Urban Artistry presents… at Cultplex Manchester

 

 Martha: A Picture Story

Urban artistry is putting on a series of Street art documentaries every month at Cultplex.

The Streetart / Graffiti documentaries starts on Thursday the 4th of July.

Tickets are £5.50 and all screenings are 18+ Cinema doors will open at 7.30pm for an 8pm start. Food and drink are available from 6pm – 10pm.

The first one starts with Martha: A picture Story Year: 2019

If you are in Manchester and into street culture, this has to be a must!

I will be at MozFest House Amsterdam 2024

Woman sat on a chair in front of large screen in a light room

Less than a week after the PublicSpaces conference in Amsterdam is the Mozilla Festival House also in Amsterdam but just north of central station in Tolhuistuin on 11-13th June.

I will be part of the team running the Mozilla/BBCRD ethical dilemma cafe. You maybe asking what is the ethical dilemma cafe? Well there is more here and if you are deeply interested, we started pulling everything together here in this public github (barcamp style)

Panel discussion of 7 people sat on a chairs on a small stage with a host standing in front talking to the audience
Mozhouse AMS 2023

The Mozhouse schedule just went up and its looks great and matches the theme of solidarity and togetherness. Between the keynotes, workshops and talks, is some excellent people to spend time with.

As its a Mozilla House event, the event will focus on the issues with the Netherlands and the EU but have a heavy dose of the wider internet health concerns.

Get a sense of last year and book your tickets here.

I will be at PublicSpaces conference 2024

On June 6 and 7, PublicSpaces and Waag Futurlab will organise the annual PublicSpaces Conference. This year’s theme is ‘Taking Back the Internet!’ We’ll all be thinking and working towards a internet where we determine the rules, rather than it be dictated to us by the existing gatekeepers.

PublicSpaces conference with people sitting looking at a panel of speakers on stage with a large screens behind them all

Of course I’ll be there again and looking forward to getting right into the weeds of the technical stack to enable the vision. I’ll also be talking directly with someone quite special following their keynote speech.

Tickets are on sale now and keep an eye on #PubConf2024 for much more.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (May 2024)

Undersea internet cablesWe live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed while understanding the risks of wearable technologyDiscord public messages sold for profit and seeing the Investigatory Powers Bill approved.

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 America finally getting a online privacy billBitwarden and Proton giving away passkey support to all users including the non-paying ones. Finally Fairphone shows up the consumer tech industry with new levels of sustainability.


The long con of the XZ backdoor

Ian thinks: This video really explains whats known about the XZ backdoor and the Microsoft employee who saved so many in the industry from a unthinkable backdoor. The social engineering side is also fascinating and chilling.

Encryption in the age of surveillance

Ian thinks: This lightening talk is a harsh reminder of the current state of encryption law in the UK. Whittaker’s talk is aimed at the EU, which are facing similar legal objections around encryption and privacy,

Fast fashion under the limelight

Ian thinks: Not tech as such but related as I was looking at larger effects of social media on our collective conscious.

Enshitification explained in a way we can all understand

Ian thinks: When a very popular youtuber covers a issue such as enshitification, you know its hit the mainstream (plus it was word of the year last year). This is perfect to share with many other people.

Who looks after those undersea cables?

Ian think: The Verge’s piece about the importance and health of those super important internet cables is a good read and reminder of how important the physical cables are to so many.

Are we at Peak AI and can you say AI bubble?

Ian thinks: Zittrain’s recent podcasts looking at AI is worth your time. Although he use the metric of revenue & profit most of the time, there is parts across both podcasts asking about the public benefit. There is also a clear question about the problem of booms and bubbles.

Why men shouldn’t control AI?

Ian thinks: Although a very clicky headline, there are some really good points raised about the fragile egos of some men and the clear pointers to the lack of imagination and cooperation in a patriarchy. Read with a open mind.

Fediverse gets new Threads

Ian thinks: In the latest dot social podcast, Mike Cue is joined by Meta employees to talk about joining the fediverse. Techcrunch have a good cover of the conversation, Regardless of Meta, its clear the fediverse isn’t something which can be ignored.

23andMe? A welcomed update

Ian thinks: I have always been concerned about DNA testing, especially in the tech space. In this update the Freakonomics play an existing interview and update it with the very public downfall. I can’t help but think public health was ignored from the start.

You may know Transhumanism as another name?

Ian thinks: To understand Transhumanism is to understand the almost unwritten motivation of so much of the tech billionaires. Recently renamed techno-optimism, longtermism and even effective altruism, it crops up so much. Where better to listen to a critical view of it than on tech won’t save us?


Find the archive here

Inequality, narrative and Gary Stevenson

Me standing next to Gary Stevenson holding his book Trading game
Photo of myself and Gary after he signed the book for me and Dave

It started with my friend Dave, who lives in America talked to me about buying a copy of the Sunday telegraph because some guy called Gary Stevenson was featured in the magazine.

Who is Gary? I asked him. This lead to a series of long conversations, and I remember saying have you never read the Spirit & inner level?

Gary’s book the trading game, has had a lot interest. Which meant a tour to further encourage people to buy the book, obviously not in America. So I ended up buying a book and a ticket (all the tickets only were gone) and went to see him in Manchester. Similar to when I interviewed Cory Doctorow in Manchester.

Having only watched a few of his videos on YouTube I wasn’t sure what to expect. The room was packed to the maximum, I got the very last seat and it started. It was full of people who have read the book already so questions were quite defined. Everything from a question about a film/tv adaptation, will there be another book, etc.

I had two questions which I never got to ask but there were asked in similar fashion by others

  1. There must be organisations he wants to work with in a similar vein?
  2. Why a narrative over a non fiction book about inequality?

To the first one, Garry pretty much said there are but he’s going to focus on what he can bring to the space. His experience was quite unique and he wanted to focus on that angle.

The second one, Garry made a really good point about the lack of interest in economics and non-fiction books with people who could benefit the most from hearing his story. He felt the narrative was the way to reach many more people. 

I recently started the audiobook and about 30% through now. I have to say the narrative makes for an interesting story. As I learn more about the characters, history and context.

Is Gary economics going to answer the epidemic of inequality? Not likely but in combination with others (hence my first question). I can see him being like the Martin Lewis of economics. Speaking sense to busy people who are distracted by the underlying problem of inequality in every day life? I mentioned to him in the pub afterwards… find the others, as this is too big for one person.

20 years at the BBC today

Media City UK

Its incredible to say those words but in April, I have my birthday and also my work birthday.

20 years ago, I accepted the position as a XSLT developer for BBC WorldService in London, I did apply for two positions, the other one under BBC New Media central, which I did also got a offer for, but turned down.

