Is it nearly Christmas yet!?

Saturday, the 21. January 2012, 11:23 by

It’s been a hectic week in technology. Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo! left this week, leaving pundits asking whether this is the beginning of the end for the Internet giant. Apple jump into education with self-publishing iBook’s & even starts to consider getting all social with us. Let’s not even speak again of PIPA & SOPA, the two imminent US passed bill’s which could re-arrange the landscape of the Internet forever! Until we killed them.  Oh, and I pass 600 followers on Twitter - whoop! (@mariodc)

There’s more happening in my life too, it would appear (some have said) that I could be on the verge of being very happy, I approach this with all the caution of a hunter approaching a grizzly bear, armed only with a pea-shooter however. I’ve got a couple of really big announcements which will come soon, & a couple of very big conversations I need to have with people, the front end of 2012 has been already eventful. It’s probably fair to thank @julianbdavis for late night discussions & advice, you should probably go & check him out on Twitter, as he’s one of the good ones!

 

 

I’ve been busy working on virtualisation over the last few weeks, and re-iterating websites for a bunch of companies. I like being busy, & I love technology, but I still feel fairly unfulfilled with a bunch of the things I’m doing. I do crave mutual peer passion about technology & innovation, and yes I do bang on about it, but never has it been so important to me.

 

Virtualisation is pretty straight forward by the way, if you pay attention to the details. I notice the biggest issues are Microsoft licensing, so watch for that when planning your migrations. I should knock together a couple of blog posts on this very subject soon.

 

 

Recent #NHSExperience has been positive, with my blood pressure coming right down. I run 5k every other day now. That’s right, ‘run’. Who’d of thought it! I even like it, which has surprised me immensely. You can, if you’re interested, check out my routes via the great Runtastic app, here http://www.runtastic.com/en/users/Mario-De-Cristofano/dashboard

 

I’ve been spending time in my hometown of Nottingham more & more & remembering the great social scene I left behind, great place for eats including @thecurrylounge, bars like @houseofcocotang, @fatcatnotts & Pitcher & Piano, along with all my other old favourites like the Living Room, Saint, SaltWater & Brass Monkey. I do miss going out with friends, whom ultimately is who I miss the most. Can’t wait to be back next weekend.

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#NHSExperience, Part 2 – this time it’s personal!

Tuesday, the 3. January 2012, 20:42 by

 

So firstly, allow me to explain my blog posts are like buses, it would certainly seem so today! You wait ages for one, & then two come along at once. What can I say; it’s been a day of inspiration! I’ve typed my fingers to the bone, TO THE BONE I TEL YOU! :-)

 

So, if you’ve been paying attention you’ll know at the arse end of 2011 I was for the first time ever, at the hospital, getting prodded, pocked & slapped (not in a good way mind you!) whilst people poured over me with sensors, ECG equipment, bio med sensors & large pointy sticks, which in summary, led to being diagnosed with some hypertension which is in effect, high blood pressure.

I had basically three month’s to turn things around. So whilst I felt a bit like a McLaren MP-55 in the garage whilst all manner of stuff was shoved into me (again not in a good way…ahem…too much!?) & it was that point it hit me, that if I don’t change what goes on in my head, and how I handle work, I’m actually going to end up in a ditch on the Motorway somewhere, having had some type of nervous breakdown. Probably in some ropey maroon coloured Ford Mondeo, Diesel!!!

I’ve tried to chase being good at what I do for so long, I needed to slow down & learn, step back, relax, in the words of Tony Soprano..’Heeeyyy forget about itttt’

 

So what did I do!? Well I always exercised. That was never the issue; the question was the Psychology behind that exercise. My weakness isn’t chips, or chocolate, or crisps, or anything bad for you actually because I just don’t like the taste of sweet things or anything heavily processed. My number one weakness was portion control. So yes I’d eat pasta, brown rice, home grown veg, a range of fish, not too much meat, pulses & lentils, but when I ate, I ate like a professional & that meant Man Vs Food style portions whilst all at the same time, thinking ‘well if I exercise, I can do this right?’ …wrong. Adam Richman I isn’t. (although we look frighteningly similar, which I didn’t realise until I just Googled that son’bitch to get this ol’ Photo

