Part library, part journal, all me

Little sparkles from social media

Last night I congratulated a Facebook friend who announced that they were expecting their first baby in a few months. This particular connection worked with me on a project team for a few months several years back when Facebook was still a new thing and we were early adopters. Earlier this week I sat beside another acquaintance from my web/social media networks who was blossoming with her second baby due in October. Both events for me were special moments of joy – the most recent in a long list.

It is easy to join in the chorus of lament about the superficiality of social media where many of our connections can fit into this category of people who have passed through our lives for very short moments in time. Twenty years ago the connection would have disappeared through lack of contact. Which is why I paused and reflected after posting my congratulations (which she “liked”)

I live in a world which is overwhelmed with busyness and noise – the pace of  my life frequently reaches the frenetic. Another friend of mine (a theologian) once told me about some research which suggested we achieve in a week a level of work that our ancestors would achieve  in a month. I admit to sometimes feeling wistful for a time when my children were young and my life revolved around a simpler type of productivity – even though I seriously believe that my effectiveness as a project manager is built not on PRINCE2 but on my ability to organise a five year old’s birthday party.

New life and the creative power which a woman’s body is blessed with in sustaining it and delivering it into the world is such an earth shattering magical thing. Even if the connection is tenuous  it still sparks in me a moment of pure joy, as if in that moment ,time and space collapse and it is as much about re-living my own moments of expectation as rejoicing in another’s. In the river of information flowing through my life – those sparkles in the water that for a moment sharpen my focus on people and life are precious and help me keep my balance. And for that I am grateful.

 

 

 

Fresh beginnings

mount cook lilyAs I frequently check out the site link of new followers on twitter, it has been bothering me for a while that this blog has been neglected for so long. It is not unique in this respect, I have another blog and two sites I look after for my mother which have been equally ignored.

Anyway – this weekend I started a bit of a spring clean of my technology, starting with a rebuild of my Macbook which was sending me pathetic messages that my start up disk was full. As the family IT service desk I seem to spend so much time tweaking other people’s tech that by the time it comes to my own… plus I have so many “toys” that even though my Mac is my favourite I could just switch to another.

As a bit of a celebration/reward for successfully (although not without some heart stopping moments) rebuilding my Mac and installing Mavericks and Office 365, I renewed my Elegant Themes subscription and figured out how to manage the new admin panel my hosting company has implemented. So here is an interim step, freshened up look and hopefully a fresh start to my original plan almost two years ago to blog on a more regular basis!

 

 

Moving on

Note: This post was written over four months – started end of November, picked up again in December and finished in February

It has been a long time since I posted to this blog – not so much for lack of an anything to say but lack of time, and more often than not, the energy to say it. Looking back I think I lost my way a bit this year (2012). I got headed off into a bit of cul de sac career wise that in retrospect was a “not quite” that the universe rescued me from. On the other hand I suspect it worked quite well as a holding pattern to get me where I am right now and also helped me clarify my goals and what was important in quite significant ways.

One of the things I didn’t have time to write about was my visits to Christchurch and how I felt about the changes there. Tonight as I sit in the dying minutes of a Canterbury summer twilight I am feeling like I have some words to describe how it feels to look out over a skyline empty of buildings.

I went to boarding school and university in Christchurch – it was the base city for our family while living in Arthur’s Pass, I was married here, my first child was born here. After the better part of thirty years away though the city had changed. During my most recent visits before the earthquakes I remember feeling somewhat disconnected – as if it was no longer the Christchurch I knew, it no longer felt like home. I know I wasn’t the only person who felt like that.

And then there were the earthquakes, the ongoing concern for family and friends, the anxious trolling of the news feeds to assess the destruction. As part of our changing pathway my husband is one of the Monday to Friday residents and we have an apartment only a block or so away from the edge of the red zone.

Part 2

I started this post when I was in Christchurch the weekend before Christmas and am finishing it having now spent two weeks here.

When I started it I was going to say (and still will) that the deconstruction of the city centre has unravelled layers of the city of memories – only a couple of buildings built since I left are still standing and they are slated for demolition in the New Year. One of them, Forsyth Barr,  was where several of my husband’s colleagues were trapped in the February 22 earthquake when the stairwells collapsed.  So the new buildings that made Christchurch different have gone, but so are the buildings that made Christchurch home.

Cities are living things that change all the time – favorite places are taken over by time. As my husband and another friend who works here point out, parts of Wellington and the Hutt they remember as children and teenagers have changed and gone. What is so difficult about central Christchurch is that EVERYTHING is gone. Westpac on Hereford St where my Dad organised my first bank account when I went to boarding school and where I got my first cheque book, the BNZ on the square where I used to visit my aunt, our favorite cafes with their memories of special treat family meetings or teen romance.

One of my deepest regrets is that my last memory of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is Mark Moesbergen’s funeral and I had never managed in the intervening 12 years to just go and sit in the Cathedral with the late summer afternoon sun streaming in and feel the sense of safe haven wrap around me. One of my best memories of Mark was of him just sitting alongside me  at that time of day in the Cathedral while I struggled with a knotty teenage grief – thinking back that was probably one of the times I learnt about how just powerful being alongside without words can be.

The railway station is  a gapping hole, the old Lichfield’s building (then Millers, then the City Council) where my grandma used to work is boarded up and sad, the only remaining detail of Cashel Mall is Ballantynes. I have many friends still struggling with house re-builds or major repairs that seem to be continually contested. I find being able to see into the back of the Christchurch Cathedral as you walk along Gloucester St almost worse that seeing the damage to the front – it highlights how many buildings have been demolished.

Part 3 (third visit February)

I had a point when I started this which I have taken a long time to get too. Difficult as this city landscape is at the moment, fresh as the grief still feels with each new demolition, as unresolved as many issues are – underneath I can see a hopeful future. That the Christchurch to come will allow for the multiple versions of what Christchurch has been to the many generations who have lived here  before, and supports new possibilities for the generations to come. All of us have lost much of that city of memories but the foundations of that city are still there – parks and streets, and a small remanent of the past. The fact that despite the loss of landmarks and negotiating the red zone I can still find my way around without a map is a tiny indicator of that.

On Monday I had dinner at the Backbencher in Wellington which has just re-opened after two fires. They have chosen not to re-create it exactly but have maintained elements that connect it to what it was but allow for a new future. Do we like it? We are not sure. Will we keep going there? Of course – the food is still good, the location is still central to where we work, and we have years of memories attached. As a I paid the bill I commented to the friend who was with me that maybe this would be  what a built anew Christchurch will be like -the same but different, a fresh canvas that allows for new memories to overlay the shadows of the past.

