Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Get real

One of the reasons I enjoy, participate & spend time with social networks is that I believe in transparency.

Do you?

I love sleek design and intellegent ways of putting content together that make it accurate & accessible. Not "dumbing down" - at least not at the expense of the truth.

"Nothing but a lot of talk and a badge" as Robert de Niro said as Al Capone in Brian de Palma's (truly excellent) The Untouchables. Now in that case, de Niro?Capone was wrong - but I guess we all like to put a bit of polish on so something appears better than it is.

I struggle with that. Do you?

I reckon (from experience of my own life) that honesty - and in particular integrity will always beat cheating. It might seem that shortcuts get people there faster, quicker, cheaper - but at what cost. I'm not saying they're always wrong, and certainly not saying they're not worthwhile. But we've all seen what happens to Biff Tannen in Back to the Future...

But will our journey of life mean as much if we spend too much time looking over our shoulders for what *might* catch us out? And as we live more online, our networks will either back us up, or knock us down.

Will my Facebook friends complain if I'm posting irrellevant content - or just plain lies? I'd hope so.

Will my Twitter followers decrease if I start spouting on about how great I am (cue sarcasm in the comments)? If I have any kind of listenership, then yes.

I love that the networks we're connected through are part of our digital identity. And they're becoming an increasingly important part too.

I dunno, but there's something in me that wants to connect with people (and organisations) that act with integrity. That probably means local organisations for now, but as the world becomes more digitally connected, that shift will happen to enable global connections of a more meaningful scale.

We can laugh together. This is funny.

We can cry together. This is awful.

We can take action together. Do this now.

What's your take?

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The future, eh?

The future. It's what you make it, right? If Doc Brown taught us anything, then it's that our future isn't set in stone. If Jesus taught us something about the future, it's that we don't need to worry about it.

I was reading this post on the PopTech blog earlier and found their list of what people said the future would be quite interesting. Have a read.

My favourites:

The future will be a remake… Didier Fiuza Faustino
The future is waiting – the future will be self-organized. Raqs Media Collective
The future will be whatever we make it. Jacque Fresco

What's your favourite?

Monday, 28 December 2009


Nearly two years ago, Mrs theWeir surprised me with the gift of an iPod. A very extravagent gift for my 29th Birthday.

A bit of context, if you'll permit me.

Since the demise of the cassette Walkman as a practical way to listen to music on the go, and a brief flirtation with Mini Disc (via a gift from work), I'd been off the mobile music for a fair few years. Other than having a car, but that was a bit big to carry around with me.

Back to the iPod. I'd been adding our CD collection to iTunes pretty steadily since we'd gotten the Powerbook two years earlier. But picked up the pace a bit when the iPod arrived.

Then, after a couple of months (okay, six) when listening to a radio programme, I heard them advertising some newfangled "podcast" thing. Wait. That sounded familiar. Oh yeah, I've seen that mentioned on iTunes.

So, I had a quick look for some podcasts on the iTunes store. And I was hooked.

I have about 20 podcasts I try to listen to regularly - from faith (the stories on something beautiful) to fun (the stories on the Moth).

What makes this medium so effective for me is the authenticity. That you get to hear the real people talking about what's important to them, about what they know. Sharing their views.

There's been one risk of all this pod-tastic content. Like being bombarded with flour bombs, there comes a time when you can't move. Fuelling the thirst for more & more content sucks time - and brain power - and leaving less time for being still. For personal reflection. In my case - for being quiet and waiting on God.

Despite this challenge, I can honestly say that I have learned so much from all the podcast content I've listened too that I have grown. I have learned. I have come closer to God through people's stories.

I'm still refining my top five recommended podcasts, will post them later this week.

In the meantime, it's the time of year when lists come out on the TV, so what are are your favourite podcasts?

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

In case we hadn't noticed, it's Christmas Eve Eve.

One of my favourite things about Christmas is the chance to take some time off work. Especially before the new year starts.

I guess like a lot of people, I can take a few days to transition from work- to holiday-mode.

I think that ever since I started full-time employment, I've worked until 24 December, sometimes taking the days in-between Christmas & New Year off too. Earth shattering news, I'm sure you'll agree.

This year, thanks to the way the dates fell, things getting sorted at work and the graciousness of McColleagues, I finished work on 18 December.

That's meant I had a few days to get my head together before Christmas. And it seems to have made us more organised too. Which is most excellent.

Hope you have a great Christmas.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

it's nice to be reminded how small & important you are

I'm on holiday from work. This is a good thing. however can occasionally lead to moments of getting caught up in my own self-importance.

I was catching up on some reading earlier (while listening to babyB bounce around in her cot...) and was struck by how small this planet is.

How minute.