20 year with some great and challenging moments. Everything from setting up RSS on 40+ language services BBC Worldservices, BBC Backstage, Perceptive Media, Perceptive Radio, Databox, Living roon of the future, Public Service Internet, Human values, Adaptive podcasting and so much more. Some of the best stuff has come from non-sanctioned collaborations and works, for example with BBC & Mozilla’s ethical dilemma cafe. beebcamps. barcamps. etc…

MyPDS and Perceptive Raido
MyPDS and Perceptive Raido in the museum of science and industry in Manchester (personal highlight)

Although there is lots of good, there has been a lot of frustration in those 20 years. Moving a public service corporation known for broadcasting and news to one leading the future of the internet, is something I compare to the innovators dilemma. My lack of interest in TV has been tricky but always thought it made sense if I focus on a public service internet.

In the last few months a lot of people I have worked with in BBC R&D, have left for new positions in other organisations. Some of them I have worked with for a long time and respect greatly (heck one saved my life).
I have been through many different BBC restructures and seen 5 different director generals (Mark Byford, Mark Thompson, George Entwistle, Tony Hall and Tim Davie) outline their plans for the future.
The pandemic changed working practice sometimes for the better in my own view and sometimes worst in other ways.

Being in the BBC R&D advisory team is still the best place for me currently. I still have the belief, its the place a public service internet can be realised in collaboration with others.

However, 20 years certainly makes you think… I didn’t plan to be at the BBC so long and certainly don’t plan to be around for another 20. I’m very aware of the industry changes but have an eye on where could be next? What ever I do, it needs to be to the benefit of a future public. My current research is focused on the future of social (not social media) something few organisations have the true time to look at in detail.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Apr 2024)

Back of 2 robots approaching the united nations

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed with Klarna’s ai chatbot 700 people foot in mouth statement, hearing the unlikely but technically possible Meta VR inception attack but Meta caught snooping on users via a VPN app they bought previously is chilling stuff

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 FCC adopting Cyber trust labelling, discussion about norms for wearables and Mozilla’s change in privacy partner.


Revisiting the dark forest filled with Gen AI

Ian thinks: A little while back, the dark forest theory was heavily mention and quoted. Followed up not long afterwards with thoughts about GenAI last year. I have found it useful to re-read it and reflect on where we are now in 2024.

Are you afraid? The race for AI robots

Ian thinks: Watching the race for AI robots, honestly makes me feel slightly defensive. Its harder to work out the real from the hype, and this video helps a lot with this. My defensiveness reminds me of a scene in War of the Worlds and the Animatrix second renaissance. How would you react?

Deep concerns about nostalgia

Ian thinks: I have always had a real problem with nostalgia and this episode of tech won’t save us really speaks about my concerns I see/hear too often.

Ian thinks: Open AI says its impossible but they are wrong, proven by nonprofit Fairly Trained and zero copyright material. Expect many more court cases around this all soon.

How the digital divide looks in the UK post pandemic

Ian thinks: This guardian short video highlights some of the deep dividing issues which are easily forgotten in the forever pace of technology

Anger and disillusionment with Ed Zitron

Ian thinks: I recently subscribed to better offline with Ed. Its refreshing to have a good informative rants about the state of the tech industry, however I found this interview with Paris a lot more constructive.

Retiring the Mozilla’s privacy aware location service

Ian thinks: Its sad news for a privacy service by Mozilla. Most major location services which end up inside of other applications/service, generally track the users. MLS went out of their way to minimise the tracking and now its going away.

Dodds is confused about SOLID, are you too?

Ian thinks: Although I’m less confused by SOLID Its worth reading the comments which include a almost confession. Leaning in on the community

Japan plan to restrict seniors at the cash point?

Ian thinks: When I first read this, I thought about what the UK does in this space. None of them use age, however there is good argument both ways in Japan. Anything to make all people think is a very good thing, when you consider the way these scams work.


Find the  archive here

Lazyweb: Kinetic powered LED Diabolo

I have been thinking a lot, regarding the idea about kinetic powered LED diabolos,

A while ago I bought some inline skate wheels and they work exactly how I thought. However trying to attach them to the diabolo is more tricky that I thought.

Really I need to sit in a hackspace and just go at it for a day or so.

LED diabolo plan

In my head there are two ways to go about this.

  1. The standard diabolo route with a spinning axle.
    I could extend the diabolo axle and attach the inline wheel loose to the outside. In theory, the diabolo would spin as one piece and the loose inline wheel which has a bit of weight would generally spin far less than the diabolo axle. With this, the dynamo will light the wheel. Of course this might not work.
  2. The geared diabolo route with a static axle.
    This one is much more complex but a geared or bearing diabolo gets incredible speeds because the axle has a bearing within it. The big question is to either extend the bearing out to the inline wheel or add a bearings to the inline wheel’s dynamo?
    I also been wondering if the cups could be used to hold the inline wheel?

Ultimately it seems all possible but it just needs time. I write this encouraging others to give it a try. Maybe I’ll get some time off and get myself down to Hackspace Manchester (hacman) or DoES in Liverpool?

Someone tell me the physics don’t work one way or another, heck tell me how it could actually work…

Black coffee Jupiter vermouth

Black coffee Jupiter vermouth in a small container
Black coffee Jupiter vermouth

During a interesting time in Barcelona recently, me and my partner went to the University of Vermouth. A workshop about vermouth, where you get to learn about it, how its made, where it came from, taste a selection and even make your own. It was really good, as I hadn’t really thought much about Vermouth beyond sweet, dry and rosso (which is just added caramel), in cocktails I make or order.

Like cocktails there is a wealth of differences and unique tastes. (I will be looking out for Noilly Pratt Vermouth), although it was a interesting point of Vermouth as a lower alcohol alternative, especially when mixed with just ice cubes.

Anyway, we got to make our own Vermouth and I got to say, I really enjoyed this part and thought quite a bit about what I’d put into a Vodka or Gin Martini (if you don’t know, its generally 1 part Dry vermouth and 4-6 parts Gin or Vodka)

How to make the black coffee Jupiter vermouth

Making the Vermouth quite important.

So I made Black Coffee Jupiter Vermouth, which includes.

  • 10 droplets of Blueberry
  • 10 droplets of Strawberry
  • 20 droplets of Juniper
  • 5 droplets of Rosemary
  • 10 droplets of Coffee
  • 10 droplets of Chilli
  • 10 droplets of Cinnamon
  • 10 droplets of Black pepper
  • 10 droplets of Hyssop
  • 10 droplets of Black radish

I can’t explain the taste but its smooth and long lasting, I can’t wait for the next party to use the rest of what I have left. Although I may try making it at home? Yes its that good…

Airbnb: New rules for using security cameras and other devices

Airbnb monitoring warning

I just spotted this in my inbox, airbnb has updated their policy on security devices.

We’re updating our policy on the use and disclosure of security cameras, recording devices, noise decibel monitors and smart home devices for all Airbnb listings.

