What would Jane Jacobs say about the Public & Private internet?

Found this via colleagues at work; the idea and possibility of a adfree public space.

Being from Bristol, I am all in favour of the points made by Adfree Bristol. I grew up with banksey, subverted advertisements and a protesters of golden hill.

Looking at it from a internet view, I find the tension between private & public so apt for what is happening right now. You only have to look at the fight over ad-blockingnet-neutrality and copyright reform.

The internet for most people is the private internet. Its the property of the 5 stacks and the wanna-be startups fighting for position in the patriarchy (hey lets call it what it is). Its a place of attention grabbing, advertising, monetization.

Tony Ageh, Bill Thompson and many others talked about the need for a digital public space. A speech by Tony Hall was clear for me that, another kind of space; not an alternative but an equal to the normal most people experience is needed.

Silicon Valley has remade our children’s world – but they need British culture too
Instead of restricting young people’s activity online, we need to focus on equipping them with the right tools.

I’ve starting to think broadly about the internet in two halves (it shouldn’t be that way, but it works)

Half Moon

Public internet & Private Internet

They have different business models, different motivations, different network topology and different functions. The thing is, the public internet is mainly dark and largely unknown by most because we don’t spend much time there. You could say eclipsed by the private side.

Mozilla Glass Room

Have a look at the physical graph at the glassroom, to see how eclipsed. (see The Alphabet Empire & Apple Towers).

It doesn’t help that most of the gatekeepers also rely on private internet business models. Cue, Jonathan Zittrain the future of the internet and the friction between the two, but generally the private internet wants to expand into the established public spaces; just like the real world. Who would have thought Jane Jacobs would be extremely fitting for the internet age?

Time for Cities to Talk About Abandoning Meat?

Ikinari Steak
Hummmm I will certainly miss steak…

More calls to reconsider our meat intake for the sake of the planet. Adrian hon a while ago mentioned a similar thing, suggesting eating meat will become like smoking is now? People will do it but looked upon as maybe selfish and causing harm.

I’m confident that in a hundred years, eating meat will be regarded in the negative way we now view racism or sexism – an ugly, demeaning, and unnecessary act. Like smoking, it will simply fall out of fashion because we’ll find better and healthier alternatives, although we’ll still occasionally eat humanely reared-and-killed animals. Note that I still eat meat even though I should know better.

To be fair, although I am very much in favour of eating meat mainly because the alternatives will cause me harm or even kill me (I kid not). I have been professionally advised multiple times not consider being vegetarian for this exact reason. Yes I could survive but it would mean lots of supplements to make up the things I get from meat.

Although I do see this becoming a really big problem and honestly for the sake of sustainability and longevity of the planet I have started limiting my meat intake a little. However in this blog, there is a lot of arguments which seem to indicate a high cost (the real cost) of meat might make people reconsider? Controversial maybe but in the same way sugar tax came into effect in the UK recently, I’ll be interested in the data which comes back. Or other places where they have done this type of thing?

So why cities? The post has some interesting thoughts….

This is where cities come into play. Obesity and climate change are two of the biggest challenges they’ll face in the 21st century. Ninety percent of urban areas are coastal, and their citizens will be the ones to feel the effects of rising sea levels and freak weather most deeply. So, too, will their health services and economies experience undue strain as the majority of their residents tip the scales and become overweight or obese. For cities, the consequences of inertia will be fatal.

But action must be born out of more than just necessity. Cities are also well placed to manage these changes. (The successes mayors have had in promoting activities like cycling, for instance — which also delivers enormous health and environmental benefits — is a testament to this.) The c40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, featuring 40 of the planet’s most influential cities, has claimed that city leaders have the flexibility which nation states lack: “City mayors are directly accountable to their constituents for their decisions, and are more nimble than state and national elected officials to take decisive action — often with immediate and impactful results.”

And this means they can interface with their citizens directly, getting to the root of problems and attitudes — the fact is, one study found that 90 percent of people’s justifications for eating meat boil down to it being “nice, necessary, normal, or natural.” Meanwhile, the majority of “meat-reducers” in the United Kingdom attribute the choice to improving their personal health — not animal welfare. Cities can move the debate beyond the ideological quagmire that governments, media, and activist groups are currently bogged down in.

