Earlier this evening I sat down to contemplate my 60 seconds for tomorrow morning’s BNI. Indeed, one of the comments I often get when inviting people along, or talking about the meetings, is “how on earth can you stand up and talk in front of all those people?”
It’s actually very easy, and was even easier to put into perspective when I received this message from Ellie, one of our clients…
As you are probably aware it is the 25th Anniversary of Red Nose Day. My wonderful friend Mary (who is severly sight impaired, completely blind in left eye and hardly any sight in right eye) has put herself forward to Stand Up if you Dare – Its You on 14th March at the Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells. This is being organised by Radio Kent/Sussex.
She will do a 2 minute Stand Up Comedy performance and this will be recorded and put onto radio at a later date. They will be filming it as well and some of it will be used on 15th March. They will also use some radio/tv recordings they have done of the participants over the next couple of weeks to give an idea of who is taking part.
To add to all that, on her sponsorship page, Mary says this:
All of my thanks has to go to Ellie, without whom there would not be such a brilliant response! Despite having a lung condition and clinical depression, she has selflessly gone out of her way to gather sponsorship, and deal with the technical side of publicising the entire event. All I have to do, is stand on a stage and talk.
So, here are two people who have more than enough going on in their lives, but still having the courage to go that bit further to raise money for a good cause.
Please, you may not know these people but you do know what they are raising money for, so please add some money to the pot?
And as for my 60 seconds? I think I’ll donate that to helping get this message out…
At about 930pm on Tuesday night, the peace and quiet of HDG Towers was shattered by the flap of the letterbox and a thud as a yellow book arrived.
Not too long ago, I had the (dubious) pleasure of taking two laptops apart for the same reason. On both of them I needed to replace the cooling fans.
The first was a joy. An old Acer laptop – flip it over, four screws and all the useful components are easily accessible via one panel.
The other, an HP, was an absolute nightmare to work on. Apart from removing the keyboard, screen, DVD drive, great chunks of the case had to be dismantled and the whole motherboard removed. All so it could be flipped over to reach the necessary components.
But it could have been even worse, I suppose. As laptops become smaller and sleeker, they become harder to repair, if not impossible. Perhaps the worst culprit of this is Apple, who now solder and glue some of their components in. Either that, or use their own proprietary screws.
There is a slow but constant shift towards disposable IT hardware, where things are either impossible or just plain uneconomical to repair.
I’m often asked how or why I “got into computers” and I usually answer, only half-jokingly, “I went to an all boys school and they were easier to talk to than girls.”
Back in that distant past, you didn’t just own a computer, you had to be “into it.” My first three computers (ZX81, BBC Model B, BBC Master 128) were pretty much useless if you didn’t know at least some code. If you weren’t willing to spend hours fighting a tape deck or poring over code listings in magazines then the computer was just an expensive ornament.
Even my first PC (and much to the horror of my Amiga and Archimedes owning peers, I was the first PC user at my school) needed a lot of coaxing to get it to do anything at all. If you were scared off by a black screen with a little A:\> prompt then you didn’t use a computer. Yes, it was an A in those days, we didn’t have hard drives.
We were mostly self-taught and a mixture of curiosity and the satisfaction of making these boxes beep and flash at our command, spawned a generation of geeks and coders. We may not have all learned machine code or assembly language, but we could knock out a great bit of BASIC, PASCAL or even C.
So almost 24 years to the day, I was a very proud 16 year-old to have a prize-winning letter printed in PC Plus magazine, especially as it sounded like I had out-geeked all the staff there when writing it.
And so it continued. In 1993, when the first web browser appeared, getting online was not just a case of plugging it in and going (actually, you don’t even need to plug anything in nowadays!) – it was a long process of setting up stacks and socks, whining modems and a fair amount of determination.
If you didn’t know how to set it up, you didn’t use it. If you were online you supported yourself, you knew how to fix everything that came your way.
Which is why I worry a little now. Pretty much every house has a PC in it and every child is using Word or Powerpoint to complete their homework.
But if the PC doesn’t work, most of them don’t have a clue of what to do.
Obviously, in my PC repair trade that’s not an entirely bad thing! But it is a concern when so few youngsters want to code and we see most of the skills we need in the future being provided by countries other than our own. It’s why we need organisations like Young Rewired State to encourage children who are interested in developing these skills.
The fact that 500 people around the country have signed up for this year’s Festival of Code workshops is great. It’s very sad that none of them are from the Canterbury area. So when Liz from the Whitstable Times telephoned to ask if I had any views on the issue, I was happy to climb onto my soapbox. How she got my rant into such a small box on page 6 of this week’s paper I do not know!
But it’s quite spooky that this latest appearance in print, calling out for support for young geeks, is almost 24 years to the day that this young geek first had his work printed.
I’ve met quite a few social media “experts” and suffered some of their presentations. Many of them like to show a motivational video to remind you just how important social media is. So when I saw this video, well, I just had to smile…
I’m a big fan of social media but to cut through the hype – the most important thing is good quality content, without that your message, however you broadcast it, is just noise.
It’s difficult to avoid the ads for BT Infinity at the moment. Those 3 rather mature undergrad students sharing a house and tales of broadband woe crop up everywhere.
Putting aside the purists’ argument that addiction can only really exist in the physical addiction to a chemical sense (I gave up arguing with him), the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale has been developed to see if you are hooked to Facebook.
According to the report by the University of Bergen there are six signs you need to look out for:
For each of the above signs, consider if you experience that sign very rarely, rarely, sometimes, often, and very often. If you answer “often” or “very often” for at least 4 of the signs, then you could have a Facebook addiction.
Personally, I refuse to take the test until there is a Facebook app for it.
In the meantime, if you think you can handle it, please go and like any or all of these Facebook pages…
…dare you like all 3?
Apparently, although no doubt this is not cast in stone, come June Whitstable will have their broadband connection upgraded. “Fibre to the Cabinet” will roll out, which means instead of dodgy old copper between your house and the exchange, most of the distance will be covered by fibre optic cable.
So the broadband connection between the exchange and the little green cabinet round the corner from you will get a lot better. And boy, do we need it…
I’ve been fiddling around with mobiles and SIMs while I upgrade to a Nokia Lumia 800 (more on that in another post, I suspect) and decided to run some speed tests. First of all, on my normal broadband connection:
Then, on my 3 mobile connection:
Yes, that’s a 40% increase using the mobile.
Roll on June, I cannot wait!
I saw this great post “How to Hack Your Facebook Profile Photo with Timeline” over on Gizmodo and had to have a go myself. The idea is, by playing around with your Profile and Cover pictures on Facebook, you can get a pretty nifty effect. I didn’t have the greatest of source pictures, but if you have a look at my Facebook profile you’ll get the gist.
If you’ve got Photoshop, head over to Nico’s Facebook Timeline Hack Template post to download the template.
Eurgh. Watch to the end for nature’s revenge…