A river that needs crossing political and tech blogs - On the political side, the is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side the is naivety and over- complexity

My videos are on these two youtube channals visionontv (2,622,479 views) and undercurrents (21,576,123 views)

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Hamish Campbell
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Date: 31/07/15
Johnson john John
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Richard Hering
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Patrick Chalmers
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Matthew Paul Foster
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John Sinha
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marc barto
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Glenn McMahon
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Date: 09/03/13

A world to win

A world to win

 

The possibility of building a better more just world is far away.

 

We have no alternatives to offer to the hegemonic neo-liberalisam.

 

Over the last 20 years we have a decay of left thinking and action.

 

From the 20th century hierarchical “stop the war”

 

To the 21st century anarchy of “climate camp”

 

The open internet which gave birth to the World Wide Web has fallen into the dotcom silos and locked in app echo systems of Apple and Failbook.

 

Our political institutions have been captured by corporations (Monbiot)

 

The left is little but shadow puppets playing on a cardboard stage, while Climate Change in hand with rampant neo liberal inequality are burning all that we ones held dear.

 

A world to win?

 

The are many of overlapping tributary’s to the wide river of sustainability and justice, the river is there for us to see.

 

The open internet is still their for a while longer and we have the tools to use it, just not the wile and co-operation to move anywhere.

 

Our “democraticish” political institutions are still in place (though leaning with decay)

 

Climate change is going to wash around the world, initially we in the rich west will be less affected than the rest of the world, this gives us a privileged place to affect the outcome of this wave of disruption and devastation. We will have power to challenge the outcome.

 

Moving to decentralised renewable power is inevitable (no matter what the neo-liberal fools do) this will mediate the eco-transformation climatechange brings.

 

More...

The problem of the chattering classes in activism

DRAFT

All the quotes are from Oscar Wild.

“If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn't. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.” LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN

The chattering classes are a problem, they are a clear and present block on social change, they colonise successful grassroots movements. They take up dominant mind share and spend all of the institutional funding on pointless fashion/NGO projects.

Middle class privilege and education dulled by post-modernist “thinking” combine to make their voices loud and persuasive in the blandness of surtatety. They smother the creative sparks in the dampness of their passions, mind space is watered to a diluteness that kills the thinking of movements, the slightest change is dampened and reversed.

“Arguments are extremely vulgar, for everybody in good society holds exactly the same opinions.”
THE REMARKABLE ROCKET

The chattering classes while being generally lovely people are a problem for the very needed possibility of an alternative to our current society. And its hard to right or talk about this issue with out seaming petty.

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their life a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”  DE PROFUNDIS

What is to be done? Think the can be overlapping strategy’s to address this, one would be small affinity groups working on different project based on common standereds so they interact and build on each other. The other would be the old left postative discrimination – though this it self is often “captured”. Ideas please?

“Never speak disrespectfully of Society, Algernon. Only people who can't get into it do that.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

Smartphone Solar Charging

Am thinking of running a workshop on small scale solar power.

Here is an example of a cheap set-up that will run your large smart phone (and charge a tablet)

This a Samsung Note phone to give you an idea of the size.

The panel is rate at 1amp were the 6000mAh pass through USB battery is rated at 2.1amp's

Thus the set-up will charge your phone as fast as if it was plugged into the wall, using the battery as a reserve of power to achieve this.

This is a light weight and cheap solution costing less than £40 a realy usefull travel and adventure tool.

Mobile Solar power for a laptop

Am thinking about running a workshop on portable solar power.

This is 32w folding solar panel with a battery pass through DC to DC transformer and 13' video editing laptop running adobe CS.

All Folds up and fits in a laptop bag.

The solar costs £200-250 and you need a relatively expensive ultra book with 3D graphics card to do CS editing. Portable solar will struggle to power a full sized editing laptop. Total cost just over £1000

How to re-boot grassroots media to help to re-boot the open web to create real social change

DRAFT

We need to get our current dispurate and weak activist sites to link to each other, then get NGO's to do the same. Then push out news river embeds to more mainstream sites to expand the network.

This project needs to be run as a non-branded open network based on open social and technical standereds.