Starting on 30 April 2024, these rules apply to the presence of these devices, even if they’re turned off:

  • You’re not allowed to have cameras that monitor indoor spaces.
  • You must disclose the location of outdoor cameras. For example, “I have cameras monitoring the front door and the pool”.
  • Outdoor cameras are prohibited in spaces where guests expect greater privacy, such as enclosed showers and saunas.
  • You must disclose noise decibel monitors, which may only be present in common spaces.
  • You can have smart home devices like TVs and voice assistants. You aren’t required to disclose these devices, but we encourage you to tell guests that you have them and how to turn them off.
  • These requirements don’t apply to devices in common spaces outside your home that you don’t control, such as cameras in the foyer of a block of flats.

We’re making these changes after carefully considering how to best balance the privacy and security concerns of our community. Read the full policy on the Help Centre.

I have to say its a good and well needed change.

Interesting point about disclosing smart devices, as I think this should be the case full stop when entering a space. I don’t know about other people but I tend to be guarded with what I say when under surveillance.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Mar 2024)

Scene from movie Her. Main character sits on a modern bench outside talking to his AI partner

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed with fake funeral live streams on Facebookmore algorithm problems and Mozilla Hubs coming to a end.

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 Air Canada’s forced to honour their refund policy chatbot, the 4 day working week being taken forward in the UK and finally dating monopoly Match group, sued for addictive design and more.


PublicSpaces conference: Taking Back the Internet in 2024

Ian thinks: The Netherlands PublicSpaces conference is such a fascinating conference full of public internet culture. Don’t miss it this year, put a mark in the calendar for Thurs 6-7th June 2024. Not to be missed and there is a call for proposals here.

Questioning the quantified industry

Ian thinks: Previously as a quantified self person, I found this episode of tech won’t save us a struggle. However I do agree with the insanity of the tech industry trying to quantify every single thing including relationships, dreams and more. I also enjoyed the thoughtful piece by Zach

Its the microplastics which will get you?

Ian thinks: Its good to get a view of the problem of microplastics and some of the latest research. Its clear this is a huge public health issue which people and companies should spend more time on now, rather than some point in the future.

AI partners, a sign of the times

Ian thinks: Everyone points to the film Her, when thinking about AI partners. However it doesn’t even scratch the surface of whats happening with the data, the epidemic of loneliness and the real human problems as described so well in Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.

Webmotization coming to the Chromium project

Ian thinks: Just when you thought Micropayments via WebMontization was gone. Its found its way into the Chromium project which is the base for Chrome, Edge, Brave and so much more. Don’t expect a quick adoption but its positive news for one of the alternative ethical web native business models.

Filterworld, how the algorithm took over culture?

Ian thinks: This book, which I haven’t read sounds perfectly timed for 2024 and the continuing interest in underlying the algorithms. From the review it sounds like a cross between Filter bubble and Get rich or lie lying.

Build your own Bluesky instance?

Ian thinks: It was due to happen. Now Bluesky has pushed the button. This move will put more emphasis on decentralised & federated social networks, although the interoperability back and forth about the AT protocol and ActivityPub will continue.

$50,000 in a shoe box, the Amazon fake call

Ian thinks: Every-once in a while there is a scam which gives me chills. This scam story in the unusual place of The Cut, is very detailed and although the social engineering signs are there. 5 hours on a phone is heavy interrogation and every phone can be spoofed including government ones!

Encryption is a human right, in the EU

Ian thinks: Could it be true, its certainly heading that way. Which has large ramifications for many things we have taken for granted, as you will read in at Techrader.

Lockbit owned and trolled by the security services

Ian thinks: Although its quite fun to watch what has happened to lockbit, its important to remember the damage it has done across the world. This video is a good summary of the security services fun and seriousness of lockbit. if you are not aware.


Find the original here archive here

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Feb 2024)

Limitations of RSS according to Spotify

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed with questions like will Gaia X survive? What will happen to Firefox? Will our coffee to go habits end us all?

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 even rolling stone magazine covering the decentralised and federated webfully private internet search may happen sooner than expected and Mozilla’s clever demonstration called platform tilt.


The dark dark hole which is pig butchering

Ian thinks: You may have heard of “Pig Butchering” in relation to romance/crypto scams. In this  pretty dark episode of Darknet diaries which deals with violence, scams and death. You realised how deep and dark the scams go.

AI ethics and bias is popping up everywhere

Ian thinks: I have noticed a general exhaustion/ignorance to the problem of bias in AI. This short video from Channel 4 is a timely reminder of how it manifests and for us all to take some responsibility.

Post office scandal, the computer says No

Ian thinks: The post office scandal is simply awful all over. People have lost the faith of their communities, family and even lost their lives. All due to a not fit for purpose computer system (Fujitsu’s Horizon). What makes things worst is all the people who sided with the computer system over the huge evidence of the post office masters/mistresses. Also interesting it took a TV show to push the whole scandal into the public conscious.

AI hype distraction?

Ian thinks: I liked this for many reasons but the distraction technique used by many people who con others is somewhat clear to see across a lot of the AI stories I see. I did wonder if I was the only one?

Surveillance capitalism and open standards don’t mix?

Ian thinks: The podcast industry is feeling the pinch due to advertisers wanting to know more about the listener. Spotify’s has always offered a closed platform and rejected RSS for this reason. However, Apple will start supporting the open Podcast namespace around transcripts.

Why privacy matters

Ian thinks: I recently shared this video with a few people who have started drinking the cool-aid about privacy is over. Its something of a timely reminder at the top of the year, of the importance of privacy for everyone.

The hype machine

Ian thinks: I recently read the hype machine by Sinan Aral. I expected most of the points but I did find the influence on society points, stronger than I imagined. The depth of the arguments are worthy of reading and of course acting on.

The AI hardware devices got interesting

Ian thinks: There is renew interest in new/alternative user interfaces and although AI is all the rage, our smartphones are fighting back (as the video shows). When I think about this all, I can’t help but wonder about the infrastructure. Leaning on Human Data Interaction guidelines, many of them mask the data from the human.

The word of 2023, Enshittification

Ian thinks: Congrats to Cory on a word which sums up so much about the current internet business model but also doing something about it. I remember Cory being quite critical of surveillance capitalism and emphasising the problem of monopolies, lack of agency and interoperability.

Worth noting Cory’s sequel to Red Team Bluesthe Bezzle is available.


Find the archive here

Chocolate and child slavery, a bit of awareness

Picture of raw cocoa plants in a pile, on top of the chocolate it made

I watched a video about Chocolate and child slavery.

It was quite a watch and as the title indicates, there was a lot of thoughts about not just the big chocolate companies but the whole industry and the reliance on child slave labour. I posted about it on the Fediverse because I felt it was well worth watching with a warning

The same night I had taste of Hasnaâ Qori Inti, Peru, Dark 75% chocolate from Cocoarunners and was surprised to experience a small addition of the cocoa fruits on a postcard in the chocolate.

