Category Archives: What I’ve Been Doing

Some Hows of Timelapse

I made a little timelapse this week and put it in my flickr stream because I found, to my chagrin, that it made instagram video barf.

Robert spotted it (see? he *is* looking, watching, lurking quietly after all) and kindly mentioned it in his newsletter this morning. He asked “How did he do that?”

Well here are a few ways of answering that:

  • I shot it on my phone. It’s an “HTC One”, which accounts for the wide screen. There’s a free (with Pro version available) app called Droid Timelapse. The only real setting I use is to adjust the Frame Capture Rate – each frame here is a second apart. I did no other processing after shooting, just uploaded it.
  • I’d just tried out the new cafe in the newly extended Sainsbury’s in Garratt Lane, opposite the Southside Centre. It is nothing special, but for £1.95 I got a large mug of reasonable coffee that I enjoyed more than the sort they serve over the road in Caffe Nero for example. I came to the exit and realised it was raining (again) and saw in front of me a big window out onto the street. So I went and stood by it, propping my phone up against the glass, firing up Droid Timelapse, holding very still and pressing the button to make it start. Then I waited for the counter to reach 10 (I don’t know how long that took, I’d have to do some arithmetic with frame rates… but that makes 10 seconds of video) and I pressed the button again to make it stop. Then I went and bought some sausages in Sainsbury’s and went home.
  • While it was shooting, I was nervous. I expected at every moment to hear one of the security guards behind me say “I’m sorry sir, you can’t do that here” I couldn’t move because I was holding the camera still. I imagine that if anyone had actually paid any attention, they’d have thought I looked like I was waiting to take a picture for a very long time. While I was standing there a young (I dunno, late teens I guess) woman and a slightly older man came and stood nearby. They had a trolley full of groceries but I assumed they were either waiting for the rain to calm down or waiting for someone else to turn up. They were having that kind of conversation where you don’t get too deeply into anything because you know that you’re going to be interrupted at any moment by a change in the weather or the arrival of your friend. I zoned in and out of their conversation while wondering how the movie was going to turn out – would it be too fast? what would it look like when the traffic slowed down or stopped for the traffic lights? how many buses had gone past now? – the only thing I remember her saying was “I’ve been told by many people that they’ve had visions of me dying young.” When I turned around all I really clocked of her was that she had long hair and was wearing a light-coloured (creamy) woolen garment – I couldn’t say whether it was a cardigan or a pullover. It might have been Aran.

Does that help? Anything else you want to know?

Footnote: While I drafted this post (and the previous one) in Fargo, it’s still easier to embed media (especially moving pictures) using the wordpress.com interface. Boo! (actually that’s not true, I made it up before actually trying it out – the flickr code is just a line of text which would fit nicely on a line in Fargo. I’ll try that next time)

My first #wewillgather in Wandsworth today

We launched #wewillgather at Nesta on Tuesday.  I did the live demo – code just out of beta, interfacing with third-party software (twitter) in front of Nesta’s head of innovation and the Minister for Civil Society not to mention some of my dearest peers from the various corners of the social web. So no pressure…

But it worked!

Not as quickly as it had done in the dry-run a week before, but nonetheless, I set up an event in the system just by sending a tweet.

I was inspired at that moment to make it something close to home.  I’ve just moved to Wandsworth and Wandsworth Town railway station has just got new ticket machines and ticket barriers.  However, it doesn’t have new bins handy to deal with all the unwanted receipts and other tickets that get left behind in the mad commuter rush.  These tickets just pile up and don’t seem to be dealt with by station staff or the streetsweeper.

There’s a choice of solutions: ignore it and hope someone else will do something about it;  write to South West Trains who manage the station and Wandsworth Council to encourage them to do something about it; or use a newly minted social website to arrange to meet some people there and take  a small broom and clear it up yourself.

So I used this as my example in the demo and set up for people to come along this morning to pick up tickets.

Of course I did nothing further to organise people yesterday as I was mostly dealing with other people using the site, and so no-one else came.  Except my long-suffering girlfriend, a bit embarrassed that I’d brought the tatty dustpan brush that was supposed to have gone in the rubbish itself.  But I was undaunted – I’m used to playing Billy No-Mates when things are in their early days.