The social side is based on linking flows of information.

Producers

Consumers

Aggregates

Of course you can and should be all of the above, but to aid expansion and growth this is not insisted on.

The first two paths are easey, the last more complex:

* Producers, this is any web site that puts out an RSS feed, this is most sites on the internet [tick]

* Consumers, are at a basic level very easy to do using a javascript sidebar code or a custom CMS plug-in using the javascrit plugin the barrier to upkeep is slight so this can spread easily. [half tick]

* Aggregates are slightly more complex as they will need custom codeing, this all ready exists in a basic form for Drupal and Wordpress and the miro project. [needs work]

As the production side is already solved and the consumers side is relatively trivial this only leaves the Aggreaters as a steep path to take. We have a small budget to kick this off and is technically feasible.

The second part needed is actually the more complex one, how to get groups and individuals to implement open cooperative working practices. The issues that have to be bypassed/addressed/ignored:

* Geek culture is infeactured with encryption and fake technical privacy, this is fading with the victory of failbook and its fellow dotcoms and the disintegration and fading into obscurity of the geek privacy projects. But this will comeback and bite at the OMN as it grows out and builds the basic open tech. So we have to harden the project against this agenda by codeing the opens into the foundations of the project.

* The Trots and the Authoritarian tendency left jumping on the band wagon, this is solved in the same way as the geek problem as they actually share the same pathology of the 20th century illusion of control.

* NGO's this is solved by moving to fast for them to react, if we get bogged down this might become an issue of co-option. Keep moving fast.

To sum up build soled open foundations and keep moving fast.

How would the project look/feel

The open web and the sites that make it up would look much like they look today.

But the OMN project would socialise linking and sharing to create a network out of all the small disparate bits that make up the remains of this fading open web.

Production and consumption sites would gain a sidebar containing realtime updating links to “tag” based rivers of relevant content.

Aggregating sites would contain rivers of subject based content that they would sive and add value to be re-tageing. And creating meta articles linking to original sources. The feeds that production and consumption sites display would come from one of these aggreating sites.

The network would grow out organicly based on subject:

* a aggregating site could only handeal so many feeds before the human moderates are overwlemed this would lead to specialisation and a hirakey of subject aggreaters that would organicly mirror the existing real social interest groups.

* we would end up with specialisation, and a shifting network of overlapping bottom, middle and top sites which would all find ordnances and drive traffic back to the producing sites that feed the network.

* bottom sites would aggregate mostly original producer sites, middle sites would aggregate a mixture of original sites and tags from subject based bootem sites, finally the top sites would aggregate tag based feeds from the middle sites.

How would this look to the “users”

* It would be much easer for “normal” users to find relevant content on subjects that they are interested in, they would be introduced back to the open web by links on #failbook and #juduceserche engine. This growth of traffic would re-energise peoples websites and inspire the upgrading of meny moribund website projects and a move away from current hegemonic dotcom aggregation of #failbook and its siblings.

How would it affect “producers”

* publish ones and your content appears on 100's of sites driving traffic and commenting back to your blog/website and away from #failbook atel. The open web is being straggled by the pay to view throttling on these copurte silos, its a no brainier to move to escape this now. With the increased trafic you can put energy into upgrading your existen website to make it more relevant, the OMN would be active in providing the open tools and plug ins to make this happen.

What would this look like from tech prospective:

KISS open industrial standards based on trust and redundant data roll-back back functions to Handel the breakdown of trust that will happen some times.

RSS will be used as a database object exchange format, a tagging taxonermy will be used to shift and create the flows of these objects. Subscribing to tag based RSS feeds will be the bases of the trust network.

Open databases will hold duplicate meta data linking back to the original source of the RSS object.

*** the is a creative way of making the consumption of content more transparent and develop/user friendly – this will be talked about later ***

RSS feed aggregation would be base on trusted, strate through or moderated ie adding to a moderation cue in the aggregating sites.

Timeframe:

3 months to build the seed aggreaters and basic javescript embeds/plugins

6 months to build out the seed networks

9 months to major launch

12 months to being a real alternative and play a role in saving the open web.

