Mozilla Glass Room exhibition

Mozilla Glass Room

I talked about the Glass Room in a previous blog.

I can’t really give it justice but I did take some pictures which are good starting points. Theres a nice summary of all the exhibits here. Here are the ones which stuck out in my mind.

Mozilla Glass Room

The Alphabet Empire

All the different sub-companies which fit under the Alphabet (Google) megacorp, there’s so many you needed a magnify glass to see them all.

Mozilla Glass Room

Apple Towers

This physical infographic compared the amount of money Apple accumulated in offshore accounts against the amount of money the UK and EU governments spent on various things in 2016. Really interesting to see the BBC’s total budget of £4.8bn totally eclipsed by Apples tax bill.

Mozilla Glass Room

The Data Detox kits

These paper kits are whats meant to help you clean up and take more control over your personal data. As previously said, I found them interesting as they are simple and effective like a Ikea manual and I’ll be interesting to hear how my sister got on with her data detoxing.

Mozilla Glass Room

How Long Does It Take to Read Amazon Kindle’s Terms and Conditions?

Australian consumer advocacy group Choice hired an actor to read all 73,198 words of Amazon Kindle’s Terms and Conditions. It took just shy of 9 hours and the video of all that time illustrates exactly how much time you would give up to fully understand what you are agreeing to. The other interesting point is the frustration and doubts the actor has while reading it aloud, especially later in the agreement.

Mozilla Glass Room

Data Production Labour

By the Institute of Human Obsolescence, this is what I blogged about previously. I found it fascinating to see it working. Basically you put your phone down in front of a camera and scan through your facebook timeline. As I don’t have Facebook on my phone, I scanned through my Twitter friends timeline which I hardly ever do. After 2 mins, the results of your activity are fed back to you in a receipt print out. I think of it like clickclickclick but there is something quite powerful about using your own phone and something you might do all the time.

Mozilla Glass Room

Smell Dating

That whole of idea of smell based dating will never die and this exhibit was oddly placed but I wanted to give it a try as it was causing a bit of a fuss. It would be good to see the results over the course of a day or week, but even watching the woman and man before me had some very different results from me.

Mozilla Glass Room

A data-day in London

Good little summary of all the points when we have to make a decision to agree with their terms and conditions, during a typical day in London. Really interesting to read through.

Mozilla Glass Room

MegaPixels

Visually querying yourself was interesting but didn’t do a good job on me at all. A friend thought it would pick up photos of myself but it didn’t happen. Instead I got a lot of low results for Kanye West. It seemed to work much better for others.

Other notable exhibits were Tor Access Point, Facebook Algorithmic Factory, The listener and Unfit bits.

Unfortuanlly by the time you read this, it would have closed its doors but I look forward to seeing more of this type of exhibit.

Match group in full effect, time to rethink online dating

Stop Screwing with okcupid

It was a while since OKCupid was bought by Match group/IAC. They then went on to buy POF, Tinder and others.

OkCupid one of my top dating sites has finally dropped a key feature which for me was one of the defining features.

On Friday, online dating service OkCupid introduced its biggest change since its 2009 paid “A-List” add-on package. Starting today, the site’s users no longer see a major data point that has been standard for nearly a decade: the “visitors” tab.

“What’s the value of a visitor?” the company wrote in an e-mail to users. “Short answer: zero.” However, that valuation is shaken up by a follow-up sentence, and it may explain why the Match.com-owned company made the change. “A person who visits your profile and chooses not to follow up with a ‘like’ or a message probably (read: definitely) isn’t worth your time.”

The Visitor feature was key because it allowed you to see if someone visited your profile. Its a really nice feature and useful to understand if someone is interest or not. (there is a way to opt out if you are worried about this feature of course, but you don’t get to see who looked at you).

In short, a user could look through and see who looked at them, which is a potentially quicker path to determining who out there might have actually tapped “like” on you. (Without real-life cues like body language, online dating users can benefit from round-about paths to finding potential interest. As an occasional OkCupid user over the years, I can attest to appreciating any cues beyond seeing what happens when I send awkward, unsolicited “HI HOW ARE YOU” messages.)

Today (Saturday 29th July 2017 1300 BST) I haven’t received the email or the link to visitors is still there in my app and the site.

The statement from OKCupid is such bollox and clearly a sign they want more people to pay them for the A-list (premium service) which will get the feature of course.

I have used the visitor feature when sending a message and seeing if the woman is maybe interested or not. Generally if she looked at my profile, after I sent her the email. Then its very likely shes just not interested in me and thats fine. Its a good indicator rather than the like feature which leads towards a tinder like system.

I also tend to get about 5-7 visitors a week which is a nice place to look for potential matches.

