Privacy Online

I know that there is information about me online, most of it I have put up there myself.

– My Name
– My Date of Birth
– My Address
– My Gender
– My Job
– Where I live/have lived

Yet I have chosen where that information goes and in theory who can see it. I choose to give amazon my address so that what I want gets delivered. I choose to let facebook know where I live and what I look like. I let linkedin know my job and projects I’ve worked on. I like to think I have complete control over my own privacy….is this really the case though?

When I link up an app to my facebook account, it then has access to all my information and who my friends are, even if I disconnect the app, it will probably still have a record of my information. So maybe closing down all accounts wouldn’t help with controlling my personal information. I can restrict what I put out there. Which within reason I have done.

My location is a tougher piece of information to protect, location tagging is popular feature in facebook and twitter, foursquare relies on you providing your location. Even wifi provides information for where you are accessing from. I am aware of the information I have given about myself. My blog is a brilliant example of how I share not only my name, my location and my job but also how I write, my ideas and my story.

What I don’t have control of is the information others share about me and vice versa in some ways I can’t control the information shared about me. Lots of trust is involved when it comes to information & privacy. I also do not know how you’d gather all of the information you’ve put on the internet without providing more information to get it. How can you protect yourself from your information being collected by others?


Using Google+ For Peer Support

Google + has had a bit of a tough time with gaining the same momentum + engagement as Facebook and Twitter. I love it, I really do, I believe in it like you clap for Tinkerbelle during pantomimes.  I think its quite clean cut and simple…although not many people on there that I actually know. Something that makes G+ better than facebook + twitter for me is the Hangouts feature which enables actual conversations to take place, connecting people regardless of their geographic location. It can be a public activity, meaning that you do not have to be directly connected with the people that join the hangout. What a great way to find out new ideas and opinions, with the most important option of leaving whenever you would like and choosing what you’d like to share.  They say the art of conversation has been lost due to text messaging, emails and technology in general. Having face to face (even if it is via screen) contact enables better conversations. Subtle body language allows conversations to flow without awkward silences and provides the ability to acknowledge what has been said via a nod.

Yesterday I took part in a peer support hangout. I got to chat to 4 lovely volunteers and find out their thoughts on G+. Aside from a few technical issues with set up and being able to everyone (a try turning it off and on again moment) it was a great session to brain storm ideas for future hangouts.

During the Hangout with the volunteers we discussed possible themes, frequency of hangouts, time of hangouts as well as issues such as how to manage a group session in comparison to one to one training? How would you determine how to balance conversation? What ratio would be best for volunteer to those attending the event?

Lots of charities host online discussions and encourage debate on social media pages as well as in forums.  It’d be good to hear how other peoples online discussions have gone, any tips or tricks to keep in mind for future.

#Cybher – The Day Mollie Makes + Simply Crochet Taught me how to Crochet

I love knitting, I love sewing, painting, drawing, getting in a mess basically although it is very rare that I get to combine digital and crafts. The #Cybher  conference was amazing opportunity to focus on the future of my own personal blog as well as a chance to think about blogging as a way to gain support of a product or idea (More on that another time).
Mollie Makes is a magazine I was introduced to by a friend and I’ve not missed an issue since! So it was a pleasure to actually meet some of the staff that are behind the magazine. Unfortunately I couldn’t get to grips with the circle so left to carry on attending sessions….

Mollie Teaches

Clearly I still had some more to learn from the experts. I’ve been knitting from a young age, a few family members also knit. My Grandmothers sister was the crochet pro, I never had chance to meet her, I have however seen some photos of her work including a stunning wedding dress!

I have seen many fantastic patterns that I wished I could convert into knitting patterns, somehow two needles seemed much simpler. Same way planting seeds is easier than harvesting them. So I went back to the Mollie Makes area and met one of the lovely ladies from Simply Crochet who was determined to get me “hooked”. Less than 40 minutes later I had got to grips with one needle and managed to complete a circle!

I haven’t yet picked a project to start on yet, but I do have a shelf full of magazines to inspire me. Let me know what sites you use for inspiration.

The Dead Women of Juarez

I’ve always preferred my books to focus on the lighter side of life, more comedies and happy endings. I have to admit that reading a book that focuses on femicide in mexico would not fit with my other reads. The part that strikes me more is that this is a current issue, in may this year there was a call for action to stop these crimes being dismissed and neglected .It scares me to think that as a woman you could at any moment be taken away from all you love, never to be seen again and never to be searched for by the police in a place that you call home.

