Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (April 2021)

Deep fake technology

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

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

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


Meet the disruptors at publicspaces

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

Evidence disappearing right under your nose

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

TransCopyright realised with Micropayments?

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

Why the excitement over non-fungible tokens?

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

Some of the facts and myths surrounding China & America explained

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

We all knew Facebook is hooked on mis-information

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

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

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

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

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

The walled garden is the new security through obscurity?

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


Find the archive here

We need to talk about Asian hate crime

Don’t think its just America…!

In the early days of covid19, I can’t tell you how many times I heard people attach China to Covid19, like that was ok?!

No its not ok and its disgraceful as it paves the way for all those hate filled people to pipe up thinking there inner thoughts are now acceptable. Its not and never should be! This is a hate crime and should be tried with the gravity it deserves.

We generally need to stop this, for example naming the variants where first identified. Kent, South African, Brazilian variants. Nothing good will come from this! I understand its easier to say than variant B117 (the one first discovered in Kent) but zero good will come from this… I promise you this.

The tale of Amazon and the imported Qnap Nas

2 Qnap NAS boxes
Which one is the grey import?

I have almost no words for what’s happened recently with my Qnap NAS.

I decided a while ago that it was time to replace the server in my bedroom with a QNAP NAS. I had it with the heat during the summer and frankly it was long overdue. Plus a few people recommended them to me, plus pointed me at NAS compares. I bought the NAS from Amazon.co.uk as it was the cheapest by about 100 pounds, plus they had the 8gig version of the TS653D. Almost everywhere else had a 4gig only version. I knew I needed a bit of memory as I was going to replace my ubuntu server, which ran at 45-70c depending if it was transcoding for plex.

I bought the NAS from Amazon.co.uk https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0896YVN5L. There was no mention this was coming from America as a grey import. After I bought it I noticed it came from Texas, USA with via UPS and it took about 10 days. I didn’t think too much about it once it arrived, got it set up and moved all my data over (this took weeks!). However when I tried applying for the 5 year extended warranty thats when things got interesting.

5 years of warrenty

Having applied to Qnap, answered their questions, I sent them the invoice which I got from Amazon. However Qnap replied with.

From the invoice, this is sold by Amazon Export Sales LLC, and the customer also pay the import fee, the customer should know the unit is not from local distributor.
The note says: “Only products that are sold and purchased from the same region are eligible for a warranty extension.”. 

Please confirm with Amazon.co.uk that the NAS unit came from UK (distributor) and not from US.

We went back and forth for a while but I got back on to Amazon. They insured me the NAS is a UK model. Qnap of course were not budging, the serial number wasn’t right and regardless if I bought it form Amazon.co.uk it was a grey import. I did think it was strange it was coming from America but I just thought it was where the stock was from. Plus Amazon kept confirming its a UK version.

Then finally I got into an exchange with Amazon customer services.

10:53 PM QNAP won’t provide a warranty for the NAS because its not a UK/EU NAS I bought it through the amazon.co.uk with pounds but say its a US version
10:54 PM Rizzwan | I can see it is Amazon global store order. Allow me a moment to connect you with them for further help.
10:55 PM Global order? I bought it through amazon.co.uk

