Time for a rework

Rework in Bologna

Something caught my eye while reading about, The Five Trends Shaping the Future of Work.

This is a generation of employees with technological fluency that is willing to live at home longer until they find a company that they truly want to work for. In other words, organizations must shift from creating an environment where they assume that people NEED to work there to one where people WANT to work there.

Need and Want… I believe this to be true in the creative classes, but certainly not for many out there unfortunately. Now thats something we should be working to change…

Interestingly from Stowe Boyd,

A recent report published by TINYhr, based on over 200,000 anonymous employee responses to ongoing engagement surveys, paints a pretty bleak picture of employee happiness.

Some highlights from the report, if you want to call them that:

  • Only 21% feel valued at work.

  • 49% are not satisfied with their direct supervisor.

  • More than one in four do not think they have the tools to be successful.

  • 66% of all employees don’t feel they have strong opportunities for professional growth in their current organizations.

  • 64% do not feel they have a strong company culture.

Work is due a massive refresh, and I mean all types of work for all people.

Highlights of FutureEverything 2014

Future Everything 2014

Another year another good Future Everything festival. It seemed to fly by so quickly and partly because I was roped into the Radio 4 Character invasion day and Vision 2022,thanks for the tweet Julius. So although I was back and forth between different conferences, I did get to soak up some of the good events at Future Everything.

Future Everything 2014

Adrian Hon

Adrian was also involved in the character invasion day and his book History of the Future in 100 Objects made up part of the festival. I have to admit everytime I hear Adrian talk, he spurs a number of ideas and thought. Such a smart guy and plenty of interesting thoughts. My evernote was overflowing from the conversation with him.

Future Everything 2014

Anab Jain

I had not really come across Superflux but Anab delivered a stellar keynote in place of Anthony Dunne. Not only did she talk about the serious disconnect between what Snowden uncovered. But she also touched heavily on privacy, social compliance and the invisible war over autonomy. Not only a great keynote (which I can’t believe  was all last minute) but she also delivered a good fireside chat just like Adrian Hon did.

Future Everything 2014

New shape of things panel

I just got back from Future 2022 and caught the tail end of the new shapes panel. Its always impressive to see people you know very well talking on a panel. Dan W, Tom Armitage, Alexandra DS and Claire Red moderating. Wish I could have heard the whole thing but it was full of interesting discussion about the nature of the maker scene to the unnecessary maker projects going through kickstarter recently. It was certainly one of the better panels I’ve heard in a while.

Future Everything 2014

Liam Young

Liam’s talk was certainly interesting but the sync from the laptop caused the output to fail a lot and sometimes go out of sync.

Future everything had a lot of potential but for me didn’t quite pull through mainly because of my own hectic schedule. Must remember to give it more time in the future. Well worth attending and still very reasonably priced.

Where Storytelling and Internet of Things cross over

If you know anything about the kind of work I’ve been researching for R&D. You may know Perceptive Media is big deal in my world and as my motto seems to be, my world is not mainstream yet. However this world crosses over with a couple other areas. Internet of Things, Quantified Self and Object media are a few of the obvious ones, which come to mind.

Tomorrow I’m fortunate enough to take part in another one of the Future of Storytelling weekly hangouts. I took part in one a while ago but I regularly watch on Wednesdays (1730 GMT) before heading to Volleyball. Make sure you tune into the hangout

 join us this Wednesday, March 12, as we explore “the story of things” with Alexis Lloyd, the Creative Director of the New York Times’s Research and Development Lab. The “Internet of Things,” has ushered us into an age where physical objects have the potential to talk to us – and each other – in a way that rapidly transforms our most basic understanding of what gadgets are.  Llloyd, informed in part by her background designing immersive and exploratory experiences, believes these “enchanted objects” have within them a world of narrative and poetic potential: The R+D lab exists as a laboratory for the staff of the “Grey Lady” to study the implications of these emerging technologies and behaviors on news-media and print. In the hangout she, alongside an audience of industry experts, will explore the storytelling potential of tools and devices as unassuming as a simple bathroom mirror.

The video sums it up well and gets right into the depths of storytelling and the Internet of things. It begs the question, what would objects around you say if they could talk?

