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

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.

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?

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….

Fresh Fediverse ideas (what a great idea…)

I was talking with Evan recently in London and it spilled out to the Fediverse the next day. We talked about many things including a bit of passion for both of us, the absolute sorry state of online dating.

Its something I won’t even start on, but someone mentioned in a fediverse conversation a site called fediverse ideas.

Having a look, there were a ton of ideas to add from my head. However as they are proper Git issues, I decided its worth planning them out – likely over the holiday season.

Its a great thing to have for many reasons at such a early stage of the fediverse. Really speaks to the culture and innovation growing up around the fediverse and activitypub. My hope is this keeps going but I’m sure once the money comes into the space we will see less generosity, sadly…

Flipboard goes all out with activity pub in dotSocial

I had the joy of representing BBC RD in Flipboards new podcast series dot social.

Starting with Mike Masnick and moving through quite an amazing list of people including @evan key contributor to ActivityPub, @coachtony Medium‘s CEO, @WMitchellBaker CEO at Mozilla, chairwoman of Mozilla Foundation and many more.

I was surprised to be number 3 in the line up which you can hear here.

The series is exciting showing off the maturing of the fediverse and the diversity of activitypub.Thanks to Mike McCue for reaching out and his great decision to move Flipboard to the fediverse early.

It feels like a while ago but Mike’s protocols not platforms paper, I have been reading again recently for some related research work. I also recently spent some time with Evan in London. Remembering what wonderful people and the rich history activitypub has.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (Dec 2023)

 

People investigating a document in detail

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed with the soap opera of Open AI, ai bias feeding ai bias and being anonymous getting more difficult.

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 Apple not advertising with X, Pebble/T2 restarts as a mastodon instance,


Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity is not a blockchain

Ian thinks: Tim Bray is a well known figure in the older tech circles. His review/blog looking at C2PA is revealing, honest and just what I’ll be sending people interested in content provenance and trust.

Privacy costs? But should it?

Ian thinks: Signal revealed how much it costs to run Signal and its quite an open opener. Relying on donations and grants  I am amazed and recently donated, but I do question if privacy should cost, as its so fundamental to being human.

Climate change requires a new financing model.

Ian thinks: Mariana lays out a clear argument why solving the climate crisis is even further off than it should be.due to the way business and markets work. Strong warning but who is listening?

Flipboard’s fediverse podcast is a must listen

Ian thinks: Ok I’m bias, as a upcoming guest on the dotsocial podcast series but if you are confused or even a expert about the emerging space of the fediverse and activitypub. This is the podcast series for you.

How ActivityPub, WordPress and Decentralised social networks work together

Ian thinks: WordPress is huge on the internet and when Automattic announced ActivityPub support, it was exciting. In this podcast Matthias, explains how it all happened in a informative straight forward way for anyone to follow. I would recommend it to anyone interested in what the Fediverse means for the public service internet.

Self service tills in the middle of a battle?

Ian thinks: There has been so much news, discussion and debate about self service tills. Its part of a much bigger question about how much automation society will accept vs how much businesses balance between profit and loss. Not just in profits but also publicity, trust and so much more.

Mozilla Explains: Is Your Dating App Racist?

Ian thinks: There is a lot in this short video but the research is solid in the face of a industry which avoids sharing critical data with researchers.

Dating is so full of data and Elon wants a piece?

Ian thinks: This was not widely reported on but the online dating market is huge, full of personal & sensitive data and growing all the time. Facebook tried but while people may brush it off. Is it bluster? Who knows but its important to think about the bigger picture as online dating is the dominate way people meet across the world.

The era of easy money is gone?

Ian thinks: I first came across this book from the talk at the Thinking Digital conference. Its a good read/listen with lots more detail than expected and strong advice for the future of this space. I can’t help but feel if it was released now, I’d love to hear the final take on Sam Bankman-Fried, who was recently sent to prison.


Find the archive here

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

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

Context collapse with Beeper

Beeper client with all the networks it can connect to

I have been meaning to write about context collapse with beeper for a long while. I have written about Beeper previously.. In short Beeper is a messaging client which takes advantage of Matrix’s bridge system to connect/bridge to many different networks.

This means I use Matrix every single day on my laptops and smartphones. Its great, as its connects to so many different networks including Discord and Slack, all without installing Slack or Discord on my phone and even laptop if I wanted to.

