June 30, 2005

Bulk view

I can move in after office hours

Yay! I don’t have to worry about not being able to make it to office
hours! I can move into the Graduate House in the evening!

That’s a relief. Now I just need to get that darn visa and sort the
rest of the stuff out…

E-Mail from Tara Bunting

コンピューター業界は景気がいい。 The computer industry is enjoying a boom.

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Public speaking and mentoring

Steve Pavlina wanted to become a professional speaker. He didn’t know much about the business side of speaking, but he found a mentor who helped him get the hang of things.

I WANT TO BE A PROFESSIONAL SPEAKER.

I love sharing ideas with people. I love bringing my enthusiasm and my
passion to a hall and infecting as many people as I can. I love
learning about presentation techniques and fascinating ideas. I love
getting people to think. Besides, speaking is a great way to get to
meet other fascinating people. I’ve made friends and learned about
opportunities at post-conference dinners.

I love attending workshops and conferences, even for things that I
don’t immediately need. My conference notes focus more on speakers’
delivery styles than actual technical content. My books aren’t about
programming in Java or writing HTML, but business and public speaking.

I love the challenge of providing value to a whole hall of people. As
a wet-behind-the-ears teacher, I’ve presented alternative teaching
techniques in front of veteran educators. I’ve talked about technology
in front of students and professionals. I’ve survived the scrutiny of
a college classroom.

I’ve had my bad days. Unresponsive audiences. Technical problems.
Lackluster content. All of those things just keep pushing me to learn
more, practice more, be better.

I’ve been giving presentations for four years. I’ve turned talks into
articles and blog posts into presentations. I want to learn more. I
want to entertain people the way
Dean Alfar made hundreds of people
laugh during the iblog.ph summit. I want to teach and inspire people
the way Zig Ziglar and other business speakers do.

I want to share what other people and I have learned. I want to talk
about education. Productivity. Technology. I want to raise questions.
I want to provoke thought and action.

I can learn by watching people at conferences. I can learn by
listening to audiobooks. I can learn by reading transcripts, artciles
and books. But if I could find someone to mentor me, who knows how
much faster I’ll learn and how much more value I can give right away?

Who are the best speakers you know? Would they be willing to mentor a
geek more than willing to swap technical knowhow for presentation
mentoring?

そのコンピュータは大変役にたった。 The computer was very useful.

Renan says:

there’s always the toastmaster’s club. there should be one in the
philippines; since you’re moving to canada, there should be one too.
find one that suites your needs. some are topical; for example, some
talk of nothing but politics, others are free-form and tackle whatever
topic the member brings in. i attended a couple of these, and it did
help. bucause of schedule conflict, though, i had to quit.

it toastmaster’s international (toastmasters.org) is not for you,
there’s always the speech class. i have a friend who was a
communications major in college and he told me they had a class on
public speaking where each one of them give a speech on different
topics—-impromptu, extemporaneous, a eulogy, acceptance speech, etc.

of course, as you said, you can learn a lot by listening to people,
especially charismatic speakers, and learn about the psychology of it.

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Forms, forms, forms…

I have to confess: I’m crazy about forms. When a post like a million monkeys typing: The Crossroads Form turns up in my RSS aggregator, I can’t help but print out a copy and give it a whirl.
I drool over the subtle shades of Douglas Johnston‘s templates and the clean curves of John Norris‘ work. I am Sacha Chua, and I am a forms addict.

I’m fascinated by the way people organize information. Forms and
diagrams are scaffolds for our ideas, giving structure and support.
They make information easy to understand months or even years
afterwards. Forms make it _fun_ to explore thoughts and share them
with others.

Even doodles on a napkin are enriched by a judiciously chosen diagram.
Clusters. Fishbones. Mindmaps. Names roll off my tongue like old
friends who’ve seen me through problems time and again. I even diagram
my way out of stuckness, pausing in the middle of a fit to sketch the
causes of my difficulties and finding ways to deal with them.

I want to learn how to design good forms. I want to learn about the
different designs people use and when each one is appropriate. I want
to listen to people’s information needs and pull just the right
template out of a vast library of forms, checklists and diagrams. I
want to design information.

