Mozilla festival’s 10th anniversary, get your ticket before they are gone!

Mozfest 2015

The word is out… its very likely the last Mozilla festival in London and the UK. Although sad to see, it will go on to be even bigger

After 10 incredible years, 9 of which were in London, MozFest is asking Where to next?

As a community, we have so much to celebrate for this 10th festival. As we reflect on all we have learnt and built together, we invite you to join us in imagining what the next 10 years of growth and experiences for the MozFest community could be — in a new location.

But wait!

Its not over yet! The next Mozilla Festival for 2019 is on for the week of Monday 20th October – Sunday 27th October. Yes a whole week of celebrations for the festival which set the conversation involving tech, policy, law, design and media. It was 2010 when Mozilla created the book Mozilla Learning, Freedom and the Web, which lead the way to the yearly Internet heath report.

For the week of the Mozilla Festival you are going to want to block out your schedule for some great events in the RSA London during the week (especially the Public spaces / private data event). By the end of the week you will be fired up for the start of the last Mozilla festival in London. Then get stuck in for 2 days of incredible sessions given by people from all over the world. The diversity of the talks will blow you away but all based around Mozilla’s internet health report. Quick plug for my two sessions you don’t want to miss… 3D’s – Dating, Deception and Dataportability (GDPR edition) and The Dyslexic advantage 

Of course there’s amazing parties every evening and I expect each one will be incredible being the 10th Mozfest and the last one in the UK. After the success of last years werewolf, I’ll be running another space for those who fancy a break free for the full moon. By Sunday who knows I might even get a chance to throw some tunes down on the pacemaker device?

Its a full on week but well worth it and you can like the organisers relaxed on Monday afternoon.

Global Village at Mozfest

Get your tickets now, and notice 10 pound discount if you attend one of the free Mozhouse events.

My Motiv activity ring

My Motiv ring on my hand

Finally the Motiv ring came

Motiv Ring pack

Nicely packaged and simple to setup although I did find the pairing with my Google Pixel 2 took a long time. I hooked it up to Google Fit but haven’t setup 2 factor auth yet but I just need to get the barcodes for some of my services and create my gesture. Kept meaning to save the barcodes in my password manager.

I did also pair it with my Ubuntu laptop but I’m unsure how to do anything with it except using Bluetooth unlock. The fit is good and the ring feels super light to me.

Motiv USB power charger

My only worry is I can’t seem to find another USB power unit for it, as I’d like to have one at home and one I can carry with me when away. I checked Amazon but I can’t find similar. Also not sure I can get another one separately unless I buy the USB Magnetic Charging Dock Keychain and Charging Dock?

So far so good…

Mozfest retreat in Tallinn?

Tallinn Mozretreat

Mozfest the festival I have been in involved with for the last 6 years; is a collaborative event and of course there is some overhead to the collaboration. But Mozilla have ways to work through the usual issues with collaboration; be it collaborative tools first or subverting github to manage the open calls. Its quite amazing…

But sometimes you need to bring people together across the many different timezones we inhabit. 2 years ago it was Scotland, last year it was Berlin and this year its Tallinn.

Of course I was wondering like many others. I heard some great things about the place but it wasn’t hot on my list of places to go. But some more research has turned up some great stuff including the e-resident which I first heard about from Alex DS.

Ahead of Brexit, statistics reveal that almost 1,000 Brits have now applied to be e-residents of Estonia. Applications from the UK are being made twice as frequently as before the referendum, following an initial surge from three to 51 applications per week. More than half of all applications from the UK, 534, have arrived since the vote, while 231 arrived in the same period beforehand. Based on current trends, it is likely the 1,000th British application for e-residency will arrive this week, as Article 50 is due to be triggered.

Elsewhere, a website has been set up by the e-residency programme for British entrepreneurs called howtostayin.eu which explains how startups, established businesses and freelancers can use Estonian e-residency to continue their operations in the EU without leaving the UK.