Love what Alexis is doing and who knows what might happen in the future? Sure Perceptive Publishing would be right up their avenue? And some of the guys from the NYtimes office came to Hackday and Mashed back in the day… I wonder what they would make of some more of the object things were up to?

Gradually and then suddenly

Love this piece from seth godin on the way we look at the present. Found via martin rue

Gradually, because every day opportunities are missed, little bits of value are lost, customers become unentranced. We don’t notice so much, because hey, there’s a profit. Profit covers many sins. Of course, one day, once the foundation is rotted and the support is gone, so is the profit. Suddenly, apparently quite suddenly, it all falls apart.

It didn’t happen suddenly, you just noticed it suddenly.

The flipside works the same way. Trust is earned, value is delivered, concepts are learned. Day by day we improve and build an asset, but none of it seems to be paying off. Until one day, quite suddenly, we become the ten-year overnight success.

This is the way it works, but we too often make the mistake of focusing on the ‘suddenly’ part. The media writes about suddenly, we notice suddenly, we talk about suddenly.

Gradually and suddenly, all part of the present. But as Seth points out only suddenly gets the attention.

If I could get a pound for every time someone says to me, so what do we get out of it? They want a sudden effect not a gradual effect. Long lasting things take time.

Today we had a meeting with some lovely women from Abandon Normal Devices. They were recommended to us by someone I had met when I met a more formal meeting with guy who had come to the Quantified Self Manchester group (next meet-up is tomorrow by the way). Ok thats pretty crazy to follow but the point is, its a gradual thing which unfolds, grows and morphs into something special. Gradually and then Suddenly…

Perceptive learning resources

Future of StoryTelling

For the last few Wednesdays I have been watching the Future of StoryTelling hangouts online. I first heard about them from Matt Locke and Frank Rose last year when I gatecrashed a planned hangout with Perceptive Radio.

The Future of StoryTelling speaker Hangout series continues on Wednesday, January 15th, with a discussion about interactive gaming, and how great entertainment can transport you from your daily life and immerse you in another world.

You can watch the whole thing here on youtube. and last weeks with Google creative labs Robert Wong. This weeks Including my question which is based off my noticing, interaction and narrative keeps getting thrown around together when they are quite different things.

The guest this week was Microsoft’s Shannon Loftis, General Manager at Xbox Entertainment Studios. She said a lot of things I agreed with but switching narrative for interactive, paused me to think about the origins of Perceptive Media.

I’m not going to say Games and interactive experiences are not storytelling. I would be very wrong, but what I’m surprised at is Microsoft have this amazing device with cutting edge sensors and they sound like they are doing some perception. But they are only using it for Games? Shannon even talks about the golden age of Television then slides off into Games again.

Real shame…

Anyway there was a question asking about what this all can mean for children. Most of the guests give some answers which I couldn’t disagree with but Charles Melcher (founder of future of storytelling) jumps in with something quite profound.

I clipped it and put it on Archive.org but its something I’ve been thinking about since the early days of perceptive media.

The beauty of media which adapts, responds or as I prefer preconceives the audience and the context. Is it can unfold one way and unfold another way for someone else. Like Charles, I’m dyslexic and sometimes just can’t get my head around learning resources which are written for a majority of people.

I understand why its been that way. The cost of creating multiple versions of a learning resource is going to be a bad idea from a resourcing idea. But that only applies if you build your resources in a solid non-flexible way (like a blob) your going to run into the same problem described.  However if you have something more fluid (generative) or object based you can change aspects on the fly.

Simple example, a Book (any book) vs a Ereader (like a Kindle). I’m sure I’ve talked about this before but line lengths is a common issue with people who are dyslexic. We tend to loose what line we’re on for a split second.

I can reshape the lines lengths to make it more readable for myself (thats interactive). An Ereader with sensors could follow my eyes patterns and reshape the line lengths and fonts to give me the best reading experience (now thats perceptive). This all works because the text is digital and therefore an object which can be manipulated.