 

 

 

Questions of complexity

I have to say I’m loving Flipboard on my ipad after one of the guys at work showed it to me – particularly the way it handles the twitter feed.

Last weekend was one of technical disasters when I did a firmware upgrade on my Macbook Pro that didn’t complete properly. After the simple stuff didn’t work I finally utilisied sufficient patience and care to access the utilities folder and went through the process of checking the hard drive (wasn’t that), re-installing Lion which kept erroring at the very and finally restoring from back up – which worked. The only option after that was a factory settings reset. It was a bit of a lesson though – my back up was five months old. I didn’t loose that much but it was very stressful, despite enjoying my new little ASUS ultrabook, I realised how attached I still am to my Mac!

It has also given me a new appreciation for Google Docs. I’m actually constructing a report in sections on there now to keep it safe.

One of the things I have been thinking about a lot this week is the impact of complexity on usability for online resources. Our expectations of rapid response when we click on a link or save something are increasingly formed by a combination of high speed connection and simple apps that only do a limited range of tasks well. So websites offering more complex tools seem slow and laggy when they process information.  Related to this is the user expecting that complexity to be available on a tablet which despite it’s shiny new toy interface hasn’t actually got the guts/processing power of a standard laptop/desktop.

In some ways we are own worst enemy in that creating some tools (like this blog) is so simple and kind of magical that we expect everything will be when what we want to achieve with design and formula is not easy – I have seen complex excel spreadsheets slow down as they churn the calculations, and we can be reasonable tolerant of that, but put a web interface on it (which adds layers of tasks for the computer to do) particularly one that presents the data in a novel way and we wonder why it is taking a while.

And I don’t think there is an easy answer…

 

To start the week

A great blog post from Reading Room UK (via @sarah_vick) about five web design myths. Obviously I like it because  I so strongly agree with 1,2 and 5. Probably the most surprising one is 3 about text re-size and there is food for thought in 4 about content linking.

The other article I meant to blog about last week was this article from BBC UK titled Colour: Different points of hue. One of the areas I’m curious about is the degree to which our cultural background affects how we perceive web design and information architecture. That includes the structure of language and how users respond to imagery and text. Many of us have read information about different cultural perceptions of  colour. What is startling about this article is that our English understanding of a colour definition might not be the same as someone from another country’s definition.

I have come across this before in real life with my husband’s colour naming which while in English is based on his parents’ Dutch classification system (we have a totally different understanding of purple) but hadn’t realised that this wasn’t just a result of second language English but could be even more culturally determined.  I’m not sure that I’ll end up being more patient with him but it might remind be to give him an actual example when I want something in a particular shade! Which might also be a good idea with clients as well.

 

A slightly random selection

I’m really intrigued by a link Karen shared on twitter for a site called Eat Your Books which let’s you search all the cookbooks you own. It is such a tempting proposition and I have so many cookbooks (which I do use from time to time!) that I am seriously considering paying out the $25 annual subscription without even experimenting with the trial.

After a freezing cold day yesterday and chilly morning I have to say that I wasn’t feeling the love for Wellington today. And then a little miracle happened. I went to have my haircut at the hands of my amazing stylist RJ at Calibre (those who know me well know that I used to time my visits back to get my haircut) and ended up chatting with Craig, Suzanne and RJ about how I wanted to browse the Neil Dawson  exhibition at Paige Blackie gallery as I’d been walking past as they installed it. And somehow when I walked outside, the sculptures outside the InterContential were lit up and the spotlights on the Old Bank – it had gone from freezing to winter cool and Wellington was magical again – I was glad to be home.

On the more techie side of the equation Craig at work shared this link earlier in the week to LeanPub a site that lets you self publish your own digital books. I’m  increasingly curious about how the world of books can potentially change when authors can control their own distribution. I have to say the one issue that needs to be resolved with some of the self published books I’ve read is that good editing is in short supply!

Just to prove my point

One of the issues of digital citizenship in education is about helping kids to understand about the potential longevity of information about themselves they post online. Jeremy Keith would argue that the internet being forever is bollucks.

As if to prove that point before I left work yesterday I did a search on Cuisine for one of my favorite recipes so I could pick up the ingredients on the way home. I tried this search last year in  Australia when I realised I had lost the original, with no success, largely because I tried to use the ingredient advanced search. One of my NZ friends proved that simplicity is the way to go by finding it by just putting in the name in the recipe search, which is what I did yesterday. No joy – after several variations I gave up. The internet is not forever. Fortunately I did have a printed copy at home.  However next time I find a recipe online I’m also going to use that handy print to pdf function which means I have an electronic copy as well (note to self: remember to back up)

 

In terms of what I found that was interesting online yesterday – I came across a blog by Marco Zehe. The  post was about not hiding tags properly so they were still readable by screen readers even though they weren’t visible to sighted users. Marco works as a developer at Mozilla and just happens to be totally blind. His blog offers some great insights into accessibility issues including a great post about social media platforms .  A lot of the content is on the technical side for me but still very readable.

The other blog post I caught up with yesterday was the story of David Haywood moving his red-zoned house from Avonside to Dunsandel. David’s descriptions of life post earthquake and the difficult decisions they have had to make  about their home has been compelling reading over the last year or so but I had lost track a little. Now they are on the move and I can only wish them all the best for their new location (and pray the weather holds over the weekend)

 

 

 

 

A fresh start

Several years ago I started a couple of blogs, one of which I posted to fairly regularly. I created it as a bit of a journal of some changes I was making in my life – mainly to slow down and take the time to create a creative space.  I reduced my working week to four days and from there to working from home part time contracting.

Then in June 2010 we moved to Brisbane and I ended up working full time again. I didn’t particularly mind that, but I found that while there were still topics I wanted to write about, many of the posts never got much beyond drafts.

Now I’m/we’re  back in New Zealand again. While I’m not sure I have that much more time to write, a couple of things I heard at Webstock highlighted for me the value of maybe (a) starting to blog again and (b) doing it properly on my own domain.

Jeremy Keith talking about  being wary of expecting online services to be there forever can take the credit for the second decision – I may have to browse through the programme again to be reminded who commented on great bloggers being reduced to mediocre tweeters. (ETA I’m pretty sure it was Scott Hanselman It’s not what you read its what you ignore) I certainly don’t expect I’ll ever be able to claim a great blog,  but I do work in a collaborative online environment. That comment highlighted an issue I was beginning to experience  of not being able to find the clever new tool or interesting research I saw tweeted/facebooked a couple of weeks ago – and at times having to do a quick re-read to recall why it had seemed important and/or useful at the time.

This blog wont be totally techie, I still have an eclectic life!  But it will be a bit of a storehouse of what is useful to me and may be useful to you.

