A world written by one slice of a very big pie

Diversity in the digital sector, its the thing which I and many many others are banging about. In recent times, I have been thinking about this a lot and even more in regards to the Mozilla Festival.

This year one of the ambitions in Mozfest is…

How can we leverage the web to include more people, across gender, class, race and age? How can we be humble yet proactive in overcoming real discrimination and exclusion?

On a related note… , sent me a tweet to his idea to put together a digital diversity alliance.

I do want to make the digital world diverse, I am seriously worried about where we are going. There are signs that things will get better for some but its clear we need to look diversity not just one segment of the whole pie. I understand this is incredibly hard but its so important that the aim is the moon not just the upper atmosphere.

Mr Robot says Fcuk society

Recently I watched Mr Robot and a few other films (I promise no spoilers) but it emphasize the problem with a mono culture for me.

A young computer programmer (Malek) who suffers from social anxiety disorder and forms connections through hacking. He’s recruited by a mysterious anarchist, who calls himself Mr. Robot.

The problem with the mono culture around the digital industry is in my mind self evident. This is bad but its going to get way worst

As software makes its way into more services and those services in turn become a larger part of our lives through law, economics, social norms plus practically through the internet of things, synthetic biology, etc. It’s important to think about software as having an opinion of some kind.

Larry Lessig

Lawrence Lessig wrote a fantastic book called code: and other laws of cyberspace. Where be talked about code as law because the law is always playing catch up to the code, algorithms, systems and ultimately opinions baked into the code. Imagine trying to reason with a drone carrying guns, when you naturally act outside of the parameters set by somebodies idea of how people should act (or is that the American police force now?). Reminds me of a colleague at work who during BarCampMediaCity somebody thought was drunk and should be told to leave. But anybody who knows him, knows thats his natural state.

united colours of benetton advert
Ah Remember those united colours of benetton adverts? Maybe Tech needs more these…?

Sounds extreme but the example is pointing at the same thing. Its unconscious bias and unfortunately its being baked into software, hardware and the services we use. But unlike us its not got the chance to recognise the bias and correct its self (as such).

THIS IS BAD!

Why am I not taking Toby up on his ask?

Simple

You have time to help create the best Digital Diversity Alliance in the whole wide world.  It’s not a full-time job but we need committed individuals brimming with passion and drive.

I am time poor, I have a lot of things happening including helping out at a dyslexia group in Manchester and I’m trying to commit to less stuff till I get things in a reasonable state. Its a shame but I need to be honest with myself and its not fair on those who can do a equal or a better job but can also dedicate more attention than myself. Hate to be the one hold back such a great alliance.Take good fortune Toby and if I can help in future, I certainly would like to feed into the alliance in some way. I’d like to start this by encouraging you to float the idea in a workshop at Mozfest 2015. Equally if you too would like to have a less bleak, diverse and collaborative future. Contact Toby in his post

Time to be creative, BBC Microbit

https://twitter.com/andywilson460/status/618508749070843909

The BBC has had a bit of rough ride recently especially in the press and with the 600 million they have to take on and the cuts announced.

With all news stories like this, its easy to feel and think the worst. But its important to be positive and think about the way forward. The BBC must innovate and be creative about what happens next.

Talking about creativity, the BBC Microbit project finally was launched and it was great to finally see the concluding chapter to BBC Micro. I’d love to see a micromen style tv show about the many many years of getting this project to launch. So many people were involved in the process and they must all be proud to finally see the project come to this stage.

Ant's talk on 'BBC Micro for the 21st Century

I still remember Ant Miller’s talk about the BBC Micro for the 21st Century at BarCampBrighton3 which Rain blogged. I’m not saying that was a turning point or anything but was one of many many people trying to make the BBC understand its essential position in the 21 century by looking at its legacy with the old BBC Micro.

If I tried to list others it would go on for ever! I did 4 years ago create a mindmap of all the people doing something and influences, be interesting to look back at now. A few core people stick out in my mind when talking about this project

Michael Sparks, Howard Baker and Jo Claessens. These 3 people are deservingly front and centre of the microbit shot above. For me personally they put their blood, sweat and tears into the BBCmicrobit. They pushed and pushed, and made it work. They are embryonic of what the BBC needs to do now and into the future! A future which of course will be open!

Of course I can’t help but mention Alan O’Donohoe, which had little to do with the BBC microbit, but  following the BarCampMediaCity BBC Code lab stunt and momentous rise upwards, had a (mainly) positive external influence. Very interesting to hear and read some of the blogs and opinions back in 2012.

The BBC Microbit is a long list of creative things only the BBC could do. Its great to finally see the positive and negative feedback but ultimately the biggest critics will be the  year 7’s who use it this coming September.

