A review of my 2016 resolutions

are you a good kisser - undressed

Its that time of year when I reflect on a frankly pretty crappy 2016 politically but a massively packed one for me personally. Seriously March, May, September, October, November were so full (I still need to write up my own personal Mozfest 2016 experience).

Although I did spend a lot of time in other countries, according to Google I’ve done 39 trips but that includes going to places in the UK. With the most visited first…

London, Nottingham, Bristol, Newcastle, Liverpool, Sheffield, Windermere (Phil’s wedding), Cambridge, Northampton.

And further a field, with the longest time first.
Berlin, Amsterdam, Lagos/Faro (1st time I’ve been to Portugal), Bucharest (another first Romania), Stockholm and Hannover.

  • I usually do steps but since I switched from Fitbit to the Xiomi band recently, and the steps are quite different from the fitbit, it makes little sense.
  • 259mins of sleep deficit over the year, which is down from the previous year.
  • Average sleep this year has been 6 hours 50mins.

Trakt.tv added the year in review, and there’s very detailed data points there.
446 hours of film watching, which is 37.1 per month and most watched film is x-men apocalypse.
379 hours of TV watching, which is 31.6 per month and most played TV series is Louie. My highest rated TV were Limitless and 11.22.63 both ended.

  1. Be taken out of my comfort zone by Kate and take her out of comfort zone
    Our challenge has yet to start really. I had plans to take Kate to either Bucharest (shes never been to eastern europe and I only went for the first time last year to Poland). Then I thought about Stockholm (although not really going to push the challenge, its a very cool place). Although Kate has already dropped hints of staying somewhere near Scotland. I did ask if it was a tent and she said it has walls, to which I ask if it has a roof? Of course I got big grin.
  2. Host film nights and more dinner parties at mine
    I put up the projector screen with help from my lovely neighbours and to be honest I’ve not really used the projector much. Mainly as it needs to be setup on the coffee table and I can’t leave it there all the time. Its also XGA meaning things get cut off when sending a widescreen 1080p signal. But I will sort this next year. I did do a showing of undressed too, which counts right?
    Dinner parties? Well I’ve had a few but they generally end up as cheese and wine evenings. Someone recently pushed me to do a dinner for her, so the challenge is on. Time to pull out the Japanese food spark I think I have.   
  3. Head further a field with the scooter
    This one is frustrating as I had grand plans to drive into Northern Ireland. However the scooter is getting old now and I have plans to replace it with another scooter. So maybe when I get the new one, that will be the chance to go for a long journey? My scooter is still ok but there is so much body damage and to be fair its done over 70000 miles and I’ve had since 2005!
  4. Improve my circus skills
    At last this has been greatly improved. The much mentioned vertax are still as difficult to do as always but I’m getting closer and tend to get too excited when close. I’m also picking up other tricks and getting far more confident about my suicides. More room for improvement!
  5. Stay better in touch with old friends
    I realise I’ve been a little poor with this one, I need to spend some time reading what my old friends are up to in their lives. I’ve been shocked to learn things about old friends which I can’t believe I didn’t know about. This shouldn’t be just about reading their facebook walls but generally keeping in touch.
  6. Redecorate the flat
    Last year I still had the old sofas and old stuff, now I have a proper corner sofa and changed a few things. I still have bigger plans but paining the walls isn’t really one of them.
  7. Ride a roller coaster in another country
    Didn’t happen, but will next year for sure. Heck I don’t think I even rode a rollercoaster all year! Sad times, although I almost did renew my Alton Towers pass now the smiler is now open again. Still really like to see a new coaster before I renew it properly.
  8. Work on the book/serialised blog
    I started datingyarns.com but I’ve been so busy. Modifying the entries to make it as unrelated as possible to the date/person(s), but isn’t as simple as it may seem. Anyhow, I will keep putting them up, although I do maintain it would be better as a group blog with some incredible yarns from some of the women I’ve had the pleasure of dating.
  9. See the Aurora (Northern lights)
    This should have happened, I missed going to Iceland then when I got the go ahead for Sweden. I was thinking about taking the overnight train up to Lapland to see it and stay over. However due to clashes with the Christmas partys etc, I couldn’t stay long enough to make the trip up there. But I guess my research has shown how easy it would be if I did want to go via Stockholm, although Iceland is still number one choice.
  10. Make some bold moves with my love life
    Bold moves with my love life. Well this certainly was the right year! Where do I even start?
    I already knew I was going to be taking part in the Horizon dating experiment but it was shown much later than I thought. In between I took to the stage for TedXManchester4 to tell it as it is about dating services/apps. This all before Jane sent me the email encouraging me to put my body/money where my thoughts were in a new dating show – Undressed. Ok ok I hear you ask, what’s actually changed in your love life? I would suggest although quite confident about myself, all 3 of these things have really made me even more confident in myself, surroundings and love life. Its quite difficult to explain but every experience really brings new insight.
  11. Kick start the emerging technology event
    I did kick start the #etechmcr event, first event with a new VR Manchester meetup and then second one with Erik Lehmann. There hasn’t been another one for a while, although there’s plenty of opportunities but I’ve not been around to do anything about it. My hope is next year will mean more time for this and other events.
  12. Think humanity
    I feel this is a solid tick…

