TEDx Hackney Libraries

Inspiring talks about things that matter

TEDx video talks in the library – Thursdays in March

TEDx Hackney Libraries is a wonderful opportunity for local residents to get together to listen to experts talk about subjects that matter to us all. These events aren’t just about listening; the open discussion at each session encourages conversation about how these topics affect our everyday lives, inspire us to see things from a different perspective and could even spark change!

The 7 March TEDx videos

TEDx Hackney Libraries has returned with a series of Thursday evening events that we think everybody should go to. The next event (7 March) is especially interesting, as three of the four video talks are directly relevant to what we do at the Friday afternoon drop-in and the Monday afternoon podcast.

Of course, you could watch them now — but that would miss the point completely. The conversation after the talks is the most important part, and you can’t do that on your own.

Where and when

  • Stoke Newington Library, 182 Stoke Newington Church St, N16 0JL (map: goo.gl/maps/7YAjt6JGPTm)
  • Thursday 7 March, 6 to 8 pm

We’re building a building a dystopia just to make people click on ads

We’re building an artificial intelligence-powered dystopia, one click at a time, says techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci. In an eye-opening talk, she details how the same algorithms companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon use to get you to click on ads are also used to organize your access to political and social information. And the machines aren’t even the real threat. What we need to understand is how the powerful might use AI to control us — and what we can do in response.


How we need to remake the Internet

In the early days of digital culture, Jaron Lanier helped craft a vision for the internet as public commons where humanity could share its knowledge — but even then, this vision was haunted by the dark side of how it could turn out: with personal devices that control our lives, monitor our data and feed us stimuli. (Sound familiar?) In this visionary talk, Lanier reflects on a “globally tragic, astoundingly ridiculous mistake” companies like Google and Facebook made at the foundation of digital culture — and how we can undo it. “We cannot have a society in which, if two people wish to communicate, the only way that can happen is if it’s financed by a third person who wishes to manipulate them,” he says.


How to tame your wandering mind

Amishi Jha studies how we pay attention: the process by which our brain decides what’s important out of the constant stream of information it receives. Both external distractions (like stress) and internal ones (like mind-wandering) diminish our attention’s power, Jha says — but some simple techniques can boost it. “Pay attention to your attention,” Jha says.


Why you should talk to strangers

“When you talk to strangers, you’re making beautiful interruptions into the expected narrative of your daily life — and theirs,” says Kio Stark. In this delightful talk, Stark explores the overlooked benefits of pushing past our default discomfort when it comes to strangers and embracing those fleeting but profoundly beautiful moments of genuine connection.

“What did your politeness do?”

Why we all have to talk more and hide less – friendships, commitment, belonging, resisting racism, respect – real stories and real values – an intergenerational meeting of minds.

The voices belong to: Brian, Chantel, Leonie, Rick, Vanessa, Wadley, Walter.

References

We don’t use expensive professional equipment or a sound studio. This is open-mic recording in a public space, so sound quality is sometimes rough. Our resources are minimal, but we do it all ourselves.

Recorded 25 February 2019 in the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, London E8 3DF, UK.

Grassroots Radio

For our 2019 series, we have turned our podcast format inside-out. Instead of a small, invited group, we open the Monday afternoon event to anybody who happens to be in the Curve Garden glasshouse for any reason — and if the weather is good, we can take the microphones our into the garden. We sacrifice sound quality (you don’t have to tell us), but we gain spontaneous, unpredictable conversation — fresh voices and thoughts every week. From that, we can make a podcast episode when we have time to do it.

BBC iPlayer on your computer, tablet or phone

How to watch catch-up BBC TV

This post is prompted by people asking how they can watch the BBC 4 series Soon Gone on a laptop, tablet or phone.

Answer — you can watch it in a web browser, or you can install the BBC iPlayer app — but first you have to register your email address, so that you can log in to iPlayer with a password. It’s very easy …

BBC registration page

More links about BBC iPlayer

Watching iPlayer on the drop-in computers

  • You can login to your BBC account and watch iPlayer in a web browser on any computer connected to the Internet.
  • But please use headphones — don’t force your neighbour to listen 🙂

“Do you guys like the word oldie?”

Guest Chantel bravely engages with a bunch of pre-digital citizens – rebooting Hello Hackney Grassroots Radio at the Dalston Curve Garden.

We don’t use expensive professional equipment or a sound studio. This is open-mic recording in a public space, so sound quality is sometimes rough. Our resources are minimal, but we do it all ourselves.

