Heartbreak production’s Romeo & Juliet

IMG_20190818_192247

Got to hand it to the heartbreak theatre experience. Myself and my partner planned to experience their outdoor theatre play of Romeo & Juliet in Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens, Didsbury but the Manchester weather is never sympathetic to outdoor events, so we watched it in a church hall instead.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Regardless it was great to see and very enjoyable, certainly deserved a note on my blog. Really fun and great to see improve working well for this talented group.

There was a feedback paper form but with no pen to fill it in, it seemed like a better idea to blog it instead.

Plex’s future, without its server?

halt and catch fire

Plex recently announced they were making major changes and that we should be excited about Desktop AF. What wasn’t said was the media server is being killed?

Years back, the most common Plex implementation was to attach a home theater PC (HTPC) to a TV to stream media. With the proliferation of cheap streaming devices like the Chromecast, Apple TV, and Fire TV, almost no one bothers with HTPCs anymore. Thus, Plex is retiring the TV interface with the launch of its new desktop app. This will, no doubt, upset some Plex fans nonetheless.

dates

Upset? Absolutely and its now in direct competition with Kodi too.

I’m now in the market for a alternative to Plex. Originally I was looking at Emby a long while ago but frankly I don’t want to switch to another freemium product.

Jellyfin and Triton look good but its early days.

Jellyfin is a personal media server. The Jellyfin project was started as a result of Emby’s decision to take their code closed-source, as well as various philosophical differences with the core developers. Jellyfin seeks to be the free software alternative to Emby and Plex to provide media management and streaming from a dedicated server to end-user devices.

TRITON is a media pipeline that aims to go one step further than services like Jellyfin and Plex provide. Media is fetched from a magnitude of supported protocols (HTTP, S3-compatible, Usenet, etc), converted into multiple different quality levels, and then uploaded to a S3-compatible storage provider. This enables cheap storage and ensures that buffering is never a problem.

Lots more research is needed, including a look at what others are doing with the Plex announcement. Although I did find Ampache and Airsonic which could be useful for my mixcloud issues. Imagine if they were federated too?

Community parks for the community of inner Manchester

IMG_20190817_125834

Cities are always in flux however, our values/needs as humans don’t flux so much. Green space is important to us, even a total city boy like myself loves green nature space at times. This is beyond gentrification and more about city planning. Something Jane Jacobs knows plenty about.

Its clear green spaces are essential and lets say Manchester like London doesn’t have a lot of them. There’s got to be a connections between the mental health epidemic and the state of our biggest cities.

There are 3 spaces in the very local area which have been marked for building of some kind of redevelopment.

  1. Former Central Retail Park Great Ancoats Street Manchester M4 6DJ
  2. Green space at New Islington tram stop
  3. Mayfield train depot park plans

IMG_20190817_133240

I joined the talk yesterday at Central Retail park

From friends of the earth Northern Quarter

Currently Manchester City Council plans to turn the old Central Retail Park on Great Ancoats Street into a 440 space carpark with the application going to planning on 22nd August, we have until 17th August to make our voice heard.

This is a 10.5 acre space, half the size of Whitworth Park.

There will around 1000 cars moving in and out onto already busy Great Ancoats Street. This will increase pollution including known carcinogens such as Nitrogen Dioxide, in a city of appalling childhood asthma rates and one which consistently ranks amongst the worst air quality in Europe.

This space is right next door to a Primary School.

This seems in total contradiction of Manchester’s campaign for clean air when Manchester City Council has declared a Climate Emergency.

Legally the land is owned by Manchester City Council making it public property, meaning you can walk on it. The fence around the old units is fenced off and there is a security which keep an eye on the space; but the advice from the talks was to build a park on top of whats there already.

Currently the plan is to use the space to show potential use. Events, guerrilla gardening, market, skateboard park, etc. I’ve already been thinking about a massive community bring your own BBQ type event – if I could sort out the toilets?

Anyway you can learn more at treesnotcars.com, and if you get a chance do drop in and see the space and the chalked ideas people have for it.

