My Tedxmcr talk: Dating against humanity

…a game in which nice single people are roped into a horrible game with others, resulting in cognitive overload, shocking manners, narcissism, algorithmic prejudice, financial loss and decisions based purely on appearances.

Would you date this man?
Would you date a 36 year old divorcee who is a left-leaning feminist and self confessed geek?

…a game in which nice single people are roped into a horrible game with others, resulting in cognitive overload, shocking manners, narcissism, algorithmic prejudice, financial loss and decisions based purely on appearances.

I’m just back from TedxManchester which was at homemcr, where I gave a presentation about onlne dating and some of the things I’ve observed about it. I believe I’m the first person to publicilly ask for a date from a Tedx stage.

It went well but I did have to speed up at the end, which did mean loosing some of my connecting points.

Maybe I’ll do a full breakdown of my thoughts but for now here’s some of the higher level ones.

  • Online dating sites and services are fundimentally in conflict with the goals of its customers.
  • There is too much evidence suggesting that online dating sites are unlikely to do what they say they do.
  • Online dating services are using gamification to prolong attention to collect even more data and make the service addictive
  • I believe the birthday paradox is a good reason why regardless of what dating sites do, there will be people who will pair off
  • Meetup, brisklr and other niche services which bring people together should have equal amount of successful connections as the likes of the big dating sites. They just don’t shout about it like the rest.
  • You shouldn’t let the tools dictate how you conduct yourself online.

Great TedX once again by Herb Kim and the thinking digital crew.

It was so apt, giving such a talk on valentines day…

I’ll write a review of the other great talks in a few days time, but I wanted to post up the slides as so many people have asked me about them.

Djing with insights

Speech bubbles at Erg

Si Lumb came up with the interesting term yesterday.

Djing with insights

Presenting strings of ideas/concepts in a non-linear method like a dj?

We had a brief chat about it today and concluded the software was the thing holding back the concept. I did suggest mindmaps but I agree its more like a making music with by live coding.

Interestingly I think the DJing with insights concept will be tested by myself during my online dating talk in November. No laptop, no slides, just me thoughts and a geeky passion for online dating.

It also reminds me of Jason Silva’s shots of awe, which is a kind of existential jazz. Not that un-similar from djing with insights or even mixing with concepts?

Jason Silva every week as he freestyles his way into the complex systems of society, technology and human existence and discusses the truth and beauty of science in a form of existential jazz

