WebMix: Webmonetization + Dj mixes for the next internet

Mark and Ian at Mozfest 2018

While recovering from Covid, I got a little time to finally sort out the WebMix idea which I also wrote up for Mozfest earlier in the year.

With the incredible and generous help of Mark Boas of Hyperaudio, I was able to use Hyperaudio lite to make clearly mark up a list of tunes in a DJ mix. Its what I’ve been looking to do for ages to move away from Mixcloud,

My finally setup was something I was playing with for ages but mainly via a self installed wordpress on my raspberrypi. I found problems when installing hyperaudio and in the end decided to go with a static website. I choose Publii as it had a linux client and I could just write the HTML easily (so many use markdown and other things, which would have made working with hyperaudio more difficult than it needs to be)

With the site creation out the way, I needed somewhere to host it.

Originally I was going to use Yunohost but I couldn’t find a simple webserver to just host the static files, instead I found a proxy server, which points at my NAS, which is running a very simple webserver. Of course the NAS has plenty of space, its also where the mixes sit, has a excellent redundancy and backup system.

The result of the experiment all sits here – https://cubicgarden.info/mixes

Digital Italics WebMix

The core part of WebMix (as I’m calling it) sits in hyperaudio’s transcript and webmontization support.

Hacking hyperaudio’s transcripts

Originally I always saw Hyperaudio for its ability to tie a knot between the written word and the audio (& video). It wasn’t till I saw a demo of the WebMon functionality is when I understood it could be the thing I need for DJ mixes.

With correctly written HTML, I can tell Hyperaudio what it should do, and with Mark’s help we had a prototype up and running.

Here is an example of the code from the quiver in the underground mix.

<li class="active" data-wm="$ilp.uphold.com/B69UrXkYeQPr">
<span data-m="0">Activator, I know you can (That kid chris mix) - Whatever girl</span></li>
<li data-wm="$ilp.uphold.com/3h66mKZLrgQZ"><span data-m="127000">Air traffic (Erik De Koning remix) - Three drives</span></li>
<li data-wm="$ilp.uphold.com/B69UrXkYeQPr"><span data-m="445000">Chinook - Markus Schulz pres. Dakota</span></li>
<li data-wm="$ilp.uphold.com/3h66mKZLrgQZ"><span data-m="632000">Opium (Quivver remix) - Jerome Isma-Ae &amp; Alastor</span></li>

Each tune has a time configured using the attribute data-m, this is  in milliseconds. As I have all the data in the old CUE files I created a long time ago. Mark helped me out with a nice script which saved me manually copying and pasting. (I also considered writing a XSLT to do the conversion). In between sleeping and relaxing with Covid, I got a number of mixes up, changed the theming and finally got to grips with the static file uploading process, and the results you can see on the site.

Current webmix site

Payment and royalties

You will also notice each tune/list item also has data=”wm” attribute with a $ilp (payment pointers). Currently they are pointing to myself and Mark Boas. Obviously I would change them to the payment pointers of the artists/producers/djs involved but I don’t know any which have them so far. Which leads nicely on to the next challenge for WebMix.

I did/do have a plan to do a mix with dance music from artists which have payment providers but that is still in the pipeline. Along side this, myself and Mark thought about some kind of database/airtable/spreadsheet/etc with payment pointers crossed linked to their discogs profile.

WebMix active on my site

Maybe this is something which could be done in the next grant for the web call for participation?

Back to the current experiment, here is Opium (Quivver Remix) – Jerome Isma-Ae Alastor. You could imagine one payment provider decided between all involved which could be used to pay for each time its played on the site. (I am very aware this is very simplex and the royalties of music is a total nightmare!) but the point of the payment pointer is to hide the complexity behind one simple payment pointer, how its divided afterwards is up to each of the parties involved. I’m imagining a management agent, organisation or even dare I say it DAO; responsible for the payment pointer. There’s already things like revshare, which means you can have multiple people/entities behind the payment pointer and theres interest in this space. Long tail economics certainly could benefit here.

Anyway its a long complex area which I’m best staying out of…?

The main point is its all working and expect more updates soon… I know Mark has other ideas, while I still need to get older mixes up. I also would like to tie the whole thing to something federated or at very least setup a activity-pub feed.

Maybe I should be more ill more often?

Covid: It was bound to happen

EU Exit platforms hackathon

I finally got Covid19, where from exactly? I gather somewhere in Brussels or else where on my travels. Its been a super busy few weeks and my immune system wasn’t exactly in top form with the shifting sleep patterns recently.

To be clear, I am ok. Its not mild like a bit of a cold but its also not a case of going to hospital. I’ve had my 2 shots of the vaccine and a booster late last year just as omicron took hold in the UK. But I was shocked when the 2 red lines appeared on the rapid tests which has always been one red line. To be fair 2+ years without catching Covid once is good going.

My symptoms are flu like hot/cold fever, lack of focus, lots of sleepiness and something I never knew about before Covid toe! (here is much more detail if you are interested including some awful pictures)

While in Brussels, I started feeling my feet blowing up with large bumps, sometimes it became a bit painful to walk with pace. I thought it was an allergic reaction because my fingers started getting something which I would class as hives and I couldn’t even wear my Oura ring on the usual fingers. That plus my lips felt puffy and everything felt super dry no matter what I added to them.

I did do a Covid test while away on May 8th and 14th both were negative but on the 16th it was positive. So my best guess is that my body was fighting off Covid ahead of time?

Because of this all, I’m taking time off to recover. Mainly watching films and TV shows and maybe a bit of reading. Nothing which requires a lot of focus & attention.

 

Mozilla/BBC Ethical Dilemma Cafe Manchester

Ethical Dilemma Cafe Manchester through the window

The Ethical Dilemma Cafe Manchester happened last week on Tuesday 26-Wednesday 27th April. It was quite something to build, prepare and experience.

Building on the ethical dilemma cafe in Mozfest 2014, we took the idea into a real working cafe complete with the public coming and going, but experiencing the dilemma.

When I say the dilemma, what do I mean? In 2014…

The café offered popcorn, juice, and smoothies not found anywhere else at the festival, but to enter the café, you had to cross a boundary that required a ridiculous data user agreement. As part of this agreement, your personal information would be plastered through the festival’s halls hours later. This experience was about getting out of a chair and experiencing the dilemma in a real, tangible way. Would you read the agreement in order to obtain a glass of juice? Ignore the agreement and quench your thirst in ignorant bliss? Or read the agreement and walk away, and try to find snacks elsewhere because the agreement was unacceptable?

While in 2022 with the changes in how mobile phones are less leaky about data and a ton of frankly new challenges (some are explored in our virtual mozfest 2022 session), we decided to explore both the QR code and personal data sharing problems.

People scanned a QR code, signed up to a fake cafe ordering system with their email or social media login. After that, they are forced to answer a question before being presented with a QR code which can be scanned for a hot drink (or looking at the very very long receipt, cold drinks). If you went for a second, third, etc drink you will get more and much more personal questions. We had 5 levels of questions and the single 5th question was deeply personal. Is the coffee really worth it

The Digital Skills Education did a very nice video explaining the concept in a short video.

Sometimes almost by random, the QR code would switch to a public rick roll (making clear you should be careful what you scan) but most of the time you get the webapp which will use any data used.

The biggest output being the questions and answers on a screen right on the cafe bar. Of course there were some intriguing answers to our questions.

I’m still wondering who wrote the answer with my name in it?

Coffee with strings screen in cafe
What do you value in a friendship? When Ian Forrester gives chocolate 😉

The Dilemma is just the start, as there was a whole number of talks, workshops and exhibits/interventions.

The reverse metaverse in action

On the exhibits end we had everything from the human values postcards by BBC R&D and is everybody happy by Open Data Manchester to Presence robots (reverse metaverse) to the Caravan of the future.

ICO talk designing the internet for children

Talks included Designing the Internet for Children with the ICO, Keeping Trusted News Safe Online with BBC R&D, Trustworthy AI – what do we mean when we say with Mozilla.

