Archive for December, 2014

Quick notes on 2014 flipping over to 2015

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

We say true things so we’re outspoken. We call out mistruths so we’re angry. We do this repeatedly and we have an agenda. Truth is some kind of social faux pas these days. 2014 was another year of Snowden “leaks”, Wikileaks “leaks” and Sony email leaks. Truth being released is now controversial. Let’s see what 2015 brings for all things true.

Will the T in LGBT, no longer be a silent T?
Transparent from Amazon was a well received show on a parent transitioning to being a woman, surrounded by her completely batshit insane family. What was fantastic to me was a lot of the crew and cast were trans themselves but the show didn’t need a giant flashing yellow arrow to point them out in the show.

Laverne Cox on the cover of Time. And not a trans show but the BBC airing the Boy in the Dress this Christmas was a fantastic way of moving society forward even if by a few millimeters.

T was just tacked on to LGBT for many years, T issues were skipped or attached to being mental health issues. I’ve been totally ignorant of it, comfortably so for ages because just like fighting for equal marriage, it’s easy to ignore those you don’t know of. I remember only a few years ago the near violent protests when some college LGBT societies wanted to add on the T to their swiss army knives of letters. Some of those most against it then I note are very vocal campaigners for marriage equality now. I’m sure that’s LGBT equality. So maybe with a few things like this, things will change. The creator of Transparent equated her show to Will and Grace for gay rights, I thought that show was awful and very stereotyped but it was a start to having gay characters regularly on screen.

And away from societal stuff…

No more Phantom so I tuned in to 8Radio, Lyric FM with Liz Nolan, John Kelly and Aedín Gormley. John playing Dobrinka Tabakova every Friday.

2FM came back with swagger and I find myself listening to it a lot more than before. Nicky Byrne is perfect for that radio slot with Jenny too. And Chris and Ciara. The music has upped a gear too.

TV series:
Fargo, Breaking Bad was good but just good. Hannibal went a bit too grotesque but man what an ending.
Rick and Morty maybe my fav show. Black Dynamite was good but too formulaic. Archer over-extended. It was not Wired Season 2 if that’s what they were going for. Come back Venture Brothers.

Mostly factual books with me taking lots of notes. 100 years of solitude though. Damn. Currently reading The Peripheral. Not sure what’s happening. Read Iain M. Banks’ last one. Sad it was all over, goodbye The Culture.

Being Mortal will stay with me for a long time and has already changed by 2015 plans about things I wanted to research. I was looking at looking more into things related to sleeping and better sleep but ageing is probably something to consider too. Look after your older people. Falls are their biggest threat according to that book.

Fav site:
TravelPirates, LowCostHolidays, Ryanair. Holiday porn. I know, holiday porn.
Bookdepository for books, too many books. I need to stop looking at Bargain Alerts on Boards too.

Pulling things together

Monday, December 29th, 2014

You know the way when you do a proper tidy of an office, bedroom or whole house, you rip everything out, pile it up and then find a way of re-ordering? While doing so you find things you forgot about and you might decide to dump them or find a use for them again?

You then reorganise things in patterns comfortable to you. Adding some new bits to an existing pattern/pile or removing some, merging others and of course then there’s the detritus the remains and you shove that away somewhere in a box labeled Misc, misc boxes are drafts on this blog. Some drafts are 9 years old now.

When you’re done, all is tidy once again but you know that it isn’t 100% perfect but pretty good. The tidying, acquiring, moving is how I see myself putting proper long form blog posts together. Here are some lovely insights on how to distill ideas and find new ones:

These are all kind of linked. Reading the tea leaves, pulling things together.

Shane Parrish’s piece on how he reads and takes notes. Superb quote:

“I’m trying to engage in a conversation with the author.”

And from him again, a collated set of quotes on ways we can gain insights.

Kazuo Ishiguro: how I wrote The Remains of the Day in four weeks. 4 weeks of hell where it seemed he was almost hallucinating at the end. He does point out 1) He had done a tonne of reading before he started off on this journey and was satisfied with the amount he researched 2) After the 4 weeks he had the raw material for the book, not in any way a finished book.

I wrote free-hand, not caring about the style or if something I wrote in the afternoon contradicted something I’d established in the story that morning. The priority was simply to get the ideas surfacing and growing. Awful sentences, hideous dialogue, scenes that went nowhere – I let them remain and ploughed on.

Time is the Secret Ingredient to Writing Great Articles. Thomas Baekdal. Genius. He suggests gathering your data, writing it up, putting some thoughts together and … wait.

By allowing yourself time to reflect on your story, you see things that you hadn’t realized initially. You form connections you hadn’t recognized, and you identify the patterns that you couldn’t see before. And, more to the point, you let the story simmer for as long as it needs to.

Fluffy Links – Monday December 29th 2014

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Last Fluffy Links of 2014!

On January 13th in Dublin I’ll be giving 29 short lectures on digital marketing. It’s nearly free to attend this. Nearly as if it was free people wouldn’t feel obliged to turn up if they got a place.

Mailchimp Snap is a nice idea. Take a photo, send it to your mailing list or part of it with a little note. All from your phone.

A list of courses UCC will be doing mostly in the evenings come January. So many I’d love to go to but work travel means no.

Laghdú by Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh & Dan Trueman. Album of the year say so many people and they’re right. Do see Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh live too if you ever have the chance. A gent and a slow-motion explosion of talent in front of you.

The Jack Lynch Tunnel has its own app. You can connect to the CCTV streams too. Obviously only as a passenger but you could watch yourself drive in and out of the tunnel from your phone. The future has landed but we won’t realise it until it’s the past.

Is the Malcolm Gladwell mask slipping? Doubts on his work now.

Anti-social (media) publications. Let people read the content and not see Twitter and Facebook begs. You may get less traffic but people that do consciously share your content are more bought in to it.

A graphical explanation of UI vs UX.

Missed stories on Facebook? Most people do. Catch up here.

Absolutely scary. A piece from a woman about her father. Her father the serial killer.

Hoodies where the hood part can be swapped out for another one and you can collect the designer hoods? I’m in.

You can just tell that the people in Reuters, stuck on Queen and started singing “I Want to Break Free”. Reuters says good luck and fuck you to commenters.

The Philosophy of Aristotle

30 minutes of Jeff Bezos’ time and he’s silent.

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Amazon, for meetings, gets into the idea of being considered. Their very high level meetings start with a 6 page properly written talking points memo being handed out and everyone reading it in silence. 30 minutes of silence at the start of a meeting. Jeff Bezos:

“Full sentences are harder to write,” Bezos explained. “They have verbs. The paragraphs have topic sentences. There is no way to write a six-page, narratively structured memo and not have clear thinking.”

30 minutes of Jeff Bezos’s time is fairly expensive but there you go.