Back to Charles, a resource which can be manipulated by a person is good but one which can be manipulated by a process of data and sensors is even better (if they are working to aid you). Combining/aggregating resources together gets you to a position where you can weave a story together. I won’t bore you with my campfire == perceptive media equals and this is what humans do thoughts. But I do feel this is the future of storytelling. Charles vision is achievable and its something I’d love to talk to BBC Learning about in more depth.

I’ll be honest and say not only has this one got me writing but I also started writing after hearing Robert Wong talking last week about leadership and inspiring people.

Sometimes I forget I live in the future

living in the future

In reply to my last post about living in the future, emma persky who I’ve not seen for years now. Replied on twitter with who doesn’t live in the future.

Interesting as this is certainly something I really enjoy. But Douglas Rushkroff talks about Present Shock.

Rushkoff introduces the phenomenon of presentism, or – since most of us are finding it hard to adapt – present shock. Alvin Toffler’s radical 1970 book, Future Shock, theorized that things were changing so fast we would soon lose the ability to cope. Rushkoff argues that the future is now and we’re contending with a fundamentally new challenge. Whereas Toffler said we were disoriented by a future that was careening toward us, Rushkoff argues that we no longer have a sense of a future, of goals, of direction at all. We have a completely new relationship to time; we live in an always-on “now,” where the priorities of this moment seem to be everything.

Wall Street traders no longer invest in a future; they expect profits off their algorithmic trades themselves, in the ultra-fast moment. Voters want immediate results from their politicians, having lost all sense of the historic timescale on which government functions. Kids txt during parties to find out if there’s something better happening in the moment, somewhere else.

So judging by Rushkoff I am living in the now but a different type of now from most others?

To further framing of the future comes from Steve Jobs (of course I’m not allowed to quote from Steve Jobs, says Steve)

You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path.

Lots to think about…

 

Phones On Planes Are Inevitable In A Connected World

WiFi on tube

Stowe Boyd makes a good point about the phones on a plane debate which has broken out.

Flying on an airplane is not some weekend escape at a spa where we place hot rocks on our chakras and seek enlightenment. It’s just another mode of transit.

Yes, air travel has gone downhill, like most things in the postnormal. And yes, airlines will exploit this opportunity to gouge another pound of flesh from the meat that waddles on and off their planes. That’s the way things work.

But to hold to some quaint, antiquated notion of peace and quiet in the air is laughable. Airplanes are loud in the first place — 60-90 decibels — so anyone with any sense will bring earplugs, hearing protection earmuffs, or noise cancelling headphones. This is especially true of road warriors, who otherwise can get cumulative hearing loss.

So get over your antiquated, 1970s attitudes about phones on planes. In a connected world, people will naturally use whatever technologies they can to remain connected: their livelihoods and relationships are at stake.

Just like wifi on public transport…

I don’t really like the idea of people yammering away on phones while on public transport but we got use to it and found ways around the noise. Sometimes we put headphones on, sometimes we tell people to stfu. Frankly we will deal with it because being connected for many of us is not just a nicety, but a must. And unfortunately that does mean dealing with idiots who shout down a phone.

Future Everything 2013

I had the pleasure of attending Future Everything again this year. Manchester’s answer to SXSW in my own eyes. Now in its 18th year (I believe Drew said to me) its decided to move from the already packed May month to the earlier month of March. As usual theres a conference line up somewhere in the mists of the busy festival of events.

The themes this year are

These are my highlights from the ones I attended…

Future Cities…

Dave Carter

The never conventional Dave Carter is a real asset to Manchester, I can’t give the man enough credit for what he says and what he goes and does… It was great to hear his version of ask for forgiveness not permission.

Martijn de Waal did a talk titled A tale of 3 cities… social cities of tomorrow. In the talk about 3 cities in South Korea, Songdo, Homdu and Seoul City. Songdo was the perfectly designed city of the future, clean, designed and all that. Homdu is organic in its design and gives rise to some strange human made constructions. Seoul City is a responsive city with lots of systems which allow feedback and change. Its almost responsive in nature.

Rest of the talk was about the differences and how the platform of the city can best help the citizens within it. Which kind of city would people like to live in kept coming up, and generally a balance of all three seemed to be the general view.

I could hear the sharp intake of breath when Scott Cain of the TSB (Tech strategy board) made a comment about something being in London because that makes the most sense. But no one picked him up on it which seemed a missed opportunity.