 

I cut down my portion size overnight, whilst at the same time stepping up the exercise. Going from consistent daily 6- 8 mile bike rides and CV work at the gym, to circa 16-20 miles every time I swung a leg over the bike. I do this now, whilst also having eliminated any salt (which I rarely had), and caffeine opting for Decaffe (thanks Faye) instead which all helps stop the trigger of high blood pressure.

Like everything I do I become obsessive, so I bought a small clinic’s worth of home Bio medical & technical equipment measuring everything from heart rate, sleep pattern, brain electrical impulses, blood pressure, that type of thing. It’s interesting being able to gather up all these reasonably accurate stats and put them into clinical software to look at your body’s performance from a raw performance perspective. A bit like overclocking your old Pentium 3, but no thermal paste required.

So the end result is my BP is now normal, I’ve lost a bunch of weight, and I’ll continue to do so. It’s really important to look after your body, and I’ll pay much more attention to that. You can follow these antics on Twitter, (hashtag #NHSexperience) I have to say, I want to thank everyone at St Georges who have not only been nothing short of fantastic, but it makes me feel very lucky we live in a country with a thorough medical service.

 

 

 

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We are Slaves to Technology…are’nt we?

Tuesday, the 3. January 2012, 12:11 by

I’m pretty observant. Or Nosy! I’m not sure which, I’d like to hover around the former though for the sanctity of my ego. What I’ve observed over the last few weeks is people. London affords you such a good opportunity to people watch. I often sit in Coffee Shops (love you Costa!, other Coffee Shops available apparently!) & whilst I tip tap away on my computer, I find myself starring out across the busy hustle & bustle. Amongst the Soho hipsters, achingly cool on their fixed wheel bicycles & messenger bags, Wall St & other ‘City’ professionals in Oswald Boetang suits & ‘media’ types carrying a Latte in one hand, and an entire tree of paperwork in the other, there’s something common which stands out.

It’s come at us from behind, we knew it would, we did’nt really care, and it’s happened seemingly as quick yet perversely as slow as these things tend to. It wraps around us & our lives covering us in communicable warmth, allows us to ‘express’ ourselves (whatever that means) & it bring’s us together. What is it you cry!? It’s of course, technology.

 

It started off with the smartphone; its said that over (well over) half the UK own a smartphone (see here) & do you know what? I believe it! Walking across Waterloo concourse the other day, I spotted 13 people, (I counted) every single one of them as diverse as the next, but unifying them all was the 45 degree angle their heads were bent at, whilst they prodded & made masterbatory gestures into a glass coated screen of something they held in their hand (insert your own joke hereby coincidence, they were all iPhones but more on that later). Is this our evolution!? Perhaps we’ll give birth to children with 38% smaller fingers (easy to poke a screen with) and necks which bend like an owl, to acommodate the constant information overload we are exposed to.

Not one of them were looking up, they all had ear buds in, information about their environment being augemented into their earbuds and eyes as data I suspect, included Social Media, the News, a book, maps, Train times, all flashed before there eyes in a bite size 4.7″ retina display. How convienient!

 

How many times have you seen people walk along the street (in London anyway) navigating using GPS, staring into a 3d map, not once, NOT ONCE, actually bothering to look up and study their environment. Their surroundings. We have our own GPS, our own internal compass, and yet we rely soley, without exception on these ever powerful portable computers we have stuffed in our pockets.

 

Of course, it doesnt end with the smartphone. There’s now tablets, and whatever your preferred flavour, there’s nothing you can’t do with a smartphone & tablet combo. I see more and more tablets ‘in the wild’ and it’s quite a sight at night, to see thousands of bright beamed devices lighting up the landscape more so, than the landmarks around them. Not that anyone would notice the landmarks however, they are too busy reviewing them on Yelp, or Oink, or some other similiar service!

