Croeso - Welcome.
An old friend of mine once told me 'the norm is a condition of a man whose mediocrity in life is self evident', so I spend my life asking myself to address that statement. Whether I live up to his high standards are yet to be judged.
If you can be in Amsterdam in mid-May, have a look at BlogWalk Eleven for May 18th 2007 in Amsterdam. It's hosted by Lilia and Ton.
Focus: Digital Bohemians
Digital Bohemians are (relatively) young people, fully adapted to the digital lifestyle. They see a city as their home, and are connected in European and global networks. They flock to conferences as their meeting places. If we look at this (somewhat exaggerated) portrait of the avant garde of internet users, what can we say about things like:
The tools they use
How they learn and develop themselves
How they support a highly mobile life style
The organisational models and business models that fit these networked individuals
I attended BlogWalk 1.0 in Enschede so it will be fun to be back again
I'm quite into Portable Applications such as Portable Firefox, etc at the moment, and was wondering if there was a portable application (works on a USB stick which I can plug into any of my PCs and phone, which is an offline blog editor? Any suggestions
An now www.Zoundry.com which works a treat - thanks oh lazy web
Googling has not turned up much thus far
My current portable application set looks like this Firefox (with the following extensions) Spellbound Bloglines CoComment FasterFox Yahoo Mail notifier Googlepedia Tab Mix plus Great News RSS Reader Mac 7.0 Operating System (Just for nostalgia) VLC Media Player Portable Open Office
I'm a long term Bloglines fan but I was wondering if anyone can recommend a cool stand a lone RSS reader I can install on my PC, just playing with these things to keep up with developments but there seems so many - just wondering if anyone has any tips
Those of you who have been following Croeso for a while will have seen I've stopped blogging about KM stuff. This is because in Basell, the BASF Shell Joint Venture where I was Knowledge Manager, they explicitly let me do this to further our impressive KM work. Now I'm back in the main part of Shell again I've stopped for now, till we regain that explicit approval. We are working on that so keep your eyes on Croeso for when I start again. What is nice is I've been contacted recently by people who have followed my blog, who came across Croeso via a KM Master-class from Cibit. We worked with Cibit nearly ten years ago and they are very good people, so I was pleased they referred to this little space (albeit would have been nice to have been told they were doing that) . Now the people who contacted me are enquiring about the KM jobs Royal Dutch Shell have posted on their Careers site, so if anyone is interested in KM work in a very large company see here, and mention me as a referrer in your application form.
Well I've finally got some working software so I can blog from my Pocket PC. Www.randyrants.com PocketSharpMT.
Works well but occasionally forgets it's settings - which is probably a cofiguration thing on my side. Any way this was posted from the train. So I will blog now this way and increase my frequency.
Euan Semple , whom I had the pleasure to meet a couple of times, has left the BBC and started out as an independent. There are many a suit working in our field who wouldn't know one end of a CoP from another, I'm happy to say Euan not only gets it, but he has joined the few of us who have made it stick within large organisations. A small select group. His web site is here , I'd be more than delighted to recommend him to anyone wanting good solid advice in this field. And just to think the first time I visited him in the bowels of the BBC in DigiLab, I was wittering to him and his colleagues how North Sea engineers (plus others round the world) socialise with each other on how to run, fix and maintain their complex plumbing systems (sorry multi million dollar production platforms - ahem)
Now why would the BBC want to know about that I thought at the time!
find it increasingly paradoxical that the "grown up" world of suits and
offices and job titles is the one that encourages you to remain
childish. You are not really encouraged to say what you think, you pass
responsibility up to the grown ups above you and you are rarely able to
be held accountable for your decisions.
On the other hand in the supposedly childish online world of forums,
blogs and wikis you have to be prepared to say what you think, be
prepared to stand by it and jusfity it in a debate and if you have
fucked up your written thinking is there for all to see forever.
Now us bloggers are very used to receiving feeds and using them, but I was wondering recently.
What are the best strategies to find interesting feeds?