 

Little sparkles from social media

Last night I congratulated a Facebook friend who announced that they were expecting their first baby in a few months. This particular connection worked with me on a project team for a few months several years back when Facebook was still a new thing and we were early adopters. Earlier this week I sat beside another acquaintance from my web/social media networks who was blossoming with her second baby due in October. Both events for me were special moments of joy – the most recent in a long list.

It is easy to join in the chorus of lament about the superficiality of social media where many of our connections can fit into this category of people who have passed through our lives for very short moments in time. Twenty years ago the connection would have disappeared through lack of contact. Which is why I paused and reflected after posting my congratulations (which she “liked”)

I live in a world which is overwhelmed with busyness and noise – the pace of  my life frequently reaches the frenetic. Another friend of mine (a theologian) once told me about some research which suggested we achieve in a week a level of work that our ancestors would achieve  in a month. I admit to sometimes feeling wistful for a time when my children were young and my life revolved around a simpler type of productivity – even though I seriously believe that my effectiveness as a project manager is built not on PRINCE2 but on my ability to organise a five year old’s birthday party.

New life and the creative power which a woman’s body is blessed with in sustaining it and delivering it into the world is such an earth shattering magical thing. Even if the connection is tenuous  it still sparks in me a moment of pure joy, as if in that moment ,time and space collapse and it is as much about re-living my own moments of expectation as rejoicing in another’s. In the river of information flowing through my life – those sparkles in the water that for a moment sharpen my focus on people and life are precious and help me keep my balance. And for that I am grateful.

 

 

 

Fresh beginnings

mount cook lilyAs I frequently check out the site link of new followers on twitter, it has been bothering me for a while that this blog has been neglected for so long. It is not unique in this respect, I have another blog and two sites I look after for my mother which have been equally ignored.

Anyway – this weekend I started a bit of a spring clean of my technology, starting with a rebuild of my Macbook which was sending me pathetic messages that my start up disk was full. As the family IT service desk I seem to spend so much time tweaking other people’s tech that by the time it comes to my own… plus I have so many “toys” that even though my Mac is my favourite I could just switch to another.

As a bit of a celebration/reward for successfully (although not without some heart stopping moments) rebuilding my Mac and installing Mavericks and Office 365, I renewed my Elegant Themes subscription and figured out how to manage the new admin panel my hosting company has implemented. So here is an interim step, freshened up look and hopefully a fresh start to my original plan almost two years ago to blog on a more regular basis!

 

 

Moving on

Note: This post was written over four months – started end of November, picked up again in December and finished in February

It has been a long time since I posted to this blog – not so much for lack of an anything to say but lack of time, and more often than not, the energy to say it. Looking back I think I lost my way a bit this year (2012). I got headed off into a bit of cul de sac career wise that in retrospect was a “not quite” that the universe rescued me from. On the other hand I suspect it worked quite well as a holding pattern to get me where I am right now and also helped me clarify my goals and what was important in quite significant ways.

One of the things I didn’t have time to write about was my visits to Christchurch and how I felt about the changes there. Tonight as I sit in the dying minutes of a Canterbury summer twilight I am feeling like I have some words to describe how it feels to look out over a skyline empty of buildings.

I went to boarding school and university in Christchurch – it was the base city for our family while living in Arthur’s Pass, I was married here, my first child was born here. After the better part of thirty years away though the city had changed. During my most recent visits before the earthquakes I remember feeling somewhat disconnected – as if it was no longer the Christchurch I knew, it no longer felt like home. I know I wasn’t the only person who felt like that.

And then there were the earthquakes, the ongoing concern for family and friends, the anxious trolling of the news feeds to assess the destruction. As part of our changing pathway my husband is one of the Monday to Friday residents and we have an apartment only a block or so away from the edge of the red zone.

Part 2

I started this post when I was in Christchurch the weekend before Christmas and am finishing it having now spent two weeks here.

When I started it I was going to say (and still will) that the deconstruction of the city centre has unravelled layers of the city of memories – only a couple of buildings built since I left are still standing and they are slated for demolition in the New Year. One of them, Forsyth Barr,  was where several of my husband’s colleagues were trapped in the February 22 earthquake when the stairwells collapsed.  So the new buildings that made Christchurch different have gone, but so are the buildings that made Christchurch home.

Cities are living things that change all the time – favorite places are taken over by time. As my husband and another friend who works here point out, parts of Wellington and the Hutt they remember as children and teenagers have changed and gone. What is so difficult about central Christchurch is that EVERYTHING is gone. Westpac on Hereford St where my Dad organised my first bank account when I went to boarding school and where I got my first cheque book, the BNZ on the square where I used to visit my aunt, our favorite cafes with their memories of special treat family meetings or teen romance.

One of my deepest regrets is that my last memory of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is Mark Moesbergen’s funeral and I had never managed in the intervening 12 years to just go and sit in the Cathedral with the late summer afternoon sun streaming in and feel the sense of safe haven wrap around me. One of my best memories of Mark was of him just sitting alongside me  at that time of day in the Cathedral while I struggled with a knotty teenage grief – thinking back that was probably one of the times I learnt about how just powerful being alongside without words can be.

The railway station is  a gapping hole, the old Lichfield’s building (then Millers, then the City Council) where my grandma used to work is boarded up and sad, the only remaining detail of Cashel Mall is Ballantynes. I have many friends still struggling with house re-builds or major repairs that seem to be continually contested. I find being able to see into the back of the Christchurch Cathedral as you walk along Gloucester St almost worse that seeing the damage to the front – it highlights how many buildings have been demolished.

Part 3 (third visit February)

I had a point when I started this which I have taken a long time to get too. Difficult as this city landscape is at the moment, fresh as the grief still feels with each new demolition, as unresolved as many issues are – underneath I can see a hopeful future. That the Christchurch to come will allow for the multiple versions of what Christchurch has been to the many generations who have lived here  before, and supports new possibilities for the generations to come. All of us have lost much of that city of memories but the foundations of that city are still there – parks and streets, and a small remanent of the past. The fact that despite the loss of landmarks and negotiating the red zone I can still find my way around without a map is a tiny indicator of that.

On Monday I had dinner at the Backbencher in Wellington which has just re-opened after two fires. They have chosen not to re-create it exactly but have maintained elements that connect it to what it was but allow for a new future. Do we like it? We are not sure. Will we keep going there? Of course – the food is still good, the location is still central to where we work, and we have years of memories attached. As a I paid the bill I commented to the friend who was with me that maybe this would be  what a built anew Christchurch will be like -the same but different, a fresh canvas that allows for new memories to overlay the shadows of the past.

