CC BY TheMarque
On a personal note, I re-learned this week just how hideous and un-user-friendly Microsoft Outlook is (I have to use it for work). The teacher in me was concerned about the normalization of extreme violence in the film Kick-Ass, but on the other hand I stopped worrying and learned to love closed digital ecosystems… :-p
- Need a quick way of sharing images, links, music, videos and files? You could do a whole lot worse than CloudApp (Mac OSX only)
- Want to write your own iPhone app? Want to use free multimedia guides? Check out these tutorials from Stanford [iTunesU link]
- After Google’s disastrous intoruction of Google Buzz, they’ve tried to make things right. Not least through this video aimed at teens showing them how to use the controls and settings to ensure their privacy online:
- Twitter have bought the company who make my iPhone Twitter client of choice, Tweetie. They’re going to ‘do a Google’ and make it available for free. Which is nice.
- Google have expanded the utility of their goo.gl link shortener service by making it easy to auto-generate QR codes. Simply append ‘.qr’ to the end of any goo.gl shortened link!
Productivity & Inspiration
- You may have noticed that there’s no index for Seth Godin’s excellent Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? How to Drive Your Career and Create a Remarkable Future. Fortunately, there’s a guy who likes both Godin and creating indices for free!
- If you want to improve your interactions with other people, you probably need to learn how to bring out the best in them.
- Cath Duncan has a great guest post on Zen Habits about how to make decisions when there’s too many variables to process. Turns out you should employ some right-brain thinking and embrace your emotions!
- In another post on Zen Habits, this time by Leo Babauta, the concept of ‘frictionless working’ is considered. It’s another way of thinking about how to become more productive.
- This list of 25 famous thinkers and their inspiring daily rituals is interesting. I like Grisham’s routine of getting up at 5am and writing until he’d cranked out a page.
Education & Academic
- Hans de Zwart is starting a reading group (with weekly Monday teleconference sessions) around the concept of serious games (and the book Learning in 3D: Adding a New Dimension to Enterprise Learning and Collaboration in particular). Unfortunately, 15.30 Amsterdam time makes it impossible for me to participate, but I’d encourage you to! 😀
- I’m soon going to be published in an academic journal for the first time with this book review of The Hyperlinked Society.
- According to the latest research, most kids will be using touchscreens by 2015 which, obviously, has massive implications for education.
- Anecdotal evidence suggests that dyslexics may find reading ebooks easier. I’m not dyslexic but certainly doing better with The Brothers Karamazov via Stanza on my iPhone than I’ve ever done with the physical version of the, admittedly, rather large tome. I’ve only ever got half-way through it before…
- Got questions about how the Apple iPad could be used in education? iPad4Edu is a good place to ask those questions!
Data, Design & Infographics
- Ever wondered about the relative sizes of the characters in Pixar animated films?
- Dribbble is ‘show and tell for designers in 120,000 pixels or less’
- The BBC has a new DataArt section where they ‘take data sources from the BBC and attempt to visualise them in ways which are both artistic and informative’. For example:
- Aza Raskin makes a great point about usability in The Seduction of Simple: Hidden Complexity using the example of a remote garage door opener with one button:
When your mental model doesn’t match the actual state of the system, a mode error occurs.
- Put your important stuff on the left-hand side of your website. Why? This study shows that users spend 69% of their viewing time looking at that side – even when their native language reads right-to-left!
- Not sure which political party to vote for in the upcoming UK General Election on 6 May? Try answering the questions at http://wsyvf.com/uk/. My results are above so I’ll probably vote Liberal Democrat (for the first time) given that the Greens aren’t capable of forming a majority government. I’m also extremely disillusioned with Labour, and really don’t rate the Conservatives’ education policies. Of course, given the first-past-the-post system all votes aren’t really equal; according to the Voter Power Index my vote in south-east Northumberland is effectively worth a mere 0.23 of a ‘real’ vote due to it being a safe Labour seat.
- Consumer goods fluctuate in price. Some months are better to buy certain things – use this Lifehacker guide to find out what’s best to buy in April!
- The ever-interesting Clay Shirky has a great piece on how monolithic companies just don’t ‘get’ new media in The Collapse of Complex Business Models.
- Ever wondered what music was included onboard the Voyager 1 and 2 space probes? Yeah, me too.
- It turns out that you can tell someone’s social class by the type of comedy they prefer. Allegedly. Perhaps.
Dreams permit each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives. (William Dement)
When the water reaches the upper level, follow the rats. (Claude Swanson)
Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers. (Voltaire)
People do not lack strength; they lack will. (Victor Hugo)
First, get the facts, then you can distort them at your leisure. (Mark Twain)