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The expression of a community 
Greetings from the tail end of Thinking Digital...
I’m Christian Payne, professional over-sharer, photographer and writer. Due to an ill informed but nevertheless fun decision last night, I am taking longer to piece this together than i’d like. I decided to spend the early hours in a club called Xerox. Watching what I remember to be some decent breakdancing from a guy in a flashing ankle bracelet. I had to watch. He was not only a pretty good body-popper, I wondered if he’d broke his curfew and at any point there might be a raid. That I had to see. Another wonderful moment in a string of many I’ve had at the Thinking Digital conference this year.
So expect brevity, spelling mistakes but the same amount of love in this issue. Or perhaps a little more.
If you are new here. Welcome to this intimate, underground, digital space and thanks for joining in.
Thank you also to Herb Kim and Emma Turnbull for another captivating and intellectually stimulating event. If you’d like to check out the #TDC23 speakers for yourself, they are on the site here and individually they were: @warhurstpamela, Andrew Szydlo, @lindayueh, @lewis_dartnell, @mhairi_aitken, @EngineerYasmin, @helenczerski, @ben_mckenzie, John Beamson @aprorok, @apontzen, @SeanWilliamsTw1 and @DanFitzTweets.
After delivering my workshop on building community through multimedia, the following day was all mine to absorb whatever happened on stage.
Economics, physics, engineering, cosmology and AI. I had no idea what to expect of the event and so much happened. A recorded chat with @BillT below will shed some light on a couple of the talks but one highlight for me was the grand finale as a 72 year old science teacher called Andrew Szydlo took the stage. Despite having chatted with him over dinner the following evening I knew little of what was to come.
In the colourful auditorium, amidst an atmosphere crackling with anticipation, stood this mad scientist, Andrew Szydlo. Draped in an immaculate white coat he paused before lifting a selection of glass beakers containing clear liquids. While warming up the audience with some fast paced dialogue, he mixed the liquids back and forth producing colours you half expected, and others you didn't think possible.
Wild white hair danced above mischievous eyes as bursts of unpredictable brilliance took turns with explosions of silliness. All the time building anticipation in the crowd, who with phones out, followed his every move as he skipped round the stage.
After he delicately primed three liquid nitrogen bombs and placed them into metal containers, he moved them slowly to the edge of the stage.
The audience held their breath but would certainly have to breathe before the unknown time were up.
Now back up to speed Andrew continued concocting a symphony of chaos. Bottles hissed, gasses escaped and flames and flashes filled the air. Not long after being told we might hear a loud noise, we did. A resonating, chest thumping BOOM had many of us involuntarily leave our seats. Although a good fifteen to twenty feet away, fragments of something that used to be something else settled on my shirt.
After a moment in shock, the audience erupted in laughter and relief. Andrew mentioned that the other metal clad devises might not go off. But rather than have us sigh with relief, we watched the rest of his dynamic lecture both enthrald and alert. Once again in awe at how this conference we've all come to know and love can remind us that anything can, will and does happen.
We applauded both the end of the show and the end of the conference as stagehands, not trained in such matters, followed Andrew Szydlo's guidance on how to make the two unexploded bombs safe.
As I left the theatre, drained of adrenalin, I saw Andrew tentatively lift the lid of the metal container with his foot and peek inside. He wore a cheeky grin on his face. As we all did.
There is a lovely thread off the bottom of this picture.
A few people have asked if I will be doing the TDC workshop elsewhere. It might be that I make a slideshow for supporting subscribers when things have calmed down. Thanks to Adrian Storey for letting me include his ‘Experiments in AI Narcissism’ he created using Stable Diffusion with Dream Booth.
If you are a supporting subscriber and you missed this thread earlier in the week, you might want to catch up on our thoughts on the state of the socials at the moment. In particular Birdsite. Thanks to everyone who contributed.
Here is a glimpse of what you might be offering Zuck’s empire.
Pretty much the same as Instagram uses.
The Digital Human episode entitled Nope shares thoughts on keeping control of your digital life and thoughts on rejecting a traditional relationship with tech.
It was lovely to grab an audio moment with Bill Thompson. Here is eight minutes of audio actuality by the BBC stand at the Thinking Digital conference.
Coffee has featured heavily during the conference this week. I have a number of travel options for making a decent brew, but as I’m back to using the AeroPress at home it made sense to pick up one of these for when I’m working away.
The Aero Press Go is on sale at the moment if you are feeling flush. [AZN LNK]
I’m drinking Chimney Fire Coffee at the moment.
This is a cool little watch hack.
I also have the NanoVNA [AZN LNK] that is featured in the post that I use for testing a building antenna.
A e-ink newspaper on your wall? I want one. But I want a cheaper one.
Please check to see if your paid subscription has expired as I noticed a couple of people who have been really engaged in the supporter posts have fallen off the radar. If the $5/month has become a struggle please let me know. Either way… Thank you for being here.
Using AI to detect sentiment in audio files.
We talked about this map in my workshop. Feel free to add yourself.
French Assembly passes bill allowing police to remotely activate phone cameras and microphones for surveillance.
With all the excitement over Threads I can’t see the decentralised options getting any further along at the moment.
Some of my other places include Flickr, Strava, Untappd, Diaspora, Vivino, LinkedIn, YouTube, Mastodon, a ham radio newsletter called 73 from G5DOC or search ‘Documentally’ on Wire, Twitter or Bluesky. Threads
The worlds lowest drivable car.
Thanks for reading. I started writing this in my hotel room in Newcastle. Then did a bulk of it on the rammed train that got me home. Now sat in a hot shed. The weekend can be a number of things. Same as next week. What ever you are doing, have fun!
“One of the secrets of a happy life is continous small treats.” ~ Iris Murdoch
See you out there.