Food for thinking:

If you think this sounds oldfaserned you would be right it is, its the basics that needs to happen to creat a pool of metadate enhanced media objects. What happens after this? for ideas will add some links:

http://mashable.com/2015/07/06/why-web-design-dead/

 

THE VILLAGE BUTTY

Boaters are a vibrant minority culture living a parallel life in the heart of our cities and countryside. They are currently under threat from Insidious gentrification. The Village Hall Butty will give them a space to gather and celebrate their community. The aim is to create a floating village hall for boaters, local residents and the myriad of people who visit the towpath every year. Through social events, skill sharing workshops, regular clubs and other activities – they aim to create a vital hub for information and advice with a focus on promoting sustainable living, integrating communities and protecting and enjoying the waterways.

To make this communal space on the London waterway a reality we need to raise the Crowdfunder target of £5000 in a few days time. We have raised more than half of our target now and funds are being sought via www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-village-butty

The brainchild of Alice Cade, Ian Horrocks and James Bentley, seasoned boaters who have lived on the canals and rivers for many years, the event aims to bring together the boating and land based community to enjoy and celebrate the waterways and the variety of people who use them.

Please help keep the village hall afloat for the local community to enjoy for years to come. Find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/thevillagebutty or Crowdfunder www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-village-butty

One of the regular "jam on the butty sessions" the butty providing a space for local acoustic music

The Village Butty Project

Update

They have raised just over half the funding and the is still 11 days to go (appeal ending 15th July 2015)

Events on all week, big day https://www.facebook.com/events/1680993855468109/

Please support this project by directly donating or sharing this post with your friends and relatives.

The longest and friendliest village in the UK is actually the London Canal Network. Its a tight-knit community of eccentrics and iconoclasts, mums and kids, working people and retires, a cross section of life live in a continuously roving/changing mix.

For the last 3 years or so James (and the Butty) have been providing a floating gathering place for this community, while trying to make a living as a events space. He was becoming exorsted and the sums went adding up so he decided to sell the Butty a few months ago, the was a uproar from the community of boaters who had been relying on this resources, a couple Alice and Ian decided to take on the project and grow it into a not for profit company – the Village Butty Project was born.

For this to become sustainable and independent the Butty needs a companion boat to move it, provide catering, light and working space. The is now a fund raise going on to make this happen. The boat has been sourced, the money is need to renovate into being the companion space to make the village hall Butty a self standing project. To keep this invaluable resource working on the “cut”.

You can help, clink on the links to find out more and directly support the project:

Go fund me link

Failbook link

What would a new book on “grassroots media” look like


A thinking allowed DRAFT

Was sitting on me boat roof with a bottle of wine talking to me publisher friend about the video activism book, with a refocuses she would be up for helping to publishing it.

From my point of view it need to be based on the complete lack of current grassroots media.

So needs to start by answering what is grass roots media.

* DIY culture, bit of history
* balancing the wider picture, voices balancing, roots, steams and flowers.
* this means majority but not exclusively from the roots to balance traditional and NGO media.

Building networks (ecosystems) - (the flower medow whole)
* the value of the open web (the soil)
* use and abuse the spiders web of corporate “social media” and hosting (the bugs)
* linking and embedding aggregation (openmedia network project) (the growth)

How dose it differ from:
Traditional media
NGO media/Community media
“new media” and “social media”

[we need to briefly slorter each of these]



Then all the video templates and how to's etc. The body.

Then at the end a chapter on sustainability in the “sharing age”
* monetisation is distributed and DIY (not centralised) sharing gets you distribution its up to you to sought out motorisation if you wont.

Then need a concushern  rallying cry that people can/should  rebuild a “unbranded” network.

To recap as a old testament biblical epic

Build a alter to the grassroots

Saluter the failings of the past as a blood offerings

Then temple workshops on the “cult” ways

Concluding with a fable on cult responsibility’s

Ending with lift our voices in song to a courus of how the world should be.