Just a coincidence but a interesting one….

The only thing which will change the big problem of child slavery in the chocolate industry is awareness.

Running Kodi on a Raspberry Pi 5

Raspberry Pi 5 on a table top

When the Raspberry Pi 5 was announced, I had added a task to look at replacing my quad core Intel Celeron with it. The specs looked perfect for a living room media system. I had already invested in a Nvidia quad HDMI PCIe 1x card to fit into the current box, struggled to get the drivers working on Ubuntu but then it all just stopped.

I tried to replace the PSU but it didn’t work. Its been ages since I really built a PC so in the end, decided rather than I should complete that task and bought a 8gig Raspberry Pi 5 from cool components.

Today I set it up in a few hours complete with LibreELEC.

I’m going to get a new case because the basic case is so so for what I’m trying to add to it. It also looks a bit lost in such a big space under the TV. But I’m looking forward to seeing it run 4k H.265 HVEC across my TV and projector. Of course I would need to finally upgrade my first generation smart TV first.

Update progress

Kodi running on my TV in a darken room

This has been quite a journey.

I’m adding this information for anyone else who is thinking of doing similar. I still have a Raspberry Pi 5 running Kodi under my TV but I had to do a lot and only today somewhat happy. To be clear I installed the stable libreelec 32bit ARM as its seemed easy and good enough. I switched to the nightly edition 64bit ARM version. Tried installing OSMC (decided against this for lack of updates and Raspberry Pi 5 support looks a long way off) and finally installed the official Raspberry PI image/Raspbian and installed Kodi within that.

Dual display output running Kodi to my TV and Projector?

I seen many examples of people running displays next to each other at 4k and some high refresh rate. So assumed it would be possible across my TV and projector. Heck its mirrored so it should be easier right? No its not possible using Libreelec at all. I got it working in Raspbian but failed to get Kodi to mirror at all. After lots of research it seemed the much easier way to do this is with a HDMI splitter. I ended buying this one, which does exactly what I needed even if it requires a USB port for power.

AC3, DTS, multichannel sound output?

This one really kicked me where it hurts. I assumed I could finally get all those multichannel sound formats to my Onkyo 7.1 surround sound receiver over HDMI. I can get Dolby Digital/AC3 but when I plugged it directly into my receiver, the TV kept turning off as there was a issue where the remote inputs were not being transferred to the TV via the receiver. I considered turning off any standby options but there was worst to come.

I couldn’t find anyway to output DTS or AAC let alone anything like DTS Master audio. In the end I bought a external USB sound card with optical output and 8 channel analogue outputs if I invested in more 7.1 in the future. There was still some tweaking to Kodi get the settings right but its working now.

Raspberry Pi5 in a case under a TV bench

The upside

I found it extremely easy to make many versions across multiple SD cards and simply swap them out. For example just 2 days there was a release which looks good, so I’ll likely just make another SD card and copy my files to the home directory.

Generally its working now and I assume it will get better as development grows around the Raspberry Pi 5.

Another update

I found out the problem with the TV standby comes from the CEC adapter, which is installed as default on the Raspberry Pi but not on my previous built Kodibox. I was able to disable it via the Setting > System > Input > Peripherals > CEC adapter. Because this is now working, I have the Raspberry Pi 5 plugged directly into the Onkyo receiver and also plugged in the Chromecast.

Once the HDMI audio is sorted, I can finally remove the external sound card and may consider moving the HDMI splitter to the output of the receiver but need to work out how this would effect the Freeview HD output on the TV’s HDMI return channel path/arc. Although to be fair my antenna has not worked in months if not a year.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Jan 2024)

Six mascots are sitting around a tree, but this one is shaped with colored nodes like the Fediverse logo. They represents a sample of Free/Libre software that can interchange communication via the activityPub protocol, shaping the Fediverse. It's a photo of a drawing done on paper with pencil and with a bit of watercolor while traveling in family. With mascot of Mastodon, Pleroma-tan of Pleroma, Ai of Misskey Lemmy Sepia of sloth mascot by Anna Abramek for Fediverse logo, License CC-BY-SA 4.0

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed with potential planned obsolescence of trains by the maker, the promise of Matter a bit of let down for now and the first but not last devastation of a country due to climate collapse.

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 Meta’s threads testing fediverse interoperability, roof tops being taken seriously as a source for renewable power and planned obsolescence on public transport.


Beeper interoperability exposes Apple’s closed ecosystem

Its easily overlooked by most Apple users but there is a bigger story raised by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Cory Doctorow. Apple’s reply must have the EU stretching for their law books? Here is the latest update on everything.

Parents sharing data without knowledge

Ian thinks: This short video from one of the Netherlands public broadcasters, highlights the big problem parents and new children have when it comes to social media and the internet. The punch line weighs heavy in minds afterwards.

Surveillance in the ebooks you are reading?

Ian thinks: Although this is mainly focused on the American market, its concerning and a sign of the commercialisation of everything possible. I naively thought the well established laws around libraries would apply but obviously not. Maybe they should!

University monetising their students now up to 11

Ian thinks: Following on from the previous link, reading the experience of students again in the states is simply terrifying from a privacy point of view. Like schools, a number of companies have come in at such a low price to collect as much data as possible in return for little. I don’t even think some of the universities are fully aware of the bigger problem?  The case for University is eroding away every day, sadly.

Do we digitally own anything at all?

Ian thinks: There has been a number of news stories about the hostile problem of online streaming and subscription of digital goods. I found Wendy’s related post honest and realistic.

The driving licence line up

Ian thinks: The Omni-Surveillance society wants more data, and all those driving licences are a rich store of data. Will this bill go through? I’m unsure but honestly I’m conscious of how far you can get with “think about the children”.

What the platforms do so badly, local community

Ian thinks: In this TEDx talk, Shani outlines what she did for her local area to encourage people to build a community. Its a wonderful talk and points to just enough internet rather than centring it. Just wonderful.

Proton’s CEO grilled for 2 hours and comes out fresh as a daisy

Ian thinks: Andy Yen, answers question for 2 hours and some of them are cutting and tricky. I know its a long time for most people but you really get a sense of Proton’s future and their part in the public service internet. Well worth turning on and mainly listening to.

Match group will own love now and into the future?

Ian thinks: Most people care less about online dating and don’t see the connection with the public service internet. However this video demonstrates the almost complete monopoly of the Match group, buying new platforms as they pop their heads up. This is critical with a pandemic of loneliness across the developed world.

Just one more… final victory for free, libre and open source

Ian thinks: Podcasting is going through a rough time with advertising recently. FLOSS weekly is another one ending. However its a great final episode and all 761 episodes makes a great archive documenting the many projects and achievements from the FLOSS community over the last 17 years.


