Thursday, November 29, 2012

An Attempt to Structure the Problem

 HT to Dave Lee for finding this. 

I was trying to figure out what big question my little Learning Architecture / Reporting project is attempting to answer.  I came up with the following:

Read more....

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Job vs Career vs Vocation

I would have liked the face in the middle to look more confused - that would more accurately represent my current state.  Too lazy to make the edits.


Job - Merriam Webster definition 3
a)(1) something that has to be done : task (2) : an undertaking requiring unusual exertion 
b) a specific duty, role, or function
c) a regular remunerative position

Career - Merriam Webster definition 3
A field for or pursuit of consecutive progressive achievement especially in public, professional or business life

Vocation - Merriam Webster definition 1a
a summons or strong inclination to a particular state or course of action

I was asked by a friend of mine recently whether I saw what I did as a job or a career.

At the time, I stated that it was more of a career.  But when I said it, it didn't feel quite right.

The issue I am running into is that I find myself wanting to build my toolkit to get something specific done vs. looking for opportunities to "expand my career."

What I want to do doesn't fit into the model of "consecutive progressive achievement".  

I'm having a tough time getting excited about the march from beginner to specialist to expert to manager to director to whatever. 

And, honestly, I haven't been trained / educated / indoctrinated in anything I currently find myself compelled to do.

I dig creation.

I am finding this compulsive need to create something. Something really big. Something that could even be (dare I say) game-changing for our organization and staff education if we even get this half-way right.

This compulsion seems to be over-riding other opportunities.
Anything that crosses my path is measured against whether it will help me make my vision a reality.

It's been a very long time since I have been this obsessive about something.

I guess I should answer that I see what I am currently doing as a vocation.

Can you relate?

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Playing with the Surface

This may be the first time EVER that I have been one of the first folks with a new hot toy.

As I mentioned in the last post - I have to replace my personal laptop.

I tried to use my Kindle Fire as that replacement.  I love it, but I am finding it is a little TOO minimal.

I tried to use the iPad. Despite the improvements to the Apple app ecosystem and to the hardware, I still find it to be a better consumption tool than production tool. And sticking peripherals on the thing seems to defeat the purpose of the product.

So I went out on Saturday and bought myself a Surface.

Thoughts so far:

Digging the touch keyboard. Took a little while to realize that it truly behaves just like a standard laptop / PC keyboard vs a touchscreen keyboard. I got a red touch keyboard - so for whatever reason, my fingers are expecting the Shift key to work like a touchscreen (touch the shift THEN touch the key).  I found that disconnect interesting. 

The big thing with the keyboard is figuring out the appropriate amount of pressure. My weird (yet surprisingly fast) pound-on-the-keys style seems to work well with this keyboard. If I were more of a traditional touch typist, I could see how this keyboard could be problematic. The finger positioning is a bit too subtle and it might require more concentration to get the appropriate pressure on the keys.
After the initial boot - this thing boots up fast. Changes and loads the apps fast. Connects to the internet fast. Considering how long my big fancy Win7 machine takes to boot these days - I'm a real fan of the speed. And I only got the 32 GB version.

IE 10 loads pages quickly. Remembering that the url bar is at the bottom rather than the top will take some getting used to. So will finding some of the features - such as bookmarks (or pins)

Setup was also really easy with my Hotmail account.
Once I figured out the side swipes and the context-sensitive settings, setting this thing up was pretty easy. This might be the first time I have been able to get all of my email addresses in one place.  Same with social media.

Except for my blogs. That's still web accessed. I need to think about a better workflow for that.

Oh, and IM/Chat. I am hoping some app that allows me to incorporate my IM/Chat functions (all one of them - my work IM, powered by Google) is on the roadmap really really soon.
The Office 2013 suite opens in the Windows Desktop (or what I'm gonna call the Old Skool Windows app). As a result, it seems like there are a couple of layers to access Word, PowerPoint, etc. The desktop, then the application.  I have a feeling that this may prove to be aggravating - especially if I try to do a copy/paste from Word into a blog.
One Note seems to be the central Office app that will help make this infrastructure truly run. It is essentially Microsoft's version of Evernote.  I've never been much of an Evernote user - but I am going to have to get better at using note taking applications if I have even a fighting chance of fully leveraging the promise of anytime, anywhere, any device accessibility and productivity.
One pattern the mobility guru and I are seeing with Microsoft, Apple and Google - these new environments STRONGLY encourage the use of the cloud. THEIR cloud. Unless as an enterprise we can figure out a way to make it easy (preferably easier) for a user to plant their docs and files into the secure enterprise environment, this could be very problematic.
Thus far, I like what I've seen so far.

More to be revealed.....

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Changing the Personal Technology Infrastructure

If you have been following me for any length of time, you know that I am not much of an early adopter. This time is a bit different.

Part of it is timing. My MacBook Pro has essentially melted from the bottom up. Battery - toast. DVD player - doesn't play AND requires me to dig in the slot to yank out any disk I put in there. Keyboard - unreliable. Trackpad - trashed. Even the USB mouse doesn't work reliably anymore.  Essentially - it has become one big iPod charger. A big, expensive iPod charger.

I got about 5 years out of it - so I guess I shouldn't complain too much.

I did not need that expansive (or expensive) a replacement for my personal computer this time around.  When I thought about what I actually do with my personal computer these days - I realize it boiled down to surf the net, do some writing, and charge the iPods.

Part of it is that I see real potential in the ability to access information and files in a device-independent manner.  I am also scheduled to replace both my personal AND professional cell phones. One of them will be Windows 8 Phone.  To see whether this promise is actually fulfilled.  I do like the possibility of only having to use one UI across platforms. 

I also find I am not much of an "app" user. For whatever reason, I still find myself using web versions of things, even on the iPad.  As a result, the lack of app selection in the environment doesn't bother me so much.

Part of it is that our team is going to have to support Windows 8 whether we want to or not.

I work at a University with some pretty wealthy students. This population tends to bring in the "latest and greatest". This bleeds into our faculty and staff population - whether we want them to or not.

Windows 8 is a pretty big change.  Personally and professionally (I am seeing a theme here).

Just another thing that is going to change the way I work.