Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Fail Whale

Does anyone else think the twitter fail whale is a hat-tip to Douglas Adams & HG2G?

people are worth it

I remember hearing someone say "the price you are willing to pay for something indicates how much you value the person who made it".  Ouch.  I think it was Rob Bell.

Watching this video from TED 2002 made me think a lot about how much we value people - what we think about those on the margins.  What Bill Strickland achieved up to that point was pretty awe-inspiring.

A great line: "you must be prepared to act on your dreams, just in case they do come true".  A tremendous story of how treating people with respect makes a real impact.  It's also a great story of how music can be such a vital part of living.  Some great sounds from Herbie Hancock too.

There's a ton of content on his website, but enjoy the inspiration here and reflect on hope.  I thank God for people of hope, for those who don't give up in the face of adversity - and for the hope I have, a that doesn't disappoint.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Visualisation - Crisis of Credit

Thanks to Citywire, I came across this great piece of visualisation today.  I'm not talking about the visualisation of seeing yourself winning a race or how to achieve success at work, but the kind that tells a story in a simple way.

This is complex topic, but I think I learned more about this topic from these few minutes of (well executed) video that I have from all the news reports I've read/seen/heard.

What you you think?

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Share the Joy

Today, Mrs theWeir and I took babyB to get her first pair of shoes.  She's a few weeks away from her first birthday, which will be great to celebrating.  After leaving the shop with the shoes on her feet, we spent a bit of time walking as a family - babyB holding us both by the hand and walking along in her first pair of shoes.  

What a joy!  It was great to have this moment together, to walk at a slow pace and simply enjoy being together.  A real moment of peace and joy in my heart.  I thanked God for those steps we took together.

So, it got me thinking.  Life is full of challenges, of highs and lows.  Everyday, there must be something that happens which also brings me joy.  So, why not share them?  With the micro-sharing tool of twitter, I can share the joy with you.  But the discipline will help me savour more moments of life.  And that can only be a good thing.

I'll be trying to do this everyday, and use the hash-tag #sharethejoy - if you are on twitter, why don't you join me and share the joy.

Let me know what you think - leave a comment or DM me on twitter.

Grace & Peace,


Saturday, 21 February 2009

"stop trying to hit me, and hit me"

One of the many memorable moments in The Matrix was where Morpheus says those words to Neo. It always felt to me like he was really saying was "stop thinking about and just do it".

As I listen to people's stories to help me get better at telling stories, I find a lot of layers, lots of complexity and plenty of intrigue. I guess that's life.

But why do we like the intricacy? What is it about the analysis of something that can lead to such in-activity? Many of us have categorised a film as no good because the story wasn't interesting enough. But why? Are we so cerebral in our culture that we NEED complexity. We almost crave it. I know I enjoy the challenge of re-arraning the complex into something I can follow.  But that's not to say that complex isn't right either.

Listening to the Passion Podcast yesterday and the Something Beautiful podcast this morning there were two strong examples of the simplicity of what Jesus seems to call the Church to be. To Love God and Love people. No matter the cost. Be it our time, money and even our intellect.

Spending time with a child exposes how complex we have made things. BabyB will play with simple things, enjoy the simplest of books or at times, just be held - and that's enough. Am I that siimple in my living of life for the Kingdom of God?

NOTE: I am not advocating that we disengage our thinking. We are made this way for a reason. However, let's revel in the childlike, simple faith that walks thru life hand-in-hand with the God who makes Himself known. Let's live in the tension between understanding and faith.

God, let me live my love out loud today.

Monday, 16 February 2009

G1 - User Review

It seems a large number of people love the iPhone 3G. I can understand that. I think it's pretty amazing too, and the impact of the iTunes App Store has been quite incredible.

However, even though I'm a card carrying Mac user at work and home, last year the cost of having an iPhone really put me off. Then up stepped the G1.

