A Year in Review – 2021 on grahamchastney.com

There are several ways of doing a review for a year.

I suppose I could talk about the statistics, but that seems a bit dull, just because something is popular doesn’t mean that it was any good.

If I were to do a review by the visitor numbers, I would tell you that the top three posts this year are:

As these were all posts from previous years it may suggest that I haven’t been writing this year, which I have.

The other way of looking at the last year might be to look at the posts that I’ve written and to comment on those.

Perhaps I could talk about the distinct types of post. I’ve written a few “I’m reading…” pieces, but only three. This again might suggest that I’ve only read three books this year which wouldn’t be true (that’s only counting the new books, I’ve also reread some). I tend to write these review type posts when I have something personal to say. There are so many great reviewers around that these books don’t need another one, what I try to bring is my voice.

It was fun writing about these books:

There are also the “Office Speak” posts which make me smile and provoke some of the best reactions. I hope no-one takes them too seriously.

I suppose I could talk about the where I felt provoked to write something. I particularly liked these ones:

There is one post, though, that will stand out for many years to come and that’s because it marked the end of an era for me. I’ve had a goal for several years to complete a set of mountain walks and this year I did:

This post doesn’t describe all the significance of achieving the goal, or the changes it’s made in me along the way. What it does do is give me something to look back on and remind myself that “I did that”.

Thank you for being with me on the journey.

Header Image: I’m writing this on the shortest day of the year so thought it was fitting to have a sunrise picture from my local morning walk. I’ve taken this same picture for a few years now – #fromthefencepost – it’s amazing to see the different weather and changing seasons.

It’s my Blog Birthday | 12 today

This is blog post number 2027.

Blog post number 1 occured on 4th Aprill 2005 without a fanfare and without any real content. I had no idea what I was doing back then, and I’m still not really sure, but I’ve learnt a lot along the way.

I mostly blog for myself, but I do hope that it’s of value to those of you that read it. Having said that, it is interesting to see what people do read, so I thought I would share the all-time Top 10:

  1. Office Speak: “Sharpen Your Pencil”
  2. Add a Third Time-Zone to your Outlook Calendar
  3. The British, the Queue and the Tut
  4. Office Speak: Greenfielding
  5. Count Your Blessings #120 – Short Stories
  6. Office Speak: “Can you please go on mute” – “PLEASE GO ON MUTE”
  7. Office Speak: One Throat to Choke
  8. Productive Workplace: Design Mindset Spaces
  9. The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS)
  10. “If everyone has to think outside the box, maybe…

Header Image: This lane is often part of my morning walk which is often the place where an idea for a blog gets formulated.

Top 10 Posts for 2018

I normally round out each year with a post that summarises the most visited content for the year. This year a completely forgot about it until today, so here it is:

  1. Office Speak: “Sharpen Your Pencil”
  2. Add a Third Time-Zone to your Outlook Calendar
  3. The British, the Queue and the Tut
  4. Office Speak: Greenfielding
  5. Office Speak: “Can you please go on mute” – “PLEASE GO ON MUTE”
  6. Office Speak: One Throat to Choke
  7. Productive Workplace: Design Mindset Spaces
  8. Count Your Blessings #120 – Short Stories
  9. “If everyone has to think outside the box, maybe…
  10. The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS)

As with previous years, the most popular posts are primarily historic with a continued growth in Office Speak. The exception to this is #2 on adding a third time-zone to Outlook calendars.

Header Image: Today’s header image is of Angle Tarn taken on a recent walk up and over Bowfell which is somewhere, not visible behind the clouds.

The Fourth of the Fourth | Blogging Birthday 2017

On this day in 2005 I started blogging, 12 years later and I’ve written 1874 posts. I’ve actually written more posts than that, but some of them never see the delights of publication, I have certain standards.

Most popular blogging sites focus on a particular subject or agenda, I don’t. For me, blogging has, always been about expressing myself and not about driving a particular set of topics. Sometimes I dive into series, sometimes I just write what I want to write in a single article.

I’d like to say thank you to those of you who read and those who comment, it’s humbling to recognise that you invest your time reading what I write.

When I started blogging I used TypePad which I quite liked, but had some limitations so eventually switched to a self hosted WordPress.org site. Running your own WordPress installation comes with some overhead, particularly if you want to keep your site out of the hands of hackers.

More recently I’ve migrated over to WordPress.com which is the WordPress application hosted by WordPress.

There were a couple of glitches in the migration, but all of my information made it across without any problems. The only lingering issue is that some of my older posts are missing their header image which is a problem I can live with.

There were several reasons for switching over to WordPress.com:

  • I wanted to move to HTTPS as the primary protocol. Google and other search sites give preference to HTTPS and it was going to be tricky (and expensive) to go HTTPS with my existing hosting provider.
  • I’d learnt what I wanted to learn about hosting WordPress which I’ve used on a number of private projects.
  • Maintaining WordPress does require some effort, it’s a lot better than it used to be, but it was still more effort than I was wanting to expend.
  • I wanted to save some money. My existing hosting was coming up for renewal which gave me the impetus to change and using WordPress.com was cheaper than the hosting provider I was using.
  • It’s good to change.