Northumblia workshop

Talks were kept to 15mins as it went out to the whole cafe and people were encouraged to take a table to keep the conversation going afterwards. In typical Mozfest style.

ICO workshop

Finally the workshops included Materialising the Immaterial with Northumbria University, Designing the Internet for Children with the ICO, Why might you personalise your news with BBC R&D, Common Voice / Contribute-a-ton with Mozilla.

On the first day we went long with our partners Open Data Manchester as we hosted their first meetup since the start of the pandemic. Mozilla’s VP Bob added a excellent talk to the meetup which was very well received.

Open Data Manchester meetup in the Ethical Dilemma Cafe

In the usual Mozfest style there was plenty of great moments for example when the traffic warden came to check out the Caravan of the Future.

The Caravan of the future attracts a traffic warden

There was plenty of interest in the reverse metaverse (presence bots), which was one of the projects which run through out the 2 days. Like the original ethical dilemma cafe, we wanted to expose people to work in progress rather than a museum, where everything is perfectly working. When they worked it really worked well.

The reverse metaverse

To get a real sense of the reverse metaverse / presence bot, I recorded Jasmine for a short while with a remote person.

The number of algorithm bias projects was also of much interest including  The Shape of Trust, The Entoptic field camera and Does it really understand me?

Does it understand me?

Does it understand me, is a speech to text system trained using the similar/same algorithms as the Amazon Alexa. It was so weird to see how when it got the wrong word, it guessed with something so strange. Like Deliveroo and Kindle?

Having the public come into the space was a positive, as many of the regulars popped in and end up going to a workshop or checking out a few of the interventions. Even better was having the staff of the feel good cafe joining in and enjoying the event. There’s a few times, when I overheard people asking what was going on and then the staff suggesting checking out the loom, human values postcards, etc.

The concept really came together well over the two days. Its something which will come back in other forms. Keep an eye out for future iterations of the ethical dilemma cafe soon.

Coffee and Dilemmas in Manchester

Massive thanks to everyone involved in the Ethical Dilemma Cafe, so many people from the Mozilla Foundation, who took over a hotel in the northern quarter (it was so strange seeing people I usually see on Zoom or in London only 10mins away from my home), all the partners who took a leap of faith with the concept bringing their research and passion to the cafe. The cafe and the amazing woman (can’t remember her name) who really went with the concept. All the people who helped promote it and encourage others to join us over the 2 days. My colleagues who pulled out a number of stops to make things like the coffee with strings, reverse metaverse bots, etc. All amazing along with the talks and workshops, which nicely fitted with our partners. Thanks to the security guard who worked 2 full days and his presence was just right. Finally thank you to all the people who traveled sometimes from quite far to make the event, because without you there would be no ethical dilemma cafe.

There is likely people I have forgotten and I have deliberately not named anyone in-case I miss anyone by name. But I thank everybody especially Sarah, Lucie, Jasmine, Marc, Henry, Iain, Julian, Sam, Laura, Paul, Jesse, Bob, Steph, Lianne, Jimmy, Bill, Zach, Michael, Juliet, Georgina, Todd, Charlie, etc.

Go watch: Everything, Everywhere, All At Once

Everything everywhere all at once
Everything everywhere all at once, on the IMAX screen and opened by the directors

I had the absolute joy and pleasure of watching Everything, Everywhere, All at once preview at the IMAX in Leicester Square. Finally after much delay, although it officially comes to the UK May 13th.

There is so much I can say about the film but I gave it 8/10 because its truly incredible. Not only is the multiverse and quantum science really interesting in it, not only is the film a genuinely different from everything out there, heartfelt (Its super touching in parts) but also funny as hell (absolutely hysterical in parts, and doesn’t take its self too seriously).

I’d love to talk about it but don’t want to spoil it.

Honestly go watch it on the biggest screen you can! Watching it in the IMAX (it was formatted for IMAX) in row C (I know it was insane but fitting for the insanity which was unfolding) it was just full on!

You might also note in the picture above both directors opened the preview, which was a total shock because I knew the BFI IMAX in Waterloo had a Q&A with the director’s (the Daniels) but this was a big surprise!

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (May 2022)

This land is your land

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed reading about the not well known dangers of databrokers, likewise the surprise? inequality effects everyone, and hearing the details of Facebooks paid smear campaign,

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 the power of community, Reddit’s /place working together and different ways to do notifications.


Community door deliver fills in gaps

Ian thinks: This reminds me of the community WiFi initiatives, which filled in the gaps of big internet companies which refused to support smaller communities. However I can see these growing, with the backlash against generic speedy delivery systems.

The metaverse’s architecture is simply lazy

Ian thinks: In my recent Mozfest session about the metaverse vs public service internet. I was highly critical of repeating the same mistakes of the physical world in the virtual world. I’m not the only one.

Lessons for a metaverse

Ian thinks: On a similar note, there are plenty of lessons for virtual space creators, but I wonder how many are actually paying attention?

P2P fashion renting, focuses on the community

Ian thinks: Not my usual interest but shrinking fast fashion’s carbon footprint is interesting. However its the community focus and peer 2 peer model which elevates it into this line up this month. Expect this business model to be duplicated over and over again.

Sunshine technology

Ian thinks: This BBC Click episode is focused on solar technology and there are some impressive developments. The limits are made clear but frankly I’m reconsidering my next pair of headphones.

Channel 4 sell off shows the misunderstanding of public service business models

Ian thinks: Much has been written about the recent announcement to sell off Channel 4 but the misunderstanding of the business model of Channel 4 isn’t just embarrassing but shocking that people assume the model is one way.

Leap frogging with 3D printing and communities

Ian thinks: I always liked the idea of leap frogging in tech but things tend not to stick unless there is influence from governments or a ground swell of community support.

Secrecy as a means of monetization?

Ian thinks: The joy of tinkering, making, and sharing is part of the human condition. In modern times, this creative freedom too often is stifled by secrecy as a means of monetization – from non-compete laws to quashing people’s right to repair the products they’ve already paid for.

Twitter is not a digital public space

Ian thinks: The whole Elon and twitter saga is simply boring, and I do not buy Elon’s idea of Twitter being the public square. Paul’s piece sums up some critical thoughts around this all.


Find the archive here

What do you value most in a friendship?

Question on screen. Question: What do you value most in a friendship? Answer: When Ian Forrester gives chocolate ;-)
Question: What do you value most in a friendship? Answer: When Ian Forrester gives chocolate 😉

Seen completely out of the blue while in the Mozilla/BBC Ethical Dilemma Cafe last week. I had to do a double take when I saw my name.

Question: What do you value most in a friendship?
Answer: When Ian Forrester gives chocolate 😉

The screen was part the ethical dilemma, where people use a QR code to register for free hot drinks but in return they need to answer personal questions getting more and more personal/intrusive the more hot drinks you have.

Do I know who wrote the answer?
Actually I do not, but I have a small number of people who I do think it could be…

Ethical Dilemma Cafe Manchester through the window

Look out for a full blog post in the next few weeks.

Its going to be a busy few weeks again

Ethical Dilemma Cafe Manchester through the windowIts been a very busy few weeks and theres little let up heading into May.

I noticed I haven’t blogged for a while. Not out of choice, its just been a super busy time.

Between the creation of the ethical dilemma cafe in Manchester, developing the adaptive podcasting app and web creator (more on this soon), suffering with a cold (not covid, I even got my first PCR test just incase the 4 rapid tests were all wrong), my birthday and dating an amazing woman (now my partner).

Of course I’m ok but its amazing how things I use to do all the time like booking trains, hotels, flight, etc have become more tricky than in the past. In the coming month I’ll be in London, Bristol, Newcastle/Gateshead (for the covid delayed Thinking Digital conference), Brussels (for the Exit platforms hackathon) and maybe even Amsterdam (for the in person Publicspaces conference #2). I’m also trying to go by train when ever possible!