Not happy with Pebble being bought by fitbit

Pebble 2.0

I recently bought a Xiaomi Mi band because I got fed up of the Fitbit ecosystem not interoperating with anything else I used. You can see evidence of this on the Quantified Self website, with one of the number one querys being how to get data out of the Fitbit ecosystem. Fitbit although useful to see my daily steps wasn’t much more use than that. I didn’t really pay attention to the leaderboards with friends or use the sleep tracking feature (I used the Pebble and Sleep as Android for this). I did like the fact it wasn’t a watch/on a wrist, This was a major selling point for when I’m playing volleyball. When I saw the Mi Band could be attached in a non wrist way, I was sold.

The Mi Band isn’t perfect but I like the magnet system, which is better than the clip Fitbit used.

Anyway, although I moved away from Fitbit step tracking. I also relied on my Pebble smart watch to do sleep tracking (maybe I should enable the step count now I upgraded to pebble 2).

Then I heard the news Pebble is being bought by Fitbit.

Digital health and fitness-tracking company Fitbit has just officially announced that it is buying key assets from smartwatch startup Pebble, after reports emerged last week that a deal between the two was close to being completed.

Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park said in a release that the company “sees an opportunity to build on our strengths and extend our leadership position in the wearables category.”

Not great news for myself and others… Then the kicker (pun intended) was worst still, knowing Pebble was under some major financial strain. My Pebble 2 was delayed 2-3 months for example but I did get at least. Happy I didn’t get the Pebble time 2!

But Pebble has been struggling to stay afloat financially for the past year, according to three sources, and the new Pebble Time 2 had been delayed. In a statement released on its website this morning, Pebble said that it is “no longer able to operate as an independent entity” and that it had made the difficult decision to shut down the company. It will no longer make hardware. Its newest products, the Pebble Time 2 and Core, are canceled, with refunds expected to go out to Kickstarter backers in the next four to eight weeks.

Existing Pebble smartwatches will continue to work, the company said, but functionality will be reduced in the future due to a lack of support.

Reduced functionality deeply worries me, as the pebble OS is very centralised, although I have seen other operating systems loaded on to the generic enough hardware. Of course others are already thinking the same thankfully.

Do I think Fitbit will ruin Pebble?
Yes I do and this interview certainly confirms some of my fears.

Fitbit hasn’t explicitly said it is making a “real” smartwatch, one with more advanced capabilities than the is-it-or-isn’t-it-a-smartwatch Blaze. But all signs point in that direction. First, the Pebble acquisition earlier this week: Fitbit has said more than once that it bought the company for its smartwatch software platform, not its hardware.

And on Fitbit’s most recent earnings call, Park himself said the company was planning to expand into “new form factors” next year.

Pebble’s timeline and OS was smart and made perfect sense for a smartwatch. I get smartwatches haven’t really kicked off but I did feel Pebble were the only ones which really got a sense of what could be possible. The Pebble core was just the start and I almost bought one myself, I don’t think Fitbit or Apple will really get what’s really possible with this new technology if its open rather than locked into their own ecosystems.

Shame…

I have a blog saved about mainstream’ing, venture capital, startup culture, the long tail and the nature of niches. Still needs some work but this is certainly one of the examples.

Updated

Fitbit confirmed the buying Pebble and they came out and said we got at least a year of functionality.

My 2015 media consumption in review

My most watched fim of 2015

During my new year resolutions 2015 review, I pointed out that I couldn’t access my year in media without some serious development of Trakt’s API. Well 15 days too late for the review unfortunately.  I saw this on twitter…

Sure enough you can now see my 2015 review in media on the web.

Lots of quantified data for my media consumption…

For 2015…

  • 686 media items played
  • 669 hours of played media

Thats a lot of media use, even I have to admit, especially since, this is does not include documentaries, youtube, vimeo, ted, chromecast use, etc…

My TV genres for the year,
my tv genres of 2015

TV wise… My most watched show is Last week tonight with Jon Oliver with 37 plays or 18 hours, 30 minutes. Generally. I clocked up…

A review of my 2015 resolutions

Harajuku

Its that time of year when I reflect on the amazing amount of things which have happened this year, even Richard Brandson is in on this now. While I’m not going to try out quantified self Stephen wolfram; as I mentioned in last years review, but heres some bits and bobs.

