links for 2007-03-27

The 9 year old and the future

Over the weekend our 9 year old expressed an interesting in getting Google Reader setup on his PC as he wanted to read stuff like Dad. This got me thinking again about what he and his generation will expect in a technology sense from their employers when he enters the workforce in 10-12 years.

His world today:-

  • He has had broadband Internet in his bedroom since he was 5. I know some people are against PC’s in kids bedrooms but I feel with the right controls and open communication there are no issues.
  • Doesn’t know what a modem is, or care
  • Has multiple domain’s
  • Knows how to do a podcast, in fact he even has his own favourite
  • Is beginning to understand how to produce online video
  • Prepares PowerPoint presentations at school
  • Love seeing pictures on Flickr
  • Thinks the answer to all of life’s questions can by found through Google, if only it was that simple 🙂
  • Thinks and believes the internet should be accessible everywhere
  • Has used email to communicate with friends and family for 4 years, admittedly he
  • Uses Google Docs, Spreadsheets, GMail and GTalk to collaborate at school and be able to work on school projects at home
  • Thinks Twitter is cool and wants to participate, Dad won’t let him 🙂
  • Loves watching online video, almost as much as regular TV, if only the Simpsons were still on YouTube

In 10 years what will his expectations be? How will an employer be able to entice him to work for them? What work/cultural environment will he want? Will he even work for a single employer?

The answers to these questions should concern employers of all sizes.

Recruiting is marketing. Try jobcasting.

Twitter is it evil or can it be used for good

(Warning I am not sure this post is fully thought out, yet)

For the folks at Twitter, SXSW must have felt like a debutante ball with all of the fuss being made over their little baby. I have been a user of Twitter since November, actually I started on the same day as Scoble, well before the current craze that seems to have hit the world, look at the Technorati chart for the last 30 days:-
Technorati Chart
Get your own chart!

Or at a recent analysis in the growth of Twitter messages, 23 in March 2006 to over 8.2 mil as of today, mostly since late November. This thing is popular!

Like many initially I wondered what it was all about. But that was before I had friends, signed up my phone and IM client. It was all a bit of a yawn, social networking is no fun by yourself. Slowly I found a couple of friends, started getting SMS updates and things started to improve.

I have written a few blog posts trying to speculate what Twitter could be used for. But I am still not 100% sure what Twitter is all about, nor if it can be used for good.

Now it seems now that every man, woman, child and the occasional cat have an opinion about Twitter both good and bad. Ross Mayfield says it has tipped the tuna with the explosive growth from SXSW but still no one has a definitive answer on how we can use Twitter.

However I fear that with the “friends-race” executed by Chris Pirillo and Robert Scoble in the last few weeks will is causing the service to be dismissed by “outsiders” as just yet another geek toy. (Note: yes I follow both of them but before the “friends-race” began as sometime they Twitter some really interesting stuff.) No one can keep track of so many “friends” and not be driven crazy with the drain on their attention. Let’s not even start to talk about them blowing Dunbar’s number out the window when it comes to usage able social networks.

So back to my first question, can Twitter be used for good? Like blogging it can be used for many different things.

Looking at some comments on Robert’s post where his wife has banned him from talking about Twitter Jim Johnson lists a few “uses”, which are promptly shot down, but do raise some practical applications. Let’s now look at uses for Twitter, starting with Jim’s, and yes some are a stretch:-

  1. Letting your social circle know where you’re going? “We’re hanging out at XXX this Friday…”
  2. Reporting even little events as they happen, would have been useful in Sydney this week. “Bad traffic accident on the ##. Find another route.” “It’s a Boy!!” “Dad just hit a hole in one!!” “Derek Jeter just walked in to our restaurant…”
  3. LiveBlog; rather than wait until after some event happens to read someone’s liveblog – we can see it happen in real time.
  4. A partial presence indicator
  5. Because of the easy API a low $ notification system monitoring and notification service for businesses
  6. From Life Hacker : To Do List
  7. Again from Life Hacker : People Management
  8. Microblogging when you don’t want a full service blog
  9. Finding like minded geeks in your city
  10. A lost and found service
  11. A reminder service
  12. A reminder service at a conference for people to attend a session
  13. Personal middleware to let you know what is going on in your life
  14. Anything where you need to communication with a group people in a hurry