When we arrived, as luck would have it, the station staff were refilling the ticket machine.  You can see the mess around the front.  It’s clearly not their job to clear that up at the same time.

Inadvertently chose the time for #wewillgather to coincide with ticket refilling

So I waited for them to finish before I started poking around with my broom around the back and sides of the machine. They disappeared quickly (I think they might also have been collecting cash from the machine) and I couldn’t find them to talk to afterwards. My broom wasn’t long enough to get all of the tickets from behind – it’s a really awkward space, if I had brought a bigger broom then perhaps the head wouldn’t have fitted into the gap. Anyway I did what I could and photographed what was left behind

IMAG0725

as well as what I managed to collect (which then went straight in the nearest bin)

IMAG0726

Hmmm… it looks as though I picked up less than I left behind, but that’s not the case, the perspective on that Sainsbury’s bag is misleading.

Anyway, you can do better than this – go and organise something in *your* neighbourhood!

Last tenner

I just broke my last tenner buying stuff for breakfast tomorrow. Hmmm… it wasn’t supposed to still be like this but the truth is that it isn’t a sob story, it’s just the way things are for today and things can change very quickly. [UPDATE: micropatrons & postcard buyers have saved the bacon for now... thankyou! proper update later]

I was reminded of this today when I found myself telling the #tuttle2texas story again, to a bunch of people who knew very little about me or the social web. I talked, as usual, about how I learned to keep asking for help and keep trusting that the right help would turn up. They were primarily gobsmacked that I took the accomplishment of traveling the breadth of the USA, fuelled by social capital so lightly, that I didn’t talk about how proud I am of what we did or speak with more enthusiasm about how amazing it was.

It *was* amazing. Lots of you helped make it that way. I could not have done it without you. But here’s something: I don’t think I’ve acknowledged for myself yet that you might never have done it without me.

Same goes for Tuttle as a whole. It isn’t about me, it never has been, I couldn’t do it on my own. But the people who are interested in the social web in London (and Birmingham, Cornwall, Long Beach etc) probably wouldn’t have otherwise done something quite the same.

That’s one of the insights I’ve been given as a result of asking for Linked-in recommendations. There’s stuff hanging about in this world that wouldn’t be here if I had been around. Good stuff, that people like and value. Not necessarily big stuff, but stuff that’s important to those people whose lives it has touched.

To those who’ve been trying to tell me this for years, I’m sorry, I’m a bit slow to catch up.

And then there’s the invisible stuff. A common thread in some of the recommendations I’ve had this week is the idea that you might not see what it is that I do.

David Jennings says “His craft works so well… that it’s almost invisible – ditto his leadership…”

Johnnie Moore puts it like this: “… one of his finest qualities is his humility and reluctance to show off and put other people in the shadow.” and “He will help make connections and realise the potential of networks and he’ll do it so skilfully that you might not notice him doing it.”

Jo Jacobs uses the ‘c’ word: “His work… has been the catalyst for so many other collaborative ventures and meetings”.

Nathalie McDermott says: “Lloyd… provides the perfect conditions for others to meet, spark off each other and make things happen which is a rare talent.”.

But if you can’t see it (unless you get to know me and look up close), how do you know whether it’s really there? How do you distinguish this from the Emperor’s New Clothes? And if you didn’t pay for it and it went away, how would you know? Would you really miss it? What difference would it really make?

No other earth-shattering insights for now. If you can see something obvious that I can’t, please do point it out.

If you’re reading this you’ve probably dipped in your pockets or helped in some other way already. Thank you. If you’re inclined to do one more thing perhaps you could encourage others to do the same as you did for me.

If you’re just catching up you can find other posts about it here and here.

Running on fumes

Folks, I need some specific help.

I am doing well at producing stuff, writing, making art, making stuff happen. I am enjoying it and people around me are enjoying and benefiting from what I’m producing.

However, I’m running very low on fuel. In terms of physical energy, I really need a break but more urgently, monetary fuel – the income from my residency at C4CC covers about a third of my monthly spending needs and I haven’t done any other paid work in the last two months. I’m now at the serious point where important bills aren’t getting paid. I believe I need to bring some organisation to selling what I do to create stronger flows of income.