 

  • 2,653,347 steps this year so far
  • 2791 floors this year so far
  • 1,98.78 km of walked distance so far
  • 449mins of sleep deficit (this is what I should have
  • Average sleep this year has been 6 hours 50mins.

Trakt.tv recently changed their interface and are still waiting on their yearly dashboard. On Last.FM I listened to 255 artists  with an average of 3 scobbles per day.

Now on with the 2015 resolutions review

 

  1. Go to a new part of the world
    This was a big win this year.
    Not only did I make it to Tokyo, Japan at long last but I also went to Warsaw , Poland and even to Fife in Scotland; which was the 1st of 2 times in Scotland this year.  All were great and I’m sure to visit again in the near future.
  2. Improve my circus skills
    I started to learn the basics of the vertex during the early autumn months and learned quickly where I was going wrong with a visit to Manchester Quirkus. I was doing the whip with the wrong hand causing the diabolo to tilt away from me. Now I can kind of get the diabolo into a vertex but haven’t mastered any moves beyond that… yet!
  3. Scooter into another country or new area
    I  drove up to Scotland on my scooter, which isn’t bad. Yes it was only gretna green (just over the border but it’s still Scotland). I’m certainly thinking about next year driving further, as I saw signs saying Edinburgh and Glasgow less than 100 miles. I reckon I could get up to both in about 4 hours. Maybe stopping in Kate’s Yut again. I’m also thinking Ireland would be good, maybe even Northern Ireland?
  4. Explore my sapiosexual and datasexual sides
    Well thanks to Tom for the total destruction of sapiosexual term. Which I explored in the blog entry about myself. Friends and collages have commented (when asked) at the bravery of being so open about things like this. Which I sniff at because theres so much more…
  5. Quantify more and make better use of my data exports
    Didn’t do so much of this, I did less quantified self aggregation but added even more sensors to the line up including weight scales and even better sleep tracking. I also found the interest in Manchester around the Quantified Self also dropped and I had to put the Manchester QS meetup on hold, along with attending the QSEU 2015 conference. My data is still in silos but I’m certainly thinking about doing more in 2016. Especially around the homelab and media exports.
  6. Do something for other dyslexics
    This year I’ve been helping others and attending a dyslexic meetup in Manchester every first Saturday of the month. Its been good to discuss openly with others.
    As part of Mozfest 2015, I was also included a session about dyslexia and it was well attended and spawned an adhoc session with further talks with the Tate to be continued in 2016.
  7. Improve my health and alertness
    Yes things are getting better and better. Alertness is great but of course there is always room to improve. The electronic scale is useful and of course the sleep tracking is identifying patterns which contribute. Nothing scientific but interesting.
  8. Hire somebody to ironing my clothes
    Done… Just need to use her services more often I guess (only given her 3 big bags of clothes so far).
  9. Try dating younger (and progressive) but central located women
    Yeah my dating has certainly gone down this year. I’ve decided to give up on Plenty of Fish after the insane amount of Catfishing going on. OkCupid is turning up the same people all the times, so I’m thinking about redoing my profile and looking at the questions again. I also installed Bumble to see if the female pick first option was any good or not.
    As for younger, progressive and central. Well its not worked out too well, I seem to be finding older, progressive and central. Must try harder I guess. Dave says I need to try new places but I refuse to pay for dating services knowing little time I have and the way it works behind the scenes.
  10. Decorate the flat
    This is on hold till next year but I have plans since I finally got gigabit broadband from hyperoptic and a projector for the living room when watching films with friends. I also finally found a corner sofa from the new range at Ikea which is cheaper than I budgeted for, meaning more for re-decoration. Thinking about sorting out the internal network properly by getting a professional in to do it.
  11. Read more
    Well I did read more but once again I spent more time reading non-fiction not fiction. I don’t think I’ll ever really get into reading for fun but I certainly got into audiobooks more in 2015. Keep thinking about getting a subscription to Audible. But I find the Instapaper and Greader text to speech players actually good enough for generic reading. I also added a plugin to read any text from Android outloud on my bluetooth headset. This is handy and means I can close my tablet and wonder around like a audiobook.
  12. Discover more music via Djs and Podcasts
    I tried listening to youtube and mixcloud at work and its ok but pausing the music is a pain when you have it in the background somewhere over the 2 screens.
    On the other hand, podcasts certainly picked up in the later part of 2015. I’m subscribed to about 12 podcasts now and with gigabit I don’t even download them, I’m using Kodi’s built in RSS support to play directly.

