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

My videos are on these two youtube channels visionontv 3,832,876 views and undercurrents 22,689,976 views

 

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Is the OMN tech complex?

There is a hard-to-understand idea that the technology behind the OMN (open media network) is complex. At a base level it is not, it's the same tech that has been written 1000s of times in the past and uses nearly 20 year old technology.

What is complex is the ideas and social understandings behind the ideas of using this “stupidly simple” technology in the OMN.

Firstly it's needed to understand that Alt-media and the open web in general is F**cked. Once past this point it becomes easer. Secondly a understanding of the forces that F**cked it are both on their side: the #dotcons, Facebook, uber, Amazon etc and on our-side, our encryptionist geeks, NGO social media gurus, process vampires etc.

We don’t currently have power to affect their side, so let's look at our side, in the sense of understanding the OMN. It's based on the 4 opens and none of our guys like this combination for different reasons. It's based on KISS - our geeks don’t like building on the old and our politicos are pushing the fashionista of the vapours avant-garde, so both reject the “old” foundation ideas/tech of the OMN.

The idea is very simple - that we get alt-media groups and sites to be part of a network so they become bigger than their parts. And a very basic issue is solved, they link to each other, which currently the isolated silos do not consistently do. The link is the currency of the web, in this we all become richer and have wider outreach on the “openweb”.

The “innovation” of the OMN is the use of RSS articles as a database exchange format. We thus create a redundant distributed network of databases holding and displaying (linking) to our collective history. Why RSS? Without it we have to get agreement and write custom code for every site that wants to join. With RSS, it's copy/paste and go on 98% of existing sites on the open web. The first is self limiting and impossible to grow, the second just works. There is no complexity at all at this basic level and no need for site agreements etc.

Trouble-shooting this rollout there are issues, but nothing that can't be solved by tweaking and bodging. The next stage is a little more complex, synchronising these databases and keeping articles up-to-date and exchanging tagged metadata so that the “curating of the flows works”. This will need thinking and programming for real, but nothing that throwing some bandwidth and processing power can't solve in an “inefficient way” - again KISS.

Build it first, scale it second. We are running this out in the small world of alt-media, so geeks keep it KISS. There is a philosophical and design issue that will cause bottlenecks, the CMS's we will be using are designed as portals/silos not data rivers/media flow sites. Some creative thought can help here. And there is the opening for innovation and new CMS's at a later time.

To conclude the blocks on building out the OMN are within our own geeks and politicos and have to be overcome. That is the tech is relatively easy, the social side is complex, Ideas for this? My idea is to form a wide;y skilled affinity group and go for it, lead by example. Other paths, ideas, welcome.

 

 

Where next for grassroots/alt-media?

It's common knowledge that grassroots media is well F**ed and that #failbook and #twitter are the problem not the solution. Where can we go from here? To reboot alt-media (and play a role in rebooting the open web) we need to create an affinity group to cross the geek/political divide that has demolished our once flowing/healthy alt-media networks.

For a moment let's look at broad-brush history, The 20th century alt-media was one of offline social movements, where modern (21st century) alt-media is a product of online social networks - the web. Take a moment to think about our years of failed encryption geek projects on the one hand, and, the constant churning of disappearing media silos on the other. The last 10 years have been a wasteland for both the geek and political.

The original internet/web suceeded because it was a stupidly open design, it had no built-in agenda to the network. Lets compare this ”new” for a moment to the pre-internet, the old wired telephone networks had all the smarts at the exchanges and the phones were dumb, it was a centralised hierarchical network. Where the internet had the smarts at the ends, the computers, and the network itself was dumb – a horizontal network.

This turning on the head of 20th century thinking is important to move out of our current lon- running malaise in alt-media. Am arguing the divide between politicos and geeks is feeding a failed fixation on 20th century thinking in that they both want to build systems (both technical and social) where the smarts are at the centre. In contrast we know that in the 21st century it is more powerful to build “empty” networks that connect the smarts at the edges. The word “empty” here gets a lot of negative responses :) This is the touching of the core problem. Take a moment to re-read and think positive thoughts ;)

An “empty” network is a general-purpose network that connects general purpose computers to general purpose people and community. Yes, the tech we need, like the internet/open web has an agenda but it is not sectarian as #failbook and other #dotcoms are, as are our own much smaller alt-media silos. Instead its “open” and “simple” based on “industrial” standards and open working social ideals. This is obvious, but it needs saying, The “dumb net” is completely ignorant of what the user wants to do – just data in and data out. It's up to the user to decide what the data is. Only “universal languages”, that is data standards, have flow. There is a ridiculous power for change in this obviousness.