IMG_20190817_130313

Facebook cafe with free drinks and privacy check-ups?

https://twitter.com/wearesorryfor/status/1162346869017763853

When I saw Jasmine’s reply to Claires tweet. I thought exactly the same thing. Its the ethical dilemma cafe, only 5 years out too late.

Facebook is looking to take the initiative in the social media privacy debate by opening a network of pop-up cafes around the UK. Each will offer patrons free drinks and a privacy checkup, to help assuage consumer concerns about their privacy online.

Facebook Café will run from 28 August to 5 September in a bid to encourage Britons to get on top of their digital footprint, helped along by free-flowing caffeine.

One of these will be located within The Attendant on Great Eastern Street, London, in response to surveys indicating that 27% of Londoners have no idea how to personalise their social media privacy parameters.

Free coffee (what kind) and teas in exchange for? Privacy advice from Facebook, Wifi snooping like most, a honeypot, or maybe a bit of social engineering from FB staff (Scientology style)?

Is it worth it? I very much doubt it but it would be fun to mess with the FB cafe staff and systems. Don’t you think?

Public Spaces, Private Data: can we build a better internet?

A open space for public service and internet health

Last year BBC R&D worked with Mozilla on a event during London Mozilla fest week titled A open space for public service and internet health. The event was great and lots of conversations got taken into Mozfest on the weekend.

This year we are back with another event with even more partners and more topics of interest. Public Spaces, Private Data: can we build a better internet?

On Monday October 21st 2019 between 9am-5pm, At the RSA, John Adam St, London

The internet has enormous potential to be a force for public good, with many initiatives working to create an open, inclusive and trustworthy network. PublicSpaces.net and BBC Research and Development have worked together to organise this one day conference at MozFest House during Mozilla Foundation’s week-long open internet festival. It will explore ways in which we could make a new internet that strengthens the public domain and deliver public value online, in line with PublicSpaces commitment to providing a digital social platform that serves the common interest and does not seek profit.

Our topics for the day include

  • Public-Controlled Data (presented by BBC R&D)
  • Equal Access for Everyone (tba)
  • Healthy Digital Public Sphere (presented by Mozilla)
  • Public Service Networking  (presented by PublicSpaces.net)

 

Book a ticket or register your interest, before they disappear…

What is Web 3.0 and Why Do We Need It?

Web 3, Parity, Polkadot, Substrate, ipfs, blockchain? Wtf?

While visiting Republica 2019 and writing my presentation about it, I was trying to make sense of the deeper decentralised web stack. Jutta Steiner gave a talk at Republica but I was a little lost in what she was talking about. It was clear it was important but I was lost in the terms.

Watching her talk from tech open air (TOA19) was a lot clearer.

She also reminded me about the web3 summit, which I wish I could attend but always felt like I might not be quite the right person for it. I look forward to hearing what comes out of it however because its clear as Jutta says

…The first time I interacted with the web like everything was open and somehow that was the the perception like we now have this great tool and sort of thought like it’s not this these closed intranets. But it’s the information superhighway we can do whatever we want but what happened really over the 30 or so years afterwards was we replicated or built a ton of intermediaries that basically sit between us and anybody we want to interact on the with on the web online, be that through what’s that when we text to someone through Facebook, venmo, whatever you use you buy anything there’s always an intermediary for something that really should be a general p2p interaction. So the problem with this really is what’s underneath this and what led to this mass these mass centralization and of power and data in the hands of very few people is the fact that we had to do this in a very centralized way because this is just how the Internet technologies of where to work so we have an underlying architecture with centralized servers where all the data is gathered because of network effect the power accumulates and accumulates, and this is a very fraught way of doing things because you have a central point of failure and that was massively exposed by the Snowden revelations I mean partly because also backdoors are built into it but partly because it’s it’s centralized architecture…

Clear reason why web 3, I think…

A couple of powerful talks I have heard recently

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQOm6efNVW4

Its powerful and critical advice for all by Wade Davis (Netflix VP of inclusion). With only 40 views, it deserves so much more attention.