I do it by:
a) stumbling across them whilst browsing
b) seeing them referred to in blogs I already subscribe to
c)I have a few fixed searches in Technorati which I monitor
But where can I find more is what is intriguing me, say for my furniture making how can I find where all the interesting feeds are that may interest me, plus from technology point how can I monitor what is published to the web and to blogs for things that I may then start to use myself or think about using in work.
i.e Wired, Nature and Scientific America have RSS feeds but who else from those type of publications?
As my investigations dig up more techniques I'll capture them here.
Well I was demo ing blogs to a large audience and picked on a few of my favourites as we discussed different styles of blogging and the differences in the loggers themselves.
I opened up The Obvious, and Euan was showing the fullest range of his English . Not so much Fuckwittery but Fuck mastery!
I went very red, but it was a very nice ice breaker as we say. But the session went wonderfully well after that there was much merriment, laughter and the occasional expletives. I was talking to a large group of professional and volunteers in a drug rehab organisation of which I am involved.
Now I should have checked first, but blogs are live so you can not guarantee what will be on the screen. And usually I ask the bloggers if I use their stuff out of politeness, but as I intended to show Euan quoting other blogs only briefly, I had failed to do that, of course that wouldn't have stopped Euan nor should it have.
Now I'm with Euan and Billy Connolly on this, and believe it shows a greater mastery of the language if you know exactly when and how to swear, no other words would have worked for Euan and they concisely and precisely express the feeling and sentiment at that moment in time. Having just typed that I am instantly reminded of my dear mother who whilst agreeing Billy Connolly is a very funny and talented man, she did wish he did not swear so much!
Must be a Scottish thing I guess.
It takes a certain confidence to swear in public, doing it in front of good friends is fine, but here I hesitate before even typing the words. My dutch wife is very amused by this 'as it is only 4 letters ordered in a certain way', and 'it only means sex anyway' - she states in that pragmatic way the Dutch deal with life.
My 5yr old comes in from school saying Shit all the time, all kids do it here. (Grandma was not very pleased but soon laughed when Femke stated ''it's only poo grandma' (priceless))
Does anyone know of a web server RSS aggregator (like bloglines) we can install on our intranet. We are thinking about launching blogging but cannot add any software to the PCs and cannot use Internet based services.
Life is very hectic at the moment and has been for some time, the company where I work is being sold by the parent company and I was heavily involved in that process - due to my limited Arabic! - and now I'm due to return to said parent for a new role.
Hence whilst that maelstrom was erupting Croeso has become the quiet place in the middle.
I have been posting photos a lot though but not blogging about them , and my furniture making audience have been reacting on those, but the written word was subdued somewhat.
I'll get back to it soon enough though, especially as I'm just been mentioned by one of the good guys, which is always inspiring.
Just playing with NewsGator for Outlook, works pretty well, as well as being (just like it's on-line cousin) able to read secure rss feeds (userid password protected). Thios will solve our notification issues as it will appear in Outlook.
Hmm our little 'Dark Blog' experiement might just be about to take off.
I have found an RSS reader that can handle password protected secure RSS feeds. Newsgator online . So we are nearly there with our work blog experiment, all I need now is a notifier like bloglines have to prompt the users they have new things in the rss reader, this is important I feel for those new to blogs.
Typepad secure blogs work well, if we go ahead I guess they will host it for us.
Thanks to Martin Roel and Jack for coming back to me on this, beers are on me guys
Hmm I'm in Dordrecht and it's raining - I hope | make my tight connection at Sloterdijk I don't fancy standing out there for 30 minutes
One thing I've been doing recently is following some heavyweight bloggers, you know those who post tomes , know everyone in the blogoshpere and read 500 feeds daily, they are fascinating creatures and they really do live a great proportion of their time in their blogs (or through their blogs maybe a better description). It got me thinking if they are all one type, single, young ish, geeks, does any single race dominate, grads, massively connected (loads of mates) - Hey Howlin Wolf - yea man!, or Johnny no-mates, deeply frustrated would be Paperback writer as Lennon and McCartney put it. I'll scout around and see if there are any profiles - I really have no idea.
