I’m back at the Quantified self conference and it’s been a few years since due to scheduling and other conflicts. It’s actually been a while since I talked about the Quantified self mainly because I feel it’s so mainstream now, few people even know what it is, although they use things like Strava, fitbits, etc.
With home automation tools, it is now possible for your personal data to influence your environment. Soon, your personal data could be used to influence how a movie is shown to you! Let’s talk about the implications and ethics of data being used this way.
Its basically centered around the notion our presence effects the world around us. Directly linking Perceptive media and the Quantified self together. Of course I’m hoping to tease out some of the complexity of data ethics with people who full understand this and have skin in the game as such.
Storj is an open-source, decentralized, cloud storage platform. It is based on the cryptocurrency Bitcoin’s (BTC) blockchain technology and peer-to-peer protocols. The Storj network uses its own cryptocurrency, Storjcoin X (SJCX), while its front-end software supports the use of other digital currencies such as Bitcoin and more traditional forms of payment like the dollar. Unlike traditional cloud storage providers, Storj keeps data spread across a decentralized network eliminating the problem of having a single point of failure. It also encrypts all data making it impossible for anyone, including Storj, to snoop on users’ files without having a user’s private encryption key. In return for offering storage space to the network, users are paid cryptocurrency.
Imagine storing all your private data across other peoples drives in encrypted form? Imagine getting paid to store this encrypted data?
Well this is Storj and its frankly quite an amazing concept whoses time as come.
This is a very attractve setup for someone like me with many terabytes of storage and hyperfast broadband. Unlike the risks of running an Tor exit node, everything is strongly encrypted and the host has zero knowledge of whats being stored or transfered.
I was listening to the Steal this show podcast season 2 episode 8 with Balázs Bodó and Jamie King. They were talking about how we have kind of gotten use to the way the net is and they are wondering where the innovation is coming from or going to.
It tweaked my interest as I have always got a interest in technology uses for legal and illegal purposes. Its that classic cat/cops and mouse/robbers scenario, I’m not saying technology is neutral, but the same technology can be used to liberate and enslave. I thought it might be nice to share some of the stuff I’ve got in my tabs/task list to look at…
Most of the good stuff I’ve recently been looking at is all about privacy and security, which has required me to get a lot more serious about my digital keys.
Ok I think I'm starting to get Public/Private key thing.
I was originally looking at Zeronet for my decentralised dating idea but have always been interested in things like freenet from a long long way back. Its pretty neat and certainly ticks all the buzz words but has a solid idea built on open tech.
I can’t quite work this one out but I signed up to the alpha and have been trying it out for the last few months at least. I haven’t sent any GPG messages yet but getting my head around it all. The keybase file system is much more like a distributed dropbox and it doesn’t take a lot of thinking to imagine the possibilities.
This is what I’m using as a VPN for all my devices and its quite simple but effective. Its quite neat as it works like Hamachi and I have configured my server at home to bridge networks, allowing me to access my 1gig connection in the UK from anywhere. I haven’t played with accessing other networks yet but its in my tasklist to bounce around the world if needed.
TOR (the onion router)
Does this one really need any explaining? So many people instantly think of the dark web and buying drugs, porn or worst. Well theres a lot more to the dark web than this and I’m seeing some seriously credible technology solutions built on top of TOR. Of course TOR project really lend its self to huge amounts of data bandwidth, but have you recently looked at the TOR Stem or TOR messenger?
Theres other things I’ve seen which I’d rather not talk about which does the connection over TOR then switches to IPv6 afterwards for the bulk bandwidth.
Remember that instant messenger system Snowdon used? Well its end to end encrypted messaging by open whisper systems and theres apps for most platforms including Linux and Android. Its pretty neat but if used in a careless way can’t really help you much. Some would say whats the point now Facebook/Whatsapp are doing the same? Well actually they are using Open whisper’s library, so clearly superior.
Signal is starting to get a lot of people now and although it won’t be as popular as whatsapp, facebook messenger or even google allo; its pretty neat and bots are coming.
I’d like to see shared identities, so both my mobile phone numbers (work & personal) combined. I could choose to message from either of them but also see both. A master identity of some kind?
