Testing sushi while at home

Katsu chicken sushi from M&S

I mentioned in the previous blog post wondering how coconut oil ended up in vanilla ice cream, I have been experimenting at home. My love of sushi is like the forbidden fruit I can’t have.But I did find one type of sushi I could eat.

However as I decided lockdown is a good chance to try some of the more dangerous foods I would try but not when out and about.

So far I gave Sainsburys non-fish sushi, Tesco’s duck sushi, Morrisons vegetable sushi pack and finally M&S’s katsu chicken sushi all a try at home. 

Of course I didn’t touch the soya-sauce and if there was obviously dangerous sushi like edamame bean one in the Morrisons vegetable pack.

Generally its not be too bad, I have felt a bit rough after most of them, indicating I was picking up something. However I’m happy to say the M&S sushi pack didn’t cause any problems. I will agree with the review of M&S, the rice wasn’t the best but the carrot and egg yoke was good.

Katsu chicken sushi from M&S

I feel like I should add some warning saying don’t try this at home…!

When did coconut milk end up in Vanilla ice cream?

vanilla icecream

Over the last few months I have bought Vanilla ice cream to cool down during the summer months. But for some reason I was feeling pretty sick after eating it. I assumed it was something else I was eating (theres a blog  about that). I never thought it could be a problem with the ice cream, I have eaten enough ice cream in my life.

But then I happen to look at the ingredients list of the ice cream I bought from Tesco.

Reconstituted Skimmed Milk Concentrate, Partially Reconstituted Buttermilk Powder (Milk), Sugar, Coconut Oil, Palm Stearin, Palm Oil, Dextrose, Palm Kernel Oil, Emulsifier (Mono- and Di-Glycerides of Fatty Acids), Flavouring, Stabilisers (Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum), Vanilla Pods, Colours (Carotenes, Beetroot Red, Curcumin).

Coconut Oil is 4th just after sugar… (yeah I know but its ice cream people)

Carte D’or Vanilla Ice Cream is the same…

Reconstituted skimmed MILK, water, glucose syrup, glucose-fructose syrup, sugar, coconut oil, whey solids (MILK), emulsifiers (mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids), exhausted vanilla bean pieces¹, stabilisers (guar gum, locust bean gum), natural vanilla flavourings¹, colour (carotenes)

Walls soft scoop vanilla

Reconstituted skimmed MILK, water, glucose syrup, vegetable oils(palm, coconut), glucose fructose syrup, sugar, whey solids (MILK), emulsifier (mono and diglycerides of fatty acids), stabilisers (tara gum, guar gum, locust bean gum, carrageenan), colours (annatto, curcumin), flavourings

So I need to be more careful in the future because I had no idea and although not a instant reaction like my other allergies. My body really doesn’t like coconut.

I did noticed there is a bunch of vanilla ice creams which don’t have coconut milk oil.

Kelly’s Clotted Cream is all good however

Cornish Whole Milk, Sugar, Clotted Cream (Milk) (10%), Butter Oil (Milk), Dried Skimmed Milk, Emulsifier (Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids), Stabilisers (Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum), Natural Flavourings, Colours (Annatto, Curcumin)

https://i2.wp.com/www.londondrugs.com/on/demandware.static/-/Sites-londondrugs-master/default/dwf0b6b924/products/L6807176/large/L6807176.JPG?resize=346%2C330&ssl=1

Haagen-Dazs Vanilla ice cream is also perfect for me.

Fresh Cream (39%), Condensed Skimmed Milk, Sugar, Egg Yolk, Vanilla Extract

Tesco Finest Ice Cream Madagascan Vanilla also looks good

Whole Milk, Double Cream (Milk) (27%), Demerara Sugar, Dried Skimmed Milk, Pasteurised Egg, Maltodextrin, Vanilla Extract, Sugar, Ground Vanilla Pods.

The lesson seems to be, look and read. Also generally it seems cheaper ice creams use coconut milk oil. I knew I should have stuck to Haagen-Dazs.

Correction!!! Sunday 8th November

My friend Cristano pointed out to me that I mixed up coconut milk with coconut oil.

This is what happens when you get excited about the US election and are not paying as much attention to what you are writing.

Both are dangerous for me, to tell the truth., depending on the amount coconut oil can be worst than milk. Thanks Cristano.