Perceptive Media presentation slides

Its been less than 14 days since we launched our Perceptive Media prototype to the world and the feedback has been coming back thick and fast. As usual please keep it going and do pass it on to others who may have not heard it yet, even if they have no interest in the technology. Were as much interested in the general public view as technologists.
One of the unnoticed pieces which went up during the launch was our smc presentation for perceptive media.
Like most presentations I do, its low on text and you end up listening to what I say rather than reading the slides. This is great but not so good when you’ve not heard me (and Tony) talking.
So here’s a rough idea of what we talk about over the presentation…
  1. This presentation is for the concept of perceptive media
  2. You may not know but the BBC has a R&D department and they have been with the BBC right from the start. Actually a engineer was hired within the first 10 people to join the BBC. We do a whole load of research and development on questions the BBC faces in the near to long term future. We also feed into standard bodies such as W3C
  3. We use broadcast technology and broadcast to everyone in the UK. We do this because its in our remit and we must reach everyone who pays the license fee. It also provides the best value for the license fee
  4. Unfortunately Broadcast is one way communication and it can feel like your banging your head on a brick wall trying to reply or communicate back.
  5. The best stories are enchanting and engaging but how does this tally up with broadcast communication?
  6. I’ll like to take you back to the original story telling medium, before broadcast changed things… something like sitting around a campfire telling a ghost story. When telling that story, you would look at peoples faces and subconsciously change elements of the story.
  7. What happened? Broadcast happened, and the ability to tell many more people the same story became the default
  8. But in the move to broadcast (that one way medium) we forgot about context, body language, etc. These implicit actions and triggers which once would help form the narrative are no longer included.
  9. Take the comedy conundrum, every comedian has to face
  10. They choose to customise there sets with jokes and references to the local area
  11. Note the word customise rather than personise. The comedian is still in control and fit it in when he or she feels it approbate. They will also work against the typical view of the location if it works with material in there mind
  12. Variables are things which can change depending on other things in this case. But they each have rules, like maximum length. This is the same for narrative but the human mind can do the calculation so quickly on the fly
  13. Currently the state of the art in perceptive like media is centres around internet virals like Take this Lollipop. But we feel there unsubtle and frankly bit simple with the two way pipe of the internet. Now if you could do this on a one way pipe, wouldn’t that be interesting
  14. It needs to scale in a way which rivals Broadcast otherwise no one will take it seriously
  15. We this is possible with the incredible power the client side now has compared to previously.
  16. The power has been shifting to the user for many years with on-demand and other technologies
  17. We created with a bunch of other peoples help a prototype called “Breaking Out” to prove it can be done
  18. As you can see its not interactive, there is no feedback loops or anything like that. Its a customised experience
  19. Because there is clear difference between explicit and implicit feedback. We feel storytellers would love to work off the implicit feedback rather than the explicit stuff. Thats the stuff which drives your ghost story
  20. How? Well there is a ton of work and money going into adding sensors to your living room. From 3D cameras which see all to simple light sensors to adjust the picture brightness. We’re just talking about using that same data generated to customise a narrative
  21. Of course this all fits with the trend around big data sets, something the BBC has a lot experience in with BBC Backstage
  22. Back to the audience and narrative. Broadcasters have been losing the connection with the audiences. Lots of people have the TV on like the Radio. Its just on and if something picks up their ears, they will tune in or listen.
  23. There is a concept called the attention economy which you may know about and it gets talked about a lot. One of my favor quotes related to the concept is from John Doe on the film Se7en. Most of the examples fit in the sledgehammer category while…
  24. We feel we can achieve the same effect with little tickles here and there.
  25. Were talking about highly relevant customisation of narrative
  26. Which fit and run on the narrative rails setup by the author/storyteller
  27. When I watched Vanilla Sky first time, there was a scene which stuck a cord with me. I couldn’t work out what it was till the end when it was revealed they had re-imagined points of Tom Cruises memories (I won’t spoil it further)
  28. We feel we can strike a cord and reestablish that connection with our audiences which has been so badly missing
  29. Thank you!

Its of course, a lot better when we present it together and add all the additional stuff you won’t get in the notes. Plus it usually throws up a million questions which we have answers for…

Story of Me, the TedxManchester video

Sometimes my slides can seem very odd, theres little information and it tend to be quite difficult if you’ve not heard me talk before. I also don’t tend to write notes but instead use slides as a prompt my memory. I can stand up and talk freestyle without a slides but to be honest if you want me to stay on topic, its best to let me use slides…

Anyway I’m really happy to say, my video of me talking at TedxManchester2 went up today.

Thanks to Nathan Rae for removing the Herb Kim spoiler at the very start (bless his cotton socks or something like that). As I said previously Herb Kim, talked about the experience before I even got a chance to leave my chair and although it was slightly embarrassing having my presentation spoiled beforehand (in a nice way) I almost couldn’t get up because it was incredibly powerful and ever so humbling…

I’m pretty much through-out holding it together but only just. At the end, when Herb comes on, that was it – The whole experience of going through it and coming out well enough to tell the tale got to me… It was amazing to think just under 2 years ago I was dying and there was nothing I could do about it.

There was so much I wanted to fit into the slides including the visit from Josh, Julian Tait, Sheila Thomson, Dave Crossland, Sarah Blow etc. The amazing support I got from my sister, Ross + Carly, Parents and Family. The fact without Billie my mortgage advisor I would have lost my flat for good. I wanted to include stuff about my dreams and the idea of mydreamscape. I wanted to extend the part about my troubles with Ebay and go into serious details about the way I was treated in hospital and the official written apology I later received. I swear there was about another 20mins of things I could have talked about…!

