Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Level Yourself

Certification drives me nuts. In fact there are some times where I feel quite useless lose faith in myself because I have very few paper records telling me I have actually achieved anything.

That's what I love about posts like Levels of HTML Knowledge by Roger Johansson.

A professional gives you a nicely annotated scale for you to judge for yourself and inform others of where you are. Of course you need a lot of professionals to volunteer to make a scale before it would be meaningful to employers.

Today, I would place myself at level 3. I recognise some level 2 behaviours and even something from level 4.

How to get this stuff onto my C.V...

Monday, May 29, 2006

Can't Help but be "just a touch" Offended

Mary Ann Davidson, Chief Security Officer at Oracle is being quoted by CNET to have come over to Scotland and offend the whole British population with the tag that we are natural tuned hackers.
...they have "the perfect temperament to be hackers--technically skilled, slightly disrespectful of authority, and just a touch of criminal behavior."

Judging by this and all the commentary I have seen on the web about her recently she is certainly not in this business to make friends.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Truth or the Trigger?

I remembered Phone Booth as an excellent film. Better the second time.

If someone studied you, without notice, would they have something on you?
Are your secrets stored in your head or in your acts?

If you confessed would your life be better for it?

If it is so terrible why do you do it?

What did I do? I harboured ill thoughts of my mother. I don't think that's the worst thing I ever done but it was one of my failings I can do something about and for a long time was fundamental to my being. Three weeks ago I forgave her and the liberation was immense. Imagine that, living with all that resentment.

Strangely enough, it was something I thought about two years ago. Just over seven years I had spent with my fiancée. I never sought any limelight and she suffered for it. Reluctance to be seen can be misconstrued for a lack of effort. Consequences of all being that I never made events, in fact, I avoided them if possible. In effect never making her feel as special as she is and giving her memories to suit.

Firsts are important, events are important and I couldn't make up for what I hadn't done.

Mistakes are fine but making the same mistake twice is sinful.

Hmmm, that's my dark past neatly wrapped into 150 words, didn't think that was possible until writing it out.

Congratulations. If you have read this far then you are in a unique club. You're the only ones that know about me. I don't talk about myself unless someone asks. These questions have never been asked of me in face to face interactions, but that doesn't mean I do not wish to answer them. Hence they are here for anyone that cares to know.

Ask yourself the questions I posed above. You don't have to share them if you don't want to. The important thing is for you to recognise yourself and consider if you really continue with the wrongs you do.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Social Media Jibe

Social media in one humourous nutshell.

This image was brought to you by the simply excellent gentleman that is Chris Brogan, the blogging machine.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

If You're a Geek and You Know It

You need to look at this important message and this important message.

Yes, there's a reason I found these posts...

Friday, May 05, 2006

Caption Competition

Couldn't let this great caption go...

Blair transformation now complete

Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail can takes the credit for that one. BBC for the story.

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You're All Thinking It, But Only One Person Can Say It

Like uncle, like nephew.

If I had the opportunity to lighten the mood with a line it would hard to stop me.

My uncle, who evidently wouldn't either, took his chance today.

Automated Traffic Simulations

Not too sure why this appeared on Digg quite so long after it was set up, still these neat simulations from Kurt Dresner and Peter Stone are very cool and a nice demonstration of what we should be expected in a couple of decades time on our roads.

All this stopping and starting we have to go through on the roads now is hardly fuel efficient...

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Better Than Being Needlessly Negative

The delightful Lisa Haneberg has offered the to-be list.

Two key items on the A to-be list for the courageous section have been important to me this week.
• I will not play the victim. I will be in control and responsible.
• I will be genuinely happy for others who courageously excel.

My family has been horrendous with regards to item one. “Curses of the Hill’s” is regularly banded about should two generations of the Hill family meet.

I have known myself to use the expression victim of circumstance on occasion. No more. Circumstances are of my own making, it’s my awareness of them that needs to be called to question.

