Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Political positioning

Just to prove that the blogosphere is really a sphere -- the more you use it the more likely it is that you will end up where you started!

And appropos of nothing much except that I thought it was interesting.

Dani Rodrik has a post about a post by Greg Mankiw that points to a ["useful" according to Rodrik] site that computes your coordinates on the political map after you take a quick online questionnaire. The comments on the Mankiw blog indicate that a number of people thought that the questionnaire was badly set out, didn't provide a "middle way" (only four choices allowed), and, in several of the questions, used language that was not appropriate.

Hey, you guys where's your sense of light-weightedness? This is obviously not intended to be the ultimate judgement on your political position. It's an indication of thoughts and feelings at the time you are ticking the boxes. If you've ever looked back at your Myers-Briggs Personality Profile as it was five or ten years ago and compared it with now then the chances are that you will be "in a different box".

Have you met me? Do you know me? Do I come over as an extrovert? Ah yes, but, am I an extrovert? No, I'm not but I was! I realise that the shift from extrovert to introvert is achieved by how you respond to statements such as (not from the real "test") "Conversations 'at the water cooler' are a) a waste of time or b) a necessary part of interacting with colleagues". Whilst I worked with colleagues I would have seen b) as accurate now that I work almost entirely alone I realise that many of these conversations were actually a waste of time so now it's a).

And, at the end of all this I did not end up where I started but somewhere completely different so maybe blogoworld is not a sphere after all.

Job description: Karaoke hosts and what their job involves

This is a new one on me.

D.L.E.S. at Helium tells us that the karaoke host is a KJ not a DJ and that s/he has to be a motivator, a coach, a singer, an actor, a comedian, a dancer, a babysitter,and a radio personality in front of the public!

D.L.E.S. does not provide terms and conditions of employment for a KJ but my understanding is that most will be self-employed and will provide their own equipment. Return on investment, particularly the study time required to keep up with the latest trends in music, is likely to be poor but this may not deter the music lover who would be listening (perhaps with less purpose) to lots of different radio stations anyway.
Obviously there are not lots of openings for this type of work but could attract some young people who are not overly interested in a more academic or "tied down" existence.

Do we lose the past by moving forward?

I read blog postings (skim through most and really read the minority) using a reader. Most of the time, therefore, I'm only looking at one item at a time and not going to the actual weblog site and reading sidebars, comments etc. Even for the "I really need to read this" ones I don't always go to the site before taking some action:
  • email link to Dawn to make a decision as to whether to include the item in Members' Update
  • email link to myself because it's to do with something that I'm interested in on a personal level maybe some learning opportunity e.g. a "how-to" (either work or pleasure), it could be a new application that I want to study in more depth or even an exhortation to work smarter not harder/longer
  • grab the details for using in one of ADSET's weblogs -- it's either "careersy" or it's "businessy" and that defines which of the two blogs it goes to ... but

... what do I do with a piece which came to me via Library Link of the Day entitled "Cultural past of the digital age"? It's on the BBC News site. Bill Thompson, in what is more of a short essay than a news report, asks whether books and film have a place in the modern world.
Short answer is, I put it here and just hope that you have the time to go and read it. I believe that we are in danger of losing our cultural past by moving headlong into a digital future -- and if we're not careful we'll be losing that past more and more rapidly as our culture becomes more ephemeral.

Monday, 25 June 2007

Basic Drug Facts Card Game

The latest newsletter from HIT tells us that this card game has an updated design.

The 40 cards feature full-colour photographs with information on the risks, effects, street names and legal status of 14 legal and illegal drugs. This versatile drug education resource can be used with young people aged 12 upwards. The instruction guidance suggests a variety of ways to use the cards in various settings, while photographs make it ideal for use with lower literacy groups.
Product Code: BD02
Special introductory offer: £16 (usual price £18.80)

To place an order please telephone 0870 990 9702, email or visit

Finance: Job site

I was wrong (not for the first time)!

When I initially looked at I thought that OnRec had over-hyped the description so I left the post in draft. I went back to it today and revised my opinion.

Yes, there is a lot of overlap in the "subject list" (I've left today's vacancy numbers in so that you can see what I mean)
  • Finance Jobs (3413)
  • Audit Jobs (416)
  • Banking Jobs (990)
  • Accounting Jobs (3413)
  • Consulting Jobs (67)
  • Graduate Jobs
  • IT Jobs (6)
  • Insurance Jobs (4)
  • Legal Jobs (3)
  • Marketing Jobs (2)
  • Taxation Jobs (109)
Yes, the language grates on those of us who don't much care for "Americanisms" taking over the English language

Check out your salary to make sure you are in the right ballpark salary wise.

Yes, the careers advice is very similar to the advice available on other sites (check your salary, write a good CV etc) BUT ...

... go to the links and you find what, for me anyway, was one of the most valuable things about this site. Web addresses for a range of financially-related professional bodies, FTSE100 companies, the top accountancy firms of 2006, government departments and quangos, and lots more.

Thanks to for this.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Transport: job site to check

Well set out site with, as at today, 141 jobs. This may not sound many but all are within the subject groups set out and all those I looked at were current. Very useful.

Highways & Traffic
Transportation Planning

Thanks to

Learning from the Edge: Engaging and motivating young adults

NIACE Conference
13 September 2007
Thistle Marble Arch Hotel, Bryanston Street, Marble Arch, London W1H 7EH
09:30 - 16:30

The conference will cover:
  • Examples of excellent practice, across both the formal and the youth and community learning sectors, in engaging marginalised young adults.
  • Government strategy and plans to support and engage marginalised and hard-to-reach young adults in learning.
  • The experiences and aspirations of individual young adult learners.
  • Innovative and effective approaches to work with hard-to-reach groups.

