Had a great time at the Algorave at the Museum of Brands in Ladbroke Grove tonight.

I saw Digital Selves (with visuals from Rumblesan), Vou (+Rumblesan) and Miri Kat (with visuals from hellocatfood).  They all smashed it.

Digital Selves
Miri Kat / hellocatfood

The Museum of Brands also had a display of old radios.  Check out this beauty:

Solid State, aw yeah.  We had a radio that looked like this when I was growing up (although I think it must have been newer than this one.)

Liked Adversarial Interoperability by Ton Zijlstra

Adversarial Interoperability, a useful concept to keep in mind. In part the IndieWeb is a form of this, as it offers a way of staying outside walled gardens, while still being able to pass messages back and forth through its gates (i.e. API’s), through POSSE / sometimes PESOS. Though some platform…

Liked Renewable Matter Subscription by Ton Zijlstra

Took out a subscription to the Italian, English language, monthly Renewable Matter, on bio-economics and circular economy. Came across it earlier this week. As part of my open data work I am currently involved in a circular economy project focused on building a longterm oriented and wide ranging das…

I just spent a few days away in the Lake District.  It’s a beautiful part of England, and a great place to get away to relax and slow your pace down a bit.  Living in London at present, I notice that it takes a couple of days for me to properly unwind and appreciate the peace and quiet and nature on offer when coming to the Lakes.  Day 1 my head is usually wrapped up in something and I don’t fully appreciate my surroundings.  By day 3 or so I can happily just stare at a tree for 30 minutes or so (well maybe 15 minutes).  Usually at the moment however I also come back after three or four days.  It’d be good to spend a full week or two there and see what happens, or even go full Walden and spend a year there.

This time I did one big walk, hiking from Skelwith up to Swirl How in the Coniston set of fells.  It’s 2630 feet high, just 3 feet shorter than the Old Man of Coniston.  The walk there and back took about 7 hours.

The view from Swirl How down into the Greenburn valley. Wetherlam in the foreground to the right.

One of my favourite views that I’ve come across in the Lakes is en route to Little Langdale, looking through the Blea Tarn pass towards the Langdale Pikes.  This is a set of peaks rising from the Langdale Valley.  They have great names like Pike O’Blisco, Harrison Stickle, Sergeant Man, Pavey Ark, etc.

(Question: If you cross a stream near Harrison Stickle, is it a Harrison Ford?  Answer: yes. yes it is.)

Looking over towards the Langdale Pikes

We did a couple of shorter walks too.  One up the excellently named Iron Keld, leading towards Black Crag.  The signpost on the way is great – you have a choice of paths leading to either “Sunny Brow”, or “Iron Keld” and “Black Crag”.  It feels a  bit like choosing between Hobbiton and Mordor.  But for reference, Iron Keld is much more fun than Sunny Brow – it’s an old pine plantation.

The other short walk was up Loughrigg Fell, which joins Skelwith Bridge and Ambleside.   It’s a low fell but a beauty.  When you get near the top it is has lots of gentle undulations, lots of little paths to explore, and some great panoramic views – down towards Ambleside, over to Windermere, great views of Grasmere and Rydal Water.  This time of year it is covered in ferns and looks a little bit like Tellytubby Land in my opinion.

Top o’ Loughrigg

Loughrigg Tarn is a total beauty spot.  An idyllic smallish tarn on the south side of Loughrigg.  A good spot for taking a dog for a swim and looking over towards the Langdale Pikes from a different angle.  You get a good view down to it from the top of Loughrigg.

Loughrigg Tarn below

I can highly recommend a trip to the Lakes.

Replied to a post by VanessaVanessa
I love kingfishers! A couple of years back I saw a kingfisher on the Leeds-Liverpool canal – a complete bolt out of the blue, it flew into a tree, perched there for a little bit, then swooped down into the canal, caught a fish, and then flew away again – it was stunning.
Read Real Utopias: Switzerland’s Housing Co-ops (tribunemag.co.uk)

As countries across Europe struggle with housing crises, Switzerland’s innovative housing co-operatives point the way towards an alternative.

Despite a lot of interest, there’s only a small amount of co-op housing in the UK. Most non-profit housing is charitable housing associations. Large housebuilders have a stranglehold on the market overall.

“the Swiss example shows how these non-state and non-capitalist actors can build quality housing at a mass scale, if they’re encouraged — and that they can create a model of housing provision that moves beyond speculation into something more democratic and innovative.”

This article points to Switzerland and Zurich in particular as examples of more active housing co-op markets. Although it doesn’t give much insight into how to get to that point from our current position in the UK.

Replied to a post by Ton Zijlstra

I guess the novelty will wear off after a year, but for now my ‘on this day’ widget keeps surfacing small fun finds in my blog archive. Fifteen years ago today I installed our first wifi at home. Twelve years ago today I hurt myself playing Wii-Tennis.
Looking back at my own archives day by day …

Those are some fun memories 🙂 I like that secondary use of an ‘on this day’ widget – as part of the weeding and watering of one’s blog. I have a ‘random post’ page that I occasionally use and aim to use more – partly to surface old memories, but also it works as a small microtask for myself – did I tag and categorise the post? Does it have the right post kind? And maybe more interestingly, how have my thoughts changed over time – is it time to write a new post on the topic?
Wow, Jennie Lee and Nye Bevan – now that’s a relationship with a pretty epic dynasty. (Drivers behind the Open University and the National Health Service respectively).

