1992. Written by Stephen Volk, and directed by Lesley Manning, the drama was produced for the BBCanthology seriesScreen One by Richard Broke, Ruth Baumgarten and Derek Nelson.

Despite having been recorded weeks in advance, the narrative was presented as live television. During and following its first and only UK television broadcast, the show attracted a considerable furore,[1] resulting in an estimated 30,000 calls to the BBC switchboard in a single hour.

Ghostwatch has never been repeated on UK television. It has been repeated internationally, on stations such as the Canadian digital channel Scream for Halloween 2004, and the Belgian channel Canvas in 2008. In 2017, Ghostwatch was added to the American streaming video service Shudder

It does seem crazy the BBC putting out a fake ghost programme on prime time national TV. It reminds me of war of the worlds radio play.

Remember the *.mod

https://www.flickr.com/photos/thumbuki/4373304892

I was reminded of Mod files a while ago.

From Wikipedia

Module files (MOD musictracker music) are a family of music file formats originating from the MOD file format on Amiga systems used in the late 1980s. Those who produce these files (using the software called music trackers) and listen to them, form the worldwide MOD scene, a part of the demoscenesubculture. Module files are often chiptunes.

The mass interchange of “MOD music” or “tracker music” (music stored in module files created with trackers) evolved from early FIDO networks. Many websites host large numbers of these files, the most comprehensive of them being the Mod Archive.

Nowadays most module files, including ones in zipped form, are supported by most popular media players such as WinampVLCFoobar2000AmarokExaile and many others (mainly due to inclusion of common playback libraries such as libmodplug for gstreamer).

Great thing was you could consume them but it was super easy to just remix them and play with them. The player was the maker; consumer/maker in one package.

Module files store several “patterns” or “pages” of music data in a form similar to that of a spreadsheet. These patterns contain note numbers, instrument numbers, and controller messages. The number of notes that can be played simultaneously depends on how many “tracks” there are per pattern. They also contain digitally recorded samples as well as coding for sequencing the samples in playback. The programs that are used to create these files provide composers with the means to control and manipulate sound samples in almost limitless ways to produce music.

Even if you didn’t understand what all those numbers and patterns were, you could play and try without worry or judgment. Similar to the Sonic PI?

A disadvantage of module files is that there is no real standard specification in how the modules should be played back properly, which may result in modules sounding slightly different in different players. This is mostly due to effects that can be applied to the samples in the module file and how the authors of different players choose to implement them.

Oh boy this was a killer…

I used Protracker originally (mod format), then switched to fast tracker 2 when I made my first PC (xm format). It would import mods but saving them out as mod wouldn’t be compatible with other players.

Theres certainly something about *.mod which seems to be missing in the modern times.

Nobody owns podcasting like nobody owns the net

RSS + MP3 V.2

Ok before people come down hard on my title, its not an absloute statement rather a general idea. Something which came across loud and clear in Doc Searls blog

Nobody is going to own podcasting.

By that I mean nobody is going to trap it in a silo. Apple tried, first with its podcasting feature in iTunes, and again with its Podcasts app. Others have tried as well. None of them have succeeded, or will ever succeed, for the same reason nobody has ever owned the human voice, or ever will. (Other, of course, than their own.)

Because podcasting is about the human voice. It’s humans talking to humans: voices to ears and voices to voices—because listeners can talk too. They can speak back. And forward. Lots of ways.

Podcasting is one way for markets to have conversations; but the podcast market itself can’t be bought or controlled, because it’s not a market. Or an “industry.” Instead, like the Web, email and other graces of open protocols on the open Internet, podcasting is all-the-way deep.

He’s right, when Apple weighted in with iTunes I did think here we go, but even after a long time hearing those words…

Subscribe to us on iTunes, give us a rating on iTunes, etc. I’m glad the ecosystem of podcasting stayed diverse and theres some innovation and creativity in the field even after 15+ years. Of course I can easily imagine much more creativity as described before.

Of course its a great thing no one owns Podcasting as some question if podcasting can save the world. Ok super cheesy but Doc Searls did say this which I thought was quite inspiring and fascinating too..

Maybe podcasting is the best way we have to start working out our problems with race, gender, politics and bad habits of culture that make us unhappy and thwart progress of all kinds. I say that because 1) the best podcasting I know deals with these things directly and far more constructively than anything I have witnessed in other media, and 2) no bigfoot controls it.

There is something (in)credible about the human voice. Maybe in the world where we strive for more human connection; real podcasting’s open discussions are a welcomed relief from all the other crap we get fed?

Films you may have missed during the first part of 2017

There has been some really bad news over the last 6 months, its easy to get sucked into reading everything trump tweets or reading and hoping the brexit madness will not happen (but now we’re on a road to the past). However, during the madness, there has been some great films you may have missed.