Thus, OkCupid’s statement doesn’t necessarily add up. If a person visits your profile and does follow up with the “like” button, they just might be worth your time, and a “visitor” tab would let you tap “like” in kind and find out. But as of today, OkCupid now only has one option to reveal that information: A-List subscriptions, which cost $19.95 per individual month or $59.70 as a six-month bundle. (“A-List Premium” was introduced years later with an additional $15/month charge and more features.) Free users still “pay” for the site via advertisements, which A-List users can disable.

Once I saw this, I did look at the OKCupid EULA for changes and of course the site.

While OkCupid’s public-facing blog is typically transparent about changes, features, and site-driven research, the company elected to only inform users about this visitor-tab change via e-mail. OkCupid did not respond to Ars Technica’s questions about the changes in time for this article’s publication.

Suspect stuff… or a clear sign the match take over is in full effect now.

John from M14 industries asked how many features have they really got left?

RIP okcupids journals

He’s right really…

I think it is time to look elsewhere, as the original OkCupid idea died a long while ago and there is little which makes it better than POF (another Match group site!). At least they still have the visitor option (currently!)

All this drives my thoughts about decentrialised dating again. If I wanted to leave how would I take my profile? Could I take all those questions and answers I spent much time answering? I have had a task for a long while to make my okcupid profile public or duplicate it on a public platform I can control.

The best thing is there is a proposal which went into Mozilla Festival from the ever capable Evan Prodromou about this exact issue.

I realize it seems trivial to people thinking only of press freedom, but romance and sexuality are a huge part of human existence. Almost all major dating sites are owned by a single company (Match.com). It’s an area that requires privacy and gradual disclosure. Open dating systems are fascinating — posting one or more profiles on the open web in a way that preserves your privacy but allows gradual disclosure and connection.

He is dead right!

Some people, especially those married or in long-term relationships; but they have no idea the personal nature of the data being shared and mined by pretty much one corporation which just wants to toy with you and your life. I called it Endemic corruption and I wasn’t mixing my words.

There is an opportunity for something far better and much more useful…

Updated…

I looked at OkCupid tonight and found the notice saying…

We’ve removed visitors so you can focus on better connections
Without the distraction of visitors, you can focus on the people who really want to get to know you. And when you’re focused on those people, your chances of higher quality connections improves.

As I said in a follow up tweet, this is such a load of crap! The justification is just a joke and their blog is lacking in actual data.

So one last time before they took the feature away, I was able to grab a snapshot… Goodbye OkCupid visitors

goodbye OKcupid visitors

This time next week I’ll be at #mozfest 2016

Global Village at Mozfest

It’s that week heading into the Mozilla Festival. As usually I’m pretty hectic with things to do and think about. Every year I think why do I put myself through it?

Spacewrangler is something which takes some time to explain and I tried to do so previously and here. But I explain it as running your own conference within the wider framework of the Mozilla Festival.

Its hard work but ever so rewarding!

There is no other time or place when you can put together a mini-conference with sessions and exhibits; schedule everything in the open and fly in great workshop speakers locally & around the world. It’s quite amazing and every year I think how is this even possible?

For example in the Home section of dilemmas in connected spaces.

There are 24 sessions which are a mix of workshops, talks, games and exhibits. They have all been scheduled by myself and I have personally checked all the sessions to be sure they fit with the narrative of the home and the wider dilemmas in connected spaces narrative.

BBC R&D’s partnership with Nottingham University is clealy evidenat this year with Homelab Kitchen meets Databox and Broadcasting through objects both appearing in the line up.

Preparing for Mozfest 2016

I especially find the openness of the whole festival and Mozilla incredible and inspirational. Everything from the open calls to the curation of the sessions. Its a very open process… Its a logical conclusion of most of the values built into barcamp, hackdays and other community centrered events.

Mozilla recently announced the complete lineup/schedule for the festival, which was a bit of a scrable because sometimes things are not quite settled till the actual day. Its the beauty of the festival, things can shift and change; but there is a tension with people wanting to schedule their time to get the best out of the festival.

This year we (myself, Michelle, Jon, Micheal and Dietrich) will build on the previous 2 years and intergrate even deeper with the rest of the festival. If you thought the banyan tree was great, you seen nothing yet! In the space, dilemmas in connected spaces, we have a camp site, the secret garden, a studio and of course the home complete with a post Brexit political experience setup and run by Alex and Peter.

Global Village at Mozfest

Mozfest is a experiece and a half, and always a highlight in my calendar.

You won’t want to miss this years festival and tickets are still available, but be quick as it always sells out.

Why Ade should be at Mozfest

I had a read of Adewale’s blog about Cargo cults and progressive web apps stores. While reading it, I thought this is perfect for the Mozfest space we are crurating this year. The tale of two cities: dilemmas in connected spaces.

What Ade is tackling is the notion that app stores or the walled gardens are bad and more native fuctionality is heading out on to the web. He ponders if this is a good thing or not?

