Weather is strange mix

Rain storm over east manchester

What a pacemaker mix, quite mix of tunes from previous mixes with some new ones. All with a changeable pace throughout.

I do love this one which was done during a period during April in Manchester with snow, rain and hot sun over a period of days. Weather is strange just like the choppy nature of this mix.

Listen to it on mixcloud here and enjoy!

  1. Sunset (Bird of prey) – Fatboy Slim
  2. Go (Extended mix) – Protoculture
  3. Running up the hill (Jermone isma-ae bootleg mix) – Placebo
  4. Prosac – Tomcraft
  5. Wrist block (Joey Beltram remix) – Side four
  6. Wilde (Extended mix) – Jermone isma-ae & Alastor
  7. Follow me (Jermone isma-ae extended remix) – Jam Spoon
  8. Ecstasy – Eddie Makrabi featuring Einat
  9. Outlaw (Extended mix) – Fatum
  10. Sequence (Extended mix) – Estiva
  11. Tears (Protoculture remix) – Dakota
  12. Alastor & Rue (Jerome Isma-Ae untethered remix) – Progressive Astronaut
  13. Sunrise – Marninx pres Ecco
  14. Tomahawk (Extended mix) – Maarten de Jong
  15. The pride in your eyes (Martin Roth remix) – Tillmann Uhrmacher

My hope for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is put on hold it seems

My hopes of getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the UK seems to be on hold. Like the AstraZeneca vaccine, there have been a very very tiny amount of blood-clots which are not clear are caused by the vaccine or are coincidental.

Every life is important and blood clots can be lethal, however we got to look at the statistical amount of risk. I’m personally still keen to take the J&J vaccine over the others right now.

The universal remote I have owned for 15 years

Philips universal remote

I heard the news Logitech are not making or selling Harmony remotes anymore, it made me reflect on my own remote which I can’t really believe I have owned for over 15 years. The Philips SHU 5170, its not a Harmony as I always wanted one but couldn’t justify the price back then.

Its good news Logitech are supporting the remotes for as long as people are using them. Might be time to snag a Harmony before its too late?

17 years at the BBC

Ian PORTRAIT at work

I never thought I would stay at the BBC so long but today its been 17 years.

I have talked many times how little the BBC impacted in my young life as a young black man in inner city Bristol, immersed in the underground rave scene. So won’t drag that up again, except to say that drive to change the BBC is still very much there.

What keeps me going? Being in a the research and development department is key for me. Its fitting with my personality and my ambitions for a better world. A world where public service can be the viable alternative to the surveillance capitalism and government surveillance. We need different models to keep each one honest, accountable and transparent.

Working with personal data stores, human values, decentralised protocols/systems, in a collaborative manor with the likes of Publicspaces, Mozilla, Nesta, universities like Lancaster, Nottingham, etc. Keeps me excited.

So here’s to another year, maybe one day it will be 20?

Recycling plastic by the numbers

2 years ago in my new year 2020 resolutions, I mentioned this one… Be even more aware of the environment and what I can do to help

A friend asked what did I actually do?

One of the things I did do was get the bottom of my own recycling system. The biggest mystery was always plastic. I did know the number didn’t mean how many times its been recycled but wasn’t sure what it actually meant for my own recycling. So I did some research

Plastic recycling

From my research, in Manchester plastic types 1 (PET)  & 2 (HDPE) are easily recycled. Everything else is a pain in the ass and can’t be taken from the usual council recycling pickup. I know type 4 (LDPE) and 5 (PP) can be recycled but its got to be taken to a specialist place.

I find myself now inspecting the plastic before buying it now which is a good thing. For example I didn’t know my grapes container is type 1 (PET) can be recycled but my Greek yogurt type 4 (PP) can not. Weirdly enough others like Yeo Valley use type 2 (HDPE). So guess which one I changed to a while ago.

However I got to mention the specialist recycling like Terracycle. I bought this Carex 1L refill pack, which is better than buying more plastic pumps (yes its not as good as soap but its not a bad solution). The Carex comes in a plastic bag which fills 4x pumps. But the bag can only be recycled at Terracycle centres. The nearest one for me is just under 20mins away by motorbike. Of course I’m saving them up so next time I head that way, I can recycle them all and anything else all at the same time.

I ordered my first take away in a long time, yesterday and it came in type 6 (PS) containers. Of course I can reuse them again and again but I was surprised.

