Going ‘Digital’

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Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/ktsimage

It seems that everyone is excited about ‘going digital‘. The ‘digital’ moniker is now being used as a synonym for almost all that follows – it’s not about the ‘web’, ‘social media’, or ‘smartphones’ (they are so last decade …).

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Social discovery

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/sjlocke

In a recent Economist, in the article on Facebook’s planned IPO, a quote caught my attention:

Some form of social-discovery feature in Facebook is inevitable [Joe Green, the boss of Causes.com, a web business that promotes activism and philanthropy]

This lead me to consider how we engage with new people, and how we are using the internet to engage in social discovery (meeting new people, and engaging in social dialogue, and possibly ‘learning’ from them).

Since starting this post, I’ve also become aware of an upcoming genre of apps which are designed to aid location-based social discovery (more on this below).

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Expanding Codecademy’s future potential

I recently posted about Codecademy, and its Code Year’ initiative.

I’ve kept up with the courses so far (just four weeks so far).

There are however a number of ways that I would like to see Codecademy further develop.  Since they are still in a certain ‘honeymoon’ phase, with popular and mainstream press having taken notice of what they are doing, they should make the changes soon, and maintain momentum (to be clear, they have launched a number of new developments recently, so it appears they are following this approach, but there’s more potential still).

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Codecademy / Code Year (2012)

I’ve recently been following Codecademy‘s ‘Code Year’ project:

Code Year is a series of weekly emails, starting at the beginning of 2012, which support (but are not necessarily exclusive to) people who have made new year’s resolutions to learn (at least the basics) how to ‘code’ (when I was at school, in the UK, we used to refer to this as programming, which I assume/understand to be broadly the same), starting with JavaScript.

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An amazing (“amaz[on]ing”) customer service experience


This morning (Sunday morning, ca. 7.30am my time, middle of the night in the U.S.A.), I went onto Amazon.com‘s website, to follow up on a question that I had about my Kindle (an eBook reader device that I had purchased from Amazon.com). The process was slightly different to what I was expecting, and also different to what I had experienced with Amazon in the past. More to the point, it left me quite amazed – I’ve never experienced such a high quality customer service response before.

In the past I remember even struggling to find a telephone number or email address on the Amazon site, in order to contact them with a customer service matter. While I found a telephone number this time,  I turned out that I didn’t need it; Amazon called me.

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Are you frustraTED?


I’ve already written two blog posts on TED (Technology Entertainment and Design), the global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, whereby the talks from those conferences, as well as franchise TEDx conferences are made available for free viewing online (“TED Talks. We listen.” and “My TEDxperience“), as well as having referred to it in a number of other blog posts. I like TED.

TED offers so many good ideas – indeed it’s tag line is ‘ideas worth spreading’.

Our mission: Spreading ideas.

We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.

So we spread those ideas, what next? Do those ideas turn into reality? Perhaps not always, and maybe that can lead to some frustration.

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The new ‘news’, and how you find it

How do you follow the news? – Do you read a newspaper, in paper form, or online (or several)?  … watch ‘the News’ on TV? … listen to ‘the News’ on the radio? … read news websites? These approaches to following the news (even online news sites) are grounded in ’20th century’ thinking, and are in many ways inefficient and ineffective.

Which brings us to the question ‘What is news?’ (simply ‘new information’?). When you want to find information, and find that Google doesn’t help you find the full answer, what then? Wouldn’t it be nice if the news and information that we want to hear comes to us in a personalized way?

There are some excellent, recently developed online tools available to assist you finding, more efficiently and more effectively, the news and information that interests you, whether it be current affairs, work related insights, or topics of personal interest.  In this post I comment on some of these tools, in particular RSS feedsGoogle, Twitter and Quora.

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