I need someone or some people to help me do the following:

Set up web-based ways of selling my art – I’ve had a couple of commissions, but I’d like to do more and sell prints of smaller works that I’ve done.

Organise and find paying participants for Social Art Field Trips – I’ve had very positive response to the content of these, but they need to be managed and have more energy put into selling them.

Manage the creation of a number of books for self-publishing – repurposing content from tuttle2texas and other projects.

Find and sign-up new MicroPatrons

Create a better web presence for Tuttle to facilitate online community participation in experiences like Tuttle2Texas

I’m trying to do all of these myself at the moment, as well as everything else and I’m open to the idea that that might not be possible at all, let alone when I’m “running on fumes”. So while I can give a great deal of guidance and direction on what needs to be done, I think it’s more about finding willing and able pairs of hands to do it than getting more advice on what else I should be doing.

I am not in a position to pay up front for this help directly but it’s all about generating revenue so would expect to work out with you a way of sharing revenue once it starts flowing and I’m over the current crisis situation.

If you’re not able to help directly with this, perhaps you could consider signing up for my Micropatronage scheme, contributing a small amount each month towards easing the flow. Or maybe you have another idea for me. Open to all.

Most Interesting…

120920091927I set this up this morning – Most Interesting

It’s a group posterous blog collecting the “most interesting” pictures that people have posted to Flickr. For those not in the know, Flickr has a measure of interestingness and I’ve been fascinated to watch how “interesting” some of my pictures are measured to be by this algorithm.

I was wondering how you might collate the most interesting pix from a group of people and get them to reflect on what comes up. Thankfully posterous.com has been developing faster and faster of late and I was able to set up a site in a few minutes to capture this. Now that it allows posting by anyone (with pre-publication moderation) and has static pages, it’s really easy to set something up for whatever it is that we now call user-generated content.

There are instructions here for how to submit something. Basically you just send a specially formatted e-mail. Kyle McRae (who knows a thing or two himself about curating UGC!) was the first to contribute, even before I thought I’d publicised it at all. But have a go. Of course you may not have a flickr account or you might not have very many pictures there – a very good reason to get one and start adding to it!

I’ve also added a Facebook page that it will be autoposted to for those of you who like to see stuff within that particular walled garden.

Let’s see how it goes.

[UPDATE] Anjali points out that it’s a similar idea to pixtories Yes – I think it’s nice though to have people’s thoughts on things that they own, but which have been picked out for them, rather than things that they think are interesting themselves.

The Social Artist I

@artbizness has a huge teabagThis came out of a conversation with Mike Radcliffe at the BFI this morning – part of my Human Scale Conversations. There were a few points and it was going to be one mega post, but I think I’ll break it up a bit.

We got talking about being artists (go back and click on that link to Mike’s site if you don’t know his work – go back and preferably buy something from his gallery!) and being blocked and what we need to do to keep relatively sane and solvent and working and happy and stuff and it seemed worth exploring them a bit – especially how they relate to my experience as a nascent Social Artist.

First of all we talked about the need for artists to be with other artists.

Artists need to spend time with other artists.

The rider to this is that we need to spend time with people who are in their flow, who are looking after themselves and doing their work. If we are blocked, it’s these people who will feed us and help us through – it’s far too easy to find other blocked artists to hang out with, who reinforce and rationalise our own blocks – then we just all get depressed together!

And even if we’re not blocked, it’s great to spend time with people who understand the creative process, who get what it’s like so we can all remember that this is normal and it’s the people who don’t do it who are weird…

Signs that you’re with the right people are: they’re encouraging you; you and they are smiling and laughing together, preferably at yourselves rather than others; you’re both talking more about the work that you’re doing now, rather than the work you used to do once or the work you’d really really like to do one day if only someone else would give you a chance.

Signs that you need to find some new friends are: the person talking to you is only talking about reasons why it’s hard; you’re feeling low and so are they; you hear yourself whining; you find yourself thinking about that project, you know the one, and how it’s never, just never going to get done.