What I do at BBC R&D, explained in 2 videos

Its always tricky to explain what I do at work to my parents and some friends. I usually start with my research aims/questions.

  1. What is the future of public service in the internet age?
  2. What is the future of storytelling in the internet age?

They are high level research aims but within each one is a whole stream of projects and questions which need to be understood. Of course they lead to new questions and goals. One of the most important parts is the impact of the research.

Today I was able to demonstrate a part of both of my research questions and they were nicely captured on video.

What is the future of public service in the internet age?

I explain how the research around centralised, decentralised, and distributed network models helps us to understand the notion of a public service internet and how public media can thrive within it. I talk about the dweb without touching blockchain (hooray!) and finally make it clear the research question can only be answered with collaboration.

Of course I’m only part of a bigger team focused on new forms of value and the other pillars are covered in the 4 part BBC R&D explains.

What is the future of storytelling in the internet age?

I have been responsible for the community of practice around object based media/adaptive media for quite some time. Although not my primary research, I still have a lot of interest in the research and keep the fire burning with adaptive podcasting (use to be perceptive podcasting). Exploring new tools, the new craft and possibilities of truly connected storytelling. Most of all I’m keen to see it in the hands of all and what they will do with it.

Hence why I’m part of the rabbit holes team, considering what this could mean when in the hands of young people exploring the natural world around them.

Ian PORTRAIT at work

Yes I do love my career/job and I’m very fortunate to be in such a position. But it didn’t come easy, but extremely glad I could share

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Nov 2020)

How the fediverse deals with trolls

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing the next big social network using the exact same centralised model as the existing ones; while us privileged dive into our exit pods.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this happening with do not track being rethought and getting some legal muscle.


The curious past and future of Signal CEO

Ian thinks: Good to hear more about the mysteries figure which is Signal’s CEO Moxie Marlinspike. His views of taking back our privacy, moving systems into the public infrastructure category and making encryption the default; is quite telling looking at his past. Unlike most, he has the knowledge and system to actually implement with others the reality he thinks about.

Is scale the enemy of human kind?

Ian thinks: This interview with Marina Gorbis from the institute of the future with Douglas Rushkoff is full of status-quo busting thoughts. The centre idea is how the allure of scale is actually the main problem the human race faces.

How to fight black box algorithms together

Ian thinks: Openschufa a project which aggregates your GDPR requested financial data with others to reveal bias, is the type of services I was hoping would come out of GDPR’s data portability rules. Look forward to seeing more like this.

Decentralized Social Networks vs. The Trolls

Ian thinks: This video is excellent and one of the reasons I have always been keen to use fediverse services like Mastodon and Pixelfed. This is another good talk from the Activity pub conference

How Ghent removed cars from the city

Ian thinks: When I visited Ghent last year I did notice the city centre was very quiet from the lack of cars. I had no idea but it felt like a place to live and walk. Lessons for other European cities?

Techdirt experiments with web monetization

Ian thinks: I personally have been following the web monetization protocol and grant for the web project for a while. Even adding it to my own personal blog, but its great to see Techdirt taking up the same protocol. Web monetization is growing and growing.

The role of design during Covid19

Ian thinks: This is a impressive list of 7 design based innovations which have helped and aided during the pandemic. All very different and all inspiration.

Understand digital identity beyond self-sovereign

Ian thinks: Centralised digital identity is easy to understand, but self-sovereign identity is being pushed as the way forward. However this essay by Philip Sheldrake, really shakes up the notions of identity in a way I’m still struggling to think about now.

Facebook won’t take the social dilemma lying down

Ian thinks: I thought Facebook would ignore the social dilemma as its not that great compared the great hack or after truth, plus there are many issues. But Facebook have hit back claiming the documentary as sensationalism. Seems to have touched a nerve I think?


Find the archive here

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man and the police

Good to see Emmanuel Acho back at it…

I found this episode of uncomfortable conversations with the police quite a interesting one. Although good, it felt like there was something missing? Maybe there was a lot of outtakes or it was edited down quite a lot. What ever it was, it was intriguing but too short?

Wonder how different it might be with the UK police?

Using Yuno hosting for all my fediverse needs?

