Looking at the tech and organising of UK alt/grassroots media
How meany sites link to anuther alt/grassroots media sits. from this list of 38 UK sites only 2 link to anuther site.
Many people find it hard to understand the underlining understandings that push projects based on flow and linking such as OMN and openweb. Here is a short list of activish projects.
Is a place for holding/hoarding closed data – this is used by the #dotcons to extract funding form “free users” when mainstream/alt silo projects finish, as 99.9% do, the data varnishes and is lost, and in this the effectiveness of any alt building is diminished. Silos do not use open licensing for content re-use. Just about every alt/grassroots media project is a silo. It's about capturing data. Its obvious that this is a unthought through issue of "churning"
Is an idea that you can be the big one, all the small fashionista websites aspire to be the big one and by doing this they are working to the logic of the #dotcon and working against the logic of the openweb. They are building a project to lock there users into their project. Portal and silo are overlapping (but different) ideas for building web projects. In the mainstream, Apple is a prime example of this working. In the alt/grassroots almost all alt/grassroots media projects are portals. It's about capturing users, just as silos are about capturing data. For a left wing group this looks much like "recreating the Soviet Union" the one party to rule the state.
Are for-profit data silos in the old days working as portals, more recently they are building out siloed networks as a pseudo networked portal. Its both sad and bad that many alt media projects unthinkingly aspire to be #dotcons
Is where ALL the value is on the open web. Without links content has NO VALUE. This is a obvious statement, its hard to understand the the lack of understanding around this simple thing.
Is a grassroots web standard that is still at the base of many of the dotcon world but is being pushed into the background of the openweb by building silos/portals in the grassroots/alt. RSS is like an open LINK with added data, thus adds value to the web. Its a powerful open tool that we still have. An API is like a geek control freak super power of RSS - the problem is in the complexity/control freak bit...
A subculture that is control/obscurity and more recently technical solutions to trust (wraparound right) this has always been a closing force on open projects. This helped to strangle the original successful alt/grassroots media projects and is pushing for the shrinking of the open web.
The unthinking desire for new/innovation/conformity. A wider subculture that churns the growth of alt/grassroots so little can grow beyond seedlings.
Are greedy dispoling of resources both human and money. The liberals that use bureaucratic funding to push out the geek/fashernista agendas over alt/grassroots projects. These are uneasy friends and clear (invisible) enemys.
Is both a technical thing of wires and frequency and an understanding of mutual aid and of “diversity of strategy”. It's native to the openweb and should be at the base of any alt/grassroots media project. In the closed #dotcon the widespread use of A/B testing is a pail controlled shadow of this.
wikipedia is an example of this. It's basic stuff open source project stuff. LINK
Looking at the tech and organising of UK alt/grassroots media. Do sites link to other alt-media projects? Do they support/display openweb standards (RSS)
First DRAFT (please message me with corrections/info)
Has a RSS feed, regular updates, copyright group silo, it has no outside linking
UPDATE: site back online, no visible RSS but can find a hidden one. Its likely copyright and a silo.
(Their website is hacked/down so posted the #failbook link used to have RSS and regular updates. Anyone know what's happening? Update they hope the site is back online soon.)
UPDATE: website back online copyright, no visible RSS feed but you can find ones. Its a a bit of an aggregater but has been suffering from poor spam control. Its pretty much a portal/silo – but could be more.
(They used to have an interesting website for the tec used, but it ended up being just a silo, they look like they are rebooting? Maybe a another silo? we shall see.)
Update they are rebooting as a linking site, lets hope its not a silo.
Has regular good content, RSS, they are a product of the #dotcon social media wave and good at it. Copyright/CC is not stated. The site is a silo with no outside linking
No RSS feed, starting to look a bit “old left” regular updates, no copyright/CC notice. A silo with no external links
The Bristol Cable - Bristol
No visible RSS feed, it kinda probably tries to obey the 4 opens maybe. It's a WP blog site in this it's a media silo with no external links.
Port Talbot Magnet
no visible RSS feed, it mostly fails the 4 opens due to copyright, data and organising. It's a WP blog site, in this it's a media silo with few if any external links.
New Internationalist - based in Oxford
Has RSS feeds, it kinda passes the 4 opens using a CC licence for its content. It links to the visionOntv project.
The Ferret - Scotland, based in Edinburgh
Looks like the old media transitioning to the new media. No visible RSS feed or copyright/CC notice. Is trying to be “open process” looks like a WP site.
Strike! - based in London
looks like a archive of a print mag? Has a RSS feed :)
Positive News - based in London
Dated looking site, hard to read, no RSS feed and a copyright notice. A silo.
Slaney Street - Birmingham
Did not load
Manchester Mule - Manchester
Has RSS feed but last article end of 2015 so not an active site. Probably for fills the 4 opens.
Co-operative News - based in Manchester
Nasty looking site and no RSS, copyrighted, its a silo
No RSS, copyrightish, old looking site.
Marlborough News Online
no RSS, copyright
West Highland Free Press
no RSS, copyright, its a silo.
Star and Cresent - based in Portsmouth
No RSS, no copyright notice? Its a silo.
Morning Star - based in London
Has a RSS feed but its empty, copyright, silo.
Cambria Publishing Co-operative
publishes paper books?
Zed Books - London
paper books and online reading lists, no RSS I can see.
copyright, has a RSS feed, looks bureaucratic open.
Blake House - based in London
no RSS, fashionable calling card website with out content, probably copyright?
Calling card website with out content, no RSS, likely copyright.
Ignite Creative - based in Oxford
Calling card website with out content, no RSS, copyright.
Shedlight Productions - based in Southampton
calling card website with out content, no RSS, copyright.
Steel City Film and Media Co-op - based in Sheffield
its a #failbook page, maybe open?
Trafford Media & Communications - based in Manchester
(mostly a printer, but also do film production)
calling card, no site.
The Community Channel
The granddaddy of NGO media, no RSS feed, likely copyright silo.
Jammu Kashmir TV
it has content, silo?
Has a working RSS feed
Inform My Opinion
Has working RSS feed but it fails in my pod catcher, its a page on a #dotcon?
has RSS feed, copyright, silo?
Half finished calling card site.
Hastings independent press
No RSS, no copyright/CC notice, a silo with no external links.
Copyright, no RSS feed, has some old school widgets which might show external links. Its a local news silo.
Has RSS feed and CC licence, no external links on front page, its a silo but better than most.
Has a RSS feed, its a silo but the is hope for it.
its a blog in the old school sense, has RSS
its a silo with no RSS and no external links
FAQ - why use open websites
We need to get activist to actually use alternative net infrastructure.
Q. Its to complex to use this geek software.
A. So was Facebook when it started, almost nobody understood what twitter was for for ages – all new experiences are hard. Its actually ONLY a question of motivation then familiarisation through repartition.
Q. Activist internet site are ugly – if they just look nicer people might actually use them.
A. After bad UI is put to one side (and this can be an issue) the is a direct correlation between full user functionality and bad looking sites – you can make site look nicer by dis-empowering the user or by shaping and controlling there interactions – but freedom always looks messy just look at Facebook its one of the more messy sites out there – it overcomes this issue by good UI and familiarity – people get used to “functionality - ugliness” after they use the software every day.
Q. My activist site has no way for the “user” to be part of the site beyond limited commenting.
A. Yes activist sites are generally in the stone age of hierarchical control freakery, use sites that are web02 not web01 the actually are some projects out their. Complain to admins if the is no peer -to- peer production on an activist site, then actually use the peer production tools they set-up such as wikis and forums.
