Replacing Mixcloud with Funkwhale

Funkwhale mixes

For a long while I have been threatening to leave Mixcloud in favour of hosting my own mixes. I looked around and thought funkwhale looks great as its a federated network for music. With some help from JonT, I started to scrape the metadata I stupidly forgot to keep for myself.

I installed Funkwhale on the Yunoserver but spent too much time trying to work out how to mount my NAS on the Yunoserver. I gave Navidrome but  decided it wasn’t right as there was no way to listen without logging in, so went back to Funkwhale and got things up and running.

Seems Funkwhale might not be the best solution for the mixes, plus the developer is looking for new maintainers recently. Its really setup for single tracks not mixes. I could upload mixes but my plan to use cue files, won’t work. The only place to put playlists is in the comments. I also need to do more digging as I can’t change the year of the mixes. More importantly, the public sharing is a bit broken for me. You should be able to listen to the radio but its not working for me

Funkwhale profile

As I get my head around it all but you can subscribe via RSS and if you’re using Mastodon or other fediverse applications, you can subscribe to this account: @digitalitalicmixes@mixes.cubicgarden.info.

Enjoy, I’m one step closer to self hosting my mixes.

Why there is still an need for public telephones?

Red phone boxes

I found Jon Udell’s blog about public telephones funny but also quite telling of so much more.

Public infrastructure is important for so many reason including for equality.

If you take the telephone as communication infrastructure and apply that same thinking to the internet infrastructure. You see a clear rationale for public wifi, public internet kiosks at public libraries, etc – Yes and also the systems which surround it. This rules out the likes of Facebook free basics, which isn’t a public service.

Interestingly the public phone is also somewhat anonymous. Data is collected once used like where the call is coming from at what time, etc; but you don’t need to register first to use them or sign in to use them. Each of the companies setup to deliver these public infrastructures have a aim of coverage not profits (or they should). There might be legitimate and less-legitimate times when you want this, but this is a choice you can make, rather than be forced into.

These all seems so obvious if you live in a country which encourages public service but worth pointing out. Plus I’m focused on the notion of a public service internet.

 

My new years resolutions for 2021

Ian Forrester selfie with a mask

Its been quite a year and everybody is looking for a better year in 2021.

Following my review of last year… here’s my New Years Resolutions for 2021; which follows on from 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 ones.

  1. Live in another country for a short while
    Regardless of the pandemic, I’m still keen to spend a serious amount of time in Europe. I know we just left Europe (don’t get me started) and its now even harder to do what I had planned last year. Regardless I got to try and apply for the Estonian digital nomad visa.
  2. Head further a field with the scooter
    A follow on from the last lot of resolutions, even with Covid19 and Brexit, I’m holding out hope that I can find a way to either the Netherlands or Ireland. I almost went to the Netherlands over the summer but the rules changed meaning I would need to self isolate for 14 days after coming back.
  3. Take better care of my skin.
    face creams

    This is a follow on from last year, my sleep, alertness, etc are great but I for decades have neglected my skin. Since I was young, I would use petroleum jelly on my face and hands. I only really noticed the issue with this while shaving. But I was convinced by my barber to stop doing this and use proper face moisturisers. My family were amazed my skin turned out as well as it did we 30+ years of petroleum jelly. So its time for something new and less harsh?