 

 

 

Questions of complexity

I have to say I’m loving Flipboard on my ipad after one of the guys at work showed it to me – particularly the way it handles the twitter feed.

Last weekend was one of technical disasters when I did a firmware upgrade on my Macbook Pro that didn’t complete properly. After the simple stuff didn’t work I finally utilisied sufficient patience and care to access the utilities folder and went through the process of checking the hard drive (wasn’t that), re-installing Lion which kept erroring at the very and finally restoring from back up – which worked. The only option after that was a factory settings reset. It was a bit of a lesson though – my back up was five months old. I didn’t loose that much but it was very stressful, despite enjoying my new little ASUS ultrabook, I realised how attached I still am to my Mac!

It has also given me a new appreciation for Google Docs. I’m actually constructing a report in sections on there now to keep it safe.

One of the things I have been thinking about a lot this week is the impact of complexity on usability for online resources. Our expectations of rapid response when we click on a link or save something are increasingly formed by a combination of high speed connection and simple apps that only do a limited range of tasks well. So websites offering more complex tools seem slow and laggy when they process information.  Related to this is the user expecting that complexity to be available on a tablet which despite it’s shiny new toy interface hasn’t actually got the guts/processing power of a standard laptop/desktop.

In some ways we are own worst enemy in that creating some tools (like this blog) is so simple and kind of magical that we expect everything will be when what we want to achieve with design and formula is not easy – I have seen complex excel spreadsheets slow down as they churn the calculations, and we can be reasonable tolerant of that, but put a web interface on it (which adds layers of tasks for the computer to do) particularly one that presents the data in a novel way and we wonder why it is taking a while.

And I don’t think there is an easy answer…

 

To start the week

A great blog post from Reading Room UK (via @sarah_vick) about five web design myths. Obviously I like it because  I so strongly agree with 1,2 and 5. Probably the most surprising one is 3 about text re-size and there is food for thought in 4 about content linking.

The other article I meant to blog about last week was this article from BBC UK titled Colour: Different points of hue. One of the areas I’m curious about is the degree to which our cultural background affects how we perceive web design and information architecture. That includes the structure of language and how users respond to imagery and text. Many of us have read information about different cultural perceptions of  colour. What is startling about this article is that our English understanding of a colour definition might not be the same as someone from another country’s definition.

I have come across this before in real life with my husband’s colour naming which while in English is based on his parents’ Dutch classification system (we have a totally different understanding of purple) but hadn’t realised that this wasn’t just a result of second language English but could be even more culturally determined.  I’m not sure that I’ll end up being more patient with him but it might remind be to give him an actual example when I want something in a particular shade! Which might also be a good idea with clients as well.

 

A slightly random selection

I’m really intrigued by a link Karen shared on twitter for a site called Eat Your Books which let’s you search all the cookbooks you own. It is such a tempting proposition and I have so many cookbooks (which I do use from time to time!) that I am seriously considering paying out the $25 annual subscription without even experimenting with the trial.

After a freezing cold day yesterday and chilly morning I have to say that I wasn’t feeling the love for Wellington today. And then a little miracle happened. I went to have my haircut at the hands of my amazing stylist RJ at Calibre (those who know me well know that I used to time my visits back to get my haircut) and ended up chatting with Craig, Suzanne and RJ about how I wanted to browse the Neil Dawson  exhibition at Paige Blackie gallery as I’d been walking past as they installed it. And somehow when I walked outside, the sculptures outside the InterContential were lit up and the spotlights on the Old Bank – it had gone from freezing to winter cool and Wellington was magical again – I was glad to be home.

On the more techie side of the equation Craig at work shared this link earlier in the week to LeanPub a site that lets you self publish your own digital books. I’m  increasingly curious about how the world of books can potentially change when authors can control their own distribution. I have to say the one issue that needs to be resolved with some of the self published books I’ve read is that good editing is in short supply!

Just to prove my point

One of the issues of digital citizenship in education is about helping kids to understand about the potential longevity of information about themselves they post online. Jeremy Keith would argue that the internet being forever is bollucks.

As if to prove that point before I left work yesterday I did a search on Cuisine for one of my favorite recipes so I could pick up the ingredients on the way home. I tried this search last year in  Australia when I realised I had lost the original, with no success, largely because I tried to use the ingredient advanced search. One of my NZ friends proved that simplicity is the way to go by finding it by just putting in the name in the recipe search, which is what I did yesterday. No joy – after several variations I gave up. The internet is not forever. Fortunately I did have a printed copy at home.  However next time I find a recipe online I’m also going to use that handy print to pdf function which means I have an electronic copy as well (note to self: remember to back up)

 

In terms of what I found that was interesting online yesterday – I came across a blog by Marco Zehe. The  post was about not hiding tags properly so they were still readable by screen readers even though they weren’t visible to sighted users. Marco works as a developer at Mozilla and just happens to be totally blind. His blog offers some great insights into accessibility issues including a great post about social media platforms .  A lot of the content is on the technical side for me but still very readable.

The other blog post I caught up with yesterday was the story of David Haywood moving his red-zoned house from Avonside to Dunsandel. David’s descriptions of life post earthquake and the difficult decisions they have had to make  about their home has been compelling reading over the last year or so but I had lost track a little. Now they are on the move and I can only wish them all the best for their new location (and pray the weather holds over the weekend)

 

 

 

 

A fresh start

Several years ago I started a couple of blogs, one of which I posted to fairly regularly. I created it as a bit of a journal of some changes I was making in my life – mainly to slow down and take the time to create a creative space.  I reduced my working week to four days and from there to working from home part time contracting.

Then in June 2010 we moved to Brisbane and I ended up working full time again. I didn’t particularly mind that, but I found that while there were still topics I wanted to write about, many of the posts never got much beyond drafts.

Now I’m/we’re  back in New Zealand again. While I’m not sure I have that much more time to write, a couple of things I heard at Webstock highlighted for me the value of maybe (a) starting to blog again and (b) doing it properly on my own domain.

Jeremy Keith talking about  being wary of expecting online services to be there forever can take the credit for the second decision – I may have to browse through the programme again to be reminded who commented on great bloggers being reduced to mediocre tweeters. (ETA I’m pretty sure it was Scott Hanselman It’s not what you read its what you ignore) I certainly don’t expect I’ll ever be able to claim a great blog,  but I do work in a collaborative online environment. That comment highlighted an issue I was beginning to experience  of not being able to find the clever new tool or interesting research I saw tweeted/facebooked a couple of weeks ago – and at times having to do a quick re-read to recall why it had seemed important and/or useful at the time.

This blog wont be totally techie, I still have an eclectic life!  But it will be a bit of a storehouse of what is useful to me and may be useful to you.

 

Little sparkles from social media

Last night I congratulated a Facebook friend who announced that they were expecting their first baby in a few months. This particular connection worked with me on a project team for a few months several years back when Facebook was still a new thing and we were early adopters. Earlier this week I sat beside another acquaintance from my web/social media networks who was blossoming with her second baby due in October. Both events for me were special moments of joy – the most recent in a long list.

It is easy to join in the chorus of lament about the superficiality of social media where many of our connections can fit into this category of people who have passed through our lives for very short moments in time. Twenty years ago the connection would have disappeared through lack of contact. Which is why I paused and reflected after posting my congratulations (which she “liked”)

I live in a world which is overwhelmed with busyness and noise – the pace of  my life frequently reaches the frenetic. Another friend of mine (a theologian) once told me about some research which suggested we achieve in a week a level of work that our ancestors would achieve  in a month. I admit to sometimes feeling wistful for a time when my children were young and my life revolved around a simpler type of productivity – even though I seriously believe that my effectiveness as a project manager is built not on PRINCE2 but on my ability to organise a five year old’s birthday party.

New life and the creative power which a woman’s body is blessed with in sustaining it and delivering it into the world is such an earth shattering magical thing. Even if the connection is tenuous  it still sparks in me a moment of pure joy, as if in that moment ,time and space collapse and it is as much about re-living my own moments of expectation as rejoicing in another’s. In the river of information flowing through my life – those sparkles in the water that for a moment sharpen my focus on people and life are precious and help me keep my balance. And for that I am grateful.

 

 

 

Fresh beginnings

mount cook lilyAs I frequently check out the site link of new followers on twitter, it has been bothering me for a while that this blog has been neglected for so long. It is not unique in this respect, I have another blog and two sites I look after for my mother which have been equally ignored.

Anyway – this weekend I started a bit of a spring clean of my technology, starting with a rebuild of my Macbook which was sending me pathetic messages that my start up disk was full. As the family IT service desk I seem to spend so much time tweaking other people’s tech that by the time it comes to my own… plus I have so many “toys” that even though my Mac is my favourite I could just switch to another.

As a bit of a celebration/reward for successfully (although not without some heart stopping moments) rebuilding my Mac and installing Mavericks and Office 365, I renewed my Elegant Themes subscription and figured out how to manage the new admin panel my hosting company has implemented. So here is an interim step, freshened up look and hopefully a fresh start to my original plan almost two years ago to blog on a more regular basis!

 

 

Moving on

Note: This post was written over four months – started end of November, picked up again in December and finished in February

It has been a long time since I posted to this blog – not so much for lack of an anything to say but lack of time, and more often than not, the energy to say it. Looking back I think I lost my way a bit this year (2012). I got headed off into a bit of cul de sac career wise that in retrospect was a “not quite” that the universe rescued me from. On the other hand I suspect it worked quite well as a holding pattern to get me where I am right now and also helped me clarify my goals and what was important in quite significant ways.

One of the things I didn’t have time to write about was my visits to Christchurch and how I felt about the changes there. Tonight as I sit in the dying minutes of a Canterbury summer twilight I am feeling like I have some words to describe how it feels to look out over a skyline empty of buildings.

I went to boarding school and university in Christchurch – it was the base city for our family while living in Arthur’s Pass, I was married here, my first child was born here. After the better part of thirty years away though the city had changed. During my most recent visits before the earthquakes I remember feeling somewhat disconnected – as if it was no longer the Christchurch I knew, it no longer felt like home. I know I wasn’t the only person who felt like that.

And then there were the earthquakes, the ongoing concern for family and friends, the anxious trolling of the news feeds to assess the destruction. As part of our changing pathway my husband is one of the Monday to Friday residents and we have an apartment only a block or so away from the edge of the red zone.

Part 2

I started this post when I was in Christchurch the weekend before Christmas and am finishing it having now spent two weeks here.

When I started it I was going to say (and still will) that the deconstruction of the city centre has unravelled layers of the city of memories – only a couple of buildings built since I left are still standing and they are slated for demolition in the New Year. One of them, Forsyth Barr,  was where several of my husband’s colleagues were trapped in the February 22 earthquake when the stairwells collapsed.  So the new buildings that made Christchurch different have gone, but so are the buildings that made Christchurch home.

Cities are living things that change all the time – favorite places are taken over by time. As my husband and another friend who works here point out, parts of Wellington and the Hutt they remember as children and teenagers have changed and gone. What is so difficult about central Christchurch is that EVERYTHING is gone. Westpac on Hereford St where my Dad organised my first bank account when I went to boarding school and where I got my first cheque book, the BNZ on the square where I used to visit my aunt, our favorite cafes with their memories of special treat family meetings or teen romance.

One of my deepest regrets is that my last memory of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is Mark Moesbergen’s funeral and I had never managed in the intervening 12 years to just go and sit in the Cathedral with the late summer afternoon sun streaming in and feel the sense of safe haven wrap around me. One of my best memories of Mark was of him just sitting alongside me  at that time of day in the Cathedral while I struggled with a knotty teenage grief – thinking back that was probably one of the times I learnt about how just powerful being alongside without words can be.

The railway station is  a gapping hole, the old Lichfield’s building (then Millers, then the City Council) where my grandma used to work is boarded up and sad, the only remaining detail of Cashel Mall is Ballantynes. I have many friends still struggling with house re-builds or major repairs that seem to be continually contested. I find being able to see into the back of the Christchurch Cathedral as you walk along Gloucester St almost worse that seeing the damage to the front – it highlights how many buildings have been demolished.

Part 3 (third visit February)

I had a point when I started this which I have taken a long time to get too. Difficult as this city landscape is at the moment, fresh as the grief still feels with each new demolition, as unresolved as many issues are – underneath I can see a hopeful future. That the Christchurch to come will allow for the multiple versions of what Christchurch has been to the many generations who have lived here  before, and supports new possibilities for the generations to come. All of us have lost much of that city of memories but the foundations of that city are still there – parks and streets, and a small remanent of the past. The fact that despite the loss of landmarks and negotiating the red zone I can still find my way around without a map is a tiny indicator of that.

On Monday I had dinner at the Backbencher in Wellington which has just re-opened after two fires. They have chosen not to re-create it exactly but have maintained elements that connect it to what it was but allow for a new future. Do we like it? We are not sure. Will we keep going there? Of course – the food is still good, the location is still central to where we work, and we have years of memories attached. As a I paid the bill I commented to the friend who was with me that maybe this would be  what a built anew Christchurch will be like -the same but different, a fresh canvas that allows for new memories to overlay the shadows of the past.