Q. Why not just use Facebook groups/ fashionable web2 site, every one is on there anyway.
A. This way leads to the death of the open internet/society LINK
Q. Can i trust activist sites with my privacy.
A. On corporate site's that most activist use, such as Facebook you can only hide from your friends not from your enermys. This is generally true for the open web in general and is something we need to understand. If you have a secret take the activist to the garden and whisper it in there ear, do not rely on any fig leafs of corporate privacy settings or promise of activist client server encryption LINK
Alt-geek culture is broken - indymedia
An introduction to a "unspoken" problem. Everything is "pointless" in till you do something "that is not", if we keep repeating the pointless stuff were/when is the "that is not" going to happen?
An example of the geek problem can be found in the flowing and fading of radical alt/grassroots media at the peek of the #openweb
The basis of any new media is the technology it is transmitted/mediated by. In the case of newspapers this is the printing press, and for radio and TV it is access to the transmission spectrum. The open internet changed this "traditional" media which was based on a world of (vertical) analogue scarcity. As the accessing technology improved, it created a radically (horizontal) digital media space.
This was intently filled with (naive in a good sense) alt-media such as the Indymedia project (IMC). In this post I am looking at how this was killed off by internal geek/process dogmatism at the same time as its space was colonised by new/mainstream such as blogging and social media.
We are now coming full circle to where we started with closed client/server, algorithm-determined, gatekeeper, for-profit networks dominating media production and consumption. The corporate gate keeping venture capital driven (and invisible ideology) algorithm is the new printing press/broadcast spectrum that we started the century with.
What part did radical geeks play in this?
Let's look at the successful global indymedia project, which was based on open publishing and open process through a centralised server network. Before this the radical video project undercurrents, while not so open, was again based on a technical hub. They had the only free digital editing suite for production of grassroots video, thus anyone wanting to produces radical content was funnelled though this grassroots gatekeeper. With IMC, it was publishing to their hosted servers.
The indymedia network was setup in the very avant-gardist open model that was to dominate the internet for a time. Like undercurrents it succeeded because of its technical centralisation – the server was the ONLY place citizen journalist content could be published without hard technical knowledge. This monopoly was later lost to the growth of individualistic blogging platforms and later corporate social media. But what I want to argue here is that it died before this due to internal (process) pressures.
Indymedia was set up on the open, open, open, open, pseudonymous model.
* Open source (free software)
* Open publishing (post-publishing moderation)
* Open licence content (non commercial re-use)
* Open process (everything was organised on public e-mail lists, open meetings)
* Pseudo-anonymous (you didn’t have to provide an e-mail address or a real name to publish)
Let's look as some of the pragmatism that allowed the project to take off:
* The project was initially pragmatic about open source as it used the closed realmedia (RM) video streaming codec and servers. But the core project was committed to the free software path where technically possible.
* Open publishing was the basis of the project, things could only be hidden (not removed) because they broke a broad public editorial guideline. Even then they were added to a background page so were still public. In this the publishing process was naïvely open.
* Open licence stayed with the project to the end.
* Open process was gradually abandoned, a clique formed then fought and split, this was the main reason the project ossified and could not adapt to keep its relevance in the changing world of blogs and social media.
* (Pseudo) anonymity was part of the abandonment of open process and led down many of the technical dead ends that finally killed the relevance of the project to most users.
Lets look at this final one in more depth
Firstly, it's important to realise that any attempt at anonymous publishing in a client server relationship even at its most restrictive and paranoid would produce pseudo anonymity. ie. you might be able to hide from your mates and your employer but you cannot hide from the “powers that be” if they are interested in subverting your server and its internet connection.
The internet is inherently naïvely open, its built that way, this is why it works. The recent Edward Snowdon leaks highlight this to the wider public view.
- the integrity of the ISP and hosting was always based on trusting a tiny anonymous minority of geeks
- the physical security of the server could never be guaranteed.
- as the project process closed the identity of these core geeks became tenuous/invisible.
In activism just as the man driving the white van repeatedly turned out to be the police/corporate spy, the invisible server admin is the obvious opening for the same role – am not saying this is what existed, rather just trying to highlight how you cannot build a network based on this closed client server infrastructure/culture that IMC became. Given the open nature of the internet, it became dangerous to push IMC as an anonymous project.
There were four fatal blocks:
- the repeated blocks and failure and delay of decentralisation of the servers to the regions.
- the blocks on aggregation, then the closed subculture aggregation that final happened as a parallel project
- the focusing on encrypted web hosting and self-signed certificates put a block on new non-technical users that proved termanaly offputting.
- the failed "security theater" of not login IP address locally on the server as a limited security fig leaf. They could simply be logged on the ISP/open web instead.
These, together with a shrinking of the core group, led to the project becoming irrelevant in the face of the growth of more openly accessible blogging and then social media.
Let's get positive and suggest some ways the IMC project could have flourished and still be a dominant grassroots project:
* The base level of the project should have actively decentralised as the technology matured to make this feasible. Every town needed its own DIY run server.
* Then regional aggregation using RSS (really simple syndication) would make this grassroots media presentable as outreach media.
* A national aggregation site could then have compete directly with the (then) declining traditional media outlets.
* Recognising that the IMC project was pseudo-anonymous at best, IMC could have built a parallel encrypted peer-to-peer gateway app/network to feed into this to provide true(ish) anonymity for publishers to this ongoing open media project.
* The decentralisation would have been a force to keep the process open by feeding though new people/energy – this would have naturally balanced the activist clique forming/closing in the centre.
* As blogging became popular and matured these could have been “ethically” aggregated into the network to build a truly federated global open media network such as http://openworlds.info is working to be.
* Social networking could have been added as an organic part of this flourishing federated network.
If this had happened, it's not too much to say that the internet would have been a different place to where it is now. The IMC project highlights some of the failures of activist/geek culture. If we are to (re)build the open web we need to learn from this and move on.
(find photo of indymedia Sheffield masked up photo)
This is sadly not a metaphor for an open media project
It should be obvious to people now that even the most paranoid centralised closed internet is only pseudo-anonymous at best. We need to learn how to live with "open" to build the world we want to see. And our geeks fighting for closed are actually a problem for us, just as much as "them".
Draw a line in the sand
None of the current alt/grassroots media projects link to each other. Message them and ask why and refuse to support them till they do #thecanary #Reelnews #RealMedia #Novaramedia is basic KISS of lefty/radical/progressive thinking.
What's the solution?
The minimum outcome a prominent small sidebar box front screen linking to other alt/grassroots project on each active project. it's a KISS no brainer and a line in the sand for lefty/radical/grassroots.
This can be done manually or as part of a bigger network project such as OMN
How to re-boot grassroots media to help to re-boot the open web to create real social change
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.
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]
* 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.
RSS feed aggregation would be base on trusted, strate through or moderated ie adding to a moderation cue in the aggregating sites.
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 create a pool of metadate enhanced media objects. What happens after this? for ideas will add some links:
Draft funding app for OMN
needs more work, comment please
1) Tell us about the world as you see it.
The world is ruining headlong into out of control climate change. Our fragile society, just in time distribution etc. bodes not well for a humain outcome
Our political class is morally bankrupt and incapable of dealing with these crises.
As a person interested in technology and its impact on society, a hope of the early 21st century is/was the open internet, the transformation to peer to peer relationships. This has/is being enclosed by the #dotcon such as facebook, youtube, instagram, uber etc. Their silo'ed data and invisible algorithm controls what we know and do.
The 20th centery was a had a strong noble streek trying to make the human condition a better thing. In the 21st we have less idealisam and mouch more need for this.
The enclosed world reinforces the bad status que. The open world, while being two sided in outcome at least rebalances this.
Over my life I have seen real peer to peer groups that have sustained and renewed them selves for months, years, decades. We can and need to do better useing these examples.
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Is a place for holding/hoarding closed data – this is used by the #dotcons to extract funding form “free users” when mainstream/alt silo projects finish, as 99.9% do, the data varnishes and is lost, and in this the effectiveness of any alt building is diminished. Silos do not use open licensing for content re-use. Just about every alt/grassroots media project is a silo. It's about capturing data.