Redsigning the Future

The redesigning the future talk was interesting but bugged me…  I think it bugged me for being very vague and not revealing a lot. I certainly got a lot more out of the talk with Magnus at Thinking Digital 2012. There were some stuff which was thrown out including the notion of “Super density” which I gather is the opposite of unevenly distribution. A day made of glass was mentioned a few times along with the science fiction condition and internet fridge too.

Which leads me nicely on to the after event called ideas are theft.

It sold its self outspoken, fun, spiky and dangerous but it turned into one of the biggest let downs in Future Everything history. What got me was there was some great panellists including Dave Mee, Usman Haque and Natalie Jeremijenko. All would be fun and could talk about stuff in a spiky dangerous way if the moderator would shut up, questions were any good and made sense. The 2nd half was better but to be honest the damage was done, people started talking within themselves and the guests looked pissed off. I know it was meant to be funny but it felt very amateur which isn’t what I associate with Future Everything.

On the Data Society front…

The super smart Mel Woods seems to be the person behind the interesting project I experienced called Chattr. The premise is simply to wear a microphone and have your conversation turned into a twitter transcript. You can see the transcripts if you look at the twitter bot ChattrLeaks or hashtag. There was a delay as everything was recorded then on handing the recorder back its send to the 3rd floor to be transcribed and tweeted. For me it was the balance of privacy which was super interesting. For example a conversation later with a freelancer had to be deleted because I didn’t feel comfortable with it being tweeted even though I was very careful not to repeat anything she said.

Of course when I first got the mic, I couldn’t help but spill lots of pearls of wisdom to the world…

“I would never invite someone over to my house on a first date” #chattr

— Chattr Leaks (@ChattrLeaks) March 22, 2013

The point of the project is to feel the tension between public and private. For someone like me to feel that tension, it certainly did the job well. Really got me thinking Mel, well played!

Farida Vis and Usman Haque had a session I wish I had attended from the very start. Living in an age of Algorithmic Culture is something I’m very interested in, specially in regards to big data. They digged into the idea of algorithms and are they useful to us? Farida joined the algorithm with the health of a company. Which got me thinking about something I saw where the company banned certain users from inputing more data because it was unbalancing the algorithm and causing excess processing time. Could it be possible to starve or bloat an algorithm (ultimately hack it) to slow down the processing? Farida and Usman did agree, that most startups use external processing power and yes that could if left unchecked cause excess processing and therefore money.

I’d love to dig into love in algorithms with these guys one day, but thats another blog post and maybe more soon.

API Economy

On the Creative Code front I saw a number of mini-hack events and also a good discussion about the Politics of Open Data and API Economy. Some good thinking about moving away from the big players such as Facebook and Twitter. Also talking about not just simply running to the next big player, so no running to Google plus (specially with whats happening with Google reader!)

There was a thought that the only way to run a API was to charge for it which had me reaching for the sky but there was so many questions I missed my chance. There were a number of artistic talks but none really stuck in my head or had me typing on my tablet. Bringing the archive to life with BBC’s Tony Ageh was interesting to hear where we are years later. Tony even suggested a date of finishing, which if I remember correctly was 2017? Awesome work… Except I have no idea why there was a makeie doll on the panel? Maybe only Bill Thompson knows…?

Makie

The Future Everything Summit was a good one, the venue in Piccadilly place is a lot better than MOSI and I liked the little touches like the honestly payment system for lunch and the like. I do agree with Imran that the layout and signage could do with a designers eye because it didn’t make total sense. I did like the fact hacks and bof/unconference events were happening in the spare spaces, this felt closer than years previously. I gather there was a lot of speakers who dropped out at the last moment but it all worked and it felt like a good event. You could hardly go wrong for less than 100 pounds.

Good job Future Everything, I look forward to other summits through out the year?

Movies about time travel

Back to the Future

Theres films which do Time Travel and then there are those who do it in a way which is baffling for our mostly linear brains. After watching Men in Black 3 I thought it was worth pointing to the real smart time traveling films.

