Friday, December 12, 2008

2D Coding (cont'd)

2D Coding - it's the new format of condensed information, and you'll start to see these patterned tiles everywhere... Think of them as condensed barcodes, with the ability to embed up to 160 characters of text, web links, phone numbers, skype contact names... any key information snippet that you want to share. Anyone with the decoder (which runs on any camera-equipped cell phone or mobile device) can quickly "snap" the image and instantly decode your message.

Check the back of the new Ontario driver licences and OHIP cards, and you'll see the denser smart card version of the same technology in use.

I blogged about this earlier ( Nov23rd, 2008) but finally had time to go back and play some more. So... here are my messages for you... Check out my favourite web site:

...or connect with me here ~

Expect to see these 2D codes appearing on business cards, posters, t-shirts, coffee mugs... anywhere you can think of posting a key bit of information that "those in the know" can read!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Build your wild self

Okay... so when every web 2.0 site you engage in wants an image of you, you may as well have some fun! Build yourself a simple fun avatar.. if you feel really creative, pull it over into your fav online image editor and add a few personal details... and away you go...

read more | digg story

Converged Devices - Snappr & 2D Codes (Tame The Web Blog)

Converged Devices, Barcodes & the Future"2D Codes identify an object uniquely... big difference is that 2D Codes can be used to virtually identify anything! Just create a 2D Code and put it on something - Like a shirt, a flyer or a business card." Michael Stephens gives a clear summary of possibilities using 2D codes with converged devices.

read more | digg story

Friday, November 7, 2008

Seeing the *bigger* picture

Why is it that *really* good ideas and concepts come into my sphere of possible actions when I am already more than busy enough with other projects?

Is it a test to see if the new idea is truly that good? ... worthy even, of bumping something else apparently not quite worthwhile enough out of my priority list?

I think so - either that, or my mind is simply too prone to scope creep as new possibilities cross my horizon line. ( ...which is a possible failing I must confess to on some occasions)
The synergy that can marry two different projects into one bigger picture should always be worth pursuing, even if the available hours left in the day for sleep take a hit.


Friday, October 31, 2008

An agent of change?

Had a fun day today in a future-thinking, strategic planning exercise held in a beautiful space with clerestory windows and internal glass half-walls that flooded a totally internal 2nd story conference room with glorious sunlight!

The day was an open, flexible, unstructured approach with points of thoughtful discussion, reinforcement and confirmation of previous planning, and threads & new strands worth following and exploring...

Some concepts that resonated with me and were a nice addition to my consciousness were:

1) When building for the future there are 2 different ( and sometimes opposing!) spaces you need to stay/play in...
  • the current operational space (the day-to-day bricks and mortar place of keeping the daily operations functional and running)
  • the visionary space of where you want to get to... (what should it look like in 5 years)

2) You will never achieve the changes to move the vision into the operational reality if you don't dream the vision FIRST..

3) You already HAVE the resources today to bring that vision to life... there is no magical pot of money, no staffing saviour.... it is a matter of having a vision with enough attractiveness the there is the broad buy-in to see it come to fruition... the emerging group-mindset to follow down the road toward achieving a vision everyone has personalized and bought into...

The current resources you have on-hand (with all the current limitations) can be;
  • changed
  • adapted
  • re-purposed
... into the strategies needed to move toward the vision of what should be within the next 3 -5 years.

4) The strategic plan is just the first step... the beginning point. Next come the practical steps to implement, the intuitive leaps of faith to keep the process moving forward, and the willingness to learn the lessons along the way that dictate flexible changes in the vision goals, given changes in reality and advances in technology.


Words and concepts gleamed from today's think-tank session to add to my mind space?
  • CROWD-SOURCING - as in... a real strength of web 2.0 is the ability to use "crowd-sourcing"... the power of tapping into the collective knowledge base of the crowd as a broad demographic source of expertise and information in a J-I-T delivery system!
  • LOCKSS - an nifty acronym for "lots of copies keep stuff safe" .. a nice archiving approach! (also the brilliant branding of an international community initiative based at based at Stanford University Libraries that plays in this space)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Magical Life...