On item two, I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of not adhering to that one. Maybe because there are people we don’t like, maybe jealousy, who knows.

On a general level, I resented Chelsea throughout this season for winning the league without challenge. No more of that. Regardless of the money they have at their disposal another team could have got it together and mounted a challenge. So I congratulate Chelsea for what they have done this season, retaining a title isn’t easy.

And these two items can work together. Taking credit for a piece of work for example:

You work on a project with other colleagues and play your part to your usual high standard. One person, who you are sure did no more work than you, gets fingered to take the credit by onlookers.

Item one: Are you the victim? No. Why? Because you didn’t get enough attention drawn to what you were doing. Maybe your network isn’t up to scratch. You can see the room for improvement immediately. You have something to learn from and work with. Do it and get your rewards later.

Item two: Are you happy for your colleague? Well, you should be. There’s a lesson there for you too. Is their network up to scratch? Did they market their achievement where you thought it was ok to let the work speak for itself? Do they have a more efficient way of working than you have which gave the appearance that they were doing less than you?

When you look beneath the surface of an event which didn’t go your way, much better to ask the right questions and learn from it than blame circumstance and become envious.

Lisa, you’re quite right. This is breakthrough stuff!

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Discussing Failure, Good Idea?

Fear of failure isn’t so much the problem. Fear of people that don’t understand failure is the issue.

Jeff Atwood of Coding Horrors offers an insightful post Fail fast, fail often.

After getting over the initial discomfort, I’m sure many people will be happy to talk over their failures and failings. I for one am my own worst critic. It would be nice to be able to get some outside opinion on what I think of myself. However, you have to put a lot of faith in whoever you talk to.

Personal failings and failures tends to be a lot easier to discuss with friends and family than professional failings with co-workers and the reporting leadership chain.

Why? Friends and family are typically supportive and it’s not a competition.
Discussing your professional failings will give colleagues the scent of blood. Pay reviews, also, are generally number crunching exercises. Talk up your successes to give yourself high numbers. Hiding your failings ensures they don’t come into the equation and to avoid inconsistencies means you can never bring them up.

That makes learning a bit difficult. And as Jeff rightly states, if you are not putting yourself into a position to fail it means you are thinking small, you are not stretching yourself as you should.

Talking of failure is a risk, it shouldn’t be, but it is. It is a question of confidence I guess. Do you have enough faith in yourself to expose your failures and demonstrate what you have learnt from it?

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Same Topic, One Man, Two Conversations

I finished listening to For Immediate Release show 133 a little while ago and wanted to make a comment contribution on the section they are running on kids and communication.

I thought this would be a good time to make an audio clip as my microphone has been viciously neglected of late. However, knowing that it takes a fair bit of time to get a clip together I thought I'd write out my thoughts on the topic first.

Settling down, ready to pick up the microphone it turned out I couldn't read out what I wrote. It just didn't feel natural to my tongue at all. It is exactly what I think, but the way I write is completely alien to the way I speak. Despite being completely genuine, when I read it out it sounded fake to me.

As such I found it much better to just write small headings on a sheet and use them for direction pointers and speak out in a way I was comfortable with.

What I ended up in the recording didn't feel like just a reformatted version of the words, they were different. Key thing I'm suggesting is that is it good to be aware of how closely you mind maps what you say with what you write. Depending on which route you choose to communicate you may end up with one of two different conversations.

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Nick Carr on User Generated Content

Have to give Nick his due on this one as it is hard to disagree with what he is saying. The big money will find its way to the service providers. For users to get their hands on it they will have to be either creators of exceptional content, dead lucky or dead clever when devising the influences behind getting consumers to part with hard cash.

Thankfully most of the user-gen population are in on this action for the fun of it. My lord, imagine how you net usage would change if you had to pay a (time based?) rate on each page you visited.

You can be sure you wouldn't spend four and a half minutes sitting through the My Humps YouTube video that Nick points to.

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