Climate disaster is just around the corner

I have nothing but respect for the people who are taking part in the Extinction Rebellion, its about time! I had hoped Al Gore’s inconvenient truth would be the start of this? But it wasn’t. You can blame the media, trump, etc but the fact is we are running out of time.

Extinction Rebellion - Rebel for life
Its unbelievable and downright scary to hear mainly older peoples views on “kids” truanting from school and blocking London. I understand the worry about legal and illegal protest, however each and everyone of them understand how much of a knife edge humanity is on.

I was listening to Episode 127 of TeamHuman “All Hands On Deck” Extinction Rebellion with Gail Bradbrook and Clare Farrell. Although I thought they were interesting its their pulling people together which is most important. Always reminded of Eric Nehrlich’s find the others post.

I found this cartoon quite powerful by the way.

 

Did Netflix scorched the earth of interactive digital narrative?

Netflix - Black mirror
Bandersnatch

Everyone is talking about Black Mirror Bandersnatch, and to be fair after watching 5hrs 13mins of it seeing every version/variation. Its quite something. But even before it launched there were problems.

I agree its slick but its also very interesting to read Charlie Brooker’s thoughts on the experience of creating it.

Creator Charlie Brooker told The New York Times that he won’t be making more interactive episodes of the Netflix series – so no more difficult cereal choices in the future.
Asked what advice he had for anyone attempting to make interactive TV, Brooker added: “Run away. It’s harder than you think.”

I wonder if Bandersnatch will ultimately cause people to avoid IDNs (Interactive Digital Narratives) or adaptive narratives. It would be a real shame if it did but as Tom says in reply to my thoughts earlier today

I do wonder if Netflix has slightly done some damage by doing something so extreme? Something of a firework which everyone saw and caused a fire as it rained on peoples head?

Maybe James is right along with Tom? Explicit Interactive Digital Narratives has been done to death. You only have to look at the stuff Marian was doing in the mid- late 2000s with shapeshifting media.

I can predict in a year or so time, people will have forgotten Bandersnatch (packed away on a top shelf as James says) but this isn’t good news for all those other productions and experiments which may not be as smart but genuine a pleasure to be part of.

Would funding for IDN dry or boom because of Bandersnatch? Hard to tell at this stage.

What I would like from Netflix is some data/numbers on repeat viewings, paths people take, etc. If I was writing a paper, this would be a good experiment to be in on.

This is not Plex on your GPU

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nvidia/30153594058/

I hadn’t really thought Plex Media Server could massively benefit from a GPU, to be fair its not really a thing you put in a headless server? But after reading about it, I gave it a try by borrowing a Nvida Quatro PCI-express card and after some small issues getting the propitery drivers working gave it a try.

I thrown together a shell script to log the CPU and GPU heat to a text file called heat.txt

while true; do date >> heat.txt ;
 nvidia-smi -q -d temperature |
 grep 'GPU Current Temp' >> heat.txt; sensors |
 grep -e 'CPU Temperature' -e 'CPU Fan Speed' 
-e 'MB Temperature' >> heat.txt; sleep 10; 
done

I know theres a better way but it was quick and dirty.

From the short tests I did, it seemed the CPU kicked into high gear for a minute or two before it hands off to, what I thought was the GPU. However… During a stream encode of 4k h.264 content to 1080p h.264, while directly streaming at the same time. I got these results.

Thu 20 Dec 20:23:51 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan: 1650 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +71.0°C
> MB Temperature: +34.0°C
Thu 20 Dec 20:24:01 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan:: 1599 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +68.0°C
> MB Temperature: +34.0°C
Thu 20 Dec 20:24:11 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan: 1261 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +59.0°C
> MB Temperature: +34.0°C
Thu 20 Dec 20:24:21 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan: 1167 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +54.0°C
> MB Temperature: +34.0°C

A while later once the transcoding stops

Thu 20 Dec 20:37:40 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan: 725 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +37.0°C
> MB Temperature: +35.0°C
Thu 20 Dec 20:37:50 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan: 724 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +37.0°C
> MB Temperature: +35.0°C
Thu 20 Dec 20:38:00 GMT 2018;
> GPU Temperature: 33.0°C
> CPU Fan: 725 RPM
> CPU Temperature: +37.0°C
> MB Temperature: +35.0°C

As you can see with proper testing it was clear the GPU isn’t being used for transcoding (unless the CPU magically is doing something else, but looking at Htop, its clearly Plex transcoding). This was confirmed when doing more research on the issue.

