Daily Archive: February 28, 2005


A very easy and light weight read, its got some interesting elements that keep you guessing and a hint of mystery.  I liked the book it made a rotten day bearable.  I would recomments it if you want to kill some time and don’t want any challenges.  The basic storyline is detailed below:

Stanley Yelnats is sentenced to dig holes at Camp Green Lake detention centre for stealing a pair of trainers. Stanley’s quest to discover what he is digging for leads to danger and adventure and to a confrontation with his family’s past. 

Bill Gates has invested nearly $1B in US schools and wants to make every dollar count

Bill has just given a very interesting speech on the state of the US High School system which he describes as obsolete:

By obsolete, I don’t just mean that our high schools are broken, flawed, and under-funded – though a case could be made for every one of those points. By obsolete, I mean that our high schools – even when they’re working exactly as designed – cannot teach our kids what they need to know today. 

Training the workforce of tomorrow with the high schools of today is like trying to teach kids about today’s computers on a 50-year-old mainframe. It’s the wrong tool for the times. Our high schools were designed fifty years ago to meet the needs of another age.  Until we design them to meet the needs of the 21st century, we will keep limiting – even ruining – the lives of millions of Americans every year.

He has a considerable interest in this failing as he explains here:

Our philanthropy is driven by the belief that every human being has equal worth.  We are constantly asking ourselves where a dollar of funding and an hour of effort can make the biggest impact for equality. We look for strategic …

Ink, Typing and Creativity

In his podcast today on Tablet PCs James mentioned that studies have shown the creativity is reduced when typing with both hands (which use both sides of the brain) which explains why many people find that their creativity is increased when using ink as the input method to capture ideas.  In addition the freedom of expression enabled by ink also increases creativity.  I have also seen this, and noticed a similar effect when mainly using my mouse and minimal typing to create Mindmaps on my desktop.

Its interesting how this interesting observation links together posts from yesterday on thinking and on report writing here and here.

Tablet PC Podcast

James, author of the jkOnTheRun weblog, covering all thing mobile, emailed me yesterday to let me know about his new podcast on all things Tablet.  I have recently been getting into podcasts and listen to them when I am out walking or swimming.  This time though I listened to James at 5* speed in Windows Media Player at home while I followed the products and sites he mentioned in my browser.  All in all the combination of the 5* speed and the excellent content made for a very useful 10–15 minutes.  Podcasting has definately got a future!

Check out the podcast, James covers a wide range of topics, including: 

  • The under utilisation of speech recognition
  • Inking strategies and the effect of inking on the creative process
  • Alternative pen input applications including ritePen, OrangeGuava and a rumour of a Tablet enabled version of ActiveWords.

Here is a list of the main sites he mentioned, snipped from his blog.

Tablet PC Buzz– Spencer Goad, Rob Bushway
Tablet PC Talk– Chris de Herrera
What is New– Lora Heiny
Tablet PC Weblog– Marc Orchant
Tablet PC Questions– Layne Heiny (newsgroup)
Tablet PC Post– Lora & Layne; …

Report writing – second edition

Imagine my surprise when the day after writing this post on my frustrations with the existing medium for writing and delivering reports, I see a very similar post on the subject of writing books and insightful comment.  Although in this case the frustration is not so much with the paper medium (which has worked and continues to work pretty well) but with the fact that we have not exploited the electronic medium.  The following extract talks to the lost opportunity, without which Joe does not believe eBooks will really take off:

The biggest barrier I see is this recognition that an e-book needs to be developed with the delivery platform in mind. Wouldn’t it be great if you could introduce the concept of a hyperlink to a printed book so that someone could just touch a phrase they don’t understand and they’re magically taken to a definition of that phrase or the first place it appears in the book? Instead, you have to flip back to the index, look it up, and then jump to that page. Oh, and while you’re doing that, you need to keep a thumb on your original page so that you don’t lose your …