Sunday, December 21, 2014

How to make a book

For those of us who still have a love affair with old books (even if most of the ones I buy now are via my Kindle) this is a wonderful video. I don't know anything about it's origins, but it's available via a Facebook page version, without any music. And it was posted to YouTube, with some music added. Take your pick.

I've got a lot of those old, leather-covered books in my collection, but I never really thought about what goes into putting them together. It's fascinating to watch a craftsman put it all together.

You can see the original post on Facebook (sans music) via the link below.



And I've embedded the YouTube version (to which someone added music) below.



Saturday, September 06, 2014

Scott Rosenburg reflects on the "web"

Scott Rosenberg is a web veteran and a long-time blogger - heck, he really did write the book about it. In this essay, he covers a lot of ground talking about the act of creation - and how the web has profoundly affected our relation to works of art. Here's the opening...
Lou Reed cast a stony stare over a hotel ballroom packed with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and geeks. It was November 8, 2006, the peak of the last Web bubble — remember? the littler one? the one between the monster bubble that ended in a big mess in 2000 and the bubble we’re in now that will end in another big mess one of these days? 
That one, right: the bubble we called “Web 2.0.” That was also the name of the conference that Lou Reed was very visibly getting pissed off at — because, as he stood there and played his guitar and sang his songs, the geeks and VCs and founders weren’t listening. They were talking. 
Reed was not known for suffering fools or turning the other cheek; he was famously prickly. (One live track from 1978 captures a rant he directed from the stage at a critic: “What does Robert Christgau do in bed? I mean, is he a toe fucker?”) So maybe the whole idea of having him serve as the after-dinner entertainment for a Web-industry conference hadn’t been so bright. But here we were! 
Reed stopped playing. An AOL logo haloed his leathery face. While one of his two accompanying bassists vamped, he began barking at the crowd. 
“You got 20 minutes. You wanna talk through it, you can talk through it. Or I can turn the sound up and hurt you.”
And it just keeps on going. It's a terrific long read. I highly recommend it.
Doing is knowing: "Sweet Jane" and the Web

You should also check out his blog at Wordyard.com

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Roger Angell talks about being an old man

When a story starts like this, you just know you're going to like it:

Check me out. The top two knuckles of my left hand look as if I’d been worked over by the K.G.B. No, it’s more as if I’d been a catcher for the Hall of Fame pitcher Candy Cummings, the inventor of the curveball, who retired from the game in 1877. To put this another way, if I pointed that hand at you like a pistol and fired at your nose, the bullet would nail you in the left knee. Arthritis.
The New Yorker's Roger Angell weaves a wonderful tale about reaching 93 years old. Poignant, insightful and hilarious.

Read it for yourself. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Kathryn Calder at TEDxVictoria 2013

I was in the audience when Kathryn performed at TEDx Victoria last fall.  She has a great story to tell and is a talented musician. She's also a good friend of Victoria Hospice. Listen to her story and enjoy the music. And watch for the movie coming about her mother's struggle with ALS.




Thursday, January 30, 2014

How to download video's in Safari 6

In case you are ever trying to download a YouTube clip for a presentation or something like that, you might want to keep this bit of advice around. This used to be a lot easier with older versions of Safari. But I just did it for a presentation and this method worked for me.

I found the following method to work for various web sites and is pretty similar to those mentioned above. This is using Safari Version 7.0.1 (9537.73.11).

1. Safari->Preferences->Advanced, ensure Show Develop menu in menu bar is checked.
2. Open the web page that contains the movie you want to save locally and start it playing.
3. Develop->Show Page Resources
4. Click on the page showing the movie and refresh it, you should see the Web Inspector window in the background also refresh.
5. Click on the Web Inspector window. There will now be an “Other” folder.
6. Open the “Other” folder and there will be one or more URLs that include the movie field extension somewhere within. e.g. “.mp4”,”.flv” etc..
7. Click in the link you think represents the movie.
8. The right panel of the web inspector will show the “Full URL”.
9. Select it from “http” to the end and copy.
10. Open a new browser window and pass into the URL. The movie should start playing there.
11. You should be able to right click on this movie and select “Download As…”
12. Once it starts to download (you can see progress in the download button), you can close the other windows.

