Tag Archives: Blogging

Looking back, looking forward

As I close in on my first year anniversary joining the Cloud Foundry team, we’ve passed the New Year marker and some things are in the process of changing, so I thought it was high time for a blog post – now there’s a thing!

Last year was one full of changes for me, not all of which are things I’ve posted about online – those who know me well know that I had an “interesting” year! Like many folks, I’ve just gone through the corporate annual review cycle, and that was a good chance to think over what I got up to in 2012.

Looking back

I’m not going to quote word for word from what I submitted in my review, but pick out some of my personal highlights:

  • I’ve had a blast in the Cloud Foundry team, and particularly feel at home with my Developer Advocate colleagues. I was able to co-present sessions with Monica at MongoDB UK (she’s now moved on to more awesomeness), and Raja at our Cloud Foundry Open Tour event in London… I co-wrote a Cloud Foundry and Spring article for JAX with the legendary Josh… and in the past few weeks I’ve been working more with Raja and others on some new content that is coming soon. Teamwork and collaboration FTW 🙂
  • I built a few simple samples for Cloud Foundry – not quite the uber-app that I had planned, that’s still in my head – and learned a bunch of new (to me) languages and technologies in a short period of time.
  • I’m very pleased with my “reach” in terms of audiences, talks, and the numbers of people referring to videos, screencasts and slidecasts I built in the past 12 months. Always room to improve!
  • I had an excellent time working with our Cloud Foundry ecosystem partners and friends in 2012, getting to know Diane, Adron, the Uhuru team, AppFog, etc. For me, the partners and community around Cloud Foundry are what make my role a real pleasure.

Beyond the day job, I did a bunch of other things last year, too:

  • Visited San Francisco for the first time… which sounds weird given my IT background and the tech concentration there. I love that city! Next time I might actually get to do the tourist thing, but I really enjoyed being over there with my colleagues.
  • Saw IBM’s MQTT code move into the Eclipse Paho project, where I became a Committer. I was able to represent the project at EclipseCon in the US and in Europe and at the Eclipse Day in Toulouse organised by my good friend Benjamin. There was some big growth in the MQTT community last year – lots of new software implementations, another significant use of the protocol in Facebook’s updated mobile apps, and increasing numbers of folks discovering the protocol.
  • Attended both of the Redmonk Brew events – the Monkigras and the Monktoberfest. Hands-down the best technology events that I’ve been too. Can’t wait for the Monkigras 2013 next week. Sell your own arm to buy a ticket. A leg too, if necessary.
  • Took part in the London Green Hackathon, the Field Studies Council Hackday, the IDEO Make-a-thon (gutted that I cannot go to the event this year), spoke at Digital Bristol, attended Horizons and the Raspberry Jam in London…
  • Was on the crew at OggCamp, Hack to the Future, the Brighton Mini Maker Faire…
  • Rediscovered my love of LEGO.

Looking forward

So that was last year, and it’s late January already – way past time to think about how 2013 will shape up. Despite my good buddy James Governor not doing New Year’s Resolutions, I made myself a short list of things I want to focus on this year – and ignoring some of what he says, I am actually going to try to follow through…

  • Be as awesome as possible in my role on the Cloud Foundry team. I work with great people and they deserve the best I can offer. Looking forward to seeing where the Pivotal Initiative takes us, and there are some great things happening!
  • Attend fewer events in one week / month. A couple of times last year, I definitely pushed myself too hard. In the London tech scene you can pretty much choose from 2 or 3 good developer meetups on any evening of the week, and I over-committed on several occasions. I’m also going to be more picky about exactly how I get involved in them… I loved all of the events I crewed for last year, but I scheduled things poorly and need to cut back.
  • Blog more frequently. Yes, this is the obvious one… but I really do want to, and have intended to for a long time. I have moments where I compose whole blog entries in my head while I sit on the train, and I wish they could just be transcribed in the moment. I do regret having let other social sites take over my online presence, particularly when it comes to the end of a year with the chance to look back. I should have been able to link every “big event” in the lists above, back to a blog post about what happened. So, I’m committing myself to writing more again this year.
  • Improve my Ruby and Javascript skills. I’ve started out well on this with a couple of projects I’ve been tinkering with lately.
  • Make cool things. LEGO things. Raspberry Pi things. Arduino things. I want to learn, hack, and make more. I talk about Maker culture, and I want to remind myself that I’m part of it.
  • Focus on improving my public speaking habits. I know I sometimes talk too quickly, get sidetracked, etc… every time I listen back or watch a talk I gave, I spot another thing I want to adjust. I think this is one of those lifetime improvement resolutions more than it is something I can “fix” in a 12 month period, but it’s certainly an area I want to look at.
  • Take. Proper. Holidays. I nearly managed to entirely detach from Twitter over the Christmas period, and definitely didn’t keep checking my work email, for the first time in many years. It felt good. I want to do that more often from now on.

Seven simple (?!) thoughts. I guess the only one that will easily be measurable by watching my blog will be the one about writing more, and this is my start on that one!

Happy 2013, friends – hope to see you soon!

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Search queries (aka lies, lies… and statistics)

I’m shamelessly stealing an idea from Peter Anghelides‘ blog here, although with less of an amusing result.