I’ll be back soon with some more writing, but until then I’ll leave you with a thought from someone else:

“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.”

Isaac Asimov

On this day in 2005 – my blog birthday

11 years ago today I wrote a couple of posts on a typepad blog site which began the journey that has become this blog site.

Today is this blog’s birthday.

The first post was titled Welcome which did exactly that. In those early days the blog was called Oak Grove which is related to the origins of my surname.

The second post was titled Aspirations which outlined a number of personal observations. It’s quite a ramble, I hope my writing has improved since then.

On the 8th April I wrote a post titled The always-on social impacts which set a theme that has reappeared in various forms across the 11 years. Since that time we have become ever more connected and now travel everywhere with a smartphone and access Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. every waking hour. I suspect that this is a theme we will come back to again.

New theme for 2016

From time to time I decide that this little piece of internet real-estate needs a bit of a makeover.

As we move further into 2016 I’ve decided that it is again time to do some tinkering. That tinkering isn’t finished, by any measure. These changes are always a bit of a journey where I start with a blank-sheet and customise until I’m happy. What you see now is the blank-sheet which will be tinkered with until I’m happy.

This year’s blank-sheet is the current default WordPress theme – twentysixteen.

The tinkering helps me to remember some of my coding skills and also challenges my aesthetic eye. The eye is uncomfortable at the moment due to the number of anomalies in the blank-sheet, they will be tinkered out.

Top 40 Posts for 2015

The year isn’t yet concluded, but I’m planning a bit of a technology fast towards the end of the year and the few days that are remaining aren’t going to make a huge difference to the overall outcome of this year’s Top 40 Posts.

It’s interesting to note that many of this years top posts were written in earlier years. Number 1 was written 2010, number 2 in 2012 and number 3 in 2013.

Many of these posts were also at the top of last year’s list.

Not sure what that says about my current writing?

  1. A Lack Of Planning On Your Part Does Not Constitute An Emergency On Mine
  2. The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS)
  3. Axiom: People join companies, but leave managers
  4. BYOD and Productivity Statistics
  5. “One road leads home and a thousand roads lead into the…
  6. AWS Config now with ServiceNow Integration
  7. Rich Pictures
  8. The Productive Workplace: The Novel and Adaptive Thinking Space
  9. Microsoft – Productivity Future Vision (2015)
  10. “Vision is a picture of the future that produces…
  11. Windows 10: Long Term Servicing Branches
  12. Windows Live LifeCam
  13. “If everyone has to think outside the box, maybe…
  14. I love what I do – because – I’m good at what I do – because…
  15. My Tools: IFTTT – Automating Your Life
  16. Exchange 2016 Architecture Update – a few highlights from Ignite 2015
  17. “The man who does things makes many mistakes, but he never makes the biggest mistake…
  18. “In 10 years, it’s predicted that 40% of Fortune 500 companie…
  19. How to Measure Knowledge Worker Output? Metrics?
  20. Office Speak: “Can you please go on mute” – “PLEASE GO ON MUTE”
  21. “Only three things happen naturally in organisations…
  22. Concept of the Day: Cultural Plasticity
  23. I’m being a bit less social
  24. How I Process Information (Normally)
  25. Office Speak: One Throat to Choke
  26. Rant Over
  27. Productive Workplace: Cognitive Load Management Spaces
  28. Because it’s Friday: Wonderful Geometric Animated GIFs
  29. On the train in 2015
  30. “The Rise of Dynamic Teams” – Alan Lepofsky and Bryan Goode

I missed a birthday – a 10 year birthday

My first post on this blog was simply titled Welcome and was written on the 5th April 2005.

In those days I was writing under the title Oak Grove which is the root meaning of my surname.

I can’t tell you what the most popular posting has been over that entire time, because I’ve not managed to maintain a consistent statistics platform for all of it. I can tell you though, that the most popular post since 2009 has been this one on Rich Pictures.

Rant Over

I try to write positive and informative items.

I try not to write rants.

I could easily write rants, but there are plenty of people doing that already and I don’t see any value being just another voice in the crowd.

This morning I started writing a posting about a phrase I’ve been hearing quite a lot recently. It’s one of those management phrases that gain popularity, are repeated endlessly, but don’t stand up to scrutiny. These phrases get under my skin. Having written most of the posting I read through it to realise that it was just a rant, so you’re not going to get to see it. I’m going to have to think a bit longer before I can write something informative.

I do write critical articles, but I hope that they are informative rather than ranting. If I do write something that you think is just a rant please feel free to point it out.

Visitor Review 2014 – Holding Steady

I primarily write this blog for my own benefit but I still find some value in understanding who is visiting.

The best that can be said about 2014 is that the numbers held steady on 2013. Actually, if I’m honest the volume of visitors actually reduced by 1.8% which isn’t great.

