Open Thinkering


Things I Learned This Week – #16

On a personal note, I learned just how delicate the balance is that keeps our world ‘normal’ (think volcanic ash cloud) and that the gadgets which provide the most satisfaction are those where you identify a problem, research solutions, and then make your purchase. :-p


  • I found this presentation about perceptions of the role of technology in 2020 interesting – especially the shift over the last 10 years in attitudes to the internet ‘endangering reading’:

  • Stuart Ridout wrote a useful post about spotting email hoaxes this week after his mother-in-law got scammed. Even my wife had to come and ask me yesterday after a professional-looking email from HM Revenue & Customs claimed she was due a £1000 tax refund. Some might call this ’email literacy’. I wouldn’t be one of those people. I call it ‘digital common sense’. 😉
  • Not too sure whether to follow a given individual on Twitter? Try! (which says this about me – including the following Twitter follower map)

Productivity & Inspiration

  • My colleague @andystew shared this video with me this week. Sometimes, even if you’ve planned things up to the hilt, you just have to steam on in there. LLLLLLEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOYYYYYYYYYY JJJJJJJEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNNKKKKKKKIIIIINNNNNNNNSSSSS!!!!!

  • Football Manager came out for the iPhone this week. And I bought it. And still remained productive. Check. Me. Out. (context: I almost failed my GCSEs, A Levels and degree because of various iterations of this game – it’s that addictive…)
  • There’s some useful tips on happiness over at Dumb Little Man. Numbers 15 and 30 on the list are especially important!
  • Also at Dumb Little Man is this post on ‘time pockets’. I call it ‘parallel-tasking’ but whatever you call it, it’s worth learning how to do. :-p

Education & Academic

  • I needed some advice about online survey design and creation this week and found this information from Bristol University useful!
  • Will Richardson linked this week to a Cisco-sponsored report entitled Learning from the Extremes. Much as I found We-Think by co-author Charles Leadbeater a tortuous and platitude-riddled affair, I’m looking forward to going through the report in more detail. A great point is made on p.16 about it not being education we need to reform but society:

Spreading learning is not just a question of providing more teachers and schools. A parallel process of social and cultural change is critical, so that learning is taken more seriously at home and in society. An educated society does not just have an effective school system; it has a culture that values learning.

Consider how one rears children. They are not little machines waiting to be directed by higher headquarters. They are people learning how to be free and responsible citizens. Their future emerges; it is not designed.

Data, Design & Infographics

  • The Infographics Showcase aims to collect the best infographics and data visualizations on the web, including this motion graphic on wine-making:

(click on image to see full – very tall – version)


A big mark of privilege is that social and economic networks tend to facilitate goals, rather than block them. This makes it easier to ignore the social and economic networks around us; and it makes it easier for the privileged to imagine their accomplishments are the result of their own pure merit. Imagine two roads: one smooth, well-paved, well-maintained, the other lumpy and full of cracks and pits. Most people will drive over the smooth road without even noticing it – but that doesn’t mean that the smooth road hasn’t facilitated their driving. Nor does it mean that the person driving on the smooth road has more merit, as a driver, than someone stuck on pothole avenue.

  • I never knew robots could be so funny when folding towels
  • And for all of you who still call cars ‘horseless carriages’ and think there’s nothing better than a typewriter, is a way of having Twitter delivered to you as an online newspaper. 😉


I am always doing things I can’t do. That is how I get to do them. (Pablo Picasso)

Every choice you make has an end result. (Zig Ziglar)

Conflict cannot survive without your participation. (Wayne Dyer)

We need men who can dream of things that never were. (John F. Kennedy)

No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see. (Taoist Proverb)

Main image CC BY-NC-SA Erica_Marshall

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