Also while watching a bunch of new videos, I came across the incredible talk from the Festival of dangerous ideas. Alicia Garza and Stan Grant – Why Black Lives Matter

#BlackLivesMatter has become the call to action for a generation of US human rights activists to denounce the violence and prejudice still experienced by African Americans. In the wake of the violent deaths of African Americans Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and many others call for change is insistent and consistent. So what does need to change in politics, in the media and in everyday lives to transform race relations and ensure justice and recognition for all?

Upgrading the pacemaker device with a SD card, not this time!

IMG_20190813_211758

Its a short story (not in effort and time). I tried it after a colleague suggested it instead of SSD a while ago. I tried it but found the card reader the Kalea Informatique adapter, didn’t support SD cards over 32gig. The description said 64gig but everytime I restored the pacemaker firmware it would only format to 32gig. Even using Gparted (like partition magic) to extend the Fat32 partition caused the pacemaker to no longer be accessible by my laptop (it comes up as generic Linux storage device).

I haven’t given up, I’m returning the Kalea adapter and have bought a Kalea adaptor converter but the compact flash version. Yes in short it would be a ZIF LIF to Compact Flash to SD card.

Hopefully this will actually work

The truth behind the UK’s biggest recycling myths

recycle symbol

Wired magazine have a piece about the myths of recycling in the UK. Quite a interesting reading, as a lot of the truths behind the myths are quite surprising.

Receipts are recyclable – False

The UK still hands out 11 billion receipts every year, and around 50 per cent of these – printed on shiny, thermal paper – are not recyclable. This is because they’re composed of more than one material and contain a combination of potentially harmful BPA and BPS chemicals. If they were recycled, these chemicals would be released into the environment. So, always put these in regular waste.

This one surprised me a lot because I’ve been known to shred all my receipts and then throw the lot in paper recycling. Won’t be doing that any more!

The three cities of Belgium mix

The Atomium in Brussels

After a long weekend in Belgium, of course I got some time with the pacemaker device. I themed the mix after the 3 cities we visited. All recorded with the Pacemaker device during a delayed flight back.

Enjoy!

  1. Brussels
    1. Anomaly (CJ Art’s Underwater tales remix) – Gordey Tsukanov
    2. Daemoni Miserere – Dr. Clarke
    3. Rheinkraft (extended mix) – Oliver Klein
    4. Innocente (Mr Sam remix) – Delerium
    5. Z.I.T.A (Markus Schossow remix) – Hiver & Hammer with Funabashi
  2. Antwerp
    1. Eclipse – Neo
    2. Delores – Indecent Noise
    3. Anahera (Extended mix) – Ferry Corseten pres Gouryella
    4. The Dark Knight – KhoMha
    5. Be with me – Coast 2 coast feat Amanda Jami
    6. Deadline (Armin’s rising star mix) – Dutch Force
  3. Ghent
    1. Grotesque (Alex MORPH and RAM mix) – RAM
    2. End transmission – ReDrive & Patrick Blanes
    3. Shelter (Photographer remix) – Dash Berlin feat. Roxanne Emery
    4. Adagio for Strings (Matt Silver and Tony Burt mix) – William Orbit

 

Updated….

95th in the global tech trance chart

Petiquette in coffee shops

Petiquette at Ezra & Gil

As you likely guessed from previous posts, I’m not a dog person at all. I’ve been bitten too many times and are generally nervous around them. But I get there are people who love their dog like its their family members (ok I do find that odd).

But I find dogs in cafes questionable.

I have seen dogs on seats, chairs and table tops. Witnessed and left as they have barked the place down, attacked each other, seen them walking around loose with no lead. Its seriously not a place where I feel comfortable and I’m sure others feel the same; even the dog lovers.

This is why I was impressed to see Ezra & Gil’s #Ezrapetiquette (even if it looks like Ez-rape?).

  1. Ensure your dog is housetrained.
  2. Your dog is well behaved & can sit, stay & come on command.
  3. Your dog is kept on a lead at all times.
  4. Make sure your dog doesn’t disturb other customers.
  5. Your dog is kept on a floor & away from food.
  6. Your dog is not anxious & uncomfortable around people.
  7. Pack waste bags incase of any accidents,
  8. Dog Lovers – please ensure you ask owners permission before petting their dogs.