I did not finish my review of blogging in 2004 for the TI crew due to the Xmas break so here we are.
Finding your voice
This was not hard for me as I thought it was a little like an interactive diary, with an easy interface, mind you I started with blogger Pro and their support was terrible, their early interface a struggle for the only partially html literate, and when it seized (I changed my login details to contain a '@' so it matched my others) it took them 5 months to fix it for me - I mean I was paying for that, not any more! Type Pad Pro is a dream with help ticket resolution within 2 hours! Super.
Who am I talking to?
Well I think the answer to that is Willo the Wisp, St Elmo's Fire, The Elliad, i.e. a non describable yet real something, that omnipresent object on the front of the Presence Album by Led Zeppelin (best band in the world man!)you know what I mean, after all I am talking to you at this moment in time - right! (Hmm just got a beer of a nice French speaking girl - bendigedig!) Occasionally I blog to particular people but that is rare , I.e. my call for blog techy help yesterday was to Euan, Lilia, Suw, Ton and anyone else whose better at the tech side than me)
What to blog and what not to? This is an issue for me, as blogging came from Lilia who works with us on our KM R&D program, so I was interested if it is a KM tool, I am convinced it is, but my KM is about KM at work and so have the IP secrecy issue to deal with, we save masses of €'s Kming so why give it away. Anyway I've blogged about this previously. And I still like Rogier's analogy of standing in your underpants! Spot on RB!
Thinking out loud
Lilia and Peers find blogging helps them frame their arguments and help refine logic and ideas, this only partially works for me, I find this really works for me when I need to explain verbally concepts and react to people, the reaction via blogs is too asynchronous for me (slow), and the act of writing is not the same as speaking in this sense well at least not for me, Lilia feels differently. Hey Suzanne Vega and then Annie Briggs - what an old folk hippy I am!!
Seeing people link to your posts via their trackbacks or Technorati is super and very pleasing, albeit Technorati confuses the hell out of me I got, Lilia to show me how to add the RSS feed from Technorati to Bloglines. I should go back and explore the other useful functions
Are great but their integration is not there yet, when someone comments on my postings, and I get an email telling me I have a comment, I would like to reply via email to them and this lands in my blog as a reply to the comment as well as emailing the commenter, I think the comments section should be more like a little discussion board with threads and tied at the back end to emails and the blog automatically. But they are a good thing and you can overcome the above by replying in the comment but then cut n pasting it to email. Maybe this is a TypePad limitation ?. Comments spam is also a problem, but Google are on the offensive to help, so that may quell the problem for a while, after all I'm only 40 I don't need an Viagra just yet! Gee Supper's ready by Genesis I am definitely a hippy!
One thing I do a lot is post pictures of my furniture making activities, this receives lots of hits from my buddies on the UK Workshop Internet Discussion Forum and fellow furniture enthusiast in NL, but the picture section does not have a RSS feed which is a pity, and I do not want to clog my blog with it. TypePad have just launched some new multimedia templates which show recent photos on the front page better, but the templates don't seem to be editable, hence I cannot do that within my look and feel, hmm maybe I'll ask TypePad helpdesk about these issues
Hit maps - fascinating
I use the UK Open Universities service of hits maps where they geographically identify IP addresses and plot those on the world map, mine being a minor occasional blog does not have too many , but hey it's growing and I can even track people travelling (Aldo or Lilia may have logged in from Hawaii! recently) see right column low down. It's a bit scary seeing this map grow and grow, Lilia says she got scarred when Bloglines started to publish the number of subscribers you have, I feel a little of the same and my blog is hardly read compared to those power bloggers out there.