Find the archive here

My new years resolutions for 2024

Me with a Diabolo

Following my review of last year… here’s my New Years Resolutions for 2024 which follows on from 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 ones.

  1. Digital nomad things
    This is the make or break year I think. I need to move things forward as time is going by quickly and i’m not getting younger. My next step is a meeting with the Portuguese embassy to clarify the tax side of things. An official note could make all the difference.
  2. Finish my dating book
    Its been way too long and its so close now, as mentioned in the review of last year.I have all the illustrations now except the front cover (but have plans). I also formatted the latest version into the 8×5 inch book format using templates, added the illustrations and shared it with a selected few. I await there comments over the festive season, then another check and final look at by Hannah.So I’m expecting some changes but its well on its way now. This year I’m looking into self publishing alternatives to Amazon KDP. But I don’t see any problem with a printed and ebook version by the end of the 2024.
  3. Head even further a field with the scooter
    I still need to get the scooter out to mainland Europe, ideally 2024 is a good time before things change with visas, etc.
  4. Learn to drive a car
    There are times when a car would be helpful and now with the drive towards electric cars and automatic drive. Its just a matter of doing the theory test again and then booking lessons.
  5. Listen to two Audiobooks every month
    I have been listening to one a month, but its time to push for two a month. Its quite a push but I think its worthy of the push I think.
  6. Go to a new country
    Its been long and there is a lot of Europe I haven’t visited, plus I have friends in those places I could easily visit. Although there is a temptation to visit some of the places again with my partner, new places do bring a new experiences.
  7. Go to a new Rollercoaster park
    A regular resolution but a good one and if I head to another country, its certainly high on the list.
  8. Take the Diabolo skills up another level
    I’m doing some exciting things with the diabolo but I really need to see some of the tricks done in person. YouTube is good but to really get a grip of the advanced tricks I need to meet other people doing the diabo lo.
    Next year its time to meet more of them and learn those tricks like the infinite suicide!
  9. Move over to privacy preserving protocols and platform
    I am more and more annoyed at the business models of the majority of services out there. Cory frames it perfectly as enshittification and it’s frankly not on. Although this raises a bunch of questions about data portability (something I was deeply involved in, a long time ago regardless of what Wikipedia says) I need to just move! The alternatives are not only good enough in some places (tasks) but far better (like the fediverse). I will keep the old services but by the end of the year move over.
    I’m also going to lean more on my blog more to bring things back into one place, for example why isn’t my bookwrym account not attached to my blog? Its also a good way to do collections, rather than this type of thing.
  10. Separate out my food waste
    In most of the UK, food waste is separated from the rest. Just like how we recycle paper/card and some plastics. However as I live in a set of flats, Manchester Council tried to make us separate our food waste too. This was great because my main bin stopped smelling and I had to empty it a lot less. However the community bin for food recycling in the flat basement was full of different things because people kept emptying in plastic and other things into it. In the end Manchester council stopped food waste collection and we stopped food recycling (sadly).
    So my thought is to keep on doing it but empty the food waste inside decomposable plastic bags into the main community bins. Its not ideal but I think separating the waste is generally a good thing. Its a good habit and who knows maybe I’ll find a food waste bin to empty them into later.
  11. Start to mark out significant moments in my history
    One of the things I have done when mentoring as an exercise, is pull out key part of my/their life to help pick out key things which helped and hindered.
    It a great little way to help understand your life and paths going forward. But I always found different ways to illustrate them using categories/layers to hide personal, work, etc.
    Then recently I discovered Your life in weeks, which got looking around and finding a bunch of apps/webapps using the concept. This got me thinking about codifying key moments in life in a more neutral format. Ideally this would be XML but alas markdown will work better than CSV?
  12. See more of my friends
    My friends are diverse, interesting and are great to be around. During the Covid pandemic, I would call them up on the off chance and have some incredible conversations. It was amazing and some went on for 4 hours.
    I’m going to next year catch up with more of my friends I haven’t seen in years. Be it on the phone, online, in person, what ever works.

A review of my 2023 resolutions

My partner looks at me while I look at the camera for a selfie
My lovely partner and me

2023 has been a super busy year. This is the year when the United Kingdom and the freedoms we held tightly fell a part. Like last year the strikes haven’t stopped and the cost of living crisis  isn’t going anywhere.

I have avoided Covid but opted to have the flu jab, which is still terrifying.

I spent a lot of time talking this year. Some of the best moments include, Cory Doctorow in conversation, the DotSocial podcast, tech leadership and a whole bunch during publicspaces.

From a Quantified Self data point of view 2023 looked like this (worth noting its harder to get the data from some of the services)

  • My average sleep duration has dropped from 7hours 30mins to 6hours 20mins. Deep sleep stayed at 2.40hrs.
  • Been to a few places in 2023 but no new countries. Although I have to say 15 days in the Netherlands was incredible and glad I could do that (even with Easyjet troubles and Rotterdam rail problems). This year I went to; Manchester, Lisbon, Newport, London, Bristol, Bath, Weston, Newcastle, Gateshead, Huddlesfield, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Zwolle, York, Ledbury, Birmingham, Lancaster, Durham, Barcelona, Stoke on Trent and Alton.
  • According to Trakt (which had a database problem recently), my most played show is Traitors (which sounds about right when you add UK, AUS, NZ, USA and Canada) Film wise for highest rating it was Oppenheimer and Spiderman: across the spider-verse..
  • Most listened to podcast is Daily Tech News Show with podnews just behind that.
  • I watched 154 movie and 297 hours of TV, mainly while doing other things.

Now its time for thoughts on my 2023 resolutions.

My new years resolutions for 2023

Combining a number of the previous digital nomad things

I really need to understand the tax side of a digital nomad from the business point of view as an employee of a large company not a freelancer. With this knowledge I can build the solid business case for being a digital nomad for a year.

This has moved forward a little bit. There is a interest at work and I have a plan to visit the Portuguese embassy in Manchester when I can finally get an appointment (they open the appointments every 3 weeks and seem to go very quickly). It will cost a bit of money but it will be worth it if I can get the answer to the tax question from an official.

Some of the pages from my own written book

Finish my dating book

The book is being worked on and some are suggest I’m a lot closer than I think . The book has structure, being edited, I have illustrations and even decided to use mid-journey for the cover. After reaching out to many agents and publishers with not much success I decided self-publishing is the way to go. I’m setting myself 2023 as the year to finally do this.

This is moving forwarded, I have all the illustrations now except the front cover (but have plans). I also formatted the latest version into the 8×5 inch book format using templates, added the illustrations and shared it with a selected few. I await there comments over the festive season, then another check and final look at by Hannah.

There is still work to be done but its getting closer to self publishing status and I expect 2024 will be the year it goes to epub/print.

I’m planning to go the Amazon self publish route but I’m keen to know about better routes, as I’m not keen on Amazon’s licence agreement.

