BBC R&D: We do things differently!

We do things differently at BBC Research & Development. We’re curious and bold with a collective passion for making positive change. We’re inclusive and diverse – as well as collaborative and open by nature.

Quite a different view on the place I work daily, BBC R&D. Vicky did a amazing job creating a fresh and challenging video. You can see why the last post about Brexit is a difficult one to write/imagine

Brexit: Stay or go and to where?

Flags of Europe

Facing no deal and the abuse of democracy which is happening in the UK. I’m rethinking again my plans for the future of living in the UK. I think its getting to that point when I need to think about cutting my losses?

It doesn’t seem on paper not too horrible but of course there’s a lot more to it than just the logistics…

After much thought, it seems these are the biggest things which are stopping me. Not to say family, friends, my partner, etc are not a big consideration.

Career progression

If the right company/public service organisation got in touch and offered me a position/career similar to my current role but in Europe. I would seriously think long and hard about it; then in this Brexit climate likely accept the offer. Its hard to say, as I love what I do for the BBC and there are great people I work with; but there is no way I can ignore whats happening in the wider country. I’m sure colleagues, management, etc would understand and wish me the best.

Language

I’m not totally sure why but languages don’t come easy to me. I have been to many places in the world, and each time I struggle to remember even the basic stuff (please, thank you, etc). I read there might be difficulty being dyslexic with learning languages. However I’ve never let it hold me back and in a Brexit climate, I believe its certainly worth the struggle/effort!

Looking across

… and where?

Where would I go is a little more fun to think about, but realistically the freedom of movement means I could be flexible… Ideally it would be somewhere with a lot of interest in technology but with a strong public ethos. Somewhere with its own strong creative sector and well thought out public transport system. It would be a place of eventfulness and cosmopolitan culture.

If I was pushed to name a few places, the cities in the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and even France? After visiting Antwerp, I have to say the second cities are quite attractive, just as Manchester is to London. (Yes I know Birmingham is the 2nd biggest but thats only one type of metric).

I was reminded that I have friends in many cities who could be extremely useful to ask practical questions and visit sometime.

Complaints are welcomed at Channel4

We’ve made a film featuring our talent bringing to life genuine complaints which viewers have made about them. We understand that not every programme, or even every presenter, is going to be everyone’s cup of tea. That’s because Channel 4 was set up to be different, to provoke debate, take bold creative risks and represent unheard voices from all around the country. So sometimes we may cause a bit of a stir, but that’s part of our job.

Do like this video, Channel4’s humour around feedback is very welcomed.

The truth behind the UK’s biggest recycling myths

recycle symbol

Wired magazine have a piece about the myths of recycling in the UK. Quite a interesting reading, as a lot of the truths behind the myths are quite surprising.

Receipts are recyclable – False

The UK still hands out 11 billion receipts every year, and around 50 per cent of these – printed on shiny, thermal paper – are not recyclable. This is because they’re composed of more than one material and contain a combination of potentially harmful BPA and BPS chemicals. If they were recycled, these chemicals would be released into the environment. So, always put these in regular waste.

This one surprised me a lot because I’ve been known to shred all my receipts and then throw the lot in paper recycling. Won’t be doing that any more!

The s*** storm which is Brexit

There is a really good opinion piece I read recently in open democracy from a leave voter. Who although holds on to her believes why she voted to leave but can’t bear to see the massive s*** storm which is about to tear the United Kingdom (ha!) apart.

The economic arguments for Brexit have been destroyed by a series of shattering blows

Take the deal, or maybe its pride which stops the UK from doing so?

So I argue, as a Brexiteer, that we need to take a long deep breath. We need to swallow our pride, and think again. Maybe it means rethinking the Brexit decision altogether.

Certainly it means a delay when we can think about it all in a period of calm. Europe is offering us this opportunity. President Tusk is ready to offer a year’s extension. I say: grab it with both hands.

I’ve been thinking for a long while its time to stop this craziness with a 2nd vote but those who voted leave will cry fowl or say we have undermined democracy. However deep down I think there are some critical reasons why this must happen…

The author pretty much writes the reasons in her post.