I know the recent Web USB draft certainly got a few peoples noses out of joint; for good reason to be honest, especialy on security grounds. However I’m personally not convinced by the legacy background Adewale mentions.

It’s easy to forget that app stores emerged as a response to the difficulties of dealing with carriers to get your content ‘on deck’getting your apps preinstalled and the extremely closed nature of that ecosystem.

Yes that was then and this is now. I clearly remember the pain of installing apps on my PocketPC devices. It was painful and clearly early adopter like myself were the only ones who would put up with it. However legacy isn’t a good reason to back an closed garden model?  Its a call card for the open web right? I mean Adewale’s reasoning is good…

  • give an obvious place to find apps that have particular functionality (try searching for “games that don’t need wifi” in the Play Store)
  • give developers an obvious place to find large numbers of users.
  • give developers a structured mechanism for exposing the features of their app so that users can filter the set of available apps for apps that have those features.
  • give users an obvious place to review apps.
  • give developers an obvious place to accrue reputation for their apps.
  • give platform vendors a place to assert policies that drive developer behaviour.
  • give every app on a platform a canonical URL ( for example here are iOS and Android URLs for the same game).

But its merly a step in the right direction, and to be fair most these features are just merely cracks in a flaw model of the walled garden or the garden trying to emulate the web? However I do also think there are lessons which can be learned from them.

Instead of ‘cargo culting‘ the app stores we should be asking what web-centric solutions to the problem would look like. For me that means lots of competing and opinionated PWA directories rather than one central PWA Store or even a popular search engine.

This is the start of not only a good workshop at Mozfest, but also the start of a good exhibit/experience/dilemma. He (or someone) really needs to submit a proposal for Mozfest before August 1st.

Run a session in the tale of two cities at Mozfest

Global Village at Mozfest

The call for proposals is up and Mozilla are asking for diverse, interactive and workshops from the savvy public. This year the proposals can be in French, Spanish and Arabic. Also this year the theme in the physical area is the Tale of Two Cities

A tale of two cities

Dilemmas in connected spaces

This space will allow makers and learners to explore these dilemmas through a series of interactive experiences and mischievous interventions. Participants might nap on a squishy chair that generates sleep data; cook a snack in a connected kitchen where appliances only sometimes do as you say; and hack on IoT hardware.

The theme builds on 2014’s ethic dilemma cafe and raises the stakes by forcing people to consider the choices we all make during our digital and physical lives.

Are you a consumer or maker? Rather do your bit in the open garden or prefer the confort of a walled garden? Want everything free or rather pay what you like? Rather device automation or manuel control?

Each one of these have different factors and considerations, and we will let them play out as physical spaces. We’d love to see workshops which explored these types of decisions we make with our physical & digital interactions. There are many more we haven’t even considered, which I know you will…

Sessions don’t have to be super sketched out, we can work it up into something special together. You will also be able to see how we discuss and select sessions on Github, as we did last year. Radical transparancy could be a nice dilemma to explore?

You know what to do… Put in a proposal before August 1st

I was a space wrangler for Mozilla Festival 2014

MozFest_26Oct_144

The Mozilla festival is something I’ve had the pleasure of attending almost every single year except last year for personal reasons. The festival always feels like something between a conference, unconference and a festival.

As most of you know, myself, Jon and Jasmine were Space wranglers for the Mozilla Festival. This meant we were given a big space to curate a schedule and program of workshops around the theme of Physical.

Right from the get go, we didn’t want it to be the 3D printed, Arduino fest of previous years. We carved together our thoughts into a call and put it on Lanyrd. The physical track became the open web with things track and took on a form asking questions of the things we connect to the web. I liked to describe it to others as whats the reason and existence of the thing? So a more critical look at Internet of things without getting negative.

Mozfest 2014

Being a space wrangler included regular video calls, lots of collaboration in google doc, tons of etherpadding and narrowing down the open public call for workshops down to something more manageable. I can’t state how much work this really is, not only do you have go through them all and form some kind of schedule in your minds. But you also need to think about ones which don’t quite make the cut and discuss how to make it better or if combing sessions would work better? Its a lot of work and to be fair I wasn’t too sure how things were going to pan out.

Myself, Jon and Jasmine didn’t just want to have the sessions/workshops. We needed somewhere to show things off and being the creative people we are, wanted to do something a little different. Originally we thought about some kind of bar or cafe where people can feel comfortable and play with things in their own time. And somewhere along the line, it became the ethical dilemma cafe.

Mozfest 2014

Ethical dilemma cafe

The ethical dilemma cafe, did include a space to show physical work in action and/or finished. Plus it included a physical dilemma of what people experience online all the time without really thinking. Having to decide between giving up data in  return for smoothies and popcorn.