My sleep cycle has become a bit of a mess and things keep pushing earlier starts into my calendar. If I could show a graph of my quality of sleep, sleep length, weight and effectiveness… It would be so telling.

I’m keeping a eye on this all and have a holiday booked for Lisbon. Not using my airline credit which was a total con for short haul flights. Ultimately I had to pay a large fee from the airline credit and I was able to book with another airline for cheaper than the fee! What a joke!

So in the next month, expect more quiet time while I work things out and relax in between. I really hope to sort out the webmontizated DJ mixes and heck even do some more mixes, as the incidental contact high is great but its time for a new mix. Good thing about traveling is more time for mixing.

Mozilla/BBC Ethical Dilemma Cafe Manchester opens 26-27th April (tickets are available now!)

Book your tickets for the Ethical Dilemma Cafe 2022 (Manchester)

March has been so busy and I really enjoyed the start of the month at the Mozilla Festival 2022 virtual (which reminds me I must write that up, maybe in my new conference new style as suggested by Bill Thompson).

However as previously mentioned a slice of the Mozilla Festival is coming to Manchester (not London!) in the form of a fringe partner event.

More information will be revealed but you can now book tickets to guarantee your time in the cafe. Simply click register for ticket.
We are limiting the numbers for the safety and comfort of everybody including the volunteers and staff. We will also follow the government guidance on Covid19.

Ethical dilemma cafe 2014

Don’t forget to check out #mozfestedc (Mozilla Festival Ethical Dilemma Cafe) for more announcements.

Remember a healthy internet means a healthy society and a healthy you.

Summer in Manhattan cocktail

Summer in Manhattan
I have been drinking a cocktail I made during the pandemic lock down last year. Its my take on the classic Manhattan.

The general ingredient list is…

  • 50ml rye whiskey (bourbon)
  • 25ml sweet red vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • orange peel, to garnish (optional)
  • maraschino cherry, to garnish (optional)

However I made two changes…

  • 50ml rye whiskey (bourbon)
  • 25ml fireball cinnamon whisky
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • orange peel, to garnish (optional)
  • maraschino cherry, to garnish (optional)

The taste is obviously deeply cinnamon with a strong taste of bourbon and a small hint of orange. The name speaks for its self.

I did try making it the other way too, switching the rye for fireball but it was a little much cinnamon, but still a interesting taste.

Enjoy!

Web Monetised DJ mixes anyone?

Its Mozilla Festival 2022 virtual week and the grand WebMontisation experiment is underway.

While thinking about the experiment and the ability to tip people, I thought about this aspect within mixes. Originally I thought about it per mix as WebMontization is page level, although there are plans for link level monetization in store.

Then I saw a bunch of Hyperaudio experiments with WebMon. This got me thinking imagine if every artist/label had a payment pointer?
Its not like we don’t have the precise timing metadata, especially when recording a mix digitally.

WebMon Mixing

For example here is the Pacemaker editor, which gives you exact times of when tunes are used and not used. The mix is my latest one, the incidental contact high mix, I do love that mix!

With the advantage of metadata lookup, it wouldn’t take a lot to correctly identify the tune and auto discover the payment pointer of the artist/label. For example here is Protoculture which is appears 3 times in the mix. With something like hyperaudio, it would be pretty straight forward to automatically send a stream or micropayment to the artist/label everytime the track is played within a mix.

With all this in mind, I’m thinking about creating an experiment.

If I was to do a mix using creative commons attributed licensed music, with all artists who have payment pointers. Then provide it through hyperaudio on my site.

Wouldn’t that be a really interesting experiment?

Following what Coil & Mozilla have done with the tipping experiment, I could use payment pointers for a number of charity’s instead?

Coil tipping

My first tip went to Hyperaudio!

Its certainly feel like a perfect DJ Hackday project?

I have refined the idea on the WebMon community site

Project description

The existing models for distributing DJ mixes is frankly painful with many DJs having to fight with take-down notices and copyright flags.
I am investigating ways to self-host and share DJ mixes with the care and attention of what a DJ would like to bring to the mix, and include a way to pay the artist/creator of the music in the mix.

Ways in Which I Am Web Monetizing These Resources

Currently I am Web Monetizing the whole of the site but I am going to change the audio player to HyperaudioLite and take advantage of the new feature to pay per section of the audio.
As a DJ, my main interest is to share the mix with as many as possible without limits and constraints. I will turn off WebMon for myself and use the payment providers of the artists instead. As I expect many artists have not heard of WebMon and so I recommend using payment providers of charities and non-profits instead (same ones Mozilla have used throughout the Mozilla virtual festival).

As more artists and labels start to support WebMontization and get payment pointers. It will be easy to reroute the payments to the new payment pointers and even split payments between groups/collaborations.

Ideally I’d like to see this fit within the fediverse systems like funkwhale, reel2bits or Castopod enabling support for future forms of sharing, ignoring and distributing.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (March 2022)

Flag of Ukraine

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing the cyber-war alongside the disinformation war and of course the physical blood shed of war in the Ukraine from Vladimir Putin. It makes delivery drivers dancing for likes and Tinder changing prices based on personal data look even more pathetic.

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 the incredible resistance from the Ukraine people along with People leaving Facebook, enzymes eating plastics and  Android getting tracking protection.


Thoughts about the digital public sphere

Ian thinks: I still find re-reading Bill Thompson’s entry into the book “Building a European digital public space“, still full of wisdom and insight for the future of the digital public ecosystem.

The rush to virtually own your home has started

Ian thinks: On the face of it, it seems like a load of nonsense but the harms are clear as you read further and consider how the big tech corps always buy the smaller startups.

Mozfest’s grand webmontization tipping experiment

Ian thinks: Adding tipping to Mozfest is going to be a interesting dynamic for the mainly virtual festival this year. To take part you just need one of the pay what you like tickets.

O’reilly’s thoughts on Web3, interesting technology but get ready for the crash

Ian thinks: Tim O’Reilly has been asked a few time for his thoughts and this piece for CBS, certainly has put the cats in with the NFT pigeons.

The technology is questionable but the community is real?

Ian thinks: I do find something of hope in this article, as it explores the community side of the web3 hype. If the community spirit can outlive the huge speculation, that might make it worth while?

The deep worry of the fact checking systems

Ian thinks: Following Facebook fact checking the British medical journal, I found the EFF thoughts spot on. Saying you are fact checking isn’t nearly enough. Sadly a lot of people assume that is enough

Faster internet isn’t the panacea for a better society

Ian thinks: Although the paper seems slightly different from the news piece, The notion of faster internet as ultimate end is a bad mistake. Infrastructure is only part of the solution not the panacea.

Friction can be a good thing

Ian thinks: Last year I gave a talk about friction-less design and how it was partly to blame for the lack of control people have on the internet. This piece adds even more impact to the lack of friction.

Synthetic biology and needs a public entity?

Ian thinks: Amy’s new book The Genesis Machine, sounds far reaching but Amy raises a lot of points about who is driving synthetic biology? I kept wondering about a public entity besides Governments and Corporations.

Matrix’s swarm mode is truly terrifying (spoilers)

Ian thinks: There is so much about Matrix 4 which speaks about the current and future state of technology and society. Clearly swarm mode activating sleeper bots from a therapist who manipulates our feelings says plenty


Find the archive here

A rallying calling for distributed rather than decentralised

Centralied, decentralied and distributed network models

I’m currently writing my presentation for the Mozilla Festival on the metaverse vs the public service internet, and thinking about Web3 and the metaverse quite a bit in reflection to a truly digital public space…

There has been so much talk about Web 3.0 and Crypto. The recent interview with Tim Oreilly (heads-up, I know him and been to many of his conferences in the past), adds to the piles of critical thoughts of this all. I specially found Small technology’s (Aral & Laura, who I also know well) Web0 manifesto a interesting thought.

web3 = decentralisation + blockchain + NFTs + metaverse
web0 = web3 – blockchain – NFTs – metaverse
web0 = decentralisation

web0 is the decentralised web.