There are some interesting insights behind that raw statistic:

  • The number of direct visitors fell off significantly.
  • The numberofreferals from social media sites grew dramatically:
    • Facebook continues to be the largest and grew over 20%.
    • Twitter and LinkedIn referals grew ten-fold.
    • Google+ referals were small and down 50%.
  • Google continues to be the largest referer and stayed the most static.
  • There was a 50% growth in visits from mobile devices.
  • There was a 60% growth in tablets.
  • Chrome continued its growth with Firefox being the biggest loser.
  • The UK is the largest visitor and continues to grow, up 50%.
  • The United States is the second largest visitor, but has shrunk by 40%.

Onwards into 2015.

Blogs: Top 50 for 2014

Having already highlighted the top Friday posts and the top Quotation posts, here’s the top 50 of the rest:

  1. A Lack Of Planning On Your Part Does Not Constitute An Emergency On Mine
  2. BYOD and Productivity Statistics
  3. Axiom: People join companies, but leave managers
  4. Windows Live LifeCam
  5. The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS)
  6. Rich Pictures
  7. In the Office before Christmas
  8. The Productive Workplace: The Novel and Adaptive Thinking Space
  9. Concept of the Day: Cultural Plasticity
  10. I love what I do – because – I’m good at what I do – because…
  11. HM Government: Changing the security classification system
  12. Slow Logon v Slow Applications
  13. Aurora Notifications
  14. The Productive Workplace – Activities and Skills
  15. Ignore Everybody – and other quotations
  16. Team Development: Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing
  17. “Bring your own Everything” by Steve Richards
  18. Axiom: The 10X Employee
  19. Factors of the Productive Workplace – Introduction
  20. Productive Workplace: Virtual Collaboration Spaces
  21. Productive Workplace: Cognitive Load Management Spaces
  22. The Power of Consumerisation – Upgrade Statistics
  23. Is my job going to be computerised? (UK edition)
  24. A Field Guide to Procrastinators
  25. Is my job going to be computerised?
  26. Top for 2013: The Rest
  27. Office Speak and Buzzword Density
  28. Productive Workplace: The Trans-disciplinary Space
  29. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) v Choose Your Own Device (CYOD)
  30. BYOD Concept Map (Version 1)
  31. Buzzword Density: 2.0
  32. My Tools: Lift
  33. What’s your mobile device posture?
  34. The Productive Workplace: The Space for Computational Thinking
  35. Learning of an Architect
  36. xkcd: Turbine
  37. “There’s no such thing as information overload only failure to filter”
  38. Slimming down (my blog subscriptions)
  39. How to Measuring Knowledge Worker Output? Metrics?
  40. Privacy Degradation by Degree
  41. Dilbert on Abstraction
  42. The Productive Workplace: The Socially Intelligent Space
  43. Microsoft and the Surprising Strategic Play
  44. Modern day life rules #1 – Public space noise
  45. My Tools: Feedly
  46. Factors of the Productive Workplace – A Little Personal History
  47. The Productive Workplace – Sense-making Spaces
  48. Concept Mapping (and Rich Pictures)
  49. Productive Workplace: The Happiness Blanket in the Office?
  50. Department Naming Theory

Creative Commons – Keeping it Open

Here in Great Britain in the 18th century there was a need to protect authors and artists, and publishers, from blatant copying of material by the new technology of the printing press. Our solution was to create a set of measures that form the basis of what we know today as copyright. Other nations followed and eventually we had a near global system of control.

Most of us see the copyright symbol – © – hundreds of times every day, it’s ubiquitous. Understanding of and regard for it is a different matter, people pay varying degrees of attention to it.

I’m comfortable with the concept of protecting people’s income for original work, but I don’t regard my writing on this blog as needing that level of protection. It doesn’t cost me very much to publish so I’m not seeking to protect a high level of investment either. Fortunately, there is an alternative to copyright.

Creative Commons Licensing

If you look to the bottom of this page you will find a section that currently looks like this:

Creative Commons License

This is the license I have chosen for these meagre ramblings. If you click on the link it will take you to a page that explains the license in a human-readable summary format. This explanation shows in broad terms what I am happy for you to do with the information you find contained within and in what context.

Copyright© is basically either all rights reserved or public domain. Creative Commons, however, comes with a set of options. In my case the options roughly translate to:

  • You are free to:
    • Share the material
    • Adapt the material
  • On the condition that:
    • You give me credit
    • It’s for non-commercial purposes
    • You share under the same license as the original if you remix, transform or build upon the material

To put it another way. I’m happy for you to use the material, to share it and even adapt it, but I don’t see why you should make money out of my efforts and hence ask you to share your work under the same licence. Also, it would be good if you gave me some form of credit for the work you have used.

Each of these options can be made either more, or less, restrictive.

I tend to think that it’s better to be open than closed and that is what Create Commons allows me to be, without giving everything away. If I was really being open I would allow Commercial work also, which is something I am thinking about, at Creative Commons they call this Free Cultural Works.

The concept of open is a powerful one and gaining traction all the time, but that’s probably best covered wider on another day.

Creative Commons is integrated into a number of other services.  If you want to search in Google, for instance, for material released under creative commons then you can do so in Advance Search. The same is true on Flickr so I also post my pictures under Creative Commons.

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