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CBC Radio’s Spark On Soundscapes: Cutting Through The Noise

I’ve recently discovered a CBC Radio program called Spark. The CBC is a bone fide national treasure, and Spark is their program on technology in society. They describe it as:

Spark is a weekly audio blog of smart and unexpected trendwatching. It’s not just technology for gearheads, it’s about the way technology affects our lives, and the world around us.

…sounds interesting, non?

I recently loaded my phone with some Spark podcasts in a effort to catch up on the program. I was especially taken by episode 128 from November 2010 which considers the impact of noise on people. From the calming influence of bird song to the stress induced by using a cell phone, it’s profoundly interesting stuff.

Our personal and collective productivity often hinges on the soundscape of the working environment. Your personal stress and anxiety level can also be impacted. To be blunt, noise matters…and yet it’s often completely overlooked.

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Notes From The Road: Kensington Replacement Power Supplies For Laptops

This past weekend, during a break from tending our new pup, Stella and I had occasion to see the movie Up In The Air. I’d not seen it before, at least not from start to finish. Now that I have seen it, I think I understand why some members of my family thought that the film reminded them of me.

It’s true that I am something of a corporate road warrior. That is to say, my job involves more than the occasional bit of travel. Since the beginning of the year I’ve been to Las Vegas, New Jersey (twice), South Bend IN (twice), Jackson MS, and Berkeley CA. As I write this I am in fact en route to Charlotte NC to give a three-day training course.

As The Beach Boys once harmonized, “I get around.” Further, I’ve been in this line of work for just over fifteen years.

All of that only serves to illustrate that I have at least some experience being on the road. In that time I’ve come to appreciate some relatively simple pieces of technology. Occasionally a modest little item, perhaps acquired by accident or mere happenstance, can actually improve your quality-of-working-life on-the-road.

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Video Calling: My Own Motivation

Video calling has been around for a long, long time. However, it’s yet to become commonplace. There have been studies, some very recent, that suggest that people really don’t want or need it. Yet Skype reports that a substantial amount, around 40% if I recall correctly, of their call traffic involves video. Of course, events like last years volcanic excitement in Iceland highlight how valuable video can be when travel is impossible.

Beyond the more general cases I have my own reasons why video could play an important part in my working life. It happens that I travel a lot in the course of my work. The scope of my working duties is divided three ways; pre-sales demonstrations of hardware/software systems, post-sales commissioning, installations & training, and finally end-user support activity. The demonstration aspect of my travel could be reduced significantly if I were able to deliver the demonstration via online means.

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