Tag: DIDN

Twitter is useful

At the Technical Communications conference last year, I had a couple of discussions with people about Twitter. I was mostly trying to convince them of why I found it valuable, they were mostly of the opinion it was noise about what people had for lunch.

I’ve recently been reminded of the value Twitter can have, and again it’s thanks to a conference, specifically a conference I DIDN’T attend.

Like most people, budgets are limited when it comes to training and conferences, so there are limits to those I and the rest of my team can attend. The value gained from attending conferences is something we’ve proven in the past, but it doesn’t quite stretch to flying across the pond to conferences like WritersUA (yet).

Previously that would mean relying on, perhaps, someone writing up their thoughts and posting them to a mailing list, maybe the conference website would have some useful information, or maybe you’d happen to know someone who had attended and they’d share their findings with you.

Blogs came along and changed that, making it much easier for anyone to post their thoughts and for anyone to read them.

But the real value is starting to be realised through Twitter. The “back-channel” chatter is becoming a key part of technical conferences, allowing attendees to share their views in real-time (or very shortly after the fact) and those instant discussions and sharing of ideas gives a good indication of the mood of the attendees of the conference at the time. These can then be complimented by extended ‘thought-pieces’ on blogs and suchlike, whilst retaining a bit of the buzz of the conference in real-time.

There are downsides to this (a recent conference displayed the Twitter hashtag feed behind the presenter which was a bad idea) but they aren’t the fault of Twitter.

Beyond conferences, Twitter continues to be useful to me, largely through people sharing links to useful websites, resources and articles*, as well as the more direct interactions, Q&A style.

It’s a brave new world, this social media lark but it really is making a difference. Why not join in?

* I use a service called ReadTwit which monitors my Twitter account for any posted links, I can monitor this service via RSS so I never miss a link (warning, if you follow hundreds of people, you will be overwhelmed by the number of links!)

Ban the outcasts

George Bush has recently called for a ban on gay marriages. He said:

Ages of experience have taught us that the commitment of a husband and a wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society.

So what of the husband and wife who love each other but don’t have children? Are they not qualified to get married? Do children make a marriage? Will this legislation include a clause that states that married people must promote the welfare of children? And what the hell does that mean anyway?

You could easily write this off as just another way to win votes but the sentiment behind this last statement sickens me to the core. Apparently it’s no longer acceptable to say that, if re-elected, you’ll cut taxes, increase spending on schools or anything that may have an actually, positive, change to everyday life of everyday people. No, these days it seems to be fashionable to attack various groups of people, ostracizing and vilifying are the methods of choice.

What kind of way is that to run a country? What is the benefit to the great good?

Ohhh but of course that’s just naive little me, forgetting that politicians aren’t there to serve the people that elected them (or, perhaps DIDN’T elect them in this case). And “they” wonder why so many people can’t be bothered to vote. What’s the point? What say do we really have?

Now, I’m not suggesting for a minute that we all stop voting… ohh wait, maybe that’s the answer!! If everybody doesn’t vote, and I mean not one single vote, what happens?

Anyway as a heterosexual male, who is happily married and who is in a relationship that is BY CHOICE without children, where do we fit in? We aren’t… what was it… “promoting the welfare of children and the stability of society” so are we to be classed as outcasts as well?

Or is it ok for us because, you know, we’re not “one of them”.

And people wonder why we don’t have children, what kind of world is this to bring a child into?

Last night

Note: They always say you should self edit, and whilst I’m no good at that I think it’s only fair to forewarn you that what follows is self-indulgent waffling. You are hereby excused from reading this post. I don’t want to delete it but, seriously, scroll down a bit to the next one, or pick a link from the blogroll on the left.

Still reading? Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Aside from the usual beer consumption, a couple of Southern Comforts, and some dancing, Friday night was memorable indeed for many reasons, and only some can be revealed here (lest someone read about something that DIDN’T happen). One reason in particular is stuck in my head but it’ll require some consideration before I figure out all the bits especially as it consists (in part) of snippets of conversations in a nightclub, with only the occasional word heard (thinks: did she say “competition?”).