  1. Independence is it really worth the battle?

I respect those who say yes, all this is worth it to pursue a dream of independence. It is a noble dream. I share it. It is founded on Britain’s historic role as a proud nation that has repeatedly fought for freedom and liberty. I, too, am conscious of our magnificent history. In the 18th century we stood against the Bourbon dream of European hegemony. We liberated Europe from the Napoleonic domination of continental Europe at the start of the 19th century. And faced up to Nazi Germany in 1940.

But this is not 1939 or the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. History gets made and remade all the time. The European Union is not a dictatorship, as contemptuous of national identity as Napoleonic France. Nor can it be compared to Nazi Germany – a foolish analogy which has become an ugly cliché and displays an unforgivable failure to understand the true horror of recent European history. Nor is it any longer a socialist project as envisaged by Jacques Delors, let alone an evil empire, as some have characterised it.

Of course our looming privations and national isolation would be thoroughly worthwhile if we were confronting such a continental menace. Let others call us ridiculous: we would have a duty to stand alone. But is such language appropriate in a century when all our EU partners are democracies, and none poses the remotest threat of taking up arms against us? Donald Tusk, who will lead the EU heads of government when they meet next week to decide Britain’s future inside the union, is not Hindenberg. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, is a genial, shrewd elderly man who (like me) enjoys the occasional drink.

I readily accept that the European Union is a dysfunctional body beset by all manner of problems. But the lesson of the last two years is that we are much better off working inside the EU (where we are greatly respected; it was British civil servants, remember, who wrote the rules of the single market) for reform and not as a hostile neighbour.

2. Will there be a United Kingdom left?

Moreover, there is a second reason for why I have changed my mind. The threat to the United Kingdom. This hits me like a massive punch in the stomach. When I cast my vote in 2016 I believed that the European Union was, if anything, a threat to our own union…

Like almost everybody else I underestimated the importance of the Good Friday Agreement

But I did not foresee that Brexit would threaten the continued existence of our kingdom as a union. I reckoned without the separatists within our nation who would push us apart, and seize on Brexit (as the Scottish nationalists are doing) as a reason to break up.

3. The vote was illegally and heavily manipulated – FACT

My third unhappiness concerns the integrity of some leading Brexiteers. We are learning more and more about the deceit and illegal tactics which accompanied the Leave campaign. Late last month, on a busy news day, Vote Leave dropped its appeal against a £61,000 fine for electoral offences committed during the referendum.

Allegations of illegal overspending are deeply worrying. Britain’s data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office, fined Leave. EU and Eldon Insurance, an insurance company run by Leave’s Arron Banks, a total of £120,000 for breaking electoral marketing laws. The National Crime Agency is still investigating suspicions of criminal offences committed by the unofficial Brexit campaign during the referendum. Banks’ alleged links to Russian money are even more worrying. There have not yet been serious enough attempts to answer these questions.

Everyday I can’t watch the news to see the s*** storm getting darker and darker. I’m sure in many years things will get better but I currently estimate it will be 15-20 years.

How many black UK podcasts hosts are there?

The Black Detour

I was having a chat with someone (don’t have his card to hand) during a event in Salford University. We were talking about the perceptive podcasts application and podcasting industry in general. I was talking about how podcasting is/should/could be a different medium. There is still the opportunity to do new and interesting things with the format which suit/challenge the audience.

This lead into a discussion about diversity and how the established people are never going to be that interested. We zeroed in on ethic diversity

What we need is more diversity and new voices; not just in front of the microphone but as producers.“I power-phrase him saying.

This headed to towards a long discussion about how many black podcasts we have heard? I instantly talked about…

Then he dropped the bombshell, “what about the UK?

I found it very difficult to name any off the top of my head, so decided to asked the twit/fed-verse

A few people got back to me and I thought I’d share…

Then I found, podcasts in color which lists podcasts from people of colour (because actually its not about just one race). Its hard to work out which ones are UK but I found these.

There are many more but they don’t seem to be updated recently.

So the short answer is yes there are UK black podcasts but not as many as I would have liked. I’m planning to go back through this list and resources to find new podcasts to subscribe to.

podcasts in color

Interestingly James from podcast news pointed me at a piece of news about diversity in podcasts.

Dane Cardiel from Simplecast is “working closely with Dan and Jared on an initiative collecting input from podcasters of colour for the 2nd Annual Podcasters of Colour Networking Event at Podcast Movement 2019.” If you’re a podcaster of colour interested in participating in discussions later this month, here’s a form to fill in.