  4. Step up my gratitudes
    My lovely ex-colleague Nicky told me about a book shes been using, called the 6 minute diary. Last time we talked about my gratitudes. So from new years I’ll give it a go. It will likely the most I have handwritten in a long time. Thanks Nicky again and look forward to seeing what hits the paper.
  5. Host more film nights and dinner parties
    This is a repeat of the last year but even with Covid19, I’m going to put this on the list, as I could do much better. Heck I got enough Chocolate to do a tasting night every month right now.
  6. Spend even more time with the Diabolo
    Diabolo whip
    The pandemic has given me so much time with the Diabolo. Its amazing to see how fast I have improved in the community garden. A while back I wanted to learn the Vertex and now I’m getting confidently doing it but got a long way to go before I start throwing genocide vertex’s. Although I feel I can watch a video on youtube and pick it up within a week or two now. However I still don’t get the infinite suicide, it should be easy but it never works for me.
  7. Send a email out to friends and family once or twice a year
    I’m slightly preparing to spend even less time in Facebook and looking at the alternatives to substack and medium. Most likely I will selfhost it now I’m running yuno host on a raspberry pi4. Either Writefreely or something with Activitypub.
  8. Self host and move to more decentralised/fediverse services.
    Its something I’ve been doing for a while but its time for the big push. As I’m spending more time at home, I got more time to learn and now my main services are running on the NAS. The RaspberryPi is a great platform for self-hosting. While thinking about the previous one, I posted something on Mastodon.
    Someone suggested this Github project and someone suggested Friendica might have what I need.
  9. Find an alternative to the pebble watch
    My Pebble with Sugru

    My friends have been really good to me, giving up their old pebble smartwatches to me. But as I’m now on my last pebble, its time to move over to something else. I enjoyed not having to pull out my phone to read a message and to even reply directly from the watch. But I can’t buy another one now. I had pinned my hope on the hybrid smartwatches but they don’t seem to have the ability to send a reply. Anyway, no more pebble after this one dies.
  10. Listen to a Audiobook every month.
    Another advantage of being at home is the amount of audiobooks I’m listening to. Right now I’m listening to one every week but 12 is a basic target and should be do able with the sheer amount of podcasts I’ve been listening too. This also fits with Audiable’s monthly subscription.
  11. Take a more political & strategic view on the status quo
    George Floyd 7 months later

    There’s been a number of books and podcasts, which have led me to the fact people around me think things are generally ok. Yes with the pandemic, they changed their minds for this year but I hear again and again – “Next year things will go back to how they were and all will be ok.”
    No I’m 99% sure it won’t and frankly how it was, was not good enough. We need to fight harder for a better future for all. Its also clear to me the right has found a formula which is working but its easily broken by taking a active role in our democracy. May this year made this ever so clear to me.
  12. Finish my dating book
    Yes that book is being worked on between myself and Hannah. The latest draft is looking great. Honestly it reads like a real book! I’m now considering writing a epilogue but unfortunately my relationship ended during this year. Meaning a rewrite and rethink how to end it as such.
    There are other considerations like photography/artwork, formats, checking for consistency, where to publish, how to publish, etc, etc. Any thoughts do get in touch (like to avoid Amazon if I can and it makes sense)Here is a tiny sneaky paragraph from a draft chapter (Hannah is such a great writer and editor, you should hire her!)

    …I studied her face to see what her intention was. Maybe it was a spontaneous comment that didn’t really mean anything. Perhaps she was playing to the cameras that surrounded us?

    The longer I looked, the more smug her expression became. She might have been pretty before but that dirty grin said it all. If she was trying to push my buttons she had found them alright. What happened next was not my finest hour.

    Maybe the combination of divorce, Mr Tango and the button pushing had something to do with what happened next. It felt like I was thinking it but it came out.

    Regardless, I do take responsibility for what happened next…

    Bet you are dying to know what happens next right? Hopefully this year you will know.

So that’s the 12 for 2021 (still no real reason why its 12, it just is). Its a tough one because I wanted to include things like visit a new country but I decided its unlikely this coming year. I was also going to add one about getting the Covid19 vaccine/jabs but I just learned one of the ingredients includes pea protein? So it might be a even longer wait for me to get the vaccine.

Have a good new year all!

What does the Brexit deal mean for most people?

Dublin

Everytime I think about Brexit, my heart sinks and I can’t help but shake my head. But a deal has been done, which is better than no deal (which was looking so likely).

The guardian and BBC have reasonable summary but I found the TLDR news a very good friendly summary.

Here’s their summary from the UK point of view

And there is the European point of view, which I’m glad they did because like during the debates before the Brexit vote; there was too much focus on what it means for the UK and not for our friends and neighbours.

