Why play is vital — no matter your age

I love the TED talks, they are great way of hearing thought provoking ideas presented in a way that is always engaging.

This morning I listened to Stuart Brown talking about why play is vital – no matter your age.


Speaking as a British person, we have a strange relationship with play.

We have invented some of the worlds most popular sports and continue to create new ones, but business is a serious business. And yet, there’s still a lot of business getting done on the golf course.

We all grown when someone asks us to do an “ice breaker”, but I’ve seen people turn into children as they do.

I quite like the concept of the wearable meeting – you’ll need to watch to find out.

There are also interesting thought here for people who work from home and only interact with people on the phone.

What I tend to do is put the TED videos onto my iPod and listen to it in the gym. The audio is often enough, but you also get to sense when there is something interesting to see and can go and have a look.

Broader Networks, Larger Storage, Faster Processing

Crossthwaite ViewsIn many ways the fancy, even magical, world of IT can be broken down into three basic elements; storing stuff, calculating stuff and moving stuff. Everything we see around the Internet is driven by the inexorable progress of broader networks, larger storage and faster processing.

Ten year trends for networks, storage and processing show them getting ever faster, broader and larger.

We may not yet know how we are going to use all of this extra capacity, but one thing we can say is that the past shows us the future.

I started my IT journey at a time when we regarded kilobit networks as broad, megahertz processors as fast and megabyte storage as huge.

When I started in IT as a career I supported IBM DISOSS on the mainframe and the nearest thing anyone got to a desktop device was an IBM DisplayWriter. There were also a few VAX machines around used by those specialists in the engineering organisation.

The DISOSS system I supported, for those of you too young to know any better, was an early email system. It was so early, in fact, that it was pretty much bounded by the mainframe on which it ran. There was no connection to the internet, and limited connections to other parts of the organisation. SMTP was frowned upon as not being ready for the enterprise.

Apart from the DisplayWriters everyone else accessed the system via a dumb terminal over a dedicated SNA network; TCP/IP wasn’t ever discussed. We now have access to megabits of bandwidth at our houses, all of it running TCP/IP of one form or another.

I carry around more storage in my bag than was available within the multi-room mainframe that I started on.

The way that we use applications and services has changed radically. The internet has seen to that.

Information was an expensive commodity back then, most information is now effectively free. Search is expected and it’s free too.

Text was the only way of communicating, even tables within text were difficult. Every day I deal with diagrams photographs, graphical representations. Every time I start Audacity to edit some audio I am blown away by the realisation that I am doing this on a consumer PC with free software.

Years ago I used to have a set of floppy disks in a draw. Managing the data on these disks would take a significant amount of time. I probably had less than 100MB stored, but managing it was a complete pain. I now manage over 1TB of data, but only spend a minimum amount of time managing it.

I used to spend more on a CompuServe email account than I now spend on hosting this blog where I get unlimited storage. The paid-for email account could only handle a tiny amount of storage and it couldn’t handle attachments at the beginning. I now have a choice of multiple free email services allowing me to store hundreds of gigabytes and easily handle large emails.

To use someone else’s words, remember: “you aint seen nothing yet”.

Idea herding

Swans, swans, swansFor a few days now I’ve been thinking about issues of reuse and exploitation.

How do we get people to reuse things?

How do we get people to exploit what is already there and expand upon it?

The phrase that keeps going through my mind is “herding cats”, so I’ve decided to turn my thoughts to “herding ideas”.

When it comes to idea I think that some are like sheep and some are like cats – that’s about as advanced as my thoughts have got so far.

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