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Preview: Retrospective Futureologist


General ramblings of an inquisitive and sometimes introspective resident of East Sussex

Updated: 2018-03-07T00:26:09.552+00:00


The Luck Particle


Over the past few years, I've been slowly kicking about a story into novel format. It's been a long and difficult process, but I'm pleased to say it's now here.

The Luck Particle stems from a thought that I had around 2008. It centred on the work that CERN was doing with its Large Hadron Collider. Investigating the minute, looking at the world on the micro- and sub-microscopic level.

This kind of thing always brought me back to William Blake, who I studied both at school and at University. It was his focus on seeing the connections in everything that made me think about how the work at CERN might affect the world outside it.

"To see the world in a grain of sand" is perhaps Blake's most famous line (although the school hymn is probably his most well-known work in total).

It made me think about what else one might see, effect or change in the act of looking for the God particle.

And from there, The Luck Particle was born.

So, it's finally finished (I think) and available from various places. Please do check out and the various links there.

Whilst it's been tough, it's been fun at the same time. I'm currently starting to frame the second book in terms of where the story goes from here.

Let me know what you think of it. You might be surprised to know that many things in the book actually are possible. Some of the more crazy things actually did happen. Truth indeed is stranger than fiction sometimes.

Cross-post from my piece on Telnic's site


Fairly relevant due to the topic of change:

What’s your online reputation like?


Currently, a number of eminent thinkers are releasing thoughts on reputation and engagement online. In past few weeks and months, books and businesses which has obviously taken time to gestate in the minds of people coming from several different directions have been announced. What is interesting is that they seem to be converging on a central thesis, explicit or otherwise, that, like Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End, search is becoming, if not has become, the central player in understanding and defining what is true. That truth, whether it be about the collective listing of information about who a person is, or the collective sentiment about what people feel about a particular business or product, is being defined by trust developed on the basis of search rankings, the popularity of the sources and the ability to interpret individual pieces of information within the context of the sum of search. This means that, whether consuming or promoting, everyone is in the search business, either pulling or pushing, these days.The most recent piece to emerge is from ex-Financial Times journalist Tom Foremski, who postulates that ‘Every Company is a Media Company’ (EC=MC) in his new thesis which he writes about here. His position is clear; regardless of the business you are in, you’re also in the business of media publishing. Content, communications through social media, advertising in the non-traditional sense, open customer services models letting the world see you deal with your customers in a transparent way, reacting and acting online to maintain positive feeling with your existing customers and utilizing fan pages to grow your potential customer base. All of these are employed with increasing energy as businesses transform into what they need to in order to survive in the competitive marketplace that has become global and virtual. And if you’re not publishing, and controlling, what you want people to see, or engaging in the conversation, you’re not long for this world in business terms.From a completely different angle, taking the individual and non-technical perspective, Antony Mayfield, an ex-PR man and now VP of i-Crossing here in the UK, has come up with a constructive discussion of the importance of managing one’s own ‘web shadow’ – the sum of the parts of the internet that you once played with and forgot, blended with the sum of the parts of the internet that other people played with tagging you in a photo of a drunken party, with a dash of some of the professional stuff you might have done or still do, all served up without empathy on Google’s front page. Luckily for most, Antony also outlines what you can do about it even if you’re not technical, in his excellent and thoughtful book Me and My Web Shadow.Stuck in between the large organizations and the individuals, are 90% (if not more) of the rest of the business world. Small and medium-sized businesses at a loss to understand how to deal with all of this reputation and search stuff, knowing the importance of being found online but struggling with the time-poor aspects of developing and growing business from a day-to-day perspective. Luckily again, another book This is Social Media, written by business journalist Guy Clapperton, outlines in a very simple way, what can and can’t be achieved with various social networks and technologies.What it comes down to is this. No longer can you take the chance to ignore search results. There’s little or no time to be able to retrospectively fix negative customer sentiment already on the web, but it’s not too late to begin to engage. Skins need to be thickened. Sleeves need to be rolled up. Taking control is not out of the reach of the individual job-seekers concerned about employers finding negative impressions of them on social networks, nor is making sure that you can be found as high up the search results in order to be the authoritative source of information about you. Businesses can take control of all of the ways in which they can[...]

The new way to communicate


The new way to communicate

Posted using ShareThis

Who opens the Open Web...?


I definitely agree that the next stage of community is the open web as Steve Rubel highlights. But I'm much more a believer that the individual will be in control of the information that is shared rather than an aggregator such as Google or other entity and that technologies - such as .tel which provide the individual with a neutral hub in which to manage all of their interactions and subscriptions - along with APIs that enable communications to be run impartially across all service provides, will become the way in which people wish to share or withhold opinion, data and interaction.