Films you may have missed during the later part of 2020

Matrix on the big screen
Watching the matrix on the big screen during lock down

Following on from my previous post about films to watch during covid19 and again during mid 2020. Some of us have been consuming a lot of media. Its never been a better time to own a full home cinema.

Having just gone through my trakt year in review and its almost 2021, it might be worth another blog post for the locked in. Believe it or not there has been some good stuff to watch on the small screens in our living rooms.

Films

Just mercy

Just Mercy

This is a genre which always gets me, court room dramas. I didn’t think that much about the trial of the chicago 7 especially after watching Small Axe’s Mangrove and this film. Its powerful and emotional, it deserves a lot of respect and perfect timing with the on going anti-racism protests. Don’t miss this film!

Parallel

As the name suggests its a film about parallel universes. This film comes across off as a lower budget movie but the concept is neat and it has legs. It surprises in different ways and within the serious plot points still has elements of comedy. It reminds me very much of the film Time lapse.

Run

This took me by surprise. Not usually into horror but this is clearly more on the thriller side. I can’t even start to explain how messed up this film is on so many levels. As the film develops you get a real sense of the subtitle, you can’t escape a mothers love!

The honest thief

Nice easy going action film which isn’t too stressful but has its moments of action too. Liam Neeson is wooden than his usual roles in Taken, but still has edge. Nice plot and the actors do carry the film well. Good quality hollywood action.

12 Hour Shift

This film is a bit of dark humour and comes across as serious. Its a simple film about staff in a hospital but the things which happen are, lets say intriguing and there reactions are hilariously dark. Been a while since I seen a dark comedy like it

The Secrets We Keep

I wasn’t quite sure where this one was going but its a thriller which strikes where it hurts. Partly revenge film but its not for the faith hearted. Not an amazing film but strong and worth watching.

Love and Monsters

Another fun hollywood film which I would say is similar in notion to Zombieland but less adult. Its a fun teen flick with some enjoyable moments. Light relief from the pandemic.

Follow Me

I’m a bit of a sucker for these escape room type films and this one has all the right ingredients to keep you guessing. Part of you wants bad things to happen as this youtuber is just the wrong side of arrogant. If you don’t like follow me, try escape room.

Opening Act

A film about stand up comedy with stand up comedians. Light entertainment again but with the strength of everyday life as a comedian. Heckling, trying out jokes, fighting for spots, its all there in the film.

Black Box

Psychological thrillers, some hate them and sometimes they are awful. This one is good, not great but challenging. Its great to see Mamoudou moving into the prime time. Its a good film but be prepared for a small mind screw.

Boss level

A fun film which reminds me of a three way between Shoot’em up, Groundhog day and Scott Pilgrim vs the world. Light entertainment but good entertainment on these dark nights.

TV

A Teacher

A interesting story about a student and a teacher. The emotional side is treated well and respectful over the episodes. Usually these type of things are rushed and A teacher doesn’t do that. The topics are adult and dealt with in that way.

Small Axe

There is so much to say abut Small Axe, the director worked on these 5 almost feature length episodes showcasing different aspects of Black British culture in London. Each episode is unique with for example episode 2 having a completely different tempo and feel from episode 1. Each one is worth while watching alone, together they marked a excellent series.

The Queens Gambit

The Queens Gambit

Such a beautiful and short TV show. Most people have seen or heard of it but honestly watch it on a big screen at the highest resolution you can. You will notice every short is just beautiful. The story is great too.

Industry

This was recommended to me and its quite a interesting series, looking at new graduates aiming to permanently join a investment bank. What I like is its not too stereotypical. Yes theres drugs in the bathrooms, yes the women get a much rougher experience than the men. But each character has more depth than you first imagine.

The Flight Attendant

A fun comedy drama with Kaley (known for the big bang theory) with a bit of a edge. The story unfolds slowly but the comedy elements keeps the flow. There is a message about alcoholism there but its not clear cut and well produced. Worth watching but don’t expect something deep and meaningful or even light entertainment. Look forward to second series?

Sneakerheads

Following the flight attendant, something actually light and fun comedy. If you are a sneakerhead or take your trainers a little more serious than most people… this short series is for you. Funny and entertaining, some light relief.