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.

#MancQS What to do with all that data? Monday 6th July

BBC Dashboard

The theme for the July Quantified Self Manchester is What to do with all that QS data?

Talks are welcomed around this including.

• What do you do with the data?

• How do you import/export your data?

• What are data dashboards?

• Which data dashboard are worth using?

• What other uses of your data are there?

Be a great time to come along, meet other self trackers and discover whats possible with quantified data.

Tokyo… So what did I think?

shibuya crossing

On reflection on this post and all the posts I did during my time in Tokyo starting with I’m dying to experience Tokyo by 2016.

Forever I have wanted to experience Tokyo. For me its always been a place of technological progress. I know its not for everyone, but the culture is so wildly different and technology is at the core.

I wasn’t wrong there.

So why have I not already been?

Well its bloody expensive and to be honest I have this vision of going bankrupt just searching through the market bins of Shibuya

I lived with a Japanese lady for a while and we would talk about me going to Tokyo. She always pleaded with me, please go with someone who can speak Japanese because my allergies will kill me.

Technology like Google translate really made the difference on this front.People have asked what my high and low points were in Tokyo/Japan?

Low point’s

The Airbnb for the first week was fine, it was quite nice having a place with Rebecca. But the second week when Rebecca went off to western Japan, I moved to a smaller shared airbnb apartment. What I didn’t know was how small it really was. There wasn’t enough room to get out the door as my suitcase blocked the very narrow walk way by the futon. I did wish I had taken photos but I was so worried about it ruining my whole holiday, I went looking for an alternative hotel straight away. Luckily I met  Alexandra after Herb Kim told me she recently moved. And she was able to help me find a great room in Nippon. I did finally get a refund from Airbnb, although they thought I was in the wrong?

After reviewing the details of your situation, there is no clear violation of our host standards and we won’t be able to retract the payment from your host. However, because this was the first time you were experiencing Airbnb as a guest, I decided to refund you the amount you requested…

Trying to get to Nagashima Spa Land the first time and standing on the wrong bullet train between  Nagoya and Yokohama for over a  hour, was also a pretty low points too.

High point’s

There were so many…

2015-04-15 16.48.25

Right from the flight on the Airbus 380 to Dubai with USB, mains power and wireless internet to each seat. Also nicely got the exit row at the very front with more than enough room for the tallest NBA player.

2015-04-18 20.32.04

Meeting up with Andy Budd and Alice who happened to be in Tokyo too. Having sake in Shibuya with them and the rest of the UX workshop, then seeing the sights and sounds of Shibuya. It was exactly how I imagined Tokyo would be like and it didn’t disappoint at all. I couldn’t walk down the street without taking pictures every few steps.

2015-04-18 20.16.15

Experiencing the insanity of the Japanese passion for the make believe in Anime and Cosplay in real life via the Robot Restaurant and Harajuku. The Robot restaurant was totally mind blowing. It was a real world anime with every move being better with a bigger and better come back. Honestly nuts and the audience were loving it. I kept saying only in Japan would this work.

DSC_5356

Shibuya crossing I visited about 3 or 4 times at different days and times. Each time it was an experience. I didn’t bring my GoPro but I really could have done with it, to show how many people cross at the same time. I did shoot some stuff on my phone (uploaded to youtube 1st here, 2nd here, 3rd time and 4rd here.) but its not so great. Especially like my video from the mid point. I’m still working out what to do with all those pictures (I have about 120!)

2015-04-19 19.54.14

The many theme parks I visited including Tokyo dome, Nagashima Spa Land and Fuji Q highlands. Thunder dolphin at Tokyo dome was frustrating due to the crazy following of every single safety rule but when I was on, it was surprisingly fast and the drops were pretty epic.

Steel Dragon 2000 at Nagashima

Steel dragon 2000 at Nagashima Spa Land was the winner of all, having me grab the rails on the first and second drop. After that one time I was back to my usual hands up when the G force wasn’t so great.

Fuji Q highlands

Fuji Q had some great rides but if I hadn’t been on Alton towers smiler I would have enjoyed Takabisha more (which is very similar, understandable knowing the maker)

Riding the bullet train (Shinkansen 新幹線) was quite an experience. At first I thought it wasn’t much faster than most of our trains at full speed. But then it got out of Tokyo and suddenly you can feel the gravity pushing you into the back of your chair. It really shifts!

Tokyo from up high

The Olsen (Japanese Spa) I went to in Tokyo dome was great, yes it was very weird being naked and having to wear their clothes (which didn’t quite fit) when moving to the mix floor. But even with the weird looks from the also naked Japanese business men. I found the whole experience pretty good and I enjoyed it enough that I stayed from about 2230 till 0230! My experience was so rewarding that I’m going to seek out one in the Manchester area and visit at least once every 6 months.

