My MacBook Pro

My MacBook Pro

Stefan’s MacBook Pro 13″ Retina Display taken with iPhone 4S


The importance of the art of communication amongst educators

Have you ever been in a situation as a student where you are called out to help out with the lecturer to set up the power point presentation or trying to point out to the lecturer how he puts the power point into slideshow mode and shouting “F5” (shortcut key to start a powerpoint presentation in Microsoft Power Point). Is this familiar to you? Well this is pretty much the situation in most schools and universities around the world.

The point I want to make out of this is the following : How do you expect to educate using a medium that you barely know how to operate?

Sometimes I am called out during lectures to help out with setting up the presentation and every time I get up to do it, I feel as if someone is hitting my head with a brick to keep me comatose for the rest of the lecture. The rules of engagement with the audience are somehow broken at that point in time as the educator is trying to pass on the message to us.

This following video from Youtube pretty much sums up all the rules of engagement between the educator and students as they’re being broken :

Being an educator sometimes is more than just knowing your stuff from inside out, it’s also about how much you are able to communicate the information. Once again, it’s a question on why you want to do it, and not how to do it.

Before I started writing this post I was focused on the fact that educators have to know how to pass on the message, that is by being digitally literate and able to operate the laptop or computer in an efficient manner so as to be able to convey their message, but the truth is, that it’s not enough, although it could be a starting point to effective communication and one of the tools which could be used.

In fact I realized this as I was doing the habitudes for communicators assessment, as the different questions reminded me how effective communication is more than anything an art, an art which right now is not that much practised and which needs to be learnt by most of the educators. Different elements of any form of communication involve the use of storytelling, being able to deal with one’s nervousness to talk effectively(since talking in front of people does go against our human nature), being passionate on the subject you’re talking about, giving incentives to the audience and much much more.

So what is the solution?

The solution is to start from myself. I’m grabbing a copy of the book “Habitudes for Communicators” once it’s available for the Kindle. Once I read the book, I’ll try and share the knowledge in the best way I can.

Educators out there(and that practically refers to everyone from parents to politicians). If you really want to bring a change with the information you want to share, be ready to take some time for yourself and ask yourself whether you are an effective communicator. Let’s start a culture of effective communication. And remember, be passionate on what you talk about!



Why I love the new Facebook Timeline, Smart Lists and Subscription options.

Some people love it and some people don’t and I still could not understand why they don’t love it. I was always yearning the possibility to go back in time and be able to see my first post and now thanks to this feature it is possible. The cover photo? Genius. The possibility to add relevant life events to specific points in the timeline which reflect a certain sense of chronology? Genius. The idea of being able to create an autobiography using this kind of tools and making it as interactive as possible? Double Genius. Then I hear people saying, but yeah,” it’s not really private, it really takes stalking to a new level”. That’s not a valid excuse, learn how to use your privacy settings and share with the people that you really care about it via Smart Lists.

I was pondering about the idea about doing a total migration of my social network to Google Plus, but with this Timeline feature and very much improved Smart Lists, I really have another excuse to stay on board the Facebook ship. And now the Google Profile doesn’t even look good at all compared to the Facebook profile where you can have a wonderful cover photo displaying some highlight of your life or some other picture which is appealing to the senses.

Talking about Smart Lists, everyone on Facebook should have a working knowledge on how to use these and I would daresay that if I had to organize digital literacy class, I would definitely include this topic on the “curriculum”. It very much defines and gives a more personalised feel to the way we communicate on Facebook and the way we get to know about what’s happening in the lives of the people we truly care about. If we want to learn more about Smart lists you should click here .

And one other thing, you got to love the new Subscribe option on Facebook, this gives me the opportunity to connect with anyone I want in the world without actually having to “friend” these people i.e that is sending them a Facebook friend request and avoiding a couple of awkward moments. This also gives one the opportunity to actually friend those people, whom at least, are acquaintances. As a result of this I deleted my personal Facebook Page and in a shorter amount of time I got more subscribers on my facebook profile then 1 to 2 years of setting up the Facebook Page.