First things first, the G1 it's simply not as pretty as the iPhone. Few devices in this market are or will be. However, since getting the T-Mobile G1 in early December, I've not regretted it one bit.

Other than the form factor, what's the main difference between the devices? iPhone has a proprietary operating system (a version of Apple's excellent OS X) and G1 has the OSS Android, which Google play a big part in.

However, I can't really compare the two devices, as I've not lived with an iPhone, so I'll focus on the G1 for now. There are loads of things I really like about the G1 and a few that I don't, so let me explore those.

Things I like:

The screen is big, bright as I need it to be (mine is set at 15% and that's plenty for use inside and out. I might need to push 20% when the sun is out more!!)

Input sources - touch screen, roller-ball & keyboard. The screen responds well, okay it's only single touch but apparently that's a software issue, not hardware. Having fully spec’d keyboard is great - it took me about than 5 minutes to get used to it. The main challenge was telling my brain to stop thinking I was using a phone keypad (ie multiple characters per key & auto-correction). The roller-ball is pretty handy for navigation of applications and browser windows.

Connectivity - browsing the Internet is pretty rapid, with the Chrome-based browser being great at displaying content as quick as you need it to. Almost all pages I’ve viewed have displayed properly (the browser is based on Webkit, just like Apple’s Safari is).  It's not as fast as a hi-spec computer with a hard-wired 10Mbps connection would be, but this is a wireless device, so it's not going to be! The Wi-Fi connection is great - speeding up download speeds and providing connectivity options where you might not get 3G coverage (ie inside building). On the subject of coverage, T-mobile have surprised me with how good they have it (ahem) covered for 2G & 3G. A few blank spots, but in the main, no worries at all.

Email sync worked, out the box (I already used Gmail) and I added my .mac account with no hassles. At all. So, I can send/receive email on the move, and get push notification that's easily configurable too. Sorted.

Messaging - SMS & MMS both work great, threaded conversations making it easy to track who said away. It's a bit of a pain to add a new contact from a message (basically, get the number to the dialer application, use the menu option there to add the number to your contacts. Not ideal, but workable).

Applications - A lot is made of app stores for the various mobile platforms (see Microsoft & Palm joining the party recently). I have enjoyed the Android Market. There's been the usual nonsense apps like "Mr T" voice sampler and "Fart Generator", however really valuable apps like, erm Notepad that I'm writing this on, the PDF viewer, Google RSS Reader and applications that run your favorite social media platform locally and tell you when you have updates etc etc etc.

I think the power of the Android community really showed for me when a new camera application was published within a few weeks of the phone coming out. Basically driven by the poor quality of the out-the-box app. SnapPhoto has gone through maybe four releases and is now a stable, really usable app that has significantly improved the images I can get from the G1. Oh and the app was free....

The case of the phone has stood up well. There a bit of creak from the hinge mechanism that's a bit disappointing, however the back is spotless despite me keeping it in pockets with keys/change and it rattling about in my bag when cycling. Very impressive. The thin plastic screen protector is a bit scratched, but I can handle replacing that sometime in the next few months.

So what's not working for me then?

Well, out the box, messaging was a bit wonky. Threading was busted, but a hard-reset took care of that. Sorted.

I think an early issue for me has been that some of the basics weren't there. Stopwatch, Notepad and no games (but the latter is not that is a huge loss for me).  However, I got a solution for all of these on my first visit to the Android Market.

Now, four big issues are; the Dialer app; storage of apps; Flash and the Battery.

Dialer is a bit slow (it takes at least 6 seconds from me selecting a number for the call to start ringing. Not ideal for a phone. However, I don't use the device to phone anywhere as much as I use it to browse the Internet, write content and send/read messages.

Applications can only stored on the device, not on the memory card. So I've limited the apps I have so that the performance of the device isn't slowed down.  This is going to be addresses in the next release of Android (apparently known as Cupcake). However, thanks to the quick speed of download, you can add/remove apps on the fly as and when they are needed.