Akihabara, Tokyo

Shopping and browsing in the electric district of  Akihabara. I spent quite a few half days there and it blew me away how big the district really was. I explained it to friends as the size of Manchester’s shopping centre but all electronic markets and shops. I also went looking for Nikon lens (where else better than Japan?) for my aging Nikon D40X DSLR and ended up finding a basement the size of my apartment in Shinjuku, stocked full of second hand lens which ranged in price from cheap (£15) to stupidly insane (£3000+). It was called Chuuko Box, the tip was to go downstairs, this place is a treasure trove! I was so blown away, I decided to duck out and learn more about lens because I was obviously out of my depth – in a way I’ve not experienced in a long time!

2015-04-23 23.33.56

I did Karaoke in Tokyo with Alex and Len after I moved out of my terrible Airbnb. I don’t usually like Karaoke because I don’t know most of the songs and never had much of a singing voice. But singing away while drinking sake after the nightmare I almost had, was such a great relief…  It was of course also great being able to share experiences to date.

As I spent 2 weeks in Tokyo, I also quantified my walking and sleep. Here’s the numbers from my fitbit.

  • Steps: 121,531
  • Daily Average: 14,504 steps
  • Best Day: 18,961 steps
  • Total distance: 86.05 km
  • Daily average: 10.86 km
  • Best day: 17.95 km
  • Total floor climbed:183
  • Daily average: 23 floors

The sleep quantified data is under lock and key but generally I slept less and less over the holiday but I spent more time in deep sleep than REM sleep.

Talking of sleep, it was scary how many people I caught sleeping in public. I assume its something to do with the very work loaded culture.

In other fun quantified numbers…

  • Saw one Shrine
  • One allergic reaction
  • Went up 3 tall buildings/structures in Tokyo
  • Went to 3 theme parks
  • Went on 26 rides. (rode 13 times at Fuji Q Lands, 9 times at Nagashima Spa Land and twice at Tokyo dome)
  • Visited Shibuya crossing four times and crossed it 12 times.
  • Went with 26kg of luggage and came back with 30kg + 11kg
  • Visited the beach
  • Had 9 days of sunshine
  • Hottest day was 32c and coldest was 9c
  • Eat roughly 16 boiled eggs
  • Eat goodness know much meat!
  • Went one weight and came back 2 pounds lighter!
  • Took 989 photos and uploaded only 628 to Flickr.
  • Tracked over 500miles over Japan (difficult to get the exact amount from google)
  • Took 4 taxis
  • Rode the bullet train 4 times

I was wrong on many counts with Japan but I’m happy to see the techno-wonderland I thought it was going to be. There are scary tales of where the technology unchecked will take us.

I will go back to Japan because it is unique and theres so much left to try and do. The culture is insane, lovely and weird all in one massive gulp. I’ll be interested to see what effect the 2020 Olympics has on the Japanese culture, I’d like to check it out a few years beforehand and maybe afterwards. There are some frustrating things and some wonderful, wonderful things. I’m going to watch Lost in translation again real soon…

Our rights in the data/digital/cyberspace

Doc Searls

We have two selves in the world at any given time now. We have the physical self, our flesh and blood, our voice, our presence in the world which extends beyond our bodies but lives in this physical space. There’s this other space, we started out calling cyberspace a long time ago, but it’s a real thing. It’s a data space.”

…Doc Searls

There is one charity I always give time and money to, the Open Rights Group. For me our human rights transcend (must/should)  into the digital domain. Its the new battleground. Its also something lots of people are not really aware of or take for granted. But every week there’s another news story of our digital rights being taken for granted and abused on unimaginable scales.

Digital rights are your human rights in the digital age. They are one of the most important aspects of your human rights today: privacy and free expression online are among the most contested. The digital rights movement exists because we need people to understand how technology is shaping our rights, for good and for ill, and who it is who is seeking to employ and capture technology for their benefit rather than yours.

There are positive and negative sides which I have written about many times.

Its becoming clear that the services we use, connected objects and spaces we inhabit are collecting our personal data. What they are doing with that data is only one of the question asked in ethics of data documentaries.

The documentaries which were put together by BBC R&D, exploring the implications for  digital right through the lens of the physical internet, personal data, data ownership and data management.

Alexander DS

Why the physical internet?