You would need to check the TOS of the web site you are saving the downloaded movie from to ensure that you are not in someway violating the agreement you made to use the site.


Saturday, June 08, 2013

To This Day

"To This Day" is a video which was released in early 2013. It is a remarkable animation of a spoken word poem written and performed by Shane Koyczan. It was launched as part of an anti-bullying campaign. It was remarkable then and it's still remarkable. So I thought it might be a good idea to post it again, for those who hadn't come across it before, and again, for those who have.

It's still good no matter how many times you see it.

To This Day from To This Day on Vimeo.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Rethinking the Bucket List: Kathleen Taylor at TEDx TampaBay

I like to tell people that I work at Hospice because wonderful things happen there every day. Hard as that might be for some people to accept, it's the truth.

My sister-in-law, Trish, who is a real TED fan, came across this wonderful TED Talk from Tampa, by Kathleen Taylor. I'm glad Trish sent it along because its all about the stories that we hear at Hospice every day. And it confirms that wonderful things happen.

Rethinking the Bucket List: Kathleen Taylor at TEDx TampaBay (The Future of Stories) - YouTube: ""

(Via @pjmcadie.)

Friday, March 01, 2013

No more remote work at Yahoo

As a long-time advocate of remote work, both as a participant and as a manager, I was going to sit down and write a piece about what a misguided decision Yahoo has made to ban the practice. But then I saw this piece from Jason Fried the Signal vs Noise blog.

I think David nailed this one.

No more remote work at Yahoo:

Employees at Yahoo have had a rough decade. The company has been drifting aimlessly with little vision, an endless parade of CEOs, and a flatlined stock price. That’s not exactly a conducive environment to be inspired and motivated within, let alone do the stellar work that Yahoo needs to pull out of the rut.

So it’s no wonder that they’ve been suffering from severe brain drain for a long time. But Yahoo is a big company, and there are surely still lots of talented people who don’t want to leave (or can’t)—waiting for better times. Unfortunately, it appears they’ll be kept waiting, if Yahoo’s announcement of “no more remote work” is anything to go by:

Beginning in June, we’re asking all employees with work-from-home arrangements to work in Yahoo! offices. If this impacts you, your management has already been in touch with next steps. And, for the rest of us who occasionally have to stay home for the cable guy, please use your best judgment in the spirit of collaboration. Being a Yahoo isn’t just about your day-to-day job, it is about the interactions and experiences that are only possible in our offices.

The leadership vacuum at Yahoo is not going to be filled by executive decrees issued on such flimsy foundations. Imagine you’re a remote worker at Yahoo and you read that. Hell, imagine you’re any kind of worker at Yahoo and you read that. Are you going to be filled with go-getter spirit and leap to the opportunity to make Yahoo more than just “your day-to-day job”? Of course not, you’re going to be angry at such a callous edict, declared without your consultation.

What this reveals more than anything is that Yahoo management doesn’t have a clue as to who’s actually productive and who’s not. In their blindness they’re reaching for the lowest form of control a manager can assert: Ensuring butts in seats for eight hours between 9-5+. Though while they can make people come to the office under the threat of termination, they most certainly cannot make those same people motivated to do great work.

Great work simply doesn’t happen in environments with so little trust. Revoking the “yard time privileges” like this reeks of suspicions that go far beyond just people with remote work arrangements. Read this line one more time: “please use your best judgment in the spirit of collaboration”. When management has to lay it on so thick that they don’t trust you with an afternoon at home waiting for the cable guy without a stern “please think of the company”, you know something is horribly broken.