Seems the problem I got is the AMD processor and if I was to swich it to a Intel one it should work with the Nvidia GPU?

So this brings me to the idea of maybe changing parts of my server.

Si pointed me at PC part picker which is alright but I don’t really understand why some Linux operating systems are not listed under operating systems? I listed most of my parts here and to be fair changing the CPU, motherboard, case and of course getting my own GPU might be a good idea?

More gender issues I’ve spotted

http://nobaddatesjustgoodstories.tumblr.com/post/173444153673

I had planned a series of blog posts about different gender items I’ve seen in blog posts, the news , etc but never got the time. Instead I kept adding them to wallabag and tagging them to blog.

So think of this blog post as a series of micoblog with little comments after each link.

No baby slings or bananas: are these the new fragile masculinity rules?

This one sums up so many things I hear and can’t stand. Shes right, how fragile is masculinity that eating a banana in a certain way can cause idiots to worry. Its frankly so stupid I can’t bring myself to say anything more that what I’ve said before.

We can’t want gender equality and still expect guys to pay for the first date and Viewpoint: ‘Why most men should pay on first dates’

Dare I say anything more…? To be fair its been a long time since I mentioned who pays on the first date. But to be fair there is arguments and tensions, which is why it keeps coming up. For example if you take the massive gender pay gap and then exercise it in who pays for the bill. Most heterosexual dates would have the man paying 20-33% more for the bill. This was noted to me and I pointed out the minority pay gap is pretty awful too making things even more tricky on a first date.

How thrillers offer an antidote to toxic masculinity and Flirting and you’ll be called a rapist? Oh please grow up, Superman

Lessons in how to be a good man? Maybe? Not so sure as the old-fashioned view from Superman actor Henry Cavill says it all. Generally the men in  thrillers I’ve seen, might be better than the toxic masculinity you see now but not exactly enlighten to feminism.

What Do Men Think It Means To Be A Man?

So this is very interesting research. I originally heard the love, sex and money issue a while ago, but didn’t dig into the survey till recently.

When I read,

Pop culture was a source of inspiration for an understanding of manhood for younger men (42 percent of those age 18 to 34), while only 17 percent of men 35 to 64 and 12 percent of men 65 and over said the same.

My instant thought was something of a worry, as I’m not seeing the best examples in pop culture (although I have to admit I don’t spend much time in pop culture so maybe I’m automatically biased).

The society pressure and daily concerns was another key one, which I’d love to have similar results from a decade ago and a decade before that.

The question How would you say it’s an advantage to be a man at your work right now? Blew my mind…

59% of men surveyed didn’t think Men are taken more seriously, Men make more money, Men have more choice, Men have more professional development opportunities, Men generally have more support from their managers, Men are explicitly praised more often?

This is delusion at its worst, even Even with the movement making this super clear. But it is consistent with a conversation I had in my barbars a while ago to be fair, when I mentioned going to see the Guilty Feminist live recording in Liverpool.

All of the survey data is on Github, which feels like could be more data to add to the Modern Romance reddit data. Some of this may appear in my book one day.

Fuel 2018 was fantastic

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cubicgarden/40970033904/

What happens when you put a firestarter in the middle of a load of fuel? Only good things right?