For many people the internet is still an entity which exists in a box, be it a desktop computer or laptop. This notion is pretty much broken by mobile devices and smart tvs. LG and Samsung have both been caught out using personal data in ways undesirable by most people were not expecting. But thats only the tip of the iceberg as Alex says…

You could make a good case for technology to be imbedded in everything we know. What kind of technology it is and what does it do, and what purpose does it serve is always the next question

Its time to consider a much wider context that most people think about when they hear internet of things. Think smart homes, cars, spaces and cities.

Jon Rogers

You’re personal data and privacy?

The comments made by the likes of Vint Serf about privacy being an anomaly and this being a digital dark age. It made sense to try and tackle the big issue of privacy in the digital age. There so much which could be explored as this is a very deep  and complex subject. There is only so much you can explore in minutes, but I feel Jon highlights why this is more critical than ever before.

We always make mistakes and we always want to forget them and the trouble with the internet is that we can’t forget them.”

Adriana lukus

Its about ownership and choice?

It all seems pretty scary and negative, and it never was meant to be. So to underline the choices people need/should make, we looked into ownership and choice. Something I have through a lot about especially with my history with dataportability. Early adopters are not only collecting their own data but also analysing it and quantifying it. As Adriana says…

“The quantified self is that, is the living, breathing part of the web or the technology scene where people genuinely care about data.”

The documentaries are made so you can comment directly on parts (thanks to reframed.tv), so please do. We look forward to the discussion and don’t forget to join our diigo group bookmarking related news stories.

What happened to attribution friendly Xpointer?

xpointer use for attribution

I was thinking while writing the last blog post. What happened to the Xpointer standard?

XPointer (the XML Pointer language) allows hyperlinks to point to specific parts (fragments) of XML documents.

I guess in the rush to move away from XHTML in favour of HTML5, the whole idea of compound documents got shuffled into a back alley and stabbed to death by the XHTML haters. So even if browsers supported Xpointer, it simply wouldn’t parse and therefore work.

Interestingly HTML 5.0 has embed but its not the same solution as Xpointer was solving. For example here’s wordpress creating a iframe which twitter (the 3rd party) can choose to put what they link in. I think originally it was oembed but got changed

I’m already slightly over the concern that one day my blog will be full of ads, spam, malware, tracking cookies and worst. The day that happens, I’ll be removing all iframes using XSL or a wordpress plugin.

Its a crying shame because attribution is the lifeblood of the creative industry and without it, were pretty much screwed. Its seems crazy that I can’t easily traceback my steps to how I found quotes, blog posts, etc. Right now this whole thing is broken, bookmarking isn’t the solution. It needs to be at the word level. Personal annotation style?

I have to favourite things on twitter, look through my play history and search my emails to find who actually recommended something to me. Maybe this can only be solved by the quantified self and lifestreams but I think there’s unexplored ways which xpointer was leaning towards.

Quantified relationships?

Tony asks my view on pplkpr.

pplkpr is an app that tracks, analyzes, and auto-manages your relationships. Using a smartwatch, pplkpr monitors your physical and emotional response to the people around you, and optimizes your social life accordingly.

Its a interesting project/art project. I don’t think it would work so well but I seen it all before in QSEU13 with Fabio who records every single person he talks to.

Well at least its not a complete system, it works with other wearable devices.

pplkpr has been extensively tested with the Mio wristband, but any Bluetooth LE (also called Bluetooth Smart or Bluetooth 4.0) device that transmits heart rate in real time will work. This includes the Polar H7 chest band and the Zephyr HxM.

What data is personal to you?

Alex data ethics

On International data privacy day, BBC R&D has posted a video asking a bunch of smart people what data is personal to them?

As I have been working on the project for quite sometime, I can happily say there is a lot more to come. Including ways to feedback. Go check have a look and see if you agree with the opinions of our industry experts?

You might have seen the theme of the work in the blog post ethics of data and what we setup at Mozilla Festival. Expect more in the future…

 

A review of my 2014 resolutions

Its been quite a year for me, the odd google plus video above is just a tiny slice of my hectic but great year.

This year I thought I would do  something a little different following metadating and another year of the quantified self. Following a bit of a twitter chat with Herb and Zoe, I thought I’d give Stephen Wolfram a run for his money (not!) Here’s some of what happened this year.

I  spent 6 days, 10 hours, 50 minutes watching 213 episodes over the past year.

I spent 1 week, 2 days, 19 hours, 35 minutes watching 111 movies over the past year.

Top 10 artists I listen to this year…

  1. Digital Italic
  2. Twit.tv
  3. Mauro Picotto
  4. Placebo
  5. Marco V
  6. Simon Patterson
  7. Gaia
  8. 2 Many DJ’s
  9. Sander Van Doorn
  10. Ferry Corsten

So how did I do on last years resolutions?

