blogs and blogging in plain English

Why re-invent the wheel to report what other wonderful work others have done? - quick post on blogs the easy peasy way ;D

The gang at Common craft who do such fab work on making things easy produced this video on blogs in plain English. Check out their other work in

My two cents worth as they say in the states (my experience/opinion) is that observation is a powerful tool to see what's out there in the blog world, and if you couple this with the firefox add-on called NoScript, then you can see exactly what's embeded in every blog (scripts, widgets, etc.).

So keep your passion alive - always seek to make life easier for others, to communicate and to have all the fun you can with your blogging. It's about engaging yourself and being in the moment. If it's not fun, then why do it?

Resources/links related to blogging...

170+ Must-Have Tools For The Beginning Blogger

Blogging Toolbox: 120+ Resources for Bloggers

The Ultimate Blogger’s Toolbox - More than 80 links to tools and resources to help improve your blogging experience

Universal McCann provides statistics and a global insight into the popularity of blogging in different countries

future labs take on blogging and education

Comments, Trackback: Blogger vs Haloscan

20 Analytics Tools For Blogs

what the world is searching for - using yahoo search

googles hottest search terms...

search for trends and what's hot in the blogosphere

what's popular and hot - technorati

social bookmarking main contenders...

Sharing & storing things you are passionate about... on the web...

I was speaking to some fantastic people int he charity sector about increasing productivity with regards to research on the web. I have been using as a way of bookmarking on the web - so that it can be shared with others and accessed from anywhere.

Then I discovered another service called diigo - which allowed you to do, soo much more. I still need to port over my bookmarks to diigo - this will be documented ;D

In the meantime, for the un-initiated here are some fab videos explaining it all. You make up your mind ;D

7 reasons why diigo is better than delicous (allegedly)

180 tools that support & enhance delicious

Why Branding Matters in a world of so much clutter

When you energize and make peple go wow! - then you're onto good things
I feel more energized than usual because I recently visited one of the charitable organisations I support. The dynamic duo that make things happen turbo-charge their services with so much emotional intelligence and care, that their service users cannot help but smile and the children shout with glee!

So After a fab meeting I was looking for ways to assist in reflecting back to them what they do and make the process more actionable and continuous. Seek and you shall find ;D

I found this amazing presentation on slideshare which I will share with you.

The Brand Gap
View more presentations or upload your own. (tags: brand gap)

There is also access to another site where you can download the pdf for free. More than ever your services whether in the charitable, public or private sector need to stand out! - specially in a word of over abundance of choice. As professor Barry Schwartz, author of 'The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less' says we're facing a new phenonmenon of stress due to having to find the right choice! Check out the google video.
You can also read previous posts that have a wealth of free materials.

If you're a serial reader like me here are some books to really get you thinking...

During this credit storm we need to continue the focus on the service to our communities
The BBC news keeps on mirroring the economic storms we are facing - and this is reflecting in the third-sector (charity non-profit). This uncertainty has been echoed in press releases by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).

During this time that pundits stir their cocktails of doom & gloom - I draw my strength on focusing on how my work and commitment can continue to deliver benefits and results to the charitable organisations i'm lucky to contribute to and collaborate with. Rick Warren, Author of the fab book, "Purpose-driven Life: What on Earth am I Here For?" - starts the book by saying, it's not about you!

Leading by example, we can energize our environments and things we do. Research and psychology has shown that emotion is contagious (wikipedia). Therefore I prefer to spread positive emotion because it energizes. It is harder to get on with doing work with heavy emotions. So why make life difficult for ourselves, when it is not about ourselves?

A mind under psychological strain is faced with reduced creative options, specially if we allow ourselves to mirror our times. We need to see our new environment in ways that enable us to create community centric solutions that involve our communities and capitalises on their skills. We may not have as much money coming in, but we do have ways of challenging our assumptions and our thinking ;-)

What could you do with one bucket? - I wash myself with one bucket (body, shampoo & rinse), I could wash the car with one bucket, I could mop the floors of a three bedroom house with one bucket, I could use that one bucket to collect shellfish when going to the sea...what else?

Together we can create solutions for our communities because it is not about us! It is about serving, it is about giving, and our collective intelligence and care can produce more value and provide greater impact than superficially throwing money at a problem. This time we can think deeper to make our money work harder. As they say, lets line up as many ducks as possible. I strongly feel taht we have a psycholgoical, emotional and spiritual contract to serve.

I'll leave you with the Rick Warren video (from TEDtalks) and an amazon carrousel displaying some of the books that inspired this post

Amazon Carrousel for the Books that Inspired this post

Lovely links...
The HapyStance Project - blog

'Resonant Leader' Summary (emotional intelligence & connecting)

Rick Warren's Talk on TEDtalks - and corresponding resources

Can thirdsector research be sexy? - NPC shows us

Video and treasure trove of toolkits at New Philanthropy Capital
New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) Treasure trove of free research and toolkits to help third sector
I just had to get some toolkits and research for an organisation I support - rather thann re-invent the wheel.