Congratulations Facebook, you’re moving in the right direction. I also think that you couldn’t have set up the IPO at a better time.

Google Plus, get cracking.



Choosing the right smartphone, my personal battle revisited : of iOs versus Android and Microsoft versus Apple

During the last few months, I have been pondering about an important choice. More than one important choice actually. And since I’m quite the technology geek, I thought the Samsung Galaxy I9000 with upgraded firmware and running Froyo 2.2 was not making the cut for me. Powered emotionally by the fact that I had just read Steve Jobs Biography. I had to revisit my allegiances and where I stand with regards to Mobile Operating Systems. When I was revisiting this, I realized that this was not just a battle of the mobile operating systems, but it was a battle of values. It was a battle between the philosophy of trying to content everyone and adjusting to their every whim and a philosophy of providing an integrated product which might not so modifiable at first glance, but which provides a user experience which is undeniably effective and lets the user focus on other important issues. The question of focus plays a pivotal role in this battle. I will talk about this later.

I could definitely say that I was a Windows and Android boy. I loved everything which was open and which catered for every kind of hardware. It was years that my older sibling pointed out to me that I should switch to the Apple philosophy which provided me a product which simply worked and even though he recently had to change his MacBook Pro Motherboard for a hefty sum of money, he still won’t go back to Windows. That is saying something.

When I ask around, I go and approach anyone who has an iPhone, and ask him or her, “how long have you had this phone?”. The answer is always on the positive side varying from 2 to 3 years. Now, I know that my sampling techniques might not be so precise and not so representative of whole market. Yet I know,that,owning an Apple mobile phone, is meant to last you for quite a long time, considering that most of us are now changing their mobile phones every 2 years and sometimes even less because they simply break down. Apple’s phone is meant to provide you with an experience of stability. And you know why is that? Because Apple focuses on the why. Which makes the whole bloody difference.

In fact Simon Sinek talks about this in the following legendary talk:

This might sound more like a rant yet dear patient readers, I’m sharing with you a cascade of thoughts, thoughts which come in as a result of months of informing oneself and checking this site and that site, and comparing different phone models and trying to see which phone I should buy and even taking to the point that I posted a public Facebook status about this, asking people which phone should I buy is it the iPhone 4S or Samsung Galaxy Nexus Prime . Of course at that time, I was more inclined towards the pumped-up Android phone but at the end, I decide to go for the more simple phone. The phone which actually works, and proven to work for a long time : iPhone 4S. Of course, I’m still saving up for it yet I’ve made my decision(on a side note: is a brilliant website to guide you in making better decision when it comes to the timing of buying electronics and price fluctuations).

As I was reading the very honest biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, which in plain terms does not try to give a sweet “candy”  image of Jobs, I was struck by the fact that the iPhone was a product that was not created by the engineers and the designers had to follow suit, but the other way round, that is, the phone was created by the designers and the engineers had to create solutions which make that design work. At this point, I am clearly against the way Jobs treated his employees during his time as Apple CEO, yet he also said something which was the epitome of most of the innovations that he drove into fruition:

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

Dear Friends. That in five words sums up my choice.

Disclaimer : This blog post is not meant to make any sense gramatically and is not even meant to be flowing. These are just my thoughts,made digital and this post might be edited as we go along.

Could this be the downfall of Skype?

A new web application introduced by T-Mobile enables facebook users to do video/voice calls to each other just by installing the web application which can be obtained from the following link :

Bobsled By T-Mobile.

What are your views about this ? Do you think this could be Skype’s downfall? Will T-Mobile’s infrastructure be able to handle this?

Lockergnome’s article gives a more elaborate view about the topic here , he even suggests that this might be the eventual death of your mobile phone number….what is YOUR take on that ?