An Automated Happy New Year

Happy new year

Happy new year (Photo credit: Amodiovalerio Verde)

Two years ago I wanted to send a “Happy New Year” message to someone I’d started seeing at Christmas but couldn’t be with at midnight on New Year’s Eve.  This was important to me, I felt she was someone special.  I sat on a sofa in a local pub away from the other revellers counting down to zero.  I hit send on my phone with a few seconds to spare.

Nothing.  The message just sat there in my outbox.  It hadn’t gone by the time I got home.  By one o’clock in the morning it was still there.  “She’s going to think I don’t care” my mind kept saying over and over, pacing up and down the length of my apartment.  I wrote on Facebook that the network were crap, a friend agreed and that she was having the same problem texting her parents.  Since then me and my friend vowed to never be “lulled into a false sense of security” by said network *cough* Orange *cough* ever again.

Sorry, that should be EE.  Ahem.  Everything Everywhere – that night it was Nothing Anywhere.

Thing is that it wasn’t just Orange.  It was the first time I’d encountered the fact that everyone tries to text the same message at the same time and most networks just collapse.

I’ve been prepared since, if I send greetings the recipients get them at half-past ten and they can like it.  Just don’t open it til midnight.

Now though Facebook have the answer – though it wouldn’t have helped me, the object of my undying love wasn’t on Facebook – in their Facebook Stories app and it’s ability to automatically send a message to all your friends on the first dong of Big Ben, or when the ball drops depending on your continent.  This has since been found to be less than private so be careful what you say.

So there, problem solved and it shows you care, it’s not like you’re sending some kind of automated new year spam is it?

Snap Judgements

Speed dating

Speed dating (Photo credit: ☺ Lee J Haywood)

It’s New Year’s Eve and many people will be going out to bars tonight to see if they can meet someone to see the new year in with but how will they choose?

Well it’s been assumed that the initial snap judgement is based on physical attractiveness and research using a speed-dating group does confirm this but also found that a second part of the brain – the rostromedial prefrontal cortex – was active when choices were being made.  This is a part of the brain that deals with choices where apparently equal options are available, it considers other people’s opinions and the similarities to others and it’s shown that when activated a person would choose a candidate that they considered to be more likeable than other people did.

The choices are still based on quick initial impressions but there is more going on than previously thought.



Book Exchange

English: A woman cuddling a pile of digital de...

English: A woman cuddling a pile of digital devices: laptops, smartphones, tablets, ebook readers etc. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With new rules saying that book publishers should basically price ebooks fairly in relation to the fact that there is no physical object to manufacture I’ve had an idea.

Maybe someone has already had it but anyway let’s say, like me, you have a large bookshelf, some of the books you want to keep because of their aesthetic appeal, or sentimental value, maybe they’re signed. Others you keep for reference and would be happy to have as searchable ebooks.

You’ve already paid for the paper version so you’re reluctant to pay the same price again for the ebook version.  What if you could send your good condition paper version to either a charity or a company like Amazon and they’d exchange it for the digital version and then sell the paper book second-hand to cover the cost of your ebook.  You could save space and the charity/company could still make money.  Even if they charged you a pound to do it it would still be worth it surely?

[Gizmodo UK]

Outsider Thinking


Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

I still make excuses for not writing posts on this blog.  Too tired, can’t think of what to say.  It’ll take too long to write, I’ll do it later.

I’ve found though that there is a problem deeper than that.  It’s a common feeling that you don’t deserve to be doing whatever you’re trying to do whether it be writing blogs, books, photography, graphic design, music or making hats.  It’s a kind of outsider thinking – that because you didn’t go to college or university to learn it, because you’re not a professional then you’re just playing, that you’re not part of the group, you’re not a writer or photographer.  It doesn’t matter how many people say that what you do is good the feeling that you shouldn’t be doing it persists, particularly when there are people around who do confirm your beliefs with words like “it’s just a hobby” like your creations can only have value to yourself.  You could even end up doing these things at work for free because you don’t feel your skills are worth any financial reward.

