August 22, 2016

Interesting Things on the Internet: August 22nd 2016

  • Django Ditto and archiving your stuff. Interesting work (as ever!) from Phil Gyford. I think my bus is travelling in the same direction as his.
  • I Have A Little List. Russell's list of how big, integrated, seamless systems are generally just good ways to waste money and provide a big seamless way to achieve very little. Do less of this, governments, councils and big corps, and more of the sort of approach Phil Gyford is taking in the first case.
  • Why Teach Business to Artists? Not just useful for artists, I really like Whitaker's hierarchy of business concept in there. It feels like DoES Liverpool is running roughly at level 2.0, and looking at ways to poke into level 3. I can see me referring to this in future :-)
  • Hot Wheels road trip. Another superb example of how technology isn't just about efficiency and return-on-investment. Definitely worth watching all of it.
  • The Rozz-Tox Manifesto. "Item 12: Waiting for art talent scouts? There are no art talent scouts. Face it, no one will seek you out. No one gives a shit."
  • Yes, There Is Such a Thing as an ‘Introvert’ Hangover. I don't get the physical symptoms listed here, but can definitely recognise the phenomenon.
  • The sound of Blairite silence. I've not been paying much attention of late to Labour's thrashing, but Paul Mason's analysis is interesting to read.
  • Indy Johar - Democratizing cities. Really good talk from Indy about systems thinking and the challenges facing society.
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August 08, 2016

Interesting Things on the Internet: August 8th 2016

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July 25, 2016

Interesting Things on the Internet: July 25th 2016

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July 18, 2016

Interesting Things on the Internet: July 18th 2016

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July 11, 2016

Interesting Things on the Internet: July 11th 2016

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July 04, 2016

Interesting Things on the Internet: July 4th 2016

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June 17, 2016

Bewildered.

This evening I spent a fantastic time at the latest Folken event. It was a great mix of all ages, races, genders having a robust yet civil barney about money, grass-roots organisations, independent businesses and value. It was a panel discussion - of which I was a member - but it was free-flowing between us and the audience, and there was a full-on section in the middle where we didn't get a word in as an impassioned and eloquent debate went on between a few members of the audience.

None of it is at a scale where it will change the world right now, but I came away with a growing sense of a sense of possibility, of a gathering momentum in the city. Groups like DoES Liverpool, Homebaked Anfield, Granby 4 Streets, Friends of the Flyover... with Folken helping to amplify it and providing some of the making connections that I talked about earlier in the year.

Then I got back home and looked at twitter. It wasn't immediately clear what was going on - my feed was a strange mix of travel chaos and talk about an MP. As I worked out what had been going on in the rest of the country, this tweet from my friend Jenny summed things up perfectly:

I've been trying to ignore the referendum debate - I'll be voting, but both sides campaigning seem to be engaged only in scaremongering and negative tactics. Neither side has any view on how voting for them would make things better, just that voting for the opposing side would make things worse. Richard Cable does a good job of explaining what they should have done, but sadly our political class are too busy trying to focus-group their way to clinging to power.

That said, the vote leave campaign is playing a particularly nasty, racist tune. Charlie Stross lays it out better than I can.

That's not the sort of country that I want. I had hoped that we'd muddle through in that seemingly very British way where we don't seem to veer too extremely in any direction, but I'm scared that that won't be the case.

I know that it's hard to remain open and welcoming to others when you're fearful for your job, for getting by; yet I also believe that we need to do just that, in spite of our fears, for the best route to a better society.

I'm not going to cede my country to the nationalist extremists, just as I don't think we should be quitting Europe just because improving it looks like it might be a bit hard.

The world is in a mess, and we need to sort it out. Yet it's not the immigrants, nor those on benefits, who are the cause of the problems. It's the bankers and the elites shuffling things round their tax havens. It's all mis-direction to stop from holding them to account, and now it's resulted in the murder of an innocent woman.

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June 06, 2016

Interesting Things on the Internet: June 6th 2016

  • On Failure. "failure is not good. But failure is okay. And to that point, we need to make failure okay."
  • The CIO Problem, Part 1 (and then Part 2). Lots of wisdom on bringing local council, etc. services into the modern age. One highlight: "[you need to understand that] That’s not innovation. That’s just how tech works today."
  • About the GDS Women’s group. "The Women’s group is for everyone, irrespective of gender, who cares about having an equal and diverse workplace – but that’s not a snappy and concise name for a group. So we're calling it the Women's group." Good to see initiatives like this share what they've tried, and how that's helped.
  • On the Left. Like Tim Bray, I'm not a political expert, but I agree with pretty much all he lays out in that blog post. "I think the “conventional wisdom” which sustains the current finance-centric rentier economy is thought wise by fewer and fewer. I think the path from here to something saner will have messy and ugly parts. But I’m increasingly sure that our current path, as a society and species, is unsustainable."
  • "Lighthouses... just stand there shining." Astounding, touching, harrowing to read letter from a rape victim that she read to her rapist. I long for a culture where this didn't need to exist.
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May 23, 2016

Interesting Things on the Internet: May 23rd 2016

  • Recipe for disaster. Some background to the creation of the BBC's online recipe database and thoughts about how/why the BBC is failing to help society debate/frame such non-commercial endeavours.
  • Redefining capitalism. Some interesting thoughts on how better to define growth and new directions for something better than capitalism.
  • ANA. Lovely, if rather dystopic, short film about the robot future.
  • Jane Jacobs: City Limits. (Link to) An interesting film of urbanist Jane Jacobs and accompanying thoughts on how it translates to modern day. (Jane Jacobs previously on this blog)
  • Jane Jacobs: Godmother of the American City. And another, great interview with Jane Jacobs. "There is a sameness—this is one of the things that is boring people, this sameness. This sameness has economic implications. You don’t get new products and services out of sameness. Now, the Americans haven’t gotten dumbed down all of the sudden so that only a few people who can decide on new products for change are the only ones with brains. But it means that somehow there isn’t opportunity for these thousands flowers to bloom anymore."
  • How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist. Beware the dark patterns of design.
  • Guide to Computing. Computers used to be so colourful! Did the designers stop offering us anything adventurous or did we all start only buying what-are-perceive-as-inoffensive options and bring this upon ourselves?
  • Thoughts about decoupling PGP and email clients. Good to see someone fixing existing systems rather than deciding the only way is to build yet-another-competing-silo because it's easier. Looking forward to being a user of the system Paul builds.
  • Eye Spy, a Year of Tracking. Great to see the BBC work on privacy, etc. "No-one in the UK should be speculatively accumulating raw data, particularly without notifying people they are doing it."
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May 02, 2016

Interesting Things on the Internet: May 2nd 2016

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