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.

Top 10 for Q2 2014

These are the top 10 posts in each of my normal categories for the second quarter of 2014.

First up the normal posts:

  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. Office Speak and Buzzword Density
  5. The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS)
  6. Productive Workplace: The Trans-disciplinary Space
  7. The Productive Workplace: The Space for Computational Thinking
  8. Because it’s Friday: Giant Popping Bubbles – The Slow Mo Guys
  9. xkcd: Turbine
  10. Slow Logon v Slow Applications

Next are the quotations:

  1. “You will never change your life until you change something you do…
  2. “Only three things happen naturally in organisations…
  3. “This happens to companies all too often. Unless the company…
  4. “They’re not employees, they’re…
  5. “After all, you only find out who is swimming naked when…
  6. “The man who does things makes many mistakes, but he never makes the biggest mistake…
  7. “Real communication happens when…
  8. “If you start today to do the right thing, you are already…
  9. “The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after…
  10. “A man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to…

And finally all of those Because it’s Friday posts:

  1. Because it’s Friday: I dare you to watch this entire video
  2. Because it’s Friday: Emotionally Intelligent Flight Safety Briefings
  3. Because it’s Friday: Massive Game of Jenga
  4. Because it’s Friday: Not Available on the App Store
  5. Because it’s Friday: Fun with Office Supplies
  6. Because it’s Friday: More from the Action Movie Kid
  7. Because it’s Friday: Flying Robot Rockstars
  8. Because it’s Friday: The ancient hand whistle
  9. Because it’s Friday: Huge Puddle Splash by the Slow Mo Guys
  10. Because it’s Friday: Q2 Spaces – Interviews with artists in their spaces

Slimming down (my blog subscriptions)

One of the activities that I’m tracking through Lift is to stop following (unsubscribe from) a blog a day.

This fits with a more general theme of stopping doing things to improve simplicity.

We are all under so much pressure to acquire things that it’s very therapeutic to lay something down every day.

A blog a day isn’t as dramatic as you might think, I follow (subscribe to) 372 of them (as of today) and I’ve only been going for 8 days so I’ve still got a long way to go.

Once I’ve got the blog list down I think it will be my twitter list next.

Design Refresh 2014

I thought I would start 2014 with a bit of a design refresh on this site and over on Blessings too.

This site has had the same design for some years now and I fancied a change.

The main reason for the change was a desire to go Responsive. Nearly 40% of visits to this site in January 2014 are from mobile devices (up from 10% in January 2013) and I wanted to make sure that I gave those visitors the best possible experience. The old theme was a bit clunky for different screen resolutions.

I’ve also taken the opportunity to change the way that I write posts. Within WordPress (which I use) the Featured Image is becoming increasingly important. As an example, it’s the Featured Image that gets defined within the Open Graph Metadata and hence it’s the one used by Facebook and others when the post is publicised there. I’ve deliberately chosen a theme that makes use of the Featured Image in the heading of a post too. Previously I have written posts with an image inside them to give a bit of graphical interest. Now that the featured image is in the header I don’t feel the need to do that and hopefully that will make the reading a bit clearer while maintaining the graphical interest, and there is consistency of imagery across the various access points.

Some of the Featured Images will appear quite grainy in the post header, on older posts, because they are up-scaling small images. I might go back and change the ones on popular posts but don’t have plans to update them all in the short-term.

The great thing about using WordPress is that I can, for the most part, simply switch on the new theme and everything changes.

There are still a few glitches, the main one being that I’m having to reformat each of the quote posts because the way that this theme and the last one handled them is different. This will take me a little time to fix, but I’m getting there. Also, these posts haven’t previously had a featured image so I’m using this as an opportunity to give them one. If you see anything else please leave me a comment to let me know.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

George Bernard Shaw

“If you never change your mind, why have one?”

Edward de Bono

I missed my blog birthday

It was my blog birthday back on 04/04. I have an excuse though, I was on holiday.
Jimmy lays claim to the sofa
Amazingly it’s been 8 years.

Like all polite people I started with a welcome a welcome that I still extend to all of you.

At 1,200 posts I’m never going to be the most prolific writer, but that’s not why I do it. I write because I enjoy it, I just hope that the experience isn’t too painful for these of you who get to read it.

(That’s Jimmy back in 2005, he doesn’t seem to have aged anything like as much as I have)

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