    6 more from Life Hacker

  15. Quick Human Answers- Ask folks on your friend’s list which digital camera to buy for under $300 US, and you’ll get back a stream of responses.
  16. Conference / News Briefings- The last several major tech events were covered by Twitter. I heard about the Apple iPhone faster through Twitter than I would via blog surfing. Similarly, I’ve watched people in San Francisco report earthquakes that took news sources hours to confirm.
  17. Friendsourcing- Last Tuesday, I asked about a web designer for a project. I got back 14 emails in 10 minutes from different sources on Twitter. It’s a great place to find folks to help with things. We once helped a friend out of a bind when he got stuck at an airport, strictly by Twitter.
  18. Micro-Attention-Sharing- Lots of us use Twitter to direct folks to blog posts we’ve written, news we find needs sharing, or entertaining things we’ve found on the web (Twitter has a built in function to use to shrink URLs to keep it under 140 characters). It’s *like* using to share, but it’s instant, and you wouldn’t drop 100 links on someone in Twitter in a given day.
  19. Direct People to Good Causes- I’ve seen plenty of posts of someone doing a walk for hunger or a collection for diabetes. Twitter allows people to use their friend lists to propagate that information faster, and try to draw more direct help down to a problem.
  20. Bonus- As advertised, Twitter answers the question “What are you doing?” It means that you can stay in touch with others without being intrusive. Just follow their twitters.

If Obvious were to add group messages then things will get even more interesting.

There has even been posts about being a good Twit, and as the Slacker Manager says the tool is not for everyone, but everyone should give it a try. register, set up their phone and/or IM client. If you do give it a try here is a good beginners guide to Twitter.

At the end of the day Twitter will only survive if users find a use for the service. At this stage I think it is a bit early to be calling its death.

ninemsn invests in Mathletics

From Ben Barren – 400K Mathletics X $99 Per Annum = 35% ninemsn

It is good to see Aussie startups making it, Mathletics seems to be one of those with a recent investment by PBL’s NineMSN.  This is of interest to me as a parent who’s child uses Mathletics (and Spellingdrome their other tool), I hope NineMSN don’t ruin it!

Mathletics is a fantastic tool and the company has done a great job of promoting within the education system, signing up schools on a 5 x 8 basis for student access either all year or for a specific duration, want to use it more?  Then the parent’s have to pay up.  Last year our son got hooked and so when the school subscription ran out, out came the credit card.

As Ben highlights one of the key things I like about the tool is the weekly reports that parents get on their child’s progress.  This provides parent’s two great benefits, they can see that their expense is still returning value and they can get in their child’s learning.  Only negative comment is now our son is using a school subscription again and we no longer get the reports as he has had to create a new account, the ability to merge accounts would be a great feature.

Oh and today March 14 is World Maths Day and as of writing there are 2,160 kids online with over 7 million correct answers provided today!

Are you dependent on others at work then Co-Working might be for you

We all know there is growing trend of lone-rangers and consultants floating around the employment market and everything is pointing to this trend continuing. One of the biggest issues with going it alone has always been the cost of setting up your own office, which is why so many work at home.

Working at home, while good on the hip pocket, generates isolation, social/productivity issues, and can have a perceived a lack of professionalism for client meetings etc. To resolve this people are flocking to coffee shops, hopefully with free wifi, as an answer.

Another solution to the issue has been the serviced office approach. It solves the professionalism and changes your cost structure but does not really solve the isolation, social/productivity issues as you are still typically working alone.
Enter Co-Working!

Described on the Co-Working wiki as “Coworking is cafe-like community/collaboration space for developers, writers and independents.

Recent coverage has included :-

Get the latest Internet recruiting scoop at Cheezhead.

One hour that could save your life

Ok the title might be attention grabbing but the cause is worth it.

There is a movement up in Sydney called EarthHour and the idea is for 1 hour everyone in Sydney should turn off all of their lights. It is being supported by the World Wildlife Foundation Australia and The Sydney Morning Herald (a Fairfax publication, just like The Age for those down south). Following the dramatic turn down of everything the campaign it then looking to cut Sydney’s greenhouse gas emissions by 5% over the coming 12 months.

So what do you do without your lights?

Get the neighbours together for a BBQ or head out to your local park for the hour. Take some binoculars and look at the stars. Or just go for a stroll. Talk with your family and friends about the state of our planet and the need to make a change to keep the place we live the way we need it to be.

Do something non-electric as a family – have a picnic or a have a candlelit dinner – but most importantly enjoy!


  • Get the neighbours together for a BBQ or head out to your local park for the hour
  • A candle-lit dinner for your friends or family
  • Dine in the dark – guess the food you’re eating!
  • Have a kids “camp-over” – pitch a tent in the yard and tell ghost stories

Want to help spread the word? Become their MySpace friend (am I the only one on the planet without one of these?), post your Earth Hour videos on YouTube, your pics on Flickr and tag them “earthhour2007”, use a banner on your site.

The site has some really good ideas of what people can do everyday to help reduce our impact on the environment.

Right now the organisers are only looking for Sydney to participate but it would not hurt if we all got on board. So spread the word!