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  • Michael 10:07am on 31 March 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: creativity, reflection, walking   

    Beethoven’s Surprisingly Simple Habit for Creative Breakthroughs 

    Beethoven’s Surprisingly Simple Habit for Creative Breakthroughs.

    Creativity does not rest on eureka moments — it is a process, designed to consistently bring abstract ideas into the tangible world.

  • Michael 5:46pm on 28 February 2014 Permalink | Reply

    The Eisenhower Decision Matrix: How to Distinguish Between Urgent and Important Tasks | The Art of Manliness 

    The Eisenhower Decision Matrix: How to Distinguish Between Urgent and Important Tasks | The Art of Manliness.

    Thanks to Nick for suggesting this article to me. I like the idea, I enjoyed reading the other Eisenhower articles, and the site generally looks really interesting.

    Of specific interest to me at the moment is the list of suggested examples for ‘important but not urgent’ items. For the last few years I’ve not been making sufficient time for this sort of thing; instead allowing the rest of life to get in the way. It’s important to get the ‘important’ things right!

  • Michael 7:25pm on 9 September 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: dns, geeky,   

    A temp fix for the dns mapping infinite redirect loop problem 

    Yesterday evening, I had a problem with domain mapping on a new site. Originally spelt out here:

    Please could you check the domain mapping for It should be showing up on I set this up yesterday but I now seem to have a redirect loop going on. I have tried clearing cookies and cache. (I use OpenDNS as my provider in case that helps).


    The blog I need help with is

    This morning at work, it worked, so I added to my support post:

    From, a different location today I can see that the site is working fine. So it must be deep cached in my home setup somewhere….

    OK to close.

    However, this evening, and back at home – it still isn’t working on the home setup. My “client” (hi Mum!) reports it working OK for her at her location. I’m figuring that DNS propagation has happened just about everywhere around the world apart from in my home. (I have tried all the cache and cookie clearing recommended and also different devices with no luck).

    I tried getting to the bottom of it, but it’s late and I couldn’t quite be bothered. In case it helps anyone – here’s what I think has happened and my temporary fix.

    My home setup seems to have ‘deep-cached’ the DNS setup somewhere. I have the wifi network setup to use OpenDNS, and this is set in the main router connection to the internet. I’ve decided to leave that alone as I want their filtering to help make  the kid’s internet usage safer. But I have switched out of this DNS service on my laptop (by using the Google public DNS service) and this has solved the problem in the short term. That means I can carry on doing the work on the site for my client (hi again Mum!) and I’ll set the laptop back to using the default home network DNS service after the full 72 hours recommended for DNS propagation has expired.

  • Michael 9:52am on 11 May 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Remember when ebooks were rubbish? 

    Ray Kurzweil:

    Online education is where we were in ebooks 4 years ago – people saying they still want printed books, that the ebook reading experience isn’t very good… Well, today most books are ebooks. You see the same complaints about online education. Well, just wait. Four years from now, you’ll have everything online.

    This is from Wired’s May edition (I’m reading the printed version though!)

  • Michael 11:28pm on 25 April 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , personal MBA, ,   

    Running and podcasts and the personal MBA 

    Recently I’ve started running. (First proper exercise in about 20 years!) Its only every other day and I’m doing very simple and gentle stuff. It’s actually a lot easier than I thought and the recent good weather has definitely helped.

    I started using Runkeeper to help me track progress – this has been really beneficial. I’ve loaded up a (gentle) training schedule and its made things much more fun because it adds variety in the types of run and I can track my progress.

    An added, and unexpected benefit is that the running is making time for me to listen to podcasts. I’ve got a mix across business, productivity, and technical. Sources vary from TED, the Guardian, the BBC, Harvard Business Review, and some smaller startups. I’m fairly ruthless when it comes to tone – unsubscribing from those podcasts that feature too much informal chat and laughing at their own jokes.

    So, perhaps as part of a series, I’m making a note of the podcasts that have a resonance. A colleague at work often talks of the ‘personal MBA’ and I think that the podcasts that chime are part of my own personal MBA.

    To start the ball rolling, I enjoyed a podcast from the Harvard Business Review Ideacast series entitled ‘Building a Company Everybody Loves’.

    At about 3 minutes in, the conversation turns to the gender issues at work, and describes a situation that I think is common – one in which men are playing a role at work rather than being themselves:

    “…many men have said they role play their way through the week in the hope that they can rediscover their humanity at the weekend.
    Well, guess what? You can’t rediscover your humanity in 48 hours at the weekend. Whether you like it or not, you will spend the bulk of your adult waking life at work. It better be a place where you can be yourself.”

    A simple lesson; be yourself at work rather than pretending to be someone else…

    • foo 6:00am on 26 April 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I’d take the “at work” bit out of the last paragraph, personally:-)

  • Michael 6:56pm on 1 February 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: project, smiley, status update   

    Emoticon-A-Day Calendar lets you capture your mood 

    Catalogue each day with an emoticon 

    This Emoticon-A-Day Calendar Lets You Creatively Catalog Your Mood | via Co.Design: business + innovation + design.

    I wonder whether this, or a version of this, could be used within projects in order to gauge the confidence of those involved in the project? Over time, the change in the smileys would be interesting to observe…

  • Michael 6:40pm on 1 February 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: complex tech, technical debt   

    [Technical] Debts are often best tackled by paying off the principal lump sum. In the case of “technical debt”, Mr Lesokhin believes this involves committing resources to work out which parts of banks’ dormant code are most likely to turn zombie to avoid potentially calamitous consequences.
  • Michael 3:12pm on 27 January 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    How to work with difficult people 

    In Richard Sennett’s new book ’Together: The Rituals, Pleasures, and Politics of Cooperation‘, he explores the history of cooperation and posits that most tactics that we commonly use are actually making it harder to reach a position of real cooperation.

    There are four key skills Professor Sennett believes we all need to get better at if we want to improve our ability to truly cooperate in difficult situations and with people we don’t get along with:

    • Practice dialogics not dialectics
    • Use the subjunctive not the declarative
    • Informalise conflict
    • Invoke empathy not sympathy

    more details via » How to work with difficult people Firm Follows Form

  • Michael 12:34am on 18 January 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: music,   

    Listening to – I wouldn’t suggest following my music taste, but do try SoundCloud if you’re open to eclectic and new sounds.

  • Michael 3:14pm on 16 January 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: coursera, , elearning, , mean streets, MOOCs   

    What's a MOOC? 

    I was asked this week: “what’s a MOOC?” by someone who probably should have known by now what a MOOC is. As a professional, I refrained from this behaviour:


    If you’re after a description, a look at this video (under 5 mins) gives an overview – albeit from 2010.


    And more in-depth reading available from a post on the JISC site by Jeff Haywood from the University of Edinburgh on their decision to partner with Coursera

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