The voices belong to: Andreas, Brian, Chantel, Rick, Walter.

Media reference – Soon Gone (not Soon Over)bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0002sqv

Recorded 18 February 2019 in the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, London E8 3DF, UK.

Grassroots Radio

For our 2019 series, we have turned our podcast format inside-out. Instead of a small, invited group, we open the Monday afternoon event to anybody who happens to be in the Curve Garden glasshouse for any reason — and if the weather is good, we can take the microphones our into the garden. We sacrifice sound quality (you don’t have to tell us), but we gain spontaneous, unpredictable conversation — fresh voices and thoughts every week. From that, we can make a podcast episode when we have time to do it.

What we did – 8 February 2019

Horrible weather outside, but it’s always sunny inside Whitmore Community Centre on Friday afternoon — so we were full. Special thanks for a great afternoon — to volunteers Paul, Chris, Adam and Ashraf from Financial Conduct Authority via Benefacto – plus regular volunteers Gene, Margaret, Stephen and Tom.


Irene and Patricia nominated for top 100 Hackney women

Reported in Hackney Today 28 January 2019 — Over 100 Hackney women were nominated for making a difference to the borough — two of the front-runners are drop-in stalwarts Irene Lewington and Patricia Sim, who both make a massive difference to our Friday afternoons.

Hyacinth — a prominent Hackney wonder woman in her own right — investigates. Watch this hastily-made instant video, shot on an old iPad, handheld by a one-eyed camera person, in an echoey room at Whitmore Community Centre, surrounded by other people banging and coughing.

What we did – 18 January 2019

It was very cold outside — but that didn’t prevent 31 people dropping-in. Special thanks to volunteers Daniyal, Heather, Jennifer and Matt from Tideway via Benefacto – plus regular volunteers Gene, Margaret, Stephen and Tom.

BBC – “The woman who spends her nights on a London bus”

A woman who lives in sheltered accommodation spends several nights every week riding on London’s night buses in order to meet people. Carol says nobody speaks to her when she is at home so she goes looking for company on public transport.

This is the link to the BBC video – The woman who spends her nights on a London bus

What we did – 19 December 2018

Special thanks to volunteers Cliff, Jacqueline, Miriam and Tina from Digital RealtyFCAMJ Mapp and Willis Towers Watson via Benefacto – plus regular volunteers Derek, Gene, Margaret, Michael and Tom.

Recycled software

Another way to avoid exploitation

Don’t pay for over-priced software that you don’t need!

This post is about how you can find a cheaper and more appropriate version of MS Office (which includes MS Word), if you really need it.

Recommended MS Office versions

  • MS Office Home and Student 2007 — possibly the best deal, but not common now. One license allows you to install on three devices.
  • MS Office 2010 Pro — widely used. For example, the current A5 flyers and A3 posters for the drop-in and podcast were edited with MS Word 2010 because that’s what I use to edit complex documents for commercial printing. MS Publisher 2010 is also very useful — and the last version of Publisher that can create documents in the CMYK format that commercial printers require.

More recent versions of MS Word are not superior, just more expensive.

How to buy a retail product key

This is how we got MS Office 2007 or 2010 on the drop-in laptops.

What you need to know about buying MS Office this way …

  • What you actually pay for is a licence key — a retail product that can be transferred and traded.
  • Always make sure that you are paying for a key, not a recurring subscription.
  • The software itself is a free download from the Microsoft server. Your retail licence key allows you to install and use the software legally — and you can move it to a new computer when you need to.
  • When you buy a retail licence key, the seller company provides full instructions on what to do with it.
  • By the way — if you have bought a Windows computer with MS Office pre-installed, you do not have a retail key. You cannot sell it or move it to a different computer.

Sellers

There are several UK sellers in this market. I’m not going to recommend any of them because you — as the buyer — must use your own judgement, not mine. I have been satisfied as a customer of Software Geeks (softwaregeeks.co.uk), but they have competitors and it might be foolish to ignore them.

Getting help

Although this procedure is quite straightforward, digital beginners can easily get lost. However, our drop-in volunteers can probably help you — provided you are already comfortable buying online with a credit or debit card.

If you are a Windows user, our volunteers might also point out that …

  • Open-source LibreOffice Writer (libreoffice.org/discover/writer) would probably meet all your word-processing requirements — and it’s free.
  • All versions of Windows since 1995 have included a simple word-processor named Wordpad — so if your needs are basic and you don’t need a spellchecker, you already have what you are looking for.