2) What change do you want to make in the world?
I would like to play a role in seeding a diversity of functioning peer to peer alternatives as both a practical and a exemplar to inspire and inform a more positive sustainable world. Its too big a mission to save the world but planting and nurturing seeds is a start.
I have been working over the years to build and sustain alt/grassroots media in the UK and the wider world.
There is a wide spread feeling that the #dotcon are bad for us as individuals, making us sad and isolated, and the wider society. Its nearly mainstream that people want a way out.
Alt/grassroots media used to play a larger role in the world, now it is small and isolated over run by loons and conspiracy. I wont to work in a world I know very well to #reboot it as a working networked 4opens exemplar.
Alt media are a small exmaplr that did and can agen have a large impact.
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Is an idea that you can be the big one, all the small fashionista websites aspire to be the big one and by doing this they are working to the logic of the #dotcon and working against the logic of the openweb. They are building a project to lock there users into their project. Portal and silo are overlapping (but different) ideas for building web projects. In the mainstream, apple is a prime example of this working. In the alt/grassroots almost all alt/grassroots media projects are portals. It's about capturing users
3) What do you believe has prevented this change to date?
Nothing am going to say is original, and little am proposing is original.
There is a long forgotten trail of siled/protel alternatives to the #dotcon and simuler failed alt/grasstroots media projects. I have lived through and been at the centres of this churning of siloed thinking. A number of recurring themes come to mind:
Basically alt/grassroot media projects are/have been isolated islands with limited sense of history and continuity. Alt/grassrots media does not link to each other in this they are stuck as late 20th century silos.
As an extra issue that am not going to address the are no/few business models to sustain projects based on the #4opens. I dont propse a sulution to this, but opening up a space will brining fresh minds to this isssue.
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Are for-profit data silos in the old days working as portals, more recently they are building out siloed networks as a pseudo networked portal. Many alt media projects aspire to be #dotcon
4) What are you going to do to get there?
in the short term - Get list of existing grassroots/alt media sites to prominently link to each other on their front pages.
Longer term, building on this new found affinity and effectiveness build out KISS exemplary digital tools to peer to peer facilitate this first stage. LINK OMN
In this roll out #4opens will “inoculate” new generations to the endemic scourge of geek problem, fashernista thinking etc.
I know all the players in alt media space current and passed.
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is where ALL the value is on the open web. Without links content has NO VALUE.
5) What challenges or uncertainties do you expect to face?
Nobody will be interested in this because they do not understand openweb ideas, I don’t think this is a big hurdle just getting funding will likely be anufe to take a step over this, fashernistas love funding and "new" toys.
Old media thinking has been a block on opeweb tech for news for a long time, but this blocking is whering due to the fading of the strength of old media and the incrocing strength of the #dotcon
If they are they will say its been done before. The is a strong smell of defeat in much of the alt/grassroots – its all been a big fuckup for the last 10 years or so.
People just want to use corporate tools. It took them a long time to understand that this was a problem but they have a fear now of #dotcon
The #dotcon will push their own “solution” to the very problems they embody. In this we may not overcome the geek and fashionista problem. This is a hard one.
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A subculture that is wraparound right in many outcomes and helped to strangle the original successful alt/grassroots media projects.
6) What part does openness play in your idea?
it has been interesting to read your website :) a nice feeling to come out from the wilderness... as a sayed before the is nothing original in the basic tech that needs developing. It would be nice to get some funding that wasent pushing me into being a branded portal...
open source (free software)
open process (the hardiest one)
In a small seedling way, the wider, OMN plays a role in booting up a plot of KISS semantic web.
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A wider subculture that churns the growth of alt/grassroots so little can grow beyond seedlings.
need to outline the KISS OMN project think the is a link...
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The liberals that use bureaucratic funding to push out the geek and NGO agendas over alt/grassroots projects.
yes, but no if this is a problem (LOOK at small print)
other - we have a pot of match funding from the visionontv project that wants the OMN tech to roll out a alt/grassroots node (part of a wider network) CHECK SMALL PRINT
10) Who are your current or potential key partners?*
list of alt media groups, list of alt-tech orgs
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Is an understanding of mutual aid and of “diversity of strategy”. It's native to the openweb and should be at the base of any alt/grassroots media project. In the closed #dotcon A/B testing is a shadow of this.
not for profit
home rivers of European, have a base in London
life bout milda most work can be done online
update the CV
make a video
Some thoughts on the OMN idea
You would have to be very out of touch not to see that echo chambers are inherent to #failbook and historically less on #twitter though they have changed over to a algorithmic time line you have to opt out of. The OMN is only moderated by humans. It has a built in "market" that rewards trust thus actively builds out human networks. Groups that link will grow, thoughs who do not will slide back as others move forward.
Arrogance & Ignorance and how to get past this blocking is the issue. You don't overcome A&I that's not an option. But getting round it is well possible. The OMN is built on the human condition of trust and serendipity. Both hard human sells, but both the only values we have if your not up for shooting people dead to get your way.
Echo chamber is just a #fashernesta word for feeding prejudice in this it's the same as buying a tabloid in the old days or listing to R4 and only shouting at the radio when you disagree. The OMN opens - echo chamber closes. Of course we understand that "open" is not a solution, but it is better than closed...
Its easy to misses the point about "open data" you don't have any control of the machine network that the #dotcon work with. And if you understand the issues with geeks you will likely never have power over complex digital tools. The way out of this is in the #4opens this "forces" the geeks lose of the power they desire and need to be motivated. In this you have a riddle which is not solved by logic - maybe solved by emotion? The OMN cannot be built with logic, It might be able to be built by emotion. I think this is likely the root of many missing understandings? You can't stop the geeks/fashernista desire to fuckup but the is hope of mediating it with the #4opens that's about it.
The are issue's with algorithmic options in general “who guards the guardians” the #4opens are a safety feature that the #dotcon will remove. You would have to be very deluded to believe that #failbook works in a society sense no matter what individuals say, you should know this.
The Q. Is how to get a KISS project past alt apathy, geek complexity and fashernista... well just fashernista... #fashernesta = "stupid individualism" if your reading my older posts.
The data, it's a soup, the sites are just spoons that dip. You get to choose by linking were the value is. Every one can have a spoon if they like (but talent will out, some spoons will have more value than others) so it's #4opens to linking and content. A silo is a single site like #failbook and the sites listed in this post. On the web the value is in linking content is just something to link to.
Silos host/horde content, if they don't link they have limited value.
Where is alt-media and what are the issues in geek culture that stop it from having much effect.
There is no active working alt-tech and the open web that would be shaped by this open alt-tech is withering under the #dotcon push to enclose.
* 98.9% of alt-tech projects are obviously pointless.
* 1% are potentially useful but are killed by NGO/foundation funding agendas.
* .01% are useful but suffer/starve from a lack of geek focus abd funding.
There are some content projects in alt-media, but they have no working alt-tech to build out. All alt media relies on the #dotcons (Facebook, twitter etc) as distribution. Their websites are generally little more than branded portals, much like yahoo 10-15 years ago. The is minimal inter-operating between the different projects and almost no linking.
For the content producers a positive “alt-media” outcome is to play a role in old (legacey) media or move into the short lived dotcon news orgs. This is a complete failure in open web terms. In this we are fucked, and there is currently no path out within the existing projects.
Outside the existing projects, the solution to this is simple: the tech needs rebooting at a basic level. This is not a complex thing, being mostly social technology using existing open standards.
Rebooting the open web
The OMN is based on a simple understanding that the last 10 years have been wasted on #dotcoms and #encryptionists delusions. In this NGO's, activists and at-geeks have wasted the open webs potential to shift society to a more humain path.