Pulling all the “corporate right-libertarian Silicon Valley bullshit.” out of Web3, leaving us with a decentralised web.

Something I believe is a landmark on the way to the future destination of the distributed web. (I’m aware web isn’t the right term rather it should be internet but as most people experience the internet via the web…).

I think about this a lot as I look at the very notion of a public service internet and the very idea of a public service stack. The decentralisation move still has elements of neoliberatiasm which puts dependence on the individual. This is fine if you got time, resource and knowledge. Those without are out of luck?

As you can imagine not everyone has these but in a distributed model you can trust others to support/help/collaborate to lessen the cognitive/environmental/time load. This gives everybody the ability to benefit from a distributed internet.

If that isn’t the future, I’m not sure what is?

To me, the distributed model is a superset, supporting the decentralised and even some aspects of centralised models. Federated is also interesting to me but for many different reasons.

The incidental contact high mix

NHS Nurse with mask and halo
Found on a wall in the Northern Quarter of Manchester, modified by me

My first new mix for 2022 and it comes at a time as Covid19 variant Omnicron has come, peaked and is likely going to move us things from Pandemic to Endemic? Who knows…? Lets hope!

Regardless of this all, I was thinking about the incredible people who helped us all through the pandemic and kind of been forgotten, while also flicking through the new book dictionary of obscure sorrows. I came across the incidental contact high, which is described as “a innocuous touch by someone just doing their job, that you find more meaningful that you’d like to admit.”

Anyway, its really good mix with lots of new tunes, a bit of pace (134bpm-ish) and a good feeling throughout. I’m loving Protoculture’s Music is more than mathematics and the unique remix of Shnorkel.

Enjoy the mix on mixcloud or on my own mixing site.

Here is the full playlist.

  1. Love Technology – Protoculture
  2. Orenida (extended mix) – Gouryella/Ferry Corsten
  3. Collider (Jorn van Deynhoven remix) – Thomas Bronzwaer
  4. Music is more than mathematics (extended mix) – Protoculture
  5. Feel it (extended mix) – Cosmic gate
  6. Shnorkel (Thank you city remix) – Ido Ophir and Miki Litvak
  7. Go (extended mix) – Protoculture
  8. Tiger (extended remix) – Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor
  9. Tears (protoculture remix) – Dakota
  10. Alone (extended mix) – Maarten de jong
  11. Headliner – Jorn van Deynhoven

The ethical dilemma cafe is back for 2022 and its coming to Manchester in April

EULA on the entrance to the cafe

The ethical dilemma cafe in 2014 really shook up the already amazing Mozilla Festival. The walls have eyes went on to be nominated for a design award, for years afterwards the festival embraced playful interventions and its still something people talk about.

In the background there has been talk about what would the ethical dilemma cafe look like in 2020? By the time me and Jasmine talked about it here, there was enough momentum between Mozilla’s internet health report and BBC R&D’s research into the public service internet, to really make it happen.

With Mozilla Festival currently mainly virtual, it was a good time to try a more distributed festival. Hence why not run the ethical dilemma cafe locally in Manchester, in a real cafe with real hot drinks and with the  general public too? Heck yes!

Ethical dilemma cafe 2022 fringe event
In 2014 we worried about hidden microphones, secret cameras and toys with prying eyes. We asked for off buttons, clearer privacy terms and control over our own data. What has changed since then? Are our worries still valid? What are the new areas of concern? Or are we just more accepting of relinquishing control?

Last last week it was announced along side the complete schedule for the 2022 festival.

In 2014 we worried about hidden microphones, secret cameras and toys with prying eyes. We asked for off buttons, clearer privacy terms and control over our own data. What has changed since then? Are our worries still valid? What are the new areas of concern? Or are we just more accepting of relinquishing control?

The Ethical Dilemma Cafe is a relaxing space to grab a free coffee and meet fellow festival participants. However there is a catch!

You will have the opportunity to let your personal data take you on a journey through a space full of wonder and intrigue, where you will uncover the power of data and algorithms and how they shape your world, whether you’re aware of it or not. But nothing in this world is for free, the dilemma you face is your willingness to cross the threshold and be complicit in the interpretation of how your data defines you and your community, in perpetuity.

This year the Cafe will show you how your data is reflecting your identity in the digital world. How measurement, categorisation, and labelling of humans by machines determines the barriers and privilege you experience. It will prompt you to question if the established metrics are measuring the right things, at an appropriate granularity and how their influence touches your online and offline experiences.

If you are local to Manchester, join us from April 25-26 2022

If you are local to Manchester or can travel from around the UK, you don’t want to miss this 2 day event. Put it in your calendar now, Tuesday 25th & Wednesday 26th April.

Get your Mozilla Festival tickets now, and look out for much more details in the coming months.

My weird lucid dream: Google’s relaunch into tablets?

Old trational Japanese house

I had a strange dream last night… No not that kind of a dream!

I have been doing a number of sleeping/dreaming tests during the pandemic including trying build back up my ability to lucid dream.

With that, I had quite a amazing one last night (Wednesday 2nd Feb 2022)

I lucid dreamed I was seeing the Google’s new attempt at the tablet market. It was different size tablets, from 7inches to 13inches. I assume it might have been the news about root access to the remarkable 2 earlier the same day, which got me thinking. The noteworthy part of the dream was the sales room was in a traditional Japanese wooden house (complete opposite of  apple’s white and glass stores) a distance from the centre of town, surrounded by lots grass and water. Plus the tablets were housed in wood rather than plastic or metal.

There were many pastel colours from yellow, purple, red,  greens, browns and blacks. The tablets were quite thin but comfortable to hold. The tablet supported both finger control and a thin pen like stylus. The screen had some different kind of technology, like colour ink but a more vivid.  I expected to see a new futuristic version of Android to be installed on picking one up. But instead was greeted with Fuchsia.

Other features? Multiple day battery, Google tensor chip, light to carry, usual wireless connections including bluetooth, wifi, nfc, 5g but no cameras and not waterproof only dust proof. All for 349 pounds?

Later the same day I heard the news story that Google is rethinking tablets again. Honestly had no idea but I don’t think for how great the tablets were I was dreaming, google is going to do wood tablets… or will they *wink*

Roughly 4 days of app tracking with Duck duck go’s app tracking

4 days of app tracking with Duck duck go's app tracking system

Following the post a couple of days ago about Duck Duck Go’s app tracking system.

I had planned to make an update to the original post but after reading a few other pieces about it, thought it deserves another post.

So here is 4 days of data, and there are some really questionable tracking in there. For example I didn’t open my ereader prestigio app over the last 4 days but there was a tracking call to Google. Oura and Beeper are sending a lot of tracking calls. Wasn’t pleased with the calls to Facebook from Orfi and surprised OKCupid and POF apps were not tracking more.

I am thinking about maybe installing another app which does similar but unsure if I trust them as much duck duck go right now. Oh and I got my invite for Duck Duck Go’s mail tracking today too.

Fixing the pebble smartwatch with the new 3D buttons (Kinda)

Fixed pebble2 smartwatch

Over the last few weeks I have switched from the Pebble Time watch which a friend gave me. To the slightly fixed button Pebble 2 watch. I finally tried decided to just go with superglue in strategic positions.

The buttons are 3D printed to fit without glue but they didn’t quite pop like described in the video which came with the buttons. I obviously didn’t watch enough as I assumed I would need to open the pebble watch to fit the buttons (no idea why I did this). The upside of this being not breaking the watch and understanding how to maybe replace the battery too.

So far its good although the pressure of pressing the buttons did crack the plastic and I had to re-glue it again in even tighter positions. But its generally staying put now. I’ll likely do similar for the other pebble which  has broken buttons.

Its a good fix as the watch battery is much longer lasting than the Pebble time, even with the HR sensor and other features turned on. Maybe a charge every 4-5 days currently.

I would certainly recommend the 3D printed buttons for those looking to extend the life of the pebble.