Encrypted VPN and Email, looking at it I thought it was a bit too good to be true. So I checked out and found its actually an implementation of the LEAP Encryption Access Project, which had a number of interesting projects including TorBirdy (TOR+Mozilla Thunderbird).
Less about privacy and security but still on my task list
Plex and Emby
Streaming your own media anywhere and everywhere is very attractive especially when you have a fast home connection. I have Plex installed but I’m certainly looking at Emby which seems to be the new kid on the block. Looking at it, Emby might play nicer with things like Kodi & VPNs maybe?
You could write tools and editors to make the recipes have everything needed to fit with the cooks skill level, ingredients, time, allergies, preferences, party size, etc… I mean who wouldn’t want to describe every aspect of their special dish? (I’m avoiding the copyright/licensing questions for now)
I read about W3C’s project Memento a while ago but its become a reality recently.
The Memento protocol is a straightforward extension of HTTP that adds a time dimension to the Web. It supports integrating live web resources, resources in versioning systems, and archived resources in web archives into an interoperable, distributed, machine-accessible versioning system for the entire web. W3C finds Memento work with online reversion history extremely useful for the Web in general and practical application on its own standards to be able to illustrate how they evolve over time
I was trying to find examples of what I meant but it’s very difficult googling for them as they get lost in a sea of other stuff, some of it very weird.
There was a period when a whole bunch of sites with domain names like…
youshoulddatejo.com, smartandhandsomeian.com and samwantstodateyou.com etc… (not real sites of course) Were the rage for a short while, they would pop up now and then. These people without knowing it could have changed the dating field. They all seemed to contain similar elements and it wouldn’t take long for someone or myself to modify microformat hresume into a hDating microformat (I’m not going to talk about Microdata or RDF/A as its outside the scope of this post, but yes to both). semantically rich data published on the web as way to bring a distribution model to online dating.
Steven was talking about the advantages of machine-readable Web Pages and his point knocks right at door of the walled gardens of the social networks. Swap social networks of facebook, instagram, etc for Match.com, EHarmony, OkCupid, etc’s walled gardens… and you got the same problem and same solutions?
But imagine if profiles were part of the public internet? When I mean public, I mean not hidden away behind a walled garden (hidden/private web). Because really what are you paying for, if you are paying at all?
I can hear you panic or even laugh… Here’s questions which might be crossing your mind
I don’t want my profile to be public!
This is fine, I understand some rather not be so open about their status. It doesn’t have to be connected with the rest of your online profiles by the way (this is down to you) It doesn’t necessarily need your name or even a public photo of you (there are many ways to verify someone without such information, think about what PGP, GPGP Escrow services, Ebay, Airbnb, etc do). Also like FoaF you can even hash or encrypt parts to avoid spam, catfishers, stalkers, etc. Maybe hide parts of your dating identity till its required. Theres endless possibilities, which I haven’t even explored.
How do I message or email someone, and what happens if things go south? South meaning, things start breaking up or you want to stop them messaging you. This is a partly solved problem. There no need to have you’re real email address. Services can step in and provide emails or instant messaging solutions which expire or forward on transparency. It could also be done with a standard protocol and encrypted for further privacy. Off the Record already does this, for goodness sake lets not build new protocols (badly or jokey) to do already solved stuff! (Yes this is what most dating sites are doing now)
How do I trust what I am seeing or reading?
The same is true of most dating sites now, how do you know the picture isn’t a catfish, they really are the body shape they say or show? How do you know the picture isn’t 10 years ago? All the dating site/service is really offering you is access to single people (not that is always true of course)
This is where the idea of a blockchain for online dating could come in quite useful, to verify with reputation, but if you don’t trust the technology. You can opt for something else… or even build your own! You only have to look at the people who have hacked OkCupid (Amy Webb and Chris McKinlay’s). Imagine what they could do if not restricted to the wall garden and the systems they could write for the rest of us.
But its easier to pay the money and sit safely within the closed garden? Safely…? Total illusions. But yes its easier, but you are limited by how much you are willing to pay. The open way you can have access to many more profiles, better ways to filter them and theoretically better solutions which you can share with friends.
This way also puts more emphasis on you to do work, but I can imagine systems and services like wordpress, medium, squarespace, etc doing the heavy lifting for you.
