Open Thinkering


Things I Learned This Week – #20

This weekend I’m in Edinburgh with my wife, Hannah, to celebrate 10 years of being together (hence this being a  bit shorter than usual!) I’ve learned a lot about many things over those years – but that’s a whole other post… :-p

I learned this week that no-one reads Twitter bios. Not really, anyway. It took over 5 days for someone to notice that I’d changed mine from something useful and descriptive to ‘Middle Eastern arms dealer’. 😉

Also, people are very helpful when you say you’re affiliated with JISC. Oh, and I’ve learned how to do the Super-Hula properly on Wii Fit, you’ll be pleased to find out… 😉


  • Have a guess what does? Handy! 😀
  • CommonCraft have produced a video explaining Augmented Reality. Shame you can’t embed it elsewhere… 🙁
  • I am genuinely more excited about this tablet computer than I am about the Apple iPad. Why? It’s got a Pixel Qi transreflective screen for a start…
  • “The future is here. It’s just unevenly distributed” William Gibson is famously quoted as saying. Robert Scoble witnessed the idea first-hand this week and blogged about it in a bit of a useful link-fest.
  • Need to add widgets and stuff to your website and don’t know how to code? try Stiqr!

Productivity & Inspiration

Do you often find ideas that change everything in a windowless conference room, with bottled water on the side table and a circle of critics and skeptics wearing suits looking at you as the clock ticks down to the 60 minutes allocated for this meeting?

If not, then why do you keep looking for them there?

The best ideas come out of the corner of our eye, the edge of our consciousness, in a flash. They are the result of misdirection and random collisions, not a grinding corporate onslaught. And yet we waste billions of dollars in time looking for them where they’re not.

A practical tip: buy a big box of real wooden blocks. Write a key factor/asset/strategy on each block in big letters. Play with the blocks. Build concrete things out of non-concrete concepts. Uninvite the devil’s advocate, since the devil doesn’t need one, he’s doing fine.

Have fun. Why not? It works.

Education & Academic

  • Doug Holton doesn’t think Jean Piaget, John Dewey, Maria Montessori, or Paulo Friere would get published in most academic journals today. He has a point.
  • 68% of students at Edinburgh University have contract mobile phones with 49% owning ‘smartphones’. Kind of dispels some myths. More here.

Data, Design & Infographics


  • Everyone likes free stuff. And most people like Twitter. So, Mashable’s post 5 Ways to Get Free Stuff On Twitter is a solid-gold winner… 😉
  • An unexpected, but fitting tribute, to our great, glorious, departed, unelected leader:


It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out, it’s the pebble in your shoe. (Muhammad Ali)

Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know. (Jim Rohn)

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is Youer than YOU! (Dr.Seuss)

Conflict cannot survive without your participation. (Wayne Dyer)

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. (Henry Ford)

Main image CC BY photojenni

4 thoughts on “Things I Learned This Week – #20

  1. When you next travel to the U.S., you’ll learn that people read your Twitter description.

    As for me, I tend to read them once, when we connect, to follow them to their website (where I subscribe to the RSS feed).

  2. Ph I have no idea – it’s not like Homeland Security is going to come out and say “it was your Twitter bio”. Also, I would imagine very few people actually put “Middle Eastern arms dealer” on their Twitter bio. You may be the first.

    But I do know Homeland Security scans social media and internet traffic in general and flags items based on keywords (and this post has probably made the list – hiya fellas!) and that they have a hairtrigger response that generates numerous false positives. So the speculation is not misplaced.

    These days, joking about being a “Middle Eastern arms dealer” online is like joking about carrying a bomb while going through airport security. There can be consequences. It’s not appropriate, it’s not right, but it’s real.

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