To move beyond this decaying circle we need to #reboot the basic infrastructure that has been allowed to decay. Early “web02” was based on open features that crossed website boundary's in a way unthinkable today. A partial list of has been complied here https://medium.com/@anildash/the-lost-infrastructure-of-social-media-d2b95662ccd3#.rcs7irbas
The OMN project can be built out to overlap many of the projects listed, at its core it is Aggregation, linking and metadata. Its one of the steps for #reboot
Publishing – we have no problem with this though technically (though phones are becoming more of a isolation issue) the are lots of existing CMS and tools outside the #dontcons that can be used, many of them are kinda 4opens though most miss the KISS part.
Search – this is lost and hard to regain but the is space for a clever use of “adblocking” browser plug-ins replacing adverts with OMN content while obscuring the data mining that the #dotcons are cash powered by.
Comments – this is a hard one to solve but the problem is meditated by linking back to the source of articles. To OMN this part could be done with a a few open standards – but pushing this out would be hard. A back burner issue.
Responses – can use the existing “open standards” maybe choosing a KISS implementation to #reboot
Likes/Favourites – we build a back end version of this as core to the OMN, how to front end this is a interesting avant-garde project that we should implement in different “standard” ways after OMN boot up.
Updates – is core to what the OMN is.
Identity – try #rebooting a KISS implementation of the existing open standards use this in the OMN roll out, use it, but don’t push it hard as its going to be hard to overcome the #dotcom on this one.
Friends list – half core to the OMN, can attempt to #reboot this as part of the RSS “object” aggregation your identity is a object to be aggregated.
Following – is a core part of the RSS OMN project.
Syndication – this is the core of the project using existing tools based on RSS
API – a #reboot of Atom pub is a likely useful part of the OMN for the synchronisation of content.
Metadata – in the OMN this is a KISS fockonermy that a more systematic labelling rules can be built on. A KISS roll-out of the semantic web is what the OMN is about. Creative commons will be at its core.
Discovery and tagging – is what the OMN is and it allows easy uptake by alt-media producers, who dues not wont there content to be seen by more people and traffic driven to there sites.
Analytics – can be built up as the project expands, the current #dotcon tools will work fine on roll-out as its just the open web.
Advertising – is up to the individual sites (with reference to the CC licensing of content) the tools of the OMN could be used to roll out a #4opens advertising network if some one was interested. The creative use of “adblockers” has a roll here?
Aggregation – is what is core to the OMN the back end of this is no more than a “small number” of people. The output is as wide as the openweb allows and can be feed as links into the #dotcom
Time shifting & reading – can be added to the OMN tools using basic user RSS lists.
The Lessons - “there's (almost) nothing new under the sun.” this is at its core a #reboot of existing projects/standerds rolled out as KISS as possible with in the small existing network of alt/grassrots media. From there...
love and dispar of alt-grassroots media
To move beyond the current dire/dead end state of alt/grassrots media we need to reboot basic KISS tech that the original open web was based on.
What is alt-media: media that tells story’s about the world we live in and our every day lived lives from a different idealogical perspective to the mainstream media.
What is grassrots media: media from the bottom, made and distributed in a more horizontal way to mainstream media.
To make both of these happen we have to consciously over come a number of blocks on the media production side:
* Liberal media makers who think the mainstream can be “fixed” by individual moral responsibility and hard work.
* The old left and its fixation/pushing of vertical statues, the power games that hold us back have no positive outcome but to rarely build a individual carrear into the mainstream.
* Both of these lead alt/grassrots media to be but a transitory jumping off point for the mainstream, or more normally a run and stumble/falling repation to a normal dead end job or with drowen depression.
Blocks also come from the tech side, some dominant tendency’s:
* Geek/tec culture has a dominating tendency to be a mirror of the old left in its individualistic desire for control, the whole technical fix of encryption as a social solution to state/corporatist control of the open web is a dead end example of this.
* Geeks are are in love with the “new” and they lack a wider social view leading to huge over lapping of tech projects, tech history is lilted with hundreds of tech projects that are badly implemented clones of the fashionable moment after it is well past its use data.
* Geeks do not like to work on the “old” and almost everything that works is “old” thus the pointless churning of the above point. “building on the shoulders of giants” is more like “building on the backs of piggmeys” in most open development.
The whole love affer with the trap of #dotcon's is anuther conected subject. Both sides to this continuing failing are entwined and the solutions over lap:
Humm.. this is the hard part to describe this in a way that makes sense to real people who embed the issues above… KISS ansers coming soon if people show an interest.
Open Media Network
The Open Media Network is a project to play a small role in revitalising the open web. It uses the tried and tested technology of RSS, taking it out of a basic personalised mash-up of feeds into an open metadata social network. Its initial focus will be around alternative media, enabling projects to grow and cross-fertilise independently of the social media corporate giants.
The #dotcom silos are completely dominant in terms of people's identity, for publishing and for networking etc. At social events you once gave your phone number, then your email address, and now you friend on facebook.
By contrast, the open web has plateaued or is already in decline, depending on your point of view. To fix the issues of why the open web is failing we first need to look at why it succeeded:
- KISS throughout
- no identity checking
- no security
The internet/web was a KISS trust-based network that took over the world we have been living in for the last 30 years, and it was no accident that identity checking and security were missing from the original internet/web.
To reboot the open web will take many overlapping streams of open projects. Here we are proposing a KISS project to that end.
Let's look at a small, once healthy stream. Alt/grassroots media used to play a large role in the world. Now all that remains is a few sprigs of green in a polluted/dry river bed. In its heyday the global #indymedia (link broken) network rivalled the BBC and CNN in its scope and coverage on the big days of action and international summits. Now all that is left are some strongly branded small projects (http://novaramedia.com), that grew from #dotcom social media and are only networked within them, and a handful of big legacy projects (http://www.democracynow.org).
The problem we face is a pre-web problem, that of silos. That is each project is a small pool in a empty/dry river and there are very few links or shared data from one to the other (link to 3 projects). The currency of the web is the "valid link"to build networks. Alt-media's growth is severely limited by this lack.
Open Media Network
The OMN is one project to fix this problem.
It is a project of the 4 opens. It is a human-based project at its core, as opposed to an algorithmic project.
Quite simply we want alt-media sites to link to each other and share content, to become a healthy network rather than isolated drying-out silos.
The outcomes needed for it to work are easy to achieve, and they have a large possibility to grow/empower projects as a network.
RSS aggregating news portals are not new, which is a major part of their strength for the realizing of the Open Medium Network. Taking this tried and tested tech into an open metadata social network is new. Another thing which will be new to some of the media side of the project is the 4 opens.
Each participant in the OMN will embed at least one news river in their sidebar.
The plan is to build synching aggregating portals / hubs (based on existing CMSs) that feed those sidebar rivers.
Human networking based on trust is key.
Aggregators choose to link RSS feeds into their hubs.
Users choose the tags for the link streams from the hubs into their side bars.
To facilitate trust, basic security is built in.
- flows can be on auto or moderation
- there would be a feed-based roll-back for when spam gets through the trust network.
User embeds, either native or JS, are boolean tag based and have metadata editing rights based on trust (hosting hub gives them this), with 3 levels: auto/moderation/rollback.
NOTES for Developers:
This project uses technology to build a human network. There's a sense in which the simplicity is as important as the code. The project can grow to work in many different ways but the base has to be KISS.
NOTES for journalists and media makers:
You retain complete control of what appears on your site. As the trust network builds, it will become higher quality and faster to administer.
From simple springs big rivers grow to feed the sea.
In my 30-year experience, I have seen too many alt-media projects grow, flower and fade away, without aggregating or archiving themselves into a state of permanence.
This project can play a crucial role in solving this, as hubs will not only be able to moderate the flows of news, they could achieve it, with no extra work, in a massively redundant distributed way.
It can also form the basis of identity. People are just a tagged data object that can be sorted into “flows”. This opens up social networking to creative thinking.
