Three Cheers For The Geeks


Being a Geek makes you more productive, according to Chris Garrett, whose own geek credentials are impeccable. He points out that thinking about systems applies to problems outside computer systems, and that outsourcing to give yourself more think time is a great approach and not lazy at all.

My first study was in science (Biochemistry if you must know) and I have long held that the analysis skills and process thinking from this study have helped me since then in unrelated fields. I work with geeks and given that a lot of my job is about designing and managing websites I’m sure I have a small and happy inner geek.

So I’m really happy to see a positive take on what Geeks may bring to work.

And if you’re not sure whether you qualify as geek try this online test to check (hint being female automatically scores you extra points).

Image: Geek

Internet for content

I firmly believe that content is the most important part of a website, and that visitors are more likely to repeat their visits to your site for new content rather than great design or cool widgets. So when I read “CHART OF THE DAY: The Internet Is Finally, Primarily A Content Platform” I was cheered.

I opened up the chart, at first glance it seemed great, but when I squinted at it a little more I wasn’t so sure.

So I went through their figures of actual time spent on each of their activities and my graph looks a little different.

It seems to me that some of the “communications” we were doing in 2003, we are in 2009 doing under the community category. This makes sense; my sunday brunchers sort out time and place via facebook – whereas once we would have used email or in really ancient times called each other. I use flickr rather than email to share photos (although I might still email people the link) and aren’t we all tweeting now?

I also took a look at the change, and here the obvious winners are community and content.  Community has gone from zero to 181 minutes per month of our online time. Of the 413 extra minutes per month that we’re spending online 196 of them are in consuming content. If this change continues it won’t be long before content really is king.

Election Results Only a Little Bit Wrong

The Iranian authorities have admitted that there are some discrepancies in the election results.

Apparently the results in “only fifty cities” are wrong with more votes being recorded than eligible voters. Which seems in direct contrast to the announcement of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who said 3 days ago that “the Islamic Republic would not cheat“.

There are, according to Wikipedia, around 250 cities in Iran, so apparently a 20% error rate is acceptable. Of these cities only 80 or so have a population greater than 100,000. So depending on which cities have the “errors” there could be an error rate even higher if taken on a population basis, it’s possible that 30% of Iranians cannot trust their local polling office based on the errors admitted.

But we should not worry – the number of “extra” votes was a mere 3 million, not enough to change the outcome of the election in an electorate with a total of 40 million voters. In other words even if there were no extra votes Ahmadinejad would still have won.

Anyway why are we worrying? No one protested like this when the US 2004 presidential election results were questioned. Yes, seriously that is an argument the Iranians are using in their defense. To quote;

“No one encouraged the American people to stage a riot” because they disagreed with the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004, he said.

Hmmm, it was the 2000 election that was seriously questioned, but then there were some transparent legal steps and an independent court that ultimately decided the outcome of the election. Even so, there was significant outrage at various pre-election and election counting practices.

In both elections foreign journalists commented and various citizens published their own voice of protest, as far as I know Michael Moore was never imprisoned/arrested/beaten/shot.

The top advisors in Iran don’t seem to get it. If there is any evidence of tampering for some of the votes, then no-one can trust any of the votes.

Admitting the election was a little bit wrong is like a woman saying she’s a little bit pregnant. Nonsense.