The real message is that teams and their managers can’t be trusted to construct the most productive environments on their own. They are so mistrusted, in fact, that a “zero tolerance” policy is needed to ensure their compliance. No exceptions!

Who cares if Jack is the best member of the team but has to live in Iowa because his doctor wife got placement at a hospital there? Or if Jill simply can’t deal with an hour-long commute anymore and wants to spend more time with the kids? With a zero tolerance policy, there’s simply no flexibility to bend for the best of the team, and thus the company. The result is a net loss.

Now imagine all the people who actually have a choice of where they want to work. Does management really think that the best Yahoo employees currently on remote work arrangements will simply buckle and cave? Why on earth would they do that given the wonderful alternatives available to remote workers today? No, they’re simply going to leave, and only those without options will be left behind (and resentful).

Yahoo already isn’t at the top of any “most desirable places to work” list. A decade of neglect and mounting bureaucracy has ensured that. Further limiting the talent pool Yahoo has to draw from to those willing to relocate to Sunnyvale, or another physical office, is the last thing the company needs.

Companies like Google and Apple can get away with more restrictive employment policies because they’re at the top of their game and highly desirable places to work. Many people are willing to give up the improvements that remote work can bring to their life to be part of that. Yahoo just isn’t there. It’s in no position of strength to be playing hardball with existing and future employees.

The superficial trinkets, like a free phone or free meals at the cubicle compound, are simply not going to serve as adequate passage for a zero tolerance work place that’s still fumbling its way out of a haze of disillusion. In fact, it cheapens those initiatives when the things that really matter, like the power of teams to recruit and retain the best, are curbed.

The timing of all this couldn’t be worse either. Remote work is on a rapid ascent, and not just among hot tech companies like Github, Automattic, or thousands of others. It’s been taking hold in supposedly stodgy big companies like Intel, IBM, Accenture, and many others. Worse than simply being late to that party is to try to turn back the clock and bait’n’switch your existing workforce.

Yahoo deserves better than this. It’s one of the classic brands of the internet and it’s painful to see it continue its missteps, especially on something so fool-hearted as trusting its employees and attracting the best talent.

But if recent history is any guide, I guess Yahoos without options to leave can console themselves with the fact that the average CEO term in the past six years has been a mere one year. So the odds are good that a new boss will be in place within long.


Interested in learning more about remote work? Checkout our upcoming book REMOTE: Office Not Required. It details all our lessons from more than a decade working remotely along with those from the growing list of other companies reaping the same rewards.

(Via Signal vs. Noise)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bradley Manning: the face of heroism | Glenn Greenwald

Bradley Manning talked for the first time about why he leaked top-secret information to Wikileaks. It's a fascinating and inspiring story, believe it or not. Glenn Greenwald's column today explains why Manning is a hero, and deserves to be mentioned with Daniel Ellsberg:

This was all achieved because a then-22-year-old Army Private knowingly risked his liberty in order to inform the world about what he learned. He endured treatment which the top UN torture investigator deemed "cruel and inhuman", and he now faces decades in prison if not life. He knew exactly what he was risking, what he was likely subjecting himself to. But he made the choice to do it anyway because of the good he believed he could achieve, because of the evil that he believed needed urgently to be exposed and combated, and because of his conviction that only leaks enable the public to learn the truth about the bad acts their governments are doing in secret.

Heroism is a slippery and ambiguous concept. But whatever it means, it is embodied by Bradley Manning and the acts which he unflinchingly acknowledged today he chose to undertake. The combination of extreme government secrecy, a supine media (see the prior two columns), and a disgracefully subservient judiciary means that the only way we really learn about what our government does is when the Daniel Ellsbergs - and Bradley Mannings - of the world risk their own personal interest and liberty to alert us. Daniel Ellberg is now widely viewed as heroic and noble, and Bradley Manning (as Ellsberg himself has repeatedly said) merits that praise and gratitude every bit as much.

Bradley Manning: the face of heroism | Glenn Greenwald | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk