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TAG: Ideas

The Future Of Email Is NOT Twitter

Twitter Fail WhaleI just stumbled on this blog post (not using StumbleUpon, mind you) where the author posits that the future of email is Twitter. Well, a longer version of Twitter not limited to 140 characters. He or She of Virtual Pants goes on to say that no one wants to remember a fill email address and that an @username is much easier to remember. Since that blog doesn’t seem to offer a place to comment, I’ll do that here, thank you very much.

Windows 8 Hits RTM – What You Should Do

Windows8 LogoOn August 1, Microsoft announced that Windows 8 had been released to manufacturers (or RTM). While this is certainly not the biggest news to come along – it’s a good time to prepare for this new version of Windows.  Windows 8 is going to be a rather big shift for computing in general, so this milestone also serves as a warning for all users. In many respects, you might find yourself having no choice but to use it, so this is a good time to get ready.

Consulting: How Long Can You Keep Working?

Retirement-LaneRecently, I met a 70 year old former engineer, who by all accounts was in great shape for his age. I remember thinking I’d like to look that good at 70. He had been a mechanical engineer for more than forty years and recently left the industry he enjoyed to retire. These days, he tells me travel and leisure take up a good portion of his time. We struck up a conversation about length of work, working on what you love and why he left. This gave me great perspective on work, the future of the work we do, and how long I might continue to be an IT Guy in an industry filled with younger folks.

The Dark Side Of Craigslist And Kijiji Buying

Kijiji-FailWhile the benefits of buying products on Craigslist or Kijiji are many, including a lower price, speed of getting product, and often a larger selection than most places – the dangers are also there. Buying and selling online can be a serious minefield – that’s why I created what I called “Laws” for Buyers and Sellers when navigating this complicated jungle. But, the more you do it, the more likely you’ll come across someone who does something so unbelievable and crazy that you just have to tell the story.

As you’ll see, the dangers of people that will sell and handle these sales unscrupulously are so very real. After this experience, I think I’ve learned that that buying a product that you can’t fully test (at the moment of purchase) is a dangerous undertaking.

Why So Slow? Blame Jevons Paradox, Bufferbloat And Cruft

Snail
Source: Flickr

A recent article lead to me to read more about an interesting idea called Jevons Paradox. William Stanley Jevon postulated that “technological progress that increases the efficiency with which a resource is used tends to increase (rather than decrease) the rate of consumption of that resource”. This fundamental idea generally runs counter to the thought that, when you increase the efficiency of something by way of technological means, the consumption of that resource should go down. It is an idea that has often been overshadowed by more famous theories like “Moore’s Law“, but is no less fascinating when applying it to  computing and IT infrastructure.

Consulting: How Do You Stay Motivated?

Magic-Server-Pixie-DustIn business there are some things that you’ll find are absolutely true. You’ll have customers that won’t pay, you’ll struggle with cash flow, you’ll hate paperwork. But, one thing that no one will tell you about is how to stay motivated. Yes, there is this sort of power juice that everyone in business needs to keep at it on our worst days. It’s for those days your significant other gives you hell for not devoting time, those days that you’re out of the country and the customer walks away because you can’t take care of them. I want to let you in on a few secrets I’ve learned over the years to keep on keepin’ on.

It has been years too. I have been doing this in some capacity for more than twelve years. Along the way I have run in a great deal of situations that have tried my patience with the very idea of being in business. Through it all, somehow I have stayed the course and continued through the barriers and still get back to it every morning. I learned early on, one of the hardest things we’ll need to do is to start. There are those days you forget to call a customer back, the days that you fail to finish a job on time, the customers that treat you badly. The list of reasons NOT to do this is longer than a donkey’s years

Is Blogging Journalism?

Journalism-DefiniitionOn a basic level, I do think blogging is a journalistic endeavour. More so today than at any other time in history. After reading a piece by Peter Nowak wherein he says blogging cannot be journalism without an editor – I wanted to respond to that idea. It’s not a bad idea (heck, he may even be right) – but I disagree. And, while, I have never had an editor, I can certainly say I’ve seen enough of traditional journalism and just outright poorly written articles that seemly include the use of editors. If we consider the above definition, journalism can never be a blog. But, if we consider journalists as members of the Fourth Estate – this definition changes. Blogs with or without editors can claim to be journalists, and I’ll explain why.

Can An Apple iPhone Become A Daily-Use Device With Only Data?

No-Cell-ServiceIt’s something the phone companies don’t want to hear. Since none of them currently offer the ability to get a data-only plan – and many people still pay for service they barely use –  don’t expect that to change any time soon. I think it’s a compelling argument: if you can do everything you require without only data on a phone, why aren’t more people demanding it? So, I’m going to take an iPhone and give it only data access (by way of WiFi tethered off another phone) and see how many of the daily-use features will work reliably.

Journal-schism – The Dawn Of Blogalism

Paper-BagGood night, and good luck.” – Edward R. Murrow

That was the catchphrase of a great broadcaster. With that, Murrow became a legend and, I suspect, inspired a generation. Generations of journalists and bloggers are converging on something entirely new. This story is about how journalism has changed, how it is today something different. This is the story about how something I have resisted has come full circle and inhabited a part of my own life in ways I never thought possible. It’s also important to say, I’m no expert in journalism – my perspective is a unique one though. I grew up in the radio newsroom and I learned of journalists from the inside. Also, I am part of that “new” technology blogger-ati that cow-tows to no editorialist, that plays fast and loose with the truth, and is shifting what we see in news for better or worse. What we’re seeing here is, I think, a seismic shift in how things work.

That generation Murrow inspired likely included none other than my own father, Gene Costain. He spent much of his work-life as a radio newscaster for radio stations such as CKO in Toronto. I wish I had been paying more attention to what was going on around me too, but I generally had a distaste for this environment of reporters. My exposure to these newsrooms was fairly extensive as I would often tag along with him while his did his broadcast. Many of my memories of his times on-air in those small padded booths with microphones involved him reading word-for-word from AP wire papers or text copy that was ever so slightly altered from what the wire said. Today, I’m able to bring my view of past journalism and look at it through the eyes of today’s bloggers.