Doing research into plastic recycling, really has been an eye opener.

No mushy middle for Ben & Jerrys

At the intersection of activism and confectionary delight is none other than Ben & Jerry’s. The company has stood up for everything from climate change to same sex marriage to Black lives matter and defunding the police. And in June 2020, the brand took a bold stance against white supremacy, proving that in business, silence is no longer an option.

Ben & Jerry have been consistently amazing with their support for many things from climate change to systematic racism. I do wish more companies would learn from them examples. It can easily dismissed as PR in glance but their consistently is the key.

The continuous ability to be better is something which I see is missing in many places. The status-quo must be challenged and Ben & Jerrys are all about this.

National opera house Kyiv, looked quite different when I saw it

opera house Kyiv as I visited it in 2017

Back in 2017, I wondering around Tallinn, Estonia as part of Mozretreat. I came across a interesting structure not far from the centre on the coast. I didn’t know it was Linnahall.

opera house Kyiv in tenet

When I watched Tenet I thought the opening scene with the opera house looked familiar. Then recently I finally looked it up.

opera house Kyiv in tenet

The same place and what a difference!

A slightly better solution

xps13 camera cover
My Dell XPS 13 with the little microdot

A while ago I mentioned how the super tiny bevels on my new Dell XPS13 and Acer Chromebook make a camera cover look so silly. Some people mentioned to me about using duck tape, which I gather doesn’t leave as much stickyness after use.

chromebook camera cover
My chromebook with the microdot camera cover

But I also was pointed to little micro-dots which use the same glue as duck tape but are a lot more discreet than a slice of duck tape. The sheet I got has a number of them in different sizes.

lens covers

Its a lot better than what I had before but lets see how long they stick around with general use.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League

Contains mild spoilers…

I have seen Justice League a couple of times and didn’t like it at all. Pretty sure I gave it 4/10 in the end after the original 5/10. Zack Snyder’s Justice League got a well deserved 7/10 and seen it twice now.

Although not much of a comic book person but frankly I do like the darkness of DC compared to Marvel (I am aware there are many others, but its clear distinction). If you want the DC vs Marvel side, I’d suggest this review by this youtuber.

The plot is fully developed over the 4hours, yes a full 4hours. You thought Tenet, Interstellar, Dark Knight rises were long? So long there is a planned intermission. To be fair its split into chapters, so you could take breaks at natural points.

Justice league on my projector screen
Justice league on my projector screen

The one thing which completely surprised me and wound me up was the aspect ratio of 4:3. I actually thought I selected the wrong streaming option or something. But I get it and when its finally on the IMAX screen, I may go watch it. Even my projector screen doesn’t quite work at the 4:3 ratio.

So between the darkness, fully fleshed out character development and enough foreshadowing for a future DC universe. I’d look forward to Snyder’s vision of where the DC universe could really go.

Not the biggest mark fan but the subtle art of not giving a fcuk is good

A long while ago someone once called the game, a self-help book for men who don’t like/will take self-help. I’m still so-so on that one but seeing Mark Manson review his own book, reminded me of the two books he wrote which I actually found pretty good. (I don’t really like the man but he writes well and his examples are always useful). Not that it changed my life or anything like that. But rather I liked the down to earth advice and there was plenty of things I heard and took on board a long time ago.

For example the fault and responsibility one.

The pandemic isn’t my fault, its also not my fault I’m terrified of medical injections. But it is my responsibility that I have my vaccine injection. In my mind its unfair but its overridden by my responsibility to myself, family, friends and society.

The questioning of death is a important one I learned 11 years ago. I said then and now, I want to push my limits but not in a jump out the plane or climb a mountain way. I’m much more interested in socially pushing myself.

So as a whole I would recommend the audio/e/books, even if you don’t like the punk rock style of Mark himself. I know lots of people love his style and the heavy swearing, I don’t care so much for it, however what comes out from his brain is a wealth of experiences and connecting it with a better way to be more human.

The chili-chocolate face off

Carolina Repear vs Instant Regret chocolates
Its the Chilli-chocolate-faceoff, 1.5million SHV vs 6.4million SHV

There is one thing I love… Chili Chocolate.

I tried many times but the one which has my heart is the Carolina Reaper, first discovered in Stockholm and available from Cocoarunners. However I was told by a friend about Instant Regret.