I’ll refer to my thanks you’s after I came out of hospital, because I can never say enough thank you to everyone who was involved and hopefully I’ve inspired people to take a deeper look at their lives and live it to the best of there abilities. As I’ve always said, stop living someone else life, live your own because you are unique and ever so complex on ways which we can not understand.

As Cobb on inception says

I can’t imagine you with all your complexity, all you perfection, all your imperfection.

Later in the presentation it may seem like I went all zen but honestly, it sums up the way I see the world now. I can’t imagine it with all its complexity, all its perfection, all its imperfection.

Once again, hopefully it helped/inspired/reached someone… Don’t forget to share it with friends and family, I certainly will be…

TedXManchester2: The Story of Me

I’m just back from TedXManchester where I gave one of the most fascinating talk of my life.
The story of me came about in a conversation between myself and Herb Kim a while ago. Herb was wondering if I  might want to get involved in TedXManchester2. And somewhere along the line we talked about the possibility of someone from the BBC talking at the upcoming event. Anyway, in a roundabout way, we got around to talking about the possibility of talking about mybrushwithdeath.
I think Herb was very surprised when I said I’d love to do it and we got talking to Isabella from the Cornerhouse about the possibility. I remember that night because it was in Tai Wu and Herb ordered a bottle of Sake, which we never did quite finish 🙂
The presentation I’ve kept under wraps for a long while because I didn’t want to spoil it in advance and I’m only really known for giving presentations about technology or dating. I did show a couple of people who wasn’t going to be at Tedx, but generally it was a need to know bases.
So it went extremely well. All the comments I’ve seen on Twitter and Tedx chatroom have been pretty positive. Lots of people came up and said lovely things to me afterwards.
I know there was some criticism about being left in the room for 7 days but… remember I have no memory of anything, so it might have been I was actually wondering about but not right in the head, as the bleed was most likely happening from just after the election.
I’m glad I pretty much held it together, although when Herb did the introduction, I almost started to cry as he explained what happened from his point of view. As I took the steps, I thought there is no way I’m going to hold it together long enough, but I did – just… By my eyes, I hit the 18min mark almost dead on, which is great because that’s how long its taken when I did my test runs both times.
It was fantastic to tell my story on the scale of TedxManchester, and I really thank everyone for listening to my story, there is so much I cut out of the slides to make it fit including the problems I had in Hope Hospital (which I got a official written sorry for), the story of how my sister and mortgage adviser (Billie) saved my flat, the reaction to being told who won the general election and the whole mydreamscape idea.

I don’t think I will need to ever tell the story again… I’m coming up to my 2nd year since the brush with death, and I’m feeling great (although very tired right now). I was going to add to the end of my presentation, the story continues…

I just know someone/some people out there was inspired by such a personal story and if that helps, my job was done.

Updated…

Of course I didn’t say anything about the other speakers at TedXManchester…

TedXManchester 2012

Mary Anne Hobbs gave a fantastic talk with no slides and no real prompt, amazing stuff. Its actually funny because I felt like her talk fitted really well with my own although we were hours apart. Passion is infectious…

Tara Shears really made particle physics sound quite simple and Tom Bloxham was quite likeable in what he was saying. I had a little chat with him about the New Islington area before the event started and he wasn’t as defensive about it as I thought it would be. Maybe he hears it all the time. Martins 12min talk asking why there isn’t a startup hub in Manchester was interesting and got me thinking about my plans for Smlworld.

Dan O’Hara

Dan O’Hara and Brendan Dawes were great as you’d expect… But a massive shout must go to Herb & Isabella for putting the whole thing together and picking such great speakers to talk…

Isabella

A collection of good talks from the BBC

I got to point to a few good presentations I seen recently from my managers.

The quality of the presentations have certainly got much better in recent times. Its also worth pointing out that Matthew Postgate will be giving a talk at Thinking Digital this year. And of course Matthew is well known to many from his presentation at TedXManchester.

What is a Alternative Reality Game?