Improvements that would help me
Autotrackbacks, allow me to set in TypePad's interface when I type a particular word it automatically associates it with a URL set by me, i.e. every time I type Ton it adds the hyperlink to Interdependent Thoughts - I can always take it away if don't always want it, but I'm forever cut n pasting URL's, RSS feeds per category/channel, templates that don't require a programmers knowledge of the coding, and fully TypePad compatible off line web blog poster (w.blogger is pretty good but not 100%)
To sum up
So overall even though I have my Hema (Dutch version of M&S) underpants flapping in the wind, I'm very positive about finding my voice, talking to the Elliad and seeing who reads me. And see blogging as a long term project. Even the sad story of Waterstones sacking their employer recently because of slightly critical blog entries, does not deter me (All write to Waterstones stating how they won't get any more trade from you as I have done, I even enclosed a photo of our 3 x Bookcases that are 7 shelves each 1.2m wide and 2.5 meters high! Just to make my point. I am also very interested to see what the kids make of it in the years to come. This really can be a digital oral history we are all building here. And contrary to what Ton is feeling I do not feel blogging to be a lonely activity absolutely the opposite, it has very much widened my circle of friends, and here Euan is spot on with his BlogRoll as a village analogy
Ah another beer has arrived and Om Kalsum is half way through the 58 minute piece - Anta Oumri. Merci Bien
Well it's been a while since I blogged, the awful events that have happened in the Indian Ocean have been pre-occupying my mind and so my personal responses have been taking my creative energy.
Now to my question, I want to host a couple of blogs for work purposes but we want them to be private 'dark blogs' as Suw would call then and we want people from different companies to join in. So we cannot host them on our intranet, but internet hsoting is a of course public.
Now we can password protect blogs in the TypePad service - but that password protects the RSS feeds too and I don't think Bloglines or other aggregators can handle that.
Is that true?
I thought of a wiki but I think they are clumsy to use, we really want journal type blogs so these people can follow each others days at work.
So any suggestions on how to host 5 blogs, so no-one and no-thing (Google) can access them or see them apart from the five, but an externally hosted RSS aggregator (e.g BlogLines) can somehow read the feeds from them - via user-id passwords?
Help much appreciated and beers (or beer quivs) will be bought for all useful contributions.
Now this is an interesting way to profile people, and it certainly helps the time fly whilst I'm watching the christmas pudding steam for 8 hours! Femke had the shock of her life as she helped me make it when she sneaked a spoonful of the mixture. Now usually cake mixes taste quite nice but the rum, barley wine and guiness made her spat it our and declare bah - to everyone in the kitchen!
What also helps pass the time is listening to Arrow Classic Rock who have their voted for top 500 rock tracks running for a few days, now rock on this dutch station has a broad remit, it has included today the quo, the cure, simple minds, marc almond, genesis, bowie, zep, ac/dc, the manics (yes!), fleetwood mac, supertramp, david sanbourne just to name a few. I like this broad defenition and listening to the radio all day is great, especially through my new platronics 90 headset (for skyping) so not to distub colleagues/family.
One of the lesser known facts of Wales and the Welsh (or Welsh Welsh as Jan Morris calls them) is that Wales has the highest density of published poets per head in the world. The twist is that is not recognised as they all write in Welsh. Everyone does it, from postman to bank managers, dinner ladies to farmers, and a famous poet sells 200 to 500 copies of their book! They compete for the chair and the crown at the National Eisteddfod, one is a free form poetry prize the other is for poems that follow a strict form (similar to the Japanese tradition). Some of these poems are so moving and so stunningly clever upon reading them, I long for my homeland and the villages where my heart lies, and just need to be there with the views of the hills and the sea to cleanse and nurture my soul. Often they have moved me so much I book a flight home for the very next weekend, even from Houston!
I get a similar feeling with the blogs I follow albeit a little different. I'll try and explain how I read them and the possibilities I see.
I read my bloglines account straight after lunch, just after I've checked my portfolio, the news and the latest from my football team. I always spend a little time after lunch to ease my self in for the afternoons workload. And again in the evening on the sofa next to Anke.
Following blogs really gives me the feeling of knowing people and their inner thoughts. Some of the people I read I know, i.e Lilia - whom I know very well as I see her every other week as we work together, Euan a little less as I have met him some 3 or so times, Ian Scott etc. These people I know from one point of view and following their blogs you start to see their other sides which is quite fascinating and illuminating. I bumped into Chris Fox at KM Europe and he immediately mentioned my furniture making, he has seen that side of me, and it takes you aback, as no-one usually that remote from me usually knows. It makes meeting with these people much more interesting as I can chat about their blogged life as well as our professional interests.