I missed my chance but good to know others are thinking about similar things.

39 days till Brexit and we still don’t know whats going to happen…

Its super depressing and even with 39 days left till Brexit, we still don’t know what on earth is going to happen. Even Jon Oliver can’t express how painful it is to watch the news everyday and see the PM of the UK trying to act strong with a crappy deal and following the will of the UK people.

Its a crappy situation the PM stepped into but I’m far from forgiving as she could delay article 50 and delay this clusterf**k. There is no way we should be allowed to leave without clear plans and a proper deal, if thats what we must do (I of course don’t buy it, I want to stay in the European union and always have done).

All I can do is put my head in my hands and think about how to escape the UK.

My New Years Resolutions 2019

Ian PORTRAIT at work

Its been 11 years since I’ve been blogging my new years resolutions and I’m still going.

Following my review of last year… here’s my New Years Resolutions for 2019; which follows on from 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.2009, 2008 ones.

  1. Head further a field with the scooter
    Missed this last year, so its time for a ride into Europe hopefully before the UK leaves Europe! I have plans to stay with a friend in Rotterdam then drive around and maybe into Belgium & Germany for some coasting.
  2. Ride a roller coaster in yet another country
    Very fitting with the previous one but if not, I like the idea of checking out more theme parks in Europe especially after the huge success of 2018.
  3. Look after myself better
    I generally look after myself but its time to be thoughtful and conscious about this all. I’m getting older and should really spend more time thinking about myself with an eye on the future.
  4. Spend more time in the UK
    Ok the last year I spent a lot of time outside the UK. On rough count I hit about 12 weeks this year outside the North of England alone (but I do go to Bristol and London quite a bit). I can’t believe I took almost 30 different flights this year! Although I love it and take care of myself, I have to admit thats a lot. So I’m going to try staying closer to home for this year.
  5. Enter the bake off at work
    My work place does regular bake off’s and the theme sometimes is something interesting which I could do bake/cook around. So I’ve challenged myself to join one of the bake offs this year
  6. Explore more about the brain using neuroscience
    I do want to explore around this but now I binned off Funzing recently, so need to look a little wider. Maybe setup some search filters, keep an eye on eventbrite and meetups.
  7. Do more with my Estonian e-residency
    As said in my review of last year, I have a task to extend my e-residency card to 5 years which I need to do ASAP, likely in the next few weeks. After that I also have a task to look into self-signing using my Estonian e-residency.
  8. Explore the future of decentralised and distributed systems
    This one is a combination of 2 of my  previous resolutions. Exploring the future of online dating with decentralise more. So more mastodon and more exploring Indie web technologies like Bridgy and Kinds. I’ve been really interested in these things for a long while.
  9. Make some changes to the flat
    Its been a while and although I made some great changes to the living room, its time to focus on the bedrooms. I can’t believe I got a configurable IKEA desk from over 18 years ago, which needs to be replaced as it’s too big and I hardly use it now. I’d like to get the server in a better position and remove some tired furniture.
  10. Host film nights and more dinner parties at mine
    I have a task to sort out my current projector or get a new one (this is looking more likely, any hints on cheap long throw projectors is welcomed). I already have a 130inch projector screen but it needs to go back to IKEA as the mechanism is broken. Once this is all done, then it makes total sense to host film nights.
    On top of this, its been a while since I had a party at mine, so maybe I’m moving from party to dinner parties?
  11. Work on the dating book
    I have been working on a book around my dating experience for a long time and its about time I just got it written. Especially since Hannah offered her copy editing skills to help make it a real book. So far its been great I need to write more
  12. Be a stronger advocate for Team Human
    This is a follow-up to previous years. The podcast I listen to Team Human is a celebration of ourselves as people (messy, diverse, etc) not robots (perfect, tireless, etc). This has importance for the problems we are all facing around diversity and inclusion. It also ties into the mental health epidemic we are seeing too. My recent addition to the inclusive top 100; is perfect timing?

Clubbed: a visual history of UK club culture

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cubicgarden/41140738295/

I kickstarted Clubbed a while ago, and a few days ago I got my copy in the post. Now its got a proud spot on my bookshelf.