How would I search?
You don’t think some startup will jump into this arena? If not one of the big search giants?! The beauty is if you feel one is better than the other, you can easily switch. No rubbish claims, which can’t be verified. Just imagine when gocompare/money supermarket get involved to show you the best sites to find what you seek. Or imagine crowd sourcing this all.
But dating site x’s algorithm is great
Don’t worry there will be multiple services jumping over each other for your money, data or other things to prove they are the one you should use. Some will be highly manual, some will be heavily automated. Currently there is no urgency to fix, innovate or try something different. Its not all bad news for dating services, they can run their magic algorithms on the public data set.
But my dating service offers X, Y and Z.
Thats nice but have you thought how effective X, Y and Z actually are? Are they a distraction or actually making dating life better? Regardless… there is the perfect opportunity to have a ecosystems of services blossom and offer unique services on top of the open, machine readable profile network.
Think about the way search engines innovated on the structured data and offered better matches as a result. The important part is, if you don’t like what a certain service is doing or how they treat you, you can just move elsewhere without the fear of loosing access to that person still.
What I’m suggesting is similar but on your terms. There are other advantages such as having access to the biggest market of daters, personalised choice, better tools than one dating site can/want to create, bespoke advice and guidance from people who really give crap. This could issue in a new era in the art of match making!
But it doesn’t stop there, oh I’ve just scratched the surface. I feel a lot of the endemic corruption in online dating is due the centralised model.
Imagine if you could aggregate that profile into the legacy dating services. Almost a IFTTT recipe or Atomkeep? to update parts of your legacy profile on a schedule or manual push.
You could allow tinder to use one photo, OkCupid to upload 4-6 photos and a deeper description, Match.com only my photos marked professional and the deeper description.
All is possible if you rethink the current setup. unfortunately the controlling companies (MATCH group currently own 27% plus of the online dating market and they own, OkCupid, POF, Tinder and many more) have zero interest in changing much. On top of that daters seem quite lazy and less interested in working for dates?
As you can imagine, there isn’t much in this area but I did find fermat. Its a p2p matching platform. I have yet to really look and see if its doing things how I would imagine
Medium is becoming the preferred social platform for thoughtful commentary, provocative essays, and blockbuster enterprise journalism from independent and commercial publishers seeking to instigate meaningful conversations on topics of substance, interest, and import. Here, these conversations push thinking forward where it matters and drive real impact in the world.
Distributed conversations is something I thought WordPress was up to a long while ago. Its certainly easier when you own the platform and can make sweeping changes. Have a look at the way twitter closed off API access to 3rd party apps and services because they wanted to monetize there (literately) platform.
Its what makes me suspect of sinking time and my own thoughts into platforms like Medium and Slack. Yes they can do things which others can’t do currently…
…But I remember platforms like Medium and Slack are not open (even with the XMPP and IRC gateways) and there is a very bad side to this. Chris Messina tweeted recently about a new wordpress move in the middle of the slack fall out
I’ve just gotten a chance to play around with an early build of Now on Tap, Google’s wild new feature that, in essence, does Google searches inside apps automatically. It works like this: when you’re in an app — any app — you hold down the home button. Android then figures out what is on the screen and does a Google Now search against it. A Now search is slightly different from your usual Google search, because it brings back cards that are full of structured data and actions, not just a list of links.
When I first watched the keynote, I thought of the Tim Burners-Lee Semantic Web vision (paid pdf only now).
The real power of the Semantic Web will be realized when people create many programs that collect Web content from diverse sources, process the information and exchange the results with other programs. The effectiveness of such software agents will increase exponentially as more machine-readable Web content and automated services (including other agents) become available.
Its not the semantic web thats for sure, the problem is that its amazing and the user experience is magical but its all within Googles own stack. This rather bothers (even) me for many of the ethics of data reasons. I’m sure app developers may be a little miffed too?
What makes Google Now’s pull away from apps even more compelling is that it was joined at I/O by a series of gentle pushes in the same direction. Google’s doing everything it can to get us all back to the web.
Now if I think the Wired piece is interesting but they are shouting down from the wrong tree. Google are climbing another tree somewhere else. Ok enough with the analogies what do I mean?