Ted Lasso

Another fun TV series but with a heart. I’m really not a football fan, so I was expecting this to be a bore. When I first came across it, I thought this is going to be a joke which will get old. But it surprised me as the characters backstory holds up well and keeps you interested. Like the flight attendant sure there will be a second series.

A review of my 2020 resolutions

Ian Forrester selfie with a mask
The new normal, mask, umbrella and coat

2020 has been one heck of a year for me and pretty much every single person on earth. The Covid19 pandemic effected so many peoples lives from people dying to people having to operate around nationwide lock downs. People I know have had covid19 and a couple people are still suffering with the long covid19. From memory no one I know has died but I’m not certain.

The thing about the pandemic is its like background radiation. Its always there and it affects everything. Even if its small things.

Then in the middle of everything the police in American murdered a bunch of black people and the whole thing was captured.  May 2020, was a turning point for many, finally we could talk about systematic racism and people were listening. Not to say they did a lot about it but in some places the light was shone and people finally understood what it means to be an anti-racist.

George Floyd 7 months later
Remembering George floyd on xmas night

So with all that how was my year from the  Quantified Self data  point of view?

  • My average sleep duration has increased from 7 hrs 20mins to 7hours 50mins.  Average deep sleep was 4.03 hrs now its 4.35hrs.
  • This year I started moving away from Gmail, so the numbers make sense. I had 32,601 conversations, have 20718 emails in my inbox and sent 7841 emails this year.
  • Have 114,564 photos and 4,269 photos albums in Google photos.
  • Tasks wise I have 304 open tasks and completed 3,315 over the year
  • Been on all of 6 trips including Manchester, Warrington, Lancaster, London, Alton towers, Blackpool this year.
  • According to Trakt, my most played show is Dave and film was Tenet, Most listened to podcast is the Daily Tech News Show.
  • I spent 742 hours watching films (61.8hrs a month) and 1221 hours watching TV series (101.8hrs a month) – that is a lot, but understandable with being locked down.

Diabolo whip

Here’s my review of  my new years resolutions from 2019.

  1. Head further a field with the scooter
    Even with Covid19, there was a brief chance to go on holiday to the Netherlands in August. I had planned to take the scooter across from either Hull or Felixstowe. I checked out the pricing got the emergency kit, arranged my stay with a friend in the Netherlands. But then Greater Manchester went into a tier where leaving become problematic. I push on but then suddenly the Netherlands become a country when I could need to isolate for 14 days after returning. At that point I decided its all too much.
    Its a shame as I also considered Ireland too but the season had changed and didn’t fancy driving in Ireland in the rain.
  2. Visit another new country
    This never happened for obvious Covid19 reasons. Maybe next year will be better?
  3. Make some changes to the flat
    Lots of changes to the flat, from a new desk, a network attached storage, reconfiguration of some basic things. I still have a number of tasks related to this to go through for 2021.
  4. Host film nights at mine
    This didn’t happen for obvious Covid19 reasons. Although my bubble might break this somewhat.
  5. Spend less time in the UK / Live in a new country
    Yeah Covid19 killed this but who knows what might happen next year
  6. Find the others and connect them
    This has started to happen, but theres more work needed on this front.
  7. Play a new sport somewhat regularly
    Another Covid19 killer, but I did spend a lot of time with the Diabolo.
  8. Drink more fizzy water
    This happened, maybe too much and I had to stop drinking copious amounts of fizzy water late at night. I’m not drinking so much that I needed a subscription but I’m getting through a bottle of gas every 3 weeks?
  9.  Look after myself better
    I believe this one happen starting with my focus on my sleep patterns. Being able to make that decision about working later has made a massive difference to the quality of my sleep, even with the background humm of the pandemic.
  10. Be even more aware of the environment and what I can do to help
    This believe it or not had happened, from spending much more time sorting out what I can recycle. Tesco also have been delivering my shopping with bags so been using them for many things for recycling.
  11. Put my money/resources where my values are, with platforms like Patreon
    This happened, I signed up to Pateon as there is a number of podcasts I regularly enjoy and gave them small amounts of hard cash to help support them. I also donated time and some money to other places like anti-racist, feminist, neurodiverse organisations.
  12. Change my email signature with important information
    Done, my signature now includes my pronoun, my user manual and status. I keep thinking about adding my free/busy time but don’t really like the fact google calendar reveals your email address when doing so.