I wish I had done it earlier, as I’ll be doing this for sure now

Interestingly I also found the p0rnhub insights for estonia while searching, which was fancinating but slightly , so you were warned! I was going to send it around to some of the Mozfest orginaisers but couldn’t find a way to explain why it was interesting or relavent.

Pokemon Go: Return of the ARG?

Looking out my window watching small groups of people playing Pokemon Go and listening to yet another podcast talking about it. I started thinking does the mainstream success of Pokemon Go, indicate it would be time for alternative reality gaming (ARG) to make a come back?

I mean there’s been a whole ton of successful ARGs in the past and the dynamics got watered/broken down into transmedia (which isn’t meant in disrespect, but a must read from Dan Hon); but they are quite different beasts (pun intended). Looking back at previous ARGs they didn’t take advantage of mobile. Mobile data was expensive and was quite unreliable back in the early days. This is before you even look at many of the other things mobile can give you.

Of course there’s a lot of debate if Pokemon Go is augmented realty or location based gaming. The later would put it in the same ball park of Google’s Ingress and many others. But does it matter? There will always be privacy concerns (here’s a fix for those early adopters) and those who seek to take advantage for their own gain; but it’s certainly getting people out and about, for now at least.

If I was to design a ARG say for example We Dream The City (swear I wrote about it somewhere, but maybe I haven’t yet? findery.com is close);  I would be using the phone and building in functionality which brings groups together into little adhoc clouds like Firechat. Pokemon go shows there is appetite for these types of games and the technology can scale to this extent. Now’s a good time to build these systems and hopefully think about what useful things we could do for local community and society, not just collecting virtual goods?

What happens when your dog is no longer serviceable?

Aibo meets Nabaztag: first meeting

The Aibo went the way of the Nabaztag

When Rob told me about Sony shutting down the last one of its service centre for Aibo robotic dogs, I instantly thought about the consequences of a locked down iot device. This is going to be bad

Back in 1999, Sony released a robotic dog called Aibo, a canine companion that didn’t crap everywhere and only ate electricity. It sold pretty well — 150,000 units, despite the $2,000 price tag. Some owners became remarkably attached, which makes it even more sad that Sony has stopped repairing Aibo. Slowly but surely, they’re all dying.

It was bad in my mind but then I watched the NYtimes video and remembered how the Japanese think of most things having a soul/spirit of some kind.

The New York Times has recorded the plight of current-day Aibo owners in a completely heartbreaking video. They interviewed a series of owners, whose Aibos are a central part of their lives, but are slowly having to come to the fact that their dogs have a life expectancy.

What you are left with is something which is kind of heart breaking to watch. Seriously, especially having experience the culture first hand, I can just imagine. I liked my Aibo but nothing like the Japanese love theirs.

Still remember the first time I saw a Aibo in real life. It was at the ICA in London and some guy kicked it off the stage to the outrage of half the audience. Just to make a point about humans attaching human emotion to artificial objects or robots. Fascinating in the face of UK remake of Humans on Channel4.

Social Media’s Common ground

Commonground

Social media cafe Manchester was a diamond in Manchester’s tech scene for a long while. It was inspired  on Loyd Daves’ Tuttle club which was in turn inspired by my own Geekdinners. Who says you can inspire, eh?

Started in 2008 Social Media Cafe became an institution. Meeting regularly on the first Tuesday of the month, it ran for over 5 years bringing an eclectic and sometimes bizarre selection of topics to discuss. From emoji madness and a requiem for Ceefax to more grounded subjects. Through , Manchester kicked off its open data journey and became a stopping off place for people passing through, who had projects and passions to share. Most importantly was a place where anyone with a passion could pitch up and propose a topic that they wanted to share with others – either to inform or to find help. Because of this developed an unConference format that allowed multiple subjects to be discussed at the same time.

Fast forward to November last year in the snug of the Briton’s Protection a group of ex-#smc_mcr types came together to discuss how this venerable event could be reinstated. So Common Ground was born, an event with the same goodness with a more pronouncable name.

Common Ground Launch Event – On the Cluetrain

To kick off Common Ground we look at The Cluetrain and the enigmatic release of new clues after 15 years.