  1. Back to the Future
  2. Donnie Darko
  3. Frequently asked questions about Time Travel
  4. Primer
  5. Time Crimes
  6. Triangle
  7. Time travelers wife
  8. 12 Monkeys
  9. Sourcecode
  10. Looper (yes I know this isnt’ out yet but it looks incredible)

Piracy is the future of television

Piracy is the future of TV by Abigail DeKosnik

Nice little paper written by Abigail DeKosnik of the University of California, Berkeley. Its also formed a part of my talk at BarCampMediaCity.

One of the headings is the Advantages of Pirating TV and the subpoints are…

  • Single Search
  • Simple Indexing
  • Uniform Software and Interface
  • File Portability
  • Access to Global TV
  • Freedom from Preempting in the U.S
  • Personal Archives
  • Low-Cost and Commercial-Free

Lastly theres a section on Recommendations to Legal Services under which theres…

  • Standardise
  • Offer Downloading and Streaming
  • Strategize for Global Audiences
  • Offer a Premium Services for Personal Archivists
  • Eliminate the TV Set
  • Charge Subscription Fees Based on Volume of Usage

In the Appendix, theres recommended reading

The paper is a good one and for most of the people reading it, its maybe really good but it spells out quite a few things which you would already know if you were an avid read of torrentfreak, darknet, etc…

A future without DRM

Bittorrent

I wasn't sure if I should title this post with a ! or ? So I decided to leave it for now. Anyway with DRM getting worst than ever according to BoingBoing, I found this post about Bittorrent's future without DRM a breeze of air. If you don't know, Bittorrent made a deal with a few movie studios to distribute there content across the bit torrent network. Then everyone shouted fowl because its content included Windows DRM. Well Bittorrent Inc have come out and said they see DRM as a current solution but they expect Add supported content will eventually win over.

The reason its bad for content providers is because typically a DRM ties a user to one hardware platform, so if I buy my all my music on iTunes, I cant take that content to another hardware environment or another operating platform. There are a certain number of consumers who will be turned off by that, especially people who fear that they may invest in a lot of purchases on one platform today and be frustrated later when they try to switch to another platform, and be turned off with the whole experience. Or some users might not invest in any new content today because theyre not sure if they want to have an iPod for the rest of their life.

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BBC announcements

Rather than comment on what's going on in the BBC, I'll just outline some of the major points. If I feel brave later, I may care to comment.

  • BBC Knowledge, Entertainment, Fiction, Nations and Childrens will now be BBC Vision
  • There will be a new division which sits inside of BBC Vision to encorage Indies input
  • New media is now gone and will now be Future media and Technology (FMT)
  • Radio and Music will be platform netrual and will be come BBC Audio and Music
  • BBC News and Sports will be part of BBC Journalism
  • BBC Finance and BBC People will stay about the same
  • Audience and Marketing will be a core part of what we do everywhere.
  • Creative Digital Simple Open (CDSO)
  • If you don't respect the BBC values, maybe the BBC isn't the correct place for you.

Some observations about the Questions and Answers with Mark Thompson after his higher level speech.

Someone mentions there has always been a Radio and TV division since 1936, whats going on? Mark mentions iplayer, downloading content and talks about how under the divisions people are much more closely aligned. Mark hints at the Longtail of content and how that could inspire programme makers. Mark gets grilled about the 360 degree commisioning process and how it could be unfair to indies. Radio and Music drama could fit in Audio and Music or even Vision, Mark suggests they would sit in Audio and Music. Someone suggets iplayer is kind of dull but also offers a huge training issue which can not be ignored. Bouns are on the menu once again, Mark Thompson and Mark Byford talk about supporting 10% bouns (currently at 30%). Mark Thompson is challenged with a question about local independance and how everythings is heading towards centralisation, Mark mentions how we have 23 CMS to make content for the web. Someone ask Ashley Highfield (head of future media and technology) if the technologies should also learn tradional technology like Radio and TV, he agrees. Mark says the new BBC model will be transisional and that we need to be flexiable, envolve and change.

