Welcome to British Gas!

iStock 000016712919Small conference 150x150 Welcome to British Gas! photo    toastmasters fun time blogroll  valley toastmasters uk toastmasters public speaking London humour british gas britain This is another speech I’ve given at Valley Toastmasters, and it’s part of Competent Communicator manual, project #6: “Vocal Variety”.

As a reminder, the objectives of the project are:

  • Use voice volume, pitch, rate and quality to reflect and add meaning and interest to your message
  • Use pauses to enhance your message
  • Use vocal variety smoothly and naturally

With that in mind, here’s the speech I delivered:

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Should I Still Worry About Handwriting?

iStock 000019097347XSmall lightbulb 150x150 Should I Still Worry About Handwriting? photo    technology random thoughts blogroll  writing visual reading parsing information information images comunication alphabet 49ers This is something that’s been bugging me for quite a bit now to be honest to the point where it’s getting into becoming an obsession: are we using writing (and reading for that matter) for all the wrong reasons? Is it still needed? Or is it an archaic way of communicating — and as such won’t be needed soon? I know, crazy idea right? icon smile Should I Still Worry About Handwriting? photo    technology random thoughts blogroll  writing visual reading parsing information information images comunication alphabet 49ers

Here’s the thing — my handwriting nowadays is terrible (not that it’s ever been that great!), in fact I can type on my laptop much (much!!) faster than I can write something by hand. Arguably, this is because my job sees me doing a lot of typing daily — however, looking at others, I don’t see them handwriting that fast. So while that plays a part in it, I don’t think it’s the crucial factor.

Also, I read relatively ok — especially when reading to myself (we all know that reading louder is a slower process, right?); I am in fact assuming based on own observation that my reading speed is average.

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Small Business or Startup?

iStock girl thinking Large 150x150 Small Business or Startup? photo    random thoughts blogroll  united kingdom twitter startup start small business silicon valley managing director London institute of directors facebook England CTO CEO california business 3b software ltd I had an interesting discussion recently with a friend of mine about titles and terminology used nowadays in business, and it prompted me to continue my trail of thoughts on this on my blog. We talked about how a lot of companies label themselves rather proudly as startups — an idea which my friend was not too fond of.

Twitter, as we all know, is still sort of looked upon as a startup — even though they just IPO’d … well, under a year ago. Facebook, also, even though everyone knew the goal was for an exit of 100 billion, was proudly waving the flag of being a startup, my friend reminded me.

Pretty much, any company that operates in between I-280 and US-101 nowadays will label itself as a startup — I was told. And these startups give birth to a whole plethora of titles, such as CEO, CTO, CMO, CxO — my friend argued. But the reality is, they just create fancy titles and hiding under the title of “startup” allows them not to create a viable business — because, after all, they are still starting up, right? They don’t have to bring in revenue or have a solid business plan… At least that was my friend’s argument.

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Know Thy Audience

iStock 000016712919Small conference 150x150 Know Thy Audience photo    technology random thoughts blogroll  public speaking presentation dreamforce conference audience targeting audience insights audience I’ve been to a bunch of conferences, meetups and other technical (or not!) events recently and some of them have touched me enough to deserve some comments on my blog, as you might have noticed. Looking back now at the last 5-6 months or so and all the events I’ve been attending — and needless to say some of them were exceptionally organized, while some of them were terrible — it occurred to me that it matters a lot how you target your audience.

When you deliver at such an event, you need to really know the audience when you take on the stage. I know it’s such a common advice you read everywhere on the net, but still, despite all that I see this mistake being made a lot.

I’m going to tell you about one of these events where the presenter really didn’t strike one chord with the audience, just so you can see how important this factor can be.

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DreamForce 2014 — 15-Oct-2014 In Photos

Dreamforce 2014 — Day 1 in Photos

Using OS-level Signals in Java for Monitoring

DukeTubbingSmall 150x150 Using OS level Signals in Java for Monitoring photo    technology blogroll  zabbix signals OS Oracle operating system open jdk nagios monitoring mbean MacOS mac os x Mac linux jvm JMX JDK java8 Java dynamic mbean For those of you familiar to monitoring Java applications, I’m sure the first thing that springs to mind is JMX. And I agree, that is a nice framework to provide various app insights for tracking and monitoring. The trouble with JMX though, if you haven’t got a system in place already to collect this data (like Zabbix or Nagios or the likes), it can be a tedious process to get that up and running only to collect occasionally some simple stats from your application.

Of course, you can go via the route of writing some Java or Groovy code to connect to your app and query it via JMX but you still have to spend some extra time (having written the app) to write the JMX client to query it. Which, I personally find at time annoying — I’d much rather dump the data into a log file and keep tail-ing and grep-ing that file for checking the data. For anyone who has been involved in devops I’m sure you’ll agree that’s a much easier and convenient approach. The trouble with doing that is if you regularly pump out the data into a log files, these things keep growing — and then you have to regularly clean them up, rotate, etc.

Instead, I would prefer a solution where at regular intervals I can query the data (preferably no log writing needed) and act on it — e.g. spawn another process or kill a process and so on. As I said, this can be done with JMX but I find it cumbersome — instead, would be good if the process itself only “logs” data when requested — and in doing so uses the stdout so I don’t have to worry much about cleaning up logs.

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Nice Feature from Evernote — Custom Colors

evernote logo 4c sm Nice Feature from Evernote    Custom Colors photo    technology news blogroll  user interface todo task management task project management list feature evernote I use Evernote a lot — I am a big fan of the tool for day-to-day use as well as of their platform and the services they open to the developers community. (For those techies reading this check out my previous post about storing lists using Evernote by the way. Not that I’m bragging :D)

I thought until recently that I used most of their app functionality — but only found today that there was at least one bit I didn’t know of — and I want to share that with you.

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Out with the Old, In with the New

Wild 94.9 Comedy Jam — Oct/2014