James Mayes

Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

Blog: This time, it’s personal – and it’s for your own good.

In Community, Personal, Sport on July 21, 2011 at 8:48 am

It’s usually tech, social media or recruitment here. Occasionally, it’s family. Today though, I don’t want to tell you anything.

I’d just like to ask for 1 minute 11 seconds of your time.

This is the first time I’ve hosted video on the blog. I had to pay WordPress for the upgrade option to do so. I believe it’s money well spent.

Blog: Who’s REALLY in your browser, tracking your habits?

In Gadgets, Personal, Social Media, Start-ups on July 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm

My interest in browser activity started to rise earlier this year, when I started to learn more about the upcoming EU Cookie Directive. I’m by no means an expert on that, and if you want to learn more I’d suggest checking out the Cookie Crunch project.

My reading did introduce me to Ghostery though. It’s a neat little browser plugin, available for IE, Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers. There are varying degrees of functionality, but the core objective is to detect tracker scripts and third party tools, both from the site itself and when embedded in iFrames. It’ll allow you to learn more about who’s tracking the web and how your habits are being monitored.

Once you’ve downloaded and installed the correct version for your browser, it’s off.  You’ll see a small icon added to the toolbar to confirm it’s running – it also often displays a digit, to tell you how many items it’s identified on the current page. Click the icon to access settings, reports, etc.

LinkedIn ScriptsWhenever you navigate to a new page, you’ll get a brief pop-up in the top-right corner, telling you what it’s found. This example is a screen-shot from my LinkedIn homepage.

The FAQ page does a fairly reasonable job of explaining why Ghostery does what it does, why it’s free, and what happens to the data. They explain it better than I do, so if you want a peek, it’s here. If you want to download, go here. Let me know what you think!

Blog: Content, Huh! What is it good for?

In Community, Recruitment, Social Media, Social Recruiting on July 18, 2011 at 8:10 pm

It’s been a busy year for events so far (see here for details) – and a constant stream of conferences, un-conferences and tweet-ups make it easier to spot changing trends in the market.  I’ve spoken previously in a couple of video interviews about the changing client dynamic for Social Recruiting – the appetite seems to be increasing, there’s noticeably less concern over brand risk than there was two years ago, everyone seems to accept that you can’t simply broadcast jobs, there must be something more.

Significant progress then? Yes, but there’s more to do. While most now accept the need for content, it seems only a small percentage give appropriate consideration to the purpose of that content. For example, in a recent panel debate, I heard the view that community building on a new platform for a specific purpose simply won’t work because users won’t return. A position such as this gives no recognition to the value of content.

Take news sites – there are a number I regularly read (recruiting, technology, current affairs, etc.). From my point of view, I have virtually no interaction with the other users on that site – yet from the site manager’s point of view, it’s fair to say a community of like-minded people with similar interests has been assembled, which can subsequently be put to service in various ways (most often, to generate advertising revenue). True community? Not to my mind, but I can see how the argument is constructed and it certainly demonstrates content is the driver.

So how else can / should content be used? From a professional perspective, I’m interested in developmental content. I’ve written before on the rejection aspect of recruitment (here and here) and the negative impact on a company’s brand – making learning materials available online is potentially one way to help redress this – whilst also setting us on a new path of actually improving the availability of educational material available to all.

I also see efforts to build community site builds where the community itself seems unwilling to speak.  This also, I’d say, is an opportunity to consider the type of content.  Maybe your community is nervous, or feel they need permission? Ask them a question – it implicitly encourages discussion. Better still, ask what they want – educate yourself AND get the dialogue going.

I suppose the best summary of this comes from a comedy routine a few years back, delivered by the surreal (and quite magnificent) Bill Bailey. When deconstructing his approach to writing a sketch, he’d ask himself what the required level of mirth was, and work backwards. Clearly, you’ll have to go find the DVD if you want the laughs, but the approach, I think, is valid!

Moderation in all things


Oh – for those who recall a previous blog where I railed AGAINST purely strategic content – this one is the balancer!

Blog: Why I love… JoliCloud

In Gadgets, Social Media, Software Development, Start-ups on July 13, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I wrote this one a few months back for GlooBlog – as always, I eventually loop back and ping them into my own archive too. Hope you enjoy this one – also recommend checking out GlooBlog, regularly some good stuff there.

If I ask what platform your current laptop/PC/Tablet is running, I’m guessing I cover at least 95% with Mac or Windows.  This distresses me, so I want to throw a new one at you – JoliCloud.

The platform itself is a variant of UNIX, which has been around longer than I have in a variety of forms.  To the uninitiated, UNIX is often a less-than-welcoming environment, so it’s not had a huge take-up in home/mobile computing for the masses.  JoliCloud might just change that.  The core focus of this new platform is to be apps-driven.  In the same way as one takes an iPhone and simply adds or removes applications as need be, so JoliCloud functions on a netbook, laptop or PC.  Easy as Windows? Hell no, easier. By far.

There are around 800 apps available at the moment, with more being added all the time.  Focus has been very much around social media, communication and entertainment – so Facebook, Twitter, blogging software, Skype, Spotify and other tools are all well represented. Good browsing functionality, a choice of email clients too and some typical Mah-Jong and card games for your quiet moments. There’s virtually nothing pre-installed – you pick what you want and add it.  Immediately, and free.

As it’s built around a custom UNIX core, anything unnecessary is stripped away – and as a result, it’s fast.  Really fast.  I recently installed it on a low-power netbook from Acer which my wife uses for websurfing, email and general social interaction.  It boots in seconds.  Literally, about 20 seconds. My high-powered work PC on Windows 7 typically takes 3-4 minutes.  When I first installed JoliCloud, I downloaded it (legally, for free). Burnt it to a CD, then connected the CD drive to the Netbook.  Boot from CD.  Install choice is offered.  I recall I selected “Yes” – and it just got on with it. Recognised all the hardware, installed everything it needed, done. First time.

The reaction to this new build has been fantastic – it gets more use than ever before and what’s more, I’m jealous of it!  A two year old, basic systems little netbook.  It does exactly what it needs, it does it fast – and if you have a problem, you tweet the JoliClouders and they come straight back with a suggestion.

So, my challenge to you? If you’ve got an old laptop somewhere that struggles to cope with modern software – re-invigorate it.  Put JoliCloud on it and give it a new lease of life. Oh, my favourite app?  DropBox.  Go play with it, you’ll figure out why.

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