Clubbed: a visual history of UK club culture

Of course its not just about the Hacienda but lots of famous UK clubs and dance nights. Its a beautifully designed booked which reflects the graphic design of the era.

Clubbed: a visual history of UK club culture

Very happy to be a backer along so many others.

Our listening project conversation in full

Ian and Kate

Remember ages ago when a slice of me and Kate’s conversation for the listening project ended up on BBC Radio Manchester and BBC Radio 4? There was much more to the whole conversation and you can understand how I ended up ruff camping on a Irish cliff face in a camper van.

Holiday with Kate in Ireland

It will be forever in the National Archives for generations to hear.

Conversation between friends, Kate and Ian, about the benefits of travelling and the differences in what they want from a holiday.

The Listening Project conversations collectively form a picture of our lives and relationships today. Recordings were made by BBC producers of people sharing an intimate conversation, lasting up to an hour and on a topic of the speakers’ choice.

Kate and Ian have been friends since 2007. They met when Ian moved to Manchester from London. They talk about the benefits of travelling and the differences in what they want from a holiday – Ian likes the big city buzz whereas Kate prefers the quiet of the countryside. They discuss Airbnb, a home rental website that Ian uses to rent out his home. They also talk about the differences and similarities in their personalities.

Clubbed: a kickstarted visual history of UK club culture

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/face37/clubbed-a-visual-history-of-uk-club-culture/description

It was Tom Morris who first pointed me towards this kickstarter project for a visual history of UK club culture.

The shots look so good and its a great thing to have captured, I wish there was one for the early UK rave culture too but I’ve pledged as I’d love to have this in my book collection.

I’m a digital nomad facing Brexit?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cubicgarden/33602308434/

Interesting blog from the Estonia E-residents team.

Its been 3 years since the scheme launched and nearly 30,000 people from 139 countries signed up. I only signed up earlier this year but still love the idea and keeping an eye on what else I can do with a EU state backed identity.

Estonia launched it’s e-Residency programme three years ago tomorrow so that anyone on Earth could apply for a secure government-backed digital identity and gain access to our e-services.

Understandably, no one was entirely sure back then who would actually sign up and why. Many of the first e-residents were simply excited to join our borderless digital nation and had no plans to use their digital ID cards.

What interests me is the classification of the people who signed up.

  • Digital nomads
  • Entrepreneurs who want EU access
  • Entrepreneurs within the EU
  • Entrepreneurs facing Brexit
  • Startup entrepreneurs
  • Freelancers from emerging markets
  • Blockchain entrepreneurs

I’m more a Digital nomad facing Brexit I guess.

Due to rapid advances in digital technology and more flexible working cultures, a rapidly increasing number of people are choosing to live as ‘digital nomads’ because they can work anywhere there’s an internet connection.

There’s been a sharp rise in applications from the UK since the country voted to leave the European Union. Many British entrepreneurs discover e-Residency while searching for a way to ‘stay in the EU’, but soon discover that the benefits of e-Residency are bigger than Brexit as it can often enable them to more easily conduct business globally.

The city mouse and the county mouse from Bill Maher

Bill Mahar’s piece about City, Country and Trump is spot on (it doesn’t seem to be geo-blocked in the UK for me). Funny, insightful and sadly true. You can apply a similar idea to the Brexit vote.

if you want to understand why America is so divided don’t talk about Republicans and Democrats or red states and blue states read the story the city mouse and the country mouse currently being sold under the new titled what happened but the original was about two mice who learn that you’re either one of the other city or country and the same really could be said for America when you fly over it you don’t see red states and blue states you see vast stretches of land where there’s nothing and then every once in a while a city.
Its also interesting to contrast this with City Boy and Country girl discussion had for the listening project.

UK’s Investigatory Powers Act now law, UK worst for it

Weekend Walk - 8th August: Protecting the snoopers from the snoopers
In a year where you can’t help but rather it wasn’t, the snoopers bill was passed into UK law. The government has been trying to put this through for a long while and although there were changes, its still really bad. Dare I say chilling effect.

The Bill will mean the police and intelligence agencies have unprecedented powers to surveil our private communications and Internet activity, whether or not we are suspected of a crime. Theresa May has finally got her snoopers’ charter and democracy in the UK is the worse for it.