The Cluetrain manifesto was written in an age before social media, when user generated content was but a tiny fraction activity banded around by a tiny number of people. The Cluetrain manifesto went beyond the current day thinking of the dot com boom – 1999 and the catastrophic bust – 2001. It rewrote the rules for a hyperconnected world and it could be argued, is as relevant today as it was then.

The new clues attempt to do the same, taking our thinking into the next 10 years. The event will discuss the new clues and asks if they will have the same impact as the original clues have now. Did Doc Searls and David Weinburger, undermine or add another chapter to the brilliance of the Cluetrain?

Join us

Why the need for another event in Manchester? Its similar to the problem of why Manchester Technights started. The current selection of events are too narrow. Don’t get me wrong its great if you are really into that thing but if you want to get a variety of ideas and thoughts, then you are stuck. I bang on about diversity and how critical it is, this also starts to answer the problem of the filter bubble. You should join us and invite friends…

Event link

Welcome to the MMU Shed

The first event is Tuesday 17th February at its new home, the shed.  The Shed is a new space by MMU (Manchester Metropolitan University)  just opposite where the old BBC just off  Oxford Road on Chester Street.

Its a great space with a lot of potential for all types events and can hold between 2 and 200 people depending on the event and space you require. This does mean there are lots of spaces, so you could go back to the original unconference style of social media cafe. Theres also plenty of room, so noise won’t be a massive issue.

To be fair its a great space and just right for a barcamp, but I’m not doing those anymore (of course).

So whats the first commonground?

The first one on the 17th Feb, will centre around the Cluetrain manifesto. Julian one of the key organisers asked me for a quick summary and I sent this via my phone.

On the Cluetrain

The cluetrain manifesto was written in a age before social media, when user generated content was but a tiny fraction banded around by a tiny number of people. The cluetrain manifesto went beyond the current day thinking of the dot com boom – 1999 and the catastrophic bust – 2001. It rewrote the rules for a hyperconnected world and I would argue is as relevant as it was then as it is today.
The new clues attempts to do the same and in some case does a great job taking our thinking into the next 10 years. The event will discuss the newclues and asks if they will have the same impact as the original clues have now. Did Doc Searls and David Weinburger, undermine or add another chapter to the brilliance of the cluetrain?

Uber drives its way on the UK scene

2014-01-26 | 23-52-16

Uber has soft launched (I guess, is the best term for it) in Manchester and the impact is interesting to watch. Uber is basically a ride sharing network (legally I don’t believe they can call it a taxi service Thanks Chris for pointing out UberX is a legal and licensed Taxi service).

Its quite simple, you sign up and install the app and you can see all the uber rides around you. To order one, you simply request that one pick you up from your exact location. Then say where you want to go. That simple. Unlike most taxis, you can see exactly when and when your ride is coming and heck you can even start walking somewhere and the driver will see your exact location change (great for when trying to get out of the rain for example). No phoning an operator, trying to get through and trying to explain where you are.

There have been apps for taxis but most of them suck and although Uber isn’t perfect, its better than 99% of whats out there.

The fact your payment is done through a connected credit card rather than cash or even debit card is a massive advantage. Frankly these guys have something which is pretty useful. I can’t tell you the amount of times, I have had the taxi driver pull over at a cash machine because I don’t have the cash or they don’t cards. Heck once I stopped at my destination and then had to get back on the road to find a cash machine because their card machine wasn’t working! (seriously!)

But its not all good news, I’ve been tracking Uber’s problems in America and theres even recent problems in Europe.

However, Uber is the perfect example of how the internet when embraced is disrupting traditional business forever…

From the Cluetrain manfesto… rule #89

We have real power and we know it. If you don’t quite see the light, some other outfit will come along that’s more attentive, more interesting, more fun to play with.

