What a fantastic talk. I can't promise that I understood all of it, but from the way gender is weirdly portrayed on bathroom doors through to trying to prove the existence of God via boolean logic... Tatiana Mac gave a brilliant talk encouraging us to realise that everything is a spectrum and that the world would be a better place if we all understood that.
Sat 25 Jan 2020
I had the incredible opportunity to have Florence Okoye speak at the local meeting I was involved with running, so I was very happy when I saw Florence was on the lineup for New Adventures 2020. Her talk was absolutely brilliant and it complemented the other talks really well by focussing on thinking further than we currently do.
New Adventures 2020 – Laura Kalbag on defying the mainstream: building technology that respects our rights
Laura Kalbag knows her stuff when it comes to the intersection of privacy and design. My notes below don't even scratch the surface of all the knowledge she shared. I knew it was bad. I knew how much targeting happens but I didn't have a clue how far it has got with putting us all into precise buckets. Only 15 data points are needed to remove anonymity from most people and yet the large data brokers often have up to 3000 of them for an individual person. It seems impossible to move away from all of this, but Laura is encouraging us to make better decisions with everything we build and that "small tech" is surely the way to beat "big tech".
This talk by Liz Jackson really made me question how we all see disability. Even those of us that think they are "on the right side", designing and building with accessibility in mind, can in some ways be as misguided as those who don't give it a seconds thought. "Disability doesn’t get funded we get fixed".
As if working in a museum wasn't already an exciting idea, Natalie spoke about how her job as a curator is far more about collecting stories than it is about collecting objects. I found it particularly interesting how they have to have everything open to the public so, for example, they cannot have an Amazon Echo running because they don't own the software. The solution to this was to collect a gigantic map of everything involved from mining ore to training the models. This was an insightful talk, not all of us will be collecting items for the V&A but it does encourage us to look past the objects themselves and look for the story within.
New Adventures 2020 – Akil Benjamin's "Clean your studio. Draw on walls. Don’t break things. Radical is close to home."
The first talk of the day was so thought provoking that I was still processing it when Akil got on stage. He did something I've never seen on stage before, got the entire audience doing a breathing exercise together. That peaked my attention and the thoughts I was having went straight to the back of my head while I was again gripped, hearing how Akil had "chosen to live" and really be an active participant instead of just going with the flow. This was a brilliant talk that would be applicable to probably any person on earth, all about making radical decisions. I met Akil in the evening and it was quite a remarkable couple of minutes, but that's a whole other blog post.
Fri 24 Jan 2020
What a strong start to a strong conference. In this gripping and thought provoking talk, Cennydd looked at the potential futures and how our work affects it. He argued that as good Human Centred Design is, we need to look further. How does design affect non-users (friends, family of the user maybe), how does it affect the animals or the planet as a whole. The choices we make can affect things a lot further than we currently realise. Even more importantly maybe, we can purposely decide to affect these things in a good way instead of just ignoring them.
Thu 23 Jan 2020
Anatomy of an AI System external
Wed 15 Jan 2020
Remove SVG Whitespace external
Quite often I need a quick way to trim an SVG so it has no whitespace, I use this JS Fiddle I found as it makes it really simple to do. I'm not sure who wrote it but it basically modifies the viewbox to be the SVG's bounding box then returns the updated SVG. Nice and simple.
Tue 03 Dec 2019
Every year I see all the incredible Halloween projects that people make. I've never had much opportunity to play around with hardware so it always feels like too big of a task to try. This year however I had a Raspberry Pi Zero W on the side and a small bit of time to make something. As with all my side projects I wanted to use the time to learn something new.