So I bought a bar. Before I even open it, I didn’t realise it was milk chocolate bar. Something which is very off putting. I am wondering if the 6.4 million scovilles is slightly cancelled out by the milk and sugar? But more importantly, I’m wondering if it will be actually good to savoir?

I described it to my friend Hannah the other day like this from my mind… A Indian vindaloo curry is very hot but ultimately has little taste, especially the after taste just being fire. While a Madras, Dopiaza or Rogan Josh is hot but has a great after taste which you are pleasing to have. One is just hot for the sake of hotness while the other one is measured, warming and flavor-some. Don’t get me wrong, you can have very hot food which is flavor-some (curry goat for example) but Instant regret sounds like it might be all heat and little substance?

I promised to do a full review and maybe a video of me eating both sometime soon?

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (April 2021)

Deep fake technology

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed, seeing how Amazon won’t support public library systems and how good / prevalent deepfake technology is becoming.

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 with fashion taking on surveillance, Google finally being called out for the not so incognito mode in Chrome and introducing a progressive tax-like system following Apples store changes.


Meet the disruptors at publicspaces

Ian thinks: From the publicspaces conference where you can watch all the talks. I personally found Melanie Rieback and post growth entrepreneurship quite inspirational for all those new startups. We need more of this!

Evidence disappearing right under your nose

Ian thinks: This short documentary from VPRO, highlights the problem with archiving and moderation in critical cases like war crimes.

TransCopyright realised with Micropayments?

Ian thinks: Delivered at Mozfest 2021, Amber got me thinking when she mentions the dream of Ted Nelson’s TransCopyright (co-creator of hypertext) realised using web monetisation for attribution.

Why the excitement over non-fungible tokens?

Ian thinks: March become the month when most people heard the term non-fungible tokens for the first time, likely for a piece of art which sold for the equivalent of 69 million.

Some of the facts and myths surrounding China & America explained

Ian thinks: Useful overview from Wired magazine on the clear differences between the two but also the misconceptions which are portrayed by the media and each other.

We all knew Facebook is hooked on mis-information

Ian thinks: Interesting to see Facebook time their AI fairness paper on the same day. Who are they trying to kid?

A bank is the last place I think about when thinking purpose and human rights?

Ian thinks: I’m not so sure how much is honest in this video but Paypal, are not just saying the right thing but actually doing. Such a important difference from a lot of the D&I efforts being talked about now.

Forget GDP, Its time for a new metric and the UN is engaged

Ian thinks: Its great to hear the UN is considering a move away from GDP to natural capital. Its about time the alternatives are taken deadly seriously, for the benefit of us all. Of course BBC R&D are researching Human Values in a similar mind.

The walled garden is the new security through obscurity?

Ian thinks: Feeling comfortable behind a walled garden can make you reliant on them for security, but like the MIT piece makes clear this can be a bad mistake for your own security


Find the archive here

Automating racism and the UK government

According to a UK Government’s commissioned report, the UK is the model other white majority countries should seek to emulate around race. There is so much to unpick but dismissing the lived experiences of black people reminds me of Women telling people they are not safe when walking the streets. Also easily dismissed as “lived experience/personal opinion/uncommon.” The patriarchy never listens.

I found the interview by Channel4 by one of the people behind the report. Its a frustrating interview churning out all the stereotypes heard many times before.

One of the things I thought about today while out in the sunshine is how much/little is the UK government doing about automated systems they are encourage? Do they even understand the implicit bias with the systems they are putting in place? Surely one look into that will tell you there is systematic racism baked into everything and putting a smile on it all, saying everybody should learn from us is certainly not helpful at all. Maybe they should read how to be an antiracist? Or would that also be classed as “personal opinion?”

Anyway its time to dig through the whole report. I’m sure Dr Jonathan will dig through this at some point?

As always don’t read the comments…

Its the Mozilla Festival, but not as we knew it…

At the start of March, the Mozilla Festival 2021 started for 2 weeks of Mozfest joy. Unlike previous years this was the year it went completely virtual. There was a lot of concerns how it would work in a virtual space? But we didn’t need to worry, it kinda worked.

I got a early bird ticket so the schedule was opened up to people like me. It was extensive and downloaded all the calendar events for sessions I was interested in. Unfortunately I missed the book a seat part and when I went back weeks later most of it was booked up (my own fault).