Not in order, just once looking back through my recently watched film and looking at the ones I rated highly, but hardly heard about anywhere.

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Arrival

This film is incredible and has to be my film of the year, here’s what Den of Geeks said (SPOILER alert if you click the link)…

Arrival is a challenging piece of science fiction, blessedly meant for adults, and about smart grown-ups at that. The kind that actually try to solve problems instead of punching or shooting them. In fact, it is in many ways a spiritual companion piece with Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar since it’s about intelligent people going through familiar sci-fi tropes before offering heady concepts about fifth dimensional space…

Chronic

Chronic

This is certanly one you missed, its slow, painful and suprising; well worth watching but likely at a time when you are open to the messages about life.

Mr Church

Mr Church

Like Chronic, it involves woman who is dying; but this one is about the relationship between her daughter and the carer (mr church). A while ago I slightly put a negative review on boyhood, it was good but it didn’t feel compeling to me. Mr Chruch, although not using the same actors as they grow up, time is driving factor through the film and you see the relationship mature and change over a long period of time.

I wont spoil a single part of it, as its the pasts which make up the whole. Its slow and each actor plays a fantastic role in the story. Its a great film and I understand the critism it got under race grounds but based on a true story, so theres little which can be done. Like loving its a sign of those times.

T2: Trainspotting

T2: Trainspotting

I have said plenty about trainsportting T2 but still many people are wondering if its worth watching. The answer is yes! Its not a remake, its the story 20 years later. Think of it as trainspotting crossed with trance.

Loving

Loving

The story and landmark courtcase of Richard and Mildred Loving, a mixed race couple who go back to a southern state where mixed race marriage was still illegal in the 1960s. I heard of the courtcase a few times but I am lucky enough to be born in a time and country where mixed race relationships are not just illegal but mainly part of the norm.

Seeing lovings struggle in film, really brings home everything.  Great film, slow but so very moving. Well worth checking out, hard to have a dry eye after watching it.

The Shallows

The Shallows

Nothing deep or meaningful, just a well done drama/thriller. Think of it as Jaws for a new generation.

Miss Sloane

Miss Solane

If it wasn’t for Arrival, I would be putting Miss Solane in best film for 2017. Its supersmart and Jessica Chastain is simply incredible. Like Michelle Dockery in Good Behaviour (TV series I highly recommend) shes a complex character with many depths and dark corners. The film is crafted to cause you to think many different things and then it hits you like a ton of bricks. Once again, you can’t help but be blown away! Would watch twice if I could.

Incredible!

Money Moster

Money Monster

Really nice film, fitting around cable/TV money experts and the occupy type movement. Its not complex but like the shallows, its compelling and a well told story with good acting. End wasn’t quite as good as it could have been but worthy of your attention if you want a smarter popcorn mucher.

Denial

Denial

Based on another landmark court case, irving vs penguin books. The drama is once again crafted to pull out the core arguements and explain the complexity of a subject which seems so obvious. Although we know the final judgement, sometimes you are in dobht about the evidence shown through the film. Certainly compeling and worth of watching.

I removed Fences, Moonlight and few others because they have plenty of press and attention.

Another ghost in the shell

Ghost in the shell 2017 screenshot

I loved ghost in the shell, its one of those films I just loved when I was young. Even watching it 20+ years later and seeing the little adjustments like ghost in the shell 2.0; I was still a massive fan. So when the film was announced, I was kinda of excited.

However I just got back from the Odeon IMAX in Manchester after watching it at 1min past midnight with about 20 other people. Obviously people were less keen to be first to watch it as someone like me (I just love watching films late at night to be fair)

I gave it 6/10 because it is a good movie but the legacy of ghost in the shell just drags on it, and I can’t help but look at certain scenes and just shake head slightly. For example the famous scene with the garbage collectors is shorten down to something different and it doesn’t have the uniqueness of the original. I also felt although longer, it brushed through key scenes which I assume wouldn’t have worked in hollywood.

I don’t feel like they did a bad job but I was surprised how different it was from the original.

Generally if you haven’t seen Ghost in the Shell, and an action/sci-fi fan you will like it. It won’t score highly but its robust enough. If you seen the original, you will feel slightly cheated and if you seen the whole lot including stand alone complex and innocence, you may be more upset.

It looks stunning and they did a good job to show a future Tokyo with crazy structures and advertising, but its not quite enough. All the actors are good in the film but the plot feels too simple and lacks the detail and significaions of the original.

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I watched it in the IMAX although it’s not made for IMAX. If I was to watch it again, a regular large screen would be fine and watch it without 3D because it’s ignoying after a while. Once again good movie by its self but compared to the originals its poor.

I wonder whats install for the matrix series and I don’t think anyone would be daring enough to redo Akira, would they?