Then Rizzwan was replaced by Tamsyn…

10:55 PM Tamsyn has joined and will be ready to chat in just a minute. Tamsyn | ​This is Ta​mmy from Amazon. ​ I’ll be assisting you.​
10:57 PM Here is the email I got from QNAP… (same as above)
11:00 PM Tamsyn |  Yes it is from a UK distributor
11:01 PM I need something from Amazon to prove this, as QNAP won’t extend the warranty otherwise I have given them the invoice already
11:03 PM Tamsyn | what is the for the return ?
11:05 PM I don’t understand?
11:05 PM Tamsyn | what is the reason for sending the item back ?
11:07 PM I can’t get a extended warranty for the QNAP NAS
11:08 PM Tamsyn | Reason I’m asking is because I can refund you
11:09 PM Its a sub £1000 device and want to make sure it doesn’t go wrong, so the extended warranty is important Can I exchange it instead? because all my data is on the device now
11:09 PM Tamsyn |  cannot exchange
11:10 PM Do you have anything else I can send to QNAP to prove its a UK/EU version? They want proof – “Please confirm with Amazon.co.uk that the NAS unit came from UK (distributor) and not from US.
11:12 PM Tamsyn | We can send them an email what is the email
11:13 PM Its done through their support forum- as the email is no reply – noreply@qnap.com. If you can send me something I can try and get a email to send to them I’m sending them this… “I am talking with Tamsyn | Customer Service Amazon.co.uk and they confirmed it is from a UK distributor – Tamsyn is asking for an email address to forward you details of the UK distributor”
11:17 PM Tamsyn | yes that is fine
11:17 PM Is there a email I should ask QNAP to contact you on?
11:18 PM Tamsyn |  yes
11:18 PM Thanks… you understand why I don’t want to send it back but I really want to get this sorted out because I want to keep it for at least 3 years 11:19 PM Tamsyn |  Yes I understand 🙂
11:19 PM Thanks QNAP are slow to reply, so is there a way of holding the return based on the outcome of this conversation with QNAP They usually take about 2 days to reply
11:20 PM Tamsyn | okay that is fine
11:24 PM Thanks, and I guess once I hear back from QNAP I join this chat again Just for reference I’m talking with Gerry ********* from QNAP… “From warranty information, it shows the NAS unit was sold from Amazon US and not Amazon.co.uk
Please confirm with Amazon.co.uk that the NAS unit came from UK (distributor) and not from US.

Then out of nowhere Tamsyn was replaced by Collen…

11:30 PM C Collen has joined and will be ready to chat in just a minute. Collen | Customer Service Hello, Ian Please note this was a global store order Sold and shipped by amazon US Order Placed: Tuesday, 3 November 2020 (GMT) C
11:33 PM Hold on Tamsyn said it was sold from a UK reseller a moment ago
11:34 PM Collen | Customer Service Please look at email from Tuesday, 3 November 2020 01:51 (GMT) C
11:39 PM Collen | Customer Service Global Store Amazon Marketplace order with Amazon Export Sales LLC C
11:45 PM Collen | Customer Service Do you wish to return the item for a refund? C
11:45 PM I would like to do an exchange as I am using the NAS, Ok I see it says Amazon Export Sales LLC This was not clear on the site when I bought it.
11:48 PM Collen | Customer Service We can only refund a USA item only on return We cant replace it C
11:48 PM Right I see, can I get a UK version then return the old one?
11:49 PM Collen | Customer Service Yes C
11:51 PM This was not clear at all when I bought it on the site
11:51 PM Collen | Customer Service However you will need to re order C

So in short Amazon mislead me by never making clear this was a grey import QNAP NAS. Yes when I got the invoice, I could see it was coming from Texas but it was too late by then. Simple as this, customer service lied to me and to QNAP.

Cheeky!

In the end Amazon/Collen did send me the return details and I had 7 days to return the QNAP NAS back to Texas. Annoyingly I had to print the return slips and I don’t own a printer, luckily colleague Jimmy helped out by printing them out for me. In the mean while I got in touch with QNAP, they pointed me in the direction of Scan.com and I was able to buy and get almost the exact same model sent to the next day. I say almost exact because I opted for the 32gig version as I was considering add more memory anyway and this would save me a lot of hassle.

Telling enough, Scan.com when I called them to confirm the speed of delivery, told me a few other customers have had the same problem with Grey imports sent from America and bought from Amazon.co.uk.

With the clock ticking, I was worried it was going to take forever to move everything across but I found it was super quick when I found this guide to move from one device to another. Pretty much start the NAS, update the firmware and slot the disks in the same slots. The migration took about 2hours in total, which is amazing. I was wondering about taking time off work to get this sorted but there was no need.

QNAP nas's
Which one is UK and which one is American?

Just enough time to take some pictures of them side by side then box up the grey import/amazon one, add all the labels then take it to the UPS drop off which just happened to be in China town. Can’t tell you why I didn’t get a taxi or take the tram half the way there, but it was certainly a work out for my lockdown arms.

4 weeks later I received my full refund from Amazon.co.uk and I’m sitting pretty with my QNAP NAS with 5 year warranty.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Mar 2021)

traveling with a passport and boarding pass

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed, hearing Bill Maher rip through a bunch of websites and people looking for new ways to track users now 3rd party tracking is on its way out?

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 more nuanced privacy depth being discussed, participating in Mozilla’s challenges moment and hearing Solana talk through the internet health report.