My calendar 8-14 march
My calendar during the first week of Mozfest

The Mozilla team worked very hard to keep the feel of Mozfest with a central place to start (the Plaza), the schedule with all the sessions, a number of social spaces (Mozilla slack and spacial chat), skill shares everyday and art/media tracks running throughout the whole 2 weeks. It was full on, just like Mozfest always has been. Its FOMA overload, but don’t worry there is a help desk – which seemed to be almost 24hours a day via slack.

I did go into a couple spacial chats and check out a skill share but most of my time was sat on zoom and many miro boards during sessions. To be honest I have a love hate relationship with miro but I finally got around to half liking it once I spent time with it for my own session. I did find miro bugging me to signup kind of annoying however.

My mozfest Adaptive podcasting miro board

One shame this year was the Mozhouse events seemed to be dropped from the schedule. This meant the publicspaces conference was missed from the schedule, although it was scheduled around Mozfest months ago. The festival has always been a big magnet for people and the 3rd party events which sit around the festival for example 2 years ago.

Because Mozfest was over 2 weeks, I paced myself and made the decision to carve out time for the festival. It was a good idea as my working hours were running to about 10hrs a day. Luckily most of the sessions had a hour break between them, allowing time to catch up with emails, slack and other work stuff.

Sessions

Sessions ran from a early 7am – a late 11pm GMT, hopefully catching a lot of countries around the world. I imagine over that 14hours, only New Zealand might have been tricky to attend sessions?

I ran a workshop/session during the 2nd week, which was interesting as chrome took down most of my display in a GPU bug I reckon. There was also the neurodiversity art work but I didn’t get enough entries to make something interesting unfortunately.

The advantages of neurodiversity

In total I went to 45 sessions. Here are some of the highlights in the sessions I went to.

Lasting thoughts

The 2 weeks of Mozfest was great. It was a shame some of the sessions which claimed to be full were not. I noticed this changed a little bit later but I missed the social aspect, which slack and spacial chat just doesn’t cover. I quite liked the vibe of BarCampManchester 10 which could be done if narrowed down by the spaces. I noticed Creative AI had aspects of this but its something which could apply more widely if next year is the same?

There is a question which came in 2017 when Mozilla picked Slack over Matrix & Mattermost (which they were using internally). The questions comes up again, about using Zoom, Miro, Slack, etc. Like the publicspaces conference, balancing the practicalities with the  values is hard work. But maybe next year if its virtual/hybrid, Mozilla could really lead the charge here.

When I first knew it was going to be 2 weeks (well really 12 days), I gulped but it worked out well. I never felt rushed and having most of the sessions recorded is super handy, as I’m finding now watching the ones I missed (plus I found the youtube secret playlist which means I can easily watch them back on my chromecast). Not every session was recorded of course and its a little strange when the breakout sessions happen. Ideally the recording should have been paused but the whole festival is community focused and I’m happy its not clean cut because that would have gone against the ethos of the Mozilla Festival.

Talking about the community, it was great to see a minimal amount of sillyness/zoombombing. Also the welcoming of so many different people, cultures, languages, etc. This was also the year when neurodiversity really kicked into high gear!

Where does the festival go from now, is a big question…

I’d like to see a hybrid conference next year. I certainly want to see a combination of the reach of Mozfest 2021 with the social parts of the last 10 years. However, please Mozilla keep the pretext system as it worked so well and hopefully we can finally have a permanent record of all the sessions over the years (one of the things I quite liked about using Github)

Big thanks

Massive thanks to everyone who made the virtual festival so good (especially looking at you Sarah & Mark!). Those working behind the scenes making sure things run smoothly. To all those spacewranglers who likely didn’t know if it was going to be in person, hybrid or virtual. Of course all those people who ran the sessions.

Really making good on ethos of… Arrive with an idea, leave with a community!

Understanding the effects of consumerism

Got to give it to George Monbiot, in 5mins he sums up so much which is wrong with the consumerism. I did wonder where he was going with the Salmon but in 5mins it was a take down of our capitalist society.

I never got the cult of celebrity, even the cult of sport really. Yes I thought Micheal Jordon was amazing but couldn’t give a rats what they put their name on.  Maybe that attitude also applied to the online world, where I’m not so bothered about popularity and therefore not interested in celebs or follower accounts.

Can’t quite put my finger on what happened in my younger age which drove this in me but glad it happened.