Sites link to each other both though trust, the human side, and through links, the machine side. Both are a good opportunity for the open web to compete with the closed silos.
The networks of hub sites become portals in their own right, driving traffic to the root news orgs/blogs that feed them.
The Open Media Network is a KISS hybrid client server/peer2peer project to play a small role in revitalising the open web. It uses the tried and tested technology of RSS. Its initial focus will be around alternative media, enabling projects to grow and cross-fertilise alongside the social media corporate giants.
For the full background to the project see this http://hamishcampbell.com/en/home/-/blogs/open-media-netwo-1?
Stage one (6-12 months) basic linking and embedding programming, basic beta roll-out – the outlandish funding.
Stage two (6-12 months) is synchronising and meta-data editing, then expanding roll-out.
When we have basic working code, set up a number of exemplar hubs to beta test the project in the real world and push out embeds to existing real world alt-media sites.
This project is largely social technology. The tech part is configuration and repurposing existing CMS's and their plug-in architectures.
Pre-programming - there is a need to look at the existing code/plug-in base and spec out a number of roots to working aggregating CMS to seed development.
List the parts that need scripting/programming/configuring.
Work out the basic meta-data format (RSS/atom)
Dave Winer's CMS
These no exclusivly act as “seeds” for the aggregating hubs. They already have some of the basic functionality needed. Take this list to open source programming projects such as LINK etc.
As an open project built peer2peer, the core is to get a lot of people at different levels of expertise working on each bit and run them all in parallel. There is no right answer and no signal point of use/failure.
visionOntv project can offer to match the funding coming from outlandish.
I take this comment from a famous programmer as a complement "feels dated in the language and tech" that’s the point ;)
Briefly describe what support in addition to funding you would require to make your project a reality. This could include people with other skills, or office or event space.
The funding is nice to keep focus, but the core help is the links and knowledge network that outlandish provides. The content and media side we can handel. The running of aggregation we have been doing for over 20 years, over many generations of failing alt-tech. At the moment we only have youtube play lists and embeds, this is a crap situation, not to say embarrassing state of alt-media.
Is (client server) p2p torrent infrastructure failing?
There are lots of sites down, lots of fake files etc.
A colleague Richard Hering has posted a number of music videos to YouTube. As these contain a synchronised score of complex music, they have unique educational value. Sony recently blocked a number of these in no less than 244 countries. “Sony have bought up a 50 year old recording they never made and now take it down wherever it is shared”.
He also uploads to torrent sites, where such very old culture (for instance the music of Johann Sebastian Bach) is popular, and should surely be treated as a common heritage.“People need to share, it's a basic need I think”. He used to upload such videos to Piratebay, but this has not accepted registrations for a while now. He uploaded it to Kickass and and some people still find it there, but the Piratebay has not indexed it and and you cannot even find it on google. The crackdown on piracy has lead to the proxy universe being full of poorly indexed and fake sites. The proxy "copies" are not mirrors....
This is looking to me like we have a crisis in the client server side of P2P, which might be about morale and the burn out of the open generation. ISP blocking is probably driving down ad revenue… Google is now pushing down real torrents, which means it's pushing up fake torrents. It's a shadow or a corpse of a P2P network.
[Richard Hering adds a note here: it's very important not to underestimate the problems which google is now causing. I searched my popular torrent on a number of search engines, just using its title plus the word "torrent". The results:
1. Duckduckgo.com - first on page one.
2. Yahoo - first on page one
3. Bing - 4th on page one
4. Google - page 7! Despite tracking my activity and selecting what I see on that basis, which ought to push the result up.
So Google is suppressing torrents. In future I think I will use duckduckgo, as it does no tracking. I already use it on the phone, as it blocks ads.]
Without tech activism, I think this p2p world is ending. It will continue "submerged" inside the #dotcons. But another part of the open web fades. That was what true p2p applications such as RetroShare were about. Escaping from the silos of torrent sites. True p2p might still be an option but would need activism to push it into mainstream view. It's a little harder to setup, but it's not rocket science, use it or lose it is the mantra and we have lost lots. “I remember Peter Sunde from tpb saying that it wouldn't be a bad thing if torrents got killed off - it would force innovation” But the question we beg “only if we innovate".
RetroShare would solve these issues and it "innovates" human networks as a useful "side effect". But a German court has tried to ban it. However RetroShare is just p2p encryption, which is basic to the web, so can't be banned, with out huge clateral damage to the #dotcoms, especially if used for something legal.
“A court in Hamburg, Germany, has granted an injunction against a user of the anonymous and encrypted file-sharing network RetroShare . RetroShare users exchange data through encrypted transfers and the network setup ensures that the true sender of the file is always obfuscated.”
The issue here is human error: he added the promedia as a direct friend. To quote TorrentFreak “Promedia posed as a “friend” of the respondent. The decision of LG Hamburg is not compelling.”
We live in a world now where the younger people (early 20s) are possibly part of the post-P2P generation for whom the internet is facebook etc
What a thought.
A OMN post for geeks
Climate change and our basic environment are running away with our future. The technology network that could help to save us is splintering. We are fucked, the open web, the thing all progressive geeks build on has plateaued and is visible fading.
A project to play a small role.
It's about stupidly simple and naively open it's an original open Internet Project.
Lest we forget the original Internet was people creating pages linking to people created pages this is what the world wide web is. Networking human beings creating communities using technology.
If you make this too complex to start with you miss the point it's about people and communities facilitated by technology it's not about technology facilitating people and communities.
The difference might seem small but it's important as it's the difference between the original Internet and the intranets that grew up and dominated before the open human powered web swept them away.
Geeks not knowing what they have been doing have been destroying this web of humanity and replacing it with a web of machines clever but inhuman.
If you want to reboot a human Internet it needs to be human first rather than machine first. There is a real challenge for geeks to understand this as it flows against their mindset. CP Snows two cultures is still dominant a strong but invisible flow.
If we are to reboot the open web, we need to put human beings activity, community and empowerment at the root. The counter intuitive is to get humans to do more, not less, as we find the basic satisfaction in life by actively creating the world we live in.
The wiki, the blog, the link, the website.
Don't look down on simple
Put people to work doing something they find meaningful, algorithms can stand in the way as much as they can help here.
All community is based on “open standards” that are widely shared. It's the sharing that makes a standard.
Care for the soil as everything to do with the life world comes from it. To move this forward we need to nurture and create the soil of the open internet. All the high tech seeds you are in love with are falling on barren soil.
To nurture this, one stream would be a human powered semantic web that is based on already widely shared “standards”.
Many streams, nature loves diversity and simplistic often pushes over complex.
The OMN is a spring, a stream, a river.
The Base idea works with media items (posts) , sites (community's), people (identity).
It digs history and memory deeply into the network without extra work or much thought (through widely distributed redundant data)
At each stage it empowers the individual, the community and fundamentally horizontalists this empowerment.
Geeks can of course build streams of complex from this common soil.
Just as the original web did it is a stream to expand the commons. From its flow life can grow, such a simple project could help save us all.
And build a world based on linked semantic data.
Build simple, build trust, the is power in open.OMN link
Review of Goalzero adventure pack - Solar power
UPDATE: they sent a replacement panel and battery pack and am awaiting a bag to send back the old ones so they can test them. Good company.
Nomad 7 (7 watts) Solar Panel and Guide 10 Plus battery pack
This is a high power 5V usb solar charger that works as well as plugging your phone into the wall in good sunlight. With 1 amp of power it will efferently charge all but the latest huge phones such as the note II which it dose struggle a bit at.
An excellent products that I have been using for the last 2 years. In that time with about 9 months of hard use both parts of the set-up have finely failed.
It had been well used in over 7 country’s and over the summer of its failer was used for 6 months In Poland, Slovakia, Crimea before finaliey failing on a 2 month trip to the Canary islands.