However, there've already been three updates to the OS since launching in October, these have made improvements to performance and features. There are a number of active communities online that are very useful for finding out how-to, when/what's happening and generally people sharing what they're doing with their G1. I'm not hugely active in these, but when I had the issue with Messaging threads, I found the solution here.

On the topic of apps, you rely on the developers releasing good quality code/builds that are well tested. But with rapid feedback through services like twitter, you can keep the feedback loop going nicely.

Despite there’s being an integrated YouTube player, the G1 will not play flash on a website.  No BBC iPlayer, no flash-based content whatsoever.  There’s some apps in the market that do a bit of a job, but basically, it’s not there.  Boo.

I guess that these few niggles are the price you pay for being part of an OSS project and being an early-adopter. Maybe...

But the battery life is poor.  A day of using it and the juice will be done.  Gone.  That means it needs charged every day.  Okay, charging takes an hour or so, but it’s still a bit rough.


I really enjoy the G1. Infact, I know I have become more efficient as a result of using it. I have been able to share links/learn from others and generally be more connected as a result. I think the biggest challenge with such a connected device (including the rest of the smart phone set) is being able filter the *noise* that is coming at you and knowing when to turn it off (or to remember to charge it so that decision isn’t taken out of your hands!).

And yes, this post was written on the G1...


There's a lot of noise in my head about "social media", "digital media", "new media", "web 2.0".  Mainly because I have been listening to and reading a fair amount about it.

I love the connectivity that the web-services like twitter, facebook, google reader bring.  I love that I can share life with people across the planet by publishing and (ahem) consuming content easily.  I love the shift - the tension of change - that is going on across multi-media platforms as the person-on-the-street can start to get involved in what is happening in places that seemed to be so far removed (remember when the BBC Home Service *was* the broadcast news? I don't, but if we look over the last sixty years, we can see how far we have come).  I love the cultural shift that is happening around us as we wrestle with what all these new web-services mean for how we interact.

So, last night I was doing some housework and getting things ready for coming to work while listening to Pods and Blogs from BBC Radio Five Live.  There was an interview with James Harkin that really got my attention.  At first I thought he was taking a position against the new stuff that I've just talked about, and he kept talking about *the book*, but then I realised that (from what I could hear) he was all for the new web-services, but that we stop being so caught up with the marketing of them, and spend a bit more time thinking about the cultural impact of what is going on.

I completely agree.  While I am spending an increasing part of my day-job looking into this stuff, I don't want to get caught up in the frenzy of "Social Media is the savour of the world" that some marketing professional's would have us believe.  Firstly, I believe there's only one saviour of the world and second, we all need a bit of balance to make sure we move forward on the narrow path to real progress.

Looks like there's another book on my reading list now!

Have a listen and let me know what you think.

Friday, 6 February 2009


Here's a question for you.

If, during the course of conversation, I was to talk about the people I work with as "McColleagues", what would you think of?

It seems that some people think that it's a comment on where I work, that it's like working at the purveyors of the Golden Arches. And that perhaps I'm having a go at the people I work with.

While I'm not a huge fan of Corporate McBurger, I'm really not having a go at anyone - honest! You see, I'm quoting various sketches by Steven Fry & Hugh Laurie from A Bit of Fry & Laurie. (interestingly, if you search for McColleague, four of the thirteen results on Google are for things I've written - wow!)

So perhaps it's a cultural thing that people make different associations. There's plenty people who *didn't* watch the televised genius of Msrs F&L. Also plenty people who hold no love for the McD brand or *some* of their employees.

Lesson for me yesterday - it's not what you say, it's what people hear that counts. I read Frank Luntz' book last year and agreed with a lot of the messages. The main theme being that you should make your messages as accessible as possible - but where do you draw the line, how far do you simplify it until you actually say nothing?

Not sure it's all 100% right, but what do you think?