The background story of Tony Abbotts boarding pass

Ian thinks: We all heard the story about the former Australian minster who was hacked after posting his boarding pass on instagram but here is the incredible background story, told by the hacker.

Vaccine passports are not as simple as the media are suggesting

Ian thinks: Heather gives plain and clear reasons why vaccine passports are not the panacea its being made out to be. Its also great to hear Lillian Edwards framework mentioned (May 2020 newsletter) as a way forward.

Gamestop? Rethinking the whole rigged system

Ian thinks: Douglas Rushkoff’s monologue about gamestop needs a listen for a different view, but stay around for the interview with Yaël, previous head of political advertising at Facebook. She tells all and I like the approach of trying to fix it before criticising.

Lets talk about Sharenting

Ian thinks: Shareting is when parents share their kids photos and private information without their consent. Its become a real problem now the millennials are growing up with a digital footprint without knowing.

How Facebook joined the splinter-net while Google throw the open web under the bus?

Ian thinks: Hearing about the absolute mess over news in Australia, its easy to point fingers. But its important to look deeper at whats really happening for the sake of profits not people. I’m with Shoshana Zuboff and others, but I know many people get their news from these massive corps.

A big step for gigworkers, but lets be diligent of next steps

Ian thinks: The Uber case is great news but in a similar legal play to Facebook & Google with Australia, there might be more going on that most are reporting? We got to look a little deeper as monopoly is Uber’s end game.

Ian thinks: This is a devious way to force a take-down of a live stream or any recorded footage. Theres got to be a better way and I think its related to using alternative platforms or self hosting with syndication.

The centralisation of power is the problem

Ian thinks: I like this summary of so many of the problems with Facebook, but it misses the important point of centralisation. It also highlights Noam Cohen’s quote “Mark Zuckerberg is deluded by his own faith in Facebook’s ability to be a force for good in the world”

Public value and purpose into the future

Ian thinks: Mariana is on fire and this summary of work around the BBC puts value under a microscope. I love this line “Value is not just the income generated at the end of the innovation chain–– it is also the creative input at the upstream end, the vital investment in talent, content creation, digital innovation and R&D at the early stages

Google fires another outspoken AI research, who will be next?

Ian thinks: Margaret Mitchell and Timnit Gebru show there is something going on with Google AI research. It doesn’t take a lot to guess what is actually going on behind close doors.


Find the archive here

Just some of the damage Trump brought to America

I found this video incredible to watch the damage one person can do to democracy. Remember just don’t read the comments!

Its great to see Joe Biden straight to work the next day over ruling trumps previous decisions including leaving the World health organisation (in the middle of a pandemic!) and leaving the Paris accord.

Worth watching: Death to 2020

Death to 2020

Death to 2020 was hysterical on so many levels, this missed out on my list of things you missed out on by a day or two.

I think of it like Screenwipe (if you haven’t seen the antiviral wipe, I highly recommend it) with black mirror budget and mockery running through it all.

Although very much around America and part of the UK, there is key issues are there. , , , #vote2020, #RuthBaderGinsburg, , , , , etc, etc.

Good work and something to laugh at while we head into 2021.

Bill Maher on leaving a cult

I was very happy to hear Biden and Harris’s speeches trying to unite right and left in America. Likewise I was impressed with Bill Maher’s restraints on hearing the democrats win, but they are both right. Civil war is the worst outcome for all. There was a lot worries this was inevitable (it might still be)

Its time to heal the nation and you can’t do that by shout down people. Bill’s comparison of leaving a cult is actually apt. Reminds me a long time ago when I tried to talk around a Scientologist called huggs. I tried to get her to think for herself not simply recite what shes been told to think. Of course it was just a late evening in London but with care, understanding and patience it really can help. All the things needed right now.

I don’t like Disney but I like Abigail’s words

…I was quite taken by Abigail Disney’s words.

What’s the purpose of a company? In this bold talk, activist and filmmaker Abigail Disney imagines a world where companies have a moral obligation to place their workers above shareholders, calling on Disney (and all corporations) to offer respect, dignity and a living wage to everyone who works for them.

Disney has a long way to go to be honest.

#BlackLivesMatter and Wakanda forever

I personally haven’t said much about the riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin (I also have been to Kenosha in the past). Once again another black person (Jacob Blake) shot in America. Don’t get me started about Kyle.