What does it mean when you realize you've reached a stage in life where you simply expect connectivity to be there - just like the air you breath? ... and that one common OpenID will seamlessly hand you off from one wi-fi zone to the next, without a hiccup in the open SaaS apps you are working in and editing? Or that you just expect to close the laptop, get off the train and into the station, and open the laptop to find the wi-fi re-established and the online apps waiting and ready? And that because the apps are online and the data warehouse is online, it does not matter that you are working on a laptop that was just delivered 12 hours earlier and has not yet been loaded with all the usual productivity software? (...but you took it as your road warrior as it was to damn sexy to leave at home?!)

To me it means that life has finally caught up to expectations. Raised in a Star Trek vision of technology that just works, and an Arthur C Clarke belief that it is akin to magic (...and we ALL believe in magic!) I am highly appreciative of days when those pesky techno-gremlins go and infest some other poor sod's techno world, leaving mine happy and shiny and perfect. Today was such a day... everything just worked.

From the time I rolled out of bed at 4:45 AM, did email, packed up, caught the train, spent the day in great discussions with knowledgable folk, and caught the train home again for a final email check at 11:45 PM... it all just worked. From the home wi-fi (which better work as I'm the tech support!) to the station zone, the onboard-enroute wi-fi, at the meeting, a skype call to catch up on missed activities, and then the trek back home again... it all just worked.
And I simply expected it to...

Google Apps, Skype, DimDim, Twitter, Blogger... all the web 2.0 tools lined up, handed off materials, and kept me productive and engaged. ...and I like it!

So... am I addicted? Am I too plugged in? ... OR am I highly effective?
Differing opinions, depending on your viewpoint, I'm sure.

But today I smiled and my world was a happy, shiny connected place to be.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

FAQ's... FUQs... I think we need more of the latter.

We all know about FAQ files... and the need to read them. Somehow, your approach is just so much smarter when you take the time to read the FAQ file *FIRST*.

A while ago I ran across something even better - The FUQ file.
These would be the Frequently Unasked Questions!.... those things that are really important or confusing, but nobody thinks to ask them about until after the problem/damage has been done... The "in hindsight, what you really should have asked" questions. The kinds of things the project developers never even considered. We've all seen software roll-outs that suffered from this.

It takes a very creative thinker to come up with a FUQ file.
Or someone several steps away from the project.
Or a kid.

I'm trying to write one now... for a problem I'm not even quite sure exists... yet.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

There are many "C's" in success!

I have found a CEO of a large corporation who has a great message she lives by and works with.
Indra Nooyi has been CEO of PepsiCo Inc. for just under two years and is a lady to watch. A dynamic CEO, she's already having impact on the bottom line and stock margins there. More importantly, she is a well spoken, interesting person with a clarity of focus that shapes her approach to life...

Here's a small snippet of her thought process -

If you want to be successful, you have to remember the "C's";
  • COMPETENCE - you have to be damn good at something, and make plans to stay CURRENT with that skill
  • COURAGE (and CONFIDENCE) - speak up when you think something is not being done right... be willing to break some china!
  • COMMUNICATION - must be able to COMMUNICATE what you are doing in a COMPELLING way
  • COMPASS - if you don't have moral integrity, all you do is for naught
  • COACHING - look for, and mentor the best. Find those who demonstrate the C's and hitch your horse to theirs... you'll go places together, and the ride will be worth it!

This kind of message is not new, but it is refreshing to see in being offered up as a philosophy in corporate America. Makes me want to support the company, even though I'm not a fan of their product (unlike a dear friend!).

Maybe she'd consider putting this message on the sides of the pop cans to give the kids something to think about?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Opportunities arising - can we grab the brass ring?

Dennis Carter, an Assistant Editor at eSchool News recently posted an article that resonated with me....
Four-day week on the rise in education:
High gas prices, long commutes have colleges and K-12 schools taking a close look at longer days, shorter weeks (posted Thu, Aug 14, 2008)
School districts and universities are taking cues from the business world and instituting four-day weeks, a trend that some say could become the norm as gas prices and energy costs continue to rise....

A listing of school systems already testing these waters was given, and some of the pluses to this approach were pointed out...
  • free from their regular classes, students are enabled to take job shadowing experiences and community involvement activities.
  • enable students to work on projects together, and be out in the community to see what the rest of the world is doing!
  • all athletic events are scheduled for Fridays and Saturdays, meaning class is not interrupted by team/sporting schedules.