Notes from a large continent...


So by now you'll have probably gathered that I'm out in the US having been speaking at a certain conference for six minutes (well, 5 minutes and a little extra, but who's counting?)

How photographers continuously manage to shoot my best side I will never know - I guess I'm just blessed that way.

However, having managed to avoid breaking both the still and TV cameras, it's been a very successful time indeed. We're off to a great start. Now the hard work begins.

Time marches on...


It's been a while since I talked about life in Percy Street and the development of launch plans for .tel. There's a good reason for that - we've been busy!

The momentum on registrars signing up to the agreements is really positive. We've got the number one registrar in a significant number of territories already and we're still relatively
in stealth mode and definitely well away from Sunrise period. This is a fantastic position and we're very pleased to be here.

We're now just about to emerge in September with a concerted communications campaign. I've been chatting to bloggers and commentators behind the scenes and in front of them, and there's a growing understanding of the fact that the .tel is a significantly different use of the domain name system and the DNS than anything that's gone before. As too are the registrars we're meeting with, who we're helping understand the USP of the .tel to different types of individuals and organisations.

But the really exciting piece is that we've been invited to DEMOfall to present alongside 71 different companies who are launching new products. We'll be announcing something at the event, but obviously people won't be able to apply for a .tel address until December 3rd (if they're trademark holders) and February 3rd (if they're not). But the point is is that we've been evaluated by a critical body with a leadership position in attracting sources of investment and have been invited into an impressive alumni who have all had a great impact on the adoption and use of technology over the past 19 years. So hopefully the question about why we're different from every other top level domain will be firmly placed in people's minds as they listen and watch the six-minute demo that Henri Asseily, our Chief Strategist, is putting together, either on the day or after on the DEMO website.

Pinky and the Brain...


"Same thing we do every morning, Pinky - try to take over the world..."

My Wordle



One month on...


So in all of this glorious Summer weather, things are definitely hotting up in 37 Percy Street, headquarters of the next big thing to hit the internet!

We've been signing up registrars like there's no tomorrow - we've had over 100 registrars signing up on our website in preparation for signing the agreements to sell the .tel and a very good proportion of those who have signed agreements already. We've got one of those big world maps (with the countries out of proportion!) where we're sticking pins to see how the sign-ups are going, and it's looking pleasingly busy already.

We've been fielding calls from excited VOIP companies eager to integrate their offerings with the .tel so that they can extend their reach through a perfect delivery platform that hides the complexity of using new services.

We briefed an analyst a couple of days ago who said that the .tel was 'game-changing'. I can't tell you who it was as there'll be an announcement in about a week's time which will give the 'game' away, as we've been offered a very exciting opportunity in a couple of months time to really widen our awareness.

We've been busy writing marketing materials for IP lawyers and brand protection specialists from Croatia through to Japan who've been in touch with us asking for proactive materials.

And we're just starting to plan another event to coincide with ICANN in Egypt in November - it's going to be as special as dinner in the Eiffel Tower and I've just seen the pictures of what it's going to look like; amazing.

We're not doing badly on unique visitors to the website either - - given the fact that we're not in consumer awareness and education as yet, so this is a really positive thing.

It's still hard to get people to understand that the .tel bypasses the need for designing websites as it's using the DNS to store contact information (including website URLs) and publish it to any device, either to a proxy page which is tiny or, if you're using our clients, straight to the device. There's no easy way around this except to show them, but as soon as that happens, there's a very positive reaction.

Given the noise around new gTLDs and the .me, it looks like we're launching at the right time for mass interest. It's going to be an interesting nine months...

The final countdown


Well, as you can see on the right-hand side of this blog, the countdown has begun...

One week and counting...


Well, another week has flown past and we're well on our way to talking publicly (I must continue to avoid the term 'going public' now as it means something very different!) about what we're up to. In fact, towards the end of this coming week, I'll be standing up in front of an audience that's been waiting a while to hear about this particular topic and the feedback is going to be very interesting.

I showed an example today to someone who runs a website building company and thankfully his first reaction was not to hit me! He got it, saying: "Well, it's either an incredibly sophisticated directory service, or a very simple one - but I can't tell which", which is a relief. He also said "It's the web stripped bare", which I also thought was a very interesting thought.

More soon...

The Dead Zone...?