 

Trying out duck duck go’s app tracking protection

Duck duck go's app tracking protection on Android

I was in the queue to get access to the Duck Duck Go’s app tracking protection and yesterday caught a invite on my old Pixel 4 phone.

Its only been one day but you can see above there has been 1650 tracking attempts. Many from Beeper app, which is my instant messaging app of choice. I can forgive them as beeper is under heavy development and segment & functional seems to be a customer/feedback data platforms.
This is similar to Oura and I can see why Google would be tracking as I do connect it to Google Fit anyway.

On the annoying side, Orfi is a app which my volleyball teams have switched to from using facebook events. The Facebook and Google trackers is worry some but its only when the app is open, which isn’t most of the time. Likewise the Philips Hue app tracking is annoying, as I do have that open a lot for controlling my lights. Plume is a tricky one but I will look through the settings to see if there is something which could be turned off.

Frankly its all really interesting to see and funny enough, the battery life of my Pixel 6 has completely changed. Usually its at about 75% after a day but today its at 85%. Not much different but the apps using the most battery power has completely changed.

Of course this is all after one day, so I expect I’ll see what happens over time and likely write a follow up.

Duck Duck Go are on fire and we need to see more of this…

 

Those Manchester advertising screens, need to standby at night

Manchester's advertising screens have a standby problem?
Left and middle is with the backlight on an right is one of the only ones with the backlight off. (heck it could be broken?)

I previously wrote about the advertising screens Manchester Council has deployed in the middle of pavements and walking spaces. The backlash was swift but things have settled down again now the screens are in place.

What I found strange about them, is they don’t seem to suspend. Or at least thats what I thought till I finally saw a few at night with no backlight. However most of the ones I see at night have the screen on but with nothing showing. The glow of a LCD screen with black screen is easily spotted at night.

I can’t help but think what a waste of electricity and certainly renews my thoughts about eink/epaper screens for advertising. Which funny enough BMW revealed their color changing concept car. Likely one of the biggest eink displays I have seen in a long while.

I saw in the Guardian on Sunday,

Manchester electronic ad boards each use electricity of three households.Freedom of information request shows screens that earn council rent of £2.4m a year consume more than 11,000kWh annually.

Well that really puts my thoughts about the lack of standby/suspend really into context. And I had no idea some were monitoring the environment too!

22 are able to monitor pedestrian footfall and air quality – something the council says will only be used internally to inform policy.

Used internally? I very much doubt it. Remember the advertising bins in London?

The Metaverse* vs The Public Service Internet, coming to Mozfest in March

Metaverse vs Public Service InternetOver the last few months theres been a ton of interest in the metaverse, we all know why. Its been annoying seeing people wooing over something which others have started building decades earlier.

Off the back of the hype for the corporate metaverse (I really want to separate the hard work others have done/doing from what the likes of Facebook/Meta are attempting to do – aka take it over for their own benefit). I started to explore the corporate metaverse in a blog and previous to that the parallels with digital and physical spaces.

Metaverse

This got me thinking about the values and ethics which make the public service internet so important and so different from the corporate metaverse. But rather than think it out myself alone, I wrote a proposal for Mozfest 2022 to explore this in a discussion with a number of people. Evaluating emerging technology to understand its benefits and its problem. To hopefully shape the technology for the benefit of the public and society, is the goal of the session.

I’m extremely proud to say it was accepted and in March this year, I will lead the session sketching out the stark differences.

I almost want to add Web3 to the line up, but I believe there will be plenty to cover just in the metaverse alone.

Want to be at the session? Grab a early bird ticket before they go! You can also volunteer to help make the whole festival amazing.

Why is healthy only associated with morning people?

Someone doing yoga in the open air
Took me a long time to find a good picture, and when I saw it I thought about someone doing yoga in the evening. Although it could be someone doing yoga in the early morning – dammit!

So this bugs me… and I can’t be the only one?

When ever there is advice on being healthy, there is the typical advice of going to bed early and wake up early. Indicating the only way to be healthy is to be a morning person? (if you don’t subscribe to the notion of morning larks and night owls then this might sound like bull to you from the start)

I’m not the picture of health but I think its something which needs a rethink?

It’s clear some people are morning people, some are night people. Heck some are evening & afternoon people. Equating this with health feels like lazy nonsense.

I understand in the age before electricity, indoor lighting and 24hour access to a lot of things (including gyms, travel, etc), it made sense that maybe healthy people fitted the profile of someone who went to bed during darkness and got the most sunshine during the day. However maybe things are different now? Especially now Owls can work the hours which fit their natural circadian rhythm. Surely the effect of trying to fit into a world made for Larks has a negative effect and so the amount of people who are healthy Owls will increase over future generations? Just a thought?

Looking into the universe
Look what you are missing out on…larks!

Maybe if I read the scientific papers, I might be convinced one way or another. Although this or this doesn’t help my case. Although… there is this and this ha!

But I’m more thinking about the perception of larks as the image of health, pictures of people doing yoga during the sunrise, etc. My nonscientific advice follows this one, should an owl try to turn into a lark?.

Whether you’re a lark or an owl, you still likely need seven to eight hours of sleep.
• If you don’t get enough sleep, what time you go to bed or rise won’t matter-you’ll still experience the side-effects, from depression to a lack of concentration to problems with coordination.
• If you break your natural sleep cycle by forcing yourself to get up early, you’ll be tired, less attentive, and not nearly as productive throughout the day.

Something else to keep in mind: Not all “high-powered” people are early risers. Though we do hear stories about tycoons who don’t need more than four hours of sleep at night, these are the exception-not the rule.

Last year, scientists discovered that our skin cells may hold the clues to whether or not we are larks or owls. That’s right: you’re internal clock may be pre-programmed to be an early riser or late-nighter. So don’t mess with Mother Nature. Go to bed when you are tired, and get up when you are well-rested. Period.

This is consistent with everything I have read to date, also begging the question I answered at the start?

Of course I wrote this at night and published it at night.

Long live the night owls!

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Jan 2022)

Mozfest 2022

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed thinking about the security & privacy of live facial recognition, Qualcomm’s always on smartphone camera and the erosion of community over convenience.

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 seeing the work around better AI pictures, Lush closed down its social media accounts. and even Elon Musk & Jack Dorsey’s doubts about Web3.


Mozilla Festival 2022 tickets now available

Ian thinks: There is so much to love about the Mozilla festival and 2022 will include a virtual mozfest and a more distributed programme over months. Its exciting to be part of something special.

App tracking via tunnel technology

Ian thinks: I always found tunneling technologies like VPNs powerful ways to understand the characteristics of networks. Duck duck go’s app tracking uses the technique to shine a light on app surveillance on Android devices.

WordPress Matt’s humble thoughts on saving the internet

Ian thinks: Personally I find Matt Mullenweg one of the most humble and thoughtful people out of the valley. I would never underestimate him and the open interconnected services he’s creating. I find this profile of him clearly one to watch.

Technocultural through the eyes of black technology

Ian thinks: This talk by Dr Andre Brook is a strong talk given at Microsoft with a lot of pointers to positive alternative technologies and approaches which benefit all minorities.

1000 true fans, back with a vengeance?

Ian thinks: Kevin Kelly’s original blog was well thought out and this follow on looking at coming technology does give Kevin’s original blog a lot of legs.

Sleep walking into an advertisers dream

Ian thinks: Although very much early days, the studies so far are alarming and needs a lot of consideration. They had me, as someone who tracks their sleep every night.

Calculating the true environmental impact of AI

Ian thinks: Quantifying the carbon impact of different aspects of our lives is critical. What I like about this is not just applying it AI systems but the different practical methods being developed.

Could Filecoin be used for more public service purposes?

Ian thinks: Within this interesting discussion, there is aspects which could be useful for the public service internet. Shame Kevin pulls Mikeal off talking about it in detail.

The Economist’s 2022 look ahead has a couple of good points

Ian thinks: These prediction type things are everywhere at the start of the year. However I did find 2 stories about African fashion and Hybrid work, had some good points.