The thing about FUEL which surprised me was how massive the conference was. The production values were huge too. It makes sense from Belgium’s biggest commercial broadcaster. Usually when conferences say 1000 people I expect it might be closer to 700 but FUEL was  either 1000 or very close to that. The conference in its 2nd year was a mix of their clients, invited guests from the broadcast industry and 200 broadcast students. All single track with Q&As broken out over 30mins during lunchtime allowing for deeper questions and answers without using up valuable time.

FUEL 2018

The speakers were great, really interesting talks and great people. There was a speakers dinner the day before the conference which really helps gel the speakers along with the rehearsals. I don’t usually like rehearsals but it was good to see the converted slide deck and also get the superstar dj walk through on the massively long stage. If only they had customised sound tracks, because prodigy’s firestarter would have been perfect.

FUEL 2018

Most of the event was captured in a live blog but heres a few pointers from the speakers

Dietmar Dahmen made some quite compelling points about creative disruption and getting too comfortable with the status quo. I liked the analogy to superman facing a new world with no grounding. The climax involved sawing a chair with pillows in half on stage with a chainsaw. This simply wouldn’t happen in the UK, I thought as I filmed from my phone…

Simon de la Rouvière confirmed my thoughts about using Blockchain & Smart contracts for music. Also made me consider the dating site/app I talked about in the past.

Cathy Hackl is a xR (VR/AR/Mixed reality) expert who taught herself how to code joined HTC vive as a evangelist. Now shes a xR Evangelist and is one of a few people who has seen Magic Leap but of course didn’t say a single word about it (I hear their NDA is deadly serious). Such a passionate woman and it was a joy spending sometime with her the day before talking about diversity.

Rana June talked about creating and generating emotional human data for better experiences. It was interesting especially with some of the quantified self work I’ve been involved in. Loved to have talked to her more and its a shame I will miss her while in London.

I can’t do justice to all the speakers who made Fuel 2018 incredible, all were great and the format is well thought out and executed. Like Futurefest 2016 I was pleasantly surprised by the pretty much everything. The only down side was Brussels traffic, which the organisers have no control over.

Halt & Catch Fire Season 4 looks super good

Halt & Catch Fire
Halt & Catch fire has been one of those shows I’ve raved about over and over again.

This seems to be the final season and I have to give AMC credit for the great cinematography. Season 4 episode 1&2 was something you would see on breaking bad. Episode 3 was also good too, there are too many good things to say about the show really…

Someday all content will be made this way…

Lego Bricks

This is adapted from the BBC R&D blog post, but I felt it was important enough to repost on my own blog.

Object-based media (OBM) is something that BBC R&D has been working on for quite some-time. OBM underpins many media experiences including the one I keep banging on about, perceptive media.

I’ve spoken to thousands of producers, creators and developers across Europe about object-based work and the experiences. Through those discussions it’s become clear that people have many questions, there has been confusion about what OBM is, and other people would like to know how to get involved themselves.

So because of this… BBC R&D started a community of practice because we really do believe “Someday all content will be made this way.”

A community of practice brings together people and companies who are already working in the adaptive narrative field. BBC R&D do believe that the object-based approach is the key to content creation of the future, one which uses the attributes of the internet to let us all make more personal, interactive, responsive content and by learning together we can turn it into something which powers media beyond the scope of the BBC.

There are three big aims for the community of practice…

  • Awareness: Seek out people and organisations already interested in or working on adaptive narratives through talks, workshops and conferences
  • Advocacy: demonstrating best practice in our work and methods as we explore object-based media and connecting people through networks like the Storytellers United slack channel and helping share perspectives and knowledge..
  • Access: Early access to emerging software tools, to trial and shape the new technology together.

These aims are hugely important for the success and progress of object-based media.

As a start, we’re running a few events around the UK, because conferences are great but sometimes you just want to ask questions to someone and get a better sense of what and why. Our current plan is linked on the BBC R&D post which is being update by myself everytime a new event is made live.

Liverpool Life talking about Perceptive Media

I have recently spent a quite a bit of time in Liverpool, mainly for work but also slightly for pleasure . There were a few lectures/talks at FACT and Liverpool John Moores University.