This might seem very obvious, but like many conferences include a code of conduct. Some people need a little reminder and theres got to be a clear expression of whats accepted and not. Dogs on tables and chairs wouldn’t be accepted if I was writing one.

Following my partners dog bite in the hotel, I re-read the dangerous dogs act again, and found this part very interesting.

Under the Act, it’s illegal for a dog to be ‘out of control’ or to bite or attack someone. The legislation also makes it an offence if a person is worried or afraid (the term is ‘reasonable apprehension’) that a dog may bite them. So it’s important to ensure that your dog is kept under control at all times and in all places.

Something to remind dog owners of as I head for the door next time.

Changes to the experience of mixcloud for free listeners

Rain clouds
Stormy rain clouds are coming?

As you may have noticed I use Mixcloud for uploading my DJ/Pacemaker device mixes. It works quite well because they upload the whole track with a few restrictions and you can listen to the lot anytime. I use to upload them to soundcloud but that didn’t work out too well.

Mixcloud has been pretty good to me but recently I noticed some changes coming into effect.

Some changes are coming to Mixcloud’s free playback experience. As a valued creator of the Mixcloud community, I’d like to personally notify you in advance about why we’re doing this.

We need to make some changes in order to keep running a legal platform in line with our licensing agreements, and a platform that is truly sustainable for the long term. Please read this open letter from myself and my co-founders to understand why and how these changes contribute to building a fair and sustainable streaming model that supports artists. I’ve summarized this for you below:

What’s changing?

Free listeners will only be able to seek forwards while listening to a show.

Free listeners will be able to listen to the same show maximum 3 times in a rolling two-week window.

Free listeners will not be able to listen to shows that feature more than 4 tracks by the same artist or more than 3 tracks from an album.

There more but its clear the pressure is on. Its nothing personal about mixcloud, they have to make money and its pretty fair. But I can’t help but  wondering about dataportability, because although I’m less concerned as I have all the mixes complete with track-listings and mix art on my machines backed up (The only thing I would like is the tags and some of the timings which I may not have directly).

I’m  wondering where I would go if I did move on?

The copyright filter would kill uploading to youtube and archive.org. I wonder if theres a decent alternative which is part of the dweb? The closest I can see is peertube, but its focused on video. To be fair I have enough bandwidth to host my own mixes on a instance of peertube…. Maybe something for a rainy weekend?

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (July 2019)

I decided to start a monthly newsletter with some personally fascinating links I’ve been reading/listening/watching; after presenting my view from Republica 2019 and IndieWebCampBerlin.

I have a number of ways I could run the newsletter, from standard email lists like mailchimp, could use a microblog, I could use standardnotes listed, RSS to email, etc, etc. But for now I’ll add to my blog and tag them accordingly.

So with no further ado, heres the first of maybe many.


 

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed by looking down at our feet or at the new Prime Minster. To quote Buckminster FullerYou 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 young people getting out and protesting.

With a focus on new models in business, technology, society, policy, processes, etc. I present the public service internet newsletter.

 

Beyond Black Mirror’s Nosedive, what is China’s Social Credit “System?”

Ian thinks: The Chinese social credit “system” is discussed everywhere especially when talking about the other end of the scale from surveillance capitalism. Republica’s panel discussion about its actual implementation today, debunking some myths and brought everything in sharper focus from a western view.

Into The Fediverse, with Sean Tilley (Steal this show s4e20)

Ian thinks: Jamie King’s podcast with episode with Sean Tilley of We Distribute (and formerly the Diaspora project) about the early days of Diaspora, a open source Facebook alternative which was even talked about by myself. The interview picks up a gear when talking about the Fedverse which is all the rage as a viable alternative for the next generation internet

How to “Defeat” Facebook

Ian thinks: Nice follow on from the interview with Sean Tilley, there is a very detailed document from Chris Hughes one of the founders of Facebook. About the advantages and disadvantages of Facebook as a social network. The document proposes how to “Defeat” Facebook with trust, transparency, controlling broadcasting, eliminating horrors, killing the real names policy, etc.

Privacy is dead?

