Saturday, March 22, 2008

Saturday Morning Musings - a tour of my immediate blogging world

Photo: Marcellous, Coolah Bush Road. Since I was a child I have always loved the mystery of bush roads. We used to go for drives, just at random, and never knew where we might end up. As soon as I see a road like this I want to walk or drive along it to see what I can find.

As a bit of a break from other things, I have been going through my favourite lists checking up on what people have been saying. And doing some pruning and tidying at the same time!

Professional Services Management

I see that professional services management guru David Maister's "Give a Copy to Management" offer of one hundred free copies of his latest book, Strategy and the Fat Smoker, has been just too successful and he has had to close the campaign.

I have watched the campaign with some interest because it is an example of publishing and promotion in today's on-line world. I know that a number of my colleagues are wrestling with similar issues in terms of their own writing and intellectual property. What do I give away, what do I sell, what do I use in cross promotion?

I also noticed that David's post on Recession Responses - while there is still some debate as to whether the US is in a recession in technical terms (two consecutive quarters of negative GDP), I have no doubt that it is for all practical purposes.

Adam Smith Esq's Bruce MacEwen's report on his recent visit to London where he talked with half a dozen law firms also highlight's current economic uncertainty.

After a longish absence, Canadian Martin Hoffman has returned to blogging again in a new format. I used to enjoy Martin's writing, including his comments on marketing and PR issues, so welcome back Martin!

Science, Technology and Intellectual Property

Dennis McDonald's US Blog continues to be a valuable source of ideas on on-line developments. I must admit my visits to Dennis fluctuate with my interests. I have been involved in the on-line world for a very long time - I first used dial-up access to an international data base in 1980! - but recently my day-to-day pre-occupations have taken me in different directions.

Noric Dilanchian's site, this includes his Lightbulb blog, continues to have some fascinating stuff. I have given the link to the whole site rather than just the blog, because he also related material on his front page.

Noric has just run an interesting blog post, Why is social media such a hit?, looking in part at the interaction between young people and social networking sites. Memo to self; time for a comment!

Education, Training and E-learning

This months Biq Question on the US Learning Circuit's blog - What is the Scope of our Responsibility as Learning Professionals?

I used to be an active participant in discussions on this blog wearing my education and training hat and hope to be again. A number of rather good blogs group around Learning Circuits, but I will pick these up in another post.

Economics, Politics and the Law

I could not start a section with this title without a reference to Thomas. Given university, work and an apparently active if somewhat irregular social life centred on a mystic cup, I sometimes wonder where sleep fits in!

Thomas's posts on the US election have justly attracted interest. I am pleased that his kindness in explaining to me and another reader the mysteries of superdelegates has had such a great search engine pay-off. Here Thomas was miles in front of the conventional media in seeing their importance.

The question of Tibet attracted Neil Whitfield (here, here, here) and indeed many others in the blogosphere. As part of this, Neil put up a rather spectacular photo that he then took down when he found that it was a pastiche. Neil, do run it again sans words. I wanted to copy it!

Train sets have also been of interest to Neil as part of his commentary on NSW politics. Because I am writing on this stuff myself I won't comment, except to note that I did say earlier that I felt a railway coming on!

I fear that David Anderson's growing dismay with the condition of modern and especially US society is now making his posting irregular. I may not agree with all of David's answers on After the Vote, but his analysis of the likely outcomes of US trends has been extremely accurate.

Geoff Robinson's blog has had a number of remarkably interesting stories at least to someone like me.

In Social democracy and railways, Geoff pointed to problems with the rail infrastructure. Similar problems have arisen in NSW. The disciplines (and ill-disciplines) of private ownership can create problems, especially where externalities are present.

I find it interesting that the shifts in policy frames and community attitudes in modern Australia have created alliances - commonalities in views - between positions once seen as very different. Traditional political opponents find themselves joining in common views because social shifts threaten the common elements in once very divergent positions.

Down in the deep south, Melbourne to be precise, Legal Eagle has continued a series of law related posts that are earning her blog a well deserved reputation.

LE does not write just on legal issues: see Pregnancy is not an illness… as an example. But her writing on legal issues is clear and with a rather nice sense of whimsy. As in Through the looking glass darkly?, looking at the influence of Lewis Carroll on legal judgments.

When he can tear himself away from music, Marcellous also writes on legal issues as in his Howie J almost throws the book and misses.

I read the good judge's comments with interest. For better or worse, my current work has taken me back into commenting on certain legal judgements, such as that in the Word Investment case.

I do not have the papers with me so cannot give the links, but the effect of the decision if it stands (the Australian Tax Office may appeal to the High Court) is to greatly widen the range of commercial activities that Australian charities can carry out without affecting their tax free status.

Society, Culture and the Strictly Personal

As he well knows, Lexcen and I do not always agree. Yet I read his blog all the time, he comments on mine. A number of my posts have been written with him in mind. Here on a recent post, Thoughts on Easter, Lexcen wrote:

To me Easter is about how society treats those who don't conform, who don't toe the line or who have beliefs that go contrary to the establishment.

Societies don't tolerate non-conformity very much. Today we see conformity in the form of political correctness. Attitudes worn like the latest designer labels to be shown off at every opportunity. Attitudes pre-packaged and ready for consumption without having to think about issues for yourselves.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about those who want to destroy society because of some misguided belief system.

It is a question of how tolerant we are of those who hold different opinions...

On a more frivolous note, in Pointless post (I fear that the pun was intentional) Lexcen provided some strange photos that I will use of various types of urinals.

Staying down south, Blonde Canadian continues to wrestle with her dear nana's expectatations about men and children. She is also rather annoyed with the Victorian Institute of Teachers. I quote:

I hereby wish to submit my resignation. In fact, I've been wanting to submit my resignation since you made me join way back before I'd even finished uni under the threat that if I didn't, I could never, EVER teach in Victoria. Ever.

Ouch. But BC has a point that I should write about at some stage.

I am out of time. I still have more than a dozen blogs that I wanted to mention. I will have to pick these up at another time, focused especially on those that I read but mention less frequently.


Lexcen said...

Jim, most people come to their opinions from experience and knowledge. Those of us who are absolutely certain that their opinions are correct have no time or tolerance for differing opinions. Their minds are closed. I'm glad to say that you are one of those rare individuals that keeps an open mind. Thanks for the mention.

ninglun said...

Jim: request granted. :)

Jim Belshaw said...

What a nice compliment, Lexcen. My thanks. I can be as closed mind as anyone, but I do try to control it. How, otherwise, do we learn?

Neil, thanks for the fast response on the photo.

Thomas said...

Sorry in the delay - as you pointed out, work and what-have-you has kept me busy. And away from the computer, which is a shame.

Thank-you very much for what you said Jim. It was extremely kind, and I certainly won't forget it. It's nice to hear those sorts of things, as you know being a blogger yourself. Especially the part about the superdelegates.

You've given me an idea for a post. Look out for it tomorrow!

Jim Belshaw said...

Thomas, I am looking forward to hit. Jim