So get out, and find some shiny friends instead!

That’s why I keep going back to Tuttle. It’s a place that attracts all sorts of creative people in large numbers. Creativity and different ways of thinking thrive among these people. It’s where I get my fix every week. I know you all think I’m doing it for you, and that’s true, but I’m doing it for me too.

Huddersfield Social Media Surgery

I was lucky enough to get along to the first social media surgery in Huddersfield last night – an offshoot of the wildly successful one’s started in Birmingham by Nick Booth. What happened was that I was in Leeds to speak this morning at NextGen09 in a panel with Brian Condon and so naturally yesterday morning I tweeted that I was going to be up in Leeds if anyone wanted to meetup.

One of the people who replied was Tim Difford who said he was going to something called #huddsms, which following a little trail I found out was the Surgery.

When I got to Leeds, it quickly became clear that getting on wifi or even getting a phone signal was going to be difficult around the Royal Armouries where the conference was taking place, so I thought I’d pop down to Huddersfield (only 20 minutes & £4.70 return on the train) and see how I could help.

The Media Centre is in the middle of the town an easy little walk down the hill from the station and I presented myself, my credentials and my willingness to help with anything that was going. I’m really glad I went. It was brilliant and there was a lovely buzz about the place.

I managed to squeeze in a coffee before I was introduced to my first (and as it turned out only) “patient”. David Quarmby is Chair of the Kirklees Visual Impairment Network (KVIN) committee and he wanted to know how social media might be useful to him and his colleagues in engaging with the 4,000 or so people in Kirklees who are registered as having a Visual Impairment.

I was immediately humbled by David’s determination to use the web regardless of his disability. He uses the JAWS screen reader to guide him around each page. This means that his experience of the web is of a tinny voice rapidly reading out link titles and button text – which can either be overwhelming because of the sheer amount of information squeezed on pages designed to be seen, not read, or else mystifyingly silent because important screen elements are hidden within graphics or whizzy bits of ajax which the screen reader stumbles over.

Nonetheless we pressed on, trying to see what a wordpress dashboard “looks like” through the screen reader. It turns out that you can find the elements of the Quick Press form that’s now included in wordpress.com and probably with some tweaking that may be useful. However, it still seemed difficult, surely someone must have done this before. I put out a tweet to ask for help – asking whether anyone had experience of blogging tools for people with visual impairments. In the meantime Tim Difford joined us for a bit to try out other possibilities, thinking about podcasting for example.

While we were talking about audioboo, phoneboo and ipadio, I had a flash of inspiration. Tim was explaining how simple some of these services are, so that you as a user are just making a phone call and when you’ve finished, you have, automatically, a podcast that could be shared through an RSS feed to a widget on your site.

This is what cleared the neural pathways for me – how about using posterous.com as a blog for KVIN which gets populated simply by David sending it e-mails, with attachments for the multimedia elements – everyone has e-mail and David, no doubt has an e-mail client that is optimised for his use – we all breathed a sigh of relief and had a cup of tea.

Meanwhile my twitterstream was generously sharing thoughts on the subject as predicted by the third of Dave Snowden’s Knowledge Management principles. Since the moment has passed somewhat, I haven’t, and I’m not going to, follow up all of these in detail, but if you’re interested, I hope you find a summary here useful.

@jobsworth pointed me at @dnwallace who keeps a blog called Lifekludger: “On it you’ll find information about ideas, devices, methods and custom uses for ‘everyday stuff’ that could be used to adapt, build, kludge, hack or make things work for people living with disability, as well as links and opinion on useful existing devices.”

@technicalfault showed us AccessibleTwitter.com a slimmed down version of twitter.

@simonjball pointed to Web2Access.org.uk with some tests and good practice guidance.

@cataspanglish pointed to @alisonvsmith who immediately popped up with her blog Pesky People which “aims to profile the lack of proper access by Disabled and Deaf people on the web, inform, complain, campaign.”

@ipadio reminded us of it’s own applicability

and finallly @x333xxx asked “why not ask @rnib’s professional services team? “

All good stuff and I’ll be pointing David in the direction of this summary.

Photo credit: Tim Difford