The Guide10plus battery pack melted the plastic rappers off a set of Mignon Hybrid NiMH AA 2100mAh battery’s. They were finger burning hot, then with a fresh set of battery’s it gives off pungent white smoke from one of the internal components and dose not charge or function.
The panel failed at the same time, this time the failer was less final. Originally the panel worked fine in a good sunny position it could could charge 3 devises in a day with power to spare.
Now it is lucky to ¼ to half charge a devices in a days good sunshine. I think an internal cable may have broken if goalzero don’t come back with a solution might try to cut the fabric open and examine each join to check this. Both products had exposer to due and some light rain in north Europe in the south Europe the was a lot of fine blowing sand and volcanic dust. The panel had the cover folded back which might have stressed the internal cables? Neither had any “abuse” beyond normal hard use.
To sum up the products are excellent but not indestructible and am now reaching out to the manufacturer golazero to get feedback on what might have coursed both components to fail at the same time. Watch this space for a reply.
One step on OMN
Looking at what we have to base open media on – my initial reaction is one of anger that what we have is so crap and ill-suited but you can only work with the tools you have.
Looking to set-up a seed network using existing CMS's. WP, Druple and Davie Winers CMS
We are using RSS02 for something its not directly made for, we are using it for a database object exchange format. To do this we need to understand how it is “extended” http://www.disobey.com/detergent/2002/extendingrss2/
So you can get custom feeds out of WP http://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/what-is-rss-how-to-use-rss-in-wordpress/
We have an issue with terminology category/tag
OK we have two WP test sites set-up, we need to get them subscribed to different feeds with tags/category working – the get custom tag/category RSS feed to cross post between them.
When this is working we have the basics for WP
Looking at Drupal next
My first reaction is AHHHAAAHHH... keep digging...
This in theory should provide RSS in functionality we need https://www.drupal.org/documentation/modules/feeds
And there seems to be built in RSS feeds for each “category”, so in theory we have a working set-up.
Will try this tomorrow.
First stage of testing open CMS's for the OMN project
Setup 3-4 sites each with
* RSS in and out via tag
* We need to make sure the RSS can be full text and that it can transport the tags
* We need to be able to display the RSS as short article with a link to the original source
* We need to clearly show the sources for items and turn off comments
* We then need to see how the “de-duping” handles content clericals (?) and content updates etc
Got to a stage were I was hitting scripting complexity dead ends on both CMSs, and took a week off to digest.
Both can do the OMN but both have flaws for the core project. They don’t understand open flowing data, they both work within their own paradigms - that is, they are silos not networks.
To modify this would likely need some programming rather than scripting. Anyone have a second opinion on this?
Not sure the best way to move on from this.
The problem with alt-media
Looking at the media (or lack of media) comeing out of the media democracy festival kindaled a old train of thought:
Most alt-geeks are trying to solve a pointless problem "privacy online" anything online is in a "photocopying system" privacy is an illusion. You can get a shallow privacy by going encrypted P2P but this relays on your device - android or apple phone being secure and they aren’t. to move on we have to move past this dominating geek view point.
The alt-media producers are building 20th century silos, this is such a failed strategy that it doesn’t even need to be talked about anymore.
The solutions are KISS and not complex, were are the geek affinity groups to make these happen.
One example OMN
Portable renewable power technology?
"The BioLite CampStove, designed for outdoor adventure and emergency preparedness, makes cooking on wood as clean, safe and easy as petroleum fuels while powering electronics off-grid."
I love tec like this, clever idea made real BUT it takes around 5 minutes to boil 1 liter of water and and will take something like 3 hours to charge a smart phone by USB, so you need to boil over 30 liters of water to charge one iphone - thats a lot of tea...
Find out more
Real Media gathering, how not to re-boot grassroots media
Firstly I don’t have any ill will to the people I know organising this event and would love it to succeed in being a part of the kindling to (re)light the fire of alt-media.
But we have 3 main problem groupings/failures blocking grassroots media (culture) from re-booting
Lets look at how they manifest as negative (can do a positive post on this subject, just ask or look back on my blog)
They all manifest in the upcoming Real Media Gathering, lets use this as an example and look at each in turn.
NGO thinking is a malaise that is filling the vacuum left by the catastrophic failings of Alt-geeks and activist spiky/fluffy debate separation. What is NGO thinking? Well in short its the way you HAVE to think to have a continuing payied careerer in a NGO. It in body’s bureaucracy, (respecting) hierarchy, endemic narrow liberal thinking or at the most radical rigid utopian process – leading to deadening bureaucracy.
Geek culture is dealt with here
Activist culture at its worst is bound by life style, the things you do tobe an activist, that looking/sounding/acting like the change is more important than being the change. Some of the people involve understand this, they are just to lost to take a way out of this malaise. This can manifest as a diversion between spiky/ fluffy and a ritualistic on/off spiting contest between these two mindsets. Change is often lost in this.
How do these manifest in the upcoming real media gathering/movement.
The headline main day of the event is made-up of top-down speakers repeating all the things people already know. For a grassroots gathering this is clearly problematic, think about it for a minute ;) This is how a NGO would organise a “grassroots” event.
Geek culture, the is a tech project going on in parallel with the gathering – its happening in darkness with no knowledge, input or interest. The outcome is likely a black box designed by geeks, now we know for a fact that this NEVER ends well. This is how geek's like to work, just trust us.
Activist grassroots culture is high on the banner header image but no existence in the headline speakers and a shadow in the workshops. They do have a little documented day after for this. No sparks and no rocking the boat, this comes full cirecal to NGO thinking were we started.
The have been a serease of these “NGO” re-booting activism conferences and gatherings over the last few years. I helped to organise some of them for my sins.
Much of the content of the event is fine, the workshops have content, what it lacks is any spark to light the needed media fire. Rubbing the damp sticks of NGO together isn’t going to do it, we need to break out of this malaise, and it's easy to do.
Dangerous thoughts - anonymity on the internet
The last 10 years activist technology and its supporting NGO's have been pushing the encrypted web as secure form of communication. From the Indymedia network "not logging IP's" to Wikileaks "secure whistleblowing" to numerous encrypted chat and social networks. Not to mention all the corporate dotcoms "solutions" jumbling up the space.
This naiveté working had driven alt-tech into oblivion, by complexity and obfuscation. Has this in any way been worth while? I would have liked to right this up but you will have to make do with the notes - This is a good example summing up of the issue (from SN-493-Notes.pdf)
TOR: Not so Anonymous after all
Citizen journalism equipment update 2014
It seems this phone has issues with the adapter cable, so hold on any purchase for the moment.
We couldent get the moto G to work with the adapter cable, we trayed every way for a few weeks. So tryed the nexus 5 that had simuler issues but finaly worked useing a 3ed party camera app.
For a cheap first citizen journalism phone/camera I would recommend the 2014 version of the Moto G
Then you need Audio Technica PRO24
And finerly a mic adapter to plug them togather
As technology keeps updating, I haven’t tested these just based on reviews, please message me with your direct experience.
You could try something like this to stabilise the mobile as they are small and light so and hard to hold steady. You will have to reach and buy this yourself, report back if you find a good one.
DIY solar power to far
Many of the times I tell people how easy it is to build a small solar power set-up, I am given a dismissive and superior reply that I should be making my own panels not advising people to buy ones. This like many insecure replies is both wrong, dis-empowering and could be dangerous. Here is an article on the subject http://solarelectricityhandbook.com/Solar-Articles/build-your-own-solar-panels.html the article highlights its not a bad thing to actually make your own solar panel, just don’t do it as a serious way of generating DIY power. To give building a go try this article http://www.wikihow.com/Build-a-Solar-Panel
How to solar power your Tablet
You need a panel with at least 14W to charge a tablet, the are a lot of them out there, but, they get VERY mixed reviews. I have only used larger or smaller panels so can't vouch for any of these so please do some research before buying.