Neurodiversity from all on the board

London Underground on neurodiversity

It was Leena who point me towards this tweet from @allontheboard.

Let’s celebrate the many positive aspects of being neurodiverse and break every stigma. You are not alone.

#Neurodiversity #Neurodiverse #ADHD #Autism #Dyslexia #Dyspraxia #allontheboard

This is so great on so many levels and I recommend reading through the tweet replies.

On reading the Inner Level

The Inner Level

I recently read (actually listened to) The Inner Level by Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett. I first came across them at Nesta’s Futurefest conference, but had heard about the Spirit level beforehand.

The book leans a lot on the Spirit level but expands the results with new data and papers looking directly at the psychological effects of inequality on society

In short the inner level can be summed up in this graph

More inequality = more problemsIts not a surprise but the evidence is clear and the examples are spot on. You might also prefer the keynote where Kate takes directly takes bits from the book.

While I’m working from home, I have been listening to a lot podcasts and audiobooks. Each book has got me writing and thinking but this one really has given me a framework for a lot of the ills of the world. Now I’m a lot clearer on the fact equality is the core (or very likely one of them) of so many.

Lets take for example the American dream which I have been critical of previously. Work hard and you too can be successful and rich? Casey Gerald’s book and talks titled there will be no miracles here, highlights the problems of the American dream and the ultimate effect of inequality. If you want more have a read of the world economic forum.

It reminds me why the likes of Jeff Bezo’s net worth growing, is just all types of awful for us all. First time I heard about this, I wasn’t best pleased but besides the comment Amazon must pay their taxes, theres little more I could really say. I hadn’t really factor in the bigger effects of stuff like this.

In the book they mention the equality trust and trying to reach out further to gain some impact on policy makers. This reminded me the badges work and of course our own BBC Human Values work.

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

Public value

Back last year when we could go to conferences and festivals without fear of the covd19 pandemic. BBC R&D, Mozilla and Publicspaces put on a conference during the Mozilla Festival week.

It was a great conference but unfortunately it never was written up. Its a real shame but you can understand with all the build up to the coming pandemic. So I thought it would be worth writing something short at least because it was enjoyable and full of great speakers.

We started with a keynote from Rachel Coldicutt – Doteveryone – previously CEO of Doteveryone

Rachel talked about the importance of public value, what’s at stake if we leave it to the market and the notion of just enough internet, which I mentioned previously. It was great keynote and really kicked off the day of panel talks in the right manor. Its still a shame doteveryone is no more.

Session One – Public-Controlled Data

Public-Controlled Data panel

Rhianne started the session with a look at the new forms of value work in R&D before Jeni and Katja followed in discussion with a look at the challenges facing the industry in which public controlled data can be ethically and unethically used.

Session Two – Equal Access for Everyone

Equal Access for Everyone panel

Bill kicked off the conversation looking at the important issue of inequality with Laura and Isobel looking at it from their points of view. All very enlightening with the different views coming together into we can all do better.

Session Three – A Healthy Digital Public Sphere

A Healthy Digital Public Sphere panel

Solana started things with a look at what makes up the internet heath report with Miles and Tim talking about the looking further and deep into what we mean by healthy and society

Session Four – Public Service Networking

Public Service Networking panel

Paulien kicked off the last session with a look at Publicspaces,net and their projects including the badges project. Ira followed up by exploring the notion of publicservice networking through the Redecentralize organisation. Alexandra then followed with her experience looking at the internet of things with a more ethical lens.

The whole event was very well attended and served as good follow on from the previous year. So what about this year? Well as you know Mozilla have moved the festival to Amsterdam but the pandemic has shifted things to a mainly virtual festival next year in March. Plans are a foot to follow up with something in collaboration with Publicspaces.