My raspberrypi4 yunoserver

It was in a discussion with Derek Caelin who created the video Decentralised social networks vs the trolls. Who mentioned Yuno host while I mentioned how much trouble I was having getting Funkwhale working to replace mixcloud.

I had bought a raspberry pi 4 at the start of April to replace my raspberry pi 2 and maybe add something to the kitchen audio setup. But hadn’t really done much with it. So the other day while watching a film I built the case, downloaded the yunohost image on to a 128gig microSD card and got it all running.

Got to say Yuno host is pretty nice and easy to setup. The hardest part was getting the DNS all setup with one of my own domains. Now its kinda setup, I have been looking through the app catalogue and spotted many of the apps/services I wanted to run in docker such as Funkwhale, Calibre-web, Pixelfed, Zerotier, Wallabag, Mastodon, Matrix, etc, etc…

Currently having a bit of fiddle trying to setup the DNS records to allow multiple applications hosted on one system.

I’m impressed so far… Although I am thinking it could be so much better on a more powerful machine. I could use one of my older laptops instead, however I gather the performance will actually be better on the pi. To be fair with a gigabit ethernet network adaptive, I don’t need to worry about storage so much. Although I’m looking at maybe switching my Ubuntu server to Yuno if I can get everything I currently run working.

Expect to hear more as I start installing more services.

The virtual public space is like the park?

Trees in Whitworth Park in Moss Side, Manchester, UK

Eli Pariser posted a fascinating piece in Wired magazine just recently.

“We need public spaces, built in the spirit of Walt Whitman, that allow us to gather, communicate, and share in something bigger than ourselves.

As we head into the most consequential, contentious election in our history, it’s time to fix some of the structural problems that led us to this moment. Let’s face it: Our digital public sphere has been failing for some time. Technologies designed to connect us have instead inflamed our arguments and torn our social fabric.

Eli goes on to talk about public spaces using the analogy of public parks rather than private gardens. This is something which many has talked about and we had planned to build at Mozilla Festival the year we built the connected library.

Now, accelerated by the pandemic, we spend much of our time living and conversing with others in a different location: digital space. But social media and messaging platforms weren’t designed to serve as public spaces. They were designed to monetize attention.

Much of our communal life now unfolds in digital spaces that feel public but are not. When technologists refer to platforms like Facebook and Twitter as “walled gardens”—environments where the corporate owner has total control—they’re literally referring to those same private pleasure gardens that Whitman was reacting to. And while Facebook and Twitter may be open to all, as in those gardens, their owners determine the rules.

I like the points made why venture backed platforms (private gardens) are awful public spaces. In short I see it like this…

On Growth. I was listening to Team Human with Marina Gorbis & Douglas Rushkoff with a strong statement of scale is the enemy of humanity. On friction parks are messy because they are used by different people in different ways Private/walled gardens are predestine, they have house rules. These rules are set by the owner. Public parks are owned by the public and there is a democratic way to set the ground rules.

I found the post is clever to call out public institutes like libraries, schools, etc. My only issue is this is all very american, which has its own unique cultural differences.

https://i0.wp.com/www.movebubble.com/hs-fs/hubfs/Screenshot%202019-06-18%20at%2012.36.57.png?w=840&ssl=1

Ironically the physical public spaces talked about in the article are under massive threat. For example I live in central Manchester and I’m lucky to have a good size community garden but there is also two large spaces within 2 mins walk from me. Ok the central retail park isn’t really a park but currently being used a covid19 testing space and the other one is the New Islington green which is currently under treat to be built on.

If we haven’t learned anything about the natural/physical environment, I wonder what hope we may have for the digital world? Oh and I found the Guardian opinion piece quite good too.

Mozfest’s call for participation 2021

Mozilla festival

Its been one heck of the year and to be frank 2021 is going to be pandemic driven too. While we all try and find our way in the new normal. Its worth looking at things which have delighted us all.

One of those for me is the Mozilla Festival which usually falls on October half-term. It would have been this week starting with Mozhouse and ending on Mozfest on the weekend, if it was still in London and there wasn’t a world wide pandemic of course.

With all that happening and not going to massively change come early next year. Mozfest will be mainly a virtual festival over 2 weeks in March. Being a community festival its time for the call for proposals.

Anyone can submit a session – you don’t need any particular expertise, just a great project or idea and the desire to collaborate and learn from festival participants. Since it’s online this year, we’re especially eager to see session proposals from those that haven’t been able to attend in year’s past due to travel restrictions.