Most of the presentations are on slideshare, as per usual but I also had joy of being interviewed as part of a podcast talking about object based media.

Of course most was edited out but there’s a big chunk of the interview, mainly focused on the experience of perceptive media, which sits right on top of object based media.. They described it as on the verge of a revolution, no less.

You can listen to the whole thing online at the Liverpool life audioboom channel from Feb 24th.

Nostalgia is the enemy of progress?

Nostalgia: Nostalgia Shelf

I first heard this on the psytech podcast, as I’ve been thinking about the reasoning behind family members decision to leave the EU. As you’d expect its been said many times before and it seems Steve Jobs certainly wasn’t a fan.

Don’t get me wrong nostalgia has its place, but starting to wonder if its has a lot to blame for a lot of the ills of the world? Without saying so, I realise my argument following the study of how men prefer women who are not smarter than themselves; is entwined with this.

I understand, it’s very comfortable and it clearly makes people feel better in a forever changing world; conjuring up positive memory and providing that boost of positivity.

participants who were induced to feel nostalgic also expressed more optimism of the future.  This optimism is related to two other factors.  First, nostalgia makes people feel more socially connected to others.  This social connection boosts people’s positive feelings about themselves.  That increase in self-esteem then increases feelings of optimism.

This set of studies suggests that nostalgia can play a beneficial role in people’s lives.  When times are tough, it may seem as though things may never get better.  By focusing on positive times from the past, though, people may help themselves to be more connected to others, which can give them the resources to be more optimistic about the future.

Later on we go on to find the numbers not so great and context had a lot to play in this all.

But back to the question, is nostalgia getting in the way of progress? It seems maybe depending on too many factors.

My father likes watching old rerun shows. If it wasn’t for flicking between the news at 6pm and my mother’s enjoyment of soap operas, the TV might stay on ITV3 all the time (for those outside the UK, wikipedia describes ITV3 as a channel mainly aimed at the over-35 audience, and much of its output consists of reruns of older ITV drama series and sitcoms). It does wind and worry me a little. But I understand the nostalgia factor.

However I catch myself doing the same too. How many times have I watched Inception, Trance, Interstellar, etc? It’s not much different really, is it? or is it?

For all the films I do re watch, there’s a ton of films/tv I try to watch. Heck I have given some dog horrible films a try including sextape, tapped outthe do over, pressed, taking stock (although I did find it slightly funny and the stunning Kelly Brook stars in it)… I’ll have to check trakt.tv but the percentage of new to re-watches is quite high, from some rough and bad spreadsheet messing for 30mins on a train…

Out of a pool of 1540 films (going back to 2011!) I watched 1749 films. The average seems to be 0.6666666667? I very much realise my maths skills are pretty rubbish for this stuff, but if I was watching the same thing over and over again, it would be a much higher number. I was actually surprised at the high numbers of new vs re-watched.

Yes this is just media and I guess you could run the same thing with places I go to drink, work in the northern quarter, have brunch, etc, etc… Although most of us think of this as familiarity rather than nostalgia?

Nostalgia creeps in with culture of course. I already wrote about my feelings spending time in Japanese society and many thoughts Sherry Turkle has about the influence of technology in our lives. Its far too easy to say…

Well we use to easier… to get a job for life in the past”

You use to be able to… leave your front door open”

I prefered it when… you could smoke while you worked”

Is this toxic? Its hard to say. But I certainly try to stop myself or caveat what I’m about to say, when I feel it coming up.

But I’m drawn because I’m also very aware we should also look to history to stop making the same mistakes again and again. Remember what a divided europe use to look like?

Join us in exploring object-based media making tools


Like visual perceptive media? Like the concept of perceptive radio, like the javascript libraries we have put out in a open and public way? We want you to come on board and join us…!