The is a possible schizophrenia here were it makes sense to dull the book down to expand the audience to the NGO's and education as they have the cash – but then the would be little difference to the other 3-4 failed pointless books out their facking and selling out “grassroots media” to “publishers”. That would be both sad and bad outcome.

After thought:

ie.we need to nurture from were our good come from - thus a rebalenceing of values
the grassroots


 

Worthwhile grassroots “openspace” projects

The are two current worthwhile grassroots “openspace” projects am involved with. Both have a lot of potential but both are more likely to fail for obverses and avoidable reasons. Lets look at both in turn:

The Hive Dalston is an interesting hybrid project crossing the activist and corporate divide. Its a legal social centre using temporally empty buildings to build community projects. It came out of a long history of doing the same thing by squatting the same sought of buildings.

The Village Butty is a the shifting of an existing boater infrastructure from an individual to the wider community to make it sustainable. Its a village hall for the longest/friendlies village in the world, the London canals.

Why are the both more likely fail on their current course?

The Hive is a balances between the top down of the corporate worlds and the bottom up of the activist/community world. This could/needs to be healthy, currently it is not, the corporate world view is pushing over the community, thus pushing the community out of the space... currently its an echoing shallow space. With out the community having “ownership” in all its messiness the space will/is drifting into barren NGO land. And in the medium/long term NGO's need funding to subsist, with out funding burn out and failer is not far away.

The Village Butty is initially a more hopeful project. The issue it faces is the libertarian nature of the boater community, its hard to bring and hold boaters together to make anything permanent, its by its nature a shifting/money poor community. The nice couple who have take on on this task and starting to show the strain, lots of talk of support and mostly transient action is a course for burn out. In their crowed funding they are reaching out to the boaters themselves, were instead they need to reach out the wider mainstream community who “romanticizes” boaters. This “outside” demographic easily has the money to support the project were the cash poor boaters them selves do not.

So to recap my thoughts, both projects could/can save themselves from “burn out” by shifting structure/outreach. I will go and have a chat to them both and see what happens.

Offgride travel with Small Solar Power

If you are taking your small USB powered devices off grid for a week or so then you will need a way to keep them powered up. In this review I look at 2 small folding solar panels. Both will charge a "dumb phone" or a normal smart phone and can charge larger phones or tablets for occasional use.

We have the Goalzero Nomad 7 from the USA and the smaller and cheaper UK based Bimbalesolar panel (A badged china import)

Both have approximately the same power output but the is a large price difference. The Slightly lower powered Bimble panel (6W) is a few years newer than the US panel (7W) thus smaller due to the use of 20% efficient cells compared to 17% for the older panel

The Nomad 7 has a light wait plastic regulator/plug box and has both USB and a 12v output (3-4W) which could be useful for trickle charging lead acid 12v battery’s. But not much everyday use for this function.

  • Weight: 16.2 oz (460 g)
  • Dimensions (unfolded): 9 x 1.5 x 17 in (22.9 x 3.8 x 43.2 cm)
  • Dimensions (folded): 9 x 1.5 x 6.5 in (22.9 x 3.8 x 16.5 cm)

The Cheaper panel has a heavy folded metal box.

Extend Size: 200 x 400 x 20mm
Folded Size: 200 x 155 x 26mm
Weight: 250g

Is the size and large price diffrence worth it?

Nomad 7 £80

Bimblesolar £28

The build quality of the Goalzero panel is excellent, with custom components throughout, and it will likely survive for longer with hard use. While the Bimblesolar panel has good build quality and will like survive OK. The cheaper panel might prove to be easer to repair if it fails as it is made with standard components. Both will work fine to charge your small USB device.

On balance the price, and to a lesser extent the size differences makes the Bimblesolar panel the clear winner between the two.

How to use:

If you can turn your device off to charge it as this will reduce charging time. (some devices will not turn off while pluged in such as iphone's)

Use a power pass through USB battery pack to store power while your charging your devices. You must look hard for "power pass though" and pay slightly more for this feature.

Keep your expensive electronics dry, cool, in the shade and out of site.

Take care of your USB cables as they are fragile. If you can use the cable that the device came with as each cable is actually different and can alter charging times. Shorter cabals are better than longer cables in general.

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