Head even further a field with the scooter

2022 I didn’t go as far as 2021 but, I am up for driving on the scooter either up through Scotland or finally Netherlands and Belgium. 2023 has to be the year.

This is another year with less scooter driving. Although its worth noting I spent a lot of time flying which wasn’t the plan post pandemic. I did look at the train multiple times but the price between Manchester and London is always a killer on price and time. (Don’t get me started about HS2)

Hopefully next year I’ll finally drive to the Netherlands instead of flying or getting the train.

Private cocktails in a bar in Amsterdam

Learn to drive a car

Its also time, I’m not ever going to buy a car but being able to rent one for trips to IKEA and for longer journeys when the weather isn’t great makes sense. Its super clear the weather is going to get more extreme and being able to rent a car is more sensible. The other side of this is I can actually drive a car and passed my theory test with flying colours a long time ago (of course I need to do it again)..

Not even started this but its something I keep thinking about, as hiring a car for certain journeys would be handy. Especially with my partner  Although I did buy some panniers for my scooter, to carry even more stuff when on longer journeys (like potentially Europe)

All the books I have read over 2023

Listen to a Audiobook at least once a month.

This worked out so well last year and to be fair I want to keep it going. Especially if I start using the gym too, although I’m thinking music is better for repetitive exercises. I also think I should write a some short reviews for them as some are excellent.

This has been excellent with 17 audiobooks completed and started another 4. No idea why its registered the tyranny of metrics twice but you can see some great books in the list.

I am listening to most of the books while in the spa using waterproof headphones. I also started listening while on longer journeys like train rides to London, Bristol, etc.

Go to a new country

I missed this over the last few years and really like to get back into the flow of this. South Korea is certainly of interest along with a few of the European countries I have missed like Norway and the Czech republic.

Another year missed but I’m thinking about some of the European countries for a short retreat.

Lost Gravity at Wallibi

Go to a new Rollercoaster park

This is a repeat of last year but 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!

Well I got to Walibi in the Netherlands and it was amazing. Certainly would go back again, as I finally got to go on a RMC wooden rollercoaster, untamed.

Take the Diabolo skills up another level

I started undoing the bad habits but its time for the endless suicide and some vertex genocides. Really need to find some groups again, as learn so much quicker when I can see it in front of me.

This hasn’t quite happened but I’m finding new groups including one which I went to after mybrushwithdeath.

Me with a Diabolo

Start a new type of meetup

Manchester Futurists stopped a while ago and of course London geekdinners ended for me since 2008. Recently I have been thinking about the public service internet a lot and how there is a real lack of support for public entities.

I simply haven’t had the time but its something I keep thinking about. I noticed there being more interest in meeting up with people physically since the pandemic. However found peoples time is much more stricter and so it needs to be much tighter in its impact. I also noticed the idea of bi-monthly becoming a long stronger than previously.

Do more self-hosting

The selfhost train has really been moving over the last few years and I’m finding managing it a lot less stressful than it use to be. Yunohost has been a real joy and auto-update is great. Ideally a multiple domains would be really useful but cubicgarden.info is my playground.

This has happen although I am struggling with Docker containers on my QNAP nas and Yunohost is great but sometimes a bit strange.

If I can fully get my head around Docker containers using either container station or CasaOS, all will be good as I have struggled with Qnap’s cron. I did think about running Yunohost in a QNAP container but it seems overly complex for no reason.

Beeper client with all the networks it can connect to

Be more selective about the subscriptions

I am pretty good about this but I noticed there is quite a lot of legacy stuff which I should have removed a while back.

Well.. This was ahead of the complete move to the Fediverse, where I removed xtwitter from my life and cut down my podcast subscription too. One thing I noticed is I’m using the google feed quite a bit and consistently annoyed about it.So I installed FreshRSS to replace the ageing Tiny tinyRSS to finally get back into RSS again. The clients are much more fitting with the Android system. I also found much more up to date clients on Linux too.

Charcuterie in Bath

Even better wellbeing

I’m not doing too bad but there is room of improvement, for example my sleep has taken a drop and I’m less active when not playing volleyball or summer. I need remind myself my spa also includes a gym which I should take advantage of more. Wellbeing also includes my digital wellbeing with not enough blogging and my gratitude diary has gone to pot. Next year I got to do something about this too.

This year has been ups and downs when it comes to wellbeing. Generally this is the year of many things including ultra processed food, multiple volleyball options, lots of early mornings, etc.

Generally its been ok but the dip in sleep has followed through into 2023. I did go the gym quite a bit but frankly it wasn’t for me. The spa is very relaxing and is a great place for audiobooks. Being active this year has been good especially during summer and now there is Volleyball options on Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat and in future Sundays. There is a headache with booking each one but at least there are options and its clearer now than ever.

I keep thinking about the gratitude diary and what I could do about it. My quick thought is just to write something personally, then keep wondering about Signals stories. However a small microblog seems better, as I do like to look at them over time. Maybe something for Fediverse ideas?

RD Xmas 2023 party remix

Dancing in a rave with redlights

For Xmas, like many workplaces we have a staff party. I gatecrashed into my previous teams Manchester xmas party and put my name down for 30mins djing. However I didn’t record the mix but I did keep the playlist and so recreated it twice (2nd time for another work event).

I won’t lie, this is less trancy but is a killer mix or as others have said to me… its a banger!

I am moving my mixes to peertube rather than my mixgarden (1) & (2) for now.

Enjoy and remember to turn it up loud.

  1. Thriller (Steve Aoki Midnight Hour Remix) – Michael Jackson
  2. Punk – Ferry Corsten
  3. Rock Your Body Rock (Mat Zo Extended Remix) – Ferry Corsten
  4. Echoes – Henrik B, Niklas Gustavsson & Peter Johansson
  5. Cafe Del Mar At Night (Beat Service’s Out Of Office Mashup) – Energy 52 Vs Shakedown
  6. Who Freaked Who (Electric Soulside Remix) – Dopefish
  7. Beat (Da Boxx) – Laurent Garnier
  8. Turn It Up (Extended Mix) – Armin van Buuren
  9. Freedom (Extended mix) – ARTY v Muvy
  10. Proper Education (club mix) – Eric Prydz vs. Floyd

My mix garden on the move again, hello peertube!

Digital Italics WebMix

I have been mixing away on the pacemaker device as usual. But noticed my mixgarden is having some troubles. I was using hyperaudio and webmonization to present my mixes. It was good however things changed over the last year.

Webmonization made a number of changes and hyperaudio seems to be slightly broken the configuration I currently have it in.

So with all this in mind and after looking at Peertube and Castopod, I decided to give peertube a try before running my own instance. Similar to what I had planned with Funkwhale a long time ago.

This has worked out well on rankett. Then I heard on podnews last week about music freediverse.