Bill thanks everyone

My diabolo advent calendar

Diabolo whip

It was during a slack conversation with colleagues, that the concept of a kind of advent calendar came to mind. A diabolo advent calendar, 1 trick per day mentioned on my blog with a brief description.

I will try and record something new everyday but I doubt it will be possible with the winter season. I have recorded some bits in advance just in-case.

So  look out for them…

Free period products at long last, in Scotland at least

Free period products
Maybe one day there will be less of a need for tampon boxes?

Scotland becomes first nation to provide free period products for all

Lennon said: “This will make a massive difference to the lives of women and girls and everyone who menstruates. There has already been great progress at a community level and through local authorities in giving everyone the chance of period dignity.

“There has been a massive change in the way that periods are discussed in public life. A few years ago there had never been an open discussion of menstruation in the Holyrood chamber and now it is mainstream. MSPs have enjoyed being a part of that, and it has encompassed the menopause, endometriosis, as well as the types of products we use and their sustainability.”

Period poverty – the struggle to pay for basic sanitary products on a monthly basis – has surged during the coronavirus pandemic, according to charities

Its about time…! Massive throw down to the rest of the nations around the world. How much do you want to bet Finland, Iceland and New Zealand are next?

Little note, who on earth votes this down on Youtube?

Update on Islington Wharf

Islington Wharf latest letter

You may have seen the previous blogs and the summer follow up.

This week we got the above PDF email/letter from Waterside places.

It seems there was a lot of support for the latent defect work but not enough to make it so. Although the actual figures don’t seem to add up or they were looking for 100% of residents to get in touch?

As you can imagine this has caused a lot of distressed. I made my position clear.

I said No to access to my flat before I got the answers back from Waterside places. They had planned to use the shared garden as workers yard for 2 years. Because of that I stuck to the original date sent off my reply 5 days before the original deadline to make sure its was registered.
Waterside places did push the deadline back and I engaged with them over email saying I will change my vote to yes if they can insure garden access throughout the 2 years. They never confirmed this over the multiple emails and because of this I had no real choice.

I had a lot of problems with the whole thing but Waterside places never made clear the garden position. The committee also made clear that if they could confirm the garden, most residents would change their position.

The engagement with the residents I feel has been mishandled (maybe deliberately?). The options on the table were poor then follow ups have been slow and brief.

Of course I do honestly feel for all the flats which are heavily affected by the latent defects. Its awful news, but something else will happen as the latent defects are clearly there and the court case with Laing o’rourke did end in a settlement. Still love to know how much?

Keeping the Pebble smartwatch alive

Pebble watch fix

My last pebble 2 smartwatch suffered a number of button problems. Luckily I was able to fix it with Sugru moldable glue. The pebble is showing a lot of wear and tear.

My Pebble with Sugru

I’m still looking for an alternative to Pebble smartwatches, but the there is simply nothing close, even the new Fitbit is LCD based. Although I’m considering maybe now I have the Oura ring, maybe I could rely less on the health and tracking parts?

 

Join the Mozilla Festival’s neurodiversity space in 2021

Calling all

Artists, Illustrators, Film makers, Musicians, Technologies, Writers, Educators and Community organisers using a neurodiversity lens in your works.

Last year the Neurodiversity space was brand new and it was a fantastic space full of good sessions.

The deadline is Monday 23rd November and Mozfest as mentioned previously, this year will be a hybrid conference but mainly online.

Get your sessions in now.

Human rights aren’t about party politics, its about morals and values

I heard the news about Gina Martin and up-skirting (or really sexual abuse) a while back but her Tedx talk is very powerful, especially her questions to all men near the end.

I was quite taken by this slide.

Human rights aren't about party politics, its about morals and values
Taken from Gina Martin’s slides at TEDxWarwick

Theres a lot of parallels with many other things including black lives matter, transrights, disability rights, feminism, etc. All transcends party politics and the endless squabbling; this is a question of human rights and human dignity…

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

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?

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.

Whats happened in Islington Wharf over summer?