How microscopic.

When you see it in context.

I guess the same could be said for traffic jams, delayed post, rude people and other things that ruffle our feathers from time to time.

We are not the centre of the universe. But we are all loved like we were all that mattered. And that's a very encouraging thought.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


Originally uploaded by weir thru a lens

I enjoy the City of Edinburgh, but this shoddy attempt at Christmas decoration far from meets the advertising on the banner

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Can you hold music?

Isn't it funny what listening to hold music does to us.

We can get impatient - the pace at which this happens depends on the reason we were put on hold. Having worked in the front line of a customer service department for 7 years, I've not got a problem with being put on hold. Far from it.

I found myself on hold, all in all for about 15 minutes last night. There was music playing while on hold. It was romantic-period classical music, I think. Nearing the end of this time on hold, I found my mind drifting to the episode of The West Wing where Josh is trying to call someone (I can't remember who, and not had a chance to watch episode 14 of season 2 to find out) and ends up in "some kind of hellish hold world of holding".

To me it's such a memorable portrayal of that character's exasperation - and our impatience. I was chuckling at my own trip into the stereotypical response - then suddenly I heard what the flute player was doing. I head the effort that had gone in to making the sounds I was listening to. I heard the breath that flute player was pushing into that piece of metal with such skill that the notes were dancing out.

At that moment, I really didn't mind being on hold. I was caught by what I was hearing.

How often is music (be it on hold or in person) limited to a nice, useful, background noise? There was so much effort put into developing the craft of playing the instruments as the passion of people's lives had been poured into it. And I could listen to it nonchelantly as though it was hardly even there. Perhaps it's because the atypical hold music is bland?

All of this reminded me of the clips in The Matrix where you see the *code* that sits behind the construct. That there's depth to our lives we can miss by not being fully present.

Sure we can't give attention to all that's going on around us, but I'm confident there's times where I can be giving my attention to far fewer things, and as a result paying more quality attention...

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

I see people

Catching up on my Google Reader feeds earlier, I read what Garr Reynolds' short piece on "we notice faces". It reminded me of something that's gone 'round my head for a few years.

I'm sure we've often had moments of thinking "do I know you...?" when we genuinely don't. For the more socially awkward, this can lead to embarrassing moments of "you look just like my last best friend" or "you look just like my old boss. I couldn't stand them".

They say you can tell a lot about someone from their face. I for one have been prone to more than the occasional bit of facial leakage. You know, where you inadvertently pull a face when speaking with someone - or doing something. However, I have often wondered if you can tell which strand of the human genome - not that I *really* know what that means - from the features on someone's face.

I remember faces, I guess because I try and remember what things look like. Don't we all. It seems like I remember features of faces too though - and not the extra-ordinary ones, but the regular, ordinary - just-like-me faces.

Sometimes you see the similarities between people - they might come from different parts of the country, or the world, but there might be a defining feature that looks familiar. The way their eyes sit on their face, the way their nose hangs like a piping bag that's lost some of it's icing.

I would love to have some pictures to share to demonstrate this, but I've found it tricky to ask people if they'd mind taking part in this wee un-scientific experiment.

Next time you are near a lot of people, look at their faces and see if you can spot the bits of their faces that are similar. Or maybe I'm just a wack-job!

Why? Well, if we're all connected, then it's nice to be reminded of that now and again.

Just don't stare to hard, or you might end up with a few extra features on your own face!

Monday, 7 December 2009

The Reason

"The reason they want you to fit in... is that once you do, then they can ignore you."

Thanks, Seth

Friday, 4 December 2009


In all the listening, reading and participating in *ahem* social networking, one thing screams to me as being really important.


In fact, it's important that we live life with integrity - which I think means they are authentic.

It would so easy for us to create an online persona, something that isn't us, that mis-represents who we are. It's called being double-minded. And I don't think that does anyone any favours.

I get quickly fed up with unreality. With false. With forced.

Now, I'm not saying we can't benefit from things that are un-real, or that there's no value in perceiving more than just our present circumstances - but there's so much to be said for acknowledging that we are where we are. We are here because of the journey and what happens next needs to be real.

So this little cartoon from spleenal reminded me that in everything I am - how I am as a husband, father & son, in the things I do at work and in my interactions with you, that it has to be authentic. Or it's just breath in the face of a force 10 gale.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

a few of my favourite things

As a growing-up person, I loved Lego. I still do.

Infact, if I had time, it's not impossible to imagine that I'd want to have fun making stuff with Lego.

8 years ago, I watched The Matrix for the first time. As a small-time fan of Sci-fi, and a big-time fan of great stories, and the retelling of familiar stories, I quite simply loved it.

Imagine my delight when I came across

Check it out: