5 Responses

Page 1 of 1
  1. Ken Allan August 29, 2008 at 6:44 am |

    Kia ora Britt!

    Like you, I am an admirer of Stephen D.

    I’ve never met him, but I have my own idea of what he’d be like if I did – I’m entitled to that I guess. I think Stephen is like many technology gurus I’ve known in my time. They have ranged from aero-modelling gurus, through Science research gurus to computer programming gurus. They all behave like gurus – often very helpful, and they will tell you anything about what they know. They are also often highly opinionated.

    Though I don’t usually put people into categories, I feel I have to with Stephen in order to come up with some opinion as to why he wrote his 25 takes the way he did. He wrote it like a guru. Even his sentence construction is commensurate with a guru, like in his first bullet where he said, “Don’t use Flock.”

    Now I’m not sure whether he meant, “Don’t use Flock!” or “(I) don’t use Flock.” I suspect the latter. Gurus tend to be a bit like that in that, when giving advice they seem to scramble the good news with the bad news and give it all as advice.

    Frankly, I suspect that there is no malice intended, and that would apply to many of the gurus I’ve met. They see all that they know as advice that might be useful to someone else, whether it is positive or negative, in a nice sort of way.

    You have to hand it to Stephen, he certainly gives plenty of advice, and freely. It would be quite different if he was sparing with it. For one thing, he wouldn’t be the guru he undoubtedly is.

    Ka kite
    from Middle-earth

  2. Stephen Downes August 29, 2008 at 1:53 pm |

    I meant “I don’t use Flock.” I certainly didn’t intend to tell people not to use it, simple to convey that I don’t. My apologies for the confusion.

    Many people find value in the tools I don’t use. That’s why Jane Hart surveys 115 people, and not just me.

    This is what allows me to describe what *I* use, rather than to get caught in the game of recommending what other people should use.

    In my own case – which, remember, is unique to me – I extend my capacities by writing my own software. This is a skill I worked very hard to acquire (it’s not simply ‘inherent’) and the reason why I did was that I wanted to be able to do what people will be doing with *tomorrow’s* tools, not just today’s.

    Don’t confuse my own choices with NIH. In every instance, there’s a cost to using my own tools. I use mainstream tools whenever I can. That’s why, for example, I use MySQL, instead of the database system I wrote for myself. Or the Mod Wiki or the Lime survey tool. Or, for that matter, Firefox.

    Where I use my own tools, there is a specific purpose for using the tool. Sometimes the mainstream tools don’t work as well as advertised (eg., Ruby on Rails, Sunbird). Sometimes they are not flexible enough or don’t manage data they way I want (eg. WordPress, Drupal).

    What this means is that you can’t simply take my choices as recommendations as to what tools to use. Just as well: my recommendations probably wouldn’t serve you very well. Because you aren’t trying to do the things I’m trying to do.

    But – assuming that you believe I have some sort of handle on where the future will go – you should be able to use my report to judge what sort of changes to expect in the future.

    Again, you should rely on other people as well, and not just me. Other people are better at writing software, better at predicting the future, better at understanding people.

  3. Emma September 2, 2008 at 9:41 am |

    Guess that Steven had taken my idea of commenting on them all … it’s just we had different ways of doing it …
    I guess he also gave longer reasons that I did for not using tools; for example, I don’t really like delicious – mostly because the first online bookmarking tool I found was iKeepbookmarks – which I find serves my purposes well. It’s not a social one, but I tend to prefer to blog (& comment) about sites that I find useful, rather than sharing all of my bookmarks (which reflect the whole of me, not just work).
    I’ve recently re-looked at Delicious – and yes, it does handle tagging better than it used to (I wasn’t a great fan of tagging, as I found it hard to remember what terms I’d used in the past; iKeepbookmarks folders enabled me to remember).

    Last year, I decided to encourage students to use delicious – set up some tags for the unit I was teaching, added some starting sites, but they never added to it, which rather defeated the object. (Though I have since had a first year student tells me she uses it all the time, so maybe I’ll try again. If enough students wanted it, then I’d start to move all my work ones there – pain as it would be for me generally – but good excuse to filter out the dud links!

    Anyway, I guess we each have our own takes on what we like, what suits our way of working, and what we need to learn, despite personally hating it, because too many others use it.

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar