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.
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.
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.
Ian thinks: A whole number of public service broadcaster join New_Public to reclaim public spaces with a new incubator looking to tackle so many of the ills online right now. Will it be successful, I hope so, and will be a sign of the great collaborations to come
Ian thinks: A reminder of the commercialisation of the internet, services and ultimately community. This thoughtful pieces is a clear reminder of the endless battle, which has been running for so long.
Ian thinks: Rosie gets right into the nub of the problem with outsourcing technology to the private sector. In this detailed interview with Paris, you are left with the question of what happened and why?
Ian thinks: Another reminder of all those people doing your wishes and for so little. The separation from that buy to the dystopia, is so deliberate and carefully done. The only thing which will make it change is our conscious buying?
Ian thinks: Signal threatens to leave the UK, Meta and most others are clear this would be a bad idea to weaken encryption to save the children. Its the endless battle but we are getting a glimpse of the real result of this bill.
I know a lot of people are fed up with virtual festivals but the Mozilla virtual Festival is something very different. How different? Have a read of my review of 2021 Mozfest. Well worth the ticket price and don’t forget it gives you access to the festival till September allow you to catch up with sessions you missed and that incredible community
Hope to see you at the Mozilla Festival at some points.
Its a tricky one to remember because of the changes over the last few years but the Mozilla Festival will be back in March 2023 as a virtual festival complete with a number of in person events during the same year.
My finally setup was something I was playing with for ages but mainly via a self installed wordpress on my raspberrypi. I found problems when installing hyperaudio and in the end decided to go with a static website. I choose Publii as it had a linux client and I could just write the HTML easily (so many use markdown and other things, which would have made working with hyperaudio more difficult than it needs to be)
With the site creation out the way, I needed somewhere to host it.
Originally I was going to use Yunohost but I couldn’t find a simple webserver to just host the static files, instead I found a proxy server, which points at my NAS, which is running a very simple webserver. Of course the NAS has plenty of space, its also where the mixes sit, has a excellent redundancy and backup system.
Originally I always saw Hyperaudio for its ability to tie a knot between the written word and the audio (& video). It wasn’t till I saw a demo of the WebMon functionality is when I understood it could be the thing I need for DJ mixes.
With correctly written HTML, I can tell Hyperaudio what it should do, and with Mark’s help we had a prototype up and running.
<li class="active" data-wm="$ilp.uphold.com/B69UrXkYeQPr">
<span data-m="0">Activator, I know you can (That kid chris mix) - Whatever girl</span></li>
<li data-wm="$ilp.uphold.com/3h66mKZLrgQZ"><span data-m="127000">Air traffic (Erik De Koning remix) - Three drives</span></li>
<li data-wm="$ilp.uphold.com/B69UrXkYeQPr"><span data-m="445000">Chinook - Markus Schulz pres. Dakota</span></li>
<li data-wm="$ilp.uphold.com/3h66mKZLrgQZ"><span data-m="632000">Opium (Quivver remix) - Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor</span></li>
Each tune has a time configured using the attribute data-m, this is in milliseconds. As I have all the data in the old CUE files I created a long time ago. Mark helped me out with a nice script which saved me manually copying and pasting. (I also considered writing a XSLT to do the conversion). In between sleeping and relaxing with Covid, I got a number of mixes up, changed the theming and finally got to grips with the static file uploading process, and the results you can see on the site.
Payment and royalties
You will also notice each tune/list item also has data=”wm” attribute with a $ilp (payment pointers). Currently they are pointing to myself and Mark Boas. Obviously I would change them to the payment pointers of the artists/producers/djs involved but I don’t know any which have them so far. Which leads nicely on to the next challenge for WebMix.
I did/do have a plan to do a mix with dance music from artists which have payment providers but that is still in the pipeline. Along side this, myself and Mark thought about some kind of database/airtable/spreadsheet/etc with payment pointers crossed linked to their discogs profile.
Back to the current experiment, here is Opium (Quivver Remix) – Jerome Isma-Ae Alastor. You could imagine one payment provider decided between all involved which could be used to pay for each time its played on the site. (I am very aware this is very simplex and the royalties of music is a total nightmare!) but the point of the payment pointer is to hide the complexity behind one simple payment pointer, how its divided afterwards is up to each of the parties involved. I’m imagining a management agent, organisation or even dare I say it DAO; responsible for the payment pointer. There’s already things like revshare, which means you can have multiple people/entities behind the payment pointer and theres interest in this space. Long tail economics certainly could benefit here.
Anyway its a long complex area which I’m best staying out of…?
The main point is its all working and expect more updates soon… I know Mark has other ideas, while I still need to get older mixes up. I also would like to tie the whole thing to something federated or at very least setup a activity-pub feed.
The café offered popcorn, juice, and smoothies not found anywhere else at the festival, but to enter the café, you had to cross a boundary that required a ridiculous data user agreement. As part of this agreement, your personal information would be plastered through the festival’s halls hours later. This experience was about getting out of a chair and experiencing the dilemma in a real, tangible way. Would you read the agreement in order to obtain a glass of juice? Ignore the agreement and quench your thirst in ignorant bliss? Or read the agreement and walk away, and try to find snacks elsewhere because the agreement was unacceptable?
People scanned a QR code, signed up to a fake cafe ordering system with their email or social media login. After that, they are forced to answer a question before being presented with a QR code which can be scanned for a hot drink (or looking at the very very long receipt, cold drinks). If you went for a second, third, etc drink you will get more and much more personal questions. We had 5 levels of questions and the single 5th question was deeply personal. Is the coffee really worth it
Talks included Designing the Internet for Children with the ICO, Keeping Trusted News Safe Online with BBC R&D, Trustworthy AI – what do we mean when we say with Mozilla.
Talks were kept to 15mins as it went out to the whole cafe and people were encouraged to take a table to keep the conversation going afterwards. In typical Mozfest style.
Finally the workshops included Materialising the Immaterial with Northumbria University, Designing the Internet for Children with the ICO, Why might you personalise your news with BBC R&D, Common Voice / Contribute-a-ton with Mozilla.
In the usual Mozfest style there was plenty of great moments for example when the traffic warden came to check out the Caravan of the Future.
There was plenty of interest in the reverse metaverse (presence bots), which was one of the projects which run through out the 2 days. Like the original ethical dilemma cafe, we wanted to expose people to work in progress rather than a museum, where everything is perfectly working. When they worked it really worked well.
To get a real sense of the reverse metaverse / presence bot, I recorded Jasmine for a short while with a remote person.
Does it understand me, is a speech to text system trained using the similar/same algorithms as the Amazon Alexa. It was so weird to see how when it got the wrong word, it guessed with something so strange. Like Deliveroo and Kindle?
Having the public come into the space was a positive, as many of the regulars popped in and end up going to a workshop or checking out a few of the interventions. Even better was having the staff of the feel good cafe joining in and enjoying the event. There’s a few times, when I overheard people asking what was going on and then the staff suggesting checking out the loom, human values postcards, etc.
The concept really came together well over the two days. Its something which will come back in other forms. Keep an eye out for future iterations of the ethical dilemma cafe soon.
Massive thanks to everyone involved in the Ethical Dilemma Cafe, so many people from the Mozilla Foundation, who took over a hotel in the northern quarter (it was so strange seeing people I usually see on Zoom or in London only 10mins away from my home), all the partners who took a leap of faith with the concept bringing their research and passion to the cafe. The cafe and the amazing woman (can’t remember her name) who really went with the concept. All the people who helped promote it and encourage others to join us over the 2 days. My colleagues who pulled out a number of stops to make things like the coffee with strings, reverse metaverse bots, etc. All amazing along with the talks and workshops, which nicely fitted with our partners. Thanks to the security guard who worked 2 full days and his presence was just right. Finally thank you to all the people who traveled sometimes from quite far to make the event, because without you there would be no ethical dilemma cafe.
There is likely people I have forgotten and I have deliberately not named anyone in-case I miss anyone by name. But I thank everybody especially Sarah, Lucie, Jasmine, Marc, Henry, Iain, Julian, Sam, Laura, Paul, Jesse, Bob, Steph, Lianne, Jimmy, Bill, Zach, Michael, Juliet, Georgina, Todd, Charlie, etc.
Question: What do you value most in a friendship? Answer: When Ian Forrester gives chocolate 😉
The screen was part the ethical dilemma, where people use a QR code to register for free hot drinks but in return they need to answer personal questions getting more and more personal/intrusive the more hot drinks you have.
Do I know who wrote the answer?
Actually I do not, but I have a small number of people who I do think it could be…
Look out for a full blog post in the next few weeks.
Its been a very busy few weeks and theres little let up heading into May.
I noticed I haven’t blogged for a while. Not out of choice, its just been a super busy time.
Between the creation of the ethical dilemma cafe in Manchester, developing the adaptive podcasting app and web creator (more on this soon), suffering with a cold (not covid, I even got my first PCR test just incase the 4 rapid tests were all wrong), my birthday and dating an amazing woman (now my partner).
Of course I’m ok but its amazing how things I use to do all the time like booking trains, hotels, flight, etc have become more tricky than in the past. In the coming month I’ll be in London, Bristol, Newcastle/Gateshead (for the covid delayed Thinking Digital conference), Brussels (for the Exit platforms hackathon) and maybe even Amsterdam (for the in person Publicspaces conference #2). I’m also trying to go by train when ever possible!
My sleep cycle has become a bit of a mess and things keep pushing earlier starts into my calendar. If I could show a graph of my quality of sleep, sleep length, weight and effectiveness… It would be so telling.
I’m keeping a eye on this all and have a holiday booked for Lisbon. Not using my airline credit which was a total con for short haul flights. Ultimately I had to pay a large fee from the airline credit and I was able to book with another airline for cheaper than the fee! What a joke!
Ian thinks: Understanding the ethical dilemmas we face every day online has always been difficult to explain the harm. Putting them into physical spaces really brings home the dilemma. If you are in Manchester in late April, grab a free ticket and join us.
Ian thinks: Reading this piece, I couldn’t help but think about the digital realm with the ever growing divide between rich/poor. Not only with money but time and knowledge The digital divide is live and sadly growing..
Ian thinks: The EU’s Digital Markets Act is a very bold legal policy which could have the similar impact to GDPR? Although people can’t stop talking about opening Apple’s iMessage, its worth remembering the DMA hasn’t been fully drafted yet!
Ian thinks: A lot is covered in a short amount of time. However they both settle on the practical problems of the current and future internet. The legal battles, societal frameworks and the web3 bubble is used to chill what the future internet could be.
March has been so busy and I really enjoyed the start of the month at the Mozilla Festival 2022 virtual (which reminds me I must write that up, maybe in my new conference new style as suggested by Bill Thompson).
Then I saw a bunch of Hyperaudio experiments with WebMon. This got me thinking imagine if every artist/label had a payment pointer?
Its not like we don’t have the precise timing metadata, especially when recording a mix digitally.
For example here is the Pacemaker editor, which gives you exact times of when tunes are used and not used. The mix is my latest one, the incidental contact high mix, I do love that mix!
The existing models for distributing DJ mixes is frankly painful with many DJs having to fight with take-down notices and copyright flags.
I am investigating ways to self-host and share DJ mixes with the care and attention of what a DJ would like to bring to the mix, and include a way to pay the artist/creator of the music in the mix.
Ways in Which I Am Web Monetizing These Resources
Currently I am Web Monetizing the whole of the site but I am going to change the audio player to HyperaudioLite and take advantage of the new feature to pay per section of the audio.
