Posts Tagged ‘Nottingham’

Web 2.0 at Nottingham Festival of Words

February 12, 2013
Map of the Internet (courtsey of Opte project, CC BY 2.5)

Map of the Internet (courtsey of Opte project, CC BY 2.5)

The inaugural Nottingham Festival of Words has officially started and is building up to the main events over the weekend of 16th/17th February.

I’ll be speaking on Sunday afternoon, presenting some of the future-facing material from my recent Web 2.0 book and looking ahead to the development of a global brain.

If you are interested in the future of the Internet, Web Science, artificial intelligence and the wisdom of crowds then why not pop along?

There are still tickets:


Nottingham’s new Literary Festival

September 10, 2012

On Wednesday evening I’ll be at Antenna media centre in Nottingham, doing a quick spot at the official launch of the inaugural Nottingham Festival of Words. It’s a taster for my full session, which takes place in February 2013, where I will be talking about the new science of the Web and exploring some of the stuff there wasn’t space for in Web 2.0 and Beyond. Unfortunately I gather that there are no tickets left, so I can’t invite anyone, but I’ll post a summary later this week.

Aurora restaurant

July 16, 2012

I dined at Nottingham’s newest restaurant over the weekend, the Aurora, and it was a fine experience. The menu is described as eclectic modern british and the setting is a lovely old lacemarket warehouse basement. If you are visiting Nottingham, I can highly recommend, not least the stunning desserts:

Aurora’s modern twisted on rhubarb parfait.

The Naked Chef goes 3-D

February 25, 2011

Thanks to the monastic life imposed on me by the demands of writing a book it has been some time since the I had an opportunity for a pukka tech lunch. So I relished the chance yesterday for a business meeting at Nottingham’s new Jamie Oliver restaurant in Low Pavement.

To add to my prandial joy there was the opportunity to view pictures of the dishes on the menu in 3-D using a device called an Image3D. These devices were meant for the kids I think (allowing them to see what they were ordering rather than reading the menu). However, children of my age will remember these toys  – then called ViewMasters – from the 1970s (see picture).

After exploring the technology for a while it was time for the main event. As a lover of pasta I was in seventh heaven and can thoroughly recommend the Turbo Fusilli Arrabiata. Sorted.

View Master (Source: Enokson, licenced under CC BY-NC 2.0)(


June 1, 2009

Friday lunchtime I escaped the shackles of my desk for a rare, UK exhibition of the work of Catalonian artist Joan Fontcuberta at Nottingham’s Djanogly art gallery. According to the curator, Neil Walker, Fontcuberta’s work questions the nature of truth and, in particular, the reliability or otherwise of photographic documentary evidence. The artist’s previous works include a complete portfolio of faked photographs purporting to document a Soviet space mission that went badly wrong in which a cosmonaut was lost in space. However, that’s not the TechLunch link. What interested me was the current display: Googlegrams.

Googlegrams are large photographs (about a metre square) constructed from thousands of small photo ’tiles’ in the style of a mosaic. Each tile consists of a tiny image taken from the Web, sourced from Google’s image search engine. Fontcuberta takes an image from current affairs, for example there is one showing a number of drowned African refugees who have been washed up on a Spanish beach, and replicates it in Google-sourced tiles.

In order to make this work, Fontcuberta has doctored a piece of freeware software, used for what’s called photo mosaic-ing, which selects tiles that correspond to the colour and shading of the large image. The software works out that it needs, say, 80 tiles that overall correspond to a particular shade of light blue and when it finds a tile that fits its requirements it will fill in the image accordingly.

In order to source the tiles, the ‘artist’ has to type in search terms to query Google’s image search engine. In the case of the refugees, Fontcuberta typed in the names of the twenty-five richest men in the world. The images that Google throws up are used by the software to find the right colours and shades to use as tiles.

Walker argued that the artist is setting out to challenge the prevailing view that accurate information is available from the Web. Fontcuberta is sceptical of the idea of a universal, democratic source of truth, exemplified by the work of Wikipedia. The Googlegrams are metaphors for the inherent instability and transient nature of the information and truth on the Web.

The exhibition not only shows various examples of Googlegrams, but there’s also a live demonstration of the software that allows you to construct your own image. The gallery is also right next door to its own eatery – so a bit of tech and a spot of lunch – although I’d advise you to eat before one o’clock as the servery is pretty much stripped bare by then.

The exhibition runs until 14th June, but if you can’t get to Nottingham, the gallery has produced a YouTube video, including an interview with the artist.