Music Freediverse is a new place for musicians to post their songs as an RSS feed, using PeerTube.

After a email with the sysadmin, about mixes and legality of them. They suggested I check out Split Kit if I have the metadata (which I do), this is something I looked into and now have a lightening address, which you can send sats to on my new mixgarden. I am also interested in the peer 2 peer tech

One of the good things about Peertube is the ability to sync videos over, which I took advantage of, it was a shame the metadata wasn’t copied over too but its fine, as I had it all.

In the short term I’ll keep using peertube but I have a plan to install a peertube instance myself and host it all locally. Then I could syndicate them out elsewhere. (Anyone can recommend a good docker container, do shout)

Another thing for the task list, but likely the best idea for now with lots of room to grow and expand.

Talking of which the next mix is a banger….

How did love get monopolised?

To me its nothing new, the history of Match Group and their almost total  ownership of online dating.

It did make a good point about Plenty of Fish, who said no way and lets not forget OKCupid who wrote why you should never pay for online dating before they were bought.

Still remember the popcorn eating with the vanity fair piece too…

Stop Screwing with okcupid

The whole area of online dating is a surveillance capitalism mess and I really wish someone in the EU commission would apply competition rules and regulations to this space.

https://mas.to/@cubicgarden/111604095351550508

Downloading podcasts on a QNAP nas, the hard way

QNAP NasFor a long time I have had this quite unique way to download podcasts on my home network. It’s served me very well but since getting the NAS it’s been an endless fight to find a good way to do the same with minimal effort. Up till recently I have been running another machine on my network with Ubuntu, to download the podcasts using the tiny tiny rss source.

I would sync the podcasts over the network to my NAS mainly for connivance but I like the idea of the NAS being the place to access everything.

So after many years I finally come to a solution which might be useful to others too, as I couldn’t find a good solution in one place. To be fair I stopped running Tiny Tiny RSS (TTRSS) in favour of FreshRSS but regardless.

These are all for informational purposes and aimed at technical people who understand their way around a the terminal, have sudo and SSH access and can use alternative app repos.

  1. Install CrontabUI and Entware-std on your QNAP using the linked repo.
  2. I tried using CastGet which you can install via OPKG store but couldn’t get to grips with it, as it didn’t support what Podget did.
  3. I downloaded and unzipped Podget then ran it from the terminal. It worked once I found the user directory /share/homes/{username}
  4. Then I started moving the download directory and where the config files sat by modifying the permissions.
  5. Once it was working, I created a shell script which would pull the downloads and have all the parameters set. Remembering to make it executable checked it can work under a admin user
  6. Then started on the Qnap cron, which is a pain and needs attention. This is also where CrontabUI can save you a lot of time. I did do it manually but found it tiresome and there was little feedback.
  7. In CrontabUI, I tried a number of different options and would check they would run, looking at the timestamps of files. In the end what work ed for me was, /sbin/download-podcasts.sh. I tried many times to get it working but found it wouldn’t actually run outside of /sbin even with the right execute permissions.
  8. Now it works but may reconsider switching to Castget now I stopped using TTRSS and I have found I need to use Podget 0.6 as it throws a lot of errors from missing libraries and out of date fgrep commands.

Hopefully this might be useful to others? There might be an update if I switch back to Castget.

Signal is expensive and so is privacy

Donate to signal

Reading the blog post about Signal costs, really got me thinking I need donate to them because it is simply incredible and completely respect their stance on so many things.

I was thinking I do pay for Proton, Beeper and other systems which support my privacy why not Signal?

So I donated! I may even setup a yearly subscription…

RIP to the wonderful force of nature Molly

The late Molly Holzschlag at the BBC in 2007

I had no idea an old friend (I will call her that because she was such a warm and caring person to many) Molly Holzschlang died over a month ago. I only found out when an old friend Brendan tagged me and others into a Facebook post. Which linked to Eric Meyer’s blog.

It was a shock, because although I knew she has struggled with her mental health and last heard from her before the covid19 pandemic. I have such great memories of Molly. Being a declarative designer/developer, Molly’s work around the early web stood out. I still remember reading molly.com to understand early CSS and DHTML (remember that phase).

But it was when I ran London Geekdinners, I finally got to meet her for the very first time 24th November 2005 at the Hogs Head, Westminster, London. Then again on 20th October 2006 at the Bottlescrue, Holburn Viaduct, London and then 26th January 2007 at City Spice, Brick Lane, London. She also stopped in at the BBC for lunch on 31st January 2007.

Group photo in 2007 with Molly facing away from the camera

On and off we kept bumping into each other and remember there was things a lot of friends did including thank you Molly. She was loved by many and will be sadly missed.

Rest in peace Molly x

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Nov 2023)

 

Tree of communication devices

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed hearing how a man was trapped in a EV, AI facial recognition not being taken seriously and the online safety bill now part of law in the UK.

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 BBC setting guidelines for Gen AI, Mozilla saying hello to two privacy and adding fake reviews detector to help us all.


Voice scammers scams coming your way

Ian thinks: The voice scamming is something most have heard about, but this podcast shows how vast the problem is in Asia. I suspect similar will be heading to the west soon enough.

Cory Doctorow why the internet is broken and how to fix it

Ian thinks: Cory’s new book The Internet Con: How to Seize the Means of Computation, says it all but if you were not convinced this interview with Vice will clearly why the fight for the future is not over, why and how you should be involved.

People over profits and LLMs

Ian think: The Mozilla podcast is in full swing again with a focus on the humans behind and affected by large language models. Mozilla do a great job reflecting viewpoints from outside the western markets with important contributions from Kenya and India in episode 2.

The origins of an oligarch, Elon is just one of many

Ian thinks: There has been a lot of discussion following the recent Isaacson book. I found this the very best series about Elon, not only critical of Elon but also a wider nod to many of the tech oligarchs and the culture surrounding them.

Devalued lived experiences

Ian thinks: Douglas Rushkoff is a character which some people enjoy and some less so. He was recently added to the Time person of the week, and this short podcast interview is a reminder of what the internet and technology could/should be and how it fits within human society, not consumes it.

The back and forth between founders and influences

Ian thinks: Taylor Lorenz’s book explores the tension between the owners and the women who drive the platform/service. Similar to Symons Browns’s Get rich or die trying, but focusing on usually stepped on female early adopters, this could shine a light on a sector never really covered.

Social engineering gen AI

Ian thinks: Its hardly a surprise people are finding their ways around the limitations of Gen AI systems but this really goes into details how people are social engineering sensitive information out.

A serious thought about the techno-optimist

Ian thinks: When Marc Andreessen published the techno-optimist manifesto. Most people just ignored it as silicon valley nonsense, but a few put together words to carefully deconstruct why. This blog is a perfect reply but also covers a lot of positive elements covered in this newsletter. Well worth the read.

The Repair revolution has started?