コンピュータがこの会社に導入されつつあります。 Computers are being introduced into this company.

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Teaching an old dog new tricks ;)

My dad is a Mac whiz, but adding new pictures to his portfolio on
the Adphoto website is something he
needs his youngest daughter to do.

Or so he thought. When he asked me to add a couple of pictures to the
website, I laughed and told him to do it himself.

He looked at me skeptically. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,”
he said. Having just heard G-nie Arambulo’s stories about all that
code in the Dreamweaver class she took, my dad wasn’t keen on mucking
about with all of that geek stuff.

“No, no, it’s simple! Here, let me show you.” I showed him how to log
on and edit his page. The other photographers perked up and hurried
over, jotting down notes.

“How do I remove images?”

“Do you know their filenames? Delete those lines.”

“How do I upload a new image?”

“Make a small version of your portfolio shot first. Maybe 77 pixels
like everything else? Then add an Attach: line over there, save, click
on the link, choose the file and upload. Tada!”

“Can I have categories?”

“Sure! Just add a little text. Then you can copy and paste things. You
can drag-and-drop, or you can use the keyboard to copy and paste like
this: Shift-down, Command-x, move, then Command-v…”

“Can I select separate lines?”

“Ummm, no, I don’t thi… HEY! Wow. The Mac’s way cool. What’s that?
Command- and then select?”

My dad set to work, saying, “We’re going to have food brought in.
You’re not leaving until we get this done.” He sounded stern, but I
could tell that he was excited. “Can I add something about my
interests?”

“Sure! Here, let’s write something about Mali. Just edit the page and
add your text before your featured photos.”

John K. Chua has over 30 years of experience in advertising
photography. In his spare time, he takes care of an elephant.

“In fact, you can give Mali her own page. Just add double brackets
around ‘elephant’.”

“Okay. Now walk me through this website, step by step.”

We went through all the pages. He added more detail to the About Us
page, listing cool equipment I couldn’t make heads or tails of. Seeing
him engrossed in organizing and adding to his portfolio, I snuck
back upstairs.

“Sacha, please come down to the main office.” Caught!

“The images are still too big.”

“Hmm, let’s see what we can do…” I remembered that Adobe Photoshop
has a “Save for Web” feature. It suggested saving the picture as GIF
instead of JPEG. GIF’s color limitations weren’t obvious at that size,
and the image quality was acceptable. A few clicks later, we got it
down to 12 KB: just a few seconds on any Internet connection.

“Why didn’t you tell me about this earlier?” said my dad,
mock-annoyed. “Now I’m going to have to do all of the pictures again.”

I grinned sheepishly. “Oops, forgot about it.”

When he turned back to the rest of the files, I bounced back upstairs.
Now the website’s in the hands of the people who know the most about
the business. Yay! Technology to the rescue! Wikis totally rock!

Further resources:

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Feedburner rocks

If you haven’t signed up for the awesome RSS/Atom feed processor
called FeedBurner because you’re afraid there’s no going back, relax.
Those FeedBurner guys aren’t out to steal your traffic or enslave your
users. In fact, they care so much about you and your subscribers that
they’ve created an easy way to help your subscribers transition if you
decide to stop using FeedBurner.

So go ahead, take advantage of FeedBurner’s many features. I like the
way it makes my RSS feed browser-friendly. It also splices in my
del.icio.us links for hassle-free bookmark publishing. Great stuff!

Let me plug my own feed here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/sachac . Try
it out!

私は父からコンピューターゲームを与えられた。 I was given a computer game by my father.

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Template for Debriefing

Based on Open Loops: Post-Project Analysis: A Strategy for Performance Improvement:

During a debriefing, participants should be nameless and rankless.

Review the Objective

Self-analysis

Facilitator should continue questioning until detailed positive and
negative points emerge. Improvement comes by dealing with the
negatives and remembering the positives.

Revisit original project plan

- Were the outcomes and success criteria clear?
- Were there any miscommunications?
- Was the project too complex for the team?

Analyze what happened

- Review the data. Highlight and discuss mistakes.

Review the project outcomes

- Which success criteria were met or not met?

Lessons Learned

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