It leads you to read the work of published writers and journalists and so on and think I’m not as good as them.  There are some professions that require professional training but many that don’t, there are many writers and photographers who are entirely self-taught.

You’ll know, or discover whether you are good at what you’re doing the important thing is to not let the outsider thinking prevent you from learning and trying, or valuing what you create.

Christmas and Ebay

English: Where's the turkey.... Brussels sprou...

English: Where’s the turkey…. Brussels sprouts coming along nicely for Christmas, mmm! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the radio this morning, while I was half asleep still, I heard talk of a man who had sold two Brussels Sprouts on Ebay.  People were bemused as to why someone had paid £100 for them, I was too but considered the possibilities, was he in some way famous, infamous, did the sprouts have the face of Jesus, Santa or Wayne Rooney on them?

Once I dragged myself out of bed and to the computer a quick Google found the answer.  They were advertised with the information that the proceeds were going to the Make a Wish Foundation.  Someone bought them for the novelty, to give money to charity in a fun way.

That’s the thing about Ebay, people do sell and buy things for the amusement or notoriety.  The sprout was not the first – that ‘honour’ goes to a man from Darlington in 2005 and was followed by another in 2006 (both for charity) but presumably since then people have been holding on to their greens.

Wikipedia has a list of some of the more interesting sales including the wife of a radio dj who sold his Lotus car for 50 pence after hearing him flirting with Jodie Marsh on air.  Some unusual items increase in value because the sale itself becomes famous – like four golf balls removed from a python (A$1400).

Back to Christmas though, this year a woman is selling three unwanted and unopened gifts from her ex-boyfriend who was trying to win her back, they “must have been wrapped by someone else as he’s not clever enough to have done them” she added.  Just down the road from me a man from Worksop is selling a pack of unwanted doilies with a free Mother-in-Law who is “free to a good home” collection only.

According to Gumtree £2.1billion worth of unwanted gifts are given at Christmas.  I though was very happy with everything I got, including my Christmas dinner and I ate all my sprouts.

It’s sometimes diffficult but always worth striving to do.

The Sunset Blog

Following Your Passion

I can absolutely see the wonderful world that opens up behind this saying – „Follow your passion“.

If we follow our passion – do the things we love most – then the world becomes this supersized amazing place filled with magic and endless opportunities. And I personally believe that this is exactly how we are meant to experience this physical dimension called planet Earth – filled with joy, love and excitement.

It always amazes me how some people think that if everyone followed their passion, then the world would not work properly any longer or would completely come to an end. With all due respect for their opinion, I think those people are only looking at a very small range of possible „passions“.

What is a Passion?

The most common general opinion (mostly expressed by the media) is that only singing, dancing, acting, sports and art can…

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By Michelle Castillo

(CBS News) What’s the recipe for a stress-filled life? According to new research, being young, a woman, having a low education level and/or having low income represent the most stressed individuals in the United States.

A new study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology in the June 2012 issue, marks the first time scientists have been able to track the level of stress across the U.S. over time. Self-reported stress levels increased between 10 and 30 percent over all demographic categories between 1983 and 2009.

“We know that stress contributes to poorer health practices, increased risk for disease, accelerated disease progression and increased mortality,” study author Dr. Sheldon Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa., said in the press release. “Differences in stress between demographics may be important markers of populations under increased risk for…

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More evidence that even in our modern world some attitudes and assumptions haven’t changed.



First Posted: 05/09/2012 3:30 pm

Investors Less Likely to Back Women-Led Ventures

Businesses trying to raise money by going public may have a tough time finding investors if a woman is at the helm, a new study shows.

Researchers at the University of Utah found that despite identical personal qualifications and firm financials, female founders and CEOs were perceived as less capable than their male counterparts. In turn, the initial public offerings for companies led by those women were considered less attractive investments.

“Bias against top-level female executives seems entrenched despite strides women have made in filling management positions within firms making their initial public offerings,” said Lyda Bigelow, assistant professor at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business.

The study surveyed more than 200 second-year MBAstudents on their opinions of fictitious companies, some of which were led by men and some by women.  The results point…

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