The BBC needs to keep knocking it out the park and build a better future for us all.

Our rights in the data/digital/cyberspace

Doc Searls

We have two selves in the world at any given time now. We have the physical self, our flesh and blood, our voice, our presence in the world which extends beyond our bodies but lives in this physical space. There’s this other space, we started out calling cyberspace a long time ago, but it’s a real thing. It’s a data space.”

…Doc Searls

There is one charity I always give time and money to, the Open Rights Group. For me our human rights transcend (must/should)  into the digital domain. Its the new battleground. Its also something lots of people are not really aware of or take for granted. But every week there’s another news story of our digital rights being taken for granted and abused on unimaginable scales.

Digital rights are your human rights in the digital age. They are one of the most important aspects of your human rights today: privacy and free expression online are among the most contested. The digital rights movement exists because we need people to understand how technology is shaping our rights, for good and for ill, and who it is who is seeking to employ and capture technology for their benefit rather than yours.

There are positive and negative sides which I have written about many times.

Its becoming clear that the services we use, connected objects and spaces we inhabit are collecting our personal data. What they are doing with that data is only one of the question asked in ethics of data documentaries.

The documentaries which were put together by BBC R&D, exploring the implications for  digital right through the lens of the physical internet, personal data, data ownership and data management.

Alexander DS

Why the physical internet?

For many people the internet is still an entity which exists in a box, be it a desktop computer or laptop. This notion is pretty much broken by mobile devices and smart tvs. LG and Samsung have both been caught out using personal data in ways undesirable by most people were not expecting. But thats only the tip of the iceberg as Alex says…

You could make a good case for technology to be imbedded in everything we know. What kind of technology it is and what does it do, and what purpose does it serve is always the next question

Its time to consider a much wider context that most people think about when they hear internet of things. Think smart homes, cars, spaces and cities.

Jon Rogers

You’re personal data and privacy?

The comments made by the likes of Vint Serf about privacy being an anomaly and this being a digital dark age. It made sense to try and tackle the big issue of privacy in the digital age. There so much which could be explored as this is a very deep  and complex subject. There is only so much you can explore in minutes, but I feel Jon highlights why this is more critical than ever before.

We always make mistakes and we always want to forget them and the trouble with the internet is that we can’t forget them.”

Adriana lukus

Its about ownership and choice?

It all seems pretty scary and negative, and it never was meant to be. So to underline the choices people need/should make, we looked into ownership and choice. Something I have through a lot about especially with my history with dataportability. Early adopters are not only collecting their own data but also analysing it and quantifying it. As Adriana says…

“The quantified self is that, is the living, breathing part of the web or the technology scene where people genuinely care about data.”

The documentaries are made so you can comment directly on parts (thanks to reframed.tv), so please do. We look forward to the discussion and don’t forget to join our diigo group bookmarking related news stories.

You can help us make it digital

BBC Sign - MediaCityUK

In 2015, the BBC’s Make it Digital initiative will shine a light on the world of digital creativity and coding. Why are we doing this? The BBC has already inspired a generation to get passionate about computing. Back in the Eighties the BBC broadcast hundreds of hours of TV, created a new coding language, and gave millions their first taste of computing with the BBC Micro.

As you may have heard, the BBC has finally decades after the BBC Micro phenomenon. To make 2015 the year of making it digital.

But the BBC can’t do this alone, we need partners…

As part of Make it Digital, we’d like to create a hands-on learning experience that allows any level of young coder from absolute beginner to advanced maker to get involved and be part of something exciting. We are looking for partners, large and small, who are both willing and able to contribute services and/or funding to the delivery of this project alongside the BBC. This initiative will involve the BBC working together with the market as a public value partnership…

Think this sounds like you?  Well time to get those expressions of interest emails in.

Please submit expressions of interest by email to learning.makeitdigital@bbc.co.uk at your earliest convenience and no later than 2pm 8th December 2014.

Is it our drugs are all digital now or digital is the new ecstasy?

My Generation by 0100101110101101.ORG

Sometimes I bite at these headlines written for maximum bite value. This one reads… Now All Drugs are Digital

Obviously this is a lie, there are many synthetic drugs hitting the market which are being sold through the web.  But its a  interesting concept nonetheless from Children of the Machine.

The PC is the LSD of the ‘90s,” stated Timothy Leary in his last book, Chaos and Cyber Culture. Your first-ever desktop was acid. Think about your iPhone. Think about Oculus Rift. These are the 21st century’s digital super-strains. Let’s get wired.

Interestingly when thinking about the headline I instantly linked it to my post from a while ago, computers are the new ecstasy.