We (BBC R&D) have been exploring the new reality of creating object based media through a range of prototypes. I have been exploring the implicit uses of data and sensors to change the objects; or as we started calling it a while ago Perceptive Media.

The big issue is to realisticily create and author these new types of stories, requires a lot of technical knowledge and doesn’t easily seat in the standard content creation workflow, or does it? We want to bring together people in a workshop format to explore the potential of creating accessible tools for authors and producers. Ultimately seeding a community of practice, through open experimentation learning from each other.

The core of the workshop will focus on the question…

Is it desirable and feasible for the community of technical developers and media explorers to build an open set of tools for use by storytellers and producers?

During the backdrop of the International Sheffield Documentary Festival the workshop on Monday 13th June will bring together, and are putting out a call for interested parties to work together with the aim of understanding how to develop tools which can benefit storytellers, designers, producers and developers.

We are calling for people, universities, startups, hackers and companies with a serious interest in opening up this area; to reach out and join us. Apply for a ticket and we will be in touch.

Speaking at Bucharest technology week

Bucharest - Dâmbovița River

This week Thursday (26th May 2016), I’ll be speaking at Enterprise-IT Summit during Bucharest Technology Week, a celebration of the positive impact technology can have on our personal and professional lives. Its going to be at the Athénée Palace Hilton, in Bucharest.

I’ll be talking on the future of contextual and adaptive media. Something we are really understanding along with others, as you can see in this call for participation for a workshop on Monday 13th June.

You can browse the event agenda and full speaker line-up on the website.

I have never been to Romania or eastern europe till I went to Poland last year. but I am really looking forward to meeting all the great people involved in the digital & tech scene out there. Will be fun to testing their creative thinking in a little workshop following my talk on the same subject.

Data & stats from Plex Mediaserver

A while ago I wrote about having so much bandwidth from hyperoptic gigabit broadband, means I can now share my media collection with friends.

Its great but its interesting looking at the data my friends are generating through their use of my sever. But it’s not all super smooth, mainly due to my poor single core AMD Sempron 2800 processor doing transcoding on the fly. The biggest problem is the Xbox Plex client, which we discovered doesn’t support x.264 at all, meaning transcoding the whole thing is the only way to view anything. My poor CPU maxes out at 100% during the whole thing. This seems to be a massive bug bear for many people out there… I dread to think what happens with H.265 encoded media.

I installed PlexPy a while ago and decided it was time to have a look.

plexpy Screenshot from 2016-04-042

The Chromecast isn’t anywhere as bad but still triggers transcoding, but to be fair I’ve not really played with the settings but I think theres a way to force the chromecast to play directly (Directstream). Some Smart TVs seem quite happy to take the direct stream putting absolutely no strain on my CPU.

plexpy Screenshot from 2016-04-041

Because of the strain on my CPU, I’m considering changing my CPU to something better. I mean even a quad core or six core processor would be ideal.

Although part of me is thinking maybe I should block all client which require transcoding, or maybe just block the Xbox Plex client. This doesn’t seem to be a problem with the Sony Playstation, from first tests. But I also wonder about DTS, MKV and h.265?

plexpy Screenshot from 2016-04-045

I mean its not like its heavily used anyway. Sure my one friend will like that (smile). The Chromecast is far and away the biggest client and we tried the Xbox 360 once just to see if it was any better (which it wasn’t)

plexpy Screenshot from 2016-04-044

The other stats generated are quite interesting to look at…
For example when most of my friends watch my media by hour of the day and which day.

plexpy Screenshot from 2016-04-043

Theres much more interesting stats but of course privacy of my friends is the up most importance. Maybe I should craft a EULA (End User Licence Agreement)?

Its really interesting to think about the ethics of data when you are the provider.

Advantages of 1gig broadband: Plex media server

Plex Py

The advantage of having 1gig broadband (hyperfast) is the change of behaviour. Yes you can consume more and very quickly but its the symmetric nature which makes it interesting.

I have been running Plex media server for a while mainly to keep a track of my media, as I’m still running Kodi as the front ends.