If you or someone you know is interested in leading a session at MozFest this year, you can submit your session ideahere! The deadline is November 23.

So what you waiting for? Get in there…

Mozfest 2019

Lets make the Mozilla festival 2021, the most diverse, inclusive and incredible festival of the internet ever!

 

Whats really changed?

Print, The Black Experience in Graphic Design, 1968.

It was a hard read/listen but I’m glad to have read through the article which Leena suggested for me.

The Black Experience in Graphic Design: 1968 and 2020, has a number of black designers read through a hard copy article written in 1968 to see how much has changed or rather reflect on how little has changed.

As I started it was a hard read as there was a lot I recognise in my experiences as a designer in the earlier days of 2000. Like most of the designers featured, I stay hopefully too However I also listened/read the wired article – Five Years of Tech Diversity Reports—and Little Progress.

So little progressive… 

George Floyd mural in Manchester's Northern Quarter
At least george floyds mural stays in the northern quarter even today – Oct 25th 2020

Its coming up to 6 months since George Floyd was murdered by the Minneapolis police. One of the things I am planning is a look at all those pledges to make a change by companies to see if they actually did what they pledged.

Part of my work is to extract the data from this amazing presentation. Put into a form where others can add to it, likely a airtable, mutliple google sheets or github somehow? I think what the original authors did is amazing but it they limited its impact by not separating the data from the format. Not a criticism of course, but I could really help if they provided the data or sources.

If you can help or can point at places which might help a XML type person like me, do shout. If you are interested in joining what happens next, drop me a message.

Little update

I started a google sheet, after pretty much manually pulling the data out of the Google Slide. There’s lot of room for adding others. I’ll likely drop the sheet somewhere, so others can add without messing with the existing data.  I’m testing the protected cell feature in Google sheets, although I have a copy if it all goes wrong. This gives me the chance to mess with Airtable I guess?

The pandemic is just the start

I have been looking at the brighter side of things but also been pragmatically thinking about the future.

Its been a while since I heard from Noam Chomsky and this speech with additional footage is powerful I have been thinking a lot about the near future beyond this pandemic.

First of all, I do think we are talking about a long run on covid19, I suspect it will be Q3-4 when the vaccines actually become available to everyday people (people who are not at high risk, on the front line or anything like that). Pinning our hopes on things going back to the old normal is not going to happen. Heck even my mum the other day said this to me on our last family call! We already prepared ourselves to not spend the festive season together.

The festival season also brings to the UK, the harsh ramifications of Brexit. Something a lot people have blocked out of their mind as they focus on Covid19. Don’t even get me started about the this as its deeply upsetting and really encourages me to just leave this country.

However as Noam talks about in his speech, the elephants in the room (I would say blackswans but they are not because we are very aware of these, or at least we should be!).

  1. Global nuclear war
  2. Environmental collapse

Its clear if Trump wins another term as president of America, the countdown to both global nuclear war and environmental collapse will be so much closer than we can imagine. The election is a concern for many reasons but nuclear war and environmental collapse is something we should all be aware and thinking about; and I don’t mean disappearing into our escape pods.

We already passed the point of no environmental change but we are actively increasing accelerating things including future pandemics. Imagine pandemics are simply a side-effect of our environmental impact. That I feel gives it the real scope of the challenge in front of us.

This can all be a harsh reality kick in the teeth. But honestly see it as a kick up the ass for us all. Together we can do it but we all have to acknowledge the reality and look beyond the current pandemic.

Where will the rabbit hole take you?

 Unregulated Rabbit Holes

I was surprised and so pleased to see Penny’s blog the other day.

She named checked me for doing what I just do, connect people…

The seeds of the idea were sewn when I met Ian Forrester, Senior Firestarter from BBC Creative R&D and followed up with a deeper conversation about imagination. I explained that I wanted to invite young people to fall down a metaphorical rabbit hole and connect more deeply with nature and creativity. Ian immediately introduced me to James Cook, Editor in Chief for BBC Creative R&D, previously with BBC Wildlife Bristol and now leading the new Centre of Excellence for Adaptive Podcasts. Ian wrote,”I mentioned you and rabbit holes and let’s say it, I just had to connect you both together”. We discussed the notion of rabbit holes as a universe of possibility, a constellation of ideas, with young people (everyone) following their fascinations through self-directed enquiry. The focus on entanglement and rhizomatic learning, with a deep sense of being connected to the natural world. Nature culture in the era of the Anthropocene.

