Now’s as good a time as any…

Now is as good a time as any, to try again to post some of my thoughts… I got so much stuff in my head, it’s not funny. The illustration at the top of this page is a compilation of a few pages of notes I’ve been taking lately, in the hopes that I will share them with you one day. By the way, I use the Paper app on my iPad, and I really like it.

Side note: I have to thank Julian Stodd to not only introducing me to this app, which if you visit his blog (please do, it is very, very interesting…) you’ll recognize the illustration style from Paper, but also for inspiring me to get off my butt and start this blog [again]. I started it years ago but only did a few posts… Hopefully this will last longer.   🙂

So… I like to think about stuff, and for those who know me, I also like to talk about it. Most often than not, they come from real life situations for which I try to come up with solutions to make things better… Of course those are my opinions, which sometimes I defend forcefully strongly.  But I always try to keep an open mind, and I ask nothing less from others. If you think I am not open [enough], please remind me of this post.

Anyway, I look forward to your comments, suggestions and thoughts.




iPad: is it worth its weight in gold?

Good question! And as I hear a lot of answers that seem based on tests more or less realistic, I’ll share mine.

First, I must say that I’be been using an iPad (with 3G) since last August. The initial idea of getting iPads was purely for demonstration of our work (and even that was only to show pictures and videos of our work done in Flash!). Whether through casual encounters or during a trade show, we thought it would be very useful to rapidly illustrate what we were talking about, without having to start an application, navigate through the OS, to risk having error messages, etc.. Result? Very positive! We do find (after a few months and three trade shows) that the iPad does the job!

In addition, the iPad is a very useful tool… for what it does best: consume information. I must say that I also have an iPhone and a MacBook Pro, and a shared data plan. The three complement each other (and sync) very well. And after a few weeks of use, I quickly realized that the iPad could do more, the trick is to always keep in mind its limitations.

Of course I used it to check my email, my calendar and my contacts, but I quickly got used to take notes freehand with a very simple App, Penultimate, in conjunction with a soft tipped pen (Griffin – There is of course an enormous amount of applications available, which makes it difficult to choose the ones you “really” need.

Some criticize the lack of features, such as a USB port, a keyboard, a video camera, telephone, etc., etc., etc.. The reality is that there will always be room for criticism, human nature being what it is. No tools (even the Swiss knife) is capable of doing everything. We’re moving to a new era of streamlining functionalities. Whether buying one song at a time instead of a CD, or purchase an App that does little but does it very well, it seems that many of us appreciate simplicity over versatility. I would like one day be able to buy only the portion of a software that interests me instead of having to buy all of its features.ç

Like it or not, the iPad changed the world. And we’re already seeing how other manufacturers will flood the market with their vision of what should be an electronic tablet. Ultimately, I sincerely believe that yes, the iPad is worth its weight in gold. And I look forward to seeing the next generations.

Imagination: Blessing or Curse

Without imagination we’d still be in… caves. So we have quite a lot to be thankful for.

As I see it, imagination is the phenomenon in which new thoughts are generated in sequence, one fostering the next. I find it quite fascinating.

What makes it work? I don’t know. I think it simply happens. And I enjoy it quite a bit, most of the time, that is. I say most of the time because sometimes it can get overwhelming. The non-stop “imagining things” makes it a challenge to stop and finish things. When a new thought crystallizes into a defined idea, good enough for you to stop for a bit and consider exploring it, it’s pretty cool. So you start thinking about it some more, and start working on it, in your mind at first, then on paper, and so on, depending on the nature of the idea. But to be able to work properly on one idea, you need to be able to control your imagination, so it doesn’t hinder your work in progress, deter you from the path you engaged yourself on to pursue that particular idea.

Like a painter who has multiple canvases underway, working on a few at a time, or all at once. Completely dependant on its imagination, leading the way to an end to each idea…. hopefully.

For a sculptor, it can be different. At least when sculpting material that cannot be “fixed”, such as stone. You stare at your piece, and imagine what it could become. You start chipping away, following whatever idea comes to mind as to where you should put your chisel and how much force you should hit it…

Fascinating, no?

Twitter in 2010… what will it be?

I had a very interesting conversation with a good friend of mine yesterday, about Twitter.

First, let I’d like to say that I consider myself a newbie in Social Media. This good friend of mine actually introduced me to it early last year, and it took me until the fall to really get into it.