A current Labour policy is for the creation of a National Education Service, seeing education as a lifelong right rather than a commodity you pay for. Issues with ‘national’ / ‘state’ anything aside, putting an emphasis on socialised education again is great.

tribunemag.co.uk/2019/06/the-open-university-at-50/

Read Amazon’s next big thing may redefine big (BBC News)

Amazon doesn’t feel it has a responsibility to make sure its groundbreaking technology is always used ethically.

“Civil rights groups have called it “perhaps the most dangerous surveillance technology ever developed”, and called for Amazon to stop selling it to government agencies, particularly police forces.”

“Mr Vogels doesn’t feel it’s Amazon’s responsibility to make sure Rekognition is used accurately or ethically.

“That’s not my decision to make,” he tells me.”

Murky AF. I guess this kind of moral self-absolution is a necessity if you’re in charge of Amazon.

“He likens ML and AI to steel mills. Sometimes steel is used to make incubators for babies, he says, but sometimes steel is used to make guns.”

Amazon’s ML/AI is not a raw material. It’s shaped (and sold) by a cadre of people at Amazon.

Do they build in any accountability mechanisms to their algorithms?

They’re making a loaded technology. They’re making the guns, and he’s saying “hey – it’s not our responsibility to add safety catches.”

 

Kicks Condor discusses his ‘infostrat’ (information strategy), as filtered through a reading of Ton‘s writings on the topic.

What’s an infostrat?  Picking up from Ton and Kicks:

“deciding what and how to bookmark or archive stuff, sorting through conflicting news stories and accusations, and alternating “periods of discovery with periods of digesting and consolidating”

and

“what is my strategy to comb through the gigs and gigs of input I can plug myself into on the Web?”

I find it all very interesting and would like to work out an infostrat for myself.  Quite often I fall into the pit of infinite scroll and end up in a mess of information overload.  Need to change my filters.

What do I want from the world of information out there?  I would separate my goals in to the social and the informational.

For the social side: I want to not only communicate with people, but to over time become close to some of them.  I must say that until recently, social media has always felt remarkably asocial to me.  Ton seems to have achieved sociality very well over time through blogging. I’d like to explore if there’s a knack to that, other than just giving it time.

For the informational side: this is more what social media has traditionally given me.  However, so far, it’s facilitated more consumption than consolidation I would say.  So I am very intrigued by Kicks’ mention of the linkage between blogs and wikis.  I like the idea of the blog timeline crystallising into a personal wiki over time.

Thanks Ton and Kicks for the discussion.  I have some reading to do!

Read We Have Never Been Social by Kathleen FitzpatrickKathleen Fitzpatrick (Kathleen Fitzpatrick)

The project has as its working title We Have Never Been Social: Rethinking the Internet. It revisits the history of the Internet’s development and, in particular, the rise of the social media structures that have come to dominate so much of our experience of networked communication, arguing that a significant part of what has led us to the mess we find ourselves in today is a desperately flawed model of sociality, one that is in fact not just un-social but anti-social.

What if the problem with social media isn’t just that it got centralized, but something deeper than that?  Looking forward to seeing this project by Kathleen Fitzpatrick progress as she looks at the history of sociality online.

That is to say: if the problem has not been the centralized, corporatized control of the individual voice, the individual’s data, but rather a deeper failure of sociality that precedes that control, then merely reclaiming ownership of our voices and our data isn’t enough. If the goal is creating more authentic, more productive forms of online sociality, we need to rethink our platforms, the ways they function, and our relationships to them from the ground up. It’s not just a matter of functionality, or privacy controls, or even of business models. It’s a matter of governance.

Listened The story of Grenfell United – podcast from the Guardian

Natasha Elcock and Ed Daffarn escaped from Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017. Karim Mussilhy’s uncle died in the fire. They talk about their work with Grenfell United, while the Guardian’s social affairs correspondent, Rob Booth, discusses government inaction

Two years after Grenfell, there has been little change or progress in the provision of safe social housing in the UK.

Summed up in the podcast as being down to a lethal mix of indifference, incompetence, and dicking about with Brexit.

Despite the liberatory potential of technology, of which I see free software playing a big role, there’s a very real concern of ending up with a kind of technocratic ‘vanguard party’.

You can debate the merits of vanguardism in general, but couple it with the current disproportionate skew of tech roles to white and male – which is even more pronounced in free software at present – and throw in the ‘scratch your own itch’ trope.

That’s a huge systemic problem as vanguard becomes regime.

Some things I am learning: if you’re white and male and into free software (I am), recognise that you have a very blinkered and narrow view of the world.

* Spend half the time you use learning Yet Another Technology to educate yourself about race, gender and class struggles (historical and present).

* Pipe down and listen to others when it comes to discussions about what is needed in software.

* Don’t ‘scratch your own itch’ – serve a community. If you’re white, male and technically proficient you’ve got enough privilege in the bank to pay it back building for others rather than yourself.

Listened Cruel state: the impact of austerity on disabled people from the Guardian

Frances Ryan discusses the impact that austerity has had on disabled people and Helen Davidson discusses the Hong Kong protests.

This podcast made me very angry.  The effects Tory austerity has had on disabled people in the UK.  After a lot of hard-won gains for disability rights in the 80s and 90s, the Cameron government rolled most of those gains back in the bogus pursuit of austerity.