I can’t wait to see where things go… lets co-design the future!

Adaptive podcasting (use to be named perceptive podcasting) is still being developed and hopefully in the next few months I’ll have some more news.

The “rabbit holes” connection may also go on to do so much more too.

Your place in the new trusted data ecosystem keynote for #UCDgathering

Chris Spalton's sketch from my keynote

Last Thursday 15th October I gave a keynote talk at the UCD gathering. It was quite a challenge for me as I have become very busy with work especially around the human values work (details and post one day soon).

Regardless I wanted to give the keynote because I felt I had a lot I wanted to say to the UX design sector. With a past in interaction design, I have been frustrated by designers and the traditional approach to design. UX is truly powerful and can make a service/product be the greatest thing since sliced bread or the worst of the worst. But I also did my design course with books aimed to maximise attention from users. I also couldn’t grasp how designers refused to look deeper and think about the systems (technical & business) they were building on top of.

A previous manager once said “designers are the prostitutes of capitalism…” He was being deliberately controversial with a big smile on his face. I rejected that notion but I understand the thinking. Its about time we got deadly serious about design and user experience. We the industry can do much better and as we throw around our craft, we need to be much more conscious about the bigger effect on society, the environment and democracy.

I have been critical of Aral in the past but I like smalltech’s approach of building new experiences which take advantage of the unique characteristics and opportunities inherent in free, open and decentralised technology. We need more designers like Aral and Laura! I would go as far to say, although they are on the right side of history. The data ecosystem is changing bit by bit.

I have uploaded the slides to slideshare now as you can see below. There are 96 slides and I tried to not come across preachy. That was certainly not my aim, but something needed to be said. It most likely makes more sense when I’m talking but thats my style of presentations, so you needed to be there. I believe the video will come soon.

After the keynote I was really happy with the response from the conference who really got it and asked some really detailed smart questions. I was in the UCD slack for about 90mins afterwards just answering questions and chatting about concepts in the slides. I was blown away by the sketch from Chris Spalton (at the top of the post), massive thanks to Chris which nicely summed it up.

The twitter feedback was positive as well and I love this tweet

At the end of the day I wonder how many will consider signing the tech pledge, think more about the ethics next time they are asked to deploy a dark pattern and consider building on top of decentralised systems? My hope is even if one person does, this is a win and worth the time and effort of writing those attractive slides (if I don’t say so myself)

Of course BBC R&D have been researching this for some time but I’ll save some of this for a bigger blog post next weekend around the new forms of value deep dive videos which are being released.

My one regret is not being able to attend much of the rest of the conference. I had too much work which I put on pause for the keynote and they needed my attention. I also learned from the Nesta next generation internet policy summit that only some types of work I can work and watch at the same time unfortunately.
Massive thanks to all who attended and engaged with me afterwards in the slack channel. I will check again to see if theres any more tomorrow. Thanks to my moderator and it seems all female team who made me feel welcomed at 8:30am.

Telepath, yawn…!

Friendcamp

I have been hearing a bunch of stuff about a brand new social network called Telepath.

…Richard Henry and Marc Bodnick are. The duo, who previously worked together at the question-and-answer community Quora, today announced a wider release for Telepath, a new app for discussing your interests. The app, which like Clubhouse is available only in private beta and requires an invitation to use, resembles a hybrid of Twitter and Reddit. As on Twitter, the app opens to a central scrolling feed of updates from people and topics that you follow. And as on Reddit, every post must be created within a group, which Telepath calls a “network.”

Hearing about it, I was almost yawning. Another centralised social app trying to make its self bigger and better than whats come before using the tried, tested and very abused dark pattern of growth hacking.

For a very short moment I thought, maybe this is built on decentralised technology or works alongside other fediverse platforms? Something like hometown which powers friend.camp but heavily funded? That moment passed very quickly.

Who cares???

Its the same centralised system with a new face, its boring and I’m fed up of it all. Seriously! Don’t send me an invite, it will go straight in to my virtual bin.