Which one is it… our drugs are all digital or the digital is the new ecstasy? They sound similar but I would argue, the later is more true, if you watch people on their phones and online. But then again the software is crafted in a way which encourages lab rat like behavior… maybe thats the new ecstasy?

Virtual goods on display

I was talking to Si Lumb on one of our short get togethers (really need to get together more with him, as we always cover so much)

We got talking about many things including… [1][2][3][4]

ideas on how virtual wardrobes, bookshelves and DVD racks are an area ripe for a startup UIs for filtering, sorting and organising are in massive need of a makeover, as digital browsing is awful. where are the "experience" adventures, like the film "The Game"? Surely there’s a market? Why can’t movies make more of the "trial" approach – give away the opening scene instead of trailer lies

 How conditioning to multitask/multiscreen makes watching passively feel antiquated. Why Red Dead Redemption is an amazing achievement yet inaccessible to girls because of gunplay & controls. On game completion: why Portal is something you have to play the whole way through and deserves the time. TV box sets and why 6 seasons of 25 episodes is a real commitment – and is it really worth it?

In short we covered a lot including some of the thoughts we had on Digitalization of the DVD rack.

The problem is when you have mainly digital or virtual goods, how do you show and share your collection with friends and family?

I’ve been thinking about how to show my media collections in the real world. On XBMC, there is a great screensaver which shows all the fan art/backdrops on your machine as a slow slideshow. Great but I don’t always have my TV on and energy wise its hardly very efficient. So I’ve been thinking, since I learned about sharethe.tv. It might be possible to push this information to a digital photoframe.

In actual fact, I had planned to buy a special wifi connected photoframe today at the local currys/pcworld clearance centre to do the task. But forgot after my scooter ride turned very cold out near Huddersfield.

The thinking is I can create a feed (some how) which the photoframe will accept. In actual fact with a bit of XSL knowhow, it should be possible to create a combination of the information of the movie from IMDB with the fan art of TMDB.

Ultimately I’d like to experiment with a Android Tablet like the Samsung Galaxy Tab running a cut-down/custom Android XBMC remote. Of course I’m not the only one who is thinking this, other hackers have tried the XBMC remote on a android tablet. But no ones really developed a photoframe interface optimized for showing your collection.

Inception on Triple play, buy or not buy?

Inception

So everyone knows I loved Inception but as it moves out of the cinema, I had a problem. A problem which will effect more and more people in the future. (This is certainly early adopter tertiary I admit)

On the 6th December Inception hits the shops on blu ray and dvd.

But I don’t own a blu-ray drive, neither do any of my friends and I either really want the dvd because its too low quality. I would like to contribute to the director and the actors in the film by buying a copy but I don’t want to own a copy on physical media. I usually do buy a copy of my favorite films on dvd so I can share them with friends who don’t have a decent home cinema setup like mine.

However I’m somewhat happy to hear Inception will come out on Triple Play (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) My worry is that there is little information on what the digital copy is…?

Ideally I’d like it to be a drm less Hd MKV or H.264 formatted file which I can play on my XBMC and Boxee home entertainment system. It sounds like going on the Iron man 2 triple play

Contains a digital copy of the feature and the feature in standard-definition

…That it will be a standard definition and still a drm’ed affair. What a shame if it is.

I actually quite like the idea of a triple play disc (I actually don’t mind paying extra for them too) if the media takes advantage of what the pirates have perfected for almost a decade now.

No worries, I expect I’ll buy the disc and take it as fair game to rip the Blu-ray into a format which makes sense for me. Now if we can get the publishing industry to something similar this with ebooks and physical books…

Ashley Highfield on iPlayer, DRM and Crossplatform Support

From the Backstage Blog, a frank discussion about DRM and Cross-platform support. It all started when I asked Ashley a few questions recently about the iplayer strategy. Ashley answered the question with quite a bit of passion and Matthew Cashmore thought hey wouldn't it be a good idea to get some of that passion in a recording. He is the result which you can judge for yourselves…

The iPlayer, no don't do a runner, seriously, it's taken over the mailing list, dominated our discussions and is something that many members of the backstage community care an awful lot about. So do we. We all know the questions. Why don't we stand up to the rights holders? Why do we insist on using DRM? Why did we sign a secret deal in blood with Microsoft?

So we finally decided that these questions needed answers, and the only person to talk to was the boss. We present 26 minutes of questions and answers about iPlayer, DRM and cross platform support with Ashley Highfield, Director Future Media & Technology.

In this frank discussion we cover the DRM issues, explain that iPlayer isn't a Microsoft only party and ask why didn't we use a non propriety solution.

You can get the file directly from Blip.TV under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence in Mpeg3, Ogg Vorbis or AAC.

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