Ian thinks: Repair is essential for sustainability, we all know this and recent changes within the tech/internet sector has helped this already growing trend. The question is when some of the big companies will fully throw their weight behind such movements?

Where do you post?

Ian thinks: This post by the Verge sums up the struggle for many around social media right now. I highly recommend listening to the podcast, especially with interviews from Cory (pluralistic) and Manton (microblog), as they both give more definition to the problem. I would also recommend the deeper conversation with Manton, who discusses the Verge piece at a lot more depth.


Find the archive here

My mix garden is down for a while

Mixing live in the EMFCamp null sector

I only noticed today that my mixgarden is currently down. I know exactly why which means its been like that for a while (a couple of weeks).

I recently upgraded to Apache 82 from Nginx and my redirect hasn’t been updated but not only that, my process really needs my Dell XPS laptop which has a currently a bit broken battery. My chromebook is good but its a struggle when messing with SSH and content on the Dell not Chromebook. Being ill and loosing someone doesn’t really allow me the time either.

Fear not you can still get to most of the latest mixes on peertube.

Update 24th Oct 2023

I have fixed the problem, it does mean a slight change which I did plan to do a while ago.
Now the link for the mixes is

https://mixes.cubicgarden.info

not the old

https://www.cubicgarden.info/mixes.

I’m attempting to setup a redirect but currently ill and taking it easy…

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Oct 2023)

Person in trousers points a pen at paper work on a table

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing criminals creating their own ChatGPT clones, Fitbit becoming useless without data sharing and those Tiktok frenzies.

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 EU naming the gatekeepers, the 1.26 million Kardashion crypto fine and Signal’s CEO calling out AI surveillance technology.


Thinking about buying a creepy car?

Ian thinks: Thanks to Mozilla’s privacy not included project, its clear almost every major car brand is sharing your personal data without any consideration of privacy. Everything from race, weight and health is free shared without the drivers consent.

Cannabis could save the environment?

Ian thinks: This piece from German broadcaster DW really makes clear the positive potential impact of Cannabis in the fight for a greener more sustainable economy. Its a real eye opener and for reasons you didn’t think.

Regularly using the internet can half the risk of dementia

Ian thinks: When I first read this, I had looked through the paper taking it a part to see if there was something which could be wrong. However it’s solid and surprised it didn’t get much attention.

The big con, How the Consulting Industry Weakens society

Ian thinks: I started reading this excellent book, really digging into the 4 audit consultancy and Its ultimate affect on more than just businesses. I noticed DW’s mini documentary about most of the problems raised in the book is good start..

Is this the UK Government U-turn you wanted?

Ian thinks: In short no, it sounds like the UK government might have done a U-turn on the encryption in the new online safety bill. But it is still there waiting for the right moment.

Crypto was never really the saver

Ian thinks: Sex workers and adult entertainers are usually demonised by the mainstream, turned to crypto made sense. But like most things in the crypto space, its never so simple and the wired piece outlines some horrible and disturbing problem. There has to be a better way for the sake of so many.

Living Next Door to Russia, Ensh*ttification and Veilid explained at Defcon

Ian thinks: In the last few weeks, Defcon, Tech Open Air and Techcrunch disrupt have uploaded their conference videos. I found Mikko, Cory and the Veilid talks the best so far. Although I will give a nudge for the Opera and Vivaldi founder from TOA.

What people don’t know about the Luddites

Ian thinks: The word gets thrown around a lot and very few people know the history. In this podcast it becomes clear the luddites image of techbophic is very wrong. With thoughts for the future with generative AI and power, the Luddites image is due a rethink.

Learning from the Fediverse

Ian thinks: The fediforum is the unconference for the fediverse. I took part in the September one and learned a lot including how activitypub can become the plumbing channel between the usual (microblogging) and unexpected applications like event management (gath.io)


Find the archive here

Someone has to say something about the dog… owners!

Many people know I’m not a fan of dogs, I have been chased and bitten a few times. In pandemic times, a lot of people bought them to manage their wellbeing. However now we are endemic times, a lot of those dog owners went back to work and the dogs became an after thought?

I say the above, having experiencing some irresponsible owners over the last few years. In the Channel4 piece which contained a deeply distressing video of a dog attacking people, something I really didn’t want to see.

They question someone who would like to see a breed of dog banned in the UK. As the dog charity says, banning American Bully XL dogs won’t do much. Its the owners, the irresponsible owners.

Man walks the dog while looking at his phone

The owners who don’t control their dogs, the owners who assume their dog can do no harm, the owners who take their young puppies to restaurants and happily let it climb on other eaters, the owners who don’t clean up after their dog, the owners who are transfixed on their phone rather than their dog tripping people up on the street, the owners who allow their dog on the cafe furniture and even the table in coffee shops, the owners who don’t use a lead in public spaces, owners who can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t love to see their dog, the owners who don’t take owning a dog seriously at all.

I can tell you as someone who has been bitten on a public road a long time, that owner was completely distraught and cursing themself for leaving the gate open, when the police took their dog away. Even a few years ago when my ex was bitten in a hotel, the owner didn’t give a toss, its completely unfair on the customers and even the dog.

Pugs in a basket with someone taking a picture on their smartphone

In recent times quite a few people have come to me and share their absolute contempt for the dog owners who bring their dogs everywhere (even some dog lovers and owners). They say how great they can share their thoughts. Because they are so worried about what others would say. Dogs are every where online, but as someone said to me…

“its not about the Instagram picture, its about the love, care, support – parenting of the dog. That huge responsibility is not for everyone –  unfortunately too many are not cut out for it… and that can turn a good dog into something else”

I’m sure I’ll get some grief for this post but honestly, I don’t want to see dogs hurt by irresponsible owners

The way of the firestarter?

3 graphs showing the design process from start of a project to the end
The way of the firestarter’s design process, treat as alpha version 00.2

I was talking with a colleague in London the other week. One of the great thing about working in the same space face to face is being able to noodle together. (I won’t talk about any endless whiteboarding right now).

Anyway one of the things which was mentioned was the design process being messy before it becomes clearer. (Without going into the number of different design methodologies). While they were drawing the multiple iterations, I started to think about how I work.

This is when I started to draw something like the bottom graph and started thinking to what degrees the existing methodologies are incompatible with a collaborative future. I don’t mean just co-designing together but actually building things which people can take forward in a slightly different direction or space.

When I drew it I thought about how I like to starting and proving the worth through research/experiments but also attracting more people into the project to share ideas and thoughts. Ideally there would be other lines which intersect with lines joining and leaving I guess? My old manager use to describe me as a different type of researcher but I can never remember what he called it.

I got a few examples I was describing when drawing. they mainly come from the Perceptive Media space including the Living room of the future and hopefully Adaptive podcasting soon. But even looking at the BBC Backstage era of creating a platform for others to explore above and beyond.