You can see the offical announcment here now

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Digital Assassins and the BBC changes

So once again under one of those should I be talking about BBC (work) on my personal blog type questions. I can't help but talk about the things which happened yesterday (Tuesday 25th April) at the BBC. The Guardian calls it a radical revamp of the site, but internally it was known as the Creative future or how the BBC is going to address the challenges of the on demand world? It seemed to be pushed as a launch but actually it was more like just a event to publise audience research and the thinking which has gone into how we should be moving forward. I have no problem with this, but I can see how people got confused or even frustrated with the lack of a solid plan. Not that I'm saying there is no plan.

In my mind, it seemed to be saying, we know were going in this direction but we honestly do not know what the future holds, so we need to be very flexable to changes. I'm sure the Cluetrain something like this too.To me itts the BBC way of saying change is the only constant. There also seems to be a true commitment to onlline as our future and the push to open up the BBC is being taken very seriously now. Metadata was also mention highly and I'm really happy this has been communicated from high. Now this makes metadata authoring a even more valuable piece of time in our journalistic practice. I picked up on this quote from Mark Thompson and wrote it down.

The BBC should no longer think of itself as a public broadcaster of TV and radio and some newmedia on the side. We should aim to deliver public service content to our audiences in what ever media and on whatever device makes sense for them

On a different but actually realted topic, the we media conference rolls into London for the first time in May. The conference attracts people from all the leading online publishing houses including the new york times, washington post, bbc, retuers, etc. Its a high cost ticket affair which someone like myself couldn't even imagine affording on my current BBC salary. But I do have the chance to spend the afternoon with some of these publishing heads in a session called meet the digital assassins.

As part of this session I have been asked to document a week worth of media consumption. So far this is what I've drafted

The first thing I do when getting up in the mornings, is play the daily 15min podcast Slashdot review. This usually lasts the time i'm in the shower and gives me a great overview of what's going on. I'm using a simple FM transmitter on my workstation which means I simply have a cheap shower radio tuned in on the right frequency.
In the hour it takes to get ready and eat breakfast, etc. I tend to leave iTunes playing in most recently added order. Like the cheap shower radio, the radio downstairs in the kitchen also plays whatever iTunes is playing. I've never known a time when I've switched over to a Traditional radio station in the morning or evening.

My home workstation automaticly downloads, podcasts, video, everything. It then syncs the latest content with my laptop and I manually copy stuff to my mobile phone's flash card.

Every work day on the train for my 30min journey from Woolwich to Charing Cross, I have my laptop out reading through my general news and blogs category in my RSS reader (GreatNews). I mark anything which needs more of my attention “to be read later” or “to be read sometime in the future.” Recently I've been blogging on the train more than reading.
At the same time, during the in total hour journey, I have my mobile phone playing podcasts or once in a while video content if I have to take the tube to White City.

During lunch times I turn to my laptop and either blog, read more news from all the other categories or watch one of the main videocasts which are freely available. These include Rocketboom, MobuzzTV, DLTV, Diggnation, etc.

I find my offline social network usually fills me in on anything I've missed, and I can usually catch up by downloading it the day after. The only newspaper type thing I pick up and flick through is the Ariel (internal BBC paper) while making Tea.

The train ride home gives me equal time to read through feeds and I usually try and go a little later so I can get a seat and sit with my laptop on my lap and read. If not I have a RSS reader on my pocketpc and mobile phone. But I miss being able to tag content/entries with these devices.
When at home, me and my wife usually settle down and watch something via our modified xbox while eating dinner. The content viewed is a real mixture of publicly available video, downloads of states programmes and globally available content from the web. It all comes to me over my broadband connection, and is the reason why I don't own a PVR or DVR.
UK nova is well known about and I guess highly watched by UK broadcasters but the service they provide is simply fantastic and fits with the way I and my wife consume and engage with video content.

The video content is a real mix of mainstream content like Lost, Daily Show, Simpsons, etc, and content from the net (such as Hak.5, CommandN, etc) mixed in. We tend to just pick and choose depending on our moods.

On the weekends, if were in and doing things around the house. We tend to stick on a playlist of podcasts. My Subscriptions includes the simply amazing IT Conversations, Engadget, Security now, This week in Tech, Digital Planet, etc.

And I guess, thats my usual week.

Pretty weird to some I guess, but thats pretty much my week.

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