As a DJ, my main interest is to share the mix with as many as possible without limits and constraints. I will turn off WebMon for myself and use the payment providers of the artists instead. As I expect many artists have not heard of WebMon and so I recommend using payment providers of charities and non-profits instead (same ones Mozilla have used throughout the Mozilla virtual festival).
As more artists and labels start to support WebMontization and get payment pointers. It will be easy to reroute the payments to the new payment pointers and even split payments between groups/collaborations.
Ideally I’d like to see this fit within the fediverse systems like funkwhale, reel2bits or Castopod enabling support for future forms of sharing, ignoring and distributing.
What is The Grand MozFest Web Monetization Experiment, you ask?
It is an experiment to see how the creative minds of MozFest Community can apply the Web Monetization Standard to their MozFest resources and assets to raise money for an Internet Health initiative of their choosing, inclusive of their own work.
What Does this Mean for MozFest Attendees?
This means that every MozFest attendee will receive a 6-month pre-paid Coil account* stocked with $10 US worth of tips to use on Web Monetized resources and assets at MozFest, in addition to $5 US / month of micropayments to stream to Web Monetized resources and assets that you spend time on each month.
I look forward to seeing how the experiment changes how virtual Mozfest works in 2022 and beyond (maybe). Its certainly something which I can imagine many others conferences try and copy in years to come.
In the background there has been talk about what would the ethical dilemma cafe look like in 2020? By the time me and Jasmine talked about it here, there was enough momentum between Mozilla’s internet health report and BBC R&D’s research into the public service internet, to really make it happen.
With Mozilla Festival currently mainly virtual, it was a good time to try a more distributed festival. Hence why not run the ethical dilemma cafe locally in Manchester, in a real cafe with real hot drinks and with the general public too? Heck yes!
In 2014 we worried about hidden microphones, secret cameras and toys with prying eyes. We asked for off buttons, clearer privacy terms and control over our own data. What has changed since then? Are our worries still valid? What are the new areas of concern? Or are we just more accepting of relinquishing control?
The Ethical Dilemma Cafe is a relaxing space to grab a free coffee and meet fellow festival participants. However there is a catch!
You will have the opportunity to let your personal data take you on a journey through a space full of wonder and intrigue, where you will uncover the power of data and algorithms and how they shape your world, whether you’re aware of it or not. But nothing in this world is for free, the dilemma you face is your willingness to cross the threshold and be complicit in the interpretation of how your data defines you and your community, in perpetuity.
This year the Cafe will show you how your data is reflecting your identity in the digital world. How measurement, categorisation, and labelling of humans by machines determines the barriers and privilege you experience. It will prompt you to question if the established metrics are measuring the right things, at an appropriate granularity and how their influence touches your online and offline experiences.
If you are local to Manchester, join us from April 25-26 2022
If you are local to Manchester or can travel from around the UK, you don’t want to miss this 2 day event. Put it in your calendar now, Tuesday 25th & Wednesday 26th April.
This got me thinking about the values and ethics which make the public service internet so important and so different from the corporate metaverse. But rather than think it out myself alone, I wrote a proposal for Mozfest 2022 to explore this in a discussion with a number of people. Evaluating emerging technology to understand its benefits and its problem. To hopefully shape the technology for the benefit of the public and society, is the goal of the session.
I’m extremely proud to say it was accepted and in March this year, I will lead the session sketching out the stark differences.
I almost want to add Web3 to the line up, but I believe there will be plenty to cover just in the metaverse alone.
Ian thinks: I always found tunneling technologies like VPNs powerful ways to understand the characteristics of networks. Duck duck go’s app tracking uses the technique to shine a light on app surveillance on Android devices.
Ian thinks: Personally I find Matt Mullenweg one of the most humble and thoughtful people out of the valley. I would never underestimate him and the open interconnected services he’s creating. I find this profile of him clearly one to watch.