Lots to think about… and it certainly makes good points about how our cities could be the biggest driver for this all. Of course it’s always great see my home of Bristol mentioned quite a bit in the examples although I’m sure there are many other shiny examples all over. That and the writer might have a bias to Bristol too.

A smarter city called Bristol

Giant mirror ball

The city of Bristol has announced a multi-million pound experiment to create the smart city of the future.

As soon as I heard this, I was worried. As there is something about Bristol which I hadn’t really got till I left. Bristol is a city where things are done differently. Where art and business are in conflict with each other and that conflict drives the continuing disruption and creativity.

I needed not worry…

Bristol is Open, the project will effectively turn Bristol into a giant laboratory and look at how big data can be used to solve problems such as airpollution, traffic congestion and assisted living for the elderly. The network could also be used to collect and understand data from the city’s trial of self-driving cars. Bristol is one of four UK cities currently testing driverless car technology as part of a government scheme.

Sensors and other internet of things devices will be hooked up to the network to collect huge amounts of data from the city. In one example it would be possible to use tracking technology to collect location data from vehicles used by the health, education and city transport sectors to try and solve the city’s traffic congestion problems.

I only recently learned Bristol was the 2nd most congested city in the UK and hated by many of car drivers. Hopefully the artistic, creative and playful nature of the city will persist throughout.

Bristol's Park Street water-slide

Got to love Bristol

Ride down to Bristol via Snowdonia

At end of my journey

In a previous post I talked about driving to Bristol via Snowdonia. Well I’m happy to say I made it! Yeh me! 400+ miles completed.

I know most of you are saying, so what? But I have never driven so far on my Silverwing scooter before. I use to drive between London and Bristol on the A4 when I moved to London and it use to be a very long trip (4hours). Main reason it took so long is because I was on a 125cc scooter and it was going flat out most of the journey. I couldn’t use the motorway with my L plates and 125cc bike. Such a journey I would need to nap for a hour or so straight away afterwards!

I recorded the journey using my tracks as usual but unfortunately turned it off when stopping at Aberystwyth. I also forgot to turn it on a couple times, hence some small gaps in the journey.

Here is my ride from Manchester to Liverpool to Llandidno to Llarwst to Blaenau Ffestiniog to Barmouth to Dolgellau to Machynlleth to Aberystwyth. Blaenau was impressive, I wished my camera still had enough battery because you swing around a mountain down a beautiful valley into this clearing. The clearing is a mine site with a village in the middle. Barmouth was a mistake because when looking at google maps, I thought the line across the river was a public bridge but it was actually a train bridge. I actually thought I missed it but ended up going back on myself towards Dolgellau. I did stop at Llandidno and try and go around the Great Orme (the wrong way it seems). I also tried to pay at the mersey tunnel but realised it was free for bikes.

Then I stayed at the Queensbridge hotel on the seafront where I got told I was being moving to the Four Seasons in town. Didn’t really matter because it was pretty much the same.

After a sleep and breakfast I headed out again. From Aberystwyth to Rhayader to Talgarth to Abergavenny to Newport to Bristol. The travel across the 2nd seven bridge cross was free, and I somewhat forgot this. Also got stuck in a bit of traffic around Newport and Bullth Wells due to the Royal Wales festival.

The camera clamp actually held all the way through the journey, I was very impressive and thought it was bound to fall off somepoint.

I think I might have connected the two parts together using Google Maps Engine. I tried to do it with a non-native XML editor but KML is a odd format which I don’t really get the schema.

So having that ride under my belt and the weather looking to hold while I drive back. I may avoid Birmingham and the Motorway to drive up through Wales again.

Who knows… Maybe I’ll drive down again and Ireland is calling me too. I always knew the Honda Silverwing was a touring scooter being the little sibling of the Honda Goldwing.

My planned long drive to Bristol


View Drive Snowdonia in a larger map

This week I’m on holiday. Unlike most people, I won’t be travelling to some new destination full of sunshine and hot sand. Instead I’m going to drive through Wales down to Bristol.

Its a long ride (300miles!) and I will be stopping over somewhere in the middle (lets hope I don’t end up in a B&B with dogs!). And I’ll be honest I’m a little scared, but I got plenty of time and don’t need to be in Bristol till Wednesday afternoon to meet good friend Claire. I’ll then head over to my parents afterwards.