The last word on Meta

Ian thinks: This Vice documentary pretty much sums up everything to be said about Facebook/Meta. Even includes Lawrence Lessig along other smart people.


Find the archive here

The ravers ravenous retro revenge mix

The ravers ravenous retro revenge mix

With my thumb getting better, I’m doing more mixes again on the good old pacemaker device. This one was part of a much longer mix but the start was a bit crappy so cut it off and included the last 80%.

The ravers ravenous retro revenge came about after watching the Matrix Resurrections. There was lots of parts (seen it a few times now and still score it 8/10) but I found this line fascinating.

Morpheus: Nothing comforts anxiety like little nostalgia.

I have a lot to say about nostalgia but I decided to do a mix where it feels like the mix is being taken over by the rave. Does it work? I’ll leave it for you to decide. Maybe I should have called it R4 instead?

Listen to the Ravers ravenous retro revenge mix, on mixcloud and my own cloud.

Enjoy!

  1. Electric Sunrise – Mental Overdrive
  2. Air conditionné – Julian Jeweil
  3. Silence (Jerome Isma-Ae Extended remix) – D-Nox, Baya, Lenn V
  4. I want you (Forever) (Full on mix) – Carl Cox
  5. Opium (Quivver remix) – Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor
  6. Open up – Leftfield
  7. Sleeper in metropolis (Club mix) – Anne Clark
  8. Rewind (Makkas remix) – Emma Hewitt
  9. Charly (Alley cat mix) – The Prodigy
  10. Feel the beat (JS16 dark mix) – Darude
  11. The storm – Interitus Dei
  12. Back to earth (Rave mix) – Yves Deruyter
  13. Unchainied – Diego Morrill
  14. The sky – Summerland

My new years resolutions for 2022

Headphones and Camera selfie
Can’t you tell how much I hate selfies?

Its been quite a year and everybody is looking for a better year in 2022

Following my review of last year… here’s my New Years Resolutions for 2022 which follows on from 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 ones.

  1. Live in another country for a short while
    I am determined to push myself out of my comfort zone and experience what its like living in a country with a different culture/language and customs. I feel I’m closer now than ever but there is a lot of work I need to do to make it so.
  2. Spend more time getting to know the tech community in Portugal
    Following from the previous one, I’m considering where the digital nomad visas are available. Estonia is the gold standard, its a great place with a lot of good things for it and tons of potential. However Estonia is a long way away. Portugal I like, the visa is good and its a lot closer for quick flights back. Germany and Spain‘s nomad visa is less great.
    With this all in mind, I’m thinking I should get to know the tech scene in Portugal if I’m serious about living there.
  3. Finish my dating book
    The book is being worked on but I feel the need to get it done, my sister suggests its in my star signs to get things done & dusted. But I do feel if I can move things forward enough, so I can spend a lot more time and energy on the first resolution. Right now its wait and see what agents and publishers say and if that goes nowhere self publish it.
    I’m also checking out platforms such as smashwords, Wattpad, etc too. Suggestions are welcomed if you know one suitable for a non-fiction, memoir with some self-help aspects?
  4. Head even further a field with the scooter
    Following my holiday around the common travel area, I am much more up for driving on the scooter either up through Scotland, down western Ireland or into the Netherlands and Belgium. Summer makes sense to do it and I feel full of confidence about going a head with it.
  5. Send a email out to friends and family once or twice a year
    Now the Volleyball teams are mainly off Facebook and Manchester Futurists is closed down. I’m spending almost zero time in Facebook and jumped on the selfhost train, so something which only invited friends & family would see. My thought dipping in and out last year is to run yet another wordpress site but with limited private access. Although I’m also considering a small microblogging system like Mastodon or a fork like smalltown.
  6. Find an alternative to the pebble watch
    As mentioned in the review of last year, I did try fixing the previous pebble smartwatches and bought the Bangle.js.2. I see the fixes might get me through another year or so depending on what the rebble community are up to. While the Bangle.js.2 could be a longer term investment as I or the community could write Javascript apps to interface with almost anything. I’m not keen on the touchscreen but without connecting it to a phone, the battery life is almost 30days at a time. Which is great.
    I am keeping an eye open on the hybrid smartwatch space but everyone is so hellbent on LCD & OLED smartwatches and the potential pixel watch, isn’t close to exciting for me.
  7. Listen to a Audiobook every month.
    I’m going to try this one again as I was so close and this time, going to start listening to Audiobooks in the Gym/Spa and when walking around Manchester. I’ll also reduce the number of podcasts to allow for more audiobook listening.
  8. 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 and enough spirits to put most bars to shame.
  9. Go to a new Rollercoaster park
    This one is something I have been thinking about for a long while. I really want to go to some of the European parks which I hear a lot about but never actually been. There are so many including Europapark in Germany, Efteling & Walibi in the Netherlands and Energylandia, Poland. Heck I have overlooked Flamingo Land in Yorkshire, forever!
  10. Take the Diabolo skills up a level
    Although things are massively better with the Diabolo skills, I really need to get my head around a few of the bad habits I have picked up. Such as winding the Diabolo after a whip, Vertex’s to tightly wound and I still can’t do the endless suicide which should be easy now.
  11. Put some attention into dating and love
    In 2021, I kinda stopped bothering due to the pandemic, then started again. But by late summer, decided to focus elsewhere as I am sick of sites like OkCupid. Next year, I’m going to pursue different models of dating and love. Its clear as day, my lifestyle and outlook isn’t compatible for 90% of the women I see. So its time to seek those who are much more compatible and take some bold moves again.
  12. Seek out a better regular spa
    During the summer of 2021, I joined the Bannatyne gym because they had a good deal and have 3 places complete with spa in central Manchester. This has been great but I found the closing time annoying (for example they shut at 5pm on the weekends). Now I’m willing to pay for regular spa time, its time to see what else I can get for a little bit more.

There is the 12 for 2022. Covid19 is going to have a effect on most of there but like always, some may get moved to 2023 and that is fine. I’m staying safe with vaccinations.

Have a good new year all!

A review of my 2021 resolutions

Mountain ride

2021 has been a tricky year there is has been so much going on. I was going to round it up as 2 jabs and a blood test but now that’s 3 jabs and a blood test. I’m also expecting next year it will be 2 more jabs and a blood test. I’m still not comfortable with injections and really look forward to when the world is vaccinated (yeah maybe 2024).

From a  Quantified Self data  point of view it looked like this.

  • My average sleep duration has stay consistent at 7hours 50mins.  Deep sleep dropped from 4.35hrs to 3.50hrs.
  • 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 switched from Google tasks to todolist.txt and have 148 open tasks and completed 1,919 over the year
  • Been to a few places in 2021 including Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool, London, Alton towers, Bristol, Bath, Weston, Tetbury, Sheffield, Leeds this year. This is on top of the places I went to during the common area holiday (Carlisle, Stranraer, Belfast, Derry, Ballycastle, Giants Causeway, Newcastle, Dublin, Holyhead, Chester).
  • According to Trakt, my most played show is Real time with Bill Maher and Last week tonight with Jon Oliver. Film wise it was Zack Snyder’s Justice League which surprises me. Most listened to podcast is the Daily Tech News Show again.
  • I watched 760 hours of media and added 510 items that is a lot, but understandable. I also read 647 articles via Wallabag.

Myself working in a coffee shop

Here’s my review of 2021’s resolutions.