The book  The Dead Women of Juarez by Sam Hawken is a very interesting read, it tackles not only the devastating impact of these crimes, but paints a picture of the culture that surrounds it. It is not heavy on description in some of the more graphic sections, yet there is no need for heavy descriptions when the act/crime/murder is being committed. Sam Hawken manages to strike nerves with only a few sentences and leaves you with no comfort that it turns out okay. The book highlights the issue that without help, it is a never-ending cycle of crime without punishment. Loss without the ability to truly mourn. The story follows Kelly, an american boxer and Sevilla, a detective trying to gain control in a situation that is constantly trying to crush them. There is no happy ending, there is quite a lot of pain for all the characters. It will be a while until I pick up this book again, mainly due to still feeling unsure of how to read the beginning once you know the ending. I have however been recommending it to everyone!

I am soon to start Tequila Sunset which is also about crime near the mexico/texas border. I would like to know of more books, both fact or fiction about femicide as even though it churns my stomach, I feel it is important to understand the dangers faced by women around the world and how it is has been written about.

One task complete

A while ago I posted about my tasks for this year, a list of things I wanted to do that were NOT focused on my career + education. I completed one of these tasks a few weeks back and forgot to say about it…..I TOUCHED MY TOES….. without bending knees and so on, apparently its all in the one swift movement not the slow stretch (Lesson learnt).

It has been ages since I’ve done a foodie post, for the first time in a while I am attempting a Chinese recipe out of Gok’s Cooks Chinese. I Love cooking and baking…well I love anything I can eat. When I first moved down from Preston to work in the big smoke, a friend of mine took me for dim sum. My first dim sum experience and I LOVED IT! So when I saw the recipe I simply had to try it.
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Blogging Fatigue

I’ve been falling behind on my blogging, not because I’m too busy nor is it because I have nothing to talk about.

I’ve found that when I start to write up a blog, I feel drained and then decide to move onto another task. Which is how I’ve been feeling for a few months. I was very lucky to be able to attend #Cybher which gave me the chance to chat to other bloggers. I was amazed at the people there, the blogs they run and how they run them. I also discovered that a few people also felt that their blogs were sometimes forgotten or neglected.

I’ve started 5 blogs so far over the past month and this is the first one I’ve been able to post. I’d love to hear how you get over your blogging fatigue?

Remind you of someone?

A lot of advertising tries to get you to think about having a connection with a product or service. It is a fantastic way to get the viewer to visualise owning the product, putting them on the path to purchasing. With services the system is slightly different, adverts will often show lifetime benefits or people enjoying themselves, think of the services your bank offers and how it promotes them. (N.B the new HSBC adverts do break away from this idea).

How could a brand connect with a feeling or emotion without a big tv budget? Social media is the answer to a lot of marketing woes at the moment but I think it runs deeper than that. Knowing more about what makes a consumer tick is gold dust! I do believe that it isn’t always about pulling on heart strings though. It can be about making memories. As much as we all get fed up with the endless Share this if you agree posts, somehow these posts are still getting shared….so they are doing something right! I beginning to think that instead of thinking and evaluating content on what I would share but focus more on what gets shared with me.

Being reminded of a friend or loved one can make all the difference, lots of people run the race for life, lots of people run it in memory of or for somebody. That is their motivation to do, yet we’ve still not figured out exactly how to translate this into support and regular donations.

#OpenTech 2013

Saturday 18th June was  an incredibly busy day, instead of my normal Saturday completing household chores and talking to the dogs. I ventured back into London to attend #OpenTech.

“OpenTech 2013 is an informal, low-cost, one-day conference on slightly different approaches to technology, experience and democracy.”

This was the first year that I have attended #OpenTech and I was lucky to be attending with some other people who I knew. It has taken me a few days to absorb and process the majority of the talks.