There comes a time in any blog reader's life when someone you've been following goes very quiet and you wonder what has become of them. In some cases, it has a high impact. In other, with this blog most probably falling into that area, the rememberance of good times past will dim very quickly in the snack/blink economy.Well, for good or bad, I'm still around - it's just that my function in life has changed a little. In some senses, it feels like a slip into an alternate reality. It's as if there's been a subtle change in the space-time continuum and I've slid into a slightly different world. That of the 'client side'.I've been in agency dolling out public relations advice and supporting on the leg work for well over a decade. I guess it was in this position that I became addicted to news, memes, information, trends, breakthroughs, phases, campaigns, viral content, the next-best-thing, life-changing moments, and everything to do with the conversational fabric of life that melds people into society that tries to be a civilization but doesn't quite reach it due to, well, other people.Much of my professional life has been about connecting people together. Making people understand that it's OK to have different opinions but that a respect for the other person must be at the base of all things, otherwise no progression can happen (indeed, a favourite quote from William Blake, 'Without contraries, there is no progression'.So now, nearly thirteen years after starting in the communications industry aiming to clear a path between two sides that don't see eye to eye and sometimes never want to admit that they're closer to each other's views of life than they would like to ever consider, I've made my job slightly easier by stepping one pace closer to this discussion and going 'in-house'.I'm now working as a Communications Director for a company that, at its heart, is all about connecting people using technology in an innovative way. It's delivering a product that people seem to be crying out for, both from finding easy and quick ways to get in touch with people at large organisations as customers who want a better service or just don't want to embrace a totally internet-driven life; but it's also seeming to address the desire for the fragmented communications and channels that people are adopting like crazy to be managed simply within a hub under one universal contact name (not like OpenID which is about identity management and verification, but which certainly can be stored under this name) and which can be given out as 'one name for life'.You're saying, what's different about this? Simply, it is stored as data on the internet, not on a website, but within the Domain Name System (DNS), which is normally used for storing IP addresses. Mapping domain names to contact details means it's deliverable across multiple devices, can be updated instantaneously and therefore is always current, can be sent at such a low cost over the net that for us in Europe where there's not universal flat-rate internet access it's going to be really interesting. And at the end of the day, it does what it says on the tin, no more, no less. Connecting people.In the conversation economy, a universal internet database of contacts - and it can also store keywords, as well as links to assets and other websites - where people are searching for information they trust, they want to talk to people to ask questions, to haggle, to swap, to refine, to personalise, to engage.I think I'm in the right place. I think we're at the right time. I'm thinking this could be a very interesting tool (I hesitate to say technology because they have hidden the complexity of it so it becomes a service - again, cool). I'm hoping that I can do it just[...]

The next phase of evolution will not be televised...


It was a very long while ago in internet years that I posted this piece about how I felt the blogosphere (as it was called at the time) was developing. My theory was that the blogosphere was not a sphere at all, but a globe, mirroring the way in which life 'offline' had evolved.

Now, with Hugh MacLeod's retreat from Twitter, Robert Scoble's move to and the impact that it has had on his personal brand and other mutterings about the A-List not being as rich to follow as they used to be, I believe that my theory is starting to mature. We're moving from the eruptions of the initial terraforming, with huge peaks and the resulting run-offs creating the landscape, to a more fluctuating, undulating landscape where the general contributions are forming new territories. The volcanos are subsiding, settling down, resting. But vocanos do go to sleep for a long period of time and then burst to life again. Or the driving force underneath them move under the surface and create friction in differing parts of the landscape. But for the moment, I believe we're in a phase where life is starting to take hold, until we find that great, dark obelisk standing there which our eyes slip off and which will turn the internet into the sematic web...

This site is held at a red light...


Some interesting things happening in the Hayward life at the moment, hence the slightly sporadic posting. I'll be talking a lot more here in the very near future, so please bear with me. Look for more content after 18th April...

Cravat and Caveat..


Hmmm. Thinking your phone calls - how long is it going to be before insurance companies will insist that you use this to contact them for a claim?

Can this man tell I'm thinking that a tie and a cravat is overkill?


Here's Jonnie...


Looks like we'll be going a bit Total Recall with this announcement:

UPDATE: Wow. Engadget have run this story and also chosen my choice of imagery - and there was I thinking that you were open about your sources of inspiration...hey ho...anyway, glad to be of help.

Visions of Albion...


Ahhh, the old William Blake phrases still come back to me! Not that he's particularly related to this particular post, although I wonder what kind of visions might be obtained by this little beauty.

The device works by being implanted into the back of the eyeball and working as a light transmitter to the brain, where the two are connected by a nerve/wire thinner than a human hair.

Gizmodo hasn't pulled one like this out of the bag for a while, but it's still a good shout - thanks Giz! The ayes definitely have it!

Mind your Ps and Qs...