Baking a cake

  1. Go to a new part of the world
    Yeah this didn’t happen unless you count north Wales as a different part of the world. Unfortunately the holiday to Jamaica didn’t happen when my parents moved house. I’m already looking at Tokyo prices for 2015.
  2. Use my Task list more
    Success, I certainly used it a lot more but I could still do with better ways to do offline tasks. I am intrigued about the differences between using task to remember stuff and tasks to refer to stuff.
  3. Bake a bloody cake
    Ahhhh! The cake is not a lie… Well Sarah’s Banana bread/loaf suggestion may did happen while I was down in Bristol with my parents. Yes its easier but frankly it removes the temptation to bake Victoria sponge’s all the time. Following instructions or a recipe is something I always found painful. However I’m finally going to remove it from my list! Not to say I won’t ever make one again.
  4. Ride the bloody Smiler
    Not only have I rode the smiler this year, I think in total I have done 16+ times (sorry I lost count of how many times now, should be quantifying my rides) and boy oh boy have I loved it. The longest wait must be 1 hour 20mins in the single riders queue. Next year I’m considering get another yearly pass because its been great fun riding in Alton Towers and Thorpe Park when it was April and May.
  5. Improve my circus skills
    This year was ideal for circus skills but I rarely went out and did any. I did make it to the Cholton Circus house event once and its in my calendar now at least. Maybe next year?
  6. Move away from GoDaddy
    I’m fully away from Godaddy. Moved my blog, emails and domain to hover and WPengine. Another one marked off the list.
  7. Surround myself in higher thinking
    This is certainly happening, I generally don’t watch much live transmitted TV anyway but this year I’m watching far far less. Generally I’m watching either on-demand TV shows or something educational from Youtube. The chromecast has helped with this I have to say, Xbmc is cool but the chromecast has made the process super simple. My podcast listening has increased too with things like Freakonomics. I also messed with my twitter followers a little, so generally I’m getting higher thinking stuff. My ianforrester account follows all my friends instead.
  8. Scooter into another country
    So May/June was amazing. I did the simple option of driving through Wales, although the mountains were incredible. but I clocked up 403 miles during that trip alone. Myself and Oli Wood are talking about doing something next year, so expect to hear more soon.
  9. Use social media to stay in touch with friends
    I started off well but then kind of lost my way in the middle of the year. I guess removing Facebook from my phone was always going to cause a issues and not enough friends use other platforms daily. I did do a little social experiment to see what I should do next year, around a Christmas card on G+ and FB.
  10. Pick up the family genealogy
    With the help of Sarah, my insane family tree is on genealogy.co.uk. I can’t believe how much they charge but we have identified quite a few of the family who are already using it and could take it onwards.
  11. Live the life I choose
    Dave commented on my thoughts about the hyperconnected world we are heading into.

    As I believe in the hyper-connected world we’re moving into. My bets are against hierarchy and traditional. Maybe there is a word which sums this up?

    My assumption would be something like dynamic linking. However Dave suggests that word I’m looking for is Heterarchy.
    …enough i hear you cry, how did it go this year?

    So this year I stuck to my principles and I believe are seeing signs which are fruitful. I reached out for better advice to better manage and use my dyslexia to further my own career. Also next year will be the 5 year anniversary of mybrushwithdeath.

  12. Sort out my love life and finish the book
    Been put myself out there and attended many weird and wonderful events. I also started dating different women again, hey you never know (opposites attract?) The book is still being written (slowly) but its more difficult as the dates I been on in 2014 have not been anywhere as bad, I’m also trying to remember some of the older dates. I could make up drama but everything to date has been written on top of the truth.

Banana bread

QS Metadating in Newcastle

Metadating

A few weeks ago I was accepted for Newcastle Culture Lab’s Metadating research trail.

The research was more about our attitudes to sharing personal data than dating. However they did invite singles and included a number of events which included speed dating. I guess also meta-dating would be factually correct as we were talking about dating while dating.

Metadating

There was homework which had to be done on the run up to the event. You were given a booklet which you could fill in as much as you were comfortable with. On top of that was some blank generic graphs which could be filled in with our own data. When I say our data, it could be any Quantified Self data, from how many coffee’s you had over the week to you’re more intimate data like you’re sleep cycle daily. Everything was up to you to declare, which gets around the problem of using Quantified Self data in research. But it also makes it difficult to compare. Luckily this wasn’t about the data metrics.