Participants will also have the opportunity to use a range of e-approaches to contribute to the conference, including a video booth, hand-held electronic voting systems and graffiti white boards.
The conference will be of interest to:

  • Practitioners and managers of projects for hard-to-reach young adults
  • Local authority staff from youth services and education departments
  • Staff from Connexions, Youth Offending Teams and teenage pregnancy co-ordinators
  • Training providers
  • Policy-makers
  • Researchers

Further details and reservations.
Enquiries to Gurjit Kaur on 0116 204 2833

Thanks to the Basic Skills Agency for publishing this information

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Shared items

I knew in theory, but had not worked out in practice, how to "share" items from my reading list. These are the things that I found interesting but which I felt didn't need any comment from me. Now that I've added a "shared items" widget I can go to my backlog and instead of thinking that I have to provide a reason for telling you about something I can simply tag for sharing. I will continue to put items of direct interest (careers reports, vacancy sites etc) into here so that they become indexed and archived. OK, back to more reading -- and expect the number of shared items to rise dramatically over the next couple of hours!

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Participative Web: user-created content

I wanted to bring you a short summary of this paper but -- there isn't one. The summary included is what I would have called a "Management Summary" i.e. the bit that the manager reads when s/he is not particularly interested in the topic and it's 3 sides of 10-point New Roman (or similar) typeface! There is no abstract in the more conventional sense.

OK, let's just copy a bit of the 74-page PDF document to give you a flavour. OUCH (yes, that is screaming) the text highlight has been disabled. Back, almost, to where I started my working life -- copy typing!

The concept of the "participative web" is based on an Internet increasingly influenced by intelligent web services that empower the user to contribute to developing, rating, collaboration on and distributing Internet content and customising Internet applications. As the Internet is more embedded in people's lives "users" draw on new Internet applications to express themselves through "user-created content" (UCC).
This study describes the rapid growth of UCC, its increasing role in worldwide communication and draws out implications for policy. Questions addressed include:
  • What is user-created content?
  • What are its key drivers, its scope and different forms?
  • What are new value chains and business models?
  • What are the extent and form of social, cultural and economic opportunities
    and impacts?
  • What are associated challenges?
  • Is there a government role and what form should it take?
That's enough to prove that I haven't entirely lost my skill and to give you a flavour. I haven't read the whole thing in depth but have skimmed it and it's very interesting.

Job sites to check has launched JustBasic, a new product for small- to medium-sized businesses. JustBasic can be tailored to match the job posting and CV database requirements of individual recruiters. JustBasic is available on three of's niche job sites:

Recruiters wishing to benefit from JustBasic are invited to call the sales team on 0845 050 2000 or to email for more information. Just Technical Jobs is the UK’s largest careers newspaper for engineering, rail and construction job-seekers and is sent by post to over 45,000 subscribers every month.

Whilst I had hopes, after reading the above, that here I would find vacancies from smaller companies it seems that the new service has not yet caught on in a big way. However, the jobs are set out what looks to me like a sensible way and those I looked at were all current so this could be another one to add to your list.

Literacy and Social Inclusion: the policy challenge

This discussion paper was referenced a couple of times from other "stuff" I was reading a while ago (like last month). I thought it was the result of recent research. It turns out, thank you Dawn for your indefatigable detective work, that it was written in 2004. I'm not even sure whether we included it in the ADSET Members' Update at the time but on reading it I realised that many of the arguments presented are still viable. At only 31 pages (Word document) you may find it helpful.

One thing that finding this paper has done is to add yet another blog to my regular reading list and another e-newsletter to Dawn's inbox on a monthly basis! Information overload is alive and well.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

RSS in Plain English

This fantastic video has been "making the rounds" onthe Internet for a while now -- and I've only just realised that many of the readers of this weblog will not have seen the links to it.

There are two types of Internet users, those that use RSS and those that don’t. This video is for the people who could save time using RSS, but don't know where to start.

I will obviously need to direct a few more people directly to this posting because it looks like Catch 22. If you are using an RSS reader to get links to this then you won't need to view the video and if you're not then you are proably not reading it at all. Such is life. Just pass the link on via email to anyone you think would be interested.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

New Jacquie Lawson Screensavers

To be honest I think that comments on Jacqui's work would be included in my personal (i.e. about me and my interests/concerns) blog than here in the "it's about work" one BUT ...

The VERY BIG BUT is that I'm a real sucker for the art that Jacqui produces and think it deserves to have the widest possible audience. So, the news that the team based in the South of England has branched out from e-cards to producing screensavers, needs to come in here so that all my readers get the chance to access this fantastic resource. (No monetary connection here -- just a very satisfied customer.)

If you've not come across Jacqui's e-cards before then do please go and look at what's on offer.

Hey, how's this for a friendly "DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL"?
Please do not reply to this email. It was sent to you by our computer, which is brilliant at sending emails but completely hopeless at reading them!

Friday, 15 June 2007

Country Commerical Guides

OK, I'm back from creating a menu interface for a vacancy/learning opportunity system, writing/editing two newsletters and generally keeping up with the managing of the ADSET business rather than in it. I also had to contend with a few days of a nasty urinary infection which required antibiotics before it would do the decent thing and leave me alone! The upshot is that over the next three days I shall be blogging frantically to catch up with things and then back to the three or four a week as and when I pick up something of interest for you.

To start: ResourceShelf points to New Country Commercial Guides and Other Market Research from the US Commercial Service

There’s a list of several new reports:

Source: US Commercial Service

Not normally something I'd bother you with but the American take on e-commerce in the EU is actually quite interesting as is the renewable energy market in the UK.