This is part due to my new years resolution about driving in a different country. I know Wales doesn’t really count but its a big test run for Scotland, Ireland or France. I also saw Graham Hughes again at TedxLiverpool (which I’ll write about later maybe) his world record visiting every country on planet earth without flying is incredible and inspirational. My old colleague Matthew Cashmore drove to Russia on his motorbike but to be honest I’m not certain my scooter would survive such a ride, hence I’m signing up with the AA just in-case.

I’m hoping to film as much of the ride as the battery will allow using my helmet mounted HD camera (you can see a snippit here). But I will be recording the journey with my tracks on my Nexus 5. May just bring the work phone just in-case of emergencies.

Weather looks to be good throughout, wish me luck!

Manchester stand up and say something!

Black and White.

I know how TV works, heck I’ve had more than enough experience of how engineered certain shows can be. But Channel4’s new show right after firstdates is eye spy.

Stephen Fry narrates this new series which tests to see if the people of Great Britain really are ‘great’ and can be heroes when faced with a particularly challenging situation. Eye Spy features ingenious hidden camera stunts that throw up assorted moral dilemmas and psychological conundrums to wrestle with, challenging the notion inherent in many news stories that our ‘once great nation is going to the dogs’. You may say you’d do the right thing in a highly-pressured situation, but only when you’re actually in the moment can you ever really know.

One of the situations was a racist waiter who couldn’t deal with mixed race couples. Actually as the site says, outrageously racist waiter.

The things he said were so direct to the mixed race couple and so loud everyone could clearly hear everything being said.

And he’s the main point of concern for myself…  They ran the test in London and in Manchester. Not just Manchester but Salt & Pepper in Castlefield, a place I would go to with a date (and to be fair most of my dates are European woman)

In London, a place which is more racially diverse (as the programme points out too) the waiter got told to shut up before the couple got up and left. Actually although they ran the experiment a few times the result was the same.

However in Manchester the couple had to endure the out and out ball faced racism of the waiter. In the end they got up and left, after they were told they were upsetting the rest of the restaurant!

No one stood up and said a word, no one said anything, not a single person. They just sat there in silence eating and not saying a word. Not a single person would stand up and say your bang out of order to the waiter. Heck even getting up and walking out would have sent a clear signal that people were not happy, which is what happened when they ran the same experiment in reverse with a white couple in an Indian restaurant.

So it drives me insane to know that if I and a lady was facing such racism, no one would get involved. Not only that people would sit there in silence! Not a single word… (Shocking!) And it wasn’t like the people were old, the people seemed like students into your mid 30s type and should have known better… There is no excuse for saying nothing!

When I first looked at Manchester I did worry about being in a northern city. I seen programmes about other cities near by where separation between the races are closer to something I’ve only experienced in parts of America. Don’t get me wrong growing up in Bristol wasn’t easy. My parents amazingly moved into a area which was very white and survived through all the NF sprayed on the house, brick attacks, etc. I was also one of only 2 Black guys in my primary/junior school. I could tell stories of running away from the National Front (Kingswood was well known for being their stomping grounds) and the different brushes I’ve had with racism including in London a couple times.

What bugs me is like David Starky’s ranting is these people do/should know better. My parents and our old  lovely neighbours supported them greatly and stood up for them. Without their support things would have been a lot worst… So you can see why I’m pissed at those people and I guess the fact Manchester for not doing better.

What kind of society are we if we don’t all stand up for each other?! And yes I know the Bystander effect.

I imagine some of you are saying, stop getting so worked up… its a TV programme and one social experiment (although they did run it 3x to the same effect). Maybe I should remember the benefits of moving to Manchester but its hard to be happy and defend the great city of Manchester in the face of such a obviously bad thing, even if staged for TV…

Someone once said, are you a misogynist…?

What's Wrong With You? Are You A Misogynist?

Love the project Someone Once Told Me.com and I had my own photo taken for the project.

The story is so odd and to be fair it was a very long time ago during those Crazy “Nappy night” days in Odyssey, Bristol (for those who have known me that long).

