Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Webstock 2013

The story begins, as every great story should, with a cup of excellent coffee. After registering months in advance Webstock had finally arrived with its brilliant combination of insightful speakers and endless free coffee/Ice Cream. It is a fantastic event that brings together a diverse array of speakers who look at the vast potential of the Web in an incredibly enthusiastic and excited fashion. It is a group of people who work at the cutting edge of internet innovation and hopefully we at Spiral come away from it with inspiration to improve our products and services for the rest of the year.
Inside the Wellington Town Hall at the Webstock Conference

Over two days I learned about the Web from perspectives ranging from Journalists to Web Entrepreneurs, App builders to Media Inventors. The talks were held inside the Wellington Town Hall with periodic breaks for us all to hit up the coffee bars in the foyer or to grab an ice cream from the freezer. There was such a concentration of Web people that both the free wifi provided for the conference and the local 3G cellphone coverage crashed. Too many people were trying to connect.

Clay Johnson gave me an interesting perspective on modern online media, Aza Raskin showed us all the amazing creations that can come from constraints and Tom Coates explored the possibilities that emerge from increasing connectivity. Robin Sloan gave such an interesting talk I went out and read the novel he wrote (it was great! I read it all one Sunday). At the close of the second day I had a notebook stuffed full of insight and head full of inspiration. There was so much there for me and hopefully I can take some of it away to help our customers. 

It truly is a great experience and the topics of the speakers are so interestingly diverse that even completely non-techy people can enjoy them. Some of the past talks are available online here if you want to have a look.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Armed Forces Safety Pointers

The New Zealand Herald reported this morning that the Defence Force has issued a handbook to personnel with guidelines on how to use social networking. I mention this because there are useful tips even for those of us who dont work in the military. It warns that piecing together information through the internet was easy, and adversaries were very good at pulling together information to create a complete picture. You could substitute "new boss" for "adversaries".
The handbook said staff should avoid speaking negatively about supervisors  or revealing sensitive information. I would add avoid speaking negatively about anyone on facebook was a bad idea.
Armed Forces Safety pointers included:
  • disable the option to be tagged in online games
  • check photos and videos, before posting, for anything of a sensitive nature
  • disable the GPS function (if you dont want people to know where you are)
These are sensible tips we can all apply. The saying goes "loose lips, sink ships" ... dont sink your ship with inappropriate behaviour, unkindly words or ignorance of privacy functions on Facebook.