Here are a sample that fit the speck - click on the image for the ebay link for each
The is no guaranty that a naked USB power lead out of a solar panel will charge your device, to increase the chance of this working you need to buy a USB battery with pass-through. This is just an example, check the speck carefully very few USB battery’s do pass-through charging
This setup would work fine for a large smart phone or any USB powered device. Feel free to ask questions in the comments and feedback real life experience here please.
Quality Refurbished laptops - Thinkpad
I recommend buying a Refurbished Thinkpad laptop to activists.
T series - are good soled general use laptops
X series are small and very low power for protest camps and solar power setups
Used ThinkPads are cheap because after businesses are done with them, which is 3-4 years after they’ve been released, they flood the market.
- They’re really cheap when you buy a used one
- Splash-proof keyboard
- Keyboards feel excellent while typing
- Great Durability
- Utilitarian design
- Spare parts are easy and cheap to obtain
- Easy to repair, upgrade and maintain
- TrackPoint (that red thing on the middle of the keyboard), great for those who type a lot
Find out more here http://www.ktgee.net/post/49423737148/thinkpad-guide
Look on ebay for good prices it changes all the time here is a link that might still be good
Activist social media suicide and its prevention
Organising on Facebook is suicide for the internet and the future of our society. We need to do different and we need to do this now, luckily this isn’t actuality a very hard thing to do.
The most simple/basic thing to do is to have a organising website hosted on a independent/activist server – you can ask such people as OMN for an social office organising site or network23 for a basic blog. Then to reach into (but not be controlled by) the closed walls of Facebook you can post links to your content FROM YOUR SITE to Facebook. With this you can kinda have the best of both worlds.
The second part is more ambitious and geek centred, read this link for some ideas on building tools LINK
Its important not to get engrossed in the geek/activist paranoia about security – the is non on the open web, it was designed that way and its why it has been so successful at tacking over the world in the way it has. If you wont to do anything secret or possibly illegal – do not do it on ANY activist or corporate website, that’s what physical meet-ups are for.
The is a potential small exception to this statement, will talk about Per-Per encrypted connections in an other post – BUT this is not a thing to use for 99% of activist communication so not relevant here.
At a minimum all future campaigns should be using the atavist hosting and post links to inside the walled corporate internet. I can help, leave a comment here on this activist hosted site. Or try this site out for organising
(S)hell - Last minute filming of artistic direct action
DRAFT (needs a spell check)
The was little preparation for the filming of the action beyond asking a film-maker a week before the event. No information on what the action is or were it is, I come an hour early to the meeting place with equipment I think I might need.
It turns out to be a activist quire taking over the auditorium of the Shell sponsored Royal Festival Hall to sing a political song to the huge ordnance before the main concert comes on.
OK I have a a load of extended battery’s, good small qaulerty HD video camera, a short directional mic, a MP3 recorder and a good mobile phone with HD video camera.
Decide to place the MP3 recorder on the body of the person sitting in the middle seating of the quire to get soled sound. set-up the video camera on a fixed shot in front of the group then hand film with the mobile phone, with short mic to make shore I have cutaways/reaction shots and close ups.
Half an hour before setting off to shoot I discover the a second camera man is coming to film as well, he will be shooting stills with one camera and long shot video with a second stills camera in video mode. I would have liked him to take and use the good quality HD video camera as he is seated across the stage so would be in a good position to use the zoom – as nearth of his stills cameras have a good zoom. The issue is that he would not be formiler with the video camera, this together with shooting stills at the same time means this option doesn’t work out.
With the run though of the song it turns out the is no time/focus to find and attach the MP3 recorder to the central quire member, it ends up in my pocket. While looking at the seat allocation it seams its going to hard to setup the video camera on a fix shot as the is nowhere to put it, only a drop onto the stage.
Arriving at the venue, the is a reluctances to bring out the cameras, mics, cables etc. as this would bring attention to the nerves group of activist am sitting next to. I have no idea when they are going to start singing, I don’t think they have a common agreement eather (:
Looking around the is no place were I can get good video framing, in front of us is a row of narrow occupied seating then a drop to the stage, off to the side is more close set seating full of ordinary ordnance members. Behind me is a exit and a bored looking usherette.
As the humming of the song starts, I turn on the MP3 recorder and drop it on top of the quire members bag next to my seat. I shoot some establishing shots of the ordnance and auditorium using the mobile phone as if it were a stills camera.
The is no time to setup the video camera so start the mobile phone video rolling, soon discover that its to dark for a good image, but the song has started and I would miss half of it if I switched to the video camera that is still in my bag. Keep the phone camera rolling but am much to close to the action in my seat, even holding the phone arms leagnth away, this also creates a lot of bad wobble as it has so image stabilisation.
Hoping that the second camera man has his camera on and steady, after 45 sec I move out of my seat and across the isle and squeeze into the next row to get a wider shoot, The usherette lucky ignores me, though I get hissed at by the people am obscuring, they quieten down when they realise am filming. Am off to one side so still don’t have good framing even when holding the camera out at arm length over the stage (more wobbly cam). Its the best I can do, as the banner drops (surprise to me when it happens) I capture the audience clapping, then the group of young people behind me join in with clapping, spin round to film them. The song comes to an end, and the quire shuffles out sing as they go. I interview a usherette who is supportive then the theatre manager who is not, she puts her hand over the lenses and pushes me out of the theatre. It was all over in 3 minutes, a very successful fun action.
We retire to a café to exchange video, Hew missed the first 30 seconds due to focusing issues but after this he has a good wide shot and some nice cutaways, his sound track was also useful as both my mics were to close to the singing to capture the wider auditorium atmosphere and the clapping of the main audiences. I lay all 3 mic tracks over each other to get a fuller sound and to try and hid that the MP3 recorder was accidentally set to a fixed sound level rather than AGC so suffered from clipping of the sound during load bits of the song. Towards the end of the song Huw dose get into a discussion with his naber which is recorded onto the track , I have muted it down but you can still hear it on the finished film (:
I have to go and film a NUJ conference early the next morning, that’s another story (;
When it came to the edit I was in a rush – set the project file to 25FPS which is standard European video format, the editing package crashes every 5 min becouse of the bad formating of the stills camera video, produces a ruff edit, drop some draft titles over it, sleep on it then tweak and send off to the group – I still do not know what stories they wont to tell. Would be happy to just do a ruff edit and get it out as I have all the NUJ conferences stuff to do, but it was a good action and the is a good film in there so give them the option of a more polished piece. Come back to it after a few days, humm the sound is auta sync, looking at the sources files the mobile phone video is at 29.97 FPS and the stills camera video is at 23.976 FPS and the project is at a standard 25 FPS no wonder we have sound/video sync issues.
I had synced all 3 sound tracks up then locked them in place, then cut up and moved the video around... to do the draft edit, this was now not easy to fix and the more editing I did the harder it would become. I tried changing the output frame rate to 23.976 which didn’t help then to 29.97 which didn’t either. In Adobe Première you cant change the project frame rate for a project after you set it, so what to do. Looks like I have to re-do the edit from scratch (render both badly formatted video's into one good to edit format before starting). Or live with some video/audio syncing issues. Other matters were pressing.
How to film this action well
Be in on the planing of the action, and build camera angles and sound recording into the action from the start.
Have 2 people filming:
* One - long shot on mini tripod, then second hand held camera for audience reaction mashore of good auditorium sound on the first camera.
* Second - fixed action sound with recorder in quire and mobile camera/sound for medium/close ups.
Good to have a 3ed person responsible for makeing shore security dose not interfere with filming/action.
Have redundant sound recorders in the action. Make shore all equipment configured and is working at same frame rate and timing.
Buying the boat
Buying the boat off Alan johnston was a good expirence, he was a big help with fixing the boat up to get past the BSS test. I ended up staying up on site for 4 days working on the boat.
