Updated Links

I know there aren’t many people who visit this site, so very few people (if any) will notice that I’ve just updated the links that you should be seeing on the right hand side of your page. I have actually been reading most of these sites’ feeds for a few months now, so their addition is well overdue. Unfortunately, I haven’t been much of a participant in any of these blogs despite getting so much from them. (Obviously, I plan on changing that, but for the time being, I am only going to link to them.)

The first two links are to friends of mine. William Chen is currently in Japan and is writing at w   a n  d   e r  i  n  g, and Konrad Turski is blogging on Times.konradturski.com, where he’s got a very nice-looking WordPress blog. (Is that hosted on WordPress.com, Konrad?)

The other blogs that I’d like to draw attention to both concern themselves with South African and international affairs. I really enjoy reading what Laurence, John and Wayne [et al? I don’t follow the contributors too closely…] have to say on Commentary South Africa and have been a subscriber to their blog for what feels like ages. I started following The Spike far more recently, but also enjoy Ivo Vegter’s take on all manner of things, especially the US. In both cases, what the authors have to say makes for interesting reading and food for thought. (Now all I need to do is actually respond to their thoughts directly…)

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Thinking “creatively”

Given that I am in the middle of my final exams, I am lacking something in terms of energy and creativity. It doesn’t bode well for the upcoming week, but I’ll have to give it my best shot…

In any case, I was struck by two celebrations of creativity online that gave me thoughts on how much easier it is in today’s world to be creative. The first I got from the Google Blog, where they announced the launch of Google Patent Search today. The service currently allows you to search through millions of US patents. That should spark people’s creative juices if nothing else does: at first glance, there are tons of crazy patents awarded to people, many of which should be food for thought. Or just a source for laughs. (Note: the service seems to be having some issues. I assume Google will sort those out fairly soon, though.)

The other source of inspiration for me was through a post by Robert Scoble referencing an article from Business 2.0 Magazine, 20 Smart Companies to Start Now. (Note to CNNMoney.com: get your titles matched up – the article and page titles aren’t quite the same… that’s just sloppy.) In any case, the article is a list of 20 products that various venture capital firms are looking to sponsor. Reading the article is quite interesting, because the ideas cover a range of products and markets. I would, however, suggest having your own ideas for businesses: how many other people are going to read this article and decide they want to develop online spreadsheets? (And who else is already doing that…? *cough* Google *cough* Zoho *cough* etc) However, if you are in a position to develop an ultracapacitor or an “iDrive,” please do. Because I know for a fact that I will not be doing either of those things.

On a side note, however, both articles aren’t exactly sources of creativity. Rather, they are both repositories of other people’s creativity. That applies more to the patent search, but you can’t deny that the ideas in the “20 best” article are still someone else’s ideas to an extent. Actually realising those ideas is another story, however. That said, the ideas from the “20 best” article are ideas that are already mainstream ideas that will probably be realised by people who have already started developing their ideas. If you are, like me, fresh meat, it might be best to come up with a new idea or approach. Because it’s going to take us a while to get to a position in which someone is going to want to give us a few million to grow our business.

Mystery Gmail references…

I get to read my blogs stats and such-like, but I’ve found something that confuses me no end: I keep getting people clicking on links in Gmail. (Either that or WordPress is registering links incorrectly.) But I don’t have a clue as to why anyone would be linking to my blog through Gmail: I am not advertising, nor have I been emailing people about it. Are people sharing the address by email? Are these “people” friends of mine? It’s all rather mysterious and perplexing.

So if you have a clue as to why I keep getting references from Gmail, please let me know. And if you are following links from Gmail to my blog, please tell me where you’ve been finding links to me. And if you know me, please tell me. If you don’t know me, feel free to let me know who you are as well: I would love to know who is reading my blog. And how they are finding it, too. Truly curiouser and curiouser, I tell you.

Index Cards + Irreverence = Hilarity

Once again, thanks to Rex Sorgatz’s Best Blogs of 2006 that You (Maybe) Aren’t Reading, I found Indexed, a blog devoted to stray thoughts captured on index cards. I’ve been reading (or would you call it viewing?) Old Bag’s posts for a few days now and won’t be stopping any time soon. Her offbeat, somewhat cynical humour is right up my street. She manages to communicate a fully shaped idea within the sparse confines that she sets herself and generally manages to be quite hilarious in doing so. Her irreverence simply makes her cards funny: whoever thought to map what your mother does and doesn’t know about you to a Venn diagram? And who would ever think to graph “things seen” against “things believed”? Old Bag has, and some seriously humourous cards are the result.

My near-daily dose of index cards make my day. Every time.