  1. Live in another country for a short while
    Not happened yet, but who knows maybe 2022 will be the start? There was some good news that BBC employees can now finally travel abroad and can work in another country for about 2 weeks. Main objection for more seemed to be around tax. With a digital nomad visa, tax wouldn’t be such problem depending on where I go. Of course this is completely new territory for me and likely the company. It needs a lot of work to happen smoothly.
  2. Head further a field with the scooter
    Regardless of the pandemic, I actually drove to Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland (Europe) and then Wales before back to England. The common travel no less. All over 4 days by scooter (and ferry of course). It was actually quite straight forward but had AA cover just in-case. I also did a new country, Northern Ireland and drove in Europe which are usually in my resolutions. It was amazing and the weather held up nicely throughout.
  3. Take better care of my skin.
    Finally switched away from Vaseline to CeraVe, and I’ll be honest my skin does feel less thirsty for moisture.
  4. Step up my gratitude’s
    I created a small wordpress site on my raspberry pi just for daily gratitudes. It works quite well, I can duplicate a entry and change the details. As its wordpress I can do it from the web or via the app on my phone. Thought about using the email to post but theres little need for it right now.
    I did notice wordpress’s jetpack started to give me rewards notifications for blogging every day. Of course I turned that crap off quickly because it felt like Snapchat streaks.
  5. Host more film nights and dinner parties
    Like last year for obvious reasons, this was still tricky but there were a few small dinners and a cocktail night. Although there was a second degree dinner of some kind recently, and no one got Covid19..
  6. Spend even more time with the Diabolo
    This has come a long massively, I even bought a fire diabolo and upped my LED kits for the firejams. When I did travel, I did pack a small diabolo and even collapsible sticks.. The fire diabolo is scary as hell but I’m tempted to upgrade to the lighter and geared version, as it would allow me to do much more tricks with fire.Diabolo spinning top
  7. Send a email out to friends and family once or twice a year
    This sits on my task list and haven’t done anything about it yet. I see emails from friends like Brian and Mark, which spurs me to have a look again.
  8. Self host and move to more decentralised/fediverse services.
    I’m quite enjoying self hosting again. Its something I did with my blog a long time ago but then updates were a pain (heck I was using Windows 2000 server!). Now with Yunohost, I have auto update on because everything is backed up regularly. As most of the services are simple, its not a big problem. I have kept public facing services on the Raspberry Pi and private ones on my NAS only accessible via VPNs. running on the NAS. The RaspberryPi with Yunohost is a great platform for self-hosting.
    Generally I am using a lot more decentralised and fediverse services daily. Be it Matrix bridges via Beeper which bridges almost everything. I mainly post to Mastdon and cross post to Twitter. My volleyball teams have finally moved away from Facebook to a app called Orfi. Meaning I’m spending even less time on Facebook and I did un-follow almost everyone and everything (not that I looked at the timeline anyway).
  9. Find an alternative to the pebble watch
    T
    wo things have happened.
    First up I tried to fix the buttons which is the biggest problem. I bought some 3D printed shapeway buttons to replace the broken ones. This worked but the 3D printed ones are so delicate, that I pretty much broke one of the two I bought. Even a friend with smaller fingers found it very difficult. So I have left it for now.
    The second thing I did was kickstarted the Bangle.js 2 smartwatch which runs completely on Javascript. I haven’t done much with it yet…
    Bangle.js smartwatch
  10. Listen to a Audiobook every month.
    I almost done this with 10 out of 12 audio books. I spent maybe too much time listening to podcasts I feel plus I started 3 other audiobooks but haven’t completed them. I don’t know if I will finish 2 of them as its not that interesting.
  11. Take a more political & strategic view on the status quo
    I have taken a more political view, especially around diversity & inclusion. Talking to many different people in real terms without jumping to conclusions is something I have done pretty well with gentle humor and  sensitivity. More for next year I think.
  12. Finish my dating book
    I have actually been working quite hard on the book. I did say something about it previously. In short Hannah who such a great writer and editor (you should really hire her!) rewrote so much, then I convinced Valeska, who came with a fresh and a different perspective to edit and restructure it. Another friend Angie offered a ton of useful information and ultimately pointed me towards the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbooks.
    Looking through the contacts in the ebook version, I picked a number of publishers, agents and publishers who could be interested in the dating book. I’m giving it a try before I go down the self publish route (which I’m edging towards as I have a lot of the skills, contacts and knowledge needed to publish it myself).

The endless ambient cold mix

Its been a long time since i put out a Pacemaker mix. Main reasons being in August I damaged my thumb playing Volleyball. When using the Pacemaker device, I use the thumb to grip the device which was painful. I tried using my left hand but its kinda made for a right handed person (due to the positioning of buttons etc). As that took months to heal (its still not 100%) I also came down with a cold which turned into the flu. Luckily it was pre-omicron covid19 variant and I was testing all the way through the month long (as some people have called it) the mother of all colds.

With all this, I was able to pump out a mix while lying in bed one night. My friend Jasmine suggested it should be called “the sick mix.” So taking that notion, I present a more ambient slowed down mix from my usual mixes.

The endless ambient cold mix, on mixcloud and my own cloud.

Enjoy!

  1. Dark star – Delerium
  2. Troy (Push remix) – Sinead O’Connor
  3. A break in the clouds (Main mix) – Holden
  4. Soloris – Andro
  5. Flashback – Laurent Garnier
  6. Subrasumstimulation (Johnson mix) – Oliver Lieb
  7. Running up the hill (Jerome isma-ae bootleg mix) – Placebo
  8. The Storm – Intertus Dei
  9. Rheinkraft – Oliver Klien
  10. Grasshopper (Dance version) – Sander Van Doorn
  11. Raw Cut – Laurent Garnier
  12. Follow me (Roger shah extended deeper translation remix) – Jam Spoon
  13. Anomaly (CJ Art’s underwater tales remix) – Gordey Tsukanov
  14. Dead Cities – Future sound of London

The toxic masculinity experience

Macho is bullsh*t

On Saturday something happened which irked me.

Unisex toilets have become common with cubicles for each person. They sometimes have a shared hand wash area. It makes a lot of sense, I mean how many times have we seen the queue for the female toilets, while the male toilet line is non-exist. For the trans people it cuts right through all the toilet nonsense you hear in the fear mongering parts of the media.

The cafe was closing and I popped into the toilet before going home through the pouring Manchester rain. I put my mask on, walked to the toilet and opened the door which contains the hand wash area, baby changing and 2 cubicles. As I open the door and walk through. I’m facing 4 white men and one of them has their (I’ll be blunt) dick out and the rest are fooling around, laughing. I was not impressed at all!

The only thing you respect is stupidy

I’m shocked but also very annoyed because I’m thinking what if a young person had come through the door instead of me? Heck what if any one had come into the toilet expecting to go to the bloody toilet?!

They all laugh and the one with his private parts out, jiggles around like a flipping idiot. They say something I can only describe as laddish nonsense but I had my headphones on with my mask (so they can’t see how angry I was and likewise I couldn’t hear them well).

They parted as I look at the far open door cubicle, half expecting me to play along with their disgusting stupidity . The cubicle I head towards has the door open but with another one of the men peeing on the toilet seat which is down. I hear the others laugh saying something about I might want the other one as he’s busy trying to aim for the toilet.

So I disappear in the other cubicle, lock the door behind me and use it like a decent respectful person. But during my time in there I was even more angry about everything which just happened. When I came out, the men had left the hand washing area and were sitting by the cafe exit.

As I left they said something along the lines of its funny eh? I just shook my head with my headphones on. Kind of a shame on you all, shake of the head. They were not impressed and kidded around with each other. I left thinking what a bunch of (literally) dicks.

Your whole way of life is bullsh*t

On the walk home, I thought about what I really wanted to say and maybe I should have done more. In the end I got about 5mins into my journey home and turned back to tell the cafe what happened, knowing they would likely be long gone, I was right.

I told the serving staff and they were pretty shocked but said they were getting a bad feeling about them when they complained about why everything was gluten free. One of the staff made a good point that once the door to the toilet space is opened can be seen by anyone sitting eating their brunch not even going to the toilet. We were agreement, if they ever (not like they will) enter again, they will be told to leave. There was a suggestion to look through the CCTV, but unsure if they went ahead and did that after I left. Part of me thinks this could be important as it is a crime and maybe I should have reported it to the police?

The whole thing really annoyed me but I think I handled it the best I could. The easier thing would be to lash out (I really wanted to kick them in a certain place) or worst still  play along. But I made it very clear they were out of order without getting into a dispute. Maybe I could have done more but not sure what else?

