Tagged: social media

DIY Oil Spill Simulation

Croatia Oil SpillI’m currently looking for a contract (hint :) but today was not my normal day where I wake up, have a coffee, watch a bit of TV, then start looking for something… Because part of my start is checking out Social Media, where I came across this piece The only oil that goes with a Croatian bikini is olive! by teresafritschi via @JenniferSertl, one of the great global connectors. I’d encourage you to read the piece first, not only for the context of why I did this, but as to why you should be concerned that the oil industry and politicians will probably wreck the Adriatic in the next decade!



20101020 gulf oil spill mapNow to the graphic – how did I do it and what is it’s validity? In short, I used PowerPoint to strip out backgrounds and scale things correctly so I could transpose the BP Oil Spill graphic (from One-fifth of juvenile Atlantic bluefin tuna killed by BP oil spill) on to Google Maps. All you have to do is “go” to New Orleans and adjust the scale on your Google Map so it’s the same scale as as the graphic’s one:


BP Oil SpillOnce you have this, you can go to anywhere in the world (e.g. Croatia) and just underlay that graphic in to the sea – how do we do that?

First, you use a clever little feature that PowerPoint has called “Remove Background”. Firstly, you use it on the Oil Spill to remove the “Background”, which PPT thinks is the faintest part, so on that graphic it’s the map – Voila!


Oil Spill BackgroundNow you have that, set the transparent colour and you can rotate and transpose it to your hearts content so it fits under your map graphic

Croatia Oil Spill Underlay

There’s a bit of Art and Science in doing this – the key things I did for Croatia were align it with the coast and ‘reflect’ it so you have the same phenomena as on the top-right of the original Oil Spill because it’s in a sheltered area and so is the Adriatic. Just in case anyone questions this, I’ve been deliberately conservative as I actually think an oil spill could be even worse in the Adriatic as it’s effectively a confined space!

Croatia-TransparentOnce you have your underlay, how do you put it under the map? That’s where we go back to our friend from PPT, “Remove Background” – you’ll probably have to play about with it a bit this time (as the contrast between sea and land is not as obvious). You can now put together your final image as shown below by simply setting the layer order correctly.

All up, this probably took about an hour as it’s a bit of a fiddly process, but for a cause like Saving the Adriatic, it was well worthwhile.

Furthermore, if anyone’s drilling just off your coast, you can now do your own visualisation of what the impact may be on yourself and neighbouring countries ;-)


Back from Holidays

We’ve just got back from a fantastic break in Sevilla, with a US relation who can speak fluent Spanish which makes a huge difference! It was actually on that break, while 1/2 asleep during a siesta that I worked out how to get back on to Twitter without being overwhelmed, so I’m back from my Twitter Holiday also!

As I’ve frequently admitted, I’m a bit behind on the social media curve so I’m sure many have had similar or “evolved” to this state. For the benefit of anyone who is in a similar position or feeling a bit overwhelmed though, here’s what I did:

  1. Set up a private Twitter List called Read which is now my “new stream”. I’ve made it private as it’s a subset of the people that I’m following on Twitter.
  2. Changed my preferences on Tweetbot so this is displayed by default. It didn’t take me long to find that if you click on the icon, you can choose what is displayed. I’d always wondered what that was for…

And that’s it!

I’m still going to be tweeting less though as using a blog has made me think more of approaching Twitter from a qualitative rather than quantitative perspective.

There is still the issue of effective analysis to cover the gap of “these are the people I want to read all the time” and “there are a whole bunch of other people that I’m interested in but don’t have the time to follow. That can only be covered by some Personal Analytics on my full Twitter stream which will be the subject of a subsequent post.

The Shock of the New!

I’ve just been watching The Shock of the New, by Robert Hughes on BBC. The amazing thing that struck me is that although this series was made in 1980, it still applies to whatever buzzword you’re interested in, be it Social Media, Web X.0, Management X.0, Change, Agile, whatever…

This is a timeless series and if you’re at all interested in change and how it impacts society and the people within it then I highly recommend you watch it. Luckily, it’s all on YouTube, so knock yourselves out!

Going Slow on Social Media

As I’ve recently blogged, I’ve taken a Twitter Holiday and have found it to be quite liberating. This feeling continues as my nervous system is getting used to less stimulation, which has been helped by having the flu for a while – this has been the first day that I’ve been up to doing anything on a computer, and I’ve been thinking…

. . . about the Slow Movement http://www.slowmovement.com/

which I’ve always been interested in. So today it hit me that what I’m really trying to do is Go Slow on Social Media. I’m obviously not the first person to suffer from Social Media Overload, and it seems I’m now going through the “self-correction phase”. I do want to remain engaged, just with a bit more balance.

The first step was obviously to temporarily disconnect from Twitter so I could get the bandwidth to actually go slow and it’s emerging that the first step seems to be just using Flipboard for my favourite sites and WordPress to hear what most of the people I’m interested in are thinking.

So what about Twitter? As I’ve stated, I’ll definitely be back there in a few weeks or months, but how? So far, I’m thinking:

  1. Cut down the number of tweets / day I do to <5
  2. Find or make a tool with some serious analytics going on Twitter so I can reduce the traffic I’m getting to ~10-20 items / day

which I think is interesting as it’s a hybrid human / machine solution. These are obviously the best type of solution in the social media space as if you take the human out of the loop, well – where’s the social bit? Point 1 is personal and easy. Point 2 is automated, with human input (probably defining filter criteria) and what I’ll be working on.

BTW: While writing this, I’ve just been listening to “Is It Just Me Or Is Everything $#!t?” by John Nolan who is an ACM Distinguished Engineer and Agile practioner since 1999 having founded and run one of the world’s longest Agile(XP) projects at Connextra (7+ years). Leave your sacred cows at the door and check this out as John rants about the computer-driven information society we live in and the compromises it forces us to make, pleading for a simpler and more humane approach to it. Couldn’t of put it better…

Hello world! Of Architecture and Change

If you’re interested in IT, Privacy, Science, Maths, Process, Systems (of people and technical), Programming, Organisations and any other topics that grab my attention, then you may want to follow this.

I did have a site called Architectural musings (which I’ll be reposting content from) but thanks to much listening, twittering and thinking I’ve decided to broaden my remit a bit because I do work a lot with change and at the end of the day, most of my architectural work does involve change in some form.

Most of my work is in large corporates, doing either (or both of):

  • Architecture (Yang): Enterprise, Solutions, SOA and Application / Technical (Java & J2EE)
  • Process (Yin): Waterfall, V, Agile, Lean, Scrum, Kanban and anything else that seems useful

And just like in life, I’m after achieving some sort of balance :-)