Scary stuff about computers reading your mind here.

Using two of their number as volunteers, the team built a computational model based on telltale blood-flow patterns in three key areas of the visual cortex.

The signatures were derived from 1,750 images of objects, such as horses, trees, buildings and flowers, that were flashed up in front of the subjects.

Using this model, the programme then scanned a new set of 120 brand new pictures to predict what kind of fMRI patterns these would make in the visual cortex.

After that, the volunteers themselves looked at the 120 new pictures while being scanned. The computer then matched the measured brain activity against the predicted brain activity, and picked an image that it believed was the closest match.

They notched up a 92-percent success rate with one volunteer, and accuracy was 72 percent in the other. The probability of this happening on the basis of chance -- i.e. the computer picking the right image out of the 120 -- is only 0.8 percent.

Watching paint dry...


Ahhh. Back to normality with a retro-future story from fantastic sci-fi site io9. Damn them! I was here first :-)

A story about watching paint move, rather than dry. This has of course been talked about before in terms of wallpaper, etc.

This paint, which is being developed at the University of Warwick in the UK, essentially smears an electrical power system onto any surface: bottle, computer, even your hands. The electrified surface could then display a moving image; or it could provide camouflage, changing color to match its environment. Or it could become a tracking device, perfect for a surveillance society.

I'm pretty sure that this was probably an idea from Neuromancer times, but can't remember specifically a reference to it. Time perhaps to re-discover some 70's sci-fi books again...

Things that made me go hmmmm...


So, some of this is off topic but still future-retro-ish, but a summary of things that made me go hmmm in February that I passed on to my colleagues back at the ranch: Goodnight HD DVD So February 2008 came and went without any clarity on Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Yahoo!, but what is clear is that HD-DVD has gone the way of the Dodo with Sony Blu-Ray capturing the crown finally in the great format wars of the 21st Century. It’s not likely that this will be of huge interest as video downloading is predicted to be the significant form of content sharing in the future (with over 10 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute, according to Robert Scoble), but at least for the moment Sony can be proud of finally winning one format battle. In game in the membrane However, it’s not quite as forward-looking as some of the other technology being created at the moment. Epoc has created a neuro-headset for gaming which allegedly interprets the interaction of neurons in the brain and detects more than 30 different expressions, emotions and actions, such as smiling, winking, grimacing and angry or happy responses. Second Life goes mobile Gaming is moving from more traditional platforms into the mobile realm with the announcement that Second Life is coming to 3G mobile handsets, via Vollee’s streaming mobile games service. Fans can pre-register for the May trial launch here – don’t all rush at once… Banking on the Internet New research from Gartner puts the number of UK adults banking online at just over a quarter (26%) of the population. What is apparent is that client service from banks both on- and offline are not meeting the client service expectations of their customers and are missing out on using these interactions to increase business opportunities. More details can be found at weekly technology trade magazine Computer Weekly. ABC, not as easy as 1, 2, 3? As ComScore backs away from its statistics that showed that UK Facebook subscriptions were slowing down, UK newspapers are attempting to brush up their tarnished readership figures by having ABC – the organisation that measures both on- and offline media consumption - to combine print and online stats. The new Multi-platform Monthly Report will also detail figures by geographical region – in the UK, Republic of Ireland and other countries. ABC stated that the move was in response to demands from advertisers and media buyers. Treats for my Tweets Twit+ launched, providing the Twitter community with something more to talk about when the service was down (a lot). The ability to actually share documents and media as well as select a group of people to send it to provides a long-awaited private group messaging function which, when they get around to making a mobile version of the same, will go some way to providing useful messaging in the corporate environment as well. You can try it out here. What made Scoble cry? TED, an excellent conference and video resource for people of big brains, revealed what Robert Scoble, ex-Microsoft blogger, saw and made him cry a couple of months ago – the World Wide Telescope. An amazing combination of satellite imagery from a number of different resources, this promises to re-energise people’s experience of the universe as well as hopefully entice more young people into science. This video and many more can be found on the TED resource site. South by SouthWest Finally, keep your ears and eyes open for what’s going on at [...]

Surely been done before...?


Isn't this reminiscent of Predator's little gizmo?

This is awesome...


I have to say I'm blown away by this vision of 3D gaming/web via Neatorama - and all through Nintendo Wii, which seems to have totally re-invented the gamer.

My Dad is 78 this year. Guess what he installed a couple of days ago? Uh-huh. It's for his back apparently...

Just in time for the blood red moon...


This is just fascinating - if the Greeks came up with this, it makes you wonder what was lost that might have been less resilient.


Fog in Amsterdam