Ian thinks: You hear it all the time, but this is a nice summary of a lot of the different aspects which leads to the conclusion that our traditional notion of privacy is dead or dying? The important part is the linked datasets and the consistent need to surveil for those companies business model rely on surveillance capitalism.

The hidden costs of automated thinking

Ian thinks: Jonathan Zittrain introduces the term “intellectual debt” to the table while thinking about the accountable of AI. Screams algorithmic literacy supported by more transparency, governance and accountability. Jonathan makes some good comparisons how we didn’t understand how Aspirin worked till 1995 but was commonly prescribed and used.

The far right is forking Mastodon and joining the fediverse

Ian thinks: When you open source anything, there is always the chance someone will do something with it you don’t like, want or could even be illegal.This is the latest example of how the spirit & diversity of open source is being tested. Mastodon’s federated model has ways to deal with this but its not foolproof and still not palatable for its creator and supporters.

A contract to guide the web

Ian thinks: Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s working draft document for the future web is open for review till September 8th. Is the aim is to have one shared contract for governments, companies and citizens realistic? I encourage all to complete the form to feed into the process

The Great Hack

Ian thinks: This well worth watching, as it nicely ties together all the disparate parts of the puzzle and asks critical questions of the big data rush.

User permission opt in or out? Time for HDI!

3 mobiles optin privacy
Is grey opt in or opt out?

I’m one of those people who look at terms when using services or purchasing IOT devices. I also dont accept the cookie warnings unless I’m actually happy to use the service. This does make looking at any Oath/Yahoo site a pain for a while, as they use to have accept or nothing else (this changed).

Very sure a lot of the companies deliberately put up painful cookie notices to mislead their users. If this isn’t a dark pattern it should be?

Recently I noticed this cheeky one from the three mobile app. You can assume the sliders when grey are not active and the purple one on? But there’s no actual clear sign to say what is active/on and whats inactive/not. Its also interesting that the grey ones are the default, which you would assume are active/on in every other example you have experienced of this.

Another clear call for Human Data Interaction (HDI).

The rainy days travelling mix

Rain drops on a window screen
Photo credit to: josephb on flickr

It was a rainy drive down through Birmingham on Sunday but complete with the Pacemaker device and a steady driving from my partner, I was able to do a mix for the whole journey down south. Kind of gutted I didn’t include Travel (Signum mix) by Bulgarian

This time I recorded the whole mix, which was meant to be slightly more chilled as I’m sure it affected the driving speed a bit. I think its worthy of a journey with pacemaker mix and I dedicate it to my lovely partner who drove quote a bit last weekend.

Lots of new tunes and some old classics, mixed up and played over a car stereo while travelling on the motorways.

Enjoy!

  1. The Blessing – Gui Boratto
  2. Lately (The struggle dub) – Airbiscuit
  3. Suru (Martin Roth Electrance remix) – Super8 & TabArm
  4. Shoreside – Streetcleaner
  5. Rain (Cosmic Gate remix) – Armin Van Buuren feat Cathy Burton
  6. BOOM – MaRlo
  7. The Storm – Eco
  8. Breath (Blake Jarrell remix) – Anna Nalick
  9. Percussive Thinking (meat katie & elite force remix) – Forme
  10. Communication (mas mix) – Mario Piu
  11. Rosegarden 2.0 – JS16
  12. City of lights – LTN
  13. Shnorkel (Dousk Exclusive Gems Remix) – Miki Latvak & Ido Ophir
  14. Cafe Del Mar at Night (Beat Service’s Out of office mashup) – Energy 52 vs Shakedown
  15. Switch (Oliver Klein & Peter Jurgens remix) – Beckers
  16. Mirrors – Trilucid
  17. Z.I.T.A (Markus Schossow remix) – Hiver & Hammer with Funabashi
  18. Daddyrock – Sander Van Doorn
  19. Dance4life (12 inch mix) – Tiesto Feat Maxi Jazz
  20. Anjan – Angelica S
  21. Weather The Storm (Daniel Wanrooy twister remix) – Space RockerZ
  22. Cream (Paul Van Dyk remix) – Blank & Jones