I gave this presentation at Social Media Cafe Manchester back in November and Salford University in December. Its a nice easy to follow over view of what a ARG is and leads nicely on to transmedia. It seems a lot of people don’t have a clue about Alternative reality games and get them confused with Argumentative gaming.

Using Inkscape for presentations

For ages now I have been seeking a better way to do certain presentations. I tend to spend a lot of time in Inkscape mapping out ideas but I don’t really want to put slides on different layers.

I bought a copy of dan roam’s the back of a napkin a while ago and I’ve been influenced by the idea of using white boards, mood boards, etc to explain ideas. The problem is that once you put the effort in to putting down the idea on to the canvas, you then have to re-adapt it to a presentation with Open Office. Its why I kind of like the idea of the unlimited canvas.

Prezi was talked about and overused to death a while ago, now you hardly see it. I blogged about it a while ago and decided that there must be a better more open way to do the same.

I have been thinking maybe some enterprising group of people could take the SVG specification and build a tool which generates these exact same presentations. So first up you can use scripts on every element including the viewpoint attribute. There seems to be a load of things you can do with the Canvas coordinate system. SVG 1.1 has the ability to embed certain multimedia but SVG Foreign Object could be used to place a browser or a complete video within a SVG.

You could imagine a specially made tool which worked like Prezi but wouldn’t need to be propitery and locked in. They could even create and sell a player and editor backed with its online space, so the business model isn’t totally shattered. Even if a rival tried to create the same, OpenPrezi as I’m coining it would be first to the market and have a wealth of knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. Even a track record might go down well. So in my mind, there’s no way I will be using Prezi till its a lot more open. I’m sure even I could with a bit of time construct something using the SVG methods I mentioned. I’m not questioning the method or even the concept, it actually reminds me of mood boards. Its the implementation which winds me up.

Well my questions have been answered by some enterprising group of people.

Jessyink is the answer…

JessyInk, an open-source extension to the open-source SVG editor InkScape.

Perfect, so once I’ve created my master piece, its hopefully going to take a few more moments to turn it into something presentable. I’m not the only person to realise the power of this setup. Prezi vs JessyInk

The first time I heard about Prezi, I started looking for a possible equivalent in SVG, and I discovered that JessyInk was a pretty good candidate: it combines a Javascript library that deals with enabling simple navigation through a SVG document according to some conventions, with an extension to the fantastic InkScape SVG editor to make it possible to integrate effects, transitions and views from the editor itself.

But it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I got confirmation that JessyInk now provides the tools needed to build Prezi-like effects, and so, when I was invited to talk on “W3C and the Social Web” at the 10th anniversary of the W3C Italian office I decided to give it a try to build my presentation.

The resulting “slides” were OK, but they clearly remain much more “slide-based” than what I would have done with Prezi.

A big reason for that is that JessyInk still uses slide as the basic unit for its operations – slides are based on Inkscape layers across which you can have transitions. This doesn’t encourage working on a completely 2D-based presentation, even though it allows fairly easily to zoom in and out in a particular slide.

So it looks like JessyInk might have a bright future in front of it. The presentations are not quite as free flowing as Prezi, but to be fair its a good compromise. Open source comes up with the goods, and what a true test of the power of Open source! Fantastic, where do I start!

Proposal accepted for XTech 2007 – The Ubiquitous Web

What was waiting for me in my inbox today…

To: Ian Forrester

We are pleased to accept the following proposal for XTech 2007.

  • Pipelines: Plumbing for the next web

It has been scheduled for 16:45 on 16 May 2007.

Please confirm that you have received this acceptance and can deliver the presentation.

Thank you,
Edd Dumbill

So my presentation at BarCampLondon2 will be a very early draft for whats to come in May.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

Tom Reynolds at the Citizen Journalism conference

So after my nightmare trip to Birmingham. I did get the conference about 1 hour late, but in time for Tom Reynolds good presentation which cause a nice stir. The room was full of journalism academics and they asked a lot of tricky questions of Tom. Anyway as usual, I recorded the presentation and the questions which
followed (i did do it at the lowest quality sorry). Tom has also added a post about his presentation.