 

I guess what I’ve noticed more & more, is we don’t seem to mind this part of our evolution. The internet has seemingly grown out of its cabled tether, and it’s now ‘us’. The internet is’nt one way. We all create content. Blogs, Tweets, Facebook posts. We’re all our own reviewer, of products, drinks, cafes, Restaurants, PEOPLE! We recommend this content to others, with each blog post or tweet feeding the next in this self serving cycle of self promotion & publicity.

 

We’re changing . But for the better?

 

From the first day’s of the Internet, where information was silo’d into a single space, usually a page or several, and a few links, we’ve evolved. We all have our own online space, we recommend videos, build apps, and have the power to make anything ‘viral’ within an afternoon. We can throw a website together within minutes.  We rely on the Internet for every aspect of our social lives, and for those that are socially competent in the old fashioned real life world (World 1.0?) the Internet allows us to be extensions of ourselves. To almost be omnipotent.  It’s like Avatar I guess, without the 7ft Blue Aliens.

 

Social butterflies darting from place to place, our lifes enhanced with this infinite connectivity. Always on, always available, always there. Like the Energizer bunny, we just can’t stop & god dam we won’t!

But I fear for people that don’t have those real world skills. Those whom trust Sat Nav and subsequently drive into a lake, than actually look up and see the lake in front of them. Those that can’t speak to someone in a bar, but are quite happy to ‘frag’ a 18 year old American over some virtual battle field whilst driving a knife into the chest of a German Sniper.

 

I worry that the Internet has become a ‘publicity & reputation engine’ and whilst the content diverse, the value of the information diminishes as more & more people ‘add’ to the dirge of content. We’re all so busy Linking in, Klouting, Peer indexing, Facebooking, Tweeting, Yelping, Oinking, I mean, c’mon, this is getting silly….is’nt it?

Where will be be in a decades time? What about the next generation!? I was with friends over Christmas, whose children have grown up with Skype. They communicate with their respective families in far flung lands using Skype as an everyday tool. These children think nothing of seeing their loved ones appear in a perfectly ratio’d 14:9 high res screen, as opposed to real life. Perhaps to them it is real life? Perhaps this is real life?

Google’s been watching us for years, it allows them to make better recommendations. It allow’s them to be more accurate, to serve us better & provide better services. We won’t give our bank information to someone in the street called ‘Frank’ from ‘Protect the Sanctity of the slow grown Otter’ , but we’ll happily commit every personal & private snippet of data to a company we don’t know, and not only that, we’ll thank them for it!

 

Facebook, carefully aggregrates our lifes and publishes the content in superior detail like a life chronical. Every photograph, every experience, every interaction, logged for prosperity!? Or something else? To get a real glimpse into the future of this time of real world data archiving, watch the Black Mirror – The Entire History of You, by the great Charlie Brooker http://www.channel4.com/programmes/black-mirror/4od#3267363

 

It’s been amazing to watch the Internet too, as we consume it in bite size chunks by way of an app, or a widget. We sync content to the cloud, it doesnt matter now what type of computer we use, as we just connect to the web, and carry out our tasks online. Writing documents, spreadsheets, web dev, our work, our lives, personal & business, is all done, typically via an App, & somewhere, usually online. We use Dropbox to move files from device to device, even the way we listen to music has changed. When was the last time you bought a CD? Tell the truth! Why steal it by illegally downloading when a Premium Spotify account can be yours with access to everything & anything (other music services available)

 

It’s the same with TV, I can’t remember the last time I watched any scheduled TV. We consume everything on demand. We watch the TV as we want, advert free and when it suits us, as we pause and time shift to get up off the couch to grab a beer and some crisps, recently delivered to us via our online Ocado account!

 

Anyway all I know is it’s interesting times, and that seem’s to be changing us, and the way we communicate. Think the next time you reach for the keyboard, …what exactly are you doing….and who exactly are you telling……

 

 

 

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