My response was YES!... this would provide the time-tabling space to implement something which has been a strongly held opinion of mine for several years now;
that no child should be able to graduate high school without completing at least one course module (25% of a credit course) through an eLearning environment ... even if it means they need show up in a learning lab or school library during that scheduled period in their timetable to access a pre-booked computer, with a teacher available nearby should they need the added support.

It's so much easier and friendlier to start the eLearning process among friends, and with the teacher available face2face if you just don't "get it".

In our post-secondary educational and our working lives, more and more of the options, the choices, and the interesting extras are showing up as online learning sessions. We do a real disservice to our graduating students if they exit grade 12 without experiencing and learning "how to learn" in an eLearning world.

This environmentally-driven move to a four day week in education provides a real opening for a blossoming of eLearning possibilities...
  • "Do Friday's classes from home",
  • or "pick up a credit that we can't offer you, from one of our affiliated school districts",
  • or "take an advanced credit from the local college or university"
...these now have a time space in which to operate.

Wonder how soon this scheduling will show up in Ontario?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Are we reduced to this?

Recently an editor from a big-name computer magazine wrote comment which disquieted me.
It's not that it was offensive or anything, but rather that it reflected a couple of disturbing attitudes I've noticed in education.

K.Turner (in the article 'Airing Out Our Bookmarks') said:
"At the moment, my Inspiration folder contains almost 40 sites, and
it's one of about 30 folders sitting in my bookmark bar -- each of
which serves a different purpose. And yet, even with all of this
ever-changing content sitting at my fingertips, there are still days
when browsing through my bookmarks leaves me bored."...

"Sometimes we all need a little help getting out of our Internet rut.
With that in mind, I recently asked my fellow editors to open
up their own bookmark collections and share their favorite sites."...

"We'd also like to hear from you. What hidden gems have you found
online? Are there sites you rely on..."

Three possible responses rolled through my head when I read this....

First thought - WOW!.. are we reduced to this?!... trolling the internet to find inspiration? How shallow! Get a life!
(... but I must confess to hearing this same attitude from students < /sigh>)

Second thought - Someone needs to teach Turner some solid searching skills and show how to find and use some of the real, meaty content on the web... there is SO much great content being built that it should be theoretically impossible to get into an "internet rut" and be bored.
(Yes, I know... my teacher voice is coming out here... but I truly hope someone near to Turner reads the article and shares this enlightening approach!)

Third thought - if Turner's life is indeed reduced to the skimming of 'net fun daily, then there are more effective and efficient ways to achieve the stated aim of the article....

It was this third thought which crystallized into my response e-mail to the article. (I thought that responding with either thoughts #1 or #2 would have been to either too belittling, or too preachy?)

Open E-mail to K.Turner:
Okay - I have to ask... why such a dated way of approaching this?
Surely you've heard of Delicious?
Instead of your current desktop build-a-bookmark-folder approach, why not move your bookmarks to Delicious, then convince your fellow editors to do likewise, and collaboratively work at solid tagging of all the *good* stuff into an organized Delicious bookmark collection. Finally - invite your readers to use similar tags and build a decent tag cloud of great, funny, inspirational, etc. sites.

Just think of how much further ahead you'd all be...
Next time you needed inspiration, you'd have not only your own gems to troll through, but also the gems from your buddies, and the ever-growing surprise gems others have nominated.

Get with web 2.0, eh?!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pondering the effects of digital culture on education

Exploring Web 2.0 in just under 5 minutes ( The machine is Us/Using Us ) ....was done as an amazing video back in early 2007 by Dr. Michael Wesch, who is dedicated to exploring and extending the possibilities of digital ethnography.

That video stands on its own a a brilliant piece of work... but the thought process continued ... and this prof has gone on to do fascinating exploration of digital natives, and the effects of digital culture on education.

One of his more recent vids, titled “An anthropological introduction to YouTube” was a Library of Congress presentation and while it's an hour long... it's worth sticking through to the end.

...and the hour long one that follows... "Presentation: A Portal to Media Literacy"
should be mandated viewing for all educators!

I want to go take his course!