If I saw Google on tap working in the browser instead of on top of apps I would be extremely impressed and be really making solid ties between Tim Berners-Lee’s agents in the semantic web. But instead we are left with something slightly disappointing, like a parlour trick of sorts.
Don’t get me wrong its impressive but its not the big deal which I first thought it was. I’m sure the Chrome team are already working on ways to surface semi structured data to Google now, and when they do… wow!
XPointer (the XML Pointer language) allows hyperlinks to point to specific parts (fragments) of XML documents.
I guess in the rush to move away from XHTML in favour of HTML5, the whole idea of compound documents got shuffled into a back alley and stabbed to death by the XHTML haters. So even if browsers supported Xpointer, it simply wouldn’t parse and therefore work.
Interestingly HTML 5.0 has embed but its not the same solution as Xpointer was solving. For example here’s wordpress creating a iframe which twitter (the 3rd party) can choose to put what they link in. I think originally it was oembed but got changed
I’m already slightly over the concern that one day my blog will be full of ads, spam, malware, tracking cookies and worst. The day that happens, I’ll be removing all iframes using XSL or a wordpress plugin.
Its a crying shame because attribution is the lifeblood of the creative industry and without it, were pretty much screwed. Its seems crazy that I can’t easily traceback my steps to how I found quotes, blog posts, etc. Right now this whole thing is broken, bookmarking isn’t the solution. It needs to be at the word level. Personal annotation style?
I have to favourite things on twitter, look through my play history and search my emails to find who actually recommended something to me. Maybe this can only be solved by the quantified self and lifestreams but I think there’s unexplored ways which xpointer was leaning towards.
The only disappointment is the links around the web are now broken as redirection of blip links never happened… Maybe I should contact mike (if he’s still in CEO) to remind him, wonder if he remembers me?
With all the recent stories about the already dubious (or maybe devious would be more fitting) Uber. Even I am starting to question how much I can really ignore, especially the God mode (yes I was aware via friends but balancing out how much benefit it brought to myself)
Helen Keegan reminds me of what I have been ignoring (I added the links by the way)…
Delete the app fine, but what about the account, data deletion and where next? I have to start again at Hailo? Why can’t I take my reputation with me?
Theres no way to kill the account in the app, so people have asked them to kill the account. Maybe you can trust, Uber will delete the data (haven’t looked at the Eula recently to see their policy around this).
The client-side mess · Things are bad. You have to build everything three times: Web, iOS, Android. We’re talent-starved, this is egregious waste, and it’s really hurting us.
[ 1, 10, 5 ]
Et cetera. Thus Coffeescript and Dart and other efforts to route around TheElephantInTheRoom.js.
The browser APIs suck too. Sufficiently so that jQuery (or equivalent) is regarded as the lowest level that any sane person would program to; in effect, the new Web assembler.
And from Chris
table designs are bad, so why are we re-implementing them with non-semantic class names? We should use our CSS frameworks to have only abstract classes that we make concrete by extending them with semantic class names. Also, progressive enhancement isn’t dead and still has value.
…I only feel these issues because I’m comparing it directly to other parts of the software stack rather than considering the front-end in isolation, but front-end development still feels very immature and like the wild west, rather than the engineering discipline we’re striving to be. We need to make it better.
I will admit its been a while since I’ve done any front end development but to be fair I’m also wondering if developers are taking full advantage of whats available to them? For example in my twitter stream I saw someone link to a post about SVG and DOM manipulation for icons. And finally…
More or less everything is expected to talk HTTP, and it’s really easy to make things talk HTTP.
Its easy to under-estimate how great this is, specially as we move towards coding for the mobile, offline, internet of things and exotic screens/devices. REST won out and who was stupid enough to bet against this? Oh yes… where are they now? Dead! Good riddens SOAP and other craziness…
dc:title "Jason Silva on London Real talks about Vanilla Sky";
dc:publisher "London Real";
dc:subject "Vanilla Sky"
dc:type "Film" imdb:homepage <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0259711/>
Kind of reminds me of when people started hacking Triples into Flickr by using Machine tags. Still its interesting to see Youtube adding the ability to add a triple in a nice clean way (if its a well used ontology of course)