Twittering

So having just burnt a series of posts on the dangers of maintaining dual identities on social media, what’s the next logical thing for me to do? Obviously it’s to create a new social media account. So you can now find me on twitter as @paltego1.

I’m not actually sure what I’m going to do with it. I originally created it just to get rid of all the ‘This media may contain sensitive material’ twitter warnings that were driving me crazy. Sensitive material is 90% of my reason for doing anything online. Then it seemed a good way to follow interesting kinky people. Now I’m debating if I should more actively manage it. Maybe use it as an overflow for links I don’t get to cover here? Or as way to bookmark articles before I have change to write in more detail on them? At the very least I can use it to publish the existence of a new post here.

If you’re a twitter user feel free to follow me and maybe I’ll end up doing something useful with it. I’ll also be on the lookout for interesting people to follow, so feel free to point me at anything or anyone you like!

Twitter does seem a particular rich source for fun kinky shots and short video clips. Most of them are casual shots snapped with a phone, but occasionally you get a gem like the one below. This is Domina M in Paris and was shot by Will Santillo.

Who are you? (Continued)

I hadn’t intended to write a series of posts on the intersection of social media and online identities, yet somehow, here we are with a third post. In a previous comment on my first post Ferns raised the issue of transparency and how companies hide the ‘how it works’ aspect. That’s a fascinating topic in itself, and so I wanted to circle back on it.

It’s clearly true that companies should do a better job of notifying users of what data they’re collecting. They don’t want to do that because there are only negative consequences for them. No user is going to say “I love that this huge faceless corporation knows all this stuff about me, but you’re missing out on a lot more private stuff I haven’t shared. Let me help you access that as well.” In reality, given more visibility of the data gathering process, users are only going to want to add constraints, which in turn hurts the companies product and their advertising revenue.

When it comes to the interpretation of the data – for example, why Facebook makes the friend suggestions that it does – then the story is more complicated. Machine learning and particularly deep learning is driving a lot innovation in big tech companies these days. Traditionally a  software developer would analyze a problem and code up an algorithm to solve it. Now that same developer will specify the end result they want (these people are friends, these people are not friends), gather as much input data as they can (user location, hometown, school, posts they liked, etc.) and try and train a system to figure out the end result from the inputs. Typically this involves throwing a huge amount of computational power at the problem (which is why this has only become practical recently) and results in a black box that nobody really understands. Given the right inputs (e.g. data about users) this black box might be able to make excellent predictions about who is friends with who, but it can be difficult to say exactly why it makes any single prediction. So when companies say it’s difficult to share why certain suggestions were made, they might not be lying. They might not know themselves.

As an example of this, let’s consider the original case of the sex worker I talked about in my first post. I should be clear I know nothing about this beyond the public articles and I know nothing about Facebook’s internal algorithms or what data they have. This is speculation designed purely to illustrate the issue. That said, imagine if Facebook had access to the WiFi networks people accessed from their phones over time. Being on the same public network as someone else doesn’t mean much. Even repeatedly seeing the same networks at roughly the same time doesn’t mean much. Maybe you just happen to regularly go coffee at the same time and place as some other random person. But repeatedly being on the same networks at the same time, but in different places over many months would be indicative of a possible relationship. That’s the kind of correlation that a machine learning system could figure out. It’s also the kind of correlation that would occur for a sex worker regularly meeting the same group of clients at different hotels in a city.

Apologies if anyone visited here with the crazy idea of reading posts about femdom. Hopefully I’ll get back on that track in the next day or two. In the meantime I’ll continue my theme of old school anonymity via masquerade style masks. This is the lovely Anne Hathaway, the one bright spot in the otherwise terrible Dark Knight Rises.

Better Than Life (final)

An interesting post on the liberating experience of VR porn from a trans man perspective got me thinking about femdom and VR again. I previously posted about my experiences with it, current niches it was suited for and the potential for combining it with e-stim technology.  I’ve been meaning to write a post on its future potential, and I guess this is going to be it.

My first prediction is that the VR future will be interactively rendered scenes that you can move around in, rather than simple 3D recorded movies. The latter are fun to try, but in many ways emphasize the limits of the medium rather than play to its strengths. So with that assumption taken, let’s make some simple technology projections…

  • Headsets will get lighter, wireless and offer better quality displays.
  • Computers will be able to create interactive VR scenes and people that are indistinguishable from recorded film.
  • Motion and facial capture will be able to accurately capture movement and gestures using simple cameras with no fancy bodysuits or reflective dots.
  • Speech technology will support voice warping to mimic any particular intonation/pitch required.
  • Somebody will build something similar to the kind of e-stim device I described here. It won’t mimic touch or allow you to feel virtual surfaces, but it will be able to create interesting and complex sensations across your body.

None of these things require any new technology breakthrough. They’re simply extensions of what’s already happening. The last one is probably the most risky projection, and that’s only because it’s a niche product that doesn’t have the obvious mass market applications of the others. If you put all these pieces together, what kind of experience could you create?