However there is a effect which is best described as (like) context collapse.

The amount of times I have received a message from someone on Linkedin, Facebook msg, Twitter direct message (which I don’t think works anymore – as you can imagine)., etc, etc. They all end up in my inbox and its super useful but sometimes I need to look at the little icon to then figure out what I should do next.

Should I treat it as serious, should I reply straight away or not worry too much. This is very apt when you are getting linkedin or twitter DMs. This is similar for Facebook messages.

It also affects the way you reply too, should I reply in my usual laidback style, should I add emojis, should I write a lot back, voice reply, etc etc.

Beeper descktop and mobile client running

It sounds stressful but actually I’m ok with it because the alternative of having lot of apps on my phone or laptop running would be far worst in my head. If there was a way to make the notifications per network that might be useful, but generally I’m ok with the context collapse, as the icons make it clear enough and force me to think.

This changes a bit when using my Android wear watch, which strips out such detail. So I generally don’t reply unless I know its from a friend or family. Although even that can be interesting as my mother is on sms & signal or a friend who is on sms, discord and facebook msg.

I kinda want to see a matrix bridge for activitypub (fediverse) but honestly with the amount of context collapse, I don’t think it would personally be a good idea for me.

Interested what others think about this all and would you like one client to do all your messages and potentially your social networking too?

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (July 2023)

Woman typing on laptop while sitting on a sofa in a coffee shop

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing students using AI to learn languages, the malicious use of AI and Meta’s Voice AI,

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 AI act, Amazon prime dark patterns finally being acted on and a look at the tangible risks of AI.


PublicSpaces: For a collective internet?

Ian thinks: I am biased as I took part in this years Publicspaces conference, however this is a conference worthy of watching once the 2023 ones are added to the others in peertube. Some highlights include Ruha Benjamin, Eli Pariser, Public broadcasters and private social networks, Building Digital Commons.

Who added the creepy?

Ian thinks: I found this interview with Dave Eggers worthy of a mention. The EFF push him on his thoughts and get quite a lot back. I was struck by the line “…but who decided to insert the creepy?”

What is the public service view on AI?

Ian thinks: This interview with Acemoglu is quite enlightening and highlights the critical question of how would AI & ML operate and look like if it wasn’t about increasing the bottom line or hoovering up data?

Ian thinks: Murthy in this interview has so many good points and ultimately links the possibility of loneliness with basic needs like hunger and thirst. I’m sure many disagree but as described in Turkle’s Alone together, its clear there is an unbalanced use of technology directly contributing to something.

Ian thinks: Following the previous link, Mozilla’s research deserves more attention. Consent is critical for trust and you would have thought the mental health industry would trust as their top priority? Maybe I’m naive and the commercialisation of the industry is self-evident.

Re:publica 23, its all about Cash? (day 1, day 2, day 3)

Ian thinks: Every year I see such great talks and come from Republica, most are in German but there are also a number in English. I am pretty sure they will separate the talks in time.

The challenges of openness within the social space

Ian thinks: I needed to add my thoughts on this challenge against openness by those leading the charge for openness (yes confusing). I understand the potential but its more likely Meta will close their instances to the fediverse, lets not be that person ahead of time.

Digital nomads reshaping the cities

Ian thinks: As someone looking to be a digital nomad, this is a hard pill to digest. I certainly would like to see more meaningful exchange with the locals rather than dive in an carve out a new bubble?

Get Rich or Lie Trying

Ian thinks: This book has come up so many times, but it wasn’t till I met the author at MozHouse Amsterdam. I decided to put it on top of my list. Symeon digs deep into the social dumpster fire and clearly points out the damage which has been done at all levels.


Find the original here – https://cubicgarden.com/2023/07/01/public-service-internet-monthly-newsletter-july-2023/ and the archive here

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (May 2023)

Weaken encryption cyberpunk

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing the environmental impact of ChatGPT, the fascination to force people back into the office and that musk interview.

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 a new right to repair for up to 10 years. how solar got so cheap and John Oliver’s 2nd reaction to cryptocurrencies.


Weakening encryption is a idea which needs to die

Ian thinks: There is so much to say about the potential UK online safety bill, when it comes to encryption. In my personal experience, weaken encryption is no encryption. I’m not the only one. There is a reason why no one uses MD5 anymore.

Using photosynthesis as a source of clean energy?