I do feel for the taxis company’s but they had their chances and may have blown it? Just like the music business and many others, they really need to up their game or feel the heat from Uber, as their drivers leave for the Uber deal…

BarCamp Blackpool

BarCamps have become somewhat of a rarity recently, not sure why? But I made it to the yearly BarCampBlackpool. BarCampBlackpool is a odd one. So you have your unconference but its about 3-4 rooms/tracks and instead of the overnight, the whole thing takes place in the Norbreck Castle Hotel  in Northern Blackpool. This means the overnight doesn’t happen unless you are staying over in the hotel but the bar it generally stays open till about 2am. Then if you got your fill of drinking you can chat/play on regardless till some time in the morning.

Usually I don’t stay over in Blackpool but this year I decided I had enough of zipping out to catch the last train to Manchester. Not in the hotel of the event however because the reviews were all shocking and it was twice the price of my hotel (Hesketh Hotel) just down the road.

Anyhow there were a few stand-out talks worthy of noting.

Freakyclown didn’t disappoint with his unique view on the darknet. Firstly he talked about how to get on to the darknet. using Tor, what kind of things you could buy, how and why wireless is seriously insecure. Lots of questions followed in another good session by the clown.

Jeremy totally surprised me in his talk about how we can be better by not thinking so negative. It reminded me of a number of posts I have written over time including. Richness of Life, SerendipityFear of rejection, Familiar strangers, etc. I thought it was great having a more life talk between the technical talks at the barcamp. Tim wrote a blog about Jeremy too.

There was a panel debate which I was a part of around the governments misguided plans to censor the internet or as they say, so they can protect the children. I was on the panel with Tim, Freakyclown and Ben. The idea of a p0rnwall is a joke but it was clear something needed to be done to help parents who did want to protect there children. This post from the Open Rights Group was shown.

Of course we had some excellent games of Werewolf till about 2am. Rather than massive circles, we opted for 2 smaller circles and a higher turn over of games. Heck I even survived quite a few of them and didn’t need to be the moderator all the time. The best moment, was Ben getting revenge on me and me using my snap judgement to kill off Martin in one single moment. Too hard to explain but it was great!

Another good BarCamp thanks to the guys who arrange it…

Offline support in most of Google Apps

offline google calendar

I just noticed Google Calendar added support for offline viewing and editing.

In the past I relied on Evolution’s iCal calendar support to save a copy of the webcal offline, so I could check my calendar when on a different network. Leaving Google Calendar open in Chrome would allow you to flick forward and backwards about 8 weeks, but you certainly couldn’t read the detail of an appointment or doing any editing. Now with offline support it seems to allow much more control. At some point I may not need Evolution at all!

Being so impressed with the offline support, I thought I’d check to see what other google apps support offline. I already knew about Gmail and to be honest I don’t need the rest so much.

Preston Social: Online dating with Ian

This is Tuesday in my busy social week

PrestonSocial

Thanks to Josh I got asked to give a view of the online dating world at Preston Social.

I’ve not really spent much time in Preston before except at the Train station and during hack to the future. A little walk down the street and I was at the venue for the evening. Nice little bar which I assume during the weekend might be busy. That day due to the sunshine and heat, I did wonder what numbers we would get. Talking to the guys behind the whole Preston Social movement, I really got the feeling it was like the early days of the London Geekdinners. They had really good reasons for doing it and were slowly growing it.

We had a brief discussion and we got talking about the whole Dating thing. Seems there might have been some resistance to the whole topic, which seemed kind of funny to me because on the Thursday I was doing Geeky & Sexy which will be much more adult.

By the time I started, we had about 10-12 people which is fine and makes it much more intimate. The presentation below had parts of my presentation at SMC_MCR 2 weeks ago mixed in with my own recent thoughts.

The event went well and we did get into a small question and answer thing for a while.
Over all my points were… how good is the maths behind the popular dating sites? Is the personal filtering and paradox of choice so good that people don’t actually want to commit to going out to meet each other? With Social dating now very much established, whats the difference between that and other social networking sites like Facebook? Will social networks just go the whole way? Finally, can proximity based dating be the future of dating?
I had a great time and there was plenty of really good questions by the people who attended. I certainly would have liked to have spent more time there but it wasn’t to be, specially with the week long of events.
Thanks to John Walker, Tom Stables and his lovely wife for making my talk in Preston a very nice one.