I’ve been blogging here for a number of years now and it’s always fascinating to see what search terms lead people in. For the first few years it was a post on the UK direct.gov car tax renewal site, because people seemed to be typing the URL into Google and Yahoo (instead of the address bar) and hitting my site rather than the actual service.

From the results over the past 12 months it seems that people usually are looking for me, or for something on MQTT. Some of the other search terms, though, are quite surprising… Visio? VMWare? iMovie 09? it has been a while since I wrote about those.

On another note, I’ve now got the new Google Authorship markup working, so hopefully search results should be linked to my Google Profile along with my happy smiling face… 🙂

Google Authorship

Policy on guest posts

I’ve previously shared a post outlining my thoughts on posting reviews and being “pitched”. In the past three days I’ve had two unsolicited offers of “guest posts” for my blog, asking how to go about contributing. It seems that “social media marketing” is taking another new turn.

Well, I’ll keep this short. As it says on the About page:

The Lost Outpost is Andy’s personal blog.

I also note in the disclaimer in the sidebar that:

The postings on this site are my own

As such, it would not make a whole lot of sense for my own blog, which is intended to be a place for me to post my personal thoughts and opinions, to carry guest postings from others. It’s not a community or group-maintained site – it’s the output of my brain, for better or worse!

So, thanks, but no thanks – I don’t take guest posts for this blog.

Being social at work – for six years and more

GP 6I just posted to IBM’s internal blogging network, a short post to record my six-year anniversary as a user of the platform. I won’t share the exact content as it mostly had a load of internal links that would break outside of the corporate firewall, but I do want to stop and reflect.

Six years ago, of course, everything was different. We didn’t have an internal social network of the kind we have now (IBM Connections). We had rich user profiles within our corporate directory, we had an Intranet ID to login, and we had… well, we had a small pilot that someone had setup on our internal Technology Adoption Program (aka TAP), to see what would happen if individual IBMers were able to share their thoughts via blogs. That became known as BlogCentral, and progressed through four different versions over the next couple of years.

In the early days the community was small. There were no Blogging or Social Computing Guidelines, those were about to be developed, mostly by the small community that was in the process of forming; this was a little experiment. The experiment of posting what I was working on (a consultant in IBM Software Services for WebSphere at the time), the technical issues I was having, and any news or interesting links I’d found before the days of instant sharing via Twitter, led me to encounter and meet a huge variety of people. Good friendships formed – I got to know the amazing Roo Reynolds, Ian Hughes, Rob Smart, Kelly then-Drahzal-now-Smith, James Taylor, Martin Packer, Luis Suarez, Michael Martine, and so many others. I was invited to get involved in events, opportunities and projects that I would never have had the chance to even have known about before.

I found my voice in a crowd. I joined a tribe. I grew. I learned how powerful a network can be.

Today, IBM’s early experiments have borne fruit in a great variety of tools that we use day-to-day, and that we know can scale to support an organisation as diverse and large as IBM itself. We really do “walk the talk”. I’ve spoken about this journey often, of course, and I’m always happy to share my experiences and my story. And also – wow. That was just 6 years ago. The technology landscape has completely changed today, with Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, Slideshare, and so many other places to share and collaborate. It’s mind-boggling that things have moved so quickly.

I’ll be honest: I’m not posting to my blog 3 or 4 times a day as I might have done in my youthful enthusiasm, in those days when all I had was an internal blog and Sametime to keep me going… these days I share my knowledge and connect with my network far more widely, and more often, outside of the firewall (because, honestly, there’s rarely much to hide). That doesn’t mean I don’t still respect the medium of blogs. They are the “rocks in the real-time stream”, as my friend Stowe Boyd once styled them.

I’m glad I’m still a blogger, both at work and outside of it.

Image credit: holeymoon on Flickr, via a Creative Commons license

Yes, I know. I used to be a blogger.

Once upon a time, my business cards declared me to be a: “blogger | photographer | techie”.

I reached the conclusion that calling myself a “blogger” was passe… everyone was becoming a blogger with the increasing democratisation of content. So what?

I’m more than just a blogger. With the help of @monkchips I morphed into being a Social Bridgebuilder. Always a fascinating talking point at parties… 🙂

And yet… I’m also, apparently, now barely even a blogger. I began this gig as a way to expose thoughts I’d been sharing on IBM’s internal social sites like BlogCentral; migrated to a mindset of “public by default, private/intranet where necessary”; but as microblogging and other forms of social sharing have accelerated, and being honest as my role at work and priorities have changed… I’ve blogged far too infrequently.

Here are a bunch of topics I need to pick off, soon:

  • what WebSphere MQ Advanced Message Security can do for you
  • the new Connectivity and Messaging podcasts
  • IBM IMPACT and our new Unconference
  • Boris Bikes!
  • the London Java Community and lightning talks
  • WebOS and the HP revival
  • History and its importance as an academic subject, and how history can get lost on the realtime web
  • Funky awesome things what I learned at the University of Queensland whilst attending LCA… and haven’t yet blogged about… because I’m full of #fail.

So there we go – some public declarations of intent. I’m sure I can rely on @QuirkyBean and my many other online friends to keep me honest!!