It's not hard to re-boot to escape these 10 years of failure, actually it's simple. Though it's not going to happen without a good affinity group who cross the geek/political divide. Message me if you think you have the smarts, skills, tolerance and humility.

hamish@visionon.tv

 

 

 

Media - why do names matter

Grassroots media

Media made and distributed from the lower part of society, made DIY for, from, too, the grassroots. And at its best outreaching beyond.

Alt- media

Media made from an ideologically different perspective to the mainstream (invisible) ideology. And hopefully, though often not, made in a way that can speak outside this narrow idelogical view.

Indymedia

Project that embodied both grassroots and alt-media pushed on a wave of open web. It was VERY successful in its time before being killed by internal ossification of process and the encriptionsts pointlessness. Might be time for a reboot of this project, but maybe something has to lead the way before this can happen.

Radical media

Is a term that is sometimes picked up by the NGO's and dogmatic control freaks, it tends to be empty and the trademark is owned by a advertising company.

DIY culture

Describes many projects growing out of the UK direct actions movements of the 1990's to the end of the century. A lot of alt/grassroots media projects grow from this spring of energy.

In summery

grassroots and alt media are different things though they often overlap in a good way. Indymeda is a project that embody them both but is ossified and needs a reboot to be relevant agen. Radical media needs a scare warning as the history is not good, DIY culture simmers in many small forms, maybe media could bring it back to the centre to make a difference that’s needed in the world?

 

Problem on the left “the is no alternative”

In grassroots movements

Social media tarts

Capturing the grassroots and building a career in NGO land for them selves from activists movements/agenda’s. They are fine as far as they go, every campaign needs some, but they tend to be competent anufe to unbalance movements towards the “soft”. For them to be useful the need to be a healthy alt to keep this from happening.

Alt-media primadonas

Individualism the issue of churning projects with falling outcomes is all that exists, some projects are a bit more together than most if they networked the could be a real start of a alt-media.

In the mainstream

Good will Liberals

Their support for dangerously naive lost course of the soft centre left makes them unbalancing “friends” with out a healthy alt movements will fall over to the “soft”

The Liberal Democrat Party

Its selling out is now obvious. It played the “bad role” of shifting focus away from a real left when needed. Many good will liberals lapped this up till they got a good sound kicking in the teeth during the “alliance years”

The labour party

Is a real left alternative, but it has hard coded DNA in its libryem rules and regulations to foul this out come. And the left in the party has a core “nasty” left who have a long blood soaked wrecking history. The influx of naive “soft” liberalism will be moulded by the bureaucracy on one hand and dispoled by control freaky on the other, this is not a stable mixture for a good outcome. This could be over come by real soughed community but I cant see one.

The Green Party

Has the same issues internally as the labour party, though the top is more soughted. They have a real loon issue to deal with at the grassroots.

The nationalists of all flavourers

Are looking like the ONLY hope of a differences as they push a open loon issue of a sense of belonging agenst the over-wash of globalisation. Not a good outcome but better than the rightwing war happy, poor kicking loons who are the Torys.

The EU

A disaster in and a bigger disaster out…

What would alt/grassroots/21centery left look like?

If anyone is interested I would wright a outline of what a few strands of a real alt/grassroots/left network project would look like :)

Hamish sailing away on a lifeboat, this is not a metaphor

 

Alt-media

Were is alt-media and what are the issues in geek culture that stop it form having much affect.

The 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 agenda’s.

* .01% are useful but suffer/stave from a lack of geek focus abd funding.

The are some content projects in alt-media, but they have no working alt-tech to build out. All alt media relays on the #dotcons (Facebook, twitter ect.) as distribution. There website's are generally little more than branded portals, much like yahoo 10-15 years ago. The is minimal interoperate 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 failer in open web terms. In this we are fucked, and the 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.

LINK OMN

Problems with boat solar install

 

Installed a MPTT 12v set-up on my boat about 9 months ago, worked well getting 4-8 amps from 2x 120w panels mounted flat on the boat cabin roof.

 

A week or two ago it started to fail, one of the panels was putting out 1.4v the other full volts so disconnected one panel and the set-up worked for a few days before the other panel failed. It was putting out full voltage but only showing 0.1 amp on the MPTT controller under full sun.

 

Checked all the wiring, no change, so replaced all the wiring, this did not fix the issue. With all the new wiring I put in a older non MPTT charge controller and went away for the weekend, came back to find the battery’s at the same state of charge.

 

The “broken panel” was putting out 1.4v in the shade and 9.5v in full sun, the “working panel” 13-20v depending on the sun, but no power was going though to the battery’s.