The next few months are very busy

I knew September onwards was going to be busy but this is getting a little out of control…

As you can see a whole bunch of them take place within or close to Manchester, so luckily i won’t have to go too far… However I’m also looking to finally go to Le Web for the very first time and maybe the Media Festival again.

Its cranking up to be a hectic autumn but hopefully a decent one full of lots of great experiences and people…

The Future of Social Media Cafe Manchester

SMC at the BBC

Josh and Martin said they would write up what happened a while ago. I didn’t know but Martin wrote up the evening on the Social Media Cafe website, some time ago.

Last week, a good 25 or so people joined us at Common to discuss the future of Social Media Cafe Manchester. We thought it would be good to give you a bit of an update on what was discussed and what happens next.

A number of successes for Social Media Cafe over the past (almost) three years were noted. Particular highlights included the way it’s spurred a wide range of projects and other events around the city, the debate about the impact of the iPad, and the talk by Greater Manchester Police about their Twitter experiment.

However, there was a general agreement that the event had lost a lot of its edge of late and that ‘social media’ was now such a commonly used term that the event’s name was heading towards irrelevance – you might as well have a monthly ‘Email Cafe’. Therefore, whatever Social Media Cafe becomes, it needs to capture the zeitgeist of digital culture and continue to attract a diverse crowd of professionals and hobbyists while welcoming anyone who wants an introduction to the Manchester digital ‘scene’.

There were mixed feelings as to the ‘professionalism’ expected from the event. While some felt there should be more time put into arranging ‘headline’ speakers weeks or months in advance, others felt that the relaxed, ‘human’ aspect of the event was more important than any ‘professional’ image.

With regard to a venue, there was a feeling that a regular, predictable home would be beneficial, allowing people to always know where they’ll find it. The Northern Quarter (including The Castle), Ancoats and Salford Quays (the BBC) were mooted as possible locations for venues, although there was a debate as to whether or not people would be willing to travel to the Quays.

Branding for the event was given some thought, with a suggestion that changing the name may ‘throw the brand out with bathwater’. Others thought a new name was a necessity, although there were no suggestions as to what that might be. Another change suggested was simplifying the online presence – suggesting that “The Ning” (this site) was perhaps not focused enough.

Thanks to everyone who came down to take part – it was really encouraging to see so many people turn up and offer their input. Julian, Josh and I will be meeting to make some decisions informed by the discussions we had last Tuesday and we’ll be posting an update soon with more information about what happens next.

There’s a whole number of comments from people but I’m not sure most of the people who were at the meeting even know the post went up sometime ago. I only found it when I was wondering if I could sign up to talk at the next one.

A lot of people don’t know but Social media cafe is based on Lloyd Davis’s Tuttleclub which was based on Ian Forrester’s London Geekdinners. So I’ve got form in this area…

So my thoughts are…

Yes keep the name, social media cafe Manchester works but I like even better the smc_mcr shorten version. Maybe moving away from the social media part by using smc_mcr could work?

A mix of headline and adhoc speakers seems to make sense, this does require more preparation but this can be a shared responsibility between a small group of people. Not the 25 who showed up but maybe 20-30% so 5 or so people, could share the responsibility. Different speakers attract different crowds of people, as I discovered doing Geekdinners, of course some will regularly come turn up no matter what. In Manchester and surrounding area there is plenty of talent so there’s plenty of space for dual tracks or a a single track. I personally could find something to talk about at every smc_mcr, sometimes it would be work related and sometimes it would be personal.

Having dual tracks is better but I’d put up with a single track of 3-4 speakers if they were short and kept the time for presentations down to about 10mins. Something like a double length ignite may work.

