Managing Behaviour & Technology – A Night with NEAL

Managing Technology
Image Credit: IBoomMedia/Flickr CC: by-nc-sa

I’ve just arrived back from an evening session on “Managing Technology and Behaviour @ Home” run by Andrew Cowie, Heather Eccles and Alan Curtis from NEAL (Northern Education Access Loop).

I surprised myself by enjoying the session, it wasn’t that I personally learned anything technical, it was all about the presentation of the material which was simply outstanding.


Continue reading “Managing Behaviour & Technology – A Night with NEAL”

This is water

A bit of a deviation from my standard fare of techy news and opinion, but I’m bundling this under “Community & Social” – I think it fits well.


This video gave me pause for thought…
It’s a well produced, visually engaging excerpt from an address to graduates in 2005 by novelist David Foster Wallace. Sadly, this man took his own life in 2008 after struggling with depression for many years.

Watch this. Listen to the message. See if you can use it in your life.

The full address can be found here:

Hat Tip to my former colleague Curtis – thank you for sharing.

Path of Exile – Crowdsourcing Funds

Image Credit: Grinding Gears (Path of Exile) - Supporters pack Kiwi (in game pet)The very excellent MMO “Path of Exile” by Kiwi game developer Grinding Gear Games has managed to raise US$2.5 million (yes that’s million, little finger to the corner of your mouth Dr Evil styles…) through crowd-sourcing future development funds from the online gaming community.

This is not the first success they’ve had with funding via the web but, as an indicator – the climbing value of funding is testament to the belief their community has in the work they are doing with the game.

A personal HUGE congratulations goes out from my keyboard to the Grinding Gear team, it’s awesome to see New Zealand companies doing so well on the world stage without resorting to filling paddocks with cows. 🙂

Social Scams and Why They Work

Over the last week, as New Zealanders begin to change their jandals (flip-flops / thongs) for shoes, I’ve noted a significant increase in the number of “warnings” being posted in my social network feeds. This is not uncommon and it’s not unique only to my network of contacts as these articles point out.

Scam ImageNow, for the most part, folks in my social stream tend to only get caught on an infrequent basis by these messages. I do my best to flick a link back if it’s an obvious hoax, as do others who we share as common contacts. I have been caught myself and have more than once shared something which, if I’d relied on more than wishful thinking, would/should have been filtered out.

So – why do these attacks work, why do the hoaxes perpetuate, and what can we do as a community to reduce our chances of passing on misinformation to our networks?

The simple answer is diligence. Continue reading “Social Scams and Why They Work”

Going Dark…

You may have noticed that I took the main page of this site offline yesterday and replaced it with this one as part of the Anti-SOPA protest… this post is not related to that action.

Going DarkFollowing a conversation yesterday, the social networks, communities and “non-standard” contact channels that I am active in will now see me “going dark” during working hours (NZDST – currently GMT +13).

This means I will be missing many of the conversations I would otherwise have been able to engage in, commentary directed at me will no longer be addressed in a timely manner, and, essentially, I will become a lot quieter on the subjects that I have previously been active on.

It doesn’t mean I’m dead, it doesn’t mean that I no longer care, it doesn’t mean I’ll be dropping the activities that I believe I can make a difference in – it simply means I won’t be ‘available’ from 08:00 – 19:00, Monday – Friday NZ Time and I will no longer be available for assistance or to be involved in conversations during this time period.

The reasons for this action are purely for perception management and to not disadvantage those with whom I work.

Essentially, there are folk in boxes higher up on our corporate HR chart who have set particular measurements by which my team, and I as an individual, are judged. It has been suggested therefore, that I stick solely to areas of work that the group to which our team now reports is responsible for, rather than continue to be involved across the business as I have previously been engaged. While my day to day responsibilities have never suffered through my extra-curricular involvements, I have a moral responsibility to my team. I need to do what I can to ensure that the handful of measures by which we are judged are addressed as effectively as possible, and any perceptions of ‘distraction’ are eliminated.
While I am more than happy to discuss what I do with anyone who believes I’m operating outside of my mandate, I cannot put the team in a position where they may be affected by my wider activities.

Can you help me manage the transition? Absolutely you can, please make sure you tag me in conversations where I’ve previously waded in, or on subjects that you know I have a particular soapbox.
I’m going to do my best to catch-up with the wider world after the kids are in bed and while I’m in transit to and from work – and we’ll review the whole thing at the end of February.

This is NZRob – not over, and not out.

Getting Ubuntu to Boot *AFTER* installing Windows 7

Photo Credit: fallsroad - http://www.flickr.com/photos/fallsroad/13240207/From Google, and the various Linux community forums, this is a fairly common problem so, in an effort to be more useful than those who simply post a link to the GRUB man page, or an article which spells out how dumb it is to install Windows AFTER Ubuntu – I thought I’d drop my experience and the resolution here – I’m bound to need it at some point in the future.