Imagine two people located in different parts of the world but sharing a virtual space of their choosing. The environment visualization and their embodiments in it are indistinguishable from reality. Their headsets are light and untethered, meaning they can freely move around. As they do so, the system captures the body position and facial expressions and mimics them in the space. A bow, a wagged finger or a blown kiss are perfectly captured. Their bodies and clothes can be whatever they want them to be. They can talk and their voices will be modified to a desired intonation. They can’t touch one another but, using a mixture of computer controlled e-stim and vibration devices, they can create complex and interesting sensations across their physical bodies. A particular gesture could be a gentle tickle, a sharp zap or a wave of pulses and vibrations. Would all that be a compelling experience?

I guess some people might see that as a depressing scenario. Two isolated people surrounded by technology in a fake space pretending to be someone they’re not. Personally I think it’d be incredibly liberating and empowering. It’d allow experimentation with roles and a sense of self. Gender, age and appearance all become malleable. It’d allow complex long-distance relationships and allow people to escape physical or geographical limitations. It could be used for everything from casual chatting and hookups through to complex roleplay and storytelling. It’d be fun as hell. Like creating your own Gollum, but in realtime and with a much sexier character. Unless your idea of sexy is a slimy, hairless grey creature, in which forget that last part.

I’m sure the sex industry would also quickly figure out a commercial angle. People already pay cam girls and pro-dommes for live streaming sessions. Imagine if, rather than in a 2D computer window, they were suddenly sitting on the couch next to you. And the couch was in the middle of an orgy in ancient Rome. Of course the beautiful domme sitting next to you with the sultry voice might actually be a 60 year old guy in Wichita.  But at least that means people previously shut out of the sex industry because of gender/age/appearance would now have new opportunities to shine.

Not all of this is going to happen in the next year or two. But I’d be amazed if it hadn’t been realized in the next five to ten years.

This 3D rendered image was created by xrenderer in 2007. It still looks pretty good, but in computer years, that’s an eternity ago.

Happy shades of grey

This is continuing the monochrome theme with another image that I’m sure has been tweaked from its original form. I found it via the Happy BDSM tumblr. I’d guess it’s a StrapOn Dreamer image, but I can’t be sure of that, as there’s no watermark and Google image search seems to fail miserably on modified photographs.

Update: It is from StrapOn Dreamer and I even used it in a previous post. Doh!

Making art from porn

A recent interview with Maggie Gyllenhaal quoted her as saying that “that pornography is an art form”. She’s right of course, but she missed one of the key elements: Only when it’s in black and white. Anyone who has browsed tumblr extensively will realize this. Depraved color pornography is instantly transformed into a moody art shot with the simple application of a monochrome filter.

Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously stated, in Jacobellis v. Ohio, that he knew pornography when he saw it. At the time he was judging Loius Malle’s film ‘The Lovers‘. That was shot in black and white, and obviously that’s why he found it not obscene. It’s basic science.

I don’t have a original source for this image. I’m sure it started as a far more depraved and non-artistic full color shot.

Update: The original source is StrapOn Dreamer.

Always something new

One of the things I love about kink is the infinite variety of possibilities it offers. There’s always a new experience or activity for me to explore. In some cases it can be a very common kinky activity that has simply never made it onto my kinky hit list. Whenever that happens it’s always slightly disconcerting. A bit like realizing there’s a cupboard in your house you’ve never actually opened, despite years of living there.

In my recent trip to San Francisco Domina Yuki used a leash on my collar to lead me around. It wasn’t a big part of the scene or in response to a request I’d made. Just a fun way for her to get me from one area to another in the play space. But as she did it I was struck by the fact it was a new experience for me. The collar and leash is a staple of BDSM porn. It’s even used as a symbol for kink in the mainstream. Yet, in years of play, I couldn’t remember ever being on the receiving end. I was so surprised at that realization I almost forgot to enjoy the moment. Almost.

This is the beautiful Mistress Iris enjoying some leash play with a slave. I found it via her twitter feed.

Room, ensuite bathroom, bonus slave

I’m continuing the domestic service theme with a link to an article and craiglist post that made me smile. It features an F/m couple looking for a female roommate who can play a role in an FLR. I love the fact they spend longer on the size and temperature of the room than the whole kinky dynamic thing.

Personally I find both roommate negotiation and BDSM complex enough on their own, without trying to mix them all together. But maybe I’m just a pessimist and there’s a domme in DC enjoying a cheap room and a submissive landlord.

I’m afraid I don’t have a source for this shot of domestic bliss.

The barter economy

Dan Savage had a letter from a lady considering taking on a cleaning and housework slave in return for some foot fetish play. She’s concerned about the protocol for clearing it with her roommates. I hope it works out for her, but I suspect she’ll have more problems than explaining the naked guy with the dustpan and brush. I’ve heard very few dommes report success on these arrangements, as against a great many complaining about guys who do a terrible job of cleaning and nag constantly for more play. The submissives love the concept initially, but quickly realize that scrubbing floors and cleaning toilets to a decent standard is hard work. As soon as they realize the domme isn’t planning to stand over them in full fetish gear and micromanage the situation, their interest wanes rapidly.

Maybe I’m being unfair and the failures are just more widely reported than the successes. Anyone out there have first hand experience of this kind of arrangement working well? I have noticed Mistress Darcy regularly recruiting slaves to run facets of her empire (for example here and here). She hasn’t written much on the success (or not) of her applicants, but the fact she continues to use that process suggests some value comes from it.

I’ll finish with a nice image of someone both getting some foot fetish action and making himself useful. I’m afraid I’ve no source for this.