“I was in a nightclub in Bristol, where I was born. I was quite young and when you’re young it’s quite hard to talk to women. Most of my friends were just talking to girls. They pushed me into talking to a particular girl so I did. So I went up to her and said ‘So, did you see Brookside last night?’ She said this to me in reply, which was completely bizarre. I just had this look on my face like ‘What?’ Then she just walked away. I was like ‘Great. Never again.’

The story is true and I swear thats what she said, its not even like I didn’t hear her, I heard her loud and clear. Maybe she got the word mixed up but she certainly said it.

Of course I’m not a misogynist, my mother would nail me to the wall if she ever thought I was. I have worked alongside and for many woman in the past and even now. Not only that ask all the woman I dated if they sensed something slightly misogynistic about me. I honestly don’t think a single one would say, “actually there is something to it…”

If I remember correctly I think she was expecting something corny from me and when it didn’t come, she just found it odd and blusted out with the question before she walked away in shame, realising she had slated a guy for talking to her in a more human way than most.

The comments and Twitter are there if you agree with what this woman said to me…

Expecting a certain person to tweet, “sort out your problem with woman, Ian!”

Perceptive Media talks next quarter

I’m really happy to announce I’ll be talking at a few places in autumn (q3).

I have the pleasure of talking about Making your TV more engaging for TedXBristol. Pleasure because its great to have the opportunity to spend some time in my home city and learn about whats moving and shaking? If you look online, it seems like Bath (the lower rival to Bristol) is where things are happening in the south west of England. And frankly that worries me.

TEDxBristol takes place Saturday 20th September but there is a lottery system in place for those who want to go along. Its weird because its something we considered for BarCampLondon in the later days but never went through with.

I also have the pleasure of talking at the Oreilly Tools of Change conference in Frankfurt in October. I have a lot of respect for Oreilly conferences because there very well run and tend to attract the right people along but don’t cost the earth to go to. Its a shame Emerging Tech conference ended because I would have liked to have spoken there however, TOC (tools of change) is sounds like its filling in the space Etech left nicely.

I will be talking about Perceptive Media (still need to get my bio up, but you can see my picture) and should have some of the results from our breaking out audioplay.

Updated

I will also be taking over from Tony and talking at the NEM summit in Istanbul, Turkey (which will also be the furthest east I have ever been) in October 16-18th.

And another update

I will also be talking at Canvas Conf in Birmingham on the 7th September which is mainly a web developers event but I’ll hopefully stretch their imagination and single out the client side revolution which is starting to take hold. With a look at Perceptive Media. Maybe we’ll even be able to launch something there?

So its… now

We’ve had quite a few offers to talk but its important we pick the right ones even if they are offering to pay for everything, as it takes me away from doing more research and development. We can’t have that, can we!

Hacking my john lewis umbrella

I bought another John Lewis Umbrella recently while in Bristol.

My good friend Ross (recently joined twitter), said I was nuts buying such a expensive umbrella, but I explained its the only way to deal with Manchester’s changeable weather. The Umbrella is strong and seems to deal with the gusts much better than most other umbrellas. Plus its small and compact so fits in my laptop bag, or my inside jacket pocket. Yes it was in the lady section of John Lewis but only because theres this stereotype than men carry golfing size umbrellas.

He made the point that I could buy about 17 cheap pound shop umbrellas for the price of my John Lewis one but I love the up and down button and you can’t beat it when going in and out of doors. I did try the M&S umbrella but it felt cheap and unstable in comparison, plus it didn’t have the up and down mechanism (manual sucks).

Anyway, after using it straight away after buying it to keep the rain off in Bristol. I noticed it wasn’t so snappy as the ones I’ve had in the past. Which got me thinking maybe theres a way to hack the umbrella so its snappy and much more responsive?

Yes folks, its time to hack my umbrella… and I’m not the only one but I’m doing it for different less flashy reasons

Of course if I do start hacking it, there will be photos and a detailed analysis of the hacking.

Watch this space…

See no evil bristol project

My parents (of all people) filled me in on this graffiti/street art project which took place in Bristol. Had no idea but good on Bristol Council for making this happen. I’m sure they must have seen the success from the Banksy versus Bristol Museum thing last year, and thought lets embrace it. It must be great for tourism and to be frank that street was pretty dire, so this is going to be a great new face lift.