There are also people I do not know who I read, some I came across via other bloggers, who quote their blogs (I'm not a great quoter whereas Euan quotes all the time - I think I'm too lazy), blogroll them or they have commented on Croeso. These people are also interesting as you build a relationship with them some are interactive but some you just read and don't react.
Rogiers great 'standing in your underpants' statement, is also felt in the reading world of blogs, there is one blog I follow written by a man who lost his sister nearly 2 years ago. He blogs with deep emotion on this tragic loss and how he is doing day to day. I feel terribly intrusive reading his blog, but as I've lost 2 people close to me I can empathise . I'm even feel I should not link to the blog here as that would be also too invasive and not correct, which is strange as he blogs to help him grieve and welcomes the comments from the blog followers. This guy is standing naked with all his emotions exposed to all. How very very brave he is, I applaud his painful progress.
The temporal effect is also interesting, following someone over time with regular or not so regular posts, it's like seeing a favourite village friend often as you walk to the the village shop and exchanging the latest news/gossip and chit chat. As Euan states the blogroll really is our village.
Little snippets of information often are much more easy to follow than reading a lot, less frequently. You can also ignore certain posts they blog from the titles and first few words in your RSS news aggregator, so you can skim read and dive in when it interests you. The nice things about RSS readers which really suits my busy life,is that it just builds up whilst your away or too busy, and it gives you a simple way to look at many posts. I certainly find after a week away from the Internet and my PC the Bloglines feeds have more posts than my in box, but Bloglines is much easier to read. I'm not sure if it is the fact that the blogs are of a lesser priority for me and so it seems easier to go through it as there is less pressure/ actions that are apparent in my in box, I'm not sure - let me reflect on that one a bit more.
Reading blogs is addictive and I pick up new ones every week and drop others, there are many more in my Bloglines than appear in my blogroll as bloglines gives you the chance to categorise them this way.
Blogging really sits in 2 camps for me, writing and reading. They are very much joined at the hip of course but still distinctly different. I will write on these 2 aspects as we review my blogging year, but firstly lets get the back end down.
Firstly so you know how I blog:
TypePad Pro user (ex Blogger Pro), Mob-blogging using Pocket Sharp MT, RSS reader - Bloglines, Technorati user, email subscription via Bloglet, O2 Pocket PC Phone/PDA, IBM Thinkpad with WiFi, ADSL 1MB Upload 512 Download, Blogroll managed by Bloglines, Comments enabled, trackbacks enabled, and a customised set of TypePad templates to get the look and feel I need, Kodak 6490 Camera, IESpell (as it does, English, Dutch and Cymreag [Welsh]) & various Internet cafes (normally airports)
Mostly in the evening sat on the sofa next to Anke (I'm at this very moment bored by a Japanese DVD rental - Dolls, so hence time to reach for the Thinkpad)
Well it's just fascinating, finding your voice, discovering the boundaries of your comfort zone, an on line journal, connecting to others - plus too many more (see future posts)
Just me (no guest authors/ co-authors) but as Euan writes I have my fellow villagers for company (my BlogRoll)
Carla and Lilia have asked me to reflect on blogging as apart of our R&D program, before I do that first an admission.
I intended to blog about the KM things we do, and I have done, to experiment to see if people could learn from me or even predict what I might do , just by being tuned into my blog. I'm afraid that idea ground to a halt due to all the IP rights and secrecy agreements I'm party too. I know I know, but I know the battles I can win with no bruising, and the battles I can win but become heavily bruised in the process. This fits in the latter and the bruising and the reputation might have put a stop to other interesting work I'm doing within KM in Shell and Basell, so I struggled and stopped. You see only putting part details down of our tricks and tips is just not good enough. One down side is. in my quest to get the company focused on blogging, they look at my blog and say what good is that, all kids, furniture making and music - and they are right. Blogging work related stuff is a step too far at the moment, but lets see what the future brings.