Like a lot of people, I quickly became excited about it, as I realized how valuable these little ‘tweets’ can be. And I am not talking about those that state someone’s current location, what they’re eating or doing in the privacy of their home. I’m talking about the real valuable stuff: news, factual information and Opinions. Notice the capital “O” of Opinions. We’re all entitled to state our opinions, as long as it’s presented like that.

Some say that 2010 will bring, among other things, Social “Fatigue” and “Social Shakedown” (or purge). I guess it’s normal with any trends, after their initial burst in popularity. But most importantly, I hope [valuable] Twitters will refine their writing skills.

I do my best to write something meaningful in those 140 characters. I came to hate tweets that have too many ashes at the end, ashes in the tweet, and even worst, more ashes than text! I also hate straight retweets: there are too many of them! They become noise, and you know what happens when there is too much noise, right? People stop listening!

I actually am still guilty of straight re-tweets. But I do my best to re-write each one of them with something meaningful, at least to me, hoping that it would mean something to someone else too, which is why I tweet them. Please note that I believe a rewritten tweet should still mention the previous sender (and even better yet, the ORIGINAL sender – but that is sometimes impossible due the multitude of retweets..).  To make it easier to read, I really like when people put the tweet’s sender at the end of the text, in brakets, like “(via @…)”. So I do it too.

To me twitting is about two things: sharing [value], and (gulp) promoting. I gulp at promoting because it can easily get out of hand (but at least here is the possibility to block senders and report spams…).

Anyway, we’ll see what 2010 brings…

Happy New Year and to New Beginnings! Literally…

2009 was hard, and now it’s gone. 2010, on the other hand, is only beginning.

But it is not a clean break, far from it, and I am proof of that. 2009 was very difficult business-wise, and like many people, my life has just changed because of it: my position is no longer. And I found out just this morning, after (at least) a good time off for the holidays.

I’m upset, or course, because my security is gone, and from the looks of things, it is quite scary. I “should” find another job, because I’m able to do all kinds of things. But the fact is that there are a lot of people out there who can also do all kinds of things, and are still looking for work!

But I also feel… weird. Excited I should say. Maybe this is one of those times that I’m handed the opportunity to try something new, to reinvent myself (again), to stir up those neurons in a new direction. I actually learned a lot in 2009, mostly thanks to social media. It allowed me to re-awake (can I say that?) passions I use to have years ago when I was developing multimedia… User Experience, Immersive Learning, Mobile devices, Augmented Reality… There are opportunities out there, all I need to do is (gulp) find them.

So now, I’ll… keep on “listening”, “sharing” and “talking” to people, online AND offline.

Motivation, well presented, is always welcome (at least it should)

A little while ago I received an email from Jill Konrath, in which she presented two “inspiring and uplifting” videos aimed at motivating you to get up and do your thing, whether by yourself or with others:

I really like them. I showed them to a few of my colleagues and some like them, some loved them and for some, well, it didn’t click. Nobody hated them. But again, I really liked them. Got me to lookup more inspirational stuff on Youtube, which to no surprise is loaded with that king of stuff.

I was never exposed to this level of motivational exposure, and makes me wish I did experience it. I can’t help think it must be helpful. It’s true that I’ve only been exposed to a few different work environments (something like 8 or 9) over the last 20 years or so, but I realize that they all had lots of variation in “motivation” provided by the “supervisory” structure, or people in charge… A few places I had the chance to be inspired, but sadly I’ve got to say that most lack true leadership. Maybe this is why I think those videos, or other media, would have been good.

I understand that it is not given to everybody to be able to lead/motivate effectively, so it’d be nice that those in such a position be aware of their ability (or lack of it) and seek whatever means necessary that would help them get the job done.

Anyone out there ever used these “kits”?

Augmented reality for training… get it out to the masses!

Augmented Reality… Taking off like you wouldn’t believe because of the advancements in consumer-level technologies (read mobile devices). For example:

So where are those training applications (do tell me if you know of any)… Instead of the road, you’re looking at a control panel, or a broken piece of equipment…  Instead of a just a phone or mobile device, imagine it with connected goggles (wirelessly f course), with a camera and an ear piece…

You start the app, tell it what the problem is (by answering some questions), set a reference marker (visual cue on the subject, or even better, it knows already what you are looking at because of a RFID!) and let it guide you!

Wouldn’t that be cool! On your phone!

What about manufacturers? Forget about the user manual!  😉

+ A little update… found this podcast produced by “La Vitrine Technologie-Éducation”…

+ Another blog entry by Richard Nantel… Augmented Reality Apps Gaining Adoption

+ WOW!!!! The Real Future of Augmented Reality: SixthSense Demo at TED

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