Ian thinks: This energy hack is exciting to say the very least. Although very exciting its very early. I certainly encourage reading the details of the Cambridge research here.

Heating our homes using abandoned coal mines?

Ian thinks: Novel use of the many shut down coal mines, is a gem of not just an idea but something being put into practice in other countries.

The bright future of Homomorphic encryption, 

Ian thinks: This interview with Rand Hindi of zama.ai is very enlightening. The idea of Homomorphic encryption at every level is fascinating. Could it be quantum resistant? Well Rand certainly thinks so. I also expect we will be hearing a lot more about this in the next 2 years and will be a building block for the public service internet.

Bluesky finally on Android but join the waiting list

Ian thinks: Its good to finally see an Android version of Bluesky, as there is growing interest in Bluesky and the actively developed AT protocol. There is also a lot of pumped up tension from some about Mastodon vs Bluesky which is just nonsense and a waste of energy.

The danger of stochastic parrots

Ian thinks: This very shared piece calls out the real problems of the new range of “AI Chatbot.” Bender runs through history and her challenging sometimes ignorant experiences talking with those evangelising the AI future. Its well worth the read if you haven’t come across it somewhere else already.

The stochastic parrots which drives us insane

Ian thinks: Jaron’s thought on the affects of AI on our well-being is spot on. Be it consistently doubting, double checking or just the overload of AI generated content. It always makes me think an adversarial AI bot working for you makes a lot of sense.

The detailed evidence of the impact of social media on teen girls

Ian thinks: This very detailed post outlines with countless data points summarising the effect of social media on young girls. Just incase you were not clear already?

Is Kevin Kelly’s technium, unrealistic or genius?

Ian thinks: This interview was a difficult one to hear, mainly because I usually find Kevin Kelly a good thinker. However his general thoughts on tech will save us, painful to listen to and it runs through most of his thoughts. Worth a listen with a sharp critical mind.


Find  the archive here

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (April 2023)

a close up portrait photo of a cyberpunk woman under neon lights
Midjourney prompt : a close up portrait photo of a cyberpunk woman under neon lights, cyan and orange highlights, street photography, lifestyle, wet street –ar 16:9 –testp –upbeta

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing AI generated images fooling so many, OpenAI’s CEO a bit worried about the risks of AI and the cropping bug popping up everywhere.

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 FTC banning better health. Content protections to identify fake/modified media and Solar tech being deployed in new and huge ways.


Mozilla takes a bite of the trustworthy AI emerging market?

Ian thinks: During the busy Mozilla Festival, was the announcement Mozilla was investing in the emerging market of trustworthy AI. We all want it but is Mozilla too early or will we look back and say it was perfect time? According to Jaron Lanier maybe Mozilla is perfectly timed.

Everything apps are all about control

Ian thinks: Twitter’s plans to be yet another everything app is painful enough, but if you look deeper into the idea of everything apps. Its super clear the reasons to be the one app to rule them all.

Whats happening in Europe?

Ian thinks: A good summary of the key concerns in Europe explained to an american audience.

The Quantum Revolution

Ian thinks: The FT’s series of podcasts about quantum is enlightening. Although quite dry its still a good listen for those like myself who know a surface level of information.

Why care about Silicon Valley Bank?

Ian thinks: I found this Rocket podcast episode, the most clear reasons why the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank actually matters. Its easy to ignore but looking at the long tail of startups and the people who rely on them, was eye opening.

Making the emerging Fediverse

Ian thinks: There is so much happening in this space of the fediverse its almost like the Metaverse has been forgotten? But I found this panel at the recent Mozilla Festival hit the tone perfectly for a workshop titled designing the future fediverse, run by myself the next day. I also recommend this indepth interview with Mastodon CEO.

Do you know what that public camera is doing?

Ian thinks:I found this Mozilla Festival session, answered one of those questions I wonder about. A QR alongside signs of surveillance, link to a human and machine readable datachain explaining its capability, who is involved, storage, etc. Best of all is the whole project is Apache 2 and CC licensed.

Sites go under but communities stay strong

Ian thinks: Timely reminder in the wake of Twitter, social sites which have gone, been archived and the rich community which stay strong.

Robots and elder care is a mess and needs work

Ian thinks: Japan for me was always the future. However this critical view of robots in elder care really brought a number of technical and cultural concerns into clear view.


Find the archive here