The test window in the garden
The test window in the garden with the UV screen

You might remember I blogged about the potential works at Islington Wharf.

So a little update, we received a letter about securing a different location for the builders yard. Originally Waterside Places was planning to take over our garden for 2+ years but I gather the council stepped in and they found another site. Where exactly isn’t very clear, like a lot of the comms from Waterside places.

Waterside places letter Sept

So with this there has been a lot of talk about the alternative, would releasing Laing O’Rourke of their obligation be the worst idea? Each person has different views on this all. To be fair now the garden is off the table I feel slightly better about things. Although its not super clear (I have asked directly this question).

As it seems typical in 2020, a blackswan event like the Covid19 pandemic? just hit Islington wharf.

HS2 the high speed two train system wrote a letter to most of Islington Wharf.

I am writing to you today to advise you that following further development of the design for High Speed Two (HS2) Limited, some or all of your land and/or property may be required in order to build and operate the railway for the Western Leg of HS2 Phase 2b.

Manchester Piccadilly East
The shaded area is my suggestion for the HS2 expansion. It also indicates a part of the red light zone

Its a proposal and its not clear how much of Islington Wharf will be affected as I thought the inner ring road and Ashton canal would be problem if they wanted to expand Piccadilly Station. On top of this, there is a lot of land around Piccadilly Station currently the Red light zone or Piccadilly East if you been watching Manctopia.  Between Fairfield Street, Chapeltown Street and Great Ancoats Street theres quite a bit of room and a lot of it is made up of old commercial places. Places which would be cheaper to move and are generally not that occupied either.

Its a interesting dimension on top of the saga with Waterside places. Wonder if they were even aware of the HS2 change?

A unforgettable summer in the city: the mix

A unforgettable summer in the city mix

Its been one heck of a summer, from the covid19 pandemic, national lockdowns to the protests for .

Every once in a while I have been putting out a few mixes under the new album/category of locked down and mixing out. The mixes have been good but I felt they each had something missing, so this is the best bits of previous mixes put together into something extra special.

Its the mix I am listening to when I get out with the Diabolo or go for a long walk.

Enjoy!

  1. A new beginning – Marcus Schossow
  2. Chinook – Markus Schulz pres Dakota
  3. Opium (Quivver remix) – Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor
  4. Open up – Leftfield
  5. Intruder – Armin Van Buuren vs M.I.K.E
  6. My Beat (Ambassador extended remix) – Blaze
  7. Follow me (Jerome Isma-Ae Extended remix) – Jam Spoon
  8. Floyd (Extended mix) – Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor
  9. Opulence – Simon Patterson
  10. Numb the pain – Will Atkinson
  11. Seven Cities (V-One’s living in the cities mix) – Solarstone
  12. Halcyon – Andy Moor
  13. Tears (Protoculture remix) – Dakota
  14. Outlaw (Extended mix) – Fatum
  15. Amino Acids – Tau-Rine
  16. Freedom (Extended mix) – ARTY v Muvy
  17. Indigo – 4×4

Its Dyslexia week

80% of people do not get diagnosed with dyslexia

As a proud man with dyslexia, I’m always happy to talk honestly about it with people willing to really listen about my superpower.

If you spend any time with me, you will get a sense of how my mind will blend from one thing to another. Its that flow state which my mind feels comfortable in but others wonder how I made that leap? I actively have to stop myself from doing it. Thinking about what I should write for the week I just started writing as my mind works…

One important thing to say always is, each person is different and each person with dyslexia has different experiences and different ways of managing or thriving. Some struggle all their lives trying to fit into a neurotypical world. I remember when I heard Dr Jonathan review Disability: the book, there was a quote which stuck me.

“some people have physical impairments, but it’s society through exclusion, through stigma, through oppression that makes people disabled”

I found this quite powerful. Dyslexia is classed as a disability and the quote above summed up a lot. The stigma of dyslexia from a stereotypical society is what makes people with dyslexia disabled… Although its exactly right, I don’t feel disabled in anyway, except when I rub against societal norms.