Mozfest 2014

Give up data? You ask? Well we wanted to include a number of things/systems stealing/taking liberties with you’re data. We had planned a jukebox which would encourage you to feed it more personal data. It was going to be like a film I watched recently called 13 sins, lure you in with the small harmless data requests then request more and more till you felt slightly violated.

Instead in the lead up to Mozfest, we ended up with something even more interesting and more instant. Libby, Andrew and Jasmine created a system which sniffs the radio waves (802.11 space) around discretely positioned  picture frames around the space. They also had a cameras to take pictures of people when there was movement.

Mozfest 2014

The results were shown on a screen and more interestingly printed out on a dot matrix printer like a receipt of your time in the cafe space. The receipts came thick and fast as lots of people came flooding in with the promise of iot, smoothies and popcorn. We decided to hang some of them up, seemed fitting as we were airing peoples data in public.

Mozfest 2014

Lastly Matt included a conversation recording system. Interestingly people didn’t really notice the microphones positioned around the space and were surprised when they heard their voices played back randomly.

Mozfest 2014

We never quite got the rest of the concept up and running till Saturday afternoon, but that included terms and conditions for entering the cafe (just like the end user license agreements people never read), a clear line for the entrance and a web connecting the things together. Once those were in place and things got more interesting.

Mozfest 2014

Some wrote “Popcorn and Juice with strings” and they were right. Tempting people with what they could have if they just agree to the conditions and step over the line was kind of fun. When pointing out the agreement, most people will stop have a read and then shrug their shoulders and cross the line. However some people would read it and actively turn 180 degrees and walk away. Some would hover around the line and look at the fresh popcorn and smoothies, wondering if it was worth it?

Mozfest 2014

The ethical dilemma cafe served its purpose as many of the public caught on to the fact of free comes with strings. Positioning the popcorn and smoothie maker in direct view of the entrance, had the desired effect of people wondering straight pass the signs and taking popcorn.

Besides the dilemmas, there was also some live making, the physical playlist machine and penguin books Steven fry project (myfry).

Mozfest 2014

The sessions/workshops

I didn’t get a chance to go to many of the workshops unfortunately… The cafe was opposite the physical area on the mezzanine level while the rest of the physical sat on level 1 with mobile along side. Jon took the actual subtracks wrangling while myself and Jasmine positioned ourselves in the cafe. We had 3 subtracks within the open web with things track.

Mozfest 2014

Once the furniture was rearranged in the cafe and workshop spaces, it all worked out great. I did get to show the Perceptive Radio at the Science Fair on the Friday, Dj on the Saturday night and attend a couple of workshops around the ethics of data and iot.

Mozfest 2014

I do wish I had gone to more sessions and workshops but Mozfest was full of ideas people learning and sharing all over the place. One of the best examples was Stuart Nolan talking about the physicality of things (and entertaining people and himself in the cafe – Thanks for that Stuart!) and the security expert Babak  who showed people the skill and (crack like) addictive nature of lock picking. So amazing was his session that hours and hours afterwards people were lock picking everywhere.

Mozfest 2014

I actually stopped a lady and asked her how she was able to teach somebody else about lock picking. She replied, saying she picked it up from Babak and just found it fascinating so shared it on. The sharing on went on and on, that heck even at the ending/demo party people were still picking locks!

Mozfest 2014

The Mozilla festival was stressful and I had to be careful not to get too stressed about it but now I’ve done it and learned from it, I think I could do it again next year with less stress and even more impact.

MozFest_26Oct_391

Massive thanks to the Mozilla Festival crew, and I’m sorry to Sarah, Misty and Michelle who put up with our crazy asks (What did they think when we asked for rope, padlocks and popcorn machines?) Their energy and positivity was crazy good. Almost no matter what the ask, they were ready. It was amazing to sit and think about what was achieved on the train home on Monday night. Big thanks to all the other space wranglers, people who stepped in and helped out on the days (Spencer, Natasha, etc), people helped get our kit to Ravensbourne (Elizabeth), those who helped with the ethical dilemmas (Libby, Jasmine, Andrew, Matt, etc). And of course Jon, who is amazing and kept me going with his insane ideas and drive to keep on going…

MozFest_26Oct_259

The combination of data ethics and internet of things was good but I think we only just scratched the surface. Look out next year, there maybe a lot more to come…! Oh and thanks for the Firefox phone, I’m actively using it as my work phone at the moment, look forward to developing for it soon.

Firefox phones

Live pacemaker mix from Mozfest2014

I had the pleasure to play the Mozilla Festival again in October. It was meant to be 2 djs but only myself showed up. Here’s a good hour of dance music for you’re lovely ears to take in. Recorded live using the Pacemaker device’s build in recorder (now I’m using the old firmware). I did a longer mix but the Karaoke took over and to be fair I was pretty much messing around by that point.

Enjoy! And blog post about Mozfest is coming soon.

The Mozfest 2014 party live mix by Cubicgarden on Mixcloud