 

 

 

Questions of complexity

I have to say I’m loving Flipboard on my ipad after one of the guys at work showed it to me – particularly the way it handles the twitter feed.

Last weekend was one of technical disasters when I did a firmware upgrade on my Macbook Pro that didn’t complete properly. After the simple stuff didn’t work I finally utilisied sufficient patience and care to access the utilities folder and went through the process of checking the hard drive (wasn’t that), re-installing Lion which kept erroring at the very and finally restoring from back up – which worked. The only option after that was a factory settings reset. It was a bit of a lesson though – my back up was five months old. I didn’t loose that much but it was very stressful, despite enjoying my new little ASUS ultrabook, I realised how attached I still am to my Mac!

It has also given me a new appreciation for Google Docs. I’m actually constructing a report in sections on there now to keep it safe.

One of the things I have been thinking about a lot this week is the impact of complexity on usability for online resources. Our expectations of rapid response when we click on a link or save something are increasingly formed by a combination of high speed connection and simple apps that only do a limited range of tasks well. So websites offering more complex tools seem slow and laggy when they process information.  Related to this is the user expecting that complexity to be available on a tablet which despite it’s shiny new toy interface hasn’t actually got the guts/processing power of a standard laptop/desktop.

In some ways we are own worst enemy in that creating some tools (like this blog) is so simple and kind of magical that we expect everything will be when what we want to achieve with design and formula is not easy – I have seen complex excel spreadsheets slow down as they churn the calculations, and we can be reasonable tolerant of that, but put a web interface on it (which adds layers of tasks for the computer to do) particularly one that presents the data in a novel way and we wonder why it is taking a while.

And I don’t think there is an easy answer…

 

To start the week

A great blog post from Reading Room UK (via @sarah_vick) about five web design myths. Obviously I like it because  I so strongly agree with 1,2 and 5. Probably the most surprising one is 3 about text re-size and there is food for thought in 4 about content linking.

The other article I meant to blog about last week was this article from BBC UK titled Colour: Different points of hue. One of the areas I’m curious about is the degree to which our cultural background affects how we perceive web design and information architecture. That includes the structure of language and how users respond to imagery and text. Many of us have read information about different cultural perceptions of  colour. What is startling about this article is that our English understanding of a colour definition might not be the same as someone from another country’s definition.

I have come across this before in real life with my husband’s colour naming which while in English is based on his parents’ Dutch classification system (we have a totally different understanding of purple) but hadn’t realised that this wasn’t just a result of second language English but could be even more culturally determined.  I’m not sure that I’ll end up being more patient with him but it might remind be to give him an actual example when I want something in a particular shade! Which might also be a good idea with clients as well.

 

A slightly random selection

I’m really intrigued by a link Karen shared on twitter for a site called Eat Your Books which let’s you search all the cookbooks you own. It is such a tempting proposition and I have so many cookbooks (which I do use from time to time!) that I am seriously considering paying out the $25 annual subscription without even experimenting with the trial.

After a freezing cold day yesterday and chilly morning I have to say that I wasn’t feeling the love for Wellington today. And then a little miracle happened. I went to have my haircut at the hands of my amazing stylist RJ at Calibre (those who know me well know that I used to time my visits back to get my haircut) and ended up chatting with Craig, Suzanne and RJ about how I wanted to browse the Neil Dawson  exhibition at Paige Blackie gallery as I’d been walking past as they installed it. And somehow when I walked outside, the sculptures outside the InterContential were lit up and the spotlights on the Old Bank – it had gone from freezing to winter cool and Wellington was magical again – I was glad to be home.

On the more techie side of the equation Craig at work shared this link earlier in the week to LeanPub a site that lets you self publish your own digital books. I’m  increasingly curious about how the world of books can potentially change when authors can control their own distribution. I have to say the one issue that needs to be resolved with some of the self published books I’ve read is that good editing is in short supply!

Just to prove my point

One of the issues of digital citizenship in education is about helping kids to understand about the potential longevity of information about themselves they post online. Jeremy Keith would argue that the internet being forever is bollucks.

As if to prove that point before I left work yesterday I did a search on Cuisine for one of my favorite recipes so I could pick up the ingredients on the way home. I tried this search last year in  Australia when I realised I had lost the original, with no success, largely because I tried to use the ingredient advanced search. One of my NZ friends proved that simplicity is the way to go by finding it by just putting in the name in the recipe search, which is what I did yesterday. No joy – after several variations I gave up. The internet is not forever. Fortunately I did have a printed copy at home.  However next time I find a recipe online I’m also going to use that handy print to pdf function which means I have an electronic copy as well (note to self: remember to back up)

 

In terms of what I found that was interesting online yesterday – I came across a blog by Marco Zehe. The  post was about not hiding tags properly so they were still readable by screen readers even though they weren’t visible to sighted users. Marco works as a developer at Mozilla and just happens to be totally blind. His blog offers some great insights into accessibility issues including a great post about social media platforms .  A lot of the content is on the technical side for me but still very readable.

The other blog post I caught up with yesterday was the story of David Haywood moving his red-zoned house from Avonside to Dunsandel. David’s descriptions of life post earthquake and the difficult decisions they have had to make  about their home has been compelling reading over the last year or so but I had lost track a little. Now they are on the move and I can only wish them all the best for their new location (and pray the weather holds over the weekend)

 

 

 

 

A fresh start

Several years ago I started a couple of blogs, one of which I posted to fairly regularly. I created it as a bit of a journal of some changes I was making in my life – mainly to slow down and take the time to create a creative space.  I reduced my working week to four days and from there to working from home part time contracting.

Then in June 2010 we moved to Brisbane and I ended up working full time again. I didn’t particularly mind that, but I found that while there were still topics I wanted to write about, many of the posts never got much beyond drafts.

Now I’m/we’re  back in New Zealand again. While I’m not sure I have that much more time to write, a couple of things I heard at Webstock highlighted for me the value of maybe (a) starting to blog again and (b) doing it properly on my own domain.

Jeremy Keith talking about  being wary of expecting online services to be there forever can take the credit for the second decision – I may have to browse through the programme again to be reminded who commented on great bloggers being reduced to mediocre tweeters. (ETA I’m pretty sure it was Scott Hanselman It’s not what you read its what you ignore) I certainly don’t expect I’ll ever be able to claim a great blog,  but I do work in a collaborative online environment. That comment highlighted an issue I was beginning to experience  of not being able to find the clever new tool or interesting research I saw tweeted/facebooked a couple of weeks ago – and at times having to do a quick re-read to recall why it had seemed important and/or useful at the time.

This blog wont be totally techie, I still have an eclectic life!  But it will be a bit of a storehouse of what is useful to me and may be useful to you.

 

Little sparkles from social media

Last night I congratulated a Facebook friend who announced that they were expecting their first baby in a few months. This particular connection worked with me on a project team for a few months several years back when Facebook was still a new thing and we were early adopters. Earlier this week I sat beside another acquaintance from my web/social media networks who was blossoming with her second baby due in October. Both events for me were special moments of joy – the most recent in a long list.

It is easy to join in the chorus of lament about the superficiality of social media where many of our connections can fit into this category of people who have passed through our lives for very short moments in time. Twenty years ago the connection would have disappeared through lack of contact. Which is why I paused and reflected after posting my congratulations (which she “liked”)

I live in a world which is overwhelmed with busyness and noise – the pace of  my life frequently reaches the frenetic. Another friend of mine (a theologian) once told me about some research which suggested we achieve in a week a level of work that our ancestors would achieve  in a month. I admit to sometimes feeling wistful for a time when my children were young and my life revolved around a simpler type of productivity – even though I seriously believe that my effectiveness as a project manager is built not on PRINCE2 but on my ability to organise a five year old’s birthday party.

New life and the creative power which a woman’s body is blessed with in sustaining it and delivering it into the world is such an earth shattering magical thing. Even if the connection is tenuous  it still sparks in me a moment of pure joy, as if in that moment ,time and space collapse and it is as much about re-living my own moments of expectation as rejoicing in another’s. In the river of information flowing through my life – those sparkles in the water that for a moment sharpen my focus on people and life are precious and help me keep my balance. And for that I am grateful.

 

 

 

Fresh beginnings

mount cook lilyAs I frequently check out the site link of new followers on twitter, it has been bothering me for a while that this blog has been neglected for so long. It is not unique in this respect, I have another blog and two sites I look after for my mother which have been equally ignored.

Anyway – this weekend I started a bit of a spring clean of my technology, starting with a rebuild of my Macbook which was sending me pathetic messages that my start up disk was full. As the family IT service desk I seem to spend so much time tweaking other people’s tech that by the time it comes to my own… plus I have so many “toys” that even though my Mac is my favourite I could just switch to another.

As a bit of a celebration/reward for successfully (although not without some heart stopping moments) rebuilding my Mac and installing Mavericks and Office 365, I renewed my Elegant Themes subscription and figured out how to manage the new admin panel my hosting company has implemented. So here is an interim step, freshened up look and hopefully a fresh start to my original plan almost two years ago to blog on a more regular basis!

 

 

Moving on

Note: This post was written over four months – started end of November, picked up again in December and finished in February

It has been a long time since I posted to this blog – not so much for lack of an anything to say but lack of time, and more often than not, the energy to say it. Looking back I think I lost my way a bit this year (2012). I got headed off into a bit of cul de sac career wise that in retrospect was a “not quite” that the universe rescued me from. On the other hand I suspect it worked quite well as a holding pattern to get me where I am right now and also helped me clarify my goals and what was important in quite significant ways.

One of the things I didn’t have time to write about was my visits to Christchurch and how I felt about the changes there. Tonight as I sit in the dying minutes of a Canterbury summer twilight I am feeling like I have some words to describe how it feels to look out over a skyline empty of buildings.

I went to boarding school and university in Christchurch – it was the base city for our family while living in Arthur’s Pass, I was married here, my first child was born here. After the better part of thirty years away though the city had changed. During my most recent visits before the earthquakes I remember feeling somewhat disconnected – as if it was no longer the Christchurch I knew, it no longer felt like home. I know I wasn’t the only person who felt like that.

And then there were the earthquakes, the ongoing concern for family and friends, the anxious trolling of the news feeds to assess the destruction. As part of our changing pathway my husband is one of the Monday to Friday residents and we have an apartment only a block or so away from the edge of the red zone.

Part 2

I started this post when I was in Christchurch the weekend before Christmas and am finishing it having now spent two weeks here.

When I started it I was going to say (and still will) that the deconstruction of the city centre has unravelled layers of the city of memories – only a couple of buildings built since I left are still standing and they are slated for demolition in the New Year. One of them, Forsyth Barr,  was where several of my husband’s colleagues were trapped in the February 22 earthquake when the stairwells collapsed.  So the new buildings that made Christchurch different have gone, but so are the buildings that made Christchurch home.

Cities are living things that change all the time – favorite places are taken over by time. As my husband and another friend who works here point out, parts of Wellington and the Hutt they remember as children and teenagers have changed and gone. What is so difficult about central Christchurch is that EVERYTHING is gone. Westpac on Hereford St where my Dad organised my first bank account when I went to boarding school and where I got my first cheque book, the BNZ on the square where I used to visit my aunt, our favorite cafes with their memories of special treat family meetings or teen romance.

One of my deepest regrets is that my last memory of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is Mark Moesbergen’s funeral and I had never managed in the intervening 12 years to just go and sit in the Cathedral with the late summer afternoon sun streaming in and feel the sense of safe haven wrap around me. One of my best memories of Mark was of him just sitting alongside me  at that time of day in the Cathedral while I struggled with a knotty teenage grief – thinking back that was probably one of the times I learnt about how just powerful being alongside without words can be.

The railway station is  a gapping hole, the old Lichfield’s building (then Millers, then the City Council) where my grandma used to work is boarded up and sad, the only remaining detail of Cashel Mall is Ballantynes. I have many friends still struggling with house re-builds or major repairs that seem to be continually contested. I find being able to see into the back of the Christchurch Cathedral as you walk along Gloucester St almost worse that seeing the damage to the front – it highlights how many buildings have been demolished.

Part 3 (third visit February)

I had a point when I started this which I have taken a long time to get too. Difficult as this city landscape is at the moment, fresh as the grief still feels with each new demolition, as unresolved as many issues are – underneath I can see a hopeful future. That the Christchurch to come will allow for the multiple versions of what Christchurch has been to the many generations who have lived here  before, and supports new possibilities for the generations to come. All of us have lost much of that city of memories but the foundations of that city are still there – parks and streets, and a small remanent of the past. The fact that despite the loss of landmarks and negotiating the red zone I can still find my way around without a map is a tiny indicator of that.

On Monday I had dinner at the Backbencher in Wellington which has just re-opened after two fires. They have chosen not to re-create it exactly but have maintained elements that connect it to what it was but allow for a new future. Do we like it? We are not sure. Will we keep going there? Of course – the food is still good, the location is still central to where we work, and we have years of memories attached. As a I paid the bill I commented to the friend who was with me that maybe this would be  what a built anew Christchurch will be like -the same but different, a fresh canvas that allows for new memories to overlay the shadows of the past.

