Creativity Reloaded: Why You Should Try New Creative Activities

How do you build new creative muscles? I’m not talking about flexing the ones you already have, be they writing, graphic design, web development, or illustration. I’m talking instead of completely new creative activities. Why? They’ll help you be a stronger creative person. And that’s good for you and your day job.
Lessons Learned

For example, I’m a writer who just started sewing. It’s been a fascinating experience. Granted, some would say that following a pattern isn’t a hugely creative act. But it’s been the seed. I’m already thinking ahead of patterns I’d like to design, and different kinds of fabrics I’d like to try. I’ve also been exposed to a new group of creative people.

I’ve learned the value of being very precise, to prepare heavily in advance, and that continuous incremental work can pay off. These are all important lessons for a creative person. But, most importantly I’ve had tons of fun.

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How do you build new creative muscles? I’m not talking about flexing the ones you already have, be they writing, graphic design, web development, or illustration. I’m talking instead of completely new creative activities. Why? They’ll help you be a stronger creative person. And that’s good for you and your day job.

Lessons Learned

For example, I’m a writer who just started sewing. It’s been a fascinating experience. Granted, some would say that following a pattern isn’t a hugely creative act. But it’s been the seed. I’m already thinking ahead of patterns I’d like to design, and different kinds of fabrics I’d like to try. I’ve also been exposed to a new group of creative people.

I’ve learned the value of being very precise, to prepare heavily in advance, and that continuous incremental work can pay off. These are all important lessons for a creative person. But, most importantly I’ve had tons of fun. Leer más “Creativity Reloaded: Why You Should Try New Creative Activities”

Team Coordination Is Key in Businesses

By: Dan Heath and Chip Heath
147-next-46-strategy-MadeToStick-1

Photograph by AFP/Getty Images
Dan Heath and Chip Heath explain why we tend to neglect coordination — and suggest how to fix it.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the American men’s 4×100 relay team was a strong medal contender. During the four previous Games, the American men had medaled every time. The qualifying heats in 2008 — the first step on the road to gold — should have been a cakewalk.

On the third leg of the race, the U.S.A.’s Darvis Patton was running neck and neck with a runner from Trinidad and Tobago. Patton rounded the final turn, approaching anchorman Tyson Gay, who was picking up speed to match Patton. Patton extended the baton, Gay reached back, and the baton hit his palm.

Then, somehow, it fell. The team was disqualified. It was a humiliating early defeat. Stranger still, about a half-hour later, the U.S.A. women’s team was disqualified too — for a baton drop at the same point in the race. (Freaked out by the trend, the U.S.A.’s rhythmic gymnasts kept an extra-tight grip on their ribbons.)


By: Dan Heath and Chip Heath

147-next-46-strategy-MadeToStick-1Photograph by AFP/Getty Images

Dan Heath and Chip Heath explain why we tend to neglect coordination — and suggest how to fix it.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the American men’s 4×100 relay team was a strong medal contender. During the four previous Games, the American men had medaled every time. The qualifying heats in 2008 — the first step on the road to gold — should have been a cakewalk.

On the third leg of the race, the U.S.A.‘s Darvis Patton was running neck and neck with a runner from Trinidad and Tobago. Patton rounded the final turn, approaching anchorman Tyson Gay, who was picking up speed to match Patton. Patton extended the baton, Gay reached back, and the baton hit his palm.

Then, somehow, it fell. The team was disqualified. It was a humiliating early defeat. Stranger still, about a half-hour later, the U.S.A. women’s team was disqualified too — for a baton drop at the same point in the race. (Freaked out by the trend, the U.S.A.’s rhythmic gymnasts kept an extra-tight grip on their ribbons.) Leer más “Team Coordination Is Key in Businesses”

iFive: Google History, TV Tablet, Flickr Makeover, BP Progress, Tree Fight

BY Jenara Nerenberg

1. Google news dump! The search giant is letting all of us forgetful people now rely less on our memories to recall recently searched items and websites. “History” is the tab to look out for. Plus, Google’s keywords business opens up copyright restrictions to allow competitors’ results in searches. (Looking for Chevy info? Expect ads for Ford to pop up, too.) And finally, you can sign into multiple Google accounts at the same time in the same browser.


BY Jenara Nerenberg

1. Google news dump! The search giant is letting all of us forgetful people now rely less on our memories to recall recently searched items and websites. “History” is the tab to look out for. Plus, Google’s keywords business opens up copyright restrictions to allow competitors’ results in searches. (Looking for Chevy info? Expect ads for Ford to pop up, too.) And finally, you can sign into multiple Google accounts at the same time in the same browser. Leer más “iFive: Google History, TV Tablet, Flickr Makeover, BP Progress, Tree Fight”

Social Network Game Can be Depressing Tree of Life

Campus life at Sacramento’s California State University may be somewhat lacking.