As I was going through the pages, I discovered a really fab video, that highlights the researh NPC undertakes. It was so powerful, yet so simply put together. I thought that I would share it with you. Couldn't we do much more of this in our sector to creatively tell stories and show our achievements? IT's a pity NPC did not follow through with more videos - at least they don't have anymore on their vimeo video channel.

New Philanthropy Capital from Plum Lomax on Vimeo.

Convert PDFs to Word - Share application forms

PDF is good for the distributor - not the form filler, here's a work-around

Why go prehistoric with printing PDFs when you can convert PDF forms to MS word online and for free?
Save your valuable time and just make scribbling away, passing paper around, and then retyping history!!!!

Try out the free online PDF2word Converter! - It's free. No subscriptions, no emails - nothing. Ah, but after you're done you can take it back to word for free!...
All you have to do is go to the same site and select the Word2PDF tab/option - it does not require email submission either.

Not Known Copyright restrictions a new way to get old of photos to remix?
Well, the library of congress and some libraries and museums in the US have been uploading old photos onto flickr - the photo sharing site. They license is said to be 'unknown copyright restrictions' - as some of the imagery is very, very old. You are advised to investigate the viability of working with photos for yourself.

Check out the list of institutions in the flickr commons group, the licencing bit, and their new indiecommons blog.

Who knows, there may be some fertile ground for these images to be remixed and introduced into the artwork in support of some of your publications.

Mindmaps on the web at no cost with

Need to brainstorm how to cut costs during the credit crunch?
...don't just chew on it... blow your own
You can do this with single users and in a collaborative manner with online mindmapping tool (wikipedia definition). It allows you to create on your own, collaboratively develop, share/distribute the project, and use the final mindmap in a multitude of ways: embed in a website, send a link to a reviewer (read only), or download it. Cost: £ 0.00.

Check out the Youtube video, and give it a try, it costs Zilch, nada, nothin!

Mindmap in a nutshell
it's like a diagram starting from one one central bubble, which represents an idea, process, task, project, or even business proposal

It divides into sub-bubbles with spokes connecting to properties, characteristics, influences and any factors that you feel have an impact in shaping your idea, project, process or business.

Let your geographically dispersed teams collaborate for no cost!
Just unleash your field workers on this tool. They can document and share!

Wikipedia on...mindmaps basics - Youtube Video - website (works fine with IE and patchy with Firefox)

Scribd Super Creativity -Mindmap - Tony Buzan (pick it up while it lasts)

Letgo of your grown up and learn with Lego

Lego is helping autistic children to socialize and business people to conceptualize - all hands on!

What Could 'Lego' do for the rest of us?

I experienced the power of 'Lego' over Xmas period as a little 'anchor' to which we attached learning outcomes. This was in really fantastic training the trainers brain friendly course.

It left a sufficient impact that reminded me again of the 'Lego Serious Play' training which a colleague talked to me about in a previous reincarnation. In a nutshell this allows you to problem solve by conceptualizing these into 3d brick metaphors. There is a fantastic review of the process here.

How many streams of activity Lego can stimulate beyond the business?
And then Xmas weaved its magic with some news from CCN relating to how Lego building blocks were also building bridges to nurture the communication and socialisation skills between Autistic children. They looked at this in six British schools.

Could it be that the explanation in the Lego Serious Play (LSP) program may have characteristics of play that could be mirroring with autistic kids?
LSP is said to serve as a 3D platform to enable the construction of scenarios, play out possibilities without 'risking reality', and develop fluid co-constructive team narratives in an environment where everyone is equal and all voices are heard....mmmm

What if you couldn't afford LSP and wanted to develop your own way?
Here is some food for thought, why not combine the power of 2d drawing/visualisation, and utilise a framework that would enable you to set playing scenarios for your 3d bricking?
You know a bit like how generals in the old, old days would plan battles.

Well, there is a fantastic book called 'the back of a napkin' which looks at the power of using visualisation in problem solving by making a tastier cocktail of the reality of people,pictures, and problems. Check out what these guys have shown in their videos at VizThink. I won't reveal more, but you could see perhaps how the combination of these two approaches could help direct play and learning? The trick is to 're-frame' the process descriptors to get the learning and behavioural outcomes that you want. Until next time ;-)


If you are short on money to buy Lego use the free Lego digital designer (Free download)

VizThink - back of a napkin book review

Lego Serious Play Training

CNN - Lego Helps Autistic Children to Develop Social Skills

Children & Young people now take on the Lego story

Times online take on the Lego Story

Healing Thresholds website - Specialist for Autism

The US experience - Lego and Autism (reported by ABC)