Electromagnetic Field: Tales From the UK’s First Large-Scale Hacker Camp

Festivals are a huge feature of the summer, with the weather doing its bit by making fields super muddy. Even considering hosting a hack-a-thon or hacker camp in a field is a little bizzare…now consider doing this in the UK! It was amazing to hear about how the location was chosen as well as how you can get better internet in a field (cue very large crane and port-a-loo server rooms) than is achieved at most inner city conferences. It was an incredibly popular first event and they were asking for anyone who can and would like to get involved to say HELLO and offer assistance. I would recommend keeping an eye on their website for future updates :

Prescribing Analytics — Bruce Durling

Bruce discussed how data that is available online can be used to make a difference, he spoke about how NHS hackday enabled data to be gathered and used to make a change. He explained about how prescription medication dispensing varied across the UK + what they did to highlight the issue. If you’d like to see the full explanation + project results look no further

If you are interested in the NHS Hackday look at the link below

Silence and Thunderclaps — Emma Mulqueeny

Emma described taking an hour out of her day to just sit and think….novel idea right?!?!? In this she created, founded and generally encouraged the idea of enjoying the silence, in a busy place, watching the world go by and reflecting. The mind boggles at how much of a difference taking a time out makes. She’s even summarised it in a neat little blog post here

I look forward to sending a postcard and seeing what ideas the silent club produces. The business card thunderclap on the other hand was a concept I didn’t quite get on board with, the die being you send out one message a year to all the people you’ve collected business cards from about something important to you. It is a good idea, what if you’ve changed professions? Well people have a handy habit of letting you know that they are not interested right? Nope, more often than not your message will end up being deleted and forgotten about. This disheartens me. I would much rather contact the individual and find out if they’ve changed to, there is something about maintaining relationships that I admire. Yes it is time-consuming but you can figure out if you can just get rid of the business card within an email or two. Maybe I’ve just not collected enough business cards yet 😉

the 300seconds project — 300seconds

Getting diversity in tech, a HOT topic, with conferences being challenged about diversity on panels and the amount of speakers who are of the same gender, race, background, company ranking. I am very naive in thinking that the opportunity is there if you fight hard enough for it, but as type this I realise you shouldn’t have to fight for the opportunity. You should be able to apply and get in based on your merits not other factors. The 300 seconds project is helping encourage and support female speakers practice their presenting skills. You can mentor, you can present or even offer advice on venues and find out more information here is their site

I throughly enjoyed open tech and will be attending next years event, it was FANTASTIC to see all the differing opinions and topics going on in 2013. The disappointing element for me is that it seems like events like this go under the radar, you have to search and be told about them . Guess that is half the fun….

It is just a hobby

I like gardening, I’ve never really called myself a gardener, more a grower. Today whilst re-potting some of my plants I complimented one of my chillies on its lovely root system….I know right…talking to plants about their anatomy. So I guess now it is a hobby.

A quote that is often bounced around is that “if you do a job you love you never work a day in your life”. I’ve been considering what happens when your hobby becomes so serious that it does become a job, a chore, even a way of life. What if it also works in reverse, what if the job you do becomes more like a hobby, giving you the chance to enjoy it and make your own.

I spoke before about looking forward to conferences this year, tomorrow is my first conference in a string of events. OpenTech 2013 is on tomorrow, I have never attended before but am looking forward to the experience. As a non coder I’ve always been a little intimidated by events so tech heavy. Don’t get me wrong you’ll often find me wired up to something but I am somewhat out of practice when it comes to hard wiring.

I guess the most important part is learning new skills, maybe even one that becomes more than a hobby.

Thats all for now

Hey Hoe, Lets Grow

Due to the stunning weather as of late I have been able to carry on planting up the garden. The chillies are now all at a stage of being able to go into final pots and allowed to flower. With this in mind I have planted up 2 new varieties, Fish (Pepper)  and Joe’s Long Cayenne  so I am looking forward to seeing both develop. I have 5 of each planted.

I have also planted up 10 sweetcorn plants and a few carrots to see if they will be more successful than last years, I have made sure that they have suitable drainage and look forward to seeing those first leaves appear. My radishes have been a great success, none eaten yet but I have one to try in my lunches this week pre the full harvest.

After a glorious weekend, I have actually been very glad to see some rain, for my plants it is pure bliss. A bit of sunshine, a bit of warmth then straight back to being soaked. All seems to be going well in my little garden, I’m currently wanting to plant more but I think part of that is being a little impatient.

Courgettes, green beans and aubergines are on my list as well as some more herbs. I have also been promised some lovely strawberry plants….no idea where I’ll keep them!

That’s all for now