The Fix:

While the suggested Boot-Repair GUI didn’t do the trick for me, the following  did result in an eventual #WIN.

  • Boot from a Ubuntu LIVE CD/USB
  • From a terminal, enter the following
    • sudo fdisk -l
    • This will identify the device / drive. For me (and most users) this will tend to be /dev/sda
    • If you are still uncertain you can also run sudo blkid for more details and review the partition labels & sizes
  • Mount the Ubuntu boot partition
    • sudo mount /dev/sdXY /mnt
    • e.g. sudo mount /dev/sda1 /mnt
  • Run grub-install as below to drop the GRUB2 files back onto the boot partition where they should reside
    • sudo grub-install --root-directory=/mnt /dev/sdX
    • e.g. sudo grub-install --root-directory=/mnt /dev/sda
  • Reboot (into your freshly resurrected Ubuntu installation)
  • Open a terminal and refresh the GRUB2 menu with:
    • sudo update-grub
  • That’s it.. you SHOULD now have both Ubuntu and Windows 7 detected at boot and be able to choose between them.

Thanks to the Ubuntu Community for this page – and all the others which pointed to different solutions and variants of this fix. If the above doesn’t work for you, Google is your friend – there’s a heap more articles out there which should offer you an eventual solution.

NetHui 2011 – Day 1: Digital Citizenship – 21st Century Parenting

21st Century Parenting – Challenges and Solutions

Lee Chisholm, Operations manager, NetSafe

This was an obvious choice as a session for me to attend, and it opened with an attention grabbing quote…

“Three times as many smart phones every minute are activated than there are babies being born” – Hans Vestberg, CEO of Ericsson

This quote sets the stage for the overwhelming influx of technologies into our lives and especially the lives of our children. The problem is, parents are being fed these lines time and again to the point where many throw in the towel and give up trying to stay current with what their children are doing.

Even more worrisome than the parents giving up, is the parents abdicating the responsibility of teaching and modelling these skills to schools. Schools do not have the resources to do this stuff alone

Continue reading “NetHui 2011 – Day 1: Digital Citizenship – 21st Century Parenting”

NetHui 2011 – Day 1: Innovation & Emerging Issues – Privacy Issues

Privacy Issues for business in the new digital age

Marie Shroff (Privacy Commissioner)

This session started with a fizz and a whimper, I think based more on the usual audience for the Privacy Commission than the subject matter itself. I did enjoy the comics though 🙂

  • Customers are starting to take an ACTUAL interest in their privacy (~80-90% are concerned or ‘very concerned’)
  • Media starting to pick up on these stories as the articles drive interest
  • Bigger companies are starting to see the moral and ethical necessity to adopt privacy
  • Expectation of future tweaking suggestions for privacy act
  • “Value your CIO as your would your CFO”
  • Despite the cloud context, people are expecting the same flexibility and control over their data as when it was locally domicilled

The discussion that followed was interesting

Continue reading “NetHui 2011 – Day 1: Innovation & Emerging Issues – Privacy Issues”

NetHui 2011 – Day 1: Globalisation, the Internet and the Law – The Internet as a Revolutionary Tool

Session Lead by: Brian Calhoun, Independent Consultant and co-chair of NZRise Inc

 “I see a gradual slide toward corporate and government control…by control I mean content”

The session started with a discussion of TOR / BitCoin / BitTorrent – all created specifically to circumvent control systems that were already in existence. The question then posed to the room was:

“How long before our government moves to block/disable these things? […] What is your bottom line? How pissed off do you need to get before you take action?”

Continue reading “NetHui 2011 – Day 1: Globalisation, the Internet and the Law – The Internet as a Revolutionary Tool”

NetHui 2011 – Day 1: Digital Citizenship – Cyber-Bullying

Digital Citizenship – Combating Cyber-bullying & Harassment

Stream led by: John Fenaughty (NetSafe)

Perhaps the most notable example of standing up against bullying of recent times is that of 16-year old Australian Casey Haynes story (YouTube “Fat Kid takes on Bully”) a video that went viral both online and via traditional prime time media.

When asked, 33.2% of youth surveyed reported they had experienced some form of cyber-bullying in the past year and 52.9% of those had found it distressing.

That’s 17.6% of New Zealand youth surveyed having experienced ‘distressing cyber-bullying’ in the past year – it’s an offensive statistic for anyone wishing to better the environment in which we work, entertain and educate ourselves.
Continue reading “NetHui 2011 – Day 1: Digital Citizenship – Cyber-Bullying”