To sum it up I feel rather like Rogier Brusse who stated that "Blogging is like standing in your underpants". Rogier is a wise man and I like him a lot, and fully concur with his feelings with respect to work related issues.
But I will blog further on my feelings on blogging as they are very positive
Has it really been 2 months plus since I last blogged? Hmm now lets see Portugal 2004, Holiday, Work on the house, Olympics, family, these activities have been taking my spare time and as I blog from home no spare time was left.
But Now we are back on track and after a gentle reminder yesterday from Lilia and Carla
I'm back to it. Finding time for this is hard with so many other things on my plate never mind work, but that is also instructive for our KM research into blogs.
I have been reading blogs in that time thought so I went into input only mode I guess.
I'll start tomorrow my promise to start debating with myself the KM work we have been busy with for the last 10 years and those volunteers will receive a pre and post questionnaire to see if we transfer anything, hmm I'm intrigued to see what will happen
I usually work by trying something quickly, then see how it looks/goes/works then redesign it, and so on through the loop till I get things better. This means I'm a rather expensive furniture maker as I have only the design roughed out when I start to cut and shape the hardwood. As it is a hobby and as I plant 1000 trees for every one I use to make furniture I see little motivation to change.
I have just applied this modus operandi to the blog redesign, I realised now you do not always have the banner header visible, so I've added all these anchor links below each post (as small as possible) - that is much better.
One thing though I've just noticed is that all these changes are not visible via the archives view of the posts. I've asked for Brenna's help at TypePad on this one.
One of the things I do not like about weblogs is you need to scroll the screen to see all relevant sections, so in a simple attempt to minimise that I have amended Croeso's design
Now there is a list of most sections across the banner, which links to anchors at the appropriate sections.
To this end I've also enabled the recent comments and archiving by categories for Croeso.
Previously I did not add these as they were too large to be easily seen, now that has been partly alleviated by the new section links.
Good job I was building web pages in the days of hand coding html (prior to HotMetalPro and WebPen!) and I remembered the Anchor tag, and I also have been slowly and bravely amending the advanced templates from TypePad (Copyright & Google it initially and now the anchor tags in the 2 side bars).
The main purpose it to improve my own navigation around Croeso, and hey maybe it'll help someone else. Who knows.
Well it has been a long time, the excuses are racking up;
We've had the builders in (why oh why aren't they professional like the engineering contractors I'm used to handling), the PC died on me (I'm on nice new Toshiba portable), the garden needed lots of attention and work has been somewhat hectic. Anke and the kids are rightfully filling up the rest of the time I have.
I even had to skipped BlogWalk 2 in Nuremberg and I'm going to have to miss BlogTalk 2.0 (Sorry Lilia and Anjo), and with Euro 2004 just started and the delightful result for the French, blogging in the near future looks a little doubtful.
Ah well at least the English lost an with some panache
Janine Swaak and I just had a conversation on the train about when and what to blog and when and what not to blog. On one end of the scale is Lilia whose blogging is now a central core to her work, Lilia is happy, it seems, to think outloud on her blog, whereas Jannine thinks in the normal way , resolves her thoughts and occasionally blogs them. Jannine is more likely to blog a paper or a considered opinion. We see a similar parallel with our CoP leaders the most active and enthusiastic deliver their expert role via running a commmunity , whilst others run communities as an add on to their normal jobs (some cannot do their jobs via a community, whereas some people can change the way they work completely with this new process)
I'm not sure one model should dominate more than others but it is not ecapable those who fully embrace new working methods create greater benefit for themselves and their co collaborators. I always followed the discipline of if I introduce a new process to my life I always force myself to drop another, I guess I'm in the heart and soul camp.
Well wouldn't you know poor Owain was a bit sick last night so I had to dash home and help out, so the BlogTalks book remains in it's wrapper, and as my parents are arriving this evening for a visit I doubt if I'll get time to start before next weekend.
This shows work in progress as I attempt to copy David Savage's Love Chair IV design
I am making them from laminated London Plane, with a muliplex seat frame , sprung and then upholstered in leather.
Work started March 2005, again under the excellent guiding eyes of