 

I removed both panels and installed a old 100w flexible panel, this worked with the old charger and the MPTT charger. It seams both of the 120w panels had failed.

 

Talking to the the suppler to resolve the issue.  

Boating Europe

 

Circumnavigating Europe by inland water ways in a converted north sea oil rig lifeboat.

3-4 year trip from London to Russia and back through:

 

Thames - London

Seine - Paris

Rhone - Marseille

 

Over winter in the south before returning in the spring:

 

River Rhine – Germany

River Main – Germany

River Danube – Austria, Balkans

 

Over winter in Bulgaria:

 

Black sea – sea of Azov

Then the inland waterways through Russia to St Petersburg and into the Baltic sea

down the coast of the Baltic states and into the canal network in Poland/Germany

 

Cross channel back to London

 

I set off from Kew Bridge 11th and the first stop on this journey is the river Darent in Dartford, “Milda” will be here till the weekend of the 21st before setting sail for the Medway (weather and tide permitting)

 

http://hamishcampbell/boat

https://www.facebook.com/boatingeurope/

 

Cheap travel/small screening projector

LED bulbs, cheap lithium battery’s and high power USB charging have changed what a projector is. Its now easily possible to have a full cinematic experience in your pocket and run it for hours on very cheap USB battery’s. The days of expensive, power hungry and fragile projectors are over for all but the most demanding permanent set-ups. The are hundreds of these “micro” projectors available, they vary in quality a lot, here is a review of a good one.

If your looking for a very cheap travel/small screening projector I can recommend this one

ECsee-ES130-Mini-DLP-Projector

Tiny, relatively well made, lots of ports and did I say very cheap.

LED bulb so robust long life and low power.

Plays videos from HDMI, USB thumb drive, micro SD card in many formats (it will not play surround sound audio files). As with many embedded playback devices it can get the aspect ratio wrong this is a normal problem. Will work fine by HDMI with image and sound from a laptop etc.

Used it at a recent all night illegal rave party under a railway bridge to provide background images, plunged into a small USB battery (5000mah) it easily lasted the night on loop.

Fits in your pocket and has a built in battery which last 1-2 hours, charges/runs off standard USB up to 2amps.

Its no were near its rated 800 lumen, more like 50-100 which is normal for a projector this size. You would have to pay something like £500 for a 500 lumen LED projector. Its brighter and the sound is louder if you plug it into a 2amp USB battery/power supply rather than run it off its internal battery.

Sound might be an issue when running on mains power due to hum.

In darkness it creates a large bright (somewhat over saturated) image, like all micro projectors it will struggle to overcome ambient light.

Specification:

Display Type DLP Technology
Resolution 854x480
Highest resolution supported 1080p (this is acturly only 854x480 and will be dowen scaled)
Brightness 800 Lumens (this is not true)
Contrast 800:1
Aspect Ratio 4:3 ,16:9
Built-in battery 3.7V 1500 mA
Focusing Manner Manual Focus,F=125
Image Size 14 to 150 Inches
Projection Distance 35.5cm-430cm(short throw)
Lamp LED Lamp
Power consumption 10W Max
Speakers 8Ω1W
Lamp Life 20,000 Hours
Interfaces HDMI/USB/AV/SD/3.5mm earphone jack
Supported Video Format 3GP(H263, MPEG4) / AVI(XVID, DIVX, H264) / MKV(XVID, DIVX, H264) / FLV(flv1) /
MOV(H264) / MP4(MPEG4,AVC) / MPG(MPEG1) / VOB(MPEG2) / RMVB(RV40)
Supported Audio Format MP3 / WMA / ASF / OGG / AAC / WAV
Supported Picture Format JPG / PNG / BMP
Supported Document  Format TXT
Color Green, White
Dimensions 78*71*24.5mm (L x W x D)
Weight 130g

 

Have been testing it for a week, so far I would say a buy.

7/10 value for money

 

Open Media Network

The project

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.

Rationale

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.

The project uses RSS as a data object exchange format, using a tagging folksonomy as a way of shifting the data flow between federated sites. It uses both native code plug-ins and javascript to “embed” links to this tagged data flow in open web sites and blogs (working example visionontv side bar on http://newint.org)

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.

Outcomes

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. 

The same basic project and tech will work fine for the blog-rolls of sites, creating more “static” dynamic linked side bars. This will reboot the idea of “webrings”. 

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.

 

300 words

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) 

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.

https://torrentfreak.com/anonymous-file-sharing-ruled-illegal-by-german-court-121123

“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.

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