Once at the event (I rolled it into a wider visit to Newcastle’s Culture lab where I talked about ethics of data, a visit to Newcastle’s Makerspace and Campus North. Didn’t make it to the beach however). I was one of the  first to turn up as I was heading home to Manchester on the last train. It became clear the problems I had with thestarter, were pretty much reversed as very few women turned up. (this is a issue I’d love to spend some time sorting out one day)

The PhD students lead by Christopher had bought some nibbles (olives, cheese sticks, etc) and lots of Cava. By the time we done the icebreaker it was down to the group discussions about our data with a Cava in full swing.

Metadating

We were split into two groups and we started critiquing the anonymously data sheets. It was fascinating to hear other peoples views on data points, dread to think what people said about my sleep cycle and steps per day. It also became clear the data may have been fudged in parts by others. To be fair I did use real data but choose to leave off some of the measurements. Everything was recorded by camera and audio dictation, which I bet made for some very interesting insight into data sharing.

By the second half, the cava was certainly having a bit of an effect and peoples lips loosened. Just in time for the speed dating portion. Now to be fair Chris and the other students had never been speed dating, so it was a little odd but the imbalance in men, meant we had to do it in two parts. On the speed dating, we discussed each others data sheets and more (ooeerr!) We were given the opportunity to write something to each person later.

Metadating

Another eye opener for me was at the very end when we constructed the perfect and worst dating profile for set people from data we made up. The eye opener for me was building a dating profile for a women who was career driven. All the guys around me seemed to not like her, while I was asking if she was real and where can I meet her? (Cava had certainly kicked in by then)

The event ended about 8:45pm so quite a bit over time but as people started shifting to the local pub, I had enough time to quickly have a drink then head to Newcastle Station for my long train ride home.

The metadating event was fun and to be honest the culture lab students may have gained a ton of insight from the frank and slightly loose lipped participations on the night. I imagine the Cava was bought expecting the full board of people but with the smaller number and the stand ins, there was plenty to go around.

I am surprise I didn’t fall a sleep on the train. However to be honest it was so busy down to York, theres no way I could fall a sleep. I’ll save my journey for another day…

The metadating event was great fun and from a research point of view I’m very interested in what comes out of it. Its a shame a bunch of women didn’t turn up but the students did a good job thinking on their feet and making it work. I suggested to Chris and Bettina that if they did it in Manchester or London it would be packed out, and I would certainly support them in the research.

Metadating in Newcastle

Couple in a coffee shop

Metadating… by Newcastle’s Culture Lab (I must declare I’m working with these guys in BBC R&D’s User eXperience Partnership, but this is nothing to do with me. I was told about it and went wow!)

Exploring the Romance of Personal Data, A singles dating event, hosted by researchers at Culture Lab

Ok you got my interest already… The Quantified Self and Dating?

We’re all creating more data about our lives, be it on social media or on our smartphones. Nowadays, people even use technology to track themselves and record how active they are, where they’ve been or how well they’ve slept. But how public should this data be? What would this look like on a dating profile? Would you like to know how late she works or whether he’s a night owl? Just how much does he workout? Where’s her favourite coffee shop?

Meta Dating is a free singles event for people interested in data and dating, hosted by researchers at Culture Lab, Newcastle University.

We’re looking for single people who have some experience of online dating to take part, meet other singles, have fun, and explore the romance of personal data!

Of  course I signed up straight away… I am a little worried about how they are going to collect all my data  but I’ll worry about that later. One of the questions asked was, why you? To which I roughly replied…

I’m a fan of the Quantified Self and use Online and Offline dating services all the time. I’m also working in the Quantified Self area in regards to the ethics of data and new storytelling experiences. I’ll be really interested to know if theres any link between the data about ourselves and data in whom we seek.

As most of you know, I tend to hold quite strong views about online dating and the process which services claim to use to match people. I pretty much damned most dating sites for doing nothing more than simply bringing people together like Facebook. Shuffled my feet at the idea of using algorithms to match people. And even made jokes about using things like smell to match people. But whats upset me the most is the lack of scientific methodology to solve the problem.

Well here’s my chance to see if there is something to it or its simply a joke like quantified toilets and premium dating. Be fascinating to see how they get over things like looks, interests and things which are just you like race, height, etc, etc… or will the results come back with something similar to the idea of the unquantifiable?

Another video which must be watched…

Aral Balkan – Free is a Lie – Thinking Digital 2014 from Thinking Digital on Vimeo.

Aral drives me a little crazy, I end up writing massive long blog posts about his talks. But I have to give it to him, the showmanship and underlying ideas are pretty much good. You can see for yourself in the talk which got me writing about the 5 stacks.

Don’t forget to check out my blog for BBC R&D connected what happened at the Quantified self and Thinking DigitalThe panel discussion which I made reference to, is also up and Tom Scott’s video telling us its all going to be ok.

Maybe next time you should come to Thinking Digital and experience it for yourselves?