 

 

 

Questions of complexity

I have to say I’m loving Flipboard on my ipad after one of the guys at work showed it to me – particularly the way it handles the twitter feed.

Last weekend was one of technical disasters when I did a firmware upgrade on my Macbook Pro that didn’t complete properly. After the simple stuff didn’t work I finally utilisied sufficient patience and care to access the utilities folder and went through the process of checking the hard drive (wasn’t that), re-installing Lion which kept erroring at the very and finally restoring from back up – which worked. The only option after that was a factory settings reset. It was a bit of a lesson though – my back up was five months old. I didn’t loose that much but it was very stressful, despite enjoying my new little ASUS ultrabook, I realised how attached I still am to my Mac!

It has also given me a new appreciation for Google Docs. I’m actually constructing a report in sections on there now to keep it safe.

One of the things I have been thinking about a lot this week is the impact of complexity on usability for online resources. Our expectations of rapid response when we click on a link or save something are increasingly formed by a combination of high speed connection and simple apps that only do a limited range of tasks well. So websites offering more complex tools seem slow and laggy when they process information.  Related to this is the user expecting that complexity to be available on a tablet which despite it’s shiny new toy interface hasn’t actually got the guts/processing power of a standard laptop/desktop.

In some ways we are own worst enemy in that creating some tools (like this blog) is so simple and kind of magical that we expect everything will be when what we want to achieve with design and formula is not easy – I have seen complex excel spreadsheets slow down as they churn the calculations, and we can be reasonable tolerant of that, but put a web interface on it (which adds layers of tasks for the computer to do) particularly one that presents the data in a novel way and we wonder why it is taking a while.

And I don’t think there is an easy answer…

 

To start the week

A great blog post from Reading Room UK (via @sarah_vick) about five web design myths. Obviously I like it because  I so strongly agree with 1,2 and 5. Probably the most surprising one is 3 about text re-size and there is food for thought in 4 about content linking.

The other article I meant to blog about last week was this article from BBC UK titled Colour: Different points of hue. One of the areas I’m curious about is the degree to which our cultural background affects how we perceive web design and information architecture. That includes the structure of language and how users respond to imagery and text. Many of us have read information about different cultural perceptions of  colour. What is startling about this article is that our English understanding of a colour definition might not be the same as someone from another country’s definition.

I have come across this before in real life with my husband’s colour naming which while in English is based on his parents’ Dutch classification system (we have a totally different understanding of purple) but hadn’t realised that this wasn’t just a result of second language English but could be even more culturally determined.  I’m not sure that I’ll end up being more patient with him but it might remind be to give him an actual example when I want something in a particular shade! Which might also be a good idea with clients as well.

 

A slightly random selection

I’m really intrigued by a link Karen shared on twitter for a site called Eat Your Books which let’s you search all the cookbooks you own. It is such a tempting proposition and I have so many cookbooks (which I do use from time to time!) that I am seriously considering paying out the $25 annual subscription without even experimenting with the trial.

After a freezing cold day yesterday and chilly morning I have to say that I wasn’t feeling the love for Wellington today. And then a little miracle happened. I went to have my haircut at the hands of my amazing stylist RJ at Calibre (those who know me well know that I used to time my visits back to get my haircut) and ended up chatting with Craig, Suzanne and RJ about how I wanted to browse the Neil Dawson  exhibition at Paige Blackie gallery as I’d been walking past as they installed it. And somehow when I walked outside, the sculptures outside the InterContential were lit up and the spotlights on the Old Bank – it had gone from freezing to winter cool and Wellington was magical again – I was glad to be home.

On the more techie side of the equation Craig at work shared this link earlier in the week to LeanPub a site that lets you self publish your own digital books. I’m  increasingly curious about how the world of books can potentially change when authors can control their own distribution. I have to say the one issue that needs to be resolved with some of the self published books I’ve read is that good editing is in short supply!

Just to prove my point

One of the issues of digital citizenship in education is about helping kids to understand about the potential longevity of information about themselves they post online. Jeremy Keith would argue that the internet being forever is bollucks.

As if to prove that point before I left work yesterday I did a search on Cuisine for one of my favorite recipes so I could pick up the ingredients on the way home. I tried this search last year in  Australia when I realised I had lost the original, with no success, largely because I tried to use the ingredient advanced search. One of my NZ friends proved that simplicity is the way to go by finding it by just putting in the name in the recipe search, which is what I did yesterday. No joy – after several variations I gave up. The internet is not forever. Fortunately I did have a printed copy at home.  However next time I find a recipe online I’m also going to use that handy print to pdf function which means I have an electronic copy as well (note to self: remember to back up)

 

In terms of what I found that was interesting online yesterday – I came across a blog by Marco Zehe. The  post was about not hiding tags properly so they were still readable by screen readers even though they weren’t visible to sighted users. Marco works as a developer at Mozilla and just happens to be totally blind. His blog offers some great insights into accessibility issues including a great post about social media platforms .  A lot of the content is on the technical side for me but still very readable.

The other blog post I caught up with yesterday was the story of David Haywood moving his red-zoned house from Avonside to Dunsandel. David’s descriptions of life post earthquake and the difficult decisions they have had to make  about their home has been compelling reading over the last year or so but I had lost track a little. Now they are on the move and I can only wish them all the best for their new location (and pray the weather holds over the weekend)

 

 

 

 

A fresh start

Several years ago I started a couple of blogs, one of which I posted to fairly regularly. I created it as a bit of a journal of some changes I was making in my life – mainly to slow down and take the time to create a creative space.  I reduced my working week to four days and from there to working from home part time contracting.

Then in June 2010 we moved to Brisbane and I ended up working full time again. I didn’t particularly mind that, but I found that while there were still topics I wanted to write about, many of the posts never got much beyond drafts.

Now I’m/we’re  back in New Zealand again. While I’m not sure I have that much more time to write, a couple of things I heard at Webstock highlighted for me the value of maybe (a) starting to blog again and (b) doing it properly on my own domain.

Jeremy Keith talking about  being wary of expecting online services to be there forever can take the credit for the second decision – I may have to browse through the programme again to be reminded who commented on great bloggers being reduced to mediocre tweeters. (ETA I’m pretty sure it was Scott Hanselman It’s not what you read its what you ignore) I certainly don’t expect I’ll ever be able to claim a great blog,  but I do work in a collaborative online environment. That comment highlighted an issue I was beginning to experience  of not being able to find the clever new tool or interesting research I saw tweeted/facebooked a couple of weeks ago – and at times having to do a quick re-read to recall why it had seemed important and/or useful at the time.

This blog wont be totally techie, I still have an eclectic life!  But it will be a bit of a storehouse of what is useful to me and may be useful to you.

 

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