So the talk went pretty well (I think so anyway). The audience mainly consisted of a load of journalism lecturers with one or two from the blooging community. So obviously I felt incredibly qualified to be there…

Thankfully I think I entertained them a bit and gave them a few things to think about. After the talk there was a workshop session and a panel discussion which I also think went well.

The rest of the conference was good too but raised more questions that it answered. I recorded the end panel which is not the best quality because I was so far away and Vicky Taylor from BBC News. Good work Paul

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

Its all about Yahoo, again?

The one to look out for is certainly Yahoo. This week they released there UI library into the public domain under a BSD licence and then showed off there design patterns which I sent around to our designers for consideration. I also got the chance to read through Tom Coates fantastic presentation at the Carson workshops future of web apps summit and to top everything off. Yahoo is now hiring semantic web developers? Yahoo is once again on a roll. No wonder why Tom Coates moved. Oh by the way, don't forget to check out Simons notes which are great when flicking through the pdf presentation offline.

Forgot to mention Jeremy Zawodny has taken the main points and broke it down into something which can be translated for product managers. Yahoo are certainly on a run!

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

Does presentation matter in a world of RSS?

So Ben Metcalfe asks the question Does presentation matter anymore? This is exactly what me, Miles, Harry and Dave talked about one night over dinner. Honestly I think it does but as Ben identifies its moved around the chain now. If we take it that RSS has a huge audience and that its not changed a lot from its current form (aka no JS, CSS, Ajax, etc in RSS or ATOM) for a moment. The presentation shifts to feed promotion and the news reader style. For example Great News which I'm using for my desktop aggregator supports CSS and I can actually define a style sheet per feed if I want to. This was useful today when Google news was delivering me all the WorldService and ArabicTV stories, as I could use the brief stylesheet to show a lot of entries on one screen. While I use the readability stylesheet for reading Ben's blog and most of RSS content.

But it goes deeper than that, design isnt just about presentation. A designer should have a hand in the structured elements of the RSS feed, the useability of how its pushed and pulled around the internet and the accessability of the feed and its content. Its what I prefer to call the whole process the Flow of the content. Its part of what I do and I feel its part of the emerging role for new media designers. I mean is it too much to ask for a designer to build a client side XSL page for a RSS feed?

Just stepping away from the world of huge RSS audiences now. There something which smart designers understand well. The media, there designing for. web media isnt print media. Sounds obvious, but were talking about the vision for how the site should look and work being thrown out the window. I'm not talking about just browser quirks, screen resoultions and font size differents. I'm talking about the range of toolbars, extensions and the like which deconstruct the website beyond the control of the tightest web designer. Then if you go down the Greasemonkey path, you have something where you can actually share your deconstructions. Smart designers understand and embrace this and actually push for CSS driven sites to make this even easier. There are a few even testing the waters with Client side XSL transformations for all content with CSS for style.

I've included a screenshot of how I currently see BBC news story pages and how its meant to look. I custom built this simple script because it makes loading up bbc news stories from my RSS reader quicker and is easier to read for myself. Others would disagree, but then I would suggest you write your own greasemonkey script.

So back to the question, yes presentation does matter and the role of a designer is very important but like everything, roles shift with the times and media. Branding is another issue which I wont go into right now either…

I found this great little post about WIndows Longhorn/Vista's redline designs. Ryan suggests Redlines are a throw back to another generation of design, and I have to agree. Dactylx asks this question in the comments
I'm down with that idea, but then how do you as a designer communicate how the design should be rendered to a developer? What can we use to replace the redlines? and Ryan replies with a slightly optimistic but good answer.

Here is the first step. Do not separate the teams. There should be no technical team and design team working separately (on different floors or on different continents). They should sit right next to each other and *understand* the problem just as great as the designers. Design is manifested in code, so if the coders don't understand, then the product is inevitable to fail.

I'm once again in total agreement, in my experience the best projects are always when everyone is involved in the problem. Not passed around like a rugby ball on a winters day.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]