Moving it to Media City UK makes a lot of sense to me. I know people say its too far but frankly its once a month. If you can’t make it there because you can’t be bothered then, maybe Smc_mcr doesn’t actually need you. But I’m also thinking it should switch between venues (alternate). Sounds a little crazy but it could work and its certainly better than 3months one place, 1 month in another then another 3 somewhere different before having to find somewhere else. Smc_mcr is a good enough event to travel for.

I also don’t but this argument that there’s no venues in Manchester… Why not use Home sweet Home (which just opened up next to Commonbar), Speak to the people at Drip cafe and ask if they can stay open longer once a month, now Moon bar is open again I’m sure they will be looking for a regular influx of people. I’m also sure there’s been quite a few venues I’ve wondered pass who would love regular events like smc_mcr. My biggest bet was on the new vivid lounge which has a delayed opening once again. Point is, I’m sure with a little bit of work, I’m sure we’ll find somewhere suitable, it may not be in the Northern Quarter, but it will be within the city centre. Theres places like Rainbar which could be ideal.  I refer to the Manchester map

Something which never got talked about was charging for smc_mcr? No I don’t really like it too, but it means the venues in the city centre will be much more open to hosting such an event. Most bars do drink minimums, which can be easily hit with 50+ people. It might put some people off, but for the sake of having a quiet room with a projector, I’d certainly give it a shot.

What ever happens, its rapidly heading to the first Tuesday of the month… I got plenty of stuff to publicise including barcampmediacity.co.uk and salfordcinemaclub.wordpress.com.

Your own domain, your home, your thoughts

Lotte with Ima

The ever resourceful Imran pulls out a blog post which sums up my thinking and worry about not owning your own domain

I was asked by an aspiring writer whether at this point it’s still worth it as a writer to own one’s own domain, i.e., in the age of everyone being on Facebook, setting up one’s online shingle elsewhere is like opening a business on a dusty street a mile away from Main Street.

My thought on this: Hey, remember when everyone was on America Online? And then everyone was on Friendster? And then everyone was on MySpace? And now everyone’s on Facebook? Yeah, you’ll notice a pattern here, perhaps.

Yes, but Facebook is huge, you say, with unspeakably large numbers of users worldwide and a valuation of $70 billion.

Wow, I say, just like America Online was huge, with an unspeakably large number of users online and a valuation of over $100 billion.

Yes, but everyone knows that AOL was wildly over-valuated, you say.

Really, I say. And then I let that just hang there as long as it needs to until you get my point.

There’s a huge benefit to having everything in the cloud (per-say) but I feel ownership and licencing is so important and will become a huge issue in the near future. As the author wrote, there has been many services promising a space which you can as such own but none of them have lasted the test of time. Why? Maybe because the companys content strategy doesn’t match our long term goals of ownership.

Some will say, but your just an old fart and holding on to a world where ownership is important. Of course I would say nahh… its more than that, ownership is fundamental to the human condition. If you feel you have no ownership, you feel like a kid and more likely to vandalize someone elses stuff. I mean what difference does it make to you?

Colour in the right context

Colors of Deepawali

Stowe Boyd reflects on MG Siegler’s color experience in a bachelor party in Mexico

Maybe the $41M pre-launch injection of capital has sucked all the oxygen out of the discussion about the app. A bunch of folks were using it at the recent Podio launch party in San Francisco, and we all thought it was cool as hell.

Color really shines in a setting of maximum social density and activity — like parties, concerts, or conferences. It may be equally interesting to use in a voyeuristic way in areas of high population — like wandering through Soho — if there are enough hipsters around to give you their perspective via photostream.

It won’t displace other photo sharing apps, like Instagram, but it will change the way we experience the most socially rich events.

Absolutely, color in the right environment could be interesting and even useful. Now we know how there doing the proximity/matching. It makes total sense that you need to be in a venue which is used for a shared experience (or as stowe calls it maximum social density) like a club, bar, conference, concert, etc. If (and it seems like it) this is there patient pending technology, then there is absolutely no doubt that there will be other proximity photosharing services popping up real soon..

The concept of proximity based photosharing is going no where, but I think color certainly is. To be honest, I’m just happy to be able to use the correct spelling of colour again *smile*