Flickr screensaver

March 12th, 2008  |  Published in Windows

I was intrigued to hear Dave Winer talking, in a recent TWIT podcast, about his FlickrFan program that get photos from Flickr and other Internet sources and shows them as your screensaver. Unfortunately this is Mac-only at the moment.

However, I found a similar program for PC:

http://www.codeplex.com/FlickrNetScreensaver

It’s a little disconcerting not knowing whose photos are going to appear on your screensaver, but you can choose a tag (e.g. "nature") which lessens the scope for weirdness - like photos from someone’s family holiday, or baby’s Christening, showing up.

Flickr Screensaver Tool

ITauthor back up again

March 11th, 2008  |  Published in View all, WordPress

The site has been up and down, there and not there, recently. This is for a number of reasons but mainly because Sky cut off my internet connection which meant that - because my site was hosted from an old PC running Linux, sitting in a basement cubby hole in my house - my Web site disappeared.

At around the same time some of my domain names came up for renewal and when I was renewing itauthor.eu with Euro-Reg.com I decided, on the spur of the moment, to buy a hosting package and move everything onto their servers. You may have noticed that, at the time of writing at any rate, the URL for the site is .eu rather than the usual .com.

Things may change because I subsequently realised that Euro-Reg only allows me 500MB of space, which isn’t enough to put everything up that was originally on my site (so you may notice some missing pics etc.). I think I might move everything over to Dreamhost, but for the time being it’s working OK where it is and it means I can save a bit of electricity by turning off my Web server.

If you’ve visited before you may notice that the site runs a little faster than before - not a huge amount though, which is a little disappointing given that I got a tiny upload speed from Sky.

The downside of moving things to Euro-Reg is that I have no command line access and I have to move files via FTP. I’d forgotten how slow and arduous FTP is. I’d got so used to using WinSCP for putting stuff on my Web server. I’d kind of consigned FTP to history and thought I’d never use it again. Funny how things turn around.

However, the big gain from moving my Wordpress blog onto someone else’s server is that - for reasons unknown - the "Next/Previous" links in Wordpress that had never appeared before now work just fine. I’d spent ages in Wordpress forums trying to get these links to show up, without success, so it’s nice that the site is now much more accessible and you can get more than 5 search results now.

Jing - a quick way to create and share screencasts

March 4th, 2008  |  Published in Authoring tools

After a bit of a lay-off from reading blogs, I’ve been catching up with what Tom Johnson’s been blogging about. One post that caught my attention was a screencast about Jing:

jing

Jing is a cut-down version of Camtasia that provides a quick way to record a screen capture video and audio recording and then share it, for example on a blog. The real benefit of this is that, rather than writing out procedural steps you can quickly record a "here’s how it’s done" mini-demo and post it - e.g. onto SharePoint - for people in your team or organisation to view.

Makers TechSmith have a simple little animation that explains the benefits of Jing very nicely:

JingAnimation

Parkinson’s Law and tenders

February 29th, 2008  |  Published in View all

Parkinson’s Law says "Work expands to fill the time available for its completion". A more accurate description would be: "People take as long as they’re given to complete a job".

This was demonstrated to me very clearly over the past couple of weeks as the bid team I’ve been leading worked towards the submission deadline for an extremely large tender. The original submission date was extended by 10 days and yet we still ended up hitting the submit button less than 15 minutes before the closing time.

As bid team manager one of my main tasks has been keeping people supplied with work and instilling a sense of urgency. Apart from finalising pricing, we could have had everything finished, polished and ready to go days before the deadline, but even the day before I was having to play the bad guy, telling folks to cut the chatter to get the work done.

Fortunately, our little team - 4 of us - worked well together and had a good mix of skills. With other personalities it might not have worked so well, given that one of my team members was previously Customer Services Manager and was the person who had hired me and been my first line manager at the company, and another had Director in his job title, so they could have reacted badly, given that either of them could have been team leader. But they were both completely professional in their attitude and, from Day One, our team was a real team and not just four individuals who’d been told to work together for a few months.

So the bid went in yesterday: four months’ work, 24 separate documents, 904 pages. Huge relief, of course, but also - as usual with big projects that are suddenly complete - a slight sense of anticlimax. I took a day off today to celebrate and reflect on what we’ve achieved, and to look forward to what’s coming next.

Oh, and also to write my first blog post in a long time. 

No more ITauthor for a while

November 25th, 2007  |  Published in General, Podcasting, Podcasts, View all

Suddenly I’m no longer in the documentation business. My job changed from Documentation Manager to Bid Team Manager. I’m currently involved in preparing proposals for a couple of new business tenders, which is going to leave me no time for podcasting, or even blogging.

So - at least for the time being - ITauthor.com is going into hibernation. Thanks for reading/listening, if you have been.

Bye for now.

Alistair

 

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