Will be converting this to a Solar powered and mobile Open Media Hub over the next few months.
Removed central seating partitions
Removed half of the seat belts
Presser washed the boat inside
Moved the fuel tank to the back of the boat to facilitate external fuelling (this is a BSS issue)
Fixed peg locks to hatches and doors and a padlock to back door.
plugged holes in roof from removed equipment.
Made 6x tyear fenders with rope fittings (Alan donated a selection of fenders as well)
Rope for morning up.
Put in external fuelling
Angle grind/remove top bouncey bulge
wood ceiling and floor panels
Prep and paint inside
Add LED lighting
External solar panels
battery box and battery’s for solar set-up
wiring and charge controllers
Solar Panels - 100w cabling and connectors
Geek Manifesto (DRAFT)
VisionOntv is a project to move people from being passive consumers to taking more of a role in production/curating and hosting news media. Its a project to empower the producers of media. So from a very broad-brush perspective:
Has to be easy for normal people to browse, with a constant pull towards people being more involved – even if this has a balancing affect on the ease of use. Consuming of content isn't social change rather conversation leading to community self action is. Our mission is a hard one to use content to catalyse this change and this is a little harder for users, our website won't run away from this issue.
Has to not be pulled into the Geek ghetto on complexity and obfuscation , even if this on balance affect security and efficiency. The command line and professorial server infrastructure may have advantages but the project will use desktop servers and GUI were ever possible so as not to disempower the producers also taking on the many of the roles of the sysadmins. With out this movement we end of up with a small cartel off Geek gatekeepers rather than a broad empowered community.
So consumers pushed into producers and producers pushed into sysadmins is our core Geek mission. We don't wont to replace one media class with a another, we instead won't to democratise and level the media so that it is a much wider and more embed in community's that it covers.
To do this technology it self and the people who create it have to change.
We have a very serous problem at the moment in progressive technology
Geek culture has always had a strong ant-progressive side to it and this in now dominant – it manifests as naivety about politics and over- complexity in open solutions.
NGO culture is based on a anti-commons, a dog eats dog fight for survival based on short term funding criteria.
Traditional left political party’s and unions are stuck on the defensive, and when they do step over the trenches to attack they take up NGO or geek prioritises.
Technology has a HUGE potential to shape our futures in progressive ways, BUT it also has a dark side to repress our futures and it is this dark side unchallenged that we are moving to.
If you wont to help in using technology for positive social change then have a look at this project – all areas of skill are needed.
18 Watt Folding Solar Panel Laptop Charger
This is cheap and light: Nature Power 55020 18 Watt Folding Solar Panel Laptop Charger w/8 Amp Controller.
Nature Power 55020 18 Watt Folding Solar Panel Laptop Charger w/8 Amp Controller
- Rugged and Weather Resistant Canvas
- High Powered Crystalline Technology
- O-Rings for Mounting
- 8 Amp Charge Controller
- 10 Laptop Adapter Plugs
- Battery Clamps
- 12\' Wire\
I haven't tested this - funding permiting I will get one to review, in theory it would work well with this Tekkeon 3450i
The best voltage regulator/battery for portable laptop solar power
You need to buy this exact model myPower ALL Plus MP3450i R3 External Instrument Battery as the cheaper ones in the myPower range do not allow power pass through, that is you can only charge OR power you cant do both at the same time. It also regulates the power in from 12-24VDC to charge the battery. A one stop solution for medium powered portable devices when combined with a 20-30 watt solar panel.
myPower ALL Plus MP3450i is a lithium polymer battery (16% more capacity than MP3450) for use with portable, laptops, instruments and equipment as portable power, or as an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) for battery backup. This universal battery provides power for equipment between 5V and 19V.
6.85" (L) x 3.32" (W) x .9" (D)
Portable power pack
This looks quite usefull, next time we get some funding in I will get one to try, has anyone used one?
PortaPow Premium Dual Emergency USB Battery Extender External Pack here
The capacity is 6600mAh, 203g and 110x88x15mm
The pack outputs 2.1A from one socket and 1A from the other, a total of 3.1A of power which will alow fast chargeing. the only issue seams to be that it whont pass charge through (need to test this).
Fixing problems with Kobo Touch e-reader
Lots of people have problems with this e-reader, here is the best advice I found: "To initiate a factory reset using the Home button and the power slider both of the following conditions must be met: 1) release the power slider while holding down the Home button, and, 2) push and release the power slider quickly. If the factory reset is successfully initiated, the LED will turn red. If unsuccessful with the first attempt try again until you get a red LED."
From this thread
Programming social change
The future of the radical web is between a standards based approach and a make it up from scratch based approach. And the make it up from scratch based approach is by far the strongest path in activist programming.
A standards based approach would be something like this http://informationweek.com/thebrainyard/news/social_networking_private_platforms/231500441/opensocial-20-spec-stresses-social-media-interoperability
A make it up your self based approach would be like this http://piratenpad.de/hIyt3iFDp9
Obviously if we are building a sustainable alternative a standards based approach is more helpful. This is one of the resions why activist based tech projects are largely hopeless at achieving social change.
Remember that the nuclear industry have always lied... #Japan #nuclear
Remember that the nuclear industry have always lied, with the explosion destroying all the cooling infrastructure its looking like a bad outcome. And them admitting they are pumping sea water to cool the core, the steam and super heated water has to go somewhere. All they are left with is a very hot steel container filled with corroding melting nuclear reaction spurting radioactive steam and water. Remember that the nuclear industry has always lied, if you live down wind or down current I would think about moving.
Just a though, as the are no clear views in these situations.
Q&A of the Save the internet session at #rebelliousMC
Excuse the dodgy framing at the start, it gets better.
Escaping the Hamster Cage - re-thinking Geek culture
I love this image, it says so much about geek/lifestylist's
Live edit PC
This is a costing for the full portabel studio setup
* Thermaltake LANbox SFF Gaming Case http://www.hardwareking.net/product_info.php?currency=GBP&info=p85847_Thermaltake-Lanbox-Lite-black--VF6000BNS-.html (with no windows)
* CoolerMaster Silent Pro M500 Power supply - 500 Watt
* MSI H67MA-E45 Motherboard B3 or Gigabyte GA-H57M-USB3 (rev. 2.0)
* Grafics card http://www.nvidia.com/object/product-geforce-gtx-460-us.html
* HDMI capture http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/intensity
* firewire capture card http://www.maplin.co.uk/pci-express-3-port-21-firewire-221528
* memery card reader
* 2TB hardrive 7200 http://www.trusthardware.co.uk/products.asp?partno=WD20EVDS
Total £950 + upto £100 postage
Live edit PC
The plan is to have a reliable portable (easy to carry) 3 live camera + screen capture with the ability to both stream and capture to file at the same time. And have the capability to capture 720P video. This will also be used as a HD H264 AVC traditional editing PC and for bulk encoding.
Case must be small and light and strong to run quietly
i7 4 core processor
Nvideo grafics card with at least 1GB of ram and cuda – reliable drivers – drive 2-3 displays
4-8 GB of ram
built in fire-wire
extra firewire card
black magic Intensity Pro video capture card
spare expansion slots
SD card reader
DVD recorder is optional
SSD for main hardrive
Fast 2TB second hard drive for video storage
Then use external drives for backup. We could use a local network drive for capture to edit/encode on external laptop
It will only run Premiere, Wirecast, and Photoshop
Internet will be locked down
Need a compacted, strong and light monitor to go with it.
2x £50 each =£100
1x HDC-TM900 camcorder £750
Long HDMI Cable £30x2 =£60
Camtree LED Light 600-LED with Barn Doors & Battery Mount Plate + Tripod light Stand video studio & location continuous lighting with 4-gel filter, AC Adapters & storage bag
3x £276 =£828
Rode NTG-1 Condenser Shotgun Microphone
2x £150 =£300