Anyway, that’s enough cryptically obfuscated nonsense – although it was necessary even if only to provide me with a reminder of a unique evening – the main reason we were all “partying like it’s 1999” was because Lesley had officially left the building. A lot of people had taken the afternoon off, but thankfully they weren’t TOO drunk by the time I got there. The number of colleagues and friends (and her cousin) a testament to how missed she will be from our, now much quieter, office.

Still I’ll see her in December, if not before, for the Foo Fighters concert. I DID say I’d gotten a ticket, didn’t I??

Louise was also out last night and, for once, she has spent the day nursing a hangover. This is a reversal of some magnitude as it’s normally me being the pathetic one, lying groaning on the sofa all day and… ok to be honest I suspect she’s either eaten something that has disagreed with her or, and this MAY be more likely, it’s related to the fact she no longer has a gall bladder? I have no medical basis for this (my Google-fu is failing me as well) but she certainly was more than just hungover. Believe me, I’ve plenty of experience in that area.

Spent the afternoon (come on, I didn’t get home until 4 am) catching up on the first three episodes of Lost. I’d seen the first one aff the internet and the next couple keep things moving along. Admittedly I do wonder where things are heading, but I guess there are still a lot of characters to be introduced and developed.

Right, I’ll stop waffling now as I’m certain this is just an avoidance technique on my own behalf to stop me thinking about last night in too much detail – although it’s something I’m prone to do, dissect, gather the pieces and solve the puzzle. What’s your favourite avoidance technique?

Grass cuttings

So I cut the front grass last night. I loathe our front garden. I mean real hatred. Not the nice new bit we did at the front but all that grass. All that undulating, uneven, moss-ridden, weed-bearing excuse for a lawn that, no matter which way I try, ends up causing the flymo to spew most of it’s contents all over the place, anywhere except into grass catching .. er .. bit.

I don’t actually mind CUTTING the grass, or edging the lawn, and I’m quite happy to do a wee bit of a tidy up afterwards but I spend more time brushing, raking, hoe-ing (?), and other -ing words than I do cutting and that just pisses me off.

We moved to a house, our first house, our first backdoor, our first garden, so we’d get some enjoyment out of it. I don’t. As, by the time I get home from work and have dinner, it’s about 7pm and the last thing I want to do is gardening. It’s a chore. Not an enjoyment. This usually means that if it is a nice weekend, we are out working in the garden. Not out sitting in the garden, reading books, sipping Pimms etc etc.

I think I’ll get the entire damn thing concreted. Or not.

It could be that I’m a bit grouchy because I didn’t get much sleep last night. THAT could be because the person lying next to me DIDN’T take my advice and ended up getting sunburn. THAT person now can’t sleep and she is keeping me awake too.

Bugger this. Time for a coffee and a think about moblogs. More on that later.

More money stuff

Well it’s payday. At last. Been a wee bit bad this month in some aspects (spent too much on… ohhh I dunno.. illuminated keyboards!) but overall it was a good month as we restructured things and are paying out less than we were before.

Mortgage wise we’ll be, paper-work pending, switching to a three year fixed rate again come end of August (5.74%). Whilst this doesn’t dramatically change the amount we pay out each month for our mortgage in comparison to what we pay now, only a difference of £25 or so, the difference over what we would be paying if we DIDN’T switch is substantial and somewhere around the £100 mark. Yikes!

And rounding off the financial theme, if you use internet banking, check the small print. Seemingly, for my bank at least (Bank of Scotland), you can earn a higher interest rate by depositing £1000 into your account. Depositing. Not leaving. So if you have the means, you can transfer £1000 from a savings account then 30 minutes later, transfer it back. Your current account will continue to earn interest at the higher amount despite the fact the funds have been removed! Seemingly this is seen as “playing the banks at their own game”. I’d prefer to call it “screwing the bastards for all they are worth as they’ve had plenty from me!”.

Anyhoo, enough seriousness (mature-ness?), it’s Friday! Which means two things.

Cakes at 11. Beer at 5!!