One feature of plex media server is the ability to stream media to friends. Sitting on 1gig, I can share with a few close friends without even noticing. Its pretty seamless too, as long as they are using plex as a client. Luckily there are clients for many operating systems and devices including the xbox, playstation, firetv,  chromecast, etc.

Plex media server share

Its good, I once had 4 different friends watching media from my single core celeron server one evening. Did I notice? Nope, except when I noticed the activity indicator was lit up.

This got me thinking theres got be a way to visualise this stuff? Of course others have thought about the same and I installed Plex py.

Plex Py

Pretty cool eh?

The only downside right now is my single core server with 5400rpm drives (helps with the cooling) is rubbish at transcoding full HD content, especially burning in subtitles. Maybe its time for a server upgrade?

I’m also not certain about running everything through Plex, wondering what other solutions there might be which can work in a similar way.

Sharing is caring…

TV shows worth watching

I have been watching quite a few new TV shows recently.. Most are American. I won’t go into the details of how to watch them but let’s just say they are available if you look. This adds to Supergirl, Gotham, Limitless, The Flash, Better call Saul, First dates, etc…

Mel also blogged about a few shows which I’ll be honest most I disagree with (sense8 yes and Mr Robot yes – the rest I watched and wasn’t impressed with).

Lucifer

Lucifer crew

Suw pretty much covers Lucifer in a blog post (beware it contains spoliers!). I’ve been enjoying the series since I saw the pilot last year. I am worried it might go formulaic but so far, theres been enough variety to keep things ticking over. I’m expecting things to heat up soon, and Suw confirms this.

Suits (season 5)

Suits

Suits I’ve liked for a while but its not been anything to shout about. Its been ticking along for a while in mid-level drama mode. But this series finally Mike is on trial and the tension is back up again including lots of bits across the previous series. I would almost say skip to season 5 but you will miss all the references which is a shame.

Man seeking woman

Man Seeking Woman

I’m sure I’ve covered this before but it always makes me laugh. I was planning on using a part in my TEDxManchester talk but had to remove it due to time constrains. Its funny, short and quite smart about its points of references.

Master of none

Master of none

This recommendation came form Sarah who I recommended Man seeing woman too. Its actually similar in off the wall style as man seeking woman. One episode starts one way and then the very next one is totally different. I almost once restarted playing it, as I wasn’t sure it was correct. All from the mastermind of Aziz Ansari, the co-author of the excellent and funny modern romance. Can’t wait for season 2.

11.22.63

11.22.63

This came from my cousin, said I should check it out and I thought what on earth is this? After watching the first episode I was hooked… I replied saying its a cross between Looper, The Lost room and Vantage Point. I’m a sucker for time travel but what I also like is the focus on that era of time. The racism and sexism is all there and shocking through the lens of now, which pretty our man character is. This also confirms what I think when people say they would travel back in time and I say heck no…

How I learned the player was cancelled

Screenshot of my linux desktop

I have been watching quite a few new American TV shows and one of them was the Player with Wesley Snipes. But in the usual way, some turn into duds which I stop watching (minority report), some are hits and I can’t get enough of (limitless) and some just get cancelled before I can really make a decision either way (the player).

The weird thing was how I learned the player was cancelled.

I use Trakt.tv to quantify my media usage and it also tells me how far behind I am (handy if you have friends who like to spoil things for you or use social media a lot). I decided a while ago this kind of ambient information could make up my desktop as a picture via Wallch which grabs a url (in this case my trakt.tv’s progress page) pipes it to a image which makes up my background.

When the screen is locked, the background is un-obscured and I noticed the other day, the text surrounding the the player saying the show had ended. Ended I thought? Looked it up and yes the end, no conclusion or answers to the mysteries. Just gone.

Trakt shot end of the player

Of course American TV networks have a long standing for just killing shows. The most famous being Firefly or course. So surprised minority report was canned ages ago.