Archive for March, 2011

It’s easier for others the see flaws that you don’t see yourself

So here’s the story, my son Andrew and I had a trip to the driving range on Sunday. We’re hitting a few balls and I’m getting more and more frustrated that I’m hitting it badly and despite tweaking the swing it makes no difference.

Just then Andrew appears from the other booth and says

Dad I’ve been watching you … you’re over swinging and you’re hitting with your left side.

Now at this point I have to mention that Andrew is 12 years old, he’s played only a couple of full rounds of golf, whereas I’ve played for 30 years or so. I know what you’re thinking:

How can this boy of 12 possibly tell someone with 30 years’ experience what they’re doing wrong?

Well at this point I should also mention that Andrew has been having golf lessons every year since he was 8 and despite playing for over half my life, I’ve only had a few lessons. He absolutely understands the fundamentals of the golf swing and although he doesn’t have the power (yet!) he has a lovely fluent golf swing.

Now who do you think is best placed to know the mechanics of the game?

And the morals of this story are… just because you’ve done something for a long time doesn’t necessarily make you and expert … it’s easier for others the see flaws that you don’t see yourself, and if you want to improve be prepared to accept feedback from the most unlikely source.

I can vouch for the fact that this works… I took his advice and he cured my swing … until the next time!!

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Internet Explorer 9 – what’s the big deal?

Internet Explorer 9 is Microsoft’s latest weapon in the browser wars, so what’s the difference with its predecessor?

Well when you load it you’ll notice straightaway that Microsoft have installed it with a minimalistic look. Microsoft have latched onto the less is more and lets keep it simple for the novice or first time user. But don’t worry if you’re a seasoned user, you can still make it look and work the way that its predecessor did. In fact you can fiddle about with the position of tabs and menus, although I have to question the value of this and I wonder if it’s just a gimmick. The simplicity is a nice touch however; and one might argue that they’ve made no attempt to hide the fact that they’ve simply copied the other browsers in the market that have done this for years.

Another feature you’ll recognise is that they’ve copied Google Chrome with application style containers to make a web page look like a locally installed application. Actually, they’ve gone one step further and integrated these with Windows, which is something only Microsoft can do as the other vendors can’t inject new functionality into the operating system. The giveaway here is the Operating system upgrade message you see when IE9 asks you to reboot your system to complete the install. That said I actually like some of this embedded functionality and I can see this being very useful.

You’ll also find they’ve introduced Safariesque “most popular sites” navigation page and they’ve embedded search within the URL field… again first seen in Google Chrome.

Microsoft also claim IE9 to be their fastest browser, despite seeing a popup suggesting you disable plugins to speed up browsing (I don’t have any), I’ve not noticed any real difference in performance so far.

I’m still left with the question … does Internet Explorer 9 offer anything new? or is it simply an attempt to replicate and consolidate the functionality of its competitors, you tell me?

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What social networking is really good at is creating experts…

Or should I say letting people claim to be experts and share their opinions with the world and his wife whether they know anything about the subject or not.

It’s very easy these days for someone to be very popular amongst an online community without ever having ventured outside “their small dark office” (a line from The Social Network). There are many such individuals out there and you’ve probably met some … you know, the self-proclaimed expert who is ready to offer an opinion on absolutely everything and rubbishes anyone who dares challenge their views.

Let me give you an example, time and time again I come across people out there that research something on the web and then share their views as an expert opinion, is this really an expert opinion?

Whilst you’re thinking about the answer, let me give you another example, look at these two pictures of exactly the same scene… same car, same street, same time:

 

Okay, some disclosure, I took one of these can you guess which? Now, just because I can take a picture doesn’t make me a photographer… and unfortunately in my case not even a gifted amateur.

The point I’m trying to make is that it takes years of doing something over and over again to develop the skills and knowledge to become an expert and even when you become one there is still more you can learn.

I’ll finish this post with a great quote from @MartijnLinssen … the “know it all” paradox…

What if you had wisdom and truly knew all? To everyone else, that would be just another opinion…

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