That macho enough for you?

Its been a long time since I faced such blatant toxic masculinity. I am very aware this isn’t news for a lot of women who experience flashing and worst.

I’m interested what others would have done in my position?

You might wonder why the pictures of one eight seven? When ever I think about Toxic Masculinity, I always remember how great the film is at uncovering the macho nonsense.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Dec 2021)

Morpheus with agent smith

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed how Google & Deepmind used patients data without permissionhow aesthetics has dominated technology reviews and comparing social media’s effects to alcohol.

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 seeing the EU’s first steps in creating a Interoperable Marketthe open source approach to solar power and the understanding technology won’t solve the coming climate collapse.


The metaverse is a zoo and a silicon valley surveillance dream

Ian thinks: I have many thoughts about the metaverse, but there is so much about the matrix which is apt for Silicon Valley’s metaverse, Agent Smith says “I hate this place, this zoo, this prison, this reality, whatever you want to call it.” While Morpheus says “What is the Matrix? Control.” Both fitting.

The absolute importance of trust and accountability

Ian thinks: As more and more of public services go online, the absolute importance of trust and accountability needs to be established. We can’t leave it to private enterprises as you see with meta, to provide trusted services

Rushkoff & Javis’s invite to redesign the internet

Ian thinks: I like the idea of the course, the reading list is very good. With such heavy weights I’m keen to see what may come from it?

What comes after the social feed?

Ian thinks: Its good to see some early positive public research about aspects of social we all take for granted. Look forward to further development.

The goldmine of data on our phones

Ian thinks: The EFF’s latest podcast on what the police and malicious actors do with the data on our phones once they have it for a short while is quite something to hear and think about.

Is Venture Capital as harmful as we suspect?

Ian thinks: The Freakonomics give a balanced view on venture capital. I’m less positive but also hopefully with some of the details in the podcast.

Can crypto provide wealth to black communities or is it all a trap?

Ian thinks: I’m personally deeply conflicted about crypto but very concerned at how its being pushed as a way to rebuild generational wealth within the black community. Especially by the community its self. Crypto and the Neo-liberalism narrative doesn’t seem to fit neatly.

Whats the difference between Sky, Whatsapp, Anom, Signal, etc?

Ian thinks: Sky suing the US Government is a interesting point of reference, but also begs the question of whats ok and not in the encrypted messaging future.

The enemy in the home breaking relationships?

Ian thinks: The amount of IOT device in our home and their impact on our homes and human relationships is a ongoing concern, with no little good outcome on the horizon. On a similar branch Stacey outlines her problems with her IOT home.

 


Find the archive here

Those grey advertising boxes in Manchester

Those grey advertising boxes

There has been a lot said about Manchester’s grey advertising boxes. For a lot of people it will be annoying but as someone living in the city centre, having one right outside your flat isn’t annoying but damn right stupid.

The patch of pavement is already full of parked cars which you need to dodge, then Manchester council add to the problem reducing pavement space.

No wonder why people are culture jamming them.

And you can even imagine that lovely highline in Manchester. Which just got official backing. Hopefully without the advertisement…

https://twitter.com/Paul_SLG/status/1463582931243442186

Facebook’s metaverse is a petting zoo for control

Matrix Deus Ex Machina

Right, there is so much about the metaverse, I can’t help myself but comment.

Although I do love the Iceland tourist video piss take.

Lets be clear, the metaverse and what Facebook (bloody Meta) are planning is not a metaverse any one really wants. I’m calling it the corporate metaverse, as I do think there is some useful parts which are worth exploring. However there is too much which isn’t because its always described in a commercial/capitalism space.

Neal Stephenson who coined the term in Snowcrash, did proposal a virtual real estate owned by a global commercial group. So Meta isn’t that far off the mark, especially with Ernest Cline’s Ready player one making the metaverse the literal Oasis from the real world. Leading me to the conclusion that the metaverse is not a good idea for humanity.

So I thought about it and picked out some parts, framing it within mainly the Matrix.

The metaverse under capitalism

Morpheus with a battery

This is pretty damning but in the arms of a commercial company or market, you don’t need to look far to realise the Matrix has a lot of the answers.

Quoting Morpheus in the Matrix

“What is the Matrix? Control. The Matrix is a computer-generated dream world built to turn a human being into this.” *Holds up a battery*

I won’t go as far as to say a battery but rather a resource of data or funding (almost a cash cow?). The computer generated dream world is apt and the control statement is spot on!

While immersed in the computer generated dream world, we can/will  be controlled. Complete surveillance of movement, emotion, discussion, everything. Something of the big data pipe dream, but within the tight (fist) environment of a corporate provider (overlord). The temptation is there to maximize all the data (batteries).

Morpheus with agent smith

Quoting Agent Smith also in the Matrix

“I hate this place, this zoo, this prison, this reality, whatever you want to call it.”

Agent Smith complains about the Matrix the computer generated dream world. What got me was the idea of it being in a zoo (although prison and reality is perfect too), and even more so the idea of a petting zoo. The animals are always surveilled and controlled with fences and systems. So much so, it changes their behavior, the way they think, react, etc.

The reason why a petting zoo is because the corporate owners allow their extra paying customers to pet/play with the animals. Remember this is on top of the on-going surveillance. Petting zoos are fun for the customers but I’d say less so for the animals?

Some will laugh but frankly I’m not the only one (thankfully) thinking this.
While the rest of the media does its cheer-leading and stone throwing of meta’s metaverse. The debate (its not really a conversation) isn’t going anywhere useful.

The metaverse for the public interest?

I have thought quite a lot about what public service elements could exist within a public metaverse (oppose to one owned by a corporate entity, although I don’t actually think this will happen because companies don’t want to share and we know monopolies are very bad).

I remember when I first came across the fediverse, which thanks to the use of interoperability at different levels, allows you to move between different instances with minimal pain. The other absolute fantastic thing is being able to have different friends on different instances and having no real differences (Just like email). Whats this got to do with the public interest? Do you think the corporate entity would be interested in supporting this free form of communication? Can the animals in a petting zoo, talk to each other?

Thinking about the Matrix (there is a loose theme here).

“Your appearance now is what we call residual self image. It is the mental projection of your digital self.”

Residual self image and portability of identity is something a public metaverse could/should provide. Your self image is something you control and manage and across different instances/nodes/spaces or within the bigger metaverse. I can see modification based on the public space, in the same way most people change the way they look at a funeral or wedding. There will be spaces/nodes/instances where rules/cultural/ethos. Similar to the way, Mastodon have instance/server level rules.

There is a ton of real/virtual places type things where I’d lean on public architecture, thinking of Jane Jacobs incredible book.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

There must be a clear demarcation between what is public space and what is private space. Public and private spaces cannot ooze into each other as they do typically in suburban settings or in projects.

The metaverse must be created by everybody not just a privileged few or a corporate overlord. In a interconnected virtual space, it should be much easier to build your own and work together in a public way but this needs a lot of thought. There are lessons to be learned from our semi-democratic physical city/town planning.

With the metaverse being placed directly in the xR (extended reality) space. I certainly think its time we got to the infrastructural side of the metaverse. Everything from how data is used, how, where, etc. A long time ago I talked about X-Ray mode, so you can see the underlying data & infrastructure. Something like when Neo can finally see the Matrix code while still inside of it.

Matrix code of agents

Part of the data/code is of course the algorithms which should be public and transparent for the public benefit. Is something I’ve seen in parts elsewhere but not really in the xR space. It certainly would even up the scales. Its something we build into the living room of the future funny enough.

In summary

Although very messy thoughts, there are parts worth exploring. As mentioned at the start I think there is interesting parts to a metaverse but the corporate petting zoo is something which has become the dominate view. I see similar when people talk about social networking and social media. Their frame of reference is pinned to a dominate corporate wet dream and it clouds what it really could potentially if you start from the public interest at the core.