Today it was reported that the school reached a deal to make an online game available to its 28,000 students and staff. Developed by Mindbloom, a startup founded by Amazon veterans, the “Life Game” will help the faculty and student body manage a healthy lifestyle and keep off that Freshman 40. The game normally costs $39 a year; California State is Mindbloom’s first enterprise customer.

Mindbloom uses social networking and a metaphorical tree to keep members on top of their goals. When registering, users select a variety of lifestyle priorities (such as spirituality, relationships or career) which will then appear on the branches of their tree.


BY Austin Carr

Campus life at Sacramento‘s California State University may be somewhat lacking.

Today it was reported that the school reached a deal to make an online game available to its 28,000 students and staff. Developed by Mindbloom, a startup founded by Amazon veterans, the “Life Game” will help the faculty and student body manage a healthy lifestyle and keep off that Freshman 40. The game normally costs $39 a year; California State is Mindbloom’s first enterprise customer.

Mindbloom uses social networking and a metaphorical tree to keep members on top of their goals. When registering, users select a variety of lifestyle priorities (such as spirituality, relationships or career) which will then appear on the branches of their  tree.

Next, the site recommends small actions aimed at improving these areas (“Take the stairs at work instead of the elevator”). The more tasks you complete, the more your tree’s branches will grow and your leaves brighten. The more you ignore your action items, the more your tree will wither and die.

According to Mindbloom, it’s the competition that spurs you into achieving your goals. Members join a buddy system in which friends’ trees appear next to yours in the game, forever taunting you with their greener leaves and healthier lifestyles. After all, “you don’t want your tree to look bad,” explained Brent Poole, the company‘s CEO.

But aren’t college kids too busy drinking to look after a house plant, let alone a fictional tree? Miss enough scheduled actions, and pretty soon the leaves turn brown, the branches shrivel, and you’re an unemployed, overweight alcoholic. Weren’t social networks supposed to make us feel better? Where’s the restart button on this damn tree?

Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbzqqYZHTh4&feature=player_embedded

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Five Windows 7 security features that businesses need to know about

Five Windows 7 security features that businesses need to know about
Windows 7 brings several security enhancements that don’t sacrifice usability
By Logan Kugler

Computerworld – The words Windows and security have not always been compatible. In the past, Microsoft’s quest to make its operating system as easy to manage as possible for the “typical” user has often meant sacrificing adequate safeguards against intrusion and infection. Windows XP’s notorious vulnerability to network worms stands as a recent example; Microsoft shipped the operating system with a firewall but initially left it turned off by default.

For all its flaws, real and perceived, Vista marked a huge step forward in Windows security. Windows 7 has continued that improvement, adding several new features and enhancing many others — most obviously the User Account Control system, which proved so obnoxious in Vista that many users turned it off, leaving their systems vulnerable to intrusion in exchange for a less annoying experience. UAC has been revamped in Windows 7 to be less intrusive and more discerning about what constitutes a true threat, and therefore more effective.

Other Windows 7 security features are less apparent, especially those intended for businesses concerned with protecting not just one computer but an entire network. Among the most important new features are DirectAccess, a VPN replacement for computers on Windows networks; the Windows Biometric Framework, which standardizes the way fingerprints are used by scanners and biometric applications; and AppLocker, which improves on previous Windows versions’ Software Restriction Policies to limit which software can be run on a machine.

Also key are BitLocker To Go, which extends the full-disk encryption of BitLocker to external hard drives, and a refined procedure for handling multiple firewall profiles so that the level of protection better matches the location from which a user connects to the Internet.


Windows 7 brings several security enhancements that don’t sacrifice usability

By Logan Kugler

Computerworld – The words Windows and security have not always been compatible. In the past, Microsoft‘s quest to make its operating system as easy to manage as possible for the “typical” user has often meant sacrificing adequate safeguards against intrusion and infection. Windows XP‘s notorious vulnerability to network worms stands as a recent example; Microsoft shipped the operating system with a firewall but initially left it turned off by default.

For all its flaws, real and perceived, Vista marked a huge step forward in Windows security. Windows 7 has continued that improvement, adding several new features and enhancing many others — most obviously the User Account Control system, which proved so obnoxious in Vista that many users turned it off, leaving their systems vulnerable to intrusion in exchange for a less annoying experience. UAC has been revamped in Windows 7 to be less intrusive and more discerning about what constitutes a true threat, and therefore more effective.

Other Windows 7 security features are less apparent, especially those intended for businesses concerned with protecting not just one computer but an entire network. Among the most important new features are DirectAccess, a VPN replacement for computers on Windows networks; the Windows Biometric Framework, which standardizes the way fingerprints are used by scanners and biometric applications; and AppLocker, which improves on previous Windows versions’ Software Restriction Policies to limit which software can be run on a machine.

Also key are BitLocker To Go, which extends the full-disk encryption of BitLocker to external hard drives, and a refined procedure for handling multiple firewall profiles so that the level of protection better matches the location from which a user connects to the Internet. Leer más “Five Windows 7 security features that businesses need to know about”

Building The Community: WordPress 3.org Community

With the recent release of WordPress 3.0 we’re entering a very exciting time.

For the first time in the history of the platform, nobody is working on the next version.

All development outside of essential bug fixing has been stopped… and 3.1 won’t even start development until the beginning of September.

The reason? Well, the core contributors aren’t taking a vacation to Hawaii, in fact they’re doing something much less relaxing: working on the WordPress community.

Introducing WordPress 3.0rg

1

Right now, all of the WordPress core contributors are working on building up and improving the WordPress community features. Removing an entire release cycle from 2010, the WordPress 3.org project sits cleverly between 3.0 and 3.1. So what does that mean for you?

Well, first and foremost, WordPress.org has just received a small face-lift. The main WordPress site hasn’t been redesigned for years so this facelift will be a welcome change and the base for almost everything else that will be going on. The new site sports a lighter interface to match the new lighter interface for WordPress 3.0 and again this should carry through to other changes and progressions in style throughout the community.

So what are all the other things which are going to be happening? Well, that’s what we’re going to get into now. Before we start though, an important disclaimer: The world of OpenSource development is in a constant state of flux and as a result these things are subject to change without notice. Some things may be added, some things may be removed, but here’s a general idea of where things are going:


thumbWith the recent release of WordPress 3.0 we’re entering a very exciting time.

For the first time in the history of the platform, nobody is working on the next version.

All development outside of essential bug fixing has been stopped… and 3.1 won’t even start development until the beginning of September.

The reason? Well, the core contributors aren’t taking a vacation to Hawaii, in fact they’re doing something much less relaxing: working on the WordPress community.

Introducing WordPress 3.0rg

1

Right now, all of the WordPress core contributors are working on building up and improving the WordPress community features. Removing an entire release cycle from 2010, the WordPress 3.org project sits cleverly between 3.0 and 3.1. So what does that mean for you?

Well, first and foremost, WordPress.org has just received a small face-lift. The main WordPress site hasn’t been redesigned for years so this facelift will be a welcome change and the base for almost everything else that will be going on. The new site sports a lighter interface to match the new lighter interface for WordPress 3.0 and again this should carry through to other changes and progressions in style throughout the community.

So what are all the other things which are going to be happening? Well, that’s what we’re going to get into now. Before we start though, an important disclaimer: The world of OpenSource development is in a constant state of flux and as a result these things are subject to change without notice. Some things may be added, some things may be removed, but here’s a general idea of where things are going: Leer más “Building The Community: WordPress 3.org Community”

New Media, Same Regulations According to California Political Campaign Watchdog

Another political campaign watchdog group has joined the ranks of those calling for more regulations of online content published by politicians. The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), a California-based group, released a report Monday detailing their recommendations for political messages transmitted via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and their compatriots. The bulk of their recommendations boil down to one point: social media should be regulated in the same way as traditional media. This approach – lumping social media in with all other media – has been a popular one lately, but is it the right move? Read on for more details from this report and analysis.

The report proposes that all paid advertising – already regulated on TV, in the form of mailers, in newspapers and on the radio – be subject to the same regulations. And that this should now include Facebook status updates, tweets, emails and the like. The report reasons that if the same or similar political message is being paid for offline and must be regulated, so too should online political communications be regulated.


Posted by Lauren Dugan

political tweet Another political campaign watchdog group has joined the ranks of those calling for more regulations of online content published by politicians. The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), a California-based group, released a report Monday detailing their recommendations for political messages transmitted via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and their compatriots. The bulk of their recommendations boil down to one point: social media should be regulated in the same way as traditional media. This approach – lumping social media in with all other media – has been a popular one lately, but is it the right move? Read on for more details from this report and analysis.

The report proposes that all paid advertising – already regulated on TV, in the form of mailers, in newspapers and on the radio – be subject to the same regulations. And that this should now include Facebook status updates, tweets, emails and the like. The report reasons that if the same or similar political message is being paid for offline and must be regulated, so too should online political communications be regulated. Leer más “New Media, Same Regulations According to California Political Campaign Watchdog”