I can’t say enough about the death of Chadwick BosemanKing T’Challa

For a bit of light relief, you need to check out the Black Jeopardy with T’Challa. He will be massively missed and was a genuine great king.

 

Don’t understand intersectional diversity, after this you will

On this landmark 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, historians Martha S. Jones and Daina Ramey Berry reflect on what the 19th Amendment means for Black American women. The women’s suffrage movement was a predominantly white cause, one that sacrificed the involvement of Black suffragists in return for support for the 19th Amendment from Southern states. The 1920 legislation enfranchised all American women, but it left Black women, particularly those living in the South, to fight racial discrimination when registering to vote and going to the polls. It wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that this type of racial discrimination was prohibited by federal law.

Vox

1920 – White women in America finally gained the absolute right to vote

1965 – Women of colour in America finally gained the absolute right to vote

Its always sad to hear the past mistakes we have made, but even worst when we are making the same mistakes. For me this makes very clear the absolute importance of intersectional diversity. You could imagine a lot of joy in 1920 but only for one section of women, the importance to look beyond one aspect of diversity.

Systematic racism

I think this says so much…

Black communities have been telling the nation, for more than a century, that they have been targeted, beaten, falsely accused and killed by the police and other institutions meant to protect them.

They have not been believed until recently, when the rise in camera phones and social media finally enabled them show and disseminate proof.

Even after the video of George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, there remains defensiveness and denial among white Americans and institutions—a defensiveness that prevents change to the root of the problem: systemic racism. In this video, eight powerful voices share perspectives on blackness in America, and why white inaction and white politeness must end.

To learn more about what you can do to end the racist status quo, educate yourself and take action. Here is Robin DiAngelo’s list of resources: https://robindiangelo.com/resources/

What happened in Tulsa “Black Wall Street”?

I heard about what happened in Tulsa a long while ago but didn’t really understand fully what it meant. Then during the Watchmen TV series I saw the Tulsa 1921 massacre play out and looked it up for the first time.

Shocking stuff even for 1921.

So why am I thinking about this? Well for many reasons plus it was 99 years ago yesterday the massacre happened

If you can’t get access to HBO, here is a video which explains the first episode and why Tulsa.

Unconscious bias kills black lives

There is so much I have been thinking about in the last few days. I found Baratunde’s discussion with Leo quite relaxing to listen to. While America is on a knife’s edge with Trump once again making things much worst. Thankfully his Democratic opponent Biden is right on edge extending his ears and heart to understand.

On May 29th one of my favorite cities in America, Minneapolis’ police killed George Floyd because he was accused of buying cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. The new york times have a good video explaining what happened using a number of different camera views including security footage. I’m not going to share because its a very difficult watch and been shared widely.

The almost the same day Amy Cooper (white lady) in central park calls the police on Christian Cooper (black man) saying shes an “African American” was threaten her. No one died thankfully, Amy was fired from her job and Christian makes clear its not about Amy but the systematic racism in our culture.

Don't forget white women voted for Trump
(If you didn’t get the Karen reference here is Bill Maher to explain it for you.)

Systematic or institutional racism as defined during the Stephen Lawrence case is exactly why so many black men and women in America have died at the hands of the people who are meant to be protecting us all. Heck even Ben & Jerrys knows its true! Its clear to me there could have been two deaths that day simply by calling the police out to a IC3 incident.

As Baratunde says we need everybody to get involved. This isn’t that tonedeaf all lives matter stuff.  I am humbled to see London, Berlin protest and see a sheriff rejecting orders from the white house.

Complicated and complexity

The most recent Team Human is full of thoughtful conversation. One thing which made me think is what Douglas said about roundabouts/traffic circles. and recognizing complex things vs true complexity (google live transcribed, so not perfect)

…another key great insight from the book is, the way you explain the difference between, complicated things and true complexity the way that I’ve always talked to people about it, is  in the in the West in America, we have traffic lights, and it’s very complicated all our traffic lights turning red and green and all the electricity and switching systems.

And a traffic circle is actually complex, you know, it requires just a little bit of coordination and cooperation between people but then you’ve got everybody going around this circle and getting exactly where they need to so much better and more fluid. .

The complication of the American traffic system blew my mind when I traveled around the states. Lots of start stop and lots of trying to beat the lights. Its clear roundabouts are safer, more efficient but they do require coordination and collaboration. They are complicated but not complex.