All the thoughts over the weekend

Last year I asked at the Mozilla Festival in the brand new Neurodiversity space. What do people think of when they think about when thinking about dyslexia? The results were different from what I was expecting. Zero of them said disabled or indicated that. However I had put up a bunch of the M.I.N.D strengths straight out of the Dyslexic Advantage. A book I recommend and lend to other people with Dyslexia when ever I can.  I recently subscribed the dyslexic advantage site as it helps fund more academic research, which is very much needed.

When they asked me to be interviewed, I of course happily said yes!

I will never forget the conversation myself and Kate (two dyslexic minds in conversation) had for the listening project. A conversation which you could hear on BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Manchester and finally in the national archive. Only half the dare/bet/conversation has actually happen with Kate taking me to Ireland in a bright yellow camper van.

Ian and Kate

We just bounced off each other and it sums up the good things which can happen when you have confident dyslexics in a room. Of course its not all positive as describe in the posts what is daily life like and what its like to love someone with dyslexic (something I was expecting a lot more criticism about, although I likely did most of the damage previously).

A lot comes from experiences and talking with other people with dyslexia. Lots cover it up or won’t reveal it to others, but they have good reason. Like lots of others I was finally diagnosed in University not junior school although they had thought I might be dyslexic. I do wonder about what might have been different if I was rightly diagnosed back in junior school?

Think about all those young people growing up (even now) not aware of their strengths. All those people who don’t understand how powerful it can be. Of course there is a petition for this.

This is my pacemaker editor running on a Chromebook

Chromebook running Linux, Windows and ChromeOS

I won’t lie, I was up till 2am getting the pacemaker editor to work with my Chomebook. But honestly it wasn’t so bad, most of the time was unzipping and moving things around in ChromeOS.

It all kicked into gear when I saw you could install Wine5 on Linux on ChromeOS. I gave it a try on my chromebook, as I could never quite get it working correctly on my Dell XPS13 (likely the something to do with the Pacemaker app being 32bit or something?). However it worked on ChromeOS and my only issue is the Pacemaker app makes everything super tiny even when changing the DPI settings in Wine. Luckily I have very sharp eyes and can actually see it ok without changing the native resolution of the chomebook.

Its a bit of testament to my knowledge of Linux, one thing lead to another thing, including copying the settings from my other wine running machine, changing config files, mounting the SD card full of mp3s in Linux and pick up my Pacemaker maker device in wine.

For reference I have my music collection on a external microSD and the chromebook has one USB A port, meaning I can plug my Pacemaker in without a USB C to A converter. Wine 5 is installed under the ChromeOS – Linux beta. I launch the Pacemaker editor (windows app) from the command line using

wine ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/Tonium/Pacemaker/Binary/Pacemaker

Although I have made a pacemaker.sh for it now. Of course this doesn’t show in ChromeOS’s own launcher but thats not too much of a problem. Its not like I will need it every day.

Now its all working, it means when we can finally go away more easily than right now (written during the Covid19 pandemic). I can record mixes and put them out before going home to transfer them. Which was always a bit of a pain to tell the truth.

Next steps is to see what happens when I use the other pacemaker device which has the upgraded firmware.

Its fascinating to see how the question, how normal am I hits home

How normal am I?

I was watching the NGI Policy Summit last week and it was good. Lots to take away but I found What your face reveals – the story of HowNormalAmI.eu. Stuck out as one of the highlights.

Dutch media artist Tijmen Schep will launch his latest work – an online interactive documentary that judges you through your webcam, and explains how face detection algorithms are invisibly pervading our lives. Can we really asses someone’s beauty, BMI or even life expectancy from just a photo of their face? After experiencing his creation, we’ll dive into the ‘making of’ and emerge with a better understanding of what face detection AI can – and cannot – do.

If you haven’t seen it, give it a try.

But I found the social media responses really interesting. It seems half the people are talking and sharing their data, while the other half are talking about the details. People can